Star propped Zeta up on one arm and all but dragged her up the stairs and out of the cave. Zeta's head spun as she thought about what Michael just did. Blood, he drank blood. If she stayed here long enough, they would either drain her of the necessary bodily fluid, or worse, shove the bottle down her throat and force her to drink it – to become one of them. Zeta didn't want to. She just wanted to go home, to escape this never-ending nightmare. She would rather they killed her than force her to kill someone else.
Star climbed out of the cave then turned around and helped her out. Together, they walked down towards the sandy shore, Zeta now outright leaning on the gypsy girl. Just a few feet from the wave's reach, Star dropped Zeta, sinking to the sparkling ground beside her, sighing deeply. Despite her shock, Zeta could appreciate how beautiful the Pacific was; the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it's sent away.
The ivory moonlight glittered over the midnight water, diamonds dotting the inky black sky above the two girls. Zeta lay back in the powdery sand, still warm from the July sun, and closed her eyes, listening to the crash of the toppling, foaming waves. She could feel Star's eyes on her, scrutinizing her behavior. She had been right to bring Zeta out here; the scenery had relaxed her enough to almost forget about her plan for a moment. She made a vow to herself to run away at first light.
She opened her eyes to find Star still staring at her. "Are you okay?" She asked, in a tone a concerned mother would use with her sick child.
Zeta nodded, watching Star curiously, before suddenly breaking the silence. "How old are you, Star, really?"
Star shoved her hands in the sand, sprinkling some of the dust on her toes. "I have been with them for eight years. Never changing, never growing old." She looked up, the ocean reflecting in her glossy eyes.
Zeta sat up watching her, her brow furrowed with worry. "Is there a way out?"
Star shook her head, dropping her gaze to the sand again. "No – well – one." She threw her head back, gazing at her namesake in the heavens. "But that's impossible." She whispered, seeming louder than the ocean to Zeta.
Zeta didn't want to ask, not sure if her stomach could take it. As she watched the moonlight reflect against Star's pale features, giving body a silver lining, Zeta felt like this person was the closest friend that she would ever have, and she felt compelled to let her in on the plan, in case she wanted to escape as well, for it was selfish to leave her and Laddie behind. Zeta rolled on the beach, fixing a crouched position in front of Star, licking her dry lips.
"Star?" She called, wanting her full attention. The hauntingly beautiful gypsy turned her head, her curls bouncing in the breeze. "What if we ran away? You, me, and Laddie…we could…"
"Where would you go?" Star interrupted, accenting the you in her sentence. "Where he wouldn't find you? You can run but you can't hide, and with David, you can't even run, he'll catch up to you."
Zeta was taken aback with how Star was just giving up. "Well, we have to try."
Star shook her head, pushing her legs up to her chest and wrapping her arms around her knees. "He'll kill us." She stared longingly at the invisible horizon, the ocean blending with the sky. "There is one thing David can't stand – it's betrayal. And if you leave - he will kill you."
Zeta shook her head, rising from the sand and dusting thousands of tiny rocks off of her jeans. "At first light." She told her confidently. Zeta was a cowardice, but there were times when you must be brave, when you have no other choice. "I'm leaving. And you can come or you can stay, but either way I'm leaving. I don't care if he hunts me down and kills me, as long as he doesn't make me into one of you."
Hurt flashed across Star's face, and Zeta immediately regretted for putting it like that. "I'm sorry." She mumbled towards Star, who pretended not to hear her.
"You're being stupid." She stated bluntly, all without looking at her.
Zeta gazed up the coastline to the night lights of the board walk, a couple miles down the beach. "I know."
There was loud boisterous laughing outside of the cave and Zeta snapped her head in that direction, mirroring Star's movements as both young women watched the four – now apparently five – young male vampires stumble out of the cave, a very dazed Michael leaning heavily against Paul and Marko, a stupid – and ridiculously proud – grin on his face. Zeta – as a reflex – tried not to draw attention to herself, quietly trying to pour sand out of one Converse sneaker, the best she could while wearing it.
She stared at David, his impressive form magnetic, who had his broad back turned to her - something about him – his appearance, how tantalizingly dangerous he was – was hypnotizing, and Zeta found it to be a struggle to look away. Beautiful, dangerous. That was how she would describe him. He was the devil with the face of an angel. He, with his highly acute senses, undoubtedly sensed her staring, and spun slowly on the heel of one leather boot to face her.
Zeta shuddered back into her senses, blinking rapidly as he raked her with his cold, cerulean gaze. His ocean deep eyes were glowing with silver light, sparkling like the stars, his light containing no heat, cold and beautiful, just like the stars. Zeta lifted her gaze heavenward, comparing silver orbs with the diamonds in the velvet sky. He truly was beautiful, Zeta admitted not for the first time, his gaze so strong and overpowering, she could walk on its wavelength and not fall.
She dropped her eyes to him again, but he was no longer facing in her direction, his back once again turned, strolling casually away from her, his straight, platinum hair catching sparks of silver light in its spiky blonde peaks. "Beware of his mind games." Star's symphonic voice, suddenly closely at her ear, made Zeta jump, turning her own translucent towards the beautiful gypsy.
She was met by the young woman's retreating back, her hips swinging from side to side, making her long, soft pink skirt look like a bell that swished back and forth, moving further away from her. Zeta took heed of her warning, but it wasn't stopping her from leaving this damned place of fallen angels. Throwing one last longing look at the dark, secretive ocean, Zeta followed her up the beach and back to the cage, hoping that it was the last time, as the rumble of glossy motorcycles died out in the distance.
Five hours later.
Zeta crouched in a tense position at the entrance of the cave, as still as the silent motorcycles the boys had hidden behind several large, thorny bushes upon their return. Drunk and wobbling slightly, they had come back hardly an hour ago, sauntering into their abode with Paul singing a butchered version of an MJ song with his slurred speech. Star had abandoned Zeta to put Laddie to bed, and she was alone to meet the intoxicated young men, rowdy and boisterous as usual.
Zeta felt a sharp sting of indignation when David, who had undoubtedly noticed her standing with her back against the platform, strolled past her as if she was just one of the statuettes that crowded the corners of the grand lobby. She had never felt so low, like she was nothing. She was a thing to him, not that she had expected anything more, but it only fueled her desire to leave this goddamned place. David opened her eyes to her new position in life, and Zeta didn't like it – not one bit.
She was ready to go, like an Olympic track runner, she braced herself to begin her long escape mission out of Santa Carla. She was waiting for the light, which was her starting signal to go. Vampires hated the light – or so she heard – and as soon as the first fiery rays of daybreak kissed the eastern horizon. She wished she was a sun goddess, so she could make it grace day quicker.
Despite it being summer, Zeta's breath came out in small clouds of condensation, and she shivered in the morning ocean breeze. She felt safer in the light, and a great deal of it was due to the fact that six vampires were sleeping like babies, and wouldn't wake up until almost eight hours later. She had a decent head start.
There. Her anxiety had come to an end. The horizon flared a crimson red – Zeta swallowed – like blood, and at that moment, feeling as if she was in a great race with time, she threw herself out of the cave, tumbling in the sand. When the spinning sensation stopped, Zeta hauled her sore body off of the sandy floor, and as soon as her head cleared after her ungraceful tumble, Zeta hit the ground running.
She had never ran so far or so hard in her life. Adrenaline raced through her veins and butterflies tickled her insides as the mental clock in her head continued to tick, counting down time as she calculated how much she had until he came to get her. When the initial thrill of her new found freedom faded, Zeta's body willed her mind to slow down, and she collapsed into a slow job, looking for a road to get off of the beach, it was getting to difficult to trudge through the sand.
It dawned on to her, just as harshly and brightly as the July sun that burned the back of her neck. She was alone, broke, and with nowhere to go. And even worse, if she wasn't back by the time they woke up; she would have four angry vicious killers hunting for her. But it was too late to turn back, her mind had been set and there was no going back.
What a fool, she scoffed at herself.
Slipping one slim, pale hand into the back pocket of her stone-washed Levi's, she pulled out a flattened piece of leather folded in half – her bloody wallet. She opened it, remembering the last time she looked at it was 48 hours ago, when she took Zack to the boardwalk on that wretched night. She shook out the contents of the paper-thin money-keeper on the sand. All that landed was a quarter.
Yes, a quarter.
Zeta stared at it. Well, that was conveniently helpful. With hopeless sigh, she sunk to her knees on the beach. It was 8:00 AM, the sun was rising with the heat, she looked a fright, she was penniless, and she was hungry. Zeta was overcome with anger, and out of her temper, almost threw her stupid wallet into the ocean. But she stopped at the last second, and not because of feeling guilty for littering on a public beach, but because there was a family photo in it.
Zack, mom, dad, and her.
She affectionately ran her fingertips over the glossy, ink-sticky photograph that was wrinkling along the edges. She would never see those people again, and it broke her heart. As Zeta was returning the wallet to her back pocket, she heard the unmistakable sound of sweaty joggers and boyish shouts. Curiously, she turned her head to look behind, hoping that it wasn't who she thought it was. He was too early.
No, it was…much to Zeta's surprise….her cousin Edgar.
"Zeta!" He shouted again, as he neared her, he dropped on the sand beside her, gasping and panting.
She noticed the sharp stake in his hand.
"Edgar." She greeted him with broken smile.
His questioning gaze raked her in a scrutinizing way that made her feel uncomfortable. "They let you go?" He inquired, his voice thick with disbelief.
Zeta snorted ungraciously. "No. I'm running away."
Edgar arched an eyebrow, sharing mutual thoughts about his cousin's stupidity. "You'll never make it. They fly. They're faster than hell. They –"
"Don't tell me anymore of what they are!" Zeta snapped at him, fear, anxiety, and fatigue taking their tolls on her.
He raised both palms in the air as if to show surrender. "Sorry." He muttered, sounding indignant. "I'm just saying that it probably wasn't the best way to do it. Where are you going?"
Her cheeks reddened sharply, but not from the sun burn. "I…." She felt so ignorant for not thinking of that sooner. "…don't know." She looked into his judgmental, hazel eyes. "But anywhere than her. I hate Santa Carla! I hate it!"
That's when she started to cry, and it only fueled her humiliation more. She was terrified, she was tired, and she no longer had a family. If he found her with his family, he would kill them too. She reminisced back to the night he first took her, he said that if she tried to escape, he would kill them too. The only thing she had succeeded in this foolish game was to endanger the lives of the family she vowed to protect. Stupid, stupid girl.
Edgar looked shocked at her tears. He could slay thousands of bloodsuckers, but when it came to such a degree of publicly displayed emotion, he was clueless, and she was only making him nervous, Zeta understood that. Awkwardly, he patted her shoulder. "I'll help you. I promise."
Somehow, Zeta believed him, and she felt a little bit braver, and she leaned forward and kissed his check with sisterly affection, surprising him more. It was awkward when she pulled away, though, and felt even more silly. "What are you doing?"
He lifted the stake proudly into the air and smirked with self-satisfaction. "Slaying bloodsuckers, the usual, Allen's on the other side of the beach, looking for clues, trying to figure out who the damned leader is. We are dedicated to a higher purpose." He smirked again.
Zeta stared longingly at the outline of civilization, just a mile away. She had to go. She needed to get a taxi, or on a bus, and hit the road. She was terrified out of her wits by those vampires, she could just scream. "How are they?"
"Your family?" Edgar shifted on his knee. "Planning a funeral."
Zeta's breath catch in her throat. "But it's been less than two days! They gave up on me already?" Her situation could not get any worse, now she felt even more alone and unwanted.
He nodded at her, refusing to look her in the eye. Zeta spoke again. "Edgar, I need money. Can I borro-"
Before she had a chance to finish, he was already pulling out his wallet, removing a small wad of cash. He slapped it down in to her palm. "All I got." He said apologetically.
Zeta looked down at the greenbacks, clutched tightly in her hands. There was probably enough for a bus fair to L.A.! Was it all from the comic book store? She looked at him. "Thank you so much."
He rose from the floor, brushing white sand off of his baggy jeans. "We'll find stop 'em, Z, I swear to God." With that, he turned away from her, throwing his stake like a rifle over his shoulder, and jogged down the beach.
Zeta could not help but feel rising guilt as she lifted her body off of the sandy shore, continuing her long, treacherous hike up the coast out of Santa Carla. She felt disloyal about running away, which was absurd since the male vampires hadn't done anything to earn her trust in the first place.
It was fiver thirty when she made it to a town several miles outside of Santa Carla, and it worried her because the sun set around six, and the sun had already left a fiery trail of pink and purple across the sky as it was setting over the ocean. She wasn't far enough where they wouldn't be able to find her, even though she had tried to walk through sand and surf to mute her scent, her trail was nevertheless fresh.
Zeta turned on a rather deserted street, save for the few night bars that were going strong already. She pulled her sweater tighter over her body, trying to keep out the breeze that was bouncing off of the ocean. Goosebumps rose on her skin, but it was not from the evening chill, but of that much-hated sensation of being watched.
Zeta snapped her head back. No! He was too early! However, it wasn't David she found, but something equally frightening. Three young men in leather motorcycle jackets were strolling behind her – following her – their hands in their pockets and sadistic grins across their faces. Zeta lurched forward, picking up her pace.
But it was too late. Thin, scrawny arms wrapped around her waist and one of the men's breathing was loud in her ear. She struggled against him, her screaming cut short as another man's hand clasped onto her mouth. She dug her nails into his flesh and tore at his clothes, but her efforts were nil as the third man struck her hard across the flesh.
One of them had a knife.
Foolish, stupid girl! It was more than likely safer back in the cave with those vampires than out here in God-knows where with God-knows who. The knife tore at the fabric of her clothes, and Zeta froze to avoid it on her flesh. The sun was nearly gone, and the stars were coming out to play, which means that they probably already knew that the human was missing.
Tears fell from her eyes as the hand on her mouth was replaced by the slobbery lips of one of the men, grinding his body disrespectfully against hers. That's it then, rape. And maybe when they were done, it would turn into murder as well. She closed her eyes as a fourth person appeared, with platinum blonde hair that glowed silver in the starlight, and resigned herself to her unfortunate fate.
However, it didn't come. There was a blood-curdling scream as the man holding her released her, and two more deathly cries of fear and hopelessness followed as she staggered forward. She did not look back; she started running, running as fast as she ever did in her entire life. It was aimless, and for what seemed like hours, but she made it back to the beach again, wishing to avoid any chance of running into them for a second time.
When she reached the edge of the ocean, to Zeta's dismay, the sun was almost gone, disappearing velvet blue ribbon of the sea. It was officially dusk, only a hint of crimson-gold daylight kissing the sharp edge of the horizon, threatening to disappear in a few short minutes. Zeta zipped up her baggy hoodie, hoping not to draw any attention to herself had she met anyone else on the beach.
This escape plan was the most stupid thing she had ever done. Her stomach turned over that if her family had not yet left Santa Carla, they could have been dead by now. Zeta had no time to dwell on such macabre matters for once again she had that annoyingly useful instinct that once again someone was following her. It was exasperating, why was she always being followed?
Zeta turned her head back slowly, and she almost passed out on the sand. He found her. David was a few yards down and away from her, his hands in his pockets, his crystal-white hair catching the remaining light of day, which was practically an orange glow on the distant horizon. Zeta at first thought she was hallucinating from her painful lack of water, but his calm stroll was gradually increasing in pace.
Zeta snapped her head forward.
What is one to do during situations like this? Zeta doubted that anyone would know, so she did what came naturally, with a deep breath, and ignoring her dehydration, she hit the ground running – hard. She knew that she would never be able to outrun him, but she had to try, and there was no way she was going down without a fight,
His soundless footsteps suddenly became audible, and Zeta didn't have to look back to realize that he wasn't walking anymore either. He was gaining on her, she could feel it, and she knew that he was sadistically playing with her – mocking her – for he could have caught up to her long ago.
Apparently, David had grown tired of chasing her. She was taken off guard as his hard body slammed into her back, knocking her off of her feet, tumbling face flat on the sand. They collided with him on top of her, sand flying into her mouth and nose, causing her to choke as the wind was knocked out of her lungs.
Zeta didn't even bother to scream, she knew that a.) no one would hear her and b.) if they did, how would they fight off a vampire? Zeta opened her eyes and looked up at him. The anger on his face was from a whole other world, as if out of a different dimension – not human. Zeta's breath caught up in her throat, but not only from fear.
He was a truly beautiful creation, invented with unworldly DNA; but Zeta supposed it was necessary as a trap for weak humans like her. His skin was so pale, that his body appeared to be glowing in the moonlight. Every fiber of her being was screaming 'be afraid', but Zeta was numb to any emotion as his laser-like vision raked over her body sharply, burning her.
She could feel all of the power he had over her as a low growl vibrated in his chest. The anger froze, he held a supernatural look in his eyes as he stared at her, seeming so far away and as if he was looking through her at something unbelievably cosmic. She felt like he didn't belong here, like he was too perfect for this world, so not like others - but like a gorgeous alien that was hypnotizing her.
However, the hypnotic spell was broken by his velvet voice. "I told you not to run away." He rasped, pulling himself abruptly away from her and yanking her sharply off the sandy ground. "I told you what would happen!"
It was frustrating how when he touched her, it felt like she wouldn't be able to walk away even if she tried, he was that magnetic. However, a stubborn question on Zeta's mind soon made itself known. "Why did you come after me?" She whispered softly.
His face twisted like he was in pain for just a second, but then cleared back to stone-chiseled normal. "Because you belong to us." His hand lashed out and gripped her painfully by the hair, dragging her until her ear was inches away from his mouth. "Don't you forget it!"
Zeta didn't understand why he wasn't tearing her apart piece-by-piece as they spoke. Wasn't he angry? Yes, she had seen it in his eyes. But why then? Perhaps in the future, or in the past, this beautiful monster had felt love or even compassion towards someone, and Zeta was daring to hope that perhaps that mercy was showing through.
"What are you going to do?" Her whisper was so quiet that Zeta herself had barely heard her speech, but he with his ridiculously supersonic hearing had unsurprisingly heard it.
"What did I tell you I was going to do?" He retorted, his eyes reflecting the darkness of the ocean. "If you ever ran?" He moved away from her. His move was like magic, instead of walking, he seemed to ghost from one point to another.
She began to fear again. "Are they dead?" She asked, knowing that he would understand that she was speaking of her family.
He looked almost embarrassed when he shook his head sharply, his short white bangs brushing across his forehead. Zeta reached for his arm to regain his attention, but he wrenched away, as if she disgusted him. He wrinkled his nose, and Zeta understood that part of the reason might be her blood, she hadn't eaten or drank since last night's Chinese food…she must have been revolting.
"I'm sorry." She meant it.
Again the disgust reappeared, he didn't believe her, and she couldn't blame him. She hung her head in guilt and shame, not expecting him to answer, however, he took the silence on a whole different level – he thought she surrendered. Zeta was ready for him abducting her again, but not for how he decided to do it.
When he took her, she was straddled on his back the next time she opened her eyes. She looked down at him, her arms reflexively wrapping around his alabaster neck. His eyes were hard and his lips were pursed in a kiss, an overall expression of determination and concentration painted across his sharp features.
Zeta expected him to run, and she shut her eyes to keep sand from slipping through. Sharp gusts of wind hit her, and Zeta could not shake of the sensation of floating in air. She dared to open her eyes. They were in the black, midnight air, and Zeta gasped loudly, clinging tightly to him. They were flying!
It would have been transcendental if it wasn't for her remarkable phobia of heights. They were so high in the air that she could barely see the beach, a white strip of sand far beneath them. Zeta stared up at the sky, the stars seeming to be closer than ever, and prayed that her luck would hold out and she wouldn't die by tumbling to her death, after that she'd been through today. David's soft hair caressed her face, and as she looked at him, she couldn't help but wonder whether or not he really was extraterrestrial.
"Calm down." He grunted in annoyance when her arms had grown chokingly tight around his neck. Zeta loosened up a little, burying her face in the crook of his neck. He smelled so good, sharp and clean like the ocean waves beating against a rocky shore.
But there was also something else. When her hand had brushed against his shoulder, it was sticky and a little bit damp, even through the cloth of his trench coat. She touched it with her elbow, not daring to release her hold from around his neck for fear of falling. He let out a low growl and Zeta immediately kept her wandering elbow to herself.
But when the wind flapped up ruffling his hair and hers, his blonde strands entwining with her black ones, his jacket uncovered a bit and it was enough for Zeta to see beneath it. He wore a black shirt that was ripped open by a long gash, and beneath it was the same story with his granite like skin.
It was cut open seemingly by a knife, and drying red blood had been oozing from it for at least half an hour. Zeta put two and two together, and once again was astonished by how unbelievably stupid she was. When that group of men had attacked her – the flash of blonde that she had seen – that had been David. The only reason she had gotten away was thanks to David.
She wanted to confront him when she recognized the lights of the boardwalk. Time had passed so quickly, flying with David was the same pace as flying on an airplane. He descended upon reaching the cave, and when his feet touched the solid rock, he all but threw her off. Zeta scrambled up, wincing as the gravel left tiny red marks on her hands.
If the smell of her blood had alerted him, he didn't show it. Instead he was already strolling to the inside of the cave, silently telling her to follow. As if she had any choice, if she wanted to live, she had better do whatever he wants. Zeta submissively followed him inside, gingerly stepping through the entrance.
The inside was completely empty of life; the others must have left to terrorize the boardwalk with their extravagant nightlife ways. David watched her the way a cat watches a mouse hole, as if calculating the precise moment to pounce. He pushed her down on a velvety settee, and himself sat down across her, crossing his long legs at the ankles and leaning forward, elbows resting on his knees.
Zeta eyed the cut, not daring to breathe, but she decided to risk it all for that question. "Why did you stop them?" Her whisper seemed to loud inside the echoey cave.
He smiled in a way to purposefully expose his fangs. Zeta knew that she produced the desired effect, for he threw back his head and laughed. Zeta grew increasingly uncomfortable as she observed his coarse behavior. She was afraid to become just another victim. She could already feel his venomous bite, infecting her blood and filling her veins with his poison.
"Because I wanted to kill you myself." His smirk disappeared as his lips parted into another laugh.
Zeta watched, horrified, abandoning her current, feeble bravery. "No! Please!" She begged. "I'll do whatever you want! Please!"
David stopped, staring at her beseechingly. In one liquid movement, he reached behind the unnecessary wheel chair and produced that horror-inducing sequined bottle that Zeta had seen Michael drink from last night. David's smirk grew against his soft-looking lips. He placed it gently on the small glass table between them.
I'm so sorry for the wait, I feel terrible but life's been kind of hectic lately. I apologize if this chapter may seem a little weird/confusing but I tried. Thank you for reviewing earlier, and please don't forget to review on this chapter. They are so addicting. Hope you liked it, thanks for reading! :)