"Small black shadows are appearing more frequently in the starry skies of Rome, Italy. What exactly are these strange occurrences? UFOS? Aliens? God sending us a message..? Our professionals are yet to determine the unusual sights, for they disappear off the radar just as fast as they went on it! Here at Italy's finest news channel, we want to protect the hearts of the weak and satisfy any curious questions. Please call 643-984-9913 if you see anything...."
They've been saying the same thing for at least three days in a row now. Don't they think that people will start to realize that you don't know what's going on either? Can we all just give in to the fact that Rome, Italy, my home, is doomed for good? Black shadows in the sky, I seen them. However, clouds were covering any possible option of actually revealing what the black things are. Luke switched off the television, frustration burning his expression.
"I don't see why they're making such a big deal about this! Black shadows!---Could be birds! Why must society automatically point to supernatural relations to something that could easily be an everyday animal?" He asked.
Wanting nothing more than to agree with my older brother, I decided to play devil's advocate, "You never know. It's not like we see huge black globs above us. People tend to panic at the unfamiliar...."
Luke snorted, "Right. I just can't wait till the whole thing blows over, then our lives would go back to normal!" Did I forget to mention Mom is one of those freaky believers? She refused to let any of her children out of the house, in fear of the monsters desiring a bite to eat. Where is that mother of mine anyway? Oh, I remember now, she's at the store buying crosses. (like that would keep us safe).
Marcia, my younger sister crawled out of her pillow fort, "Can we go back to school? I miss seeing the sunlight!" That's right. Italy has suddenly gone into a phase of utter darkness. Scientists don't even have a clue what's going down. Let's simply say that a lot of citizens rushed to the store to get candles and flashlights. Possibilities have bounced around my noggin, I mean, if you were in my situation, wouldn't you be interested in exactly why this is all happening?
"The Sun is on vacation!"
Luke, Luke....always trying to shield the six year old girl from all the dangers of the outside world. Someday, she'll have to go out on her own, without a mother to cook her food and a brother that's only there to spoil rotten. Then there's me, Esmeralda Russo. Another typical middle child in a Italian family. Okay, back to my made up results. Number one, the world is ending. Number two, the sun died. Number three, those black shadows are the cause of this all.
Mom burst through the front door, waxy candles and millions of crosses in arms. Told you. Luke jumped up, managing to catch the expensive candle handle that fell from Mother's weary grasp. Whatever is happening to my home town, she orders us to never leave the house without either a candle, flashlight or cross. Something's painfully nudging me in the side that Mom knows more than she lets on. God protects everyone from anything, you don't need a silly block of wood to prove this.
Placing the bags and bags of what soon to be firewood on the table, I asked innocently, "May I go to the hill tonight?" Luke shot me a cold glare while Mom didn't seem to notice I uttered a single word at all. Too many problems and concerns pushed it's ugly head into our family, we shouldn't have to worry if one day Marcia is kidnapped because she wandered out into the darkness of the city.
My brother finished lifting labor, "Are you aware to what's happening now? Look—look outside! There's no sun! It's only three o'clock in the afternoon! Do you honestly think Mom would let you skip along by yourself in dangerous territory?!" I hate it when he claims I don't think, just because most 'things' pass my attention span, doesn't mean I'm completely oblivious to what everyone in Italy is going through. It was a simple question that only required a simple answer in response.
I rolled my eyes, "Relax...I'll be carrying a flashlight AND cross. Does that make you feel better?---" Judging by the murderous look on Luke's face, it hadn't helped. Turning towards Mom, hoping for one ounce of support, "---Please? Monsters aren't real, no pedophiles will be out either since Cops are probably going to be stationed at every street corner."
"What's a pedophile?" Marcia weaseled her way into the conversation.
Luke patted the child's head gently, "An adult who finds pleasure in----" Not another word was finished from that answer. Why should a toddler need to know about pedophiles? Just infer to them as dangerous people with candy and move on! Mom smacked big old Luke on the forearm, practically warning him if he spoke again, his head will be in the ice box.
She decided ignore my question once more, busying herself with loads of boxes we never had time to unpack. My lord, what's so bad about going outside?! The news is making it seem like we're all going to die in a matter of days. Didn't Mom say if I had 'protection' (not that kind!), then I could proceed to walk upon the Italian pavement?
Geez. Somebody's knicker's are in a twist. Luke suggested Marcia go play doll house in her room while he could watch his second sister get screamed at by the parenting figure. That's not exactly how it happened. Sure, the youngest one bought the excuse and dashed into her pink princess room, however, Mother did not practice her Opera Singing yells. Trust me, this alarms me as it does you. I expected to be sent to my resting place or possibly grounded until the next century. Like a novel with way too much dramatic irony, Mom slumped such heavy shoulders in defeat.
It wasn't until twenty minutes later when a few words of regret escaped her lightly decorated lips, "I didn't want to tell you this....no...no I didn't." Luke frowned, disappointed that no rage explosion took place. Remind me to point in childish laughter on how the eldest brother lost to the middle kid.
Needing to know more, I cautiously advanced towards Mother, "What didn't you want to tell us? Are you having problems with Step Dad?" My real father died when I was seven, thank God another man wasn't introduced to the family until I was twelve. Luke also neared her, unable to think of any cheesy comforting phrases.
"No! We're fine. This is different, I know why Italy has suddenly gone into terrifying darkness. They're dangerous....you listen to me! That's why I was out all day buying useless candles and crosses! Even though it doesn't sound like much, those ordinary items will keep you safe!" Mom's eyes let out a few hot streaming tears.
Luke, more afraid than anyone combined, exclaimed, "Who are you talking about?!" Good thing Marcia isn't present. She'd start blubbering from the fact Mom is freaking out, without even knowing what we're being advised about. Yes, who in the hell scared her so much that she would desperately try to warn us by pulling a dramatic stunt that only people on lifetime do? Dangerous? Like 'oh I'm a criminal! I'm gonna rape your daughters and steal your money!'? Seriously, this is reality, people need to deal with the fact that evil is out there. What if Mother isn't talking about your everyday law breakers? Candles, flashlights, garlic, crosses.....I feel like I'm in a horror movie. Surely she's not saying that vampires infested the popular city. Hah, what a stupid thought.
I stated firmly towards my family members, "Whatever it is Mom, you can tell us. No one's gonna think that you're crazy....considering the fact we have enough insane people in the Russo tree anyway..." Big brother rolled his eyes, insulted and impatient at the same time.
Mom took a shaky breath before continuing, "Vampires. The walking dead, skin that has long past run cold. Villains who suck mortal's blood dry, identified as foes than friends since the beginning of time. They finally arrived in Italy after three centuries. We're doomed." Excuse me, but is it alright to claim I'm dreaming and pinch myself repeatedly?
Folding his arms around his chest, Luke stared hard and long at the starless sky, "If the sun was still here I wouldn't believe you...... however it makes sense. Black shadows sighted, utter darkness....These vampires are single handedly controlling our home."
"I'm hungrrrrrryyyyyyyyy! Mommy, I'm hungry!" Marcia flew into the room like a train would speed on the rusty tracks. Luke was so startled that he fell on his 'huge' bubble butt. Being the mature Esmeralda I am, no laughter climbed up my throat, only the sound of little sis's terribly annoying pleads kept us occupied.
As Mom cooked up a t.v dinner, she glanced at both Luke and I and whispered so low that a toddler's perky ears could not detect, "Heed my word, do not leave the house without a weapon. It'll be the last thing you'll ever do otherwise." Many times before I have heard that catch phrase in movies, although, I never actually took it seriously until now. What's happening is real and everyone's life is on the unbalanced line.
…...I'm still going to the hill anyway.
Light turned to dark, hah, I miss saying that. No promising improvement effected the misty skies. Step Dad decided that we might as well bolt up our windows, not like we're gonna see glorious sunlight anytime soon. While Luke was tucking baby Marcia in bed, I slipped out of my bedroom 'oh so' sneakily. Here's my chance to grab a flashlight and cross. They were stationed at the dining table as if Mom knew I was going to disobey her nevertheless.
Allowing my shaking fingers to grasp both objects tightly, I tip toed towards the front door. Please, please don't make Step Dad come out for a midnight snack. He usually does that. Just....one...more....step...and I'll be free to play king of the hill by my lonesome.
I found myself pressed against the outside side of the door, grinning in victory. I have done it, yes, I the freshly dyed red haired fifteen year old girl had successfully ditched the Russo's residence to reek havoc on the unknown soon to be historical events. Dude, I need a journal just so that I could write about this amazing moment. Can you tell I never been bad ass to the bone? Always listen to your parents, they know what's best for you! Obviously, Mother does know this time, however I'm old enough to make my own mistakes and too young to care about them.
Running down the cold stone steps, I gently unlatched the gate's lock. Screech! Dammit! Be quiet! Oh yeah, yelling at things who don't have a brain to shut it's yap is definitely going to decrease the absolute tension and nervousness of my adventures. Right now is about the time to switch on the trusty flashlight, I'm surprised I didn't end up tripping down those steps. Beautiful glowing light appeared on the dirt path road ahead, causing great relief on my behalf.
"Thank God..." I mumbled. Wouldn't it be funny if I grabbed the wrong flashlight, and this one turned out to be completely useless? Aka, dead as a doornail? Then someone eventually will have a dead girl on their hands once the sun returns from 'vacation'.
Nothing seemed the same at all. Everything was creepily changed, the vile darkness had transformed it into weary oil paints on a dusty canvas. Each building I passed blended in together, all street signs were gradually melting on the spot. The pavement felt like quick sand under my gladiator sandals. You know when you become very paranoid, you think every noise you suddenly hear is from some random stranger who has the intention of killing you for no reason? I almost screamed when a black cat burst out of a open trash can. Poor creature, forcing to survive in such a unstable environment.
Shining my guide above, I smiled when I caught sight of the childhood memory hill. It's the only place that hasn't be captured by those evil clutches, apparently vampires. I quickened my careful pace, desiring nothing but to climb up the grassy plains like a warrior in an epic battle.
I timidly sang a clever rhyme, something to calm me down from whatever I would probably face on the hill, "Here comes a candle to light you to bed......here comes a butcher to chop off your head." Hey, I never said it was a happy go lucky one.
This is where I marched upon familiar ground, comfort spreading throughout my body every second. I knew it, there's no vampires! If there was, I would have crossed against one, right? Mom didn't want me to come tonight because she was afraid that a human criminal would get to me instead. Telling white lies are fine, but insanely weird ones like these, aren't tolerable. Luke was in it too....
Once I reached the top, my instincts got the better of me and I ran to the wishing well. Did I forget to mention there's one at the center of the high hill? That's the main reason children enjoy it so, they cast a wish into the watery depths below and skip home, dreaming if that said wish actually came true. Picture ten year old me, perched on the stone well, racking my developing brain for something to hope for. I can still manage to feel the coin leave my fingers and drop softly on the small pond's surface. What exactly did I want? Since my real father died back in the single digits, I wanted nothing more than another father. Plus, Mom was getting pretty depressed too.
It's a good thing I brought some laying around the casa change, or traveling up here would have been pointless. Relaxing my tired hands on the well's edge, my flashlight leaning beside me. Now is the important part. Wishes.....even though they are a magical myth used to entertain a child's mind, I couldn't help stall on the false fact that whatever I wished for would be granted.
Several options flashed like neon rainbows in my head. Maybe I should go with the usual world peace? Or perhaps awarding the whole family with unlimited supply of money? Think small, chances are those kind of goals could spring to life like a christmas jack in the box. You turn the handle over and over again, growing furious with every motionless silence. It's finally occurs when you least expect the cheery fellow to pop out, scaring the poop out of you. If only wishes weren't just in wells or shooting stars, however an actual item you can buy in a toy store. Then again, life wouldn't be the least interesting. No one would have a care, no one would need the help of others.
I have my wish.
Closing my eyes firmly, I stuck out the hand that held a coin so dearly, "I wish Italy would go back to normal, shake off the darkness or whatever else is keeping us prisoned so." Release. Time stood still as the coin dropped into the well. And now we wait. It's a long way down than anyone would guess. Just....hold on a second, once I hear the sound of the coin reuniting with water, I can happily leave.
"---Well what are you still doing here? Dangling over the well like some rag doll!" A sweet voice shouted from behind.
Crap! Grabbing the flashlight, I spun around ready to defend. What the light hit I wouldn't have predicted in one hundred years. There was no murderer or criminal smirking evilly at me, just a small girl with long blonde hair. The feeling of being spied upon did not drift off easily. Did she follow me?! Who is she?!!
I croaked out, "Who---are you?!"
The petite girl shook her head in a friendly matter, "Excuse me! I forgot to introduce myself! I am Ana Sackville-Bagg! I noticed you climbing this awfully large hill and I wondered why someone would considering the outside conditions. Seems like my curiosity got the better of me!"
"Oh....Hello then. I'm Esmeralda Russo. I just wanted to make a wish. You have a very strange last name, are you Italian?" I really have no idea how to handle this situation.
Ana floated closer, her red dress dragging on the silky grass, "Alas, I am not Italian. My family and I moved here not long ago from Scotland! Such a wonderful place Italy is! Do you mind me asking what you wished for?"
Should I inform her? More like should she be trusted? Here, a girl randomly pops out of nowhere and starts a conversation with me. Her skin is deadly pale.......the flashlight's doing logically. When I did not reply, Ana frowned, a look not suiting her whatsoever.
"I'm sorry to pry, but I haven't made many friends in Italy." Gosh darn it. Now I feel I need to share my secret with her. Light occasionally caught glimpses of her big eyes. Why so I keep seeing red? The darkness is effecting my health, I tell ya.
I spoke shortly after the confession, "It's alright. My wish was that Italy would return to normal. You know, when it's sunny in the day time and starry at night?" Gesturing upward I'm pretty sure my point was put across.
Ana giggled, revealing long white fangs, "Why didn't you say so?" WOAH. WHAT?! Long white fangs. Deadly pale skin and red ruby eyes. This can only mean one thing. I am gone for. A vampire is gracefully standing in front of me, playing out her cunning trick to take my civil blood. Mom was correct, and I was wrong. I'm deeply sorry I had to leave my family the way I did.
I breathed in heavily as I took the cross from my back pocket. Ana kept smiling, only pausing to flinch away from the light. Aha! I am distressing her! Think about it, I have two weapons against this dangerous beast while she only has....quick cat reflexes and strong hulk like abilities. Sucks.
"Please refrain from directing that flashlight at me, it's very uncomfortable!"
"Oh why?! Because you're a vampire who wants to suck my blood right now?! No way man, I have a cross and you're going to burn!" Whipping out the block of wood, Ana screamed in high annoy. She collapsed to the floor, staring up at me with begging eyes.
She cried, "Stop it! I don't want to hurt you! I---my family are vegetarians! Stopppp!" It's like my body controlled my mind for once, and it was set on destroying the vile girl. I stepped closer, and closer. Ana's shouts echoed the mysterious air, the guiltier I felt on the inside.
Another voice nearly caused me to freak out a second time tonight, "STOP IT! She's just a girl!" This warning sounded masculient. Hm.....OUCHHHHH! Why was that unexpecting verbal emotion needed? That's easy, somebody tackled me to the ground, cross flying out of my sweaty palm. Whoever was on top of me felt ice cold and hard as a rock. Oh no, one of her friends came to visit! I'm surely dead now.
Ana advised strongly, "Brother! Get off her! She didn't know! Rudolph!"
"I'm sorry...I'm sorry." I whimpered under Ana's brother.
Rudolph sighed and jumped up, lifting me to my feet with one muscle pull, "Okay....I thought you were one of those stupid hunters." His face was still unknown to my human eyes.
Leaving the cross forgotten, I picked up my flashlight and quickly shone it on the brother. One word. W-O-W. Ana's sibling is sure a knock out. He carried similar ruby eyes, but his hair was different. Short, spiky, dark brown and utterly messy. Rudolph had a distinct maturity about him, Ana on the other hand lacked it.
Scarlet coloring flushed my tannish cheeks, "Hi...I'm Esmeralda."
Rudolph smiled in return, showing his even longer pearly whites, "How do you do....As you may know I am Rudolph Sackville-Bagg, Ana's dear older brother. May I ponder why such a beautiful creature would want to explore the scary outside?"
"I already asked her that! She made a wish at the well!" Ana grinned, knowing something I do not. Why do they care if I made a foolish request that won't come true?
Mister Handsome shot his sister an excited expression, "Really? Do my ears hear correctly? The mortal girl cast away a wish like one would on a sailor's ship?" I think we all established I tossed a coin in the well. Let's get over it now.
I nodded, trying to find my annoyance, "Yes....I did. What's so important about it?"
Ana hopped on one foot to the other, "You're in for a real treat! You made a wish! Whenever someone makes a wish we--" Hand gestures between the two vampires, "---are here to assure that your wish will come true! Once that wish is completed, you are given a bonus two wishes!"
Um. What the heck? Vampires acting like fairies? Alright, I am dreaming. I never snuck out of the house, I fell asleep in the comforts of my bedroom. Luke is playing with Marcia and her dolls in the next room. Mom and Step Dad are in the kitchen discussing future plans if the sun doesn't show up. Remind me not to eat before bedtime.
"Are you serious? I bet this is some kind of joke vampires play on humans. Just because you're stronger and wiser doesn't mean you can pick on the less fortunate!"
Rudolph placed a freezing hand on my shoulder, resulting in me shivering to death, "I promise you this is no joke. Anything you want shall be granted. All you need to do is speak it." Three wishes.......one already spent on getting Italy back to normal. What should my other two wishes be? I can't waste them on something as worthless as cotton candy or new dancing shoes.
I aimed the flashlight at the ground, staring at it with determined concentration, "Like I said before...I wished that Italy would be Italy again. Meaning, the sun will be up in the day and the moon at night. Since you're vampires, you probably overlooked the problem us humans are having with the drastic change...Can you do it?"
Ana reassured softly, "Of course we can. I apologize for this darkness, for I'm afraid it is our fault. I guess Italy is not very fond of vampires coming to reside with mortals."
"Ever since the beginning of time, vampires were banished from Italy. A man named Orlando conjured up a spell that if any immortal being dared to cross the invisible line. Thankfully, a wish is powerful enough to remove the curse that hung above the skies." Rudolph explained darkly.
Now I fully know what Mom was crying about earlier. Her ancestors have lived here since forever, surely she knew all about the history; good and bad. Hopefully no one realized I left the house or a heart attack might just strike the overwhelmed hearts of my parents.
Feeling great for being responsible of the recuse party, I stated, "Okay, well get to it then!" I wanted to clap twice so hard, but then they might not want to do it if I treated them like slaves in an old fashioned movie. Ana let out a cry of laughter, prancing about the hill. Rudolph raised his arms, eyes closed. Their whispers demanded the curse to be lifted.
"Oh holy spirits, lend down thy ears. Break the curse of Orlando Macchio, make Italy a place where everyone can peacefully come and go once again. We vampires mean you no harm, please oh please give us mercy."
A gush of wind flew past me, so forceful that it knocked me down. My eyes met with forming little rays of light. Can it be? Stars? Soon there were millions of them in the sky, twinkling as if they didn't go away. Looks like my flashlight isn't an aid for help anymore.
The girl vampire wrapped her arms around my frame, "It's done! The curse is gone forever and it's all because of you! Well done Esmeralda!" I did it? I'm not the one who shouted to the heavens to stop everything for once and for all. I was simply the mortal who dropped a coin into a water. Do you think people years from now will be reading about this adventure in school textbooks? I doubt it. Scientists and the news will most likely come up with some unrealistic theory to why Italy gave us our light back.
Rudolph wondered honestly, "What are your two wishes?"
"Can I have some pizza?" Sigh. Nice one. Request for a food that you could easily obtain at any street corner. I braised myself, they'll start cracking up. However, nothing happened. Ana brought her slender hand to her mouth and chuckled.
Magically, a slice of out of the oven pizza appeared in my hand, plates, napkins, the whole big deal. Yum. I attacked the unaware cheesy goodness, in a matter of minutes the only thing that was present was the thick crust. Rudolph stared at me in pure awe, as if he never witnessed a human eat human food before in his never ending life.
Ana laughed, "I see you enjoyed that! And your third wish?"
Come on, actually think of something good this time. No food, money or clothes. I need to explore deeper inside my soul to truly find out what I want. There's......one thing. An emotion. A connection with someone else. A bond. Friendship. Romance. Love. I want to find my true love. Luke always told me I'd find that one person when I'm older, but frankly I'm too stubborn to wait.
I answered in haste, "Love. I wish for love."
A hand wrapped tightly around mine before I could speak another word. Glancing up, I saw the face I became smitten with since the first time tonight I laid eyes on. Rudolph. He was grinning from ear to ear. Did the clever vampire know this was going to happen in the end? My senses became clouded as he brought his pale blue lips to my cheek, now I really don't care how and why it happened.
More smiles, laughter, hugs and kisses were shared. Ana couldn't believe her brother finally found his mate, and she showed the quiet night on how happy she was.
Rudolph watched her for awhile then allowed me to rest my tired head on his amazingly muscled shoulder, "Wish granted."
A/N:......Well? I know this took about a week to get up, but the longer it is, the better? As said before this Rudolph Sackville-Bagg OneShot is dedicated to Gypsywonders! I hope she enjoys it as much as anyone else who clicked on the title. Reviews/Messages are always welcome!