Escape: An Immortal Heritage short story.
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Pain; it was the only reminder I was still alive —even if my soul disagreed. A loud ringing in my ears remained after the electroshock therapy, accompanied by the soreness throughout my body. Why the hell would they call frying someone’s brain a type of therapy? I wondered. If anything, I felt far less sane than before.
A sharp electric pain lanced down my spine. I arched on the stiff bed, hissing through my clenched teeth to avoid screaming; not that I actually believed I had the strength to. The drugs and appalling procedures had left me drained of energy, unable to sit for too long. The assault subsided, leaving my body coated with a faint sheen of sweat; an unusual occurrence in me.
A part of me suspected I’d be dead by now if I had been normal, human. What was I? The haze and the pain made almost impossible to think on something for too long. The metallic scraping of the door opening made my eyelids flutter open. A tall dark-haired nurse entered the small white room. A few days earlier I would’ve kicked him unconscious and run away; that day only the thought was exhausting.
“Hello, Dahlia,” he said. Emotionless, I stared at him; he frowned as he looked down upon my small frame. The aroma of food made me notice the tray he carried. I sniffed, scenting soup, bread, and water —I was famished.
“You need to eat something,” he said, his voice soft and calm. “I’ll get you out of the straitjacket so you can be more comfortable.”
His lips pressed together; gray eyes full of disapproval at my lack of response. Placing the tray at the end of the bed, he gently propped me up; my head swam with the movement. His hands carefully brushed my long, tangled hair aside while he let loose the straps, and helped me out of that thing. I took a deep breath full of relief as he placed the tray on my legs. I lurched for the soup, drinking from the bowl, not bothering with the spoon. I didn’t give a damn what he thought.
“Take it slow, your stomach needs time,” he said gently.
Reluctantly I obeyed, not wanting to vomit. Days had passed since I’d last eaten, refusing to take food that could be tainted with drugs. Stupid decision, I reprimanded myself. I drank the rest of the soup and ate the sandwich as slowly as I could manage. My jaw ached with every bite, my hands shaking with the weight of the cup of water. The nurse sat on the floor in front of me, something I found strange; although not as much as his complete lack of fear or rejection. Was he new? Didn’t he know of my habit of kicking down his lot? I sensed his unnerving stare, but decided to ignore it.
It’s not enough, whispered a voice in my head.
My heart slowed down; the ringing in my ears growing as an electric pain exploded in my chest, creeping towards my limbs. I closed my eyes and, clenching my teeth, waited until it passed, panting with relief when it ebbed. I opened my eyes to find I was laying on my back; the nurse sat beside me, studying me with worried eyes.
Is he a pervert? A small part of me wondered. But no, somehow I could feel his genuine concern.
He can take away the hunger.
My mind cleared enough with that thought; where had that come from? That ache was hunger; but what kind? His gray eyes locked on mine —I couldn’t look away.
Feed on him.
What? Was I going nuts? Seems they managed to unhinge my mind; turning me into a real crazy person.
You have to feed on him if you want to live.
An image of a blond teenager with wide eyes and an open mouth came to mind. I had taken his life; his energy. Energy; I was depleted of it. So exhausted. I lifted my eyes to the ceiling as if I could find an explanation for my insane thoughts there.
“Do you want more water?” the nurse asked. My eyes locked with his again.
Feed on him.
Images exploded in my mind’s eye; a female demon by the bed of a sleeping man, waiting to feed off him; a vampire biting a woman’s neck.
But I don’t have fangs!
My stomach knotted with hunger; my eyes falling to the throat of the man mere inches away from me. I remembered the myth of a female creature that fed on men exclusively, my mind divided between rejection and realization.
What if? What if it was possible?
Pain exploded throughout my body once more; another of those attacks was building up.
Take him; save yourself.
My mind disconnected from my body; I could see myself as I moved faster than my thin frail body seemed able, my hands closed around his neck. I could feel his pulse beneath my freezing hands, his heart luring me like the voice of a siren. His life became something tangible; a life-saving rope in my hands, the last drop of water in the desert. His eyes widened as I siphoned his energy, his life-force; my own throat stinging with an electric pain. I was slowly killing him —I didn’t want to hurt him! I couldn’t stop! I needed more. My mouth found his; I was kissing him. His lips remained still but soft against mine as the pull of his energy increased.
Stop, stop, stop, stop! The shred of reason I had left screamed. Horrified I let go. He fell from the bed, landing on the floor with a thud. What had I done? Was I dreaming? No; I’m not that lucky.
Surprised, I realized the agonizing pain had vanished; the hunger quenched. The haze was gone, but I was painfully aware of the noise in nearby cells, the smell of disinfectant, and my need for a shower. I lowered my gaze to him; he was alive. I didn’t know how but I could sense it. What a strange way of having my first kiss —with a stranger. Even worse; an adult stranger. The thought disgusted me.
Focus, I ordered myself. My mind was raging with several thoughts at once. If the doctor and his pets found out what I had done… I had to flee, or die trying. I noticed the keycard and car keys in the back pocket of the nurse’s uniform. With trembling hands I took them; then realized he hadn’t locked the door.
I peered outside to see there was no one around. White light oozed from the lamps on the ceiling making me squint; the white halls were empty. Odd, where had the big brutes gone to? I slipped out with my back to the wall; it seemed too easy. Hastily, I moved as quietly as I could; realizing I was much faster than I’d thought possible. My naked feet stung due to the freezing floor. The temperature of that dammed place was always so cold, were they trying to preserve us or something?
Finding my way around that place was no easy task. White walls, floor, and doors; I had never thought I’d come to hate white so much. The only sense of direction came from the black numbers painted in the cell doors. My stomach clenched painfully when I thought about all the others; but what can I do? I thought desperately. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get out of there. And, what if some of them were really dangerous? There was no other choice but to leave them behind.
The voices came one corridor away from the exit. I pressed my back against the wall. They spoke again; I recognized them. The ones that had held me down, allowing the sadistic psychologist to drug me, and drive me insane. My lips curled; a soft growl emanated from the back of my throat. A numbness dampened my consciousness, sharpening a desire to maim I was surprised I had.
Without thinking, I stepped out of my hiding place and faced them; my hand turned into a fist, and landed squarely on the man’s jaw with a crunch, sending him flying backward, sprawling across the floor. The woman stared at me wide-eyed holding her breath. Before she could scream, my fingers entwined in her hair, and I smashed her skull against the wall with a sickening crack.
Hurrying, I used the keycard to open the exit door to see more white walls and stairs, this time marked with red arrows. I ran; soon finding myself in the parking lot. Humidity stains covered most of the concrete floor. My eyes resting with the lower lighting and the dull gray walls. Pressing the button on the keys, I walked among the cars waiting to hear a beep. The sound of an alarm had me hiding behind a gray sedan. My heart raced as I heard the echoing of footsteps nearing my location; and then I saw him. The psychologist; the monster that had twisted my mind and denied me the opportunity to attend my mother’s funeral. I was standing in front of him in a blink; he froze, bewildered.
“What are you doing here?” he whispered. I swiped him hard across the face, sending him crashing to the ground. The same void calm I’d felt when attacking the nurses numbed my mind again.
“Should I kill you or just break you?” I hissed in a voice I didn’t recognize as my own. He got on his feet and attempted to flee, but I closed in on him and seized him by his thin neck single-handedly, lifting him off the ground with ease. A small squeeze was all I needed, or better than that, I could take his life. Make him scream first.
What are you doing?
Realization hit me like a bat to the skull when I realized what I was about to do. Disgusted, I released him; he crumpled to the floor; unconscious.
Shaking my head, I moved fast, pressing the button on the keys until I found a black sports car with tinted windows. I jumped inside, my hands shaking as I started the engine. There was no-one on the watch post outside, change of guard perhaps? Something was off and I knew it, but I didn’t give a damn. I would ride a winged unicorn if it meant leaving that bloody place. I was trembling; cold and utterly disgusted with myself for what I had done. A monster, I was a monster. Tears ran in rivulets down my cheeks; I blinked them away, not wanting to end up in another crash.
I looked for the exact location of the Lakeview Cemetery on the GPS, it wasn’t far from the psych ward, on the outskirts of the city. The trees became a green wall as I speed through the deserted road. My hands clenching the wheel tightly; the fancy car was much faster than the hybrid, and normal cars mom had taught to drive when I was 11. Our secret, she had never been good at denying me anything. I swallowed hard fighting against the urge to cry.
The cemetery was deserted. I assumed it was too late for burials, the night was falling. The cold wind brought the eerie cawing of a raven. It was a good thing mom had not raised me to be superstitious. The grass was soft under my naked feet as I walked; searching for the correct tombstone, discarding the old musty ones. My stomach clenched tightly, nausea rapidly taking hold; I fought it back, loathing my cowardice. The only good thing that psychologist had done was tell me where they had buried mom. My feet halted as I read the name on the granite tombstone; Rosaleen Clark.
The trembling increased as I stood over her grave, my knees giving out. The memories I fought back now danced in my mind. The truck moving unstoppably towards our car, mom placing her arm in front of me, screaming my name as the collision rendered me unconscious, taking her life.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, the tears now streaming; my already labored breathing now becoming an almost impossible task with convulsing sobs. Mom, why? I was barely aware of the rain soaking through the thin white clothes I was wearing. I was already shivering, so what difference did it make?
“Dahlia?” asked a soft feminine voice behind me. I slowly turned my head to see a tall woman wearing a suit. She stepped towards me. I stared at her as she took her jacket off and placed it on my shoulders.
“I’m with social services,” she said.
How had they found me so fast? Social services and efficiency rarely mixed as far as I knew. A part of me wanted to flee… but I was so tired.
My eyes returned to the tombstone. Why couldn’t I die with her? Instead of her.
“I’m sorry,” the woman whispered. Reluctantly I looked up; her pale blue eyes set on my mother’s tombstone. I knew she meant it.
“Are you here to take me back?” I rasped, calmer than I believed. The thought of fighting her was exhausting, but I’d do it if I had to.
Her eyes locked on mine.
“No, you will never return to that place,” she said, her voice laced with cold anger. “It’s being closed. “The way they treated the patients was… inhumane.”
We studied each other through the pouring rain. Her perfect tanned skin and loose, long black hair were drenched, but she didn’t seem to mind. Something was… Different about her, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
“Come with me,” she said softly.
“Where?” I asked getting on my feet. She didn’t try to touch me, and I thanked her for it.
“For now, to get you a warm bath and some food,” she said kindly. Our eyes locked again; I felt examined as I was trying to read her.
You can trust her, whispered a small voice in my head. I nodded and she led the way back to the black sports car. My feet halted for a second; I’d stolen her car and she didn’t care? She turned back to me, —a kind yet somewhat mischevious smile on her unearthly beautiful face— and gestured me to keep moving. I obliged, too exhausted to keep thinking.
I sat in the passenger’s seat, allowing myself a last glance towards my mom’s grave.
Goodbye; I love you, I thought as the stranger drove us away.
This is a short story in The Immortal Heritage saga world. If you enjoyed it, here’s a peek into the first book:
About the Author
Selene Kallan, is a fantasy author who daydreams about her imaginary worlds most of the time. Her obsession with vampires, and all things supernatural has made her an avid reader. She loves writing, discovering new Metal bands, and watching superhero movies. Her debut novel Starlight (Immortal Heritage #1) was released in October 27 2017. She is also feeling a little crazy while writing about herself in third person, but apparently, this the way to go.
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