Point of No Return
Story by annajade
Esmé Winters was in the binge of revenge; her dearest mother and brother were murdered by a vampire the night she turned six leaving her in the care of her father-figure friend, Joe, and his nine year old son, Julian. Her hate that bred of the creatures was unshakable, until one persistent male vampire decided that she would be much more thrilling as his mistress. Little do they know that her hate and his cynicism will be their downfall, and their strength in the battle to come.
The sun was at its highest peek in the sky, the heat of the day was in the soft wind that stirred throughout the trees and the humidity, that made the wind a respite from the heat, was hanging to every tendril of oxygen. The asphalt exuded strings of steam but it's call to a traveling car wasn't waned by the high temperature. A red Jeep made its way through the remote road, that swerved like a graceful snake's movements.
"Mommy, are we there yet?" Esmé asked, her small voice carrying the tint of impatience.
"We're almost there, sweetie," Maren chuckled as she glanced through the rearview mirror to view her young daughter, her hazel eyes lighting up with excitement.
Esmé puffed out an edgy breath and folded her arms over the arm rest, staring at the passing trees. She didn't know where they were going, especially on her birthday. Usually they stayed at their house while Joe brought in a fruit tart, her sister and brother grinning at her and constantly hugging her with proud smiles, while Julian, her best friend, knuckled her head which earned him a fist to his stomach. Maren chuckled again at the disgruntled murmurs of Esmé, then turned to smooth down the wrinkles of her favorite robin's-egg blue shirt and the blue knit sweater that Joe had given her for Christmas. She bit back the giggles that tickled her throat at the thought of Joe, he sure was a good-looking man, and he had helped her through the tough times of her separation and with her daughters and son, as well. Before her thoughts would turn sour at the thought of her now ex-husband, Maren glanced again at Esmé, her ruby-red lips grinning again which made her fair skin glow with a golden tone that coordinated well with the freckles that dotted across the bridge of her nose. Esmé pushed the button to make the window go down, making the wind stir her bangs and long, red ponytail and her mother's auburn tendrils. She leaned her head out, grinning as the wind struck her face gently and the smell of jasmine clung heavily to the thick air, as she daydreamed of being on the back of one of Joe's horses riding across the green fields at the outskirts of town. She felt the car slowing down and frowned confusedly at her mother.
"Why did we stop, mommy," she stated, her brown eyebrows comically scrunched together. "We're in the middle of nowhere!"
Maren laughed, "We're not in the middle of nowhere, silly thing. We're just on the road that we don't regularly go to because it takes twice as long to get to, besides we're near the old mill. You remember I told you about it?" she asked and waited until Esmé nodded to grin again. "Now, close your eyes and no peeking. Or else…"
Esmé blinked, "But--"
Maren extended her arms to tickle the sides of Esmé's sides. "Tickle, tickle! Hope you tinkle!" she giggled as her daughter squirmed to try to get away from the delightful torture.
"Okay! Okay!" Esmé breathed, shrieking when it got to the point where she was uncontrollably laughing. "I close my eyes!"
"Good." Maren turned back to the steering wheel, narrowing her eyes in mock warning until her daughter giggled and covered her eyes with both small hands to start the car again towards their destination. She shivered when they passed the old mill, feeling it somewhat scary and haunted, or maybe that was just her crazy imaginations and superstitions.
As time continued to tick away, Esmé started to get impatient again, squirming in her seat and wishing to open her eyes again so at least she can stare out of the window again and dream about horses and riding. She swung side to side in her seat as she hummed loudly the lullaby her mother always sang to her at night to make her go to sleep.
"We're here, honey," Maren said, parking the car and shutting it down as she clicked the button of her seatbelt. "Don't open your eyes yet."
Esmé waited until her mother went around the car to open the door to unbuckle her seatbelt and swing her down to the ground. She asked if she could open her eyes now, wondering where they were and why all the secrecy.
"Not yet," her mother said to her, a note of amusement ringing in her expressive voice. "Just hang in there, Esmé." Laughing, she swung Esmé over her shoulder and started walking towards the two posts that held a wooden sign.
In smiling silence, Esmé listened to the sounds around her, the darkness that cloaked her eyes bringing a heightened awareness to her other senses: the gravel and dirt under her mother's shoes crunched with every swing and step, horses neighing and whinnying in the distance, and the air coming in and out of her lungs and her mothers. As well as a lot of shushing. Recognizing the smell of the air, she wiggled excitedly on her mother's shoulder and giggled. Maren laughed quietly, knowing that her daughter had already figured where she was, she gently placed her on her feet and bent over her ear.
"Okay, open your eyes now," Maren whispered with a chuckle.
"Happy sixth Birthday, Esmé!" A chorus of voiced suddenly shouted as Esmé opened her eyes.
She laughed and turned around to hug her mother's legs. Looking around she spotted her friends from her first grade class and teacher, her family, and people from the small town. They were standing in the grass under a large maple tree, whose aboveground twisted roots made a perfect playground, in front of a white manor; banners and streamers were hung on the lowest branches, presents were set atop of a table, and food spread throughout the couple of tables that were aligned under the tree. Her sister, Delilah, grinningly ran towards her to give her a smooch on the cheek, her spotless white dress swaying with her movements, laughing when her young sister wiped it away grudgingly with her forearm. Nathan, their brother, laughed as he strode over to his family, abandoning the soccer game he was playing with his friends, and hugged his sister to his chest, swinging her atop of his shoulders, they made their way towards the celebrating group.
"Happy Birthday, Es," Joe, his green eyes shining happily at her, said as Nathan stopped by his side. Esmé threw her hands over his neck and moved from her brother's shoulder to Joe's arms. "Whoa, there, Es. You're getting heavier!" he laughed as he set her down and grabbed her hand. Julian punched her shoulder and kissed her cheek, which started a wrestling match between the two.
Once all had eaten their share of food and the sun was ambling towards the horizon, accenting the density of the woods, it came the time to open the presents. Esmé was happy for the gifts she was given, saying that she rather liked the company than the presents. The last of the gifts highlighted the ending of the party, making some of the guests say a happy birthday and a goodbye to her, with children yawning and grinning tiredly. Esmé sat on the ground going over her presents, lingering on the gifts that her family had given her. The pendant that her brother had made Esmé, was around her neck, and a leather bound journal that Maren had given was settled by her side.
"Lastly," Joe suddenly boomed as the final prettily wrapped present was opened, striding towards her leading a black colt that had a red bow on his mane, "your last present."
Esmé gasped as she came to her feet, glancing at her mother to see if it was okay, she moved towards the colt and Joe once her mother had grinningly nodded her head. Her small hands smoothed the nose and forehead of the young colt, giggling when he snorted in approval. She moved to the side and lay her cheek against his neck, kissing the smooth hair under her cheek.
"Daemon," she whispered into his ear, laughing when he nodded his head, jingling his harness, and stamping his hoof on the ground. Esmé was enthralled with her new pony, as she let Joe know when she smothered him with hugs and kisses which he laughingly accepted.
That night, Maren let Delilah and Esmé stay at Joe's house, under the charade of being stern, but was swayed once Julian, Nathan and Joe were begging her. She kissed her daughter's a well night, hugged Julian and awkwardly kissed a blushing Joe on the cheek. Nathan doing the same but opting instead to knuckle Julian's head and shaking the still-blushing Joe.
Esmé's night started like any other, her dreams lingering on the coming lessons with her new pony, and the sound of the wind running through her red hair. It was nearing past three in the morning when she was shaken awake. As she rubbed her eyes with knuckled fists, she looked up at Joe, staring when she saw that tears were welling in his eyes. Esmé frowned worriedly, the tears that he shed were something she had never seen him do, she tried convincing herself that she would wake up any moment from this bad dream. Looking at anything other than at Joe's face, Esmé saw Delilah standing by the door to the bedroom, her hands clutching at a tear-stained pillow trying to muffle the sounds of her sobs. Julian crept slowly towards Joe's side, his mossy gray eyes large and glittering with tears as he grabbed Esmé's hand and held it tightly.
"Esmé, I want you to listen closely," Joe said with a thickened voice, his throat working with the amount of emotion, "Your mother and Nathan were…um, discovered at your house and I think it best if you stay here with me now."
Esmé shook her head, her thoughts in a jumble. "But wouldn't mommy and Nate be sad?" she said quietly, her gaze locked on Joe.
"I don't think so, baby," he swallowed as he sniffled and rubbed his eyes. "You see…they're not breathing anymore. They are now stars in the sky."
It was as if life was slowly coming out of place, the happiness that had lingered quietly inside her dreams disappeared into the mists. Julian's hand tightened against hers. Esmé's lungs suddenly hurt so much and she wanted it to go away. Her mouth worked, opening and closing like a fish out of water. She was shaking her head and suddenly ripped her hands from Julian's and Joe's, clapping them over her ears.
"La, la, la!" she screamed as she sobbed, ignoring the tugs on her arms. "La, la, la, la! No! La, la--no. No, no!"
Esmé awoke with a gasp, her eyes blinking away the sleep, as she raised herself slowly from her side; gradually unlatching her clawed fingers from the pillow that she was strangling. A soft sound interrupted her attempt for calm, turning to look at the pillow that had made the sound, Esmé noticed a circular wet drop. Gently, she touched her face, cursing when she was met with wet, heavy tears, angrily wiping them away, hissing when the salty drops entered a cut on her palm. Looking down at her hands, she saw small crescent-shaped scratches on the delicate skin of her palms.
"Shit," she grumbled under her breath. Throwing over her legs so that it dangled over the side of her large bed, she carefully slid away from the bed hoping she didn't get blood on the linen that she had barely washed just the day before. Esmé rubbed her forearm over her forehead, wiping away the sweat that had beaded there with the top of her palm. She sighed, throwing her hair out of the way, as she made the familiar trek towards her bathroom that was conveniently placed just feet from her bed.
With the tips of her fingers, she turned the facet on and feeling for warm water. Hissing, she bit her lip as the water, although lightly, swept over her palms, calling herself all kinds of stupid for continuing dreams. She just wanted to stop feeling vulnerable and sad, to forget the past which played a huge part of her profession now. Cupping her hands together after the wounds stopped pummeling her with strings of pain, she splashed her face with the warmth, wetting her black pajama tank and boxer shorts in the process. Once she had wiped the excess water from her face and hands, she went over to a cabinet that held all the emergency aide, Esmé sighed again as she grabbed the hydrogen peroxide, cotton balls and gauze.
"When do I ever learn," she muttered to herself through gritted teeth as she dabbed the peroxide and wrapped her hands with the gauze after applying anti-bacterial gel. Putting the aide back, moved to turn off the light, halting when she was met by her reflection in the mirror. Esmé was met by puffy, reddened gray eyes, an oval face tear-stained and blotchy, a woman who's hair was disarrayed with a cow-lick starting at her temple. A gaunt, hollow cheeked, dark circles under the eyes woman who's former self was hidden under the pallid creature. "I look…dead," Esmé whispered as she looked down and turned of the light.
She padded silently towards her bed, hoping against hope that she will look better the next day so she could face the day like any other. Crawling into her comfortably large bed, Esmé pulled the sheets and comforter up to her chin. She moaned in delight, "Mmm, bliss."
Closing her eyes, she felt herself succumb to the weaving spell of the Sandman, but at the back of her mind, she could envision a swan-like neck, pale and cold. The beauty of that neck was marred by two openings the size of a pea, with twin ribbons of red dripping unto the floor. Dead.
Just to point out that this story was mine. I decided to remove it from Quizilla, where it was under my sister and my joined account named XxSandersonSisters06xX.
Just letting you know that to prevent any confusion.
Some of the names have changed, thinking it a little bit conceited if the heroine was named after me. Heh heh.
And it is re-written and re-edited.