The room was painted a dark red colour. Thick, velvety dark red curtains covered the windows so no light got in. The only light in the room came from the many candles that were burning. I took a step towards a window that was closest to me and raised my hand to touch the curtain. Their texture hadn't changed since the last time I was here. Something shiny on my wrist caught my eye and I focused on it. It was a thin diamond bracelet. I looked down at myself. I was wearing a long black dress with lace overlay. The dress had a sweetheart neckline but the lace went to the bottom of my neck and covered my arms and it was backless.
I shook my head at the outfit and tried to pull back the curtains to let in the light. But they were stuck, almost like someone had nailed them shut. I wanted to get out of here before he showed up. I was powerless against him. He could hold me hostage and I wouldn't utter a single word. I yanked at the curtains and I thought I'd almost gotten away when I heard footsteps behind me. My hand froze on the curtain because escaping wasn't an option anymore. I couldn't leave him.
Then he was behind me and I could feel his breath on my neck. I felt his fingers touch my bare back lightly and I shivered. My heart was beating loudly inside my chest. He ran his fingers up my back leaving a trail of fire. My breathing was becoming loud and had I any conscious thought I would have been extremely embarrassed. But I wasn't aware of anything other than his hand on my bare back.
I felt him lean forward and place his lips by my ear.
"You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen," he whispered and then he placed a searing kiss on my neck. I fell back against his hard chest. I felt his arm snake around my waist and he spun me around to face him.
I stared up at his beautiful face, all thoughts leaving my mind. He was made from darkness and shadows; beautiful, mysterious and deadly all at the same time. I knew I should have been running away but I was mesmerized by his beauty. I raised a hand and ran a finger along his strong jaw and over his soft lips. His thick, long dark lashes covered his storm grey eyes.
"You've been avoiding me," he said. He placed a hand on my cheek and I leaned towards it, nuzzling into his hand, wanting to be closer, demanding to be closer. I'd missed his touch.
"You've left me with no choice," I replied. I looked into his eyes and saw hurt and something else; determination. He leaned towards me and I waited for our lips to connect. His lips brushed against mine in a feather soft touch.
"Wait," I said. His gaze lifted from my lips to my eyes. His eyes had darkened with lust.
"Why did you bring me here?" I asked, almost forcing the words out. I really didn't want to be doing anything but kissing him. But I needed to know. I couldn't go on like this. I hadn't slept in a month and though my body was asleep right now, I wasn't getting any rest because my mind was still awake. Every time I tried to fall asleep, he was there, rising out of mist like he was a part of it; coming out of the shadows like he belonged there.
"I didn't. You summoned me here," he said. I pulled away from him and stepped back. I needed to think and I couldn't do that when he was touching me.
"What? How can I summon you when I don't even want to be here?" I asked. He walked towards me, dark eyes watching me intently. That look in his eyes puts my whole body fire and I become aware of desires I never even knew I had. He looked at me like I was the most important thing to him. The world could fall to ruins and he wouldn't care as long as I was here with him. Now he was standing in front of me and he leaned down to whisper in my ear.
"You have always been the one to summon me. Nobody but you has power over me."
Then he kissed the sensitive spot under my ear and I was gone. I was tired of fighting so I was giving in to him. He grabbed both my hands in his and we were moving backwards, until I was pressed between him and a wall. I titled my head so he could have better access to my neck. I'd gone a month without his touch and now I was desperate to get closer to him; to fuse my body with his.
He kissed up my neck to my jaw, leaving a trail of fire. Then finally, his lips connected with mine. He let go of one of my hands to wrap it around the back of my neck, bringing me closer to him. His kiss told me that I wasn't the only one desperate to be closer. My whole body spiked with desire, hungry for his touch. I raised my hand to his shirt and undid the top buttons which gave way to skin. I slipped my hand inside, running my hand over his smooth skin, causing us both to moan into the kiss.
We fell to the floor, me on top of him, my dress lifting up and pooling around us. He laid a hand on my bare thigh, burning me with his touch and turned us over so he was on top of me. I pulled off his shirt and his smooth skin burned copper and gold in the light coming from the candles. He was beautiful. Was it any wonder he only existed in my dreams? I could see the markings of a complex tattoo running from shoulder to shoulder and over his biceps.
His strong hands pulled at my dress and it gave away like water. And we were lost in each other. Drowning in each other; together.
I gasped and my eyes shot open. The first thing that occurred to me was, where was I. Then I became aware of an ache in my body and jaw. I looked around realizing I was in my room and that I wasn't alone.
"Oh, Sienna, thank god you're awake."
The mattress shifted as my mother climbed on the bed beside me and I winced in pain. I tried to sit up but the pain and the weakness caused by it wouldn't allow me to move. I found myself wondering how I had ended up at home. Where was Aria? What time was it? I didn't get a chance to ask any of my questions because Mom was pushing back my hair and looking down at me with worry in her clear blue eyes.
"We were so worried when Jocelyn called. Aria brought you home when you fainted in the car. Baby, what were you thinking going into an abandoned haunted house?" Mom asked. I rolled my eyes and struggled to sit up; the effort let me out of breath.
"I didn't know it was haunted and I didn't faint. Can I get some painkillers here? I think I am dying," I said. I looked around the room to see who else was there and it was Aunt Jo. She was sitting on the window seat, looking at me with the same worried expression my mother wore. I could also see the hurt in her eyes. I opened my mouth and then closed it again. Well, it's not like I went into the house to hurt her. I would never do that. I loved my aunt.
"I'll go get it," Aunt Jo said. She walked out of the room, closing the door behind her brusquely. I stared at the closed door a long time before I turned to look at Mom.
"What do you mean you didn't faint?" Mom asked.
"Exactly what it sounds like," I said. I laid my head back against the headboard. I tried to remember something from my time with him but already the remnants of the red room were slipping away. I couldn't remember what he looked like or the feel of his touch. That's the part that had me running away from him. He was just a really real dream that I couldn't remember when I was awake. It scared me that the feelings I had for him were so real but he wasn't.
"What do you mean? Sienna, I am your mother, I worry about you. Jocelyn told me you haven't slept in a month and you won't talk about it. Tell me what's wrong," Mom said intently. I opened my eyes and looked at her. Her red hair was a little longer than shoulder length and right now it was pushed back behind her ear. Her blue eyes looked into mine attentively, waiting for an answer, telling me that she will love me no matter, making me feel like a child. Suddenly, tears sprang to my eyes.
"I can't sleep. Every time I close my eyes, he's there waiting for me and I can't get away from him. I want him as much as he wants me. When he touches me it's like I haven't been touched in ages and I want more. I feel like I am drowning or flying, it's so confusing. But I can't let him go," I whispered, like it was a terrible secret.
"Who is he?" Mom asked.
"I don't know. As soon as I wake up it all just slips away. I have no control over it. But the strange thing is he says I summon him, like I have control over that," I said. I didn't remember him but I remembered some of the conversation, though I couldn't remember what his voice sounded like.
"Honey, you are much more powerful than you imagine. Maybe you do…summon him," Mom said hesitantly.
"Don't you think if I did, I would know who he is? I don't know anything about him except that I need him so much that I'd rather die than not be with him. That scares me so much that I can't go to sleep. Not that it helps much because even when I am asleep, I am awake in my dream and my brain doesn't get much rest," I said in a rush. Now that I was finally saying all of this out loud, I didn't want to stop. I wanted it all to end and go away and at the same time I wanted nothing more than to close my eyes and go back to him. Mom was looking at me with wide eyes. Well, it's like I said I had no control over it. I knew I shouldn't have said anything. She was probably thinking some strange mysterious guy was manipulating my dreams.
She didn't get a chance to say anything though because the door opened and Aunt Jo walked in with a glass of water and a bottle of painkillers. She walked around the bed and handed me the painkillers, waiting while I took one out and popped it into my mouth. I took the glass from her and drank it all in, realizing at that moment how thirsty I was.
"Thank you," I said, placing the glass on the side table. She gave me a small smile and then looked over at Mom.
"Melissa wants to know if she can go home," Aunt Jo said.
"Melissa's here?" I asked. Melissa was over my older sister and like many sisters we used to be close until we drifted apart. I wasn't sure if it was sibling rivalry or something else, but we haven't moved past it.
"Yes, she was out doing some wedding business when she was attacked," Mom said. That was another reason Melissa and I didn't get along. She'd had many boyfriends while we were growing up and while I'd liked some, I wasn't fond of her fiancé. In fact, I hated him. He gave me the creeps. Even Melissa didn't know what he was all about and yet she was still marrying him.
"Attacked by whom? Or should I say what?" I asked in alarm.
"We don't know yet but we're looking for it. Well, at least Aria is looking for it, Melissa is busy texting," Aunt Jo said.
"You guys are making my best friend do your dirty work?" I asked. The pain was slowly going away and I swung my legs around the edge of the bed and stood up. It was hot in the room so I took of my cardigan and shuffled out of the room. I winced as I climbed down the stairs, taking one step at a time, moving at the pace of a snail. Going into the abandoned house had been a big mistake.
I found Aria in the living room, surrounded by books. She was sitting on the couch, with her feet propped up on the table and a book in front of her face. Of course she would be enjoying this. Aria loved all kinds of history, especially if it had anything to do with us being witches. She looked up when I stumbled into the room and sat down in one of the plush chairs.
"How are you feeling?" Aria asked, her brown eyes looking me up and down.
"Peachy," I said, like she even needed to ask. She nodded in that way that said she knew I wasn't peachy but she wasn't going to question it. She went back to her book for a moment but then looked at me from over the top.
"So what was it? The lover you can't remember or the end of the world?" She asked in a whisper. I smiled despite myself.
"The lover I can't remember," I said. Although I wouldn't call him my lover; he was my captor. I didn't have any choice when it came to him. He possessed me.
"You really don't know what it's like?" Aria asked, leaning closer. She put the book down and looked at me with wide brown eyes. This wasn't concern, this was girl-talk.
"I have no freaking idea. I lose all of it between that few seconds of waking up and actually being awake. And after it's gone I can't remember it no matter how hard I try. It just gives me a headache. It's like there's a block in my mind where I know the dream should be," I said. Aria pouted and twisted her mouth. Then she moved around books, opening and flipping through a few books. She didn't look up and I knew I had lost her. I was getting hungry so I got up painfully and used the door in the living room to walk into the conservatory, which was connected with the dining room and the doorway that let into the kitchen.
But I didn't make it all the way there because I ran into my sister, who was lying down on the sofa in the conservatory, talking on the phone. She hung up right as I walked in and looked up. Even though we were sisters, we didn't look alike; not even a little. There was no resemblance whatsoever. It was like we came from different parents. Her hair was brown and mine was black. She had pretty, clear blue eyes like our mother and I had the witch eyes. She was confident and beautiful and I was…well, me. I was different, naturally and unnaturally. Let's just say that if a guy had to pick between me and her, it would be an easy choice.
"Hey, you okay?" Melissa asked.
"Yeah, of course. You?" I said.
"I couldn't be better. I don't know why Mom and Aunt Jo are freaking out and they called Dad as well. Well, I think that might have been partly because you weren't waking up," Melissa said with a shrug. Then her phone buzzed and she turned her attention back to it. I guess that meant that the conversation was over.
I made my way to the kitchen and looked around, looking for something to eat. In the end, I settled for an apple. I picked it up from the bowl in the middle of the breakfast table and walked over to the sink to wash it. I turned on the tap and put my hand under it, letting the warm water run over the apple. As I was doing that, I felt like I was being watched and I looked up. The kitchen window looked out towards the backyard, beyond which were woods.
Something moved amongst the trees. I stared intently at the trees, watching the way they moved. I thought I saw a dark shadow amongst them. Involuntarily, I leaned towards the window. It was almost like something was pulling me out of the house. For a moment, I let my eyes un-focus, like I was trying to find the image in a 3D picture and I saw two eyes staring back at me.
I jumped back at the sound of my name and in the process, dropped my apple which rolled away. Aunt Jo was beside me and she turned off the tap. I looked out the window again but all I saw were trees. There were no shadows among them and no eyes watching me.
"Sienna, what's wrong?" Aunt Jo asked, looking out the window.
"I thought…I swear there was someone out there watching me," I whispered. Aunt Jo laid a hand on my arm protectively and I jumped.
"Sienna, there's no one out there. There's a protection spell on the house. Nothing evil is getting in here," Aunt Jo said. I nodded. I knew there was a protection spell on the house, but that didn't make me feel any safer. I knew what I saw. There was someone out there. Aunt Jo closed the window and locked it. I looked outside again and Aunt Jo noticed.
"Sweetie, trust me, there's nothing out there. You're probably just paranoid because you were attacked in that abandoned house. We're not going to let anything happen to you," Aunt Jo said. I nodded.
"I know," I said. I gave her a shaky smile. I didn't like being paranoid. I liked being in control of my emotions because they always screwed things up. My dreams were already crazy because of my emotions; I didn't want the same thing happening here.
"I'll make you something to eat," she said. I grabbed her arm just before she turned. She looked at me.
"You're the best aunt ever, and I love you. I know I don't say it often because it's icky, but it's true," I said. Aunt Jo smiled.
"I love you too, you're a great niece," she said.
"That I am," I said. Aunt Jo laughed and I let go of her. She moved to the fridge and took out a package of cheese slices. Oh, looked like I was having grilled cheese. I pulled out the carton of chocolate milk and grabbed a glass. Aunt Jo grabbed the bread and moved behind the counter to the stove while I pulled out a breakfast stool and sat down.
"So where's Mom?" I asked, taking a sip of my milk.
"She's calling your grandmother," Aunt Jo said. I choked on my milk.
"She's what?" I asked. My mother and aunt didn't really get along with their mother. Grandma was all, follow the rules but don't be afraid to break them. Mom and Aunt Jo were all, don't listen to your grandmother. Of course the real reason was that grandma was really strict and stubborn and doesn't really listen to anyone else. I think that's the reason she's the head of the Witches Council.
"Sienna, your mother and I got really scared when you wouldn't wake up from your dream. You were asleep for three hours and we tried so hard to wake you up but it didn't even make the slightest of difference. Not to mention that Melissa was attacked," Aunt Jo said.
"So?" I asked. Aunt Jo raised her eyebrows at me in an 'are you really going to ask that question?' way. I pushed a stray piece of hair behind my ear and took a sip of my milk. This is why I didn't want them to know about the dreams, if that's what they were. I knew they were going to overreact and make a big deal out of it. It wasn't a big deal. I was happy not knowing his identity. As for the rest of it, I was getting along fine with no sleep. Even if they did somehow get rid of those dreams, there were still the end-of-the-world nightmares. They weren't going anywhere. As for Melissa, she seemed perfectly fine.
"Does she even know where Grandma is?" I asked. Aunt Jo turned away from the stove to open a cabinet and take a plate out.
"We are assuming she's at a Council meeting. At least, that's where Mother said she will be," Aunt Jo said. She flipped the sandwich and then looked up at me.
"How come she's always at a council meeting? What's the point behind a council anyway?" I asked. I wanted to know about where I came from and what was happening in the world I belonged to, just at my own pace. I didn't want it forced on it because I had to know it.
Aunt Jo gave a low chuckle.
"Sweetie, the Witches Council isn't the only council. There are vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters that also belong in our world and they all of have councils. The meetings are a way for everyone to live together in harmony, which some consider an impossible feat. It's like having a business meeting. The heads of each council decide whether they agree with one another or if they're going to fight. I mean, vampires and witches haven't gotten along for ages," Aunt Jo said. I was nodding as she was talking like I understood any of it. Politics wasn't my strongest suit. Aunt Jo put my sandwich on the plate and sliced it in half. She slid the plate across the counter to me and I picked up a slice.
"Why haven't witches and vampires gotten along?" I asked.
"The usual. Vampires believe that the human race should be eliminated except for a few who will be used as blood bags and witches disagree with that. It's only recently that the vampire and witch council have even started communicating again and that's only because someone's out there hunting vampires. When I was your age, vampires fed on witches openly. There were no rules," Aunt Jo said. She was leaning back against the counter, her arms crossed in front of her. I took a sip of my milk, thinking over her words. So in a way, the councils were there to keep everyone—human and otherwise—safe. I looked at Aunt Jo and she was watching me carefully, like she was expecting me to ask her something she couldn't answer. Well, if she was asking. I looked down at my sandwich and took a bite.
"So if there are all these councils, where does the Dark Kingdom fit in?" I asked slowly, looking up at her through my lashes. Aunt Jo stood up straight, her eyes wide with…what, fear? No, not fear; something else. Something that told me I shouldn't even know about the existence of the Dark Kingdom and the fact that I did meant something. Aunt Jo opened her mouth at the same time Aria walked into the kitchen.
"I found it."
AN: So, as promised, here's the next chapter. Let me know how the story is going and how you guys like it. Reviewers get cookies.