Janey shrugged off the question as nonchalantly as possible. "I knew a bit about Nadia- I mean, our school's not that big. You know everyone eventually. Saw Nadia freaking out, then saw Nadia with Chris, then saw you and Chris freaking out. Found the dead guy, put two and two together, and played a major hunch. That's about it." Janey said. She fell silent again. She honestly had no clue where they were going, but she hoped they'd arrive soon- she wasn't too fond of the dark streets they crossed. She turned to Philip. "Why is Chris so protective over Nadia? I mean, she did try to kill herself, but he seems really touchy around her, even with us. Is there a reason he's like that?"
The nurse came back into the room. She smiled as soon as she walked into the room, a fake smile of course. She wasn't good at hiding the obvious. Nadia stirred and woke up.
"Oh! Lovely you're awake. I'm going to need some of your blood, if that's okay with you?" The nurse was grinning with an awkward look in her eyes.
"Mm... yeah, sure." Nadia said, still waking up.
"Wonderful!" The nurse pulled a set of draws on wheels towards her, like the ones you see in hairdressers, and opened the second draw and pulled out a new, clean, sterile needle. She walked to Nadia's side and pushed her sleeve up. The needle was pushed into Nadia's arm and the nurses phoney smile turned to serious concentration. She pulled at the end of the syringe but no blood filled the tube. "Oh well that's strange. Maybe it's broken..." The nurse examined the tube. "Hmm, nothing looks out of place. I'll try another one..." The procedure was re-done. Nothing. The tube just kept filling with air. Nothingness. After 4 more attempts the nurse said "Sorry, please excuse me..." She looked scared and scurried out of the room.
"Chris... What's happening? I'm scared." Nadia looked up at Chris. Her eyes were big and clouded over, her skin was pale but her lips were full and red and her pupils large.
"You're a ninja turtle." The stud didn't move. Breathing heavily, Chris's flawless face was hidden under his curtain of hair. "Tell me how you are feeling right now?" Chris hesitated for a moment. "Hungry?" Nadia's eyes lit up. Chris justified his anticipation silently, as the nurse walked in once more. In her hands, she held a blood bag from the donation center. " I will let you take it from here, Master Chevalier." She said boldly and curtsied before leaving. "Thank you Lihnette." The door seperating them from the real world and Nadia's worst nightmare, closed behind the nurse.
"If he was a good person, you would expect good from him, right?" Janey nodded. "He doesn't want to disappoint anyone's expectations. Besides, he's better at playing the bad guy anyway." Philip paused. "He is probably just in shock. Even if he won't admit it." The two approached a winding path through a thin layer of woods. "His house is just beyond these trees." He looked back at Janey, noticing the fear in her eyes. He stood closer to her. "I'm scared too."
They walked into the wooded area, the dirt path ahead of them dark as the light from the street behind them faded away. Their footsteps were soft and blunt on the hard ground as they walked. Janey kept her eyes on the path ahead, trying her best not to show fear. As they walked, Janey and Philip were almost touching, striding close beside each other.
Suddenly, Janey heard the faint crackle of branches on the path behind them. Despite the oncoming breeze, the sound made her nervous. When she heard it again a minute or two later, she tensed up looked back on the path. She pulled at Philip’s arm, causing him to stop. “I heard something.” She whispered quietly. She waited a moment before sighing and making to keep walking. “Never mind.” She said loudly. As she turned, she saw something out of the corner of her eye. She barely smiled. They fell for it.
Swinging around, she watched as something jumped towards them, unrecognizable in the dark of the path. It looked vaguely human shaped- tallish, with four limbs- but Janey couldn’t tell what or who it was. The thing emitted a low noise as it lashed out at the two of them, its voice deep and gargled. Janey was prepared for its attack. She pushed Philip behind her and ducked as she dodged the swing. Using the ground as a stabilizer, she swung her leg out in a roundhouse kick with her body low to the ground. Her foot caught the attacker at its legs and knocked it over, but the thing jumped back on its feet in a fluid motion and whipped its arm out again. Janey stepped back and grabbed its arm as it came towards her, bending it backwards and pushing it down. But it was much stronger than she’d hoped; it threw Janey off it and swung at her again. Janey scrambled to the side to dodge the initial attack but grabbed its arm again and, this time, she pulled the thing towards her. As she did, Janey brought her knee up and hit their middle chest with a hard blow. As the thing moved back, Janey kicked it in the direction of its head, the ball of her foot colliding with something hard. The attacker keeled over and as it let out a piercing yell, Janey retreated, running down the path as fast as she could go, her heart pounding.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Philip. She screamed at him. “Come on!” Janey could barely see the light from the path ahead as it lead out of the woods. Whatever had attacked them didn’t seem to be following them, but she didn’t stop running until they had cleared the trees.
10 minutes after the failed blood tests Nadia was asleep again. The blood given to Nadia was being rejected by her body. The more they gave her, the more she coughed it up again. There was no blood left in her system and her skin was a translucent white and her lips were tinted blue. Chris was sleeping at Nadia's bedside, it had been a stressful night after all. Nadia woke when a male doctor opened the curtain and entered the room. He looked at Chris and gently woke him. "Excuse me son, were going to have to ask you to leave. We need this room for another patient." Chris looked at the man and then to Nadia.
"But my friend is sick, what about her?" Chris complained. The doctor looked at the slightly bloody bed sheets and sighed.
"Sorry son, your young lady friend was taken away. She passed whilst you were sleeping..."
Nadia laughed as she and Chris looked at each other. "Sorry sir I think you've got the wrong room, I'm right here and actually I feel pretty good! Can I check myself out of here?" The doctor said nothing, he didn't look at Nadia the whole time she spoke. He just stared sorrowfully at Chris.
"I'm awfully sorry, her body is in the morgue and we're trying to find someone to contact. Do you know any of-" He looked at his clipboard, "-Nadia's family?"
Chris looked at Nadia, completely mind blown at how stupid this doctor was, was he blind!?
"Chris, I think we should go..." Nadia got out of bed and walked straight past the doctor. He shuddered and stayed focus on Chris. As he stood he moved out of Chris's way, patted him on the back and quietly said, "I'm sorry for loss, if you need to talk to anyone call this number and arrange a visit. Grieving can drive people mad, we just want you to be safe." He smiled and let Chris go with his card which he carelessly stuffed into his jeans pocket.
A small tear caressed Chris's cheek. "Thank you for all you have done doctor. She was a good friend." His british accent was thicker then usual as he made himself scarce. The lonely trot of a young man who had lost his "girlfriend", took place through the halls. Lihnette patted his shoulder as he walked past, not giving a second glance. "I'm sorry Master. We couldn't save her." Sincerity laid thick in her voice, as Chris nodded her way. Nothing more was said until Chris was outside and wiped away the tears before laughing. "Why the bloody hell am I able to see you?" Chris waited for Nadia's reaction, then smirked. "Thats what I would have said, had I not encountered the super natural before."
Nadia looked petrified, as the wind blew between them. " Don't be frightened. We will figure this out together. Know this, you can always trust me. I am a man of my word." He smiled and waved her to follow him. "There is a road called recovery and we are on it." He winked at her. "I'm not sure what that means?" Nadia said. "There are books in my library. One of them is bound to be useful. Otherwise, I'll set the place a flame and never think twice. I have been meaning to renovate for years."
Nadia was confused. Something was different about Chris. He sounded older. Wiser. Strange. "What has happened to me?" "First thing is first, we will go back to my home, in hopes that Janey and Philip can see you. I won't contact either of them ahead of time. Much ado about nothing can be prevented, decisively." He paused. "Lovely. A full moon." He said sarcastically, stomping off ahead of Nadia. The dark wrapped its self around the two, providing for anything that could go bump in the night.
Sprinting beside his savior, Philip made no effort to keep up his strength. Tireless, he stopped ever so often to give Janey a chance to breathe. Finally, they reached the end of the road, where a large gated fence greeted them. "Welcome to the Chevalier's property." He said. "By the way, that was impressive back there... whatever that was? I have only seen Chuck Norris fight like that." Pain in his eyes, he tried to keep a positive attitude, even though he was freaked out of his mind.
Walking a few moments more, they reached Chris's home? No. His mansion.
Nadia had no idea what was going on! She was dead but Chris could see her... was she a ghost!? She pinched her arm to try and wake herself up. She thought she would wake up back in hospital with Chris at her side and the annoying nurse watching her. But she felt nothing.
Chris and Nadia were walking alongside the woods when Nadia saw something. "Chris!" She whispered sharply. "Chris, did you see that!?"
"See what? What was it, are you okay?" Nadia was staring up slightly, as if she was talking to a really tall person.
"Can you not see her?" She said to Chris and then turned back to the 'woman'.
"Nadia, darling, it's me... your mother. I can not stay long but I must explain something to you so listen carefully." Nadia looked at her mother and tried to connect her to her past but she couldn't remember a thing but judging by her looks, she really was Nadia's real mum. "Nadia, you died in your sleep in the hospital, you're dead now. You're a ghost."
Nadia interrupted "-But Chris can see me!" She said looking round at him. He looked completely lost only being able to hear half the conversation. He put his hands up and walked away to give them privacy but made sure Nadia was close enough to not astray.
"Yes I know he can see you. Technically he witnessed your death and so he can see you. Before you ask why I can't stay I must explain something else to you. There is an after life. I am only here to tell you what you need to know. You however are not there because there is some unfinished business down here. 3 things must happen down here before you can pass on. 1. You must fall in love and receive it in return, 2. All your biggest sins must be cleared and 3. You must find your own portal to the after life, it will be in the least expected place."
"That's confusing." Nadia complained. She bent over and picked up a twig to fiddle with, this situation was too much for her to stay calm. When Nadia held the twig the strangest thing happened. The twig started to grow leaves and the flowers bloomed. Nadia gasped and dropped the twig at this.
"Oh my!" Her mother gasped. "You have my gift!"
"Your what!?" Nadia was freaking out.
"My side of the family has passed down a gift from generation to generation but it changes every generation in a 4 year cycle. You have the gift! You can control the earth element! I could control air, but earth! I'm so jealous. I'm proud of you baby. Now, I must go... Don't tell your friends about this. There will be a consequence..." Nadia's mum faded before she could say any more. Nadia reached for a tree and at her touch, fruit bloomed from every branch. She took her hand away and walked back to Chris who was sat on the ground throwing stones.
Janey was glad Philip gave her some time to breathe; although she was in shape, the fight had left her winded. As they neared the gate of Philip’s house, Janey regained her usual composure and brushed off Philip’s question as best as possible. “It’s nothing. Just a few moves I learned a long time ago- self defense stuff.” She left it at that, although somehow she wasn’t convinced that was all the questions he had.
The house the approached was, to say the least, very impressive. Large and old, and in slight disrepair. However, the old-fashioned grandeur of the mansion was evident in every facet of Janey’s view. It had been- and still was- a beautiful estate. The two of them walked up the cobblestone path to the front door of the house. Tall and carved of a dark wood, Janey drew back the knocker and pounded on the door once, the sound of metal on wood echoing through the front entrance. Within a moment, the door opened and a maid in a traditional black and white uniform opened the door. Her face was sullen and Janey expected some explanation would be necessary, but one look at the pair of teens caused the maid to step back and let them in immediately. Janey hesitated; this whole situation set her on edge. Dark house, funny looking maid, teenage boys and suicidal girls involved- this whole thing suddenly reeked of ‘horror story.’ She looked at Philip in unease, hoping- praying- that she was not being set up, and walked inside.
The door banged shut behind them as they entered a long hall with a double staircase at the end spiraling towards the top floor. Following the maid, she spoke up. “Assuming you know who we are and why we’re here, ma’am, can you set us up somewhere until Chris comes home?” The maid did not answer but led them through a door into a dark library. The walls were lined with tall bookshelves whose mahogany ledges were filled with faded books. The window on the far wall let in beams of silver moonlight, but in the dark of the dank room, the atmosphere was not that cheery. To Janey’s immediate relief, however, the maid reached into a nearby cabinet and pulled out a small bundle of chopped wood and kindling and a box of matches. Within a minute, the cheery light of a crackling fire filled the room, and the air grew comfortably warm. Without a word, the maid left, leaving Janey and Philip to their own devices.
Janey walked to one of the far bookshelves and pulled off a dusty volume, brushing off its cover and opening it. Inside, pictures of plants and strange flora life were drawn over the pages, accompanied by scrawled words and notes. Closing the book and replacing it, Janey sat down on the floor by the fire. Her eyes grew weary as her limbs got heavier under sleep’s enticing fatigue. The steady warmth of the fire didn’t help. The fear of a trap still loomed in the back of her mind, but seeing as nothing had happened in this strange house so far and she wasn’t alone (Philip was, as far as she knew, awake and watching) she didn’t feel so on edge anymore. Finally, she gave in. There was nothing much they could do until Chris and Nadia returned, anyway. Looking up at Philip, Janey yawned. “Could you wake me up when Chris and Nadia get back? I’m super tired.” Leaning against a nearby chair, Janey let sleep overtake her, and she quickly drifted off.