Authors: Sam Vickery
Tags: #romance, #vampire, #urban fantasy, #paranormal romance, #fantasy, #young adult, #fantasy fiction
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am Vickery 2016
she screamed. “You have to run Oriah!”
I saw the
fear in my mothers eyes and felt panic rise up within me. My mother
was never scared, never even nervous. I knew in that moment that
this was serious. Unable to stop myself I grabbed hold of her arm,
my fingernails scraping desperately at her exposed skin, though I
knew it wouldn't leave a mark.
“No, I can't,
I won't leave you!”
have to go, I will follow,
, but I have to go back
for your father,” she insisted, prising me off her body and shoving
me roughly backwards towards the thick jungle, her eyes apologetic
and filled with terror.
“I can help
I can fight!” I pleaded, trying to sound
stronger than I felt.
shouted, taking me by surprise. “Just go Oriah, please!” she
begged. She shook her head with finality, already backing away from
me. Her body was coiled ready to move, but she hesitated as she
waited for me to act. “Run Oriah, NOW!”
I stood for
half a second as I hesitated, not wanting to leave her, unsure of
the situation she was heading into. But then, unable to defy her
wishes I nodded firmly, my eyes meeting hers one final time. And I
The trees and
plants were a display of bright colours as I moved past them with
lightning speed, with no idea where I should go, where I was
running to, only that it was better than what I was running from. I
ran so far I could almost see the edge of the rainforest, farther
than I had ever been before. This frightened me. I didn't know if I
should carry on or wait here for my parents to catch up.
Should I hide somewhere?
And then in my
hesitation I heard my mother scream. It sent shivers down my spine
and nearly threw me to the ground, I had never heard anything so
horrific in all my life. I swung around storming back the way I had
come, faster and faster still.
As I got
closer, the entwined stench of smoke, blood, and burning filled my
nostrils, bringing up a cocktail of emotions within me; revulsion,
“Don't let me
be too late, please don't let me be too late,” I repeated over and
over under my breath, the mantra creating a steady rhythm to
accompany my feather-light footfall. At last I burst into the
clearing that I called home, my eyes searching, my ears listening
for any available clue. Skidding to a halt, I fell to my knees as I
realised what I was seeing before me. Our home was shattered,
crushed to the ground, orange flames licking through the pile of
wood and memories. The clearing was deserted, nothing remained, but
a pile of smoking ashes beside my fathers drained corpse.
The air was
warm and sultry, my face upturned towards the blinding sun, a smile
on my lips, as I breathed in deep. Barefoot, I stepped forward into
the cool water, sighing with relief as it rushed over my hot skin.
It felt deliciously refreshing. Nearby an olive baboon screeched
loudly, startling the birds from the trees as he flew through the
air landing gracefully on an outstretched branch. The rainforest
was vibrant, alive, and just as I did every day, I stared in awe at
the paradise I was lucky enough to call home.
had nothing to compare it to, I had never even come close to
leaving the safety of the jungle, but I was content, satisfied that
life couldn’t possibly get better than this. I watched the sunlight
hitting the still water and felt an urge to touch it, as if I could
soak up the reflected warmth. Reaching down with my fingertips I
traced the patterns, watching the surface break, sending ripples
through my reflection.
suddenly playful, I gave a whoop of joy as I splashed into the
deeper water, up to my waist, twirling and dancing, my arms
outstretched above my head like a prima ballerina. I waded over to
the cascading falls, my dress sodden and heavy with water, yet not
slowing me down one bit. Standing at the foot of the waterfall I
concentrated, focusing my gaze intently, my eyes beginning to fill
with a familiar pressure. As I stared, the water shifted slowly,
parting through the centre like the opening of curtains, creating a
dry passage for me to pass through. I laughed again, pleased with
myself, I was getting better at this trick! Glancing behind me once
more to check I wasn’t being watched, I darted through the gap just
as the water resumed tumbling down.
this small damp cave, concealed from the world, I could let my
creativity flow. The walls were bright with colour, the artwork
fading into the dripping water. It wasn’t the best place to paint,
but I always felt too conspicuous doing it out in the open, like
someone might judge my work. My painting was for me, just me and I
wasn’t up for hearing anyone's criticisms. Not that they would, I
doubted, but perhaps this was how all artists felt about their
work? Protective, shy. It was silly really, there were no secrets
in my family. They knew what it was that I did here in my safe
haven. But when you spend all of your time with the same people,
sometimes it's nice to have a little something that is just for
you. I pulled back the heavy rock that concealed my art supplies
and sighed happily.
landed heavily, bumping along the grey tarmac, dragging me from my
dream. Reluctantly, not yet ready to face reality, I turned my head
to the side, slowly opening my swollen, red eyes. I had cried a lot
of tears this past week. I watched the other passengers getting to
their feet, stretching and yawning as they pulled coats and
backpacks out of the overhead storage lockers. My time was up, it
seemed. Wearily I pulled together my small woven bag, checking the
passport my mother had so thoughtfully secured for me was still in
place. My father, Richard, had looked at her like she was crazy
when she had arrived back from one of her expeditions bearing three
leather bound passports, one for each of us.
“As if we
would need them,” he had said. “We never go anywhere!” But like
always, my mother was right. Her gift had turned out to be very
useful, to me at least, after all.
on a cap, trying to remain inconspicuous, though I suspected I was
falling widely short of the mark. I could sense several pairs of
eyes honing in on me, and directed my face down, determinedly
avoiding their curious gazes. Drifting into the arrivals lounge of
Heathrow, I cast around the awaiting crowd to see if I could pick
out my Aunt. Everyone looked the same to me, I couldn’t tell one
human from the next. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman who
must have been in her forties, thin and well dressed in a burgundy
pencil skirt and cashmere cardigan, buttoned right to her throat.
She was beckoning to me with a wide grin on her face. I advanced
with caution, not quite sure of myself, wanting to make sure I was
approaching the right person. It looked like she was experiencing
the same doubts.
“Oriah, is that you? Oh it
, do come here!” she exclaimed, holding
out her arms towards me.
Auntie,” I said quietly, stopping short of her embrace.
call me Aunt Ivy my dear,” she simpered, stepping forward and
leaning in for a hug, before changing her mind at the last moment,
reaching out for my bag instead. “Let me help you with that...”
fine, I’ve got it... Thanks,” I replied awkwardly, holding on
firmly to my belongings.
you like dear,” she brushed her hand through the air dismissively.
“Now let's get you home shall we? We have so much to catch up on. I
must say I was simply devastated to hear the news about my dear
brother and your mother, a car crash you say? Must have been simply
awful for you pet! And such a shame I couldn't make it to the
funeral, but the Congo dear, well, I'm not sure I would cope. All
that heat, those bugs,” she shuddered. I nodded stiffly, flinching
at the mention of my parents. “Well, never you mind, you are
welcome to stay with me as long as you like. It will be nice to
have some company for a change,” she continued, offering a warm
smile as we walked through the packed airport.
my head feeling embarrassed at her generosity. “Thanks Aunt Ivy, I
really appreciate it.”
followed her out to the car, taking in my new surroundings. It was
cold here, but the temperature didn’t bother me, only in an
emotional sense I supposed, it was too different from where I
belonged. There were so many sounds, so many voices, I couldn’t
figure out how to focus. Cars were everywhere, as were buildings.
They blocked the sky and made me feel insignificantly small and
lost in this new land. I suddenly had a strong desire to run and
run, to break free of these suffocatingly high walls.
Aunt Ivy talked a lot as she drove, the buildings slowly
phasing out into fields and trees. This felt more familiar to me
and I watched the scenery passing by frustratingly slowly,
reminding myself to be patient
Humans don’t have the same concept of speed
Oriah, you need to relax.
was telling me something about her new bathroom, something to do
with a jacuzzi bath which seemed to please her, and I nodded along,
trying to be polite, thinking of the manners my father had
instilled in me. Eventually, she pulled into a gravel driveway
facing a small but pretty cottage.
this is home,” she trilled.
very nice,” I offered dutifully. She shook her head as if I had
insulted her horribly.
beautiful dear,” she corrected chidingly. “Now let me show you
where you'll sleep.” She led me through a dark, stiflingly hot
hallway up a creaking set of stairs and into a bedroom, which was
covered from floor to ceiling in floral prints of varying degrees
you Aunt Ivy,” I said, not quite meeting her eyes as I clutched my
bag close to my chest, wishing she would go away. She seemed to
take the hint.
in an hour then, I'll leave you to freshen up.” I attempted a smile
and nodded in agreement, watching her close the door. I paused
silently for just a few seconds, listening to her footsteps
descending on the creaky stairs. It seemed to take forever. I heard
her reach the kitchen, and sighed in relief, dropping my bag to the
floor before rushing to the window to throw it open. It felt
suffocating in here, too hot, the air was stagnant, musty. I craved
the outside, and more than that, I was beginning to feel hungry.
Tonight I would have to hunt. This realisation conjured up a
strange mixture of emotions; Excitement, tension and curiosity for
what I might discover in this new and unfamiliar environment. My
stomach gave a lurch in anticipation of the chase.
I stepped back from the window leaving it wide open, and
feeling my excitement turn to dread I cast around the room, my
quick eyes taking in the lace bedspread, the soft white lambskin on
the floor, the huge oak wardrobe and the pink towelling gown that
hung from the door. So this was home now. I felt the tears begin to
prick my eyes, still so close to the surface, and knew that I could
hold them back no longer. Crouching down, I curled up into a ball
on the soft white rug and let myself weep for my parents, my life
and the place I would never call home again. The salty tears fell
freely as I pulled my knees in tight to my chest, rocking back and
forth trying to hold in the pain that seemed to be trying to burst
free from my insides. I had to stay in control of myself and get
hold of my emotions. Who knew what would
happen if I gave myself up to these powerful feelings?
What would Marie do now?
wishing she were here to tell me my next step, she always knew what
to do. I closed my eyes as I pictured her now.
My mother was
the most powerful woman imaginable. She would always tell me it was
really me who was the special one, but to cast eyes on my mother
was to be awed. She was incredibly beautiful, with smooth raven
hair and midnight eyes. Her skin had been so pale it was almost
translucent, so perfectly smooth and flawless it took my breath
away every single day of her life. She could command the attention
of a room in a voice so sweet, so quiet, you would almost have to
strain to hear it. But rather than be lost in the crowd, she was
the one everyone saw.