Well here is Chapter 16. I hope you all like. I am sorry for the delay in updates but again, I am getting married in September and it seems to eat up my time. Also, I had a death in the family and work is crazy so those are my excuses. Sorry.
Please read and review.
Also, one more chapter to go!
Horrified at the sight before me, I continued to scream bloody murder. I knew it was stupid and fruitless to do so but hey, it made me feel productive. I relished the knowledge that if I did get eaten by Nico's brother, at least I'd be annoying prey. Small consolation but the best I could find right now. Times were bleak.
"Dimitri." Nico's voice was soft, almost a whisper amongst the wooded area. Yet, even I who was screaming like a banshee at the top of my lung capacity could hear him. I let my scream die a slow death as both Dimitri and myself, turned to stare in expectancy at the older Vlarinski.
"I will kill you if you so much as attempt to harm her." Nico's head was low but his eyes were focused on us. I could easily see the banked rage in his ever darkening eyes. Nico meant what he said; I knew that with a certainty. Question was, did Dimitri? And if so, did he even care?
My eyes flicked to Dimitri and I felt my heart plummet to my feet. No, he didn't care. He wasn't the type to care. The one holding me would rather laugh in the face of death than back down.
The younger brother let out another growling laugh and I knew then that Dimitri was too far gone mentally to even care if his life was forfeit. He just wanted to hurt me and hurt Nico.
I felt Dimtri's hand rise up and I tensed in fright at whatever wicked thought he might have in mind for me. I waited as his hand came up and ran a long sharp claw along my cheek, scratching the surface just enough for blood to well up and trickle down. I shivered at the deadly caress but refused to flinch.
"Stop it." Nico warned, his voice growing thicker, more guttural. He sounded animalistic and his breathing was beginning to labor. I ignored Dimitri as yet again he laughed and instead sought out his brother. Was he okay?
Our gazes clashed just as Dimitri let out a long rolling tongue and began slowly lapping up the blood running down my face. I wasn't into licking and I made a soft mewling sound of protest. Dimitri enjoyed that. I hated this. I hated him.
I opened my eyes to see Nico's face. He was so handsome standing there as still as stone, his whole body coiled and ready to move at the slightest provocation. He looked like the calm before the storm but even then I could see the apprehension in his gaze. He wasn't sure he could save me. I knew this and he seen that I knew it.
"Don't worry, Alexandria." His metallic eyes seemed to glow as he spoke, the deep tone from earlier still rumbling in his chest. I knew he was about to go lycan. I didn't even stop to wonder how I would feel about seeing Nico in wolf form. If we managed to get out of this predicament, I wouldn't care if he turned into a rat.
Dimitri's claw came up and swiped my cheek again, this time making another line on my flesh that criss crossed the first. He smiled smugly as more gravity pulled my blood downward.
"Be worried, little bitch." his whispered voice was chilling and I knew he was trying to make me tremble in my shoes. Earlier, it would have caused me to break out into glass shattering screams. I knew he'd enjoy my fear and because of that knowledge, I refused to give in to the choking horror. I would be brave or at least pretend to be.
With trembling lips, I manage to form a smile. I'm sure it looked more like a grimace but it was none the less, NOT what Dimitri expected. I watched as his black brows came downward as that sadistic smile evaporated from his face. He thought I would cower and whimper; probably even beg for my life. I didn't and he wasn't pleased. Point for the human.
He sneered at me angrily even as Nico's calm voice broke out into the air once more. "It sickens me to see that my brother has been reduced to attacking mere human girls." The contempt was plain to all those in our little standoff group. Dimitri's actions were repulsive.
Dimitri snarled angrily and made as if attack his older brother.
"Stop, he is baiting you." Christian's effectively stopped Dimitri's progress. I craned my head around Dimitri's shoulder to get a better look and then glared at the turncoat. If not for him, then I would have been just a little bit safer. I wish I could kick him.
"I'm not baiting you, Dimitri. I am just saying how I truly feel." I turned back around as Dimitri started growling. Did Nico know what he was doing? Was this some sort of master plan? Piss the werewolf off?
"How do you truly feel?" Maddie asked suddenly from behind my right, causing Dimitri's growl to increase in volume. I twisted around as best as possible to see Maddie clearly in the darkened woods. Up until now, she and Stump had been quiet as church mice. I had almost forgotten that they were even here. She caught my look and it seemed as if she was trying to tell me something. She looked really hard at me then flicked her eyes to Christian. I followed her gaze to the brother but didn't see what she was trying to tell me. I wasn't a mind reader. I heard Maddie sigh in aspiration and knew it was because I simply could not read the message in her dark eyes. Oh, well. I would just have to figure out what Maddie meant the hard way. I just hoped doing so didn't cause my death.
"The Vlarinski Family has always been an honorable group." Nico stated bitingly, his metallic gaze pinning Dimitri down with an icy stare, "that is until this."
So angry, Dimitri was literally shaking but still he refrained from doing anything other than standing there growling.
Well, that was until Nico shouted into the woods, "You dishonor the family name!" and then it was like a bell in a wrestling match had gone off, signaling the fight.
With a thunderous roar into the night sky, the hand tightened around my flesh and I was sure that this was it. Nico had truly made him mad and I was going to die. Now was the time of my death. I closed my eyes and said sent one swift prayer up to heaven. If this was it, please lord let me come back and haunt Dimitri's ass.
It was done so fast; I didn't realize I had been shoved back into the pit of mud until my body went sliding into the goo face first. Blinking in stunned astonishment, I lay there as I heard Christian shouting "No, you fool!" I knew he was talking to Dimitri. His temper had derailed him from vengeance and I knew Christian would be as mad as a Catholic Priest watching The DaVincci Code.
Quickly scrambling up, I tried to see past the dark black mess in my eyes just as I heard the sound of flesh hitting flesh. In my heart, I knew that Dimitri had rushed his brother, anger blinding him from his original goal. Yay for me though I began to worry for Nico. Was he strong enough against his maniac brother?
I thought so.
I swiped at the gunk in my eyes with a muddy hand just in time to see Nico's fist connected with Dimitri's nose. The crunch of cartilage was easily discernable throughout our small gathering and I smiled at the knowledge that I had broken it first. Never mind the fact that it healed.
Dimitri let out a howl of pain mixed with anger but otherwise ignored the fresh injury. He was a psycho on a mission.
I stayed a silent spectator as Dimitri took a swipe at his older brother with his wicked claws, those dark eyes of his a vortex of rage and sardonic joy. I flinched as those claws made contacted with Nico's sculpted cheek, leaving four lines on the contour of his left jaw. Biting my lip, I withheld the cry of outrage for Nico even though I could see the pain in his eyes as he glanced quickly at me before launching himself at Dimitri's feet. The force of his hurl sent the two catapulting over each other and into some nearby brush. The fight continued.
I glanced around the clearing, only now noticing that the brothers were not the only ones to have engaged in war. Maddie and Stump had taken their queue from Dimitri's attack and has launched at the unknown rogue's to our right. Even now, I could see a scrapple of arms and legs as each took hits and dealt them.
I was in the midst of a battlefield and I had no clue what to do about it. I apparently was the only one not fighting and I was torn between being thankful as hell or feeling utterly useless.
It was the squishing sound of my mud puddle that snapped my head away from my inner musings and reminded me of him. Apparently, I was wrong about being the only person not brawling in the midst of this swamp.
Christian wasn't either though I could tell from the heat in his chocolate gaze how easily that could change.
"I loved Cara." Christian's eyes were smoldering as he slowly advanced closer. His face was an unemotional canvas, only his eyes showing emotion.
I knew he was thinking of his traitorous wife. I knew he was remembering her death at the hands of Nico. I watched carefully as he clenched and unclenched his hands. He looked possessed but I knew he was just caught in the pain of the past.
How had I not seen that this guy was a card tooting loon?
"I'm sure you did, Christian." I stated softly, for most parts having no clue what to say. How do you talk a psycho out of vengeance? I never took that class in school and frankly I didn't think it was possible.
"Nicholai had no right to kill her." His lips drew downward into a deep frown. "I hate to have to kill you, Alex but you know the saying, an eye for an eye."
Oh, what to do what to do?
His muddy shoes were now right next to my own; I ignored the swell of fear and instead focused on Christian. "I also know they saying 'Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.'" I kept my voice soft and spoke slowly, hoping deep inside that a Biblical prayer would phase him. You know, something like an excercism except not.
Christian's firm mouth quirked up at the ends and a deep rumbling laugh erupted unheeded from him. Was this a promising sign? I didn't know. He didn't look ready to kill me anymore but then again...... Remember he was crazy.
"You are a unique person and I hate that I shall be the cause of your death." Disappointment flared within me and with that emotion came the flame of anger. It was starting to piss me off how everyone seemed to want to kill me. Really.
I brushed closer to him, bravado fueled by anger. A better word of it was stupid. "You worthless." I spat at him with my lips curled in disgust even as my heart pitter pattered inside my chest. Did he hear it? Surely, he did. Yet, it matter not a bit. I was tired of being the terrified pawn in the chess game of werewolves.
With a sign heavy on his lips, Christian stepped away from me. "I shall give you a quick death, Alex. You deserve some form of mercy from me." I stared incredulously at him. Was he serious?
"Gee, how generous of you." I replied dryly, sarcasm lacing my words.
Christian stood silently for a few minutes, his face oddly devoid of emotion. Without him talking and monopolizing my attention, I could easily hear the noise from various tousles. Growls mixed in with whines and the crunching of bone filled the clearing air. I knew without looking that everyone else had morphed into lycan form. I didn't know if I should be disappointed or relieved that I had missed it.
"Are you ready, Alex?" Christian's voice was whisper soft, more like a caress from a lover than from preparation for murder. On one hand I was happy he was letting me know he was about to deliver the killing blow but on the other hand I wasn't. That's because I was NOT ready. I would never be ready. I knew that if I didn't pull something out of my ass soon. I was going to die. Problem was, I hadn't a clue. I was in deep shit and I had no one but myself to rely on.
Standing there while mentally weighing my options, I barely registered the swiftness of Christian's attack. Hell, I was surprised to even see it coming! It was like a blurred motion......almost. One thing I did see , quite easily, was his arm swinging back for momentum before switching direction and heading towards me with sudden lengthened claws.
I barely had time to utter, "Shit!" and drop down into the muddle with a loud smacking sound. Above me, my attacker stumbled from the force of his miss before turning to me with slight irritation marking his face. I did not miss the fact that his eyes had darkened into something cold and calculating.
He was not pleased that I had avoided his swing. Was he still going to give me a quick death? From the look of annoyance on his face, I doubted it.
Hell did he think I was just stand there and let him kill me? The thought burst into my mind as I scrambled for a better purchase in the slimy muck. It wasn't the best place to fight in unless you were two girls play wrestling for a group of dirty perverts. Which, we were not.
With his chin tucked into his chest, Christian once more advanced on me. I felt like a fox chased to ground by a wiry hound and I wondered briefly, how the hell did the animals not die from heart attacks? Mine was going ninety miles a minute, I swear!
Mud gurgled as Christian again closed the distance between us and this time I knew I couldn't let him attack first. I had been lucky at his first swipe for he had rushed things. This time I knew Christian wouldn't allow such a lapse, thus he was moving at a snails pace now. Yes, most defiantly a slow kill for me. If, I stayed here and did nothing.
Christian once more drew back his lengthened hand for a killing swipe, and when he sent that same arm barreling with force towards me I attacked. I don't know where it came from. I guess that flight and fight mode finally kicked in.
With my mind screaming into my body that this was pure stupidity, I grasped his clawed hand around the thumb and wrist just as I leaned to my left away from the blow. The force of yet another missed hit, sent Christian body propelling forwards into my right hip which I had tips upward. Using his own momentum, I helped Christian into a back flip before releasing his arm.
Mud splattered into the air around us much like a water splash from a fat kid doing a cannonball, such was the force of his fall. I was shocked that the move worked and I was sure Christian was both shocked and incensed that yet again I eluded him.
I didn't even think about how the hell I managed to pull that karate move off but rather carted my ass right on out of the clearing at top speed. Never mind my friends fighting each other off in wolfie form. I wasn't a wolf and I wasn't going to be any help. I also wasn't hanging around for Christian to rise from the mud like some swamp creature. I wasn't stupid. I knew the hot headed wolf would be mad as hell that I got the jump on him in yet another round. It was time to put distance between us.
The loud growls grew lighter as I practically flew over the earth, my arms and legs pumping at a pace I never before knew my body could do. I guess life threatening ex friends could put wings on your feet. Kind of like red bull.
"ALEX!" His voice vibrated throughout the woods, effectively giving my heart a scare it didn't need. I kept running. I wasn't about to call out 'here', especially since I could tell that his voice wasn't that far behind me. What kind of idiot would really do something like that?
I stumbled on a uprooted tree limb but continued my frantic leg pumping. I couldn't afford to spill onto the ground. No, not with murder happy Christian breathing down my neck.
I could hear the trees trashing and braches popping from behind me and I knew he was closing in. Getting nearer and nearer with each pounding step. God, he was fast! I was running at full speed, actually faster than I had ever run before truth be known, and he was still gaining on me! Oh, the woe of being human when chased by a werewolf!
Then the line of trees suddenly cleared and I could easily see the murky water of the bayou before me. Possible escape. If I could only make it into the current then perhaps I had a chance at surviving this mad flight!
Hurdling wilding through the foliage, I was only four feet away from the bank when a great weight settled onto my back with the force of some professional football linebacker.
With a loud grunt I went sprawling face first into the floor bed of the forest. This time no mud was there to soften my face plant and I could feel some of my epidermis scrape off.
"Ouch." I mutter into the dirt after a few moments of silence.
The weight, which I was pretty sure was Christian, was as heavy as a boulder on my back. So heavy infect that I thought for a brief second that perhaps he meant to smother me to death. Surely, my lungs had collapse from his high muscle mass?
"Are you okay?" Christian's voice was a vibrating rumble which flowed through my own sprawled body. I blinked into the brown earth and wondered what kind of question was that. Seriously, wasn't he trying to kill me?
"Uh...no?" the answer was like a question but I really didn't know what type of reply the nut job wanted. I was confused and frightened. If I said yes, would he tear into me?
I felt his weight shift off of me as he rose back into a standing position and though he was no longer pinning me down, I didn't move. I was afraid that it would somehow signal him to attack once more though come to think of it, laying still as death in the dirt wasn't exactly a smart idea either. I was open for whatever he planned, my back exposed to the sky and my eyes hidden face down. Vulnerable. No, not good.
"How can you run like that?" he asked on a sigh. It was a question I didn't expect and I made an incredulous face into the ground. What the hell type of question was that?
"Huh?" my voice was muffled but he heard it easily. I heard his footfalls move a few paces away from me, which was a good thing. Right?
"Get up!" He snapped testily. I contemplated being stubborn for a second before deciding to be compromising this one time. He hadn't attacked me so far.
Pushing up onto my hands, I eased gingerly into a cross legged sitting position, my eyes warily watching his still form.
"How can you run like that?" he asked the question again, his dark eyes mystified by something I didn't understand.
"Run like what? Like my life is in danger?" the quip couldn't be helped.
His dark brows angled downward for a second, "You ran like a lycan in human form. You weaved through the trees as if you were a beast of these woods. You gave me a difficult time keeping up with you, much less gaining on you." I finally noticed as he spoke how heavily he was breathing, almost as if he did have trouble keeping up.
I listened to the list of what I did with a disbelieving look. I had run through the woods like a human girl with a monster casing after her. Life by flight.
"It's amazing what a measly human can do in the face of danger." I dismissed his list with a quick shrug before I finally rose and dusted my horribly dirty clothing off as if I had only the smallest of dirt particles on it. Never mind, that my ordinary clothing looked like some horrible mud monster suite made up for Halloween. I needed something to do. Acting nonchalant was a good thing.
Christian's dark eyes watched me broodingly. I wondered what was going on inside that twisted mind of his. Was he contemplating how he would kill me? Probably. That seemed to be how his mind operated.
Finally, he shook his dark head almost as if in bafflement at me. "You shouldn't be able to stop my attacks but you did...twice. You also managed to put allot of distance between us and the fight in that clearing." His eyes narrowed at me almost as if I was something he didn't quiet understand or trust. I was almost offended. "You shouldn't be able to do any of that. You're human."
His comments reminded me of Maddie's words two days ago. "Maybe I'm not as human as you all think." I joked. I knew I was human. I never changed into a furry wolf nor had superhuman strength. I did possess excellent hearing and a tendency to live when evil plots for my destruction appear but that was it. Normal was my middle name. Well, actually not but you understand where I'm going with this? Right? Jolie Alexandra Mire was human.
I watched quietly as Christian cocked his head sidewise. I tried not to squirm as he pinned me with a hard stare and I tried not to freak out when I noticed his nostrils flaring wildly every few seconds. It looked as if he was sniffing the air the way a k9 would. Why?
"You smell human." He stated ponderingly after a few seconds of the nostrils flaring. I gave him a deadpanned look. Really, he was sniffing the air to put to rest the question of if I was human. Freaky.
"Why would it matter if I was human or not? You are trying to kill me, remember?" Briefly I closed my eyes at the idiotic thing I had just said. Really, why remind the fiend that he was trying to kill me?
With surprise written all over his handsome face, Christian grinned for a second. I felt a bang of remorse for the grin had reminded me of his crazy old self before he was trying to bury me six feet under. How easily I was fooled by this lycan.
"Well, that's true." Those chocolate eyes twinkled for a second before dimming into a blank focus, "I guess it really doesn't matter what you are. Cara is dead and it's only just that you follow that course."
Frankly, I didn't necessarily agree with that statement. How just would it be for me to be dead? "How about we just buy her a really nice tombstone?" I asked placidly. It sounded like a good idea to me.
Christian's body froze and his face morphed into disbelief at me. He sputtered aloud for a second most likely trying to form a response to my suggestion. "Are you crazy?" He asked after finally putting the words together.
"You're asking ME if I'm Crazy? Seriously?" Surely, he noticed who was trying to kill whom here?
He looked confused and surprised by my retort. He was befuddled by my question; I realized that Christian truly didn't realize how many screws were loose. He though he was normal. Didn't he hear the rattling of his brain up there in his head? I realized in growing horror that Christian found none of his deeds wrong. More like justification in his eyes.
"Oh Shit." I state in dawning understanding. Christian viewed Nico as the bad guy and me too by association. In understanding and cold acceptance I watch as Christian's lips sneered in my direction. For once, I wasn't surprised at his lightning quick change of mood.
"Time to finish this." his voice was a deep chesty rumble and I watched in bone numbing fear as dark brown hair began to sprout all over Christian's exposed skin. He looked like a brown chia pet for a second before finally his bones began to snap and reshape right before my eyes. I was watching him morph into a lycan. The sounds were horrible and for a second I though I might toss up the contents of my stomach right there. How did he stand the pain? How did any of them?
Seconds later, a dark brown wolf with a snarling muzzle stood across from me. Rumbling growls rolled out from between lengthened canines and those dark brown eyes threatened death like never before.
Swallowing, I realized I was in deep shit. Then he pounced.
My mind was still echoing with screams seconds later though thankfully my voice had long ago broke off into silence. All was quiet now.
Staring in shock disbelief, I stared down at the blooded body of Christian. Oh, god. My stomach threatened to erupt from my mouth as I looked into lifeless brown eyes.
I swung my gaze then to the sharpened branch that was now speckled with red. It was also protruding out of the brown fur of Christian. Swallowing, I tried not to think about hurling even as I loosened my hold on the piece of wood. It dropped to the ground with a slight thudding sound, carrying the wolf's body with it. It had been very heavy.
I blinked for a few moments, mentally playing back what had happened and what I had just done.
I had killed him. I killed Christian.
He had launched himself at me like a missile and in my frightened state I had scrambled backwards and fell.
It had been my luck that my hand happened to latch onto a thick fallen branch. It had been even better luck that the branch had a sharpened point.
When I had swung the limb forward it had been with the intent to knock the wolf away. Truly, that had been my intention.
It hadn't happened that way, though. Instead, I had swung a second to early and Christian had flown strait onto the sharpened point of the limp. He had impaled himself. I had watched in disbelief as the pointed end ended up sliding through the wolfs body and out the back until I could see the red edge pointed at the sky.
Shaking, I drew my hands through my matted hair even as my mind remembered the look of disbelief in those brown eyes. He, like me, had been shocked with the outcome of our scramble.
I was a murderer. Tears pricked my eyes and it wasn't long before great sobs racked my frame. Surprisingly, I wasn't crying because I killed him. It would have been me lying there dead if not for the heavy tree limb. No, I was crying because I had let him into my heart as a friend and he had betrayed me. Stupid, stupid me.
I finally leaned over a wretched into a bush.
"Alexandra." Nico's voice was as soft as butter as he, Maddie, and Stump appeared silently before me. I was too exhausted to respond though I did glance over each and everyone of them. They looked a bit bruised and battered for the worse part but otherwise fine. Inside, I was glad they were alive. I had worried for all of there safety.
"Alexandra." Nico called again as he drew closer, his face strained with worry I think.
"Yes?" I asked in a thick voice as I looked up from the ground on which I was laying. It took every morsel of energy to do even that. God, I was tired, mentally and physicaly.
I had been laying there ever since I upchucked my cookies. I was exhausted. Did killing a person do that to you?
I watched Nico's silvery eyes above me, now they were so very light and clear, sweep over my mud and blood spattered body. Was he looking for injuries? If so, he needn't worry for I only had minor ones if you didn't count the broken arm which oddly enough hadn't hurt in a very long time. Maybe I hadn't even broken it? Who knew, the car crash seemed like decades ago to me.
"Are you okay?" he asked as he crouched down closer to my prone form. He rubbed rough fingers over my check in the softest of caresses.
Still silent, I let my eyes roam over his face. I could see the nasty claw marks that graced his beautiful cheek.
"Are you okay" he asked once more with the patience of Job. With my eyes stinging yet again with tears, pitifully I sniffled. I couldn't help myself, the softness of his fingers on my face combined with the sweet understanding voice of an angels was my undoing. I once more began to cry though this time it wasn't the harsh sobs I had let loose earlier. These were just silent tears. Perhaps I was drained of sadness.
"Alex?" Maddie's soft voice carried over to my ears, "are you okay?" she repeated the questions, Nico had asked twice already.
They obviously expected an answer but what could I say? I had a few bumbs and bruises but I was horrible hurt deep inside. Killing someone did that you, I guess.
"No." I whispered truthfully before turning my face to the stiffening body of Christian, the sharpened stick still sticking through him though the blood had now clouted to a dark violet. It was an image that I was sure would forever haunt me.
I guess Nico must not have seen Christian's body yet because I heard his intake of breath followed by his voice saying "Good God."
Twistedly, I wondered how he viewed my handy work. Was he scared?
"Is he dead?" I heard Maddie's voice tentatively ask from behind Nico. Her breath coming and going a bit faster.
"Yes." Nico answered briefly, before returning his attention to me. I refused to meet his gaze even as he gingerly slid his arms beneath me before rising with my body cradled against his chest. I felt safe.
"I wonder how she managed that." I heart Stump whisper in awe before asking if I was hurt.
"I can't tell. She's covered in too much blood." The beautiful voice was laced with grief and thus sounded abrupt though still his hands were gentle around me. A few seconds later he turned us from the horrible image of Christian's carcass and started walking. I was guessing he was heading to either his home or mine. I didn't exactly care which at the moment just as long as it was away.
"She's in shock, isn't she?" This came from Maddie, as she hurried to match Nico's pace. I saw her dark eyes flick towards me as she snuck a quick peek. I also noticed her face was horribly pale and she too sported a deep claw mark on her face. Would Nico and Maddie scar?
I gave her a trembling smile just because I could see the worry lines setting in her face. That was the last thing I remember as a few seconds later, my mind was dragged under to the safe embrace of slumber.
Well thats chapter 16! Woohoo! One more Chapter and Sanity in Question will be finished. Yay. Afterwards, I will be doing some editing and I am contemplating a continuation of these characters.
I haven't decided yet, as I have many, many ideas.
Either way, please read and review. Let me know what you think and again sorry for the delay.