Riley is the one I blame, but honestly, it wasn't her fault; but she was the one who had the brilliant idea to attend Jasper and Annalise Hemingway's annual Torican High Halloween party this year; and Tess, my long time personal best friend and Riley's almost conjoined twin, had the wonderfully surprising notion to actually go with Riley.
Girls. They never think of us guys when making plans for the end of our lives. Riley told me I was going and in strict voice that "I was going to enjoy myself" one day about a week ago in between third and fourth periods. Arguing was useless unless I wanted to spend Halloween door answering with my Mother— and there was no way I was jumping out of the bushes scaring little kids so that they wet their costumes. That's just cruel.
It's not that I don't enjoy Halloween parties, or Halloween itself, its just I don't particularity enjoy Jasper the über jock Hemingway. Or his obnoxiously perky sister.
Every year of our existence the four of us, me, my cousin Blaine, and the two girls have spent Halloween after Halloween forcibly dressed in what our best of friends Mothers (Blaine's and mine being sisters) have come up with as costumes. And there had always been a theme. In kindergarten we were Aliens. Third grade, cowboys (and girls). Fifth, fish— I was an octopus.
Even as we got older we still spent the candy filled horror night together. Just the four of us. Whether watching a movie or trick or treating with Riley's younger brother and sister or Blaine and mine's younger cousins, we were together.
And now? Riley wants us to go to a party. At the house of the two most spoiled, snotty twins I have ever met.
Either suffer with them, or suffer alone.
I dressed as a vampire, something classic and easy; then I wouldn't have to explain to people what I was. This way it was obvious.
I threw on some black dress clothes, a black tie and dug out a black, red lined cape from my Mom's costume closet. I didn't bother with my hair, it was messy enough; but I did manage steal some of my older sister Emma's eyeliner and made myself look . . . dead, more or less.
Until my sister caught me.
I wasn't allowed to leave the bathroom until she was done making me look like a real vampire, as she said. Emma must have been having her dreams come true by putting make up on me. What sister doesn't want to torture their younger brothers this way?
She didn't just put on more black eyeliner, but some white powdery stuff to make me look pale, and red eye contacts, again from Mom's closet. I didn't take the fake fangs for two reasons, the first being I can't talk with them in my mouth and the second I figured my incisors were pointy looking enough.
I had to do a double take in the mirror when Emma let me finally look at myself. She had played with my hair too; the long, dark strands of my bangs were now hanging off to the side, almost folded over completely. It was something like how my Grandpa does his hair. Like a comb over, except I'm not bald.
Emma was proud of herself; although all I could think of was how it was going to be a blast taking all this make up off later.
"Don't move, I'm going to get my camera," Emma said and slipped out of the bathroom. Seizing the opportunity I nearly killed myself tripping as I ran down the stairs to escape.
Only to run into my Mother.
"Oh my goodness Seath, you just look too adorable! Did Emma help you? Wow, let me get my camera."
I really don't like cameras.
There was no escaping her. I'd get the wrath of Khan later if I slipped out now. So I stood awkwardly in the kitchen while my Father and older brother Shawn, ate dinner. Both staring at me with wide eyes.
"Don't you dare." I warned Shawn, he was cracking a smile. "Don't even think about it."
He laughed anyway. "You look— you look—"
"Like what?" I asked annoyed. Dad was peering over the newspaper he was reading. A habit he, like so many Father's on television suffer from. Mom hates when he reads at the table. Its like texting at the table. Something Emma is notorious for.
Shawn never did finish his sentence.
"Well if it counts Seath, you look like one scary vampire."
"Thanks Dad." I said, not sure if it was a compliment or what. I turned to Shawn, "At least someone appreciates the torture I just went through."
"As long as this eyeliner thing doesn't become an everyday deal Seath." Dad gave me a stern warning glare. Me and eyeliner? Where would he even get an idea like that? Honestly, Shawn's more likely to wear it than me; in fact I think there was a time when he did not too long ago.
Anyway, Mom and Emma spent a good ten minutes taking pictures and I ended up blind for a another minute afterward from the camera flashes.
It was nearly eight before I was finally free to leave.
"Well little bro, have fun at your Junior party. Us Seniors here have a better place to go." Shawn grabbed his jacket and made a move to tousle my hair, but Emma gave him her perfected death glare. I gave then a emotionless wave goodbye before he and Emma went off to where ever they were going. Lucky for them it doesn't require costumes. They both might be seniors, but they're not twins. Shawn and Emma are ten months apart. Emma and I are a year apart. Our parents must've been in a hurry to have kids or something.
"Be home before dawn. I wouldn't want you bursting into flames on me." Mom handed ten dollars and a quick kiss on the forehead. Although I probably wasn't going to need it for anything I took the money anyway.
"Mom, I'm not a real vampire. I won't die in sunlight."
She shrugged, like it was something that could actually happen. "Don't forget, tomorrow's Saturday. Grandpa's expecting you to help rake leaves."
"I won't forget."
"Say hi to your friends for me."
"I will Mom."
"And no drinking."
"I won't Mom."
"I Promise." Although I couldn't guarantee other people wouldn't be.
I stepped out of the house just as the sun completely disappeared. The nights had been coming quicker since October started. The older trick-or-treaters were filing back home, the few of the that were out. I remember those days, coming home with a pillow case full of candy.
They might have been on their way home, but for me, the night was just beginning.
The Hemingway house was seriously messed up. It wasn't just the overuse of Halloween decorations, those didn't really matter, every house in town had them. But beneath the orange and purple flashing lights and lost somewhere in the fake spider webs and hidden behind the rows of fake headstones was the old Mason Mansion.
The Hemingways do not actually live here— no one in their right mine would. But I know they own the house. They own nearly everything in this town. The Coin Laundry, the supermarket, the shoe store— I think they might even own part of the shopping mall.
But the old Mason Mansion; now if there was anywhere to have a Halloween party, it would be here. The house is old, yes. Dark? Check. Falling apart? Pretty much. Three floors, an attic, and a cellar to get lost and probably trapped forever in? I wouldn't doubt it.
Creepy as hell?
A bat flew overhead as I made my way up the car filled driveway. It had only taken twenty minutes to walk here from my house; which made me realize how close I live to this place. Not a happy thought, but with all the lights on in the first and second floor windows it didn't look too menacing.
That was until I went inside.
The front hall was lite up with orange lights and paper bats hung upside down from the ceiling. There was a suit of armor in the corner and people everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. Our entire grade and then some. And they were all in costume. At least I didn't stand out.
I wasn't the only vampire, and I knew there would be others. But I was definitely to scariest, not to brag, but Emma really had done a good job. Most of these other guy vampires probably wouldn't even dare put on eyeliner. They had probably gone for the sexy vampire look rather than the scary vampire look— they way vampires are suppose to be. Scary not sexy.
But I guess they could be sexy as long as they were scary, blood thirsty, and die in sunlight first.
They definitely have to die in sunlight though.
I passed through the parlor, drawing room and the kitchen before I found Riley and Blaine in a dark corner of the dining room. They were, of all things, making out. Not a surprise, I've seen it before, I'd just never seen them kiss for so long in a public place. But they weren't the only ones.
From what I could tell in the half lit room Riley was a scantily clad witch and Blaine had gone some sort of super hero gone bad look. Both their costumes were pretty good, and Riley's witch dress looked like something Emma might have worn a couple years ago. It wouldn't surprise me if Mom had loaned it to her.
I leaned up against the wall letting their make out session run its course. I'd only get yelled at if I tried to interrupt anyway; and possibly injured. Riley can get violent.
Somewhere in the mansion music was playing, but it was so muffled from all the other noises— of people, the creaking of the floors from the many feet walking, their laughter and voices— I could only hear the bass line and the occasional sound of someone singing and cymbals.
I closed my eyes and listened. Among the voices and footsteps I heard a girl laugh, and another scream. The song changed and the bass line was now more distinguishable, its rhythm was complicated and fast— and almost sounding familiar, perhaps if I could make out the words I'd recognize it the song.
Someone started yelling, a guy. Someone had spilled something on him, but from the sound of his yelling he must have deserved it.
"Oh, hey Seath."
Riley must have finally noticed me; I looked up, giving my best evil vampire glare, which turned into a fail because I couldn't help but smile. I've never been able to keep a straight face.
I must've looked absolutely absurd.
"Wow, great costume, love the contacts." Riley pulled herself together and stood up. Blaine turned around awkwardly, get his leg caught in a chair.
"Well, since you're here now we should probably find some food. And find Tess." Blaine led the way out and through the throng of people, which had unbelievably doubled since I arrived. The music became increasingly louder as we moved deeper into the house; and we had to push our way through two dancing mobs. I must've seen every costume imaginable, even somethings I didn't recognize and some I didn't want to know what they were. There was a pirate gang in the kitchen, a group of scantily clad nurses outside the bathroom, and a few doctors making pathetic attempts to hit on them.
We passed through more doors than I could count, and I swear went were going in circles until we nearly collided right into the food table, which wouldn't have been hard to miss, it took up the entire length of a room that didn't seem to have any particular purpose.
A girl at the opposite side of the room had a camera was taking photos; above her was a sign that read Costume Contest. I didn't think the Hemingway's party was going to be that organized.
Riley pushed me toward Camera Girl, "Come on. You're obviously the best dressed vampire here. At least enter in the vampire category."
"There's different categories?" I asked in disbelief, but Riley didn't answer. I could see Blaine shaking his head in laughter while stuffing his face with a candy apple.
"Wow, Seath, your costume is great," Camera girl, who I was surprised to see was really Claire Bartley, a shy girl who sits in front of me in Trigonometry. She wasn't really in a costume, but I suppose she could claim she was a photographer. She dressed like one everyday anyway. "I'll enter you in Best Vampire and Best Make-up, okay?"
"Yeah, sure." I wasn't sure if the second was something I'd really want to win.
After the photos, and the minute wasted recovering from the flash (again), I had planned on finding Tess, but Blaine and Riley didn't seem to care. They had ignored my pestering questions and instead dragged me into the library where the Hemingway's Aunt was set up as a psychic.
Apparently that's her job.
I don't believe in psychics.
Or magic, zombies, or the tooth fairy.
We waited, or I forcibly stayed with Riley and Blaine because Riley gave me the don't you dare leave glare, while the two girls who were already here to finish up. It didn't take long, they were pretty easily convinced by the bullshit nonsense Lady Marcel, as she called herself, was spewing.
She gestured for us to sit down with a wave of her hand. Riley took the middle seat.
"Do you have a license for this?" I inquired, wondering how someone could actually make a living at straight up lying. Then again television psychics do it all the time.
She ignored my question.
"Ask me what you would like to know." Lady Marcel began. There was a small round table with a weirdly designed purple table cloth. And of course she was dressed as some crazy gypsy woman. "Perhaps you want to find true love young Miss, or perhaps it lies within one of the fine young men here. Old Mason had quite the marriage."
Riley was about to ask something, her mouth was open and everything but Lady Marcel suddenly grabbed my hands— she was shaking like crazy— which made me shake.
"There is a fourth somewhere near. A plague, she will make a plague. Open the eye's of the dead man's witch. A terrible fate awaits— you won't survive. You'll be the only one. The only one."
She dropped my hands. None of us knew what to say— even how to react.
"Excuse me," Lady Marcel said, standing up. "I don't know what came over me."
She left the room without another word.
Crazy old bat.
A minute of silence passed. Blaine was the first to speak.
"Anyone else feel like she was on drugs?"
Riley shrugged, but to me some of it made some sense. Irregardless of whether I believed Lady Marcel had any psychic power, which I didn't. The fourth had to be Tess. But the rest made absolutely no sense.
I really hoped I was right about Lady Marcel's lack of supernatural ability. I wasn't looking forward anything having to do with plagues, terribly fates, or dead men and witch eyes.
Or being the only one not to survive.
"Where are you going Seath?"
We had left the library; Blaine had said something about getting more food, but I wanted to find Tess. I had gotten tired of being their third wheel.
I shrugged, "to find Tess."
"Text us when you find her."
I had passed through the entire first and second floors before I found her. Or heard her rather. I followed the sound of her voice to a lonely staircase. It was dark and depressing and with each step up I felt as if I would crash through the ancient wood and disappear through the floors below into the cellar.
Once I finally reached the top I found a place nothing at all like the chaos downstairs. It was terribly quiet and dark. I could almost hear the dark, curious, lonely sound of a slow piano song playing as if I was walking into some sort of horrible trap.
On the floor was what had once been a deep red carpet, but now it was frayed, faded, and half eaten. Paintings lined the walls, mostly portraits of what had to have been the Mason family. I saw the watching eyes of Mr Mason, and all of her children, two of which I know died at a young age. From a disease or something. But the closer I looked at Mrs. Mason's portrait I realized that in the shadows her eyes appeared to have been scratched out. I held up my phone to look at it with more light; someone had definitely taken out her eyes with a pen or small knife or something.
All of the doors on this floor were locked, except one at the end of the long hall. A faint light shown through the gap of the door and the wall; hesitantly I pushed it open.
The room was a library, smaller than the one downstairs, yet large enough to hold at least a couple hundred books. From what I could see they were all old books. But what in this house wasn't old?
"Tess?" I whispered afraid the wrong person would hear it.
A figure at a long table faced away from me; but turned as I said her name. She smiled when she saw me. Next to her sat a large pile of books on the table, with one relatively large one laid open in front of her.
"I wondered how long it would take you to find me." The closer I got toward Tess the better I could see her in the light of the little lamp on the table. I slid into the chair next to hers and took an awkwardly long look at her costume.
It wasn't overly outrageous, or overly revealing like Riley's. It was a simple and elegant.
Tess was probably the prettiest English school girl I'd ever seen, not to be cheesy, but it was true. Her costume might have been something out of Harry Potter land for all I knew.
"Who were you talking to?"
"Oh, no one." She blushed.
I let it slide only because pressing the issue wasn't a good idea. Tess would continue to deny it, and whatever. People talk to themselves, some just louder than others I guess. Or really loud.
"So," I asked, "what are you doing up here all by yourself when you know you'd rather be down there will the loud music and dancing mobs and drunk—"
Tess shot a death glare my way. I've been getting a lot of those tonight.
"Okay okay I'll shut up."
She sighed, and flipped through some old— I mean ancient books laying on the table in front of her. "I came up here to get away from all that. Besides, Riley and Blaine forgot I existed and started making out."
"Yeah they did that to me too."
Tess smiled again and pushed her hair away from her face. I pulled the table lamp closer so she could actually see what she was trying to read.
"Whoa, are your eyes red?" Tess asked just noticing the contacts. "It was Emma's idea wasn't it?"
I shrugged, couldn't let Emma have all the credit, whether she deserved it or not.
"See this?" Tess slid the book in front of me. The pages had yellowed and the edged torn a bit, maybe the even had been nibbled on by some small creatures. The words on the pages had been hand written, scrawled so sloppily I couldn't read it. I couldn't read cursive if I really wanted to anyway, let only that fact that my hand writing leaves much to be desired. "This book belonged to old Man Mason's wife, and guess what? The rumors that she was a witch, I think they were true."
Huh? "What rumors? Where did you hear rumors?" About old dead women no less.
"Uh, everyone knows, or has heard it. Old Man Mason died years after his wife from a curse she put on him, on the house. Seriously Seath don't you ever read?"
Okay okay, maybe I had heard something like this from Shawn, Haunted Mason Mansion sure. It makes sense. Is it true? Unlikely. Even if I accepted the idea that Mason's wife was a witch, its doubtful. I'm pretty sure Mason died from old age. Just like his wife.
"As this book is here," she pushed another one in front of me, "is one of Mason's last journals, he write all about her in the end. Its so sad. But he mentions all sorts of horrible things happening, things she did after she died."
Uuhhhhh, "I think I hear Riley calling our names. I think its time to go down stairs." I stood to leave, my eyes scanning the dark corners of the room, wondering what could be lurking in the dark. Dead witch ghosts that's what. Despite the month in third grade I spent convincing myself ghosts didn't exist after Shawn made me watch some horror movie I can't even bare to think about right now.
"Cool it Seath, I was just trying to scare you."
A sigh of relief, or three. "Really cause you know how I hate scary stories like that, I mean I can barely handle horror movies, but seriously though—"
"No, but according to Mason's journal its all true."
"Journals written by a crazy old man who should have been in a home."
I had reached the door and opened it just in time to run into Riley who screamed, making me jump and Blaine and Tess both laughed.
"Its not funny Tess." I scorned backing up into the room, letting them in. I shut the door and stood next to the table lamp.
"Seath is afraid of the dark," Tess teased.
"I am not." I defended myself, but the three of them looked at me with sideways faces. They knew the truth. "Okay fine, but it doesn't help that Tess is going on about witches and death and stuff."
"What the Old Mason legend?" Blaine inquired. Tess handed him the book, "everyone knows about that how things like statues and dolls would come alive at night."
"What?" What? How come I don't know about this?
Riley popped a purple lollipop into her mouth and nodded, "Seriously Seath everyone at Torican High had heard it, especially if there invited to the Hemingway's party, its what they use to scare the Freshman away."
"Yeah but its not true." I said, doubtful. "Right? I haven't seen any statues or anything around."
Riley and Tess shrugged. But Blaine cracked a smile.
A cold, wicked, smile.
"Why don't we find out?"
"I'd really rather not if you don't mind." I said, but alas was ignored. Putting the three of them together on a mission is never a good idea, unless you're using them to take over the world, or need to finish a semester long project in one night. They can get anything done, but me, I'm the group slacker. But honestly they don't mind because when I do work, which is rare, its quality work.
They ignored me completely and went about their business of wannabe witchcraft. Honestly, you'd think people would learn after forcing me to watch all those horrible horror movies where people conjured up bad things and they pay the consequences.
Even though I don't believe in it, I wouldn't want to tempt fate.
Something else I don't believe in.
"Can we not? Please?" I begged, but the only response I got was the faint sound of the music and voices coming from downstairs. Even the lamp on the table seemed a little less bright.
Somewhere Riley had found candles, and Blaine had been muttering words from another book Tess had dug up.
I waited impatiently by the door, half tempted to sneak out.
But part of me wanted to stay. Curiosity got the better of my rational side and I stayed. Watching. Wondering if it was true.
I prayed that it wasn't. I really did.
"Ready?" Riley asked as she lit the candles with matches she pulled out of nowhere.
"Ready," Tess and Blaine said together.
They looked at me.
"I am the innocent bystander here. I want absolutely nothing to do with you and your voodoo."
"Its not voodoo Seath, just chill out. I highly doubt anything is going to happen." Tess insisted, yanking me into their circle. "Blaine just going to read what Mason says is what his wife's ghost would mumble as it wandered around the house.
"That's real uplifting."
The candles went out the moment Blaine started reading.
"When in the darkness came alive, a moment when those who stand still, do not breathe, do not move, are not alive shall move. That which is not real shall become real. And will only die with as who is alive."
I thought he was making it up because it sounded completely corny.
Riley was the first to collapse. I had kept the lamp on so I could still see. She went down the moment the last word left Blaine's mouth.
She recovered just as quickly as she fell, but only managed to sit up. "My head hurts something fierce."
"Perhaps you're just exhausted, we should go downstairs and get some food."
She mustn't have been hungry for all she asked was if it worked or not. As if something would randomly appear saying, "hooray you cast a spell!"
We all glanced over to the little statue of a boy and a horse on top of the book cases, but it was a still as it had always been.
"It was just a rumor." Tess spoke— strangely. Her hand clasp over her mouth and we all stared.
"This is an awfully strange time to fake an accent Tess," Blaine went to toss the book up onto the table but it sailed clear passed and straight through the wall. "I didn't mean to, I mean I barely used any strength at all. No joke."
"Something's odd around here, I'm not faking talking like this, its just how's its coming out." Tess still spoke with an English accent; English like her costume. English school girl.
And Blaine, having immense strength by barely using any force at all.
"Here," I shoved a candle in front of Riley, "light it."
"Um, okay," she went to pull out her pack of matches but I stopped her."
"No, use your mind, magic."
"Are you cra—" Riley stopped suddenly, catching on to what I was thinking, and stared hard at the candle
"Holy shit."Riley exclaimed and the candle went out.
"It did work" English voice Tess said, "fascinating."
Blaine gave us all a hard stare, "I don't get it." Guess the all brawn no brain cliche is true after all.
"What is not real shall become real." I repeated the words Blaine had said only moments ago. "Our costumes aren't real."
"And now they are." Tess finished. "So what? I'm English now? The school girl part doesn't really changed much."
Riley's face grew fierce, and all the candles suddenly lit. "Well lucky for you, you haven't been turned into a witch. I'll probably grow a wart and start flying around on a broomstick."
"Or a superhero." Blaine said sullenly.
"There's nothing super about you," Riley coincidentally put the candles out, "trust me."
"Hey, I might have X-vision."
"Don't get your hopes up."
I sat listening to them bicker about what they'd become. So one changed nationality, another gained useless super powers, and another could do witchcraft. I didn't feel any different, I was alive, breathing. Still human.
As soon as I stood up I collapsed on my knees. My chest ached horribly, and pain seared throughout me. I felt like I was dying.
And then everything stopped and the room went black.
"It's a classic vampire movie, I can't believe you haven't seen it before. Everyone's seen it. At least everyone I know."
"Apparently not everyone because I haven't."
"Nor have I."
"Would you stop playing with the candles? As soon as Seath wakes up we're going to reverse this and get out of here. No one will ever have to know. Ever."
Everything hurt. My head, my mouth, my stomach, my eyes. Well, not everything really. I was sprawled out on the floor, my cloak wadded up under my head as a pillow which made me think I had been out for a while. I opened my eyes to feel a burning sensation. The contacts, they'd become irritating. Carefully I took them out and flung them out into the room. I sat up expecting the to see the lamp on the table on, but it wasn't. I was surprised I could see so well in the dark.
Then it hit me. Worse than a brick wall or a freight train.
"Hey Seath's up." Riley's voice was a soothing comfort, I wanted to look into her face and see someone familiar and kind. But all I could do was stare at her pale, smooth neck.
"Are you alright? You've been out for half an hour." Tess said in her non accent— accent. I could tell from her expression I was giving her a funny look, even though I wasn't aware I was doing it.
Half an hour? "What time is it?" I grumbled rubbing my head. Most of my hair had come out of what Emma had put it in and was now falling all over my face. I tried pushing it back but failed.
"Almost ten." Blaine read off his watch. Only almost ten, the night was still young.
What and where did that come from?
"We're gonna try and reverse— Seath? What are you doing?"
' Riley was right in backing away from me because I had come dangerously close to her, deaf to her words by the sound of her heart, the smell of the blood in her veins. Something I had never before heard nor smelled, yet I recognized it immediately.
"Seath, come back to reality." Riley's voice was shaking. She was scared.
She should be. But I was scared too.
I ignored the pain in my mouth as what I could only guess to be fangs slid out of my gums, they were long, and sharp, I found by sticking my tongue under one accidentally.
Riley screamed, as if she hadn't gathered that what had happened to them had happened to me as well. Blaine jumped in front of her, pushing me away with his superman strength. Vampires are suppose to have increased strength, I wonder if its true.
"Calm down Seath." Blaine held one hand in front of him to ward me off and another behind somehow thinking it would protect Riley.
"But I'm hungry." I moaned, fighting the urge, my fangs slid back into my gums which hurt just as bad as they did coming out.
"We'll just go downstairs and get some food. Okay? Everything will be fine."
"It won't work." Tess interrupted, appearing from the shadows. "Normal food isn't going to help, we've turned him into a vampire. He's going to need blood."
They should have listened to me when they had the chance. Don't mess with things like this— and they wondered why I refused to play Ouija with them last year. Honestly, don't people ever learn?
"This is all your fault you know that right?" I yelled picking up and tossing candles, Blaine caught each one before they smashed into the wall. "Why couldn't you just leave things alone?"
They were taking this too lightly, as if it was just another practical joke. Riley even seemed to be smiling, but don't witches laugh and cackle all the time anyway?
"Take it easy Seath," Tess dangerously put a hand on my shoulder, "it was just a stupid rumor, and some books written by a crazy old dead man. We'll figure out how to change everyone back. Alright?"
"What we need to do is stay calm and pray nothing bad happens." Blaine seemed horribly optimistic.
They were all too calm. Or maybe it was me, who's head felt like it was going to explode. Who felt nothing but seething rage and hunger; and every nerve in my body felt like it was on fire. All I wanted to do was rip someone's head off.
"There is nothing calm about me wanting to tear your heart out of your body!" I had to throw myself backward to keep from lunging at Blaine. My breathing was hard, but the numbing pain in my head had subsided. I watched the three of them as they finally realized what had happened, as if they were in denial or still doubted the spell had worked at all.
For the second time I collapsed to the floor, but this time I slid myself into the corner, curled up and wrapped my arms around my knees. I watched as Riley held a candle, tears rolling down hear face. Blaine tried to comfort her, but hesitated. After he might do something to hurt her. Squeeze her to death or something.
Tess came over to me and sat down; not at all afraid that I could potentially kill her in the blink of an eye— thankfully for her sake I haven't had any practise at that.
"I'm sorry Seath. I didn't know."
I wanted to tell her to it was okay, and I knew it wasn't her fault but I couldn't bring myself to speak. I knew if I did I'd just end up bawling.
It didn't matter. The fact that I was dead made me cry anyway. Like a little kid who's just been told Santa's not real. Or worse, their pet hamster's died and their parents tried to replace it without telling him.
Or maybe like they've lost someone— something that's more important to them than anything else. I wasn't just crying for me. That would be selfish. It was for Tess and Blaine and even Riley although it was her fault we even came to this party— this house mansion thing in the first place.
I finally looked up, Tess was still there even though I wished she wasn't. If anyone, I didn't want to hurt her.
"What am I suppose to tell my Mother?" I laughed, just a little.
Tess smiled, but she was forcing it. "Hopefully you won't have to."
I wish I could say we spent the next hour or so working on a reversal spell, and that it worked and we all went home and in fifty years we could look back on this and laugh.
That never happened. Blaine found the spell book he had flung through the wall, and Tess and Riley we flipping through pages looking for something that would help us, anything at all.
But then Riley got pissed it was taking so long as she was afraid of growing a wart and accidentally set the book on fire.
And then the dead man's witch appeared.
She was old, scary, and very ghost like. She wasn't ugly though, I'll give her that. I had expected her to be old and wrinkle and deformed, but the only thing obviously wrong with her, besides the fact that she's dead is that she didn't have any eyes. Just empty sockets where her eyes should be— just like the painting in the hall, her eyes were missing.
The moment she appeared the room went completely dark, and I figured I was the only one who was able to see her, but it didn't matter. We all heard what she said.
Doesn't mean we all understood it.
First she laughed wickedly, a sudden gust of wind swept through the room. "Give me your eyes—"
She stopped suddenly and looked up at the ceiling; although I wasn't sure if she actually anything she lacked eyeballs.
Another voice appeared, or rather was heard.
"Find the eyes. Find Henry and find the eyes," it was a man's voice from what I could tell. But I couldn't see him anywhere.
"MASON!" the witch screamed, "You will not defy me!"
The floor beneath me felt like it was breaking apart; the witch was furious, that much was clear. I was slipping, down the floor as it listed, and there was nothing to grab onto.
I felt Tess crash into me as we slid. I grabbed her to keep from me landing on top when we landed; and I wondered what the hell was going on.
Maybe that punch downstairs had been spiked or drugged or both.
I felt cold, hard, floor, and a horrible cracking sound as I landed, and Tess forced an "oomph" out of me and she landed on top of me, her elbow jabbing into my stomach. She gasped but from what I could here she was still alive, thank God. And she didn't seem injured.
Me on the other hand. Something was definitely broken.
I had to sit up and inspect every inch of my body to find what broken. Pain was everywhere but that was surprise because I was still violently hungry— my stomach was turning inside out in a mad fury.
Tess was at a funny angle, but by the expression she was giving me I was the sideways one.
"Oh my Gosh Seath there's something wrong with your—"
"Yeah," I tried lifted my head up and failed, "I must had landed on my neck."
I whipped my head hard to the other side trying to hold it up straight; but it felt like everything was breaking all over again, the same sound people who constantly make when cracking their knuckles or back, even their necks. I cringed, I hate that sound.
Tess grabbed my head, then slid her hands down so they were around my neck. "I can feel it," she whispered, her face was cringed— although mine was too. "Its healing. . . So . . . gross."
She still had her hands on my neck, but all I could do was stare at hers. I could almost see her veins through the skin. See the blood.
I wanted it.
I needed it.
I expected her to scream, jump, anything; she did nothing. She flinched a little at first, but then she settled, breathing heavily.
Her blood was warm, of course, everyone's blood is warm in their bodies. I felt the pain in my body ease the more I took.
And I wanted it all.
But I couldn't take it. I pulled back and looked away, ashamed. But her hands moved up to my chin and she pulled my head up.
I was disgusted. If I was her I wouldn't even be able to look at myself right now.
"You know this shade of red is a lot more subtle than the contacts were. But just as frightening." Unbelievably Tess smiled. I was glad there was still someone I could depend on.
"I still have red eyes?"
She nodded. "Only when your fangs are out though. Then they go back to the lovely shade of blue they were before."
"You make it sound like a good thing."
"Can't be completely negative, that wouldn't solve anything." Tess pulled a white cloth out of her pocket and pressed it against her still bleeding neck. Despite missing a rather large amount of blood she managed to stand up without any problems, and even managed to take my hand and pull me up. "Come on. We better getting moving and find the others so we can figure this shit out."
"So where do you suppose we are?" I asked, taking the lead across the vast empty floor.
"The cellar obviously."
It was pretty obvious. They small windows were practically in the ceiling they were so far up the wall. The floor was cement and all the furniture was pushed up against the far wall, as things in storage would be. A less then desired wooden staircase led up to a locked door. That door would lead us up straight into the party. I could hear the music and people again; when we were upstairs I could hear nothing. If was as if we were in a completely different building altogether.
"Come on." I took Tess's hand and pulled her toward the stairs. Halfway across the floor my foot kicked something; afraid the something was something dead I hesitantly felt down to feel it.
"What is it?" Tess asked nervously behind me,
"My cape," I had completely forgotten about it. Mom would have killed me if I lost it. "Must've fallen down with us." Now that I was looking at the floor I could see one of Riley's broken candles and a couple books scattered across the floor.
"Speaking of which how did we fall down here? It isn't physically possible."
"Don't even start." I retorted at Tess's question. Physics wasn't high on my priority list at the moment.
It seemed to take us years to reach the steps, and when we finally did an inch of water had come from nowhere and flooded the floor.
"Does the water seem to be rising to you?" Tess asked taking big steps as if somehow it would keep her from getting wet. I looked at the black water, it was definitely moving, which meant it was coming from somewhere.
"I don't know and I really don't want to stick around and find out."
The moment my foot hit the bottom step a crashing noise echoed off the cellar walls. I turned to see that the cellar walls had disappeared completely and a tsunami was heading straight toward us. I grabbed Tess as she screamed and launched up the stairs, pushing myself off the railing. The water had completely flooded the cellar in a matter of seconds and no matter how many steps I climbed we weren't getting any closer to the door. I felt like the door was taunting us, standing ajar letting just a crack of light through.
"I am so not in the mood for this." I nearly lost my grip on Tess in the water that was now almost up to my shoulders. The water had gotten colder and was near freezing; and the waves had nearly torn the railing right off the wall.
I wondered how on Earth I was managing to stay on the stairs at all, but duh, vampire strength; it must be pretty good after all.
Not like I have anything to compare it to.
I used everything I had left to through myself and Tess at the door any longer in the stairs and we would have— well Tess would have drowned.
The door handle was slippery but the moment I grabbed it the door flung wide open. Tess and I crash landed on the linoleum kitchen floor.
And we were completely dry.
I looked back down the cellar stairs, it was completely normal. No water, the railing was secure against the wall, not even of drop of wet. I could even see the bare floor in the dark.
"Don't worry it wasn't a hallucination Seath. You're not the only crazy one." Tess had recovered rather quickly, she was fixing her hair and straightening her clothes.
"I'd rather I was."
The kitchen was empty but as soon as we passed through to the living room we were thrown right back into the party. The obnoxiously loud music, the aggravating people, their voices, they all made me want to—
"Calm down Seath. It'll be okay," Tess took my hand casually and pulled me through to the hall. I prayed we get to where ever she was leading me unseen.
I was horribly denied.
I knew what they all thought, the people we passed who were staring; and it was better than the truth. Anything was better than the truth. The coloring changing lights were even more blinding then before. The music though, I still couldn't make out what song was playing. It all sounded like dinosaurs roaring to me.
"Excuse me," Tess was as polite as a ever, but I could tell she was trying to speak like an American, although it was easy to tell there was something off about her voice. "Excuse us. Seriously people. Get out of the way. Move it."
"Tess," I moaned, "I don't think I can handle this anymore." The sights, the sounds, people in costumes, their smells. Their blood was running hot. They were moving and dancing.
"Just a couple more minutes Seath. I'm trying to get to the stairs. Will you get out of my way?"
It was hard to tell who Tess was yelling at but by the look on her face as he turned around I really wished she hadn't yelled.
Jasper Hemingway looked absolutely ridiculous in his pirate costume. Even more ridiculous than normal. The striped socks and eye patch were pathetic, and the frayed shirt and pants looked like something you'd see a pirate wear in a bad 40s movie or something.
"What are you laughing at Gage?" Jasper had a drink clutched in his hand, something alcoholic no doubt, "think something's funny?"
I was laughing louder; like a lunatic. Maybe it was his costume, or the fact that the world was completely normal down here compared to the hell upstairs, and maybe it was because he had called me by my last name. Which in reality, isn't that funny.
Or maybe it was because I was trying my hardest not to tear his throat out.
"Seath's not really himself at the moment, so we really should be going." Tess could sense it, me fighting everything within me to not attack Jasper, and moved to push through the crowd.
"Not himself eh?" Jasper held up a hand to stop her, Tess became tense. She isn't a pleasant person when she's annoyed.
I laughed even harder. What does he think he is? A Canadian pirate?
"Come one Gage, share the joke. Can't be that funny when its coming from you. Anyone can tell you're obviously high out of your mind. Didn't think you were into that Gage, what'd you take? Crack? Heroin? Good old fashioned weed?"
I stopped laughing and stood up straight. Tess's grip on my hand tightened, but I didn't let go.
"You have no idea what's going on right now Jasper, and the best part? Even if you did know, you probably wouldn't even give a fuck. Because that's about all you care about. Nothing."
If he made even another sound I would have had him, right there in front all the people I could feel watching. But the thought of his blood made me sick.
I'd probably rip his head off anyway or something.
Lady Marcel took one look at me and almost started bawling. Her psychic intuition— if she truly did have any, must've picked something up. We had caught her packing her pretend psychic stuff into her car behind the Mansion. We only ran into her because I had convinced Tess I needed some air.
I could see the purple table cloth hanging out of a bag on the back seat.
"What do you know about the Mason legend?" I asked, a hard edge in my voice. I wasn't about to be nice, I'd had enough of letting people run over me. "You know something."
Lady Marcel wasn't getting out of this, and she knew it. "The Mason's marriage left much to be desired. Their children were all away at school, so most of the time it was just Mason, Griet, and their servants and maids, and of course the stable boy."
"Griet?" Tess asked, letting the English voice back out. From her expression she was just as curious as I was.
"Mason's wife. George and Griet Mason." Lady Marcel went on, "George had been the one everyone expected to have the affair, or to leave Griet. But it was Griet who had caused the rift in their marriage."
"She had the affair?" I asked, feeling like an interrogator off one of those crime scenes on television.
"It was the stable boy."
"She had an affair with the stable boy?" Tess sounded just as disgusted as I felt.
"It wasn't an affair really, there's was nothing sexual or romantic at all. Griet had an affair with witchcraft. She fell in love with it. Spent hours a day, days on end messing around in it. Nothing went bad until she found black magic."
"Whoa, hold up. Look," I paused, searching for the right words. "Four hours ago I didn't even believe in magic, and honestly I'm still not sure. But what did the stable boy have to do with this?"
"He was the one Griet experimented on. Her black magic, did all sorts of horrible things to him. Poor boy died before he was even seventeen from it. When I first came here, when my bother, Jasper and Annalise's Father, bought the house, I did some research, for my profession naturally. From Mason's journals I had expected it to be the stable boy's ghost trapped inside. But nothing ever happened. Just the rumors of Mason killing his wife and her ghost taking out revenge on him, until he finally died. Now they say they're both haunting the mansion."
"They are, definitely," Tess gave me a hard stare, "but I've never heard anything about a stable boy."
"Read 1843 to 1846. Those were the dark years. Mason's journals should all still be upstairs."
She didn't tell us anything else, but I had a feeling there wasn't anything else for her to tell.
Blaine and Riley had slipped not only my mind since the unexplainable trip to the cellar, they also escaped Tess's.
And neither of us remembered they existed until we were back in the third floor library looking at a mess of thrown books on the floor, a sketchy splatter of blood, and a big, black, burn mark in the center of the floor.
Tess was three steps ahead of me when it came to processing the scene, she had her phone to her ear and was calling Riley, I assumed. Blaine never answers his phone, I learned that the heard way.
"The blood on the floor is still damp, so they must've left right when we fell." I looked at Tess who shook her head.
"She didn't answer."
I pushed some books to the side to make room to sit, I caught sight of the binding on an old, grey leather one, it read 1845. I tossed it to Tess.
"Henry seems to have gone blind, for he hasn't moved from the chair in the corner of the kitchen." She had opened to a random page and begun reading. "Henry has to be the stable boy, right?"
I nodded and she continued reading out of Mason's journal.
"For he hasn't moved and his eyes are nothing but white. Not pupil, nothing. He's sat crying for hours. Mutter words I can barely make sense of. Something about demons watching him. Something he can see even without his eyes. I watched him for a while, wondering if he knew I was even here at all—
Griet had done something horrible to the boy. Again, but now she's looked herself in her room in the attic which she forbids me to enter. Forbids anyone, not even Marie, her favourite maid up here. For all I know the only one who had see the horrors of that room are poor Henry here. And he hasn't said anything about it.
He hasn't spoken much for the last couple years. I fear if I don't do something soon Griet will do something to the boy that cannot be undone.
Suddenly Henry began shaking, violently and started screaming. I grabbed his hand and tried to calm him, but I could scarce hear myself over his fearful screams.
"NOOOOOOOO! Please, I beg you. Leave me alone. Leave me!"
I can hardly bare to write what he said, his voice was so full of fear. I fear for his sanity, lest he even have any left. He was seeing something without his eyes. Something I could not.
"I can't finish this." Tess shut the book and tossed it back to me.
"Come one, you have to. We need to figure out what happened, and hopefully it'll lead us to a way to reverse the curse."
"Find a later year then, somewhere near the end."
1847 was right next to my foot, and I swear it wasn't there before. I tossed it to Tess.
"I thought the journals only went up to 46?"
I shrugged, how was I suppose to know?
Henry came to me last night. He was scared, more so than I had ever seen him. The last few months had not been kind to him and I asked him when he was short of words why he never just left. I would have given him money, even found him a place to go.
He only shook his head.
I pleaded him to tell me what scared him so. What was it that Griet had been doing to him.
He wouldn't speak, and I knew he feared being over heard. But I assured him Griet had gone to visit her sister for the night. And it was completely safe to speak without fear of being over heard.
"When I first came here, my Mother sent me in hopes that I would be given the proper medicine and care to survive." When he spoke, it had been so long since I heard his voice that I had forgotten he had come to us from London, "I had been born small and fell ill often. Mother had hoped being here I would get better care, and clearer air.
"Mrs Mason she," he hesitated, but continued., " she asked me if I believed in magic one day, and I told her no. There was no such thing. She didn't seem upset, but gave me something odd to drink. It had a peculiar color and absolutely no taste whatsoever, it caused me to pass out, and when I awoke I was in my bed without any recollection of getting myself there. Mrs Mason was sitting at the end of my bed, she asked how I felt. I lied and told her I felt fine.
Honestly, I felt horrible, she was satisfied with what I said. She wanted me to feel better than fine, better than perfect. She didn't stop. Always making me do things, eat things, drink funny potions. She wanted me to feel perfect. Everything just made me feel worse, until I finally felt nothing at all."
Tess stopped reading again,
"What? That wasn't that bad," I said but she didn't reply. "Tess what is it?"
"This is helping. We she be looking through the spell books. Not this."
I reached up and yanked the journal out of here hand. "Fine, I'll finish this by myself, and you can look through the spell books."
Tess didn't argue. I wondered why she didn't want to read it. Strange, she usually will read anything.
Henry took my hand, he was surprisingly cold. I looked into his eyes and saw something that made my skin run cold. I could see right through Henry.
"Mrs Mason had wanted me to feel different, better, because I was always so ill. It was her excuse to do what she did. Practise with magic." Henry continued now without any hesitation. "She tried making me into things I wasn't, she had always been practising on statues and things, making what was not real real."
Should have just kept reading Tess.
"Henry," my voice was shaking because now I could see right through him completely, he was fading.
"Mr. Mason, I'm sorry. I did something horrible. Griet didn't go to her sister's for the night. I murdered her. You'll find her body in her room in the attic and mine on my bed. I fear that in the end she managed to take me with her. I had thought I had done it, but the moment I saw the last breath slip out of her mouth I felt dreadful, like there was a hole in my stomach. It hurt and slowly the pain spread throughout my body. I had even hoped that I could sleep it off, but I fear that was never meant to be."
Mason went on to find both bodies, and continues to write for three months of horrible things happening at night. Doors slamming, things coming alive. He sent all his servants and maids away, scared that something would happen to them. He even wrote about seeing Henry's ghost, until the morning the statue of a horse and a boy appeared on the kitchen table. After that Griet's ghost nearly tore the house apart in mad fury.
Mason died a week later.
Not that he wrote that he died in the journal, obviously that was impossible. But he stopped writing so I could only assume it was because he had died.
I glanced up at the statue of the horse and boy on the book case.
Tess barely looked up at me as I reached for it, finding it heavier than I had thought it would be. It wasn't until I nearly dropped it onto the table in front of Tess that she asked what I was doing.
"Do the spell, the one that made things alive."
"Why on Earth would I want to do that?"
"Its Henry," I pointed to the statue.
"Are you crazy?"
"Crazy enough to finish the journal. Unlike you. Henry was the one who killed Griet, not Mason and after he died he was the one keeping Griet's ghost under control, until Mason says this statue appeared. The Griet went crazy."
"So you think releasing Henry's ghost will help us turn back to normal?"
"He could help us get Griet to do the spell. Or maybe he'll even know the spell. Who knows."
Tess didn't say anything.
"Look its better than sitting around and doing nothing. Which is probably what Riley and Blaine are doing, where ever they are. Do you think I want to be a vampire? Do you want to be English?"
"Actually I've come to find the accent quite lovely."
"You've got to be kidding me," I snorted.
"Alright, alright I'll do it."
Henry wasn't anything at all as what I imagined to him to look like. He was taller, a hell of a lot thinner, and his hair was just as dark as mine.
And he was completely transparent.
I guess I had imagined him to be transparent though.
He didn't seem mad, he didn't come out all scary like, he just appeared, but once he saw the statue his expression completely changed. I had thought when we brought him to life the statue would disappear, but it hadn't.
"Destroy it." the flash of anger that had appeared was gone as fast as it appeared. He was looking at me with completely white eyes, just like Mason had written about, completely white and nothing else; I felt as if he was looking straight through me.
Tess hadn't moved since doing the spell, she seemed completely frozen. I hesitated, wondering if destroying it was really a good idea, but once Henry yelled it again I didn't think twice about throwing it at the wall.
He smiled as I smashed.
This boy must have been insane after what Griet had done to him. I know I would have.
And is didn't help that while he was staring at me he had his head titled almost horizontal, in a very creepy manner.
And his eyes were still completely white.
"Uhhh," I scratched my head, not sure what to say. "We kind of have this problem um—"
"Curse," he muttered. "You've been cursed. Should have stayed away. Should have stayed away. But no one ever listens, do they?"
That's what I said. I looked at Tess, she just shrugged.
"There is no way. No way." His voice was sad, beyond sad. He was completely miserable, and as he sank through the floor he sighed.
"Great idea Seath, let's release him, so he can disappear on us." Tess had come back to reality, and like me, must have figured seeing a ghost wasn't high up on the list of most bizarre things that have happened today.
I had to keep him up here, he had to know something.
He stopped sinking and looked up at me, or rather, I don't know if he was looking, but he could see me. Somehow.
"Is there anything you know about how Griet made things come to life?"
He rose up a little, just enough that his waist was above the floor. "There is a way." I could notice his accent, his was similar to Tess's. "I would break the people. Smash them into little pieces. Break. Destroy. Kill."
He rose up a little bit more so that he as sitting, but his feet were still dangled in the floor.
"What if you didn't want to break it? Just change it back?"
Henry suddenly looked up, his eyes widened, if that was even possible. "She knows I'm here. You must act quickly if you want to free yourselves . . . find eyes. Make her see what I've been looking at, what she's made me see. She fears it. Find her eyes and make her see the way to the other side."
I swear he was about to start crying.
"I can keep her busy. Find her eyes. Destroy the magic."
He didn't have to tell me twice this time.
First I wanted to check out the attic room where Griet did all her magic, and hoped maybe there would be some pickled eyeballs or something, who knows. I lead the way as Tess followed, still trying to call Riley.
"I don't get why she's not answering."
"Maybe they were transported to another dimension." I could help but be sarcastic, it was their fault we were in this mess really, and they always seemed to ditch and find a corner to make out in. Sometimes I even forget Blaine's my cousin; he doesn't ever act very cousin-like, if there even is such a thing.
Tess didn't buy it, but she never gets my jokes anyway. "I'll try calling again."
Most of the rooms were empty and there weren't any staircases that I could see. The farther down the hall we went the more I felt like we weren't going to find the attic at all.
Suddenly I heard a weird chirping noise.
"Do you hear that?" I asked Tess, who was still trying to call Riley.
"What? No, and Riley still isn't answering her phone. That bitch, you'd think we weren't in the middle of a crisis here."
"Wait, don't hang up." I followed the sound of the chirping to the last door on the left side of the hall. Tess looked at me with fear when she realized what we were hear.
I threw the door open a little too hard, it bounced off the wall an nearly came off the hinged completely.
Riley's phone was definitely in here. But here was nowhere. The room was vast, empty— a complete void. There were no walls, no floor, and no ceiling. Just never ending blackness.
"We have to go in."
I moaned. "I was afraid of that."
Going in looked to me like certain death.
I didn't have a choice though, because when I turned to look at Tess and saw the horrible deformed ghost of Griet standing behind her, I knew she obviously wasn't here just to say hello. Griet was even more frightening that I remembered, her eyes were still gone, but now the empty sockets were bleeding black. I pulled Tess into to me to keep her from turning around.
Griet opened her mouth and I really wish she hadn't. Her teeth were black and rotten, her tongue a shriveled, grey mess and her skin— I swear it was moving.
I wanted to vomit.
I jumped before she could push us.
We fell forever. Or until we landed on what I had the sinking suspicion were bones. Old bones, not just a hundred year old, two hundred years old. These bones were a thousand years old, and so brittle they nearly turned to dust as a screaming Tess and I went smashing through them.
At least they softened the landing, a little.
We were in a root cellar this time, as just like the water before, the bones vanished once we reached the top of the cellar stairs and stepped out into the kitchen.
It was the same kitchen, yet it wasn't.
And I had suddenly gone color blind.
"The past?" Tess asked, looking around we saw two maids in straight black dresses, neither of which seemed to see us. "Or a memory?"
"Both, I'd imagine. The past is just a big memory after all."
Tess smirked, the way she does only when I've said something intelligent.
Suddenly Griet walked into the kitchen and we both froze; she was alive looking. Her skin was clear, her eyes were back, and didn't at all look evil or menacing.
The maids looked up but neither of them knew. Griet starting walking again, I nodded to Tess for us to follow.
The living room, lounge, everything, all the rooms were magnificent in their day. I felt like I had stepped into one of my Mother's historical soap operas. And I couldn't imagine what it was like in color, nothing compared to the run down mess in the house the party was in.
Griet went right out through the front door and around to the back, to the barn where the horses were kept.
"Henry," Griet called in a all too demanding voice, "Come here."
He appeared from the stable, looking just as his ghost had, just alive and in different clothing, and he had eyes. Sad eyes they seemed to know what Griet had wanted.
"Must be 1847, Henry looks just the same," I whispered to Tess who nodded, although it wasn't like anyone here could see us, if they could, they would have already.
"I don't understand why he just didn't leave," Tess asked, as we followed Griet and Henry back into the house and up to the third floor.
"I don't know either, but it looks like we're going to find out how to get to the attic."
We passed the third floor library and went down the other end of the hall to a door on the right, it was a bedroom, although it didn't appear that anyone had ever slept in here. There was a door in the corner of the room, Griet opened it to reveal a staircase.
Hesitantly I took a step of the stairs to follow when Griet and Henry vanished and color came flooding back to the world and everything seemed to shrivel and die. The stairs led up into complete darkness and there was nothing was but silence.
We were back in our time.
"Call Riley again."
I could hear Riley's phone from the other side of the Mansion, but that hadn't really surprised me, I've discovered vampires do have heightened abilities. We reached the same door as before, the one we fell through, and as I opened it feared we just end up falling back into the past, but the void had vanished and a room was here. A bare empty room, for once I was glad to see.
Riley's phone sat in the center of the floor, lit up and vibrating, I picked it up and used it to dial Blaine.
It was Riley who answered.
"Hello?" she whispered.
"Where the fuck are you?" I asked, getting the same feeling of anger and annoyance when I had wanted to rip Jasper's head off. I tried listening for her voice within the house, but I couldn't concentrate.
"We, we," she stopped.
She screamed. I threw the phone at Tess and dragged her back to the room with the attic stairs and threw myself up them. The moment she screamed I could hear her clearly, she was directly above us.
The attic was pitch black, yet I managed to make out several doors. I ran down the hall faster than I ever imagined, it took Tess twice as long to get to me on the other side.
Henry appeared blocking me from the door. I could still hear Riley screaming.
"Let us through Henry." I warned, despite the fact that there was nothing I could do to a ghost.
He suddenly dematerialized and Griet took his place. She was just as disgusting as before, I even cringed as she put a hand on my shoulder, and oozing hand, which made me wonder. How did Henry kill her?
Doors shot up out of the floor, and walls surrounded me, one came right up in between me and Tess.
Griet laughed as she slipped into the floor.
"Tess!" I yelled running through door after door, empty room after empty room. I could still hear Riley's scream, coming from everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
"Seath? Where are you?" Tess's voice seemed to echo of the walls, running around like a headless chicken wasn't going to help. I needed to think. Think. Be smart.
I stopped moving, still hearing Tess calling my name. I could feel her nearby, she was nervous, breathing heavily.
I could hear her breathing.
Followed that sound, her sound. I even closed my eyes listening and following blindly. She was getting closer, only a room away when something stopped me.
Then I felt it. A wet, dripping.
It was warm and sticky.
I opened my eyes and looked up, feeling the blood drip onto the nose, and run down my lips. I licked it.
"You know you want it" I could hear Griet hiss, I could feel her presence even with my eyes closed. "You've turned into something magnificent, yet you despise it. Why?"
"Its not natural." I whispered, doing my hardest to keep control even with the blood dripping on me.
"But so powerful boy. I sense a dead presence within you. Perhaps you ought to stay with us. Stay here and help us."
"I'm afraid I can't do that." I still hadn't opened my eyes, which I hadn't regretted, I swear I could hear her skin moving. I shuddered.
"So many things I could do to you, so many and you would never die. Unlike that pathetic stable boy, always ill. Never feeling better. I just wanted him to feel better. Feel nothing at all. Perfect. Don't you want to feel nothing?"
My body had calmed completely, amazingly. I was breathing, oddly, but I guess vampires do that. Might heart might have even been beating, but then again it could have been Tess's heart beat I was feeling, or Riley's, maybe even Blaine's.
I could feel every part of my body, and at the same time I felt nothing at all. No emotion, no hunger. Nothing.
I was a vampire, and I felt nothing.
I opened my eyes to see Griet had shrunk away, maybe she was sensing I wasn't afraid, or that for the first time I had a reason not to hate being what her spell had done to me. It had given me the edge I needed to keep going.
"I already feel nothing."
At that moment Henry shot up out of the floor and went straight for Griet; he had done something to her, hurt her somehow. Maybe all that magic had given Henry some of his own power.
"Wasn't what you did to me enough?" Henry snarled showing the same fierceness he had when he wanted me to destroy the statue. I watched as he pushed Griet straight through the wall into the next room and they both disappeared.
"Seath?" Tess came rushing through a door on my left, I turned my head to look at her. I must've looked horrible, but she didn't stop.
"I can't do this anymore." Everything I had used to stand up to Griet had collapsed.
"Its alright. You can make it. We all will."
She nodded and pulled me into a hug; the drips of blood had become a steady flow. "We'll find Riley and Blaine and we'll put you back, Back to normal. All of us."
Riley screams led us back through the maze of doors to Griet's room. It wasn't just Riley's screaming that we could hear, but Blaine was saying something, but I couldn't understand what.
And there was the horrible sound of something break. Glass, wood, everything.
Henry appeared again, "Don't go in. Don't go. I, you should be here. Griet's trapped them in a memory, a piece of the past I have never allowed myself to regret. No one should have to witness this, no one—" He vanished and was cut off.
I looked at Tess who looked just as scared as I felt. As she went to reach for the handle she found nothing but bare wood, and as the screams on the other side grew louder and more frantic; I realized why not only the ghost boy, but why the witch herself wouldn't let us open the door. It wasn't to help those trapped and screaming, it was to protect ourselves from whatever horror was going on inside.
Everything stopped and seemed to turn to normal. I could barely make out of the party downstairs, Tess's breathing had settle. But nothing had come from the witch's room. No screaming, no ghosts appeared to stop us.
Even the door handle had reappeared.
I opened to door slowly, afraid of what might be inside.
I saw Griet, living Griet. We were watching another memory, she was working around a round table. There were a couple of candles on it, but nothing else.
Henry suddenly walked through us, not his ghost but him, alive.
"Henry," Griet seemed pleased to see him, but what she couldn't see was what Henry was holding behind his back.
It wasn't a knife but a metal rod, something from out in the stable I imagined.
"What's wrong Henry?" Griet seemed to be a kind as a Mother would be to their son, "don't you feel well. Perhaps I could make you something."
Henry had been looking at the floor the whole time, but I could see in the mirror once he looked up that his eyes were completely white. Griet took a step backward.
"I've seen things I wish I hadn't," he spoke, still holding the rod behind him. "Things you cannot because your eyes haven't been stolen from you. Things in the darkness you've brought into the world from their own. You and your bloody magic. You need to see, You need to know. You need to see the other side."
Henry didn't stop after he stabbed out Griet's eyes, not when she screamed bloody murder. Not even when he kept sticking her with the rod even after it was obvious she was dead. It was probably on the of the most horrific things I'd ever seen.
Henry and Griet vanished and Riley appeared, curled up in the corner. Tess ran to her while I looked for Blaine.
"No eyes. No eyes. He took our eyes." Riley was a little more than just shaken. She had seen something no one should ever have had to see. And who knows how many times she saw it.
"Who took your eyes Riley? Who? Was it Henry?"
Blaine was sitting at the table, staring— thank God, they both still had their eyes, although Blaine had blood running from his. It looked like he was crying blood.
I stopped at the other side of the table, slowly he looked up at me, and I wish he hadn't.
"It was Mason. Mason wanted our eyes."
Tess looked at me, it made no sense. Why would Mason want eyes?
"Mason thought they would make her go away," Henry had appeared out of nowhere, something he has been very good at. His eyes were white as ever. "Griet will never rest until she has eyes, she cannot cross over, but she won't take mine. She fears them. She wants eyes. Its the only way to get rid of her and her magic. Give her eyes. Let her see the way out."
Everyone seemed to be having eye issues.
"Their coming. Mason will take your eyes." Henry slipped into the shadows and I could hear two sets of footsteps coming toward the room.
"Where are we going to get eyes?" Blaine had recovered far better than Riley had, who was still shaking in Tess's arms. "We could kidnap Jasper—"
"Absolutely not," Tess stated, Blaine kept silent.
"Its the only way. My eyes will— the should grow back. My neck healed, why wouldn't I grow eyes?"
"Yeah, maybe. But once we give them your eyes Henry says Griet will disappear, and her magic with it, will all turn back to normal. How will your eyes grow back then?"
"It doesn't matter," I whispered, "I can hear them, they're getting closer. I'm going to give her my eyes and all of this shit will be over. And even if I go home blind, we'll at least be able to go home."
"Tess," Blaine tried to get Tess to understand, but she started screaming. All he could do was hold her back.
Pain was something I had thought I had gotten used to. But there was nothing on Earth that could have prepared me to the feeling of having my eyes gouged out, even if I was the one doing it.
I felt Griet's ghost right in front of me, and I was thankful that the blood running down my face was concealing the tears I somehow was still making.
"GIVE ME YOUR EYES" Griet's voice was enough to petrify a tree, let alone scare the shit out of someone. For once I was thankful I couldn't see her disgusting, rotting face.
I felt a something cold take my eyes from my hand. I heard both Tess and Riley screaming.
The dark silence that followed was almost expected.
I woke on a couch in the living room. There was still a couple party people about, but the crowd had definitely thinned— a lot.
I had to touch my eyeballs to make sure they were there.
Blaine was sitting on the arm of the couch, he smiled when he saw I was awake.
"How do you feel?" he asked as I sat up. He handed me a drink that definitely wasn't just punch.
"Please tell me I just had the most bizarre dream ever."
He laughed, "I wish, but hey. It worked. I'm back to being a wannabe superhero, Riley's a magicless witch, and Tess is American again. "
"Where are they?"
He shrugged, "Riley was pretty shaken up, so Tess took her home, but made me promise I'd call her the moment you woke up."
"You never were good at keeping promises."
Blaine smiled, then shrugged. "I wanted to make sure you had eyes first, and then figured you could just call her when you're ready. Besides she probably fell asleep waiting for my call."
"Why? What time is it?"
"Almost five. People here just thought you were high or something. I told them you were sleeping it off."
"Yeah, I imagined," I sat up too fast, feeling light headed and really hungry. Blaine almost read my thoughts and offered me a candied apple, I took a bite and swallowed; but my stomach didn't agree with it.
I flew to the bathroom just in time to vomit into the toilet, thankfully, I didn't want to explain to the Hemingways why I had vomited blood.
Blaine through the bathroom door open, "you do realize you just traveled at light speed right?"
I looked up at him and we both realized something wasn't right.
"Aw fuck Seath."
I could feel them, sharp, pointy, covered in the blood I just vomited up. I for the first time saw what I looked as a vampire in the bathroom mirror. Despite my hair being over my face I saw the red eyes, the fangs, the horrible paleness of my skin that I imagine wasn't from the make up Emma had put on me.
I looked at Blaine and wanted to cry. "Why? Why am I still like this?"
He shook his head, "I don't know Seath, I don't— we can ask Henry. That ghost's name was Henry right? We can ask him."
Jasper Hemingway stopped us before we got upstairs. "Where do you think you're going? No— a better question, why are you still here?"
I really wanted to rip his head off.
"They were coming to see me," Henry appeared on the bottom step, he wasn't transparent anymore and even seemed to be smiling. But still didn't have irises or pupils.
"And you are?" Jasper asked in an all too snotty voice.
"Henry, lives— well not lives—" Blaine tried to explain it but failed.
"He's the ghost that haunts this house," I said bluntly.
Jasper laughed, "Yeah okay. Lay off the weed next time Gage."
"I highly doubt there will be a next time Jasper."
"Whatever," he shrugged and walked away.
"I know," he said.
"You know?" Blaine and I said together.
"Why didn't I change back then?"
Henry hesitated before answering, "Griet had once turned a rat into a skeleton. A rat skeleton, it was small, harmless, it moved just like a living rat. But she couldn't for the life of herself change him back into a rat. He stayed as a skeleton. I'm sorry but I didn't remember this until I realized you had dressed up as something dead. I felt the presence of death within you after you gave Griet your eyes, I had thought I was just feeling Griet or Mason. I never really knew what a vampire was.
"I'm sorry Seath but you're dead. Dead things don't come back to life. Trust me, I've tried. I was dead three months before I killed Griet. She had done something that had stopped my heart, yet I was still able to move. Do things. Griet had told me that once something dies its dead. It took three months for my body to start rotting, that's when I knew I had to do something. It was after I killed her that I finally left my body, turned into this.
"I wish there was something I could do, there's been so many times I wish I had done something. But I can't. I'm a ghost." He paused and starting slipping into the floor. "I'll be here if you need me."
"So what? I'm dead now? Forever?"
"Technically undead," Blaine was doing his best to help, but needed to process that I wasn't ever going to be normal again. Henry genuinely looked upset, as if he had died all over again.
"I'm going home."
Blaine didn't do anything to stop me.
The walk home was different from the walk to the Mason Mansion last night. I had walked there human, and was walking home something else. I could hear sounds I couldn't before, see my way through the dark streets, smell things I wish I couldn't.
There was no one else out, and I was thankful. I took the long route home to try and clear my head. Lady Marcel had said I wasn't going to survive.
I just wished she had been wrong.
My house was silent— almost. I could hear the breathing and the heart beats of four people and one dog. Everyone was home.
I dug around in my pocket and found my keys.
The door opened, but I couldn't get in, it was as if there was an invisible wall keeping me out. I sighed, vampire problems.
It took one ring for Mom to pick up her phone.
"Seath? Is something wrong?"
I wanted to say no, and at the same time to say yes and tell her everything. I started sobbing instead.
"Oh Seath, where are you?"
"Outside," I managed.
"Outside the house?"
"Yeah, by the front door."
I listened as she came running down the stairs. Watching her as she came to the door.
"Seath you look horrible, get in here."
I had to be invited, go figure.
I collapsed into here, feeling her warmth, trying to soak it up. But I was too cold to hang on to it.
"Tell me what happened."
I wanted to, I honestly did. But I felt ridiculous, even she'd think I was on drugs if I told I was a vampire while wearing this costume.
"I will Mom, I promise. But I really just want to take a shower first.."
"Of course honey. It can wait."
I could wait forever.
My shower was freezing cold, but it felt unbelievably good. I must have been in there for an hour because sunlight was coming through the window when I got out. I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw my reflection as I remembered it. There was no make up, no crazy hair do, and no silly costume.
It was just me. The way I should be, dark hair, blue eyes. Me, Seath Gage. The one and only.
Yet no one was even close to being like me.
Mom was at the kitchen table with a cup a black coffee. It smelled awful but I didn't tell her that. She looked up and smiled.
"Feeling better?" She asked as I sat down.
I shook my head. "Mom, there's something I have to tell you."
"Oh god. Is it bad? You were drinking last night weren't you? Or is it drugs? Because I know we can get through that, especially after how your brother acted when he was your age."
She must have forgotten that was only a year ago.
"No, Mom. It isn't any of those things."
"You got someone pregnant."
"Mom! Will you listen to me?"
She shrunk in her seat, "I'm sorry, go ahead. Say what's on your mind."
"Remember last night when you told me to be back before dawn because I might burn up in sunlight? I think I might actually be able to do that."
"Oh, honey that was just a Halloween joke."
"I'm being serious."
"I don't understand."
I imagined she wouldn't.
"Tell me Seath. Tell me what happened last night."
I sighed and started at the beginning.
She didn't believe it until the sunlight came in through the kitchen window and my arm started smoking. I flew, or ran unnaturally fast from the kitchen and threw myself into my dark bedroom. I had gotten through all of the story, right up to the end and I swear Mom thought I was on crack.
But what was I suppose to do? I had to tell someone, and it was better to tell her right away than have to explain it later. I don't know how many excuses I could make about having to go outside before she figured out I was avoiding the sun. Or why I wasn't eating food, not to mention I had no idea where I was suppose to get blood. And garlic, I didn't even know if that had any affect on me yet.
I was dead. Undead.
These things just aren't normal.