November 10, 2012 8:00 PM
Rory stretched as he walked down the hall, strategically placing his arms to hide the fact he wasn't wearing his collar. Baine followed close behind him. Alice hadn't come back after seeing her visitor. The two of them had decided to go look for her.
"You really think she just went back to her room?" Baine asked skeptically. Rory just shrugged.
"It's a good place to start at the very least."
"Well, yeah, but if she went to her room instead of finding us first…do you think she's feeling okay?"
"I mean maybe something happened during the visit?"
They found themselves outside of Alice's room and Rory knocked on the door.
"Alice, you all right in there?" he asked. There was a pause followed by a soft thump and the sound of shuffling feet. Alice opened the door slightly, looking through the crack. Rory blinked in surprise. What little of her he could see was wrapped in the blanket from her bed, her face only visible through a small opening.
"Are you okay?" Rory asked while Baine tried to see around him. Alice just sort of stared back for a second before shutting the door again with a snap.
"Um…" Baine wasn't sure how to respond. "Is—is she okay?"
Rory knocked on the door again.
He gestured vaguely at Baine.
"Erm, stay—stay here for a second, I'll be right back…"
And with that, he opened the door and stepped inside, closing it behind him. Baine was left standing rather awkwardly in the hallway.
Rory entered the room to find Alice curled up on her bed, the blanket wrapped around her and hiding her face.
"Alice?" he repeated. "Did something happen? Who was the visitor?"
Alice didn't answer him, instead, burrowing deeper into her blanket. He sat down on the end of her bed.
"Alice, tell me," he placed his hand on her knee. "What happened?"
Her eyes were even brighter from under her blanket as she looked at him.
"It was my mom," she said finally.
"Oh, well, that's good isn't it? You haven't seen her in years."
"She wanted to tell me that I killed my brother during one of my blackouts."
"Oh," was all Rory could think to say. "I—I'm sorry…is that why you're hiding from us?"
She began to nod, but then shook her head instead.
"It's not the only reason…"
Rory pulled the blanket down from over her head and brushed some of her hair behind her ear.
"What happened?" he asked again. Alice looked away before answering.
"I saw Axel."
She wrapped her arms tighter around her knees. "He tried to kill me. It was like he was a completely different person…I know he wasn't real but…it felt…I could feel his hand around my throat and…and…"
Rory wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her into his chest. He fell backward and took her with him so that her head was over his heart. His legs dangled over the edge of the bed. The two of them lay like that, staring up at the ceiling in silence.
Suddenly Rory started laughing and Alice looked up at him, obviously confused. He could see her temper start to flare in her eyes.
"You think it's funny?" she growled. Rory shook his head.
"No, but I know there's something wrong with you now. Normally, you'd've thrown me across the room by now."
She seemed even more confused than before.
"Well, you are lying by me on the bed, in my arms, at night…"
Alice blushed profusely and pushed away from him, getting up off the bed. Rory sat up, a cocky grin on his face.
"See? You're fine. Now, come on. Baine's waiting so we can get out of here—"
"I'm not going…"
"Rory, what if my brother shows up again?"
"He wasn't real!"
She didn't seem to be listening.
"Or, if I black out and attack one of you? O-or, when I turn into a werewolf, I might kill somebody…"
"Alice you've killed people already! Besides, Baine and I will make sure—"
"Make sure what? What can you do? Baine's just human and I could easily take you down as a werewolf and—"
She turned to look at him again. Rory walked over to her and held her by the shoulders, making her look him in the eye.
"I know there are a lot of risks. I mean, I won't even be able to leave wherever we're staying. At least not during the day. I get not wanting to hurt anybody, but it's going to happen. We'll just do our best to make sure it doesn't."
Alice held his gaze, not saying anything.
"Okay?" he pressed. She closed her eyes and sighed.
Baine sat against the wall, picking at a spot on his pants, and waited for Rory to come back out with Alice. Or, at the very least, figure out what was wrong with her. Finally, the door opened and Baine scrambled to his feet.
"Are we ready?" he asked. Rory nodded.
"We need to grab a couple of people first."
Baine gave Rory a confused look.
Rory jabbed his thumb over his shoulder at Alice.
"Because Alice is paranoid."
"I'll explain later," said Rory. He put one hand on Alice's shoulder, the other on Baine's, and steered them down the hall.
"Rory, where are we going?" Alice asked. Rory seemed determined not to give a direct answer.
"Fine! Fine! Don't shout!" he said, letting go of their shoulders. Rory stepped away, turning to face them. "I know a few people that would be happy to go with us. Let me get them, and we can go."
Alice scowled and crossed her arms over her chest. "Was that so hard?"
Rory shrugged. "A little."
Before either of the other two could roll their eyes, Rory had disappeared into the room next to them.
"Rory?" Baine asked, reaching out to turn the knob. Alice's hand shot out to stop him.
"I think one of his 'friends' might be in there. Let's let him sort that out…"
Sure enough, five minutes later, Rory emerged followed by a girl with bleach-blonde hair and dark green eyes. She was a considerable amount shorter than Alice or Baine, but she still seemed to have an air of being better than everyone else.
"Melanie," Rory held out a hand, "this is Alice and Baine. They're going to be getting out with us—or, rather, you're getting out with us."
"Oh, are you that werewolf?" Melanie asked, looking condescendingly at Alice, who returned the look.
"Yep. And you are…?"
The two of them stared each other down for a few seconds before they looked up at Rory and said in synch,
"I don't like her."
Rory smiled, but it looked a little forced.
"You don't have to. You just have to get along for the time being. Now, come on," he started in the other direction, Baine following behind like a puppy, "I have somewhere else I need to be."
He jogged silently ahead of them again, knocking lightly on a door.
"You in there?" he asked quietly. The door opened and a girl with very long, orange hair poked her head out.
"Oh, hi Rory!" she said brightly.
"Hullo, Holly," said Rory vaguely, waving a hand. "Listen. We're getting out of here."
Holly's face lit up with a wide grin and she walked out of the room, revealing large bat wings folded behind her.
"Really?" she asked.
"Yep. And I need your help. You see, my friend, Alice is a werewolf, and she's paranoid that she's gonna kill someone."
"Rory—," Alice started, pinching the bridge of her nose.
Rory ignored her and continued. "Anyway, you in?"
"Of course!" Holly yipped. She dashed down the hallway, her long hair flowing behind her and Rory jabbed his thumb over his shoulder.
"Er, Holly…we're going that way…"
Without missing a beat, Holly turned on her heel and ran in the other direction. As they made their way back down the hallway, Alice noticed the numbers on the doors.
"Rory, do you really want to bring him?" she asked. "Do you think he'll come?"
Rory placed a hand on Alice's shoulder when they stopped. He gave her a reassuring smile.
"That's where you come in."
And with that, he pushed her into the room and pulled the door shut behind her.
"Dammit, Rory—!" Alice snapped, trying the door handle only to find it stuck.
"Who's there?" came a voice from behind her. Alice sighed and turned around.
An African-American boy with poorly-shaven, dark hair was crouched in the corner, looking up at her with terrified, yellow eyes. His hands were folded in front of him, clutching a rosary. Small horns poked through the patches of hair that covered his head and a thin, forked tail snaked out from the back of his pants. He could only have been fourteen years old.
"A-Alice, right?" he asked. Alice put on a fake, consoling smile and knelt down beside him.
"That's right," she said kindly. "Listen, Jude. I wanted to tell you that we're getting out of here. Escaping. We want you to come with us, okay?"
Jude sort of stared at her in disbelief for a second.
"L-leaving?" his voice shook with the question. "And—and y-you want me to c-come?"
Alice nodded. "Yeah. Do you want to?"
The look in Jude's eyes changed slowly into that of slight wonder.
"Y-you really want me to come w-with you?"
Alice was starting to think Jude may have a stutter.
"Yes. But if you're going to come, we need to leave now. Okay?"
Jude stood up and took Alice's outstretched hand.
The two of them rejoined the group waiting in the hall.
"Happy now?" Rory asked. Alice sort of grunted in response and started down the hallway.
"Let's get to that elevator, shall we?" she said over her shoulder. Ten minutes later, they were standing outside the old, roped off elevator. Alice was crouched down, pulling on various wires in the control panel while the others stood watch. All but Jude, at least. He was watching with wide, curious eyes as Alice pulled one wire out and replaced it with another. The hall was completely silent apart from the sound of Alice swearing lightly when the panel sparked every now and then.
"Okay, done," she said finally. "We should go in small groups—."
"I'm going first," Melanie cut her off, stepping into the elevator as soon as the doors were open. Alice, slightly annoyed at being interrupted, just moved out of the way. Holly and Jude joined Melanie in the elevator. The doors closed and dinged lightly to indicate that it was going down. It came back up and dinged again.
"Ready?" Baine asked. The other two nodded and they walked into the elevator. There were three buttons on the panel: up, down, and the emergency stop button. Rory jabbed at the down button and the rusty doors closed. Baine jumped when Alice and Rory grabbed the railing at the same time.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Do you hear that?" Rory asked.
Alice paused before answering, "Creaking…"
The sound grew louder and more apparent as the ride went on. Suddenly, everything went in slow motion. Baine heard a loud snap, followed by Alice's audible gasp, and saw she and Rory exchange a horrified look before Alice dived at Baine, wrapping her arms around his shoulders just before the elevator seemed to collapse around them.
Baine opened his eyes to see nothing but black and he wondered if he'd opened his eyes at all. Then something shifted and he realized that the black he was seeing was Alice's hair in his face. She raised herself up, her arms on either side of his head.
"You okay?" she asked. Baine nodded and crawled out from underneath her.
"You're bleeding," he said, reaching forward to wipe at her forehead. Her eyes widened and she froze. He had a feeling that if she'd had the wolf ears, they would've twitched backwards.
"Rory," she said, her eyes fixed on Baine. "Rory, stay where you are."
Baine looked over her shoulder to see Rory staring at the two of them.
"Why is he staring at us?" Baine asked. He was suddenly aware of something wet, warm and sticky around his ear. "Alice, how hard did I hit my head?"
"You didn't, it's my blood," she said, slowly turning to face Rory. His gaze turned to her as she moved in front of Baine. Rory's head tilted to the side and his eyes began to glow. His fangs lengthened as his mouth opened.
"Rory?" Alice stood up slowly, holding out a hand. "Rory, can you hear me?"
"I can hear you just fine," he said. There was something off about his voice, like his mind was a million miles away.
"Baine, when I tell you, run."
"What?" Baine had been staring at Rory who was now running his tongue lightly along his fangs.
Alice lunged at Rory who began snapping at her. Baine scrambled to his feet and dashed down the tunnel. Rory threw Alice off of him and she flew into the air, sliding when she hit the floor.
"Rory!" Alice shouted, pushing herself to her feet again. "Rory, snap out of it! This is exactly what I was afraid of!"
Rory jumped into the air, landing next to her and pinned her to the wall, holding her under her chin so she was forced to look at him.
Damn, she thought. Why did it have to be the new moon?
Rory's eyes were glowing so bright they seemed to be burning from under his dark hair. He smiled at her, moved in close and licked the trail of blood that was streaming down her cheek. He didn't miss the small noise of disgust that she made. Rory's smile grew even wider.
"What's wrong Alice?" he asked. "You know you like it…"
Alice squirmed in his grip and he chuckled.
"You know, human beings are amazing things…" he used his free hand to stroke her cheek. Alice kicked herself internally for the shudder that ran down her spine. Rory ignored it and went on. "They're so…fragile," Rory threw her to the ground, face first, and stepped on her back, pulling on her left arm. "…so…easy to break—."
There was a sick, horrible-sounding crack on the word 'easy' that mingled with Alice's cry of pain. Again, Rory ignored her, dragging his nails up her arm and ripping through the sleeve.
"…and yet, far too stubborn to die…"
Rory grabbed her throat again and pulled her close to his face. Her left arm fell limp at her side.
"But you're not really human, are you, my dear?"
Alice spat at him. He wiped it from his face with a laugh.
"No, you're far more stubborn."
Alice glared at him and his face seemed to morph in front of her. The stubbly beard on his chin disappeared; his hair grew shorter, his eyes turning blue. His clothes changed, becoming tattered and blood began to spread across his chest.
"But I'll find a way to kill you, Al," said Axel, now standing in Rory's place. Alice's eyes grew wide.
"Who's Axel?" he asked, starting to sound deranged. Alice's vision was starting to blur. Whether it was from the lack of air she was getting or the tears starting to prick at her eyes, she wasn't sure.
"Axel, please!" Alice pleaded. "I'm sorry I killed you! I couldn't help it! I-I had a black out! I couldn't control it!"
"Say what you will," Axel growled. "It won't stop me. How should I kill you, hmm?"
Alice felt like a scared little kid again. Was this really happening?
"Should I keep strangling you? Should I stab you like you did me?"
His hand hovered over her chest. "I could rip your heart out and watch you bleed…"
"Axel…" she whimpered, closing her eyes. "Please…"
Both hands were around her neck now.
"Or maybe I should just snap your pretty little neck…"
Alice opened her eyes again. The last thing she saw before she blacked out was Axel morphing back into Rory who seemed to realize what he was doing. He let go of her and jumped backward as if she were on fire and she fell to the ground, unconscious before she even hit the concrete floor.
Baine ran down the tunnel as fast as his legs would carry him. Holly, Melanie and Jude, who was pulling nervously at his tail, were waiting for him.
"What happened?" Melanie asked. Baine was bent over double, hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath.
"Rory—berserk," he panted, hoping he at least go the message across. "Attacked Alice—told me to run—came to get help…"
Holly's large brown eyes grew wide and without another word, she took off back down the tunnel, wings unfolding as she glided. Melanie followed after, leaving Baine alone with Jude. Jude's eyes flicked between Baine and the other two flying down the tunnel and he took a couple steps backward, mumbling something that Baine didn't quite catch.
Holly shot upward from out of the tunnel and dived down to where Rory had Alice pinned to the wall. He let go before she was close enough to do anything and Alice fell to the ground, unmoving.
"What did you do?" Holly practically shouted, folding her wings again and kneeling down next to Alice.
Rory looked almost horrified with himself.
"I-I didn't—I couldn't cont—th-there was blood and I—," he stammered, taking a step back with each word. He tried again, "D-did I—? She's not—? Is she?"
He didn't seem to trust himself to get close to her. Holly felt Alice's wrist for a pulse and sighed.
"She's alive, Rory. But I think you dislocated her shoulder and you tore up her left arm pretty bad…isn't she left handed?"
Rory swore under his breath and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Okay…okay…Just—just keep her away from me for a little bit."
"Got it," said Holly with a nod. She hooked her arm under Alice's shoulders and lifted her into the air. Alice gave a small twitch at the contact to her shoulder, but otherwise showed no sign of stirring. Holly flew down the tunnel once more, meeting Baine and Jude. The two of them were startled at the sight of Alice's tattered white sleeve, now turned a deep red color, but calmed down as Holly explained.
Soon Rory and Melanie caught up to them and together, the six of them fled into the night.
"C'mon Al, say cheese!"
"No, Roxy! I don't wanna take a picture! Hey, let me go! Roxy!"
Thirteen year old Alice was trying to get away from her sister who was holding a camera. Roxanne finally pulled her sister close and snapped a picture. Still holding Alice by her jacket sleeve, Roxanne pulled up the picture on the digital camera and laughed.
"What?" Alice asked. The two of them put their heads together to look at it. Roxanne was smiling, her right hand (unlike Alice, she was right-handed) was out of frame, and holding the camera while her other arm was holding Alice in a headlock. Alice was clearly trying to get away, her mouth open in a silent protest as she was dragged into the frame. Roxanne was happy to see her sister crack a smile at the picture. She'd seemed so sad lately…
"You girls ready?"
The two of them looked up at the sound of their uncle's voice.
"We have to get going if we're gonna make it by seven!"
Roxanne's face broke into a wide grin. "Coming!"
Still holding Alice's sleeve, she took off running, once again dragging her sister behind her.
"Come on, Alice!" Roxanne shouted. "Come on! Alice! Alice!"
"Alice! Hey! Alice! Wake up!"
Someone was shaking her.