Note: Thoughts can be seen in italics and if not, they are for emphasis!
September 4th 1928, North Dakota
"Annalise!" A voice boomed from inside of the house, making me jump up in surprise.
"In the garden, mother." I sighed, a hand over my chest as I tried to catch my heart beat.
It took a few minutes for my mother to emerge, but when she did she held out a familar large red basket.
I groaned, "Aww, mommm, please not today.."
Her expression instantly changed and she was frowning now.
"Annalise, I know how hard you've worked to keep these fruit in shape but you know we need the money." She lectured, shoving the basket into my arms.
Before I could protest, she had already continued.
"Now, you already know what to do. Pick only the largest and appealing ones and carry them to the marketplace down Hickory road." She paused to take in my expression.
I raised an eyebrow.
"The marketplace?" I asked.
"You don't remember? You always said it smelled like dead fish and cabbage." She replied curiously.
"OH! Yes. I remember now. But...that was so long ago. Its been nearly 6 years, mother." I retorted.
"Oh, Annalise, you're nearly 14. I'm sure you"l find a way. When I was your age...well, I had you!' She chortled, pinching my cheeks.
I scrunched my eyebrows, hoping that she would see my discontent. She didn't.
"Well, that's that. Get to it, darling." She added, and without adding as little as one more word, she disappeared into the house.
I glanced down at the red basket sitting stiffly between my arms and let out another sigh. I muttered under my breath, stuffing all of the fruit that had taken me nearly 3 months to grow into the basket, not even bothering to sort the "largest" and most "appealing" from the others..
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"3...4...5 dollars. Here you go, Annalise. Tell Carolina I said hello." The head manager of the marketplace smiled, handing me five worn out green bills.
"Thank you, sir." I replied politely, tucking the money into the small pouch mother had given me to hold onto.
I turned around to look up at the sun. It was nearly sunset and I knew mother would start to get worked up if I didn't come home with today's earnings soon enough...or if I didn't come home in general. It had taken nearly an hour to get here coming through Hickory road and my stomach turned at the thought of having to walk back again. I quickly scanned the horizon for a possible shortcut and to my luck stood a path surrounded by the woods. Afterall, our home was located by the edge of the woods and it was no doubt that it would lead me back in a shorter time than old Hickory would.
I started down the leafy path, carefully not to trip over any fallen branches. Unfortunately, the sun was already sinking at this point and the light was even more minimal because of the shadowing trees. This did not bother me too badly, as I didn't mind being surrounded by nature's beauty one bit. But I knew that I had jinxed things just as soon as I had thought that. I instantly became uneasy. It was as if I was being watched and the silence that the woods echoed back did not help things. A rustle from a bush near by. I spun my head almost too quickly, I was surprised that it did not pop off as I turned to check, only to be brought to nothing. I picked up my pace now and the watcher seemed to itch closer and closer no matter how quickly I walked. I stopped, hoping to find the source of this hysteria and then thought to myself. Did I really want to? I sucked in a breath full of air and balled my fists. Show yourself. I thought in my head, unable to utter even a whisper. But there was no one. No one but myself.
I relaxed. Maybe I was going crazy…I shook my head and then turned to walk. Instead of taking another step, however, I walked right into something very hard.
"Hello." It said, speaking in a soft mellow voice.
"OH!" I yelped up, falling backwards and staring into the eyes of my approacher.
It was a boy…older than myself by I'd say three or four years but this was no ordinary boy. He was the most handsome looking boy I have ever laid my eyes on and I wondered how I had not seen him around before. A crooked smile curved around the rim of his lips as he looked down at me. He offered a hand.
"My apologies. I didn't mean to frighten you." He breathed.
"No…no…it's my fault. I'm sorry I wasn't watching where I was going." I countered as I offered my hand in return.
His fingers wrapped around my hand and a chill ran almost immediately down my spine. His hand was ice cold and smooth…like marble and I questioned how someone could be so cold in such warm weather. He lifted me up with little effort and set me gently on my feet.
"What is a young lady like yourself doing out here in the woods alone?" He asked innocently.
"I…um…was out helping my m-mother." I managed to say, feeling my heart beat accelerate, though I was not sure whether from fear or awe.
It was as if he had heard the shift in my heart beat and smiled even more.
"How nice of you." He said casually. "In fact, I'm doing quite the same. I believe you're Carolina Freedland's daughter, are you not? My mother is a friend of hers." He added upon seeing my astonishment.
I felt my cheeks blush pink and could've sworn I saw him bite his lip down in pleasure. He leaned closer to me, gazing in to my eyes. It was then I noticed that his eyes were a raven black. Normally, someone with an eye color such as this would've had me screaming bloody murder but I could not bring myself to look away…I was mesmorized, an ant fallen in the palm of his hands.
"Come take a walk with me. I know my mother would love to meet you. Carolina says such great things…" He assured, as he began walking beyond a patch of trees.
My feet instantly sprang into action and hurried to follow him, but I pulled myself back. Annalise, stop. This is wrong. Mother will be worried! She's probably wondering where you are now. I shut my eyes and hoped he would not notice the internal battle I was having inside my conscience.
"What's wrong?" He asked ever so innocently once more.
"I'm not sure if…that's such a good idea…" I squeaked.
"We'll be back before it gets too dark. Don't worry." He spoke softly.
My heart ached as the better of me wanted no more than to follow the beautiful bronze haired boy but my other half resisted. Go home. Now.
"I'm sorry…I really should get back." I answered, turning away from him reluctantly.
"Don't be difficult." He snapped.
I stopped dead in my tracks. His sudden change of tone was terrifying and I held back a shiver and continued to walk. I did not get far, for his hand was suddenly on my arm and yanked me back with such force, I cried out in pain. I was now face to face with this stranger and was shocked to see how frightening he had become. His grip was unbreakable, despite my struggles. I was even more shocked when he put his face close to my neck and inhaled. I could not sustain the shiver that ran throughout my body as he sighed in satisfaction.
"I'm sorry. Normally…I don't do this. But you just smell so…delicious." He murmured, staring at me once more with his cold black eyes.
I flinched, looking away from him. This is not how I planned on dying. I was almost 14! There was so much I needed to do. Maybe if I beg? Cry? Plead? I debated with myself, desperately looking for a way out. I nearly jumped out of my skin when he let out a chuckle.
"Don't worry. I'll make it quick. No one will know aside from you and I. I promise." He said cooly.
I felt my eyes swell with moisture as I opened my mouth to yell. But no sound came out, for he had clapped his icy hand over my mouth. He clenched his jaw and the smile that had been on his face a few moments ago had now vanished.
"You're making this quite a game, aren't you?" He muttered coldy, tighting his grip.
Tears were now rolling down my eyes uncontrollably. This was it. The end. I could almost see Heaven reflecting as a twinkle in the black abyss of his eyes.
"Don't r-rape me, p-please." I wept, my voice coming out much higher than I had wanted it to be.
"Rape you? You think I'm going to rape you?" He blurted, throwing his head back as he laughed loudly, echoing throughout the woods.
Aside from my feelings of despair and tragic, confusion had now joined the list as I watched him, shaking. He stopped short however and turned his head to look at me once more. He smiled, exposing a set of sharp white teeth. It was within those seconds, that my world came crashing down. It was within those seconds that I felt the intensity of his fangs piercing into my neck. My eyes widened and my body squirmed as I felt the flow of my blood leaving and another fluid entering. Then…it stopped. I no longer felt the stab of his teeth through my skin but it did not do much to cease the pain I was in.
My neck felt as if it were on fire! A fire I could not put out. A fire that was burning every inch of my body at once and I could not do anything about it. I screamed in pain, gripping onto my wound and sobbing even more when I felt the warmth of my wet blood in my hands. In the prepheral side of my vision, though I could not be sure, I saw the boy wrestling with what looked to be a large overgrown bear. I could not watch them for long, as I felt my throat run dry, my vision blurring. The pain was even more unbearable than it had been a few moments ago and I felt the pinning of needles throughout my body.
"SAVE ME! SAVE ME!" I cried out as I squeezed my eyes shut, but no one answered. I did not know how long I layed there, yelling in pain or how long it took for the sound of hissing and snarling to fade away as my eyes abandoned me to a black screen. All I remembered was the roaring of an engine and the feeling of blazing warm hands around my body as I was lifted off the floor.