Chapter 18: Unhealthy Confrontation

The pale bastard carries me down the graveyard like a fucking rag-doll. I've never felt like a rag-doll before...Well, I guess when I was tossed through the window I felt somewhat rag-doll like. I don't particularly like the feeling.

This is the longest ten seconds I've ever lived. Right now. Being carried by the throat off to what I think may be my death. I didn't see myself going down like this. I saw maybe kids first, a husband, a really cute one, and all the money I could spend, and then some. I know, humble.

I can't see what's happening behind me, but I'm pretty sure Hannah is still a cat, fighting Edmund. Suddenly my leg starts vibrating. The sound distracts – Wait, my leg's vibrating? Is that some sort of shock or – Oh, my cell phone. My cell phone! A plot forms. Nathaniel stops dead in his tracks. In a graveyard. I'm not doing this on purpose, I swear. He stops dead in his tracks and glances around, listening to the faint noise of the vibrating cell phone. Vampires must have really good hearing, because with the wind and lightning, I can barely hear myself think. But, I'm also being choked.

I take this opportunity to punt him between the legs. He drops me and yelps. More out of surprise than pain, I think. The ground hits me like a frying pan to the ass, however that's supposed to occur naturally. I'd love nothing more than to lay down and catch my breath for a couple of minutes at least, but there's a vampire guidance counsellor who would probably love nothing more than to "suck the blood from me like juice from a box."

I scramble to my feet and begin sprinting away from him and...towards Edmund. Fantastic. No time to rethink this now, just keep running you twit. The pain in my side isn't liking the running – Actually, it's more of stumbling. I'm stumbling across the graveyard as gracefully as a kitty cat. Speaking of cats...

The scene I'm sprinting towards doesn't look hopeful at all. Hannah's on the ground, human form and everything. Edmund's standing over her with the book open in his hand and...I can't see the front of him but I'm guessing a sadistic grin and bloodthirsty eyes. I sprint faster. I push myself more than I should I...I think the blood is seeping up again I...I...I smash into Edmund's back, the Arcanum is flung out of his hand, the two of us stumble to the ground.

"Little bitch!" he hisses as he throws me off of him. The Arcanum landed just a few feet from us, I scramble towards it. He grabs my ankle. Fuck, he's dragging me back! I use my other foot to kick him in the face while I claw at the grass trying to get closer to the damned book. Suddenly a sort of growl roars from behind both of us. A white wolf jumps onto Edmund, biting the arm latched onto my ankle. Hannah, you sly dog. Not on purpose!

Finally! I get a finger on it, a single finger, and almost all my worries vanish. A warm feeling spreads throughout me, it's actually really freaky. Then it stops. Everything stops. Nathaniel plucks the Arcanum from my flimsy grasp, standing above me like a monster.

"Nice try, Alex," he says. The growling stopped too. I roll over to see what happened. Edmund has Hannah by the wrist, she's back in her human form again. How the hell did that happen? She struggles against him but he doesn't seem to care. He stares at Nathaniel like a madman.

"Give me the book," he says shakily, holding out his ageing hand. Nathaniel looks at Edmund, then at the book, then at Edmund again. "Give it to me!" Edmund spits.

Nathaniel grins. "You have nothing to worry about, Edmund," he says snidely. "Just keeping it from young Ms. Walker here." Nathaniel walks over to Edmund and Hannah and hands Edmund the book. As if she never existed, he relinquishes his grip on Hannah and holds the book in both of his gross claws.

It's only now that I realize that I'm in immense pain again. I look down at myself. There's still no evidence of a wound, or anything like that. It's just really sore. David did warn me. Wait – David!

As if on queue, a loud explosion-like noise came from the manor. Everyone stops whatever it was they were doing and snaps over to it. Edmund looks worried.

"Take care of it," he orders Nathaniel. Nathaniel rolls his amber yellow eyes and walks off back towards the broken glass of the study. "As for you," he says. I look around to see if Hannah's still here. She vanished. I don't blame her.

"What are you going to do?" I ask, my breath almost fully restored. "Kill me like you killed my mom?"

"Oh, yes, that's right..." he says, mock sympathy in his voice, "you didn't get the chance to say goodbye...Would you like to?"

"Just shut up," I hiss. He laughs.

"Of course you do," he smiles. He raises his left hand. Nothing happens for a second, but he seems sure of himself. Then...then she...her body floats through the broken crypt door. A...a...she's just...there's so much blood! I look away. I can hear my heart pounding in my chest, a burning inside me, like I'm about to be sick. "It was necessary, my dear."

Suddenly every word he says is like nails on a chalkboard. I can feel myself tensing, that deep dark hatred building up again. I climb to my feet.

"Oh, I won't be doing this to you, no," he says. "I have something far more...special in mind for you." I don't like that. I don't like anything coming out of that fly trap the fucker calls a mouth. The hate builds up more, my hands clench into fists, my head is bowed like the banshee or that girl from The Grudge. Then...red.

I thrust my hands forward, screaming angrily. A sort of red energy lunges at Edmund from me. He flies backwards into the door frame of the crypt. It's smashed beyond repair. The red coloured energy fades away, and I walk forward slowly in that "pissed off action chick" kind of way. Then...

"Alex!" a voice calls out from behind me. I stop my march towards Edmund and turn around to see Nathaniel again. This time he has David on his knees in front of him. "Why don't you calm down, before this gets out of hand?"

"Out of hand?!" I yell. I can feel the red energy flow around my fist.

"There's a lot more to you than I thought, isn't there?" he asks. I'm not really sure what I'm doing, but it's painful. He opens his mouth to speak again, but he doesn't get a chance to say anything. A white wolf bites his neck. He screams for the second time today, FUCK I love his screams! David rolls away from him, then blasts him with a ball of fire, a ball of fire that was depressingly ineffective.

While they distract Nathaniel, I return to dealing with Edmund. He slowly climbs out of the rubble. "You little whore!" he spits. "What are you?!" I don't answer. I can't. I have no idea how to respond to something like that. "Fine," he finally snaps after a few moments, "I suppose I'll just have to kill you, too!"

The Arcanum falls open and he holds out his hand, similarly to before. I start floating up again, but this time the hateful energy feels...suppressed. I can't...I can't do anything. Nothing. Suddenly I feel this horrible horrible pain flowing through me, like...like...it's absolutely indescribable, but it hurts!

Then the echoes of the dark voice start, but it isn't talking to me. I can barely hear it. What I can hear, though, are Edmund's replies.

"No! No, she is mine!" he yells into the wind. The voice replies, but again, I can't make it out. "No! No...no..." I feel myself lowering back to the ground, the pain receding. "Fine, have the girl!" he yells. "The book, though, the book is mine!"

"You still have a debt to pay," the dark voice says. Holy shit, I can hear it now! Should I be able to hear it?

"Oh, what?! I gave you the girl, what more do you want from me?!" Edmund screams in seething anger. The voice doesn't reply. It just laughs, then Edmund starts screaming. Screaming, horrible screaming! His eyes flare into a bright yellow. The book, though, the book is still open and in his hands.

I look back at Hannah and David. Nathaniel seems to have run off, they didn't chase after him. They're just watching now. I look at my mom, or...or what's left of her, then back at Edmund. I know what to do. I need to act. Quickly.

I find my feet again and sprint towards Edmund. His screams get worse. The light cracks along the skin around his eyes. Quick! I grab the Arcanum from him. It's open to the incantation he almost used on me. I know it's the one. I can feel it. I hold out my hand towards Edmund and concentrate as hard as I can.

The power flows up from the book in no visible way, but I can feel it all flowing towards Edmund. The screaming stops. Whatever was happening to him stopped, now I have control. For once. He rises up, looking at me in terror and confusion, the yellow gone from his eyes, black cracks around them. His skin starts to bubble, blood starts to spill from his mouth as he gags and tries to verbally attack me or something.

It's working. I shift my focus to mom, her body sprawled out on the ground. I focus harder than I did with Edmund and...I feel it. It's working! I can hear the skin bubbling and boiling while the life slowly leaves Edmund. The wind begins to die down, the lightning stops. Finally, Edmund screams, the blood gurgling in his throat. The final end of Edmund Douchewater – I mean Darkwater.

With the sound of his body thumping off the ground like a doll, I turn to my mother. I don't dare move any muscle in my body, my hand still held up, the book still open. Then it starts. The flesh on her begins to build up again, the skin spreading all over the bloody wreck that was my mom. Slowly her entire body rebuilds and...and...

I slam the book shut and run over to her. My legs feel like they can barely hold me, my feet feel like balloons. My stomach is at war with itself, deciding whether it should throw up or let fly the wounded butterflies. I finally get to her and drop beside her. She looks just like before...just like before. All that's missing is...is...

"...Your mom?" Hannah asks from behind me. I nod. "I am so so sorry," she says. I feel David's hand on my shoulder.

"No...No it's not over yet," I stammer, tears welling.

"Alex..." David says.

"No. You didn't see. She...I saved her. I can save her."

"...Alex," David says again. I don't say anything this time. I can't hold it in anymore. I drop my head and just start crying. It's not over yet. Impermanent. Even death is impermanent.

Then, like a gift from God himself, she breathes. I shoot upwards, my eyes wide, tears still running down my cheeks. David's hand leaves my shoulder. Another breath comes. Then another. And another!

"Mom?" I cradle her head in my hands and turn her towards me.

Her eyes open slowly. Groggily she says "Alex?"

"Mom!" I practically screech and hug her as tight as I can. She feels stiff, but she hugs back as best she can anyways.

"What happened?" she asks me.

"...Um..." I start, unsure, "we can talk about that later." I hug her tighter. I did it. I saved her. After what feels like not nearly long enough, I let her go. We get up.

"What is that?" she asks, pointing to the large book in my hands. I look down at the Arcanum. It vibrates with power. The voice is in my head again.

"Now it begins," it says, darker than ever. I don't like that.

I push that thought aside for now, and avoid answering the question. "Mom, this is David and Hannah. New friends from school. Helped me save your life."

"What?" she asks. Oops.

"Shit, right, yeah, we'll talk about it later," I say flimsily. I turn her away from the boiling remains of Edmund Darkwater before she notices that too. Unfortunately the only way to turn her really is towards the manor, where there is a huge hole where I went through. She stares at it, stunned. "...We'll fix that." I promise.

Dad's going to get home late. He left a message on my phone to tell me. Apparently I was too busy to answer. Go figure. It gave me a lot of time to tell mom what happened. How everything sort of just fell apart in less than a week. She took it okay. She didn't scream or anything, she just nodded speechlessly, until I got to the part where I resurrected her. Then we decided to keep that whole thing from dad.

Now, we're heading inside. Mom still has some trouble standing, but she's doing fine. David helped her like a gentleman. So cute. We get inside and I sit her down on the steps, because clearly couches in the entry way would have been a terrible idea. Then I turn to David and Hannah.

"Thank you. Both of you," I say, all mushy like.

"...It's cool," Hannah says. Hah! I hug her. "So, are we like, friends?"

"Yup," I say through happy tears. "You're just gonna have to deal with it." Hannah laughs, and I turn to David.

"Well, you seemed like you were in trouble so I just-" I kiss him before he says anything else. I can feel my mom's eyes on me. I like that feeling right now. Won't in a few weeks. The kiss comes to its inevitable end, and he looks surprised. "What was that?"

"Well, you know, save a girls life, get a kiss, sort of the rule," I say. "Now, you wanna help me clean up a bloody corpse?" I ask, smiling widely.

He rolls his eyes. "Fine." It'd be good to get that out of the way before dad gets home. The window, well...we'll say...something. There is a sense of calm and peace inside me. But it's not from me. Terrence Darkwater's spirit is at peace, but not at rest. He waits inside my refuge, giving me silent congratulations.

But I can't fool myself into thinking that this is it. That this was all that was going to happen. The voice is still in my head. The Arcanum is...holy shit, it's still in my hands. A dark feeling crawls up over me. Something happened. Something opened. I can't explain how I know that, but I do. I don't know what's opened, but it has. The dark voice laughs one more time.

Notes: So ends the first installment of The Darkwater Chronicles. Believe it or not, the second one is already planned out, and I'm ready to start writing it. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I wasn't intending it to be so short, but I didn't really set out any predictions for length. It's as long as it needs to be. Anyways, if you did enjoy this first installment, and would like to join Alex Walker in her next dark adventure, keep an eye out for the next installment, Servants of the Night. What do you think, think I can publish it "officially?"

Anyways, I hope to see your reviews here, and possibly on the next one.