• Almost before I could blink, the car door slammed and the sound of angry rubber could be heard zooming away. I stared at my bar of soap, as if it had the answers. I sighed, realizing how stupid I was being before taking off and throwing away my own clothing. I hopped into the shower and finally started to get myself nice and clean. My hair, though also screaming in pain, loved the feeling of water clearing away all the grim and dirt it had somehow collected. I felt a nice sized bump on my scalp as I tried to untangle my hair, which made me bite my lip in an attempt to stifle a sob. The bruises all over my body were sensitive to the water drops, my scalp pulsed with pain, my neck was sore and now I also have a baby fist sized knot on my head. What happened to me? Where did all this come from? Why did this happen to me? Why couldn’t I be home instead? I tried hard to stop my eyes from tearing, but when I realized that I might not see my parents ever again; I sobbed. I didn’t care about getting clean or anything besides my family. I loved them and missed them and hated that they would be sad because of me. I used my arm as a sleeve to wipe my runny nose before a thought occurred to me.

    It wasn’t my fault. It was Marcus’.

    Why should I blame myself for something that I had no part of? He was obviously the one who kidnapped me, that chained me, that treated me like some kind of animal. Even his own kind didn’t understand the way he treated me; so it can’t be a vampire trait. I turned off the water, stepping out of the shower and dried myself out. I looked in the mirror, noticing my raccoon like eyes and bruised lips. “Did he just punch my unconscious body or something?” muttered, wrapping the towel around me and slowly stepping out of the bathroom. I glanced around, making sure Antonio wasn’t in the room, before rushing out. Melissa had said I could wear some of her clothing, so I rummaged through her closet. While not wanting to seem ungrateful, most of her clothing was either too big or too dressy for me to wear. I finally found a simple black turtle neck shirt and jeans that somewhat fit me when I went through her dresser. When I was finally done dressing, the sound of a car pulling up quickly and a car door slamming startled me. I rushed to put back on my shoes just in time for Melissa and Antonio to come rushing into the room.

    Other then her hair being slightly ruffed up, Melissa looked as though she never was angry in the first place.

    “If Marcus get the bright idea to even look at you funny” -She was smiling as she spoke- “Please let me know. While I am nowhere near his level of power; I refuse to let him to whatever he wants.” She said as she walked closer towards me. She sighed, touching my bruised arm like my mom would before looking me in the eyes. “You do not deserve to be treated like trash and I promise you, I won’t let that happen.” I nodded because it seemed like the right thing to do. I was caught off guard a bit by how caring she was showing herself to be. It was nice to feel like you had someone on your side. I wanted to ask her the questions that were now building up in me but she spoke before I could. “I know you have questions, and you’ve been more patient then I would have been in your situation. But please, wait a little longer. The only one’s who know everything would be Marcus and James.” She spoke slowly, as if any faster would scare me off. I nodded again, this time because I actually did understand. I needed answers and the only ones who could answer them would be my kidnappers. I scrunched up my face in slight disgust as I spoke. “So when do we go back?” Antonio was the one to speak up this time, stepping up next to his wife. “That depends on you.”

    I didn’t want that answer because now that I was finally given control; I never wanted to go back.

    I wouldn’t mind staying here with Melissa and Antonio. Granted, I would prefer to be home with my family, Connor and my friends but this was the next best thing. I knew that was only running away and that I should know the reasons behind my abduction. I also knew that the sooner I prolonged it; the worse it’d be. My eyebrows furrowed together as I spoke. “Now then.” I surprised them with my answer. I guess they thought I would simply stay there until I could be comfortable being in the same room as James and Marcus. But I knew better then that. I would never feel that and why push off tomorrow what I should do today? Melissa nodded, kissed Antonio and gesturing me to follow before heading towards the door. I followed, waving goodbye to Antonio. He smiled at me and I focused on Melissa. She walked at a pace that I could follow and I noticed that the room I had been in was towards the back of the cabin. Their kitchen had a simple but homey touch to it, and while no where near as expensive as Marcus’ and James’ place had been, I liked this more. When we got inside the car, Melissa started it without a word. Unlike on our ride to her home, the ride back seemed like I was being escorted to death row.

    Talk about awkward.

    I cleared my throat, which somehow brought normal Melissa back to me. “Sorry,” she muttered as she glanced my way, “I just cannot believe the change in Marcus.” She said, shaking her head. Curiosity was peaked, my eyebrow lifting itself as I learned towards her. “You mean he was worse?” I asked, somehow wondering if I had met him on his ‘good’ day. She shook her head again, this time laughing a bit. “No, not at all! He use to be a rather kind and loving child actually.” She said with a sigh and my mouth dropped in shock. Maybe I should have attempted to hide it, because upon seeing my face Melissa couldn’t help but laugh. “Hard to believe right? But...believe me when I say that the Marcus I knew vanished long ago.” The way she said that made me not want to ask any more questions. It made me wonder about Marcus and how he use to be.

    How can someone change so much?

    I was trying to wrap my head around this when the car stopped. Before when we left, I didn’t even bother to try to see where I was trapped, but now that I was forced to I realized it was breathtaking. A stone castle that stood confidently among the trees, it’s towers boldly proclaimed its existence. I followed the pebbled pathway to the entrance, each step making my heart leap higher into my throat. What was I thinking? Why couldn’t I have ask for a few days first? My brain ranted viciously as we made our way to the door and before I could even take a death breath; it opened. James tried to smile at me, which I ignored, and invited us inside. “Don’t worry about Marcus..he’s reflecting now..” He said, the amusement clear in his voice. Melissa let out an annoyed grunt before placing her arm around my shoulder. We walked towards the living room and James invited us to sit. I didn’t want to but when Melissa sat down on the couch, I decided to sit next to her. A flicker of annoyance graced James’ face before he loudly saying “Marcus!” and sitting down.

    It would be a lie to say that I didn’t choke back a laugh at the site of Marcus.

    His clothing and sullen expression remained the same but what had got me was the sign around his neck. “I’m nothing but a big bully” was taped to his chest and his face had “I suck” in black marker on his forehead. He was forced to wear a bright red clown nose and his hair was pulled into tiny pig tails. Obviously he was not pleased, shooting daggers at Melissa and James. He ignored me completely, which I didn’t mind. He grabbed the other chair, dragged it as far from anyone as possible, before sitting down and looking like a brat in time out.

    I sooo could get use to this.

    I didn’t get to snicker very long before Melissa spoke. “Jessie, I believe you have some questions that only these two can answer.” She smiled warmly at me, and I smiled back. I looked at James, since looking at Marcus would only make me crack up laughing. “Why did you kidnap me?” It took all I had to not waver in my question. James was ready for it (besides what else would be my first question?) and glanced at Marcus as he spoke. “Well, first I would like to apologize for that. It was not suppose to be a kidnapping and no rational being,” Marcus snorted at this, “would have done it this way. But, the reason why you are here is because we need you.” He started to fidget with his hands as he continued. “Like I was saying before, your birth parents told us of your location. Which I know you do not believe.” He finished, seeing my face contorted up in disbelief. “Let’s pretend what you said is true, why now? Why not earlier in my life? I’m almost 18, why not when I was like 12 or something? Why such extreme methods? Why didn’t they get me themselves?” I asked, playing the hypothetical card. James glanced at Marcus again (which I wished he wouldn’t do) before scratching his head. “Jessie, tell me something” James said after a moment of silence. He got up, slowly walking over towards the fire place, resting his arm against it as he looked at me. I avoided his eyes and watched the fire dance behind him. “What’s your earliest memory?” He finally said and I wondered what he was up to. I looked at him questioningly, looking at Melissa as if I needed permission to answer. She nodded an ok and I looked at James for the first time. “My mom making me pancakes, my dad asking me if he should make some orange juice and me getting ready for school.” I say slowly and James shook his head. “No, I mean, how old were you?” I scrunched my face up, not sure where he was going with this, as I answered. “I was eleven. I don’t remember early due to a car accident we had.” It was true, which was a pain to explain when people reminisced over the past when I couldn’t even remember past 11.

    It was frustrating.

    What was more frustrating was Marcus’ laugh. It broke the mood and everyone’s eyes shot over towards him. “See, I knew you weren’t that bright of a girl,” this made me glare at him, “but to believe such an obvious lie! Wasting time on such a stupid girl annoys me.” He said, laughing again. Melissa had stiffen beside me while James turned back to me. “Ignoring the idiot in the corner, what I was trying to say was that the reason behind not remembering past that was not a car accident.” This brought my eyes back to James, and though I wanted to deny it, I wanted to hear more. “We believe your mother locked away some of your memories.” I looked at him like he was crazy. Despite being shown that vampires and werewolves exist (and even have their own government) I couldn’t get past my parents not being my ‘real’ parents. “Why do you think that?” I asked softly, still not believing a word of it. Marcus scoffed and James continued. “Because we found this.” He said as he placed in his hands a picture of me that I didn’t remember taking. My brain couldn’t understand what I was seeing. The more I examined it; the more I didn’t understand. The ‘me’ in the picture was much older than I thought at first glance, at least in her thirties. She had a stoic expression and her clothing, though severely old fashion, seemed expensive. I was about to ask James what he meant when I flicked the photo over and saw the year. It was 1844 and the name was said to be Cristina Marie Callidora.

    What in the flying hell was this suppose to mean?

    “Who is this?” I croaked, somehow my voice had left me. I flipped the photo to show me the woman’s face again. Her eyes burned into mine as he spoke. “Your mother.” He said softly. I wanted to throw the picture into the fire and deny this woman as it burned. But the more I tried the harder it became. I stood up quickly, catching Melissa and James off guard. I wanted to say that I take after my parents but I couldn’t. I was often asked why we looked so different, something I often asked myself. My father said genetics were a mysterious thing and my mother avoided the topic completely. Once when I suggested jokingly that I was adopted; my parents freaked. “Don’t ever say that again!” My mother shrieked at me and it had caught me off guard since she never raised her voice. Father dropped his coffee on himself, cursing the heavens and wiping some of it off before grabbing my mother and taking her into another room. Later on that day they apologized for the overreaction and I never joked like that again. When ever we visited relatives, which wasn’t often, they regarded me coldly. It was as if I wasn’t family. I didn’t realize that I was hyperventilating under I felt Melissa’s arms around me and I shrugged away.

    My world was crashing on itself and I needed to get out.

    I felt sick, my stomach doing flips as my lungs couldn’t find enough air. The picture fell to the ground, the woman’s eyes watching my every move. I rushed upstairs and tried all the doors. James had followed me, his eyes watching me as I futilely tried to find an escape. I finally found a door that would open and rushed inside, swinging the window open and sucking in the glorious air. My body felt weak after it got the air it wanted and I sat down on the bed. I glanced at James, who now stood at the door, before laying down. “I’m tired.” I murmured and closed my eyes. The door closed and my body crashed.