This chapter is dedicated to Miranda for her wonderful input (*cough*writingtheplot*cough*), Tash for being generally awesome (and a very happy birthday to you bb!), Cait for making me feel good about my taste in music, all the ladies at the SLDL forum in general, and Gorecki by Lamb. Again, my playlist is on my ff profile- it's a joint playlist for this chapter and the previous one. We're getting dark now and I hope you like this chapter :)
Carlisle pounded on the locked door, shouting for the others to stop. Either they could not hear him, or they had stopped listening. He continued to slam his fists into the door, praying that just one person would see sense. Outside, two men guarded the door to his temporary prison. They heard his protests, and their consciences told them they should do as he said, but fear overrode their sense of right and wrong. He pounded the door helplessly one last time, then turned around and slid down the door. He sat there for a second, pulling his knees up to his chest. He then crawled over to a corner of the room and slumped against the intersection of the two walls. He pulled his knees up again and rested his chin against them.
Outside, the men of the village had gathered angrily to put their hideous plan into action. Abigail Barling was tied to a post, kicking and screaming in terror intermittently, sometimes begging no-one in particular to let her go, they didn't have to do this, they couldn't do this. Many tried to block her out, their better nature eating at them with guilt, while others convinced themselves it was for the greater good. Some had their eyes closed, trying to pretend nothing was happening, that they were dreaming.
The man who'd given Carlisle the ribbon stood looking coldly at Abigail as she struggled and cried. His name was Richard Mayhew, and he was the only one out of the crowd that was completely sure of their course. He had already lost his wife and unborn child to this creature, and this had hollowed him inside. He felt no pity for Abigail. He was almost envious of her position- he could not volunteer himself as that would condemn him to the eternal fires of hell, however her unwilling sacrifice would allow her to escape them. She pleaded with him, begged him for mercy, but he had none to give. He turned his back on her and all the others to scan the line of the trees, hoping that he could see something of the creature that took everything from him, but there was no movement. He gazed there for a long moment, then left to go check on Carlisle.
He approached the house in which they had imprisoned him, surprised that Carlisle appeared to have given up on his vain attempts to escape. He walked around the house to find that the men posted at the door were gone. He frowned, puzzled at their absence. Then the door came into view. Well, what was left of the door did. It had been smashed to pieces, with the fragments of wood scattered across the inside of the doorway. His frown deepened- if Carlisle had broken out, then the wood would be outside the house. He stepped inside, intending on looking around for Carlisle. All he found were the ashen corpses of the two guardsmen. He froze, his eyes widening in panic. The creature had returned.
Carlisle listened to the heartbreaking screams from Abigail in anguish, wishing he could do something to help her. He banged his head on the wall behind him, angry at himself for not taking leadership of the village sooner. Suddenly, he heard a loud crunching noise from the doorway, and when he looked up there was a space where the door should have been. Startled, he stood up tentatively and walked as quietly as he could towards the door. Stepping around the chunks of wood on the floor, he carefully poked his head out of the door. He could see nothing around him- even the guards seemed to have left. He thought maybe their consciences got the better of them and they fled, although he had no theories for the door exploding. He stepped out of the house, looking around hoping to see someone, but the area was deserted. He left to check what was happening in the centre of the village, to see if it was too late to stop them. He prayed that Abigail had stopped screaming because they let her go.
Elinor waited until Carlisle was completely out of sight before she returned, dragging the bodies of the two guards. Although she had just fed on them, she still didn't trust herself around Carlisle enough. She burned with shame when she remembered what had happened when she had tried to tell her father she was alright...
She walked soundlessly into her old home. She entered the bedroom that belonged to her parents, holding her breath so she wasn't tempted. She was surprised that she didn't feel the need to breathe at all, it made her uncomfortable but didn't make her dizzy or faint. She could get used to this, she thought. She tied her ribbon around the bedpost so Carlisle would know it was her that had been, and gingerly lifted her father out of the bed. She ran outside, deep into the forest. She was already setting him down when he awoke, bewildered. He shrank away from her cold arms, then looked up at her. His mouth opened and his eyes filled with tears as he regarded his only daughter standing before him. She smiled weakly. She had brought him here to tell him about her new life, partly so he would stop worrying but also partly because she wanted him to stop giving Carlisle such a hard time. She sucked in a gasp of air to explain, when all of a sudden she was not Elinor anymore. She was a hunter, and her father the prey. He continued to gaze lovingly at her, and the human side of her still left wept as she devoured him.
She threw the two guards into the house, then positioned them against the wall so they could not be seen from the outside. Richard Mayhew would pay for what he planned to do to her mother. She would show mercy to the men that went along with him, they would die quickly and painlessly, but she had no compassion for him.
Carlisle stood looking bewildered in the centre of the village. All the men that had been part of the plan were still there, but they seemed to be asleep. He went over to one of them, and turned him over. He didn't move or react, and he didn't appear to be breathing. He felt very cold. Carlisle's hand snapped back when he realised that this man was dead. He checked a few of the others, and it was the same story each time. He felt bile rising in his throat, fearing for everyone else in the village.
"Carlisle?" He turned around to find Abigail Barling standing, holding onto the post she had been previously tied to. He ran over to her, surprised more than anything.
"Are you hurt?" She shook her head. "What happened here?" She looked around, just as confused as he, shaking her head more rapidly.
"I don't know! I heard murmuring behind me, and then I heard silence. I thought they had left me here to die, but then the ropes fell from around me. Somebody freed me, but when I looked to see who was there, all I could see was..." she gestured around at the bodies littered around them. He nodded, putting his arm around her shoulders.
"Let's get inside, we can deal with all of this in the morning."
Mere moments after Carlisle and Abigail had left, Richard came into the centre. He stopped when he saw all his men laying, lifeless on the floor. Panic flooded him, and he ran towards his house, planning on barricading himself inside until morning light, when he found his way blocked by the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. Elinor stood in front of him, her eyes a terrible shade of crimson. She advanced towards him slowly, smiling menacingly at the expression of pure terror etched across his features. He spent a few seconds trying to speak, squeaking pathetically a few times. Elinor laughed at him. He was weak.
"Was it...did you..." he said faintly, swallowing loudly before he gestured around at the scene around them. She laughed softly this time, surveying her handiwork.
"Yes," she said, watching his fear mix with surprise as he heard her voice, as it was considerably more mellifluous than before, "I did. I don't like what you tried to do to my mother, Richard." She enjoyed watching him squirm. His nature told him she was just a woman, he could overpower her, but his instincts told him she was something entirely...other. "Did you really think there would be no penance for what you did?" She cocked her head to one side as she drew level with him, careful not to breathe. She didn't want to rush his death, neither did she want to lower herself by drinking from him. She traced her fingertips over his shoulders as she walked around him, feeling him shiver under her icy touch. She began to walk away, planning to taunt him a little more, when she heard him move. She wheeled around to see him trying to run. She pouted, annoyed. She caught up with him easily, lifting him up from behind and then pushing him towards the floor so he would land on his back. With a crunch and a sickening shriek of pain, she heard his bones break in his back. "Ah, ah, ah," she said, running her nails down his chest, which sliced through his shirt easily. He cried in pain, looking into her blood red eyes.
"Please," he said, choking with the pain, "have mercy on me!" She sneered at him, and leant forward so her face was mere inches from his.
"Know only that your actions brought you here," she whispered, "and I have no mercy to give you. Retribution awaits, and it's going to be excruciating!" She laughed gleefully as she dragged him, crying helplessly, into the woods.