No Plan B By: Summer Kornelsen

I look around the main floor of my 2-story house. The kitchen to my left, the staircase to my right, I stand in the living room on the grey-black carpet that covers the living room floor. I know that Damian will be coming soon; he and I haven't been getting along lately.

My name is Alicia, I am 17 years old. It was only months earlier, March 10th, 2009 to be exact, when I met Damian. He seemed like a nice guy.

I had called Damian from my cell phone, asking him to meet me at my house. I had to get help, one of my enemies, Axel, had nearly found me walking on the sidewalk on my way to my house. He came to me, clearly still angered that I have not told him where I have hidden the necklace.

What would a guy want with a necklace you may ask? The necklace has a heart pendant with a red gem, about the size of a nickel, in the center of it. This gem has a mysterious power; almost no one knows of its true power. No one but Axel, Lexie, Damian, and myself, know of its true power.

Axel has been tracking me ever since the day that I found the necklace in my home, the necklace, hidden from view, in the small drawer of my end table next to my bed. I had been cleaning the drawer of things that I no longer needed, when I found the necklace, underneath some papers that have been in the drawer for I don't know how long. To me it seemed harmless enough, so I wore it around my neck.

Back to the point, Axel wanted the necklace for one reason, he knew that if he used the powers of the gem correctly that he could use it against all who opposed him, in short, he would be able to hurt anyone he felt was a threat to him, these people included me.

I phone Damian's cell phone and wait for him to pick up.

He picks up after the second ring.

"Hello?" Damian says in a somewhat panicked voice. Damian has told me that almost no one calls his cell phone unless there is something wrong.

"Damian, I need your help. Can you meet me at my place? It is urgent," I say, trying not to sound panicked, which isn't working too well seeing as I am speaking so fast that I can barely understand myself.

"Okay, I'll be right there! Wait for me outside your place I'll be there in a few minutes!" Damian says, pulling a jacket over his shoulders.

"Thank you so much Damian, see you soon bye," I hang up.

I sigh, "Okay, he'll be coming soon. Now all I have to do is try not to run into Axel. That'll be hard considering that he will not rest until he has either gotten the necklace or killed me. I hope I can make it,"

I walk carefully along the cracked sidewalk, stepping over weeds poking up from the cracks in the sidewalk. I begin to get nervous and as my nervousness escalates I break into a run to get home.

As I run I realize that the streets are not as lively as they usually are. On a usual day there are cars driving along the streets, but today there are none. There are usually a lot of people waiting at the bus stops, talking amongst themselves. There are no people anywhere in my view. The streets are brought into a bone-chilling silence. The silence brings a frightening chill down my spine.

I have reached my home. I sit on the front steps, waiting for Damian. I look up at the sky. The sun is beginning to set. My shadow bends and twists as the sun goes down.

I return my watch to the sidewalk, looking down the sidewalk for Damian. I squint, seeing something across the street, standing in the shadows. I can only make out that it is a person, about 5'9", walking out from the shadows and now crossing the street.

I tense up as the person stands motionless on the sidewalk in front of me.

I stand up and watch the person carefully. I only see their eyes, bright green, staring back at me. Their eyes seem to glow in the dim light.

I look at their eyes and shudder, these eyes are familiar. Where did I see them before? I know that I have seen these same, unblinking eyes somewhere before, but where?

I gasp as I realize who stands in front of me, it is Axel. I back up towards the door.

He advances slowly, moving in sync with me.

I open the door and just about running backwards; get myself up to my room, Axel following me all the while.

I back my way into my bedroom closet. I have to find something to protect myself from him. My hands touch something hard. A box! I open it behind my back, still watching Axel. I feel for the handle of the sword, lying in the box. I grab the handle of the sword and stand up, now feeling moderately safe.

I bring the sword in front of me, and ask, "Why are you here, Axel? Did Rakus send you?"

Rakus is another one of my enemies, also wanting the necklace. I know very well that Axel is here in place of Rakus. Rakus is like the "leader" of the people, who want to get the necklace or want kill me.

Why would they want to kill me? I have been a part of their organization, Organization 13, for years I realized that I was not doing right by being with them, so I resigned. Actually no one can resign once a member, I left in the middle of a meeting and I never returned. They wanted to go after a group of fighters, they call themselves the Revolution. They were speaking of taking control of them the only way they knew how, by force.

I could not be a part of that. My dear friend, he told me to call him by the name of Soldier, was in the Revolution. I thought of him as a person that I could not live without; he was so kind, thoughtful, and caring towards all of his friends and allies. I could not be a part of Organization 13 anymore.

Why would anyone name an organization, Organization 13? They are named that for the 13 members, willing to do anything and everything to get the necklace. They were named this before I became a member.

I step towards Axel, touching my sword to his chest. I say more aggressively through gritted teeth, "Did he send you?"

Axel moves his white-colored hair out of his face. Sure white hair sounds strange but it is just hair-dye. His emerald-green eyes sparkle as he takes his sword from his belt, not the least bit worried that I am pushing the blade closer to his skin. He points the sword at me, bringing it close to my neck. The point of the sword touches my throat.

I try not to think about it. I glance towards the door. Damian is standing in the door-way, his jaw locked. He moves his hand to the leather handle of his sword. His hand wraps around the handle tightly, his arm shaking ever so slightly.

I begin slowly backing away from Axel, who is now advancing, his sword close to my throat. My back hits a wall, I am cornered. I move my sword closer to Axel's chest.

As if we are connected by a wire, as I move my sword closer to his chest, he moves his sword closer to my throat.

I bring my sword back to my side. I have run out of options it seems. I can't give him the necklace, for it means almost definitely that I will be killed. But if I do not then I will be killed right here. I close my eyes, thinking over my options again. Nothing will help me.

Damian comes into the room, quietly moving behind Axel. He moves so silently that neither Axel nor I have even realized that Damian has entered the room.

I open my eyes, not realizing that the whole time that I have had my eyes shut, I have been shaking. I ask yet again, "Did Rakus send you, Axel?"

Axel nods no emotion in his face. The only hint of emotion is a slight twitch in his upper lip, a smile of delight.

Damian backs away from Axel, just a silently as he had entered. Damian takes his cell phone out of his pocket and dials a number. Damian whispers into the phone, moving carefully out of sight. I hear a faint click. Damian moves back into my view. He twiddles his thumbs, taps his thumbs together twice and looks at me.

I learned a silent way of saying, "Soldier," that is exactly what Damian has just done, he has told me in that silent way that Soldier is on his way.

I nod, watching Axel's arm. The sword moves slightly, leaving a small cut on my throat. It bleeds a little.

I look at Axel, his arm is stiff, and his eyes glare at me with hatred.

As I stare at the blade of the sword I can only think, "I have to get away from him,"

I look past Axel to Damian. He is almost out of my view; I can see his hand, on the doorframe, his fingers tapping the wood. I can hear whispered words but I can't make out what is being said.

Damian comes into my view completely, and next to him, Soldier.

Soldier's hazel eyes stare at the scene before him. I am backed against a wall, a sword being held to my throat.

Damian whispers more to Soldier. Soldier frowns, his fingers curl into fists. He stands there, breathing heavily, balling and un-balling his fists.

Soldier looks at me. My eyes plead with him, pleading for help. I still hold my sword in my right hand. It drops to the ground, clattering noisily on the hard-wood floor.

Axel brings the blade of his sword against my skin. I close my eyes, praying silently that he does not move his arm any further.

Soldier's calm, angelic voice carries through the room, "Axel, please let her go. Before I am to proceed past this doorway I must be sure that no harm will come to Alicia. Can we deal with this feud without any un-needed actions on your part or mine? I am sure that we can work this out without violence,"

Axel grabs my left arm and pulls me in front of him. He places the sword back at my throat.

I look at Soldier, my eyes frightened.

Soldier moves a lock of his shoulder length, black hair out of his eyes. He looks at me, looking for a sign of what he should do.

I silently snap my fingers, 2 times; I pause, then once more. I tap my index finger twice on my leg. What this tells him is, "I can try to get away from him,"

Soldier nods.

I struggle against Axel's hold on me. I kick his left leg.

Axel throws me across the room. The back of my head hits the wall. I drop to the ground, my eyes closed, trying to overcome the intense pain in my head.

Soldier and Damian come to my side. Soldier lays a hand on my shoulder.

"Alicia, are you alright?" Soldier asks, looking intensely into my eyes.

I lift my head and place my fingers to my throat. The blood flow has stopped completely, but I am not convinced. I get to my feet and go to a shelf, only feet away from where I was thrown. I go through the shelves, looking for a small mirror, so I can see how badly I am injured.

I find the mirror and hold it up, so I can have a good look at my throat. I gasp in shock. I run my fingers gently across where the cut had been. The cut is no longer there, it is as if I had been healed instantly after Axel hurt me. I drop the mirror. It clatters noisily on the floor, but it doesn't break. The mirror slides across the floor.

I look at Axel, standing in the same spot. His red eyes glare at me. I glare back at him angrily.

I look at Soldier and Damian. I grab each of them by the hand and lead them to the doorway. I say, "Soldier, Damian, I am sorry for all of this, but I must face him. I know that the consequences are great but I must do this alone,"

Soldier's eyes widen, he looks at Damian and says, "Damian could you give me a few moments with Alicia?"

Damian nods and says, "I have to get going anyways, Alicia, I wish you the best of luck. I hope that this is not the last day that I see you,"

Damian gives me a long hug, turns to the door and leaves.

"Alicia you don't have to do this, you know that he is too strong for you. Can I at least stay here to help you if anything goes wrong?" Soldier asks, placing his hands on my shoulders.

I look into his eyes. I pull him close to me and hug him. I say to him, nearly bursting into tears, "Of course you can,"

I turn back to Axel. I say, "Why couldn't Rakus come here himself? If he really wanted this he would have come here!"

"He meant to come but he had other plans," Axel says, smiling devilishly.

I frown, trying to figure out what he meant by "Other plans,"

I gasp as I realize what he means. He means, "Rakus has gone after The Revolution. There is no stopping him now,"

I glare at him angrily, grinding my teeth. That he would try to kill those who are a part of me. Those who are a part of who I am, that makes me enraged!

I begin stepping towards him, I stop abruptly. I feel a presence I have not felt for the longest of times. I begin backing away from Axel. I have to see if my gut-feeling is correct, I pray silently that it is not correct.

I watch Axel carefully as I back away; he is looking at me in surprise, probably wondering why I am backing away from him.

I have now backed out the door. I hadn't realized it but the mirror slide all the way out the front door and it is now balanced on the front step. I pick it up and hold it up.

As I look at the reflection in the mirror, I see something peculiar, the shadow of a man, a winged man standing in a tall tree.

I gasp and drop the mirror yet again. The glass shatters as it hits the concrete. I turn around slowly, carefully.

The winged man steps off the tree and now falls at an alarming rate, only to land, unharmed on the sidewalk in front of me. He wears a pair of black jeans, and no shirt.

I gasp, looking into the amber-colored eyes of a man I hoped I would never see again. Kalona, a winged vampire has been looking for me for a long time, I still do not know why, but our arguments always end in a brutal fight between me and him.

"Kalona what are you doing here?" I ask, stepping towards him.

"Not happy to see me?" Kalona says in a sarcastic tone.

"Why would I be happy to see you? You have been trying to kill me for the past 2 years all for one broken promise!" I yell, stepping closer to Kalona.

"A promise you said you would KEEP!' Kalona says.

"Yes, I promised you that I would find Anna for you. But my decision is final, I will not tell you where she is," I say, looking at him angrily, "You have bothered her enough!"

"You don't understand my feelings for her!" Kalona yells, stepping closer to me.

"By what I have been told, she wants nothing to do with you!" I say, keeping my right hand close to my sword, just in case Kalona tries to hurt me.

Kalona lets out a long, deep growl, clearly warning me not to make him angry.

I look at him, now frightened just a bit by him. I look into his amber-colored eyes and wonder, "If I make him any angrier he will surely fight me. I cannot let him find Anna. I promised her that as long as I live I will never let him come near her again. I cannot break this promise,"

I take the sword from my belt and point the blade towards Kalona. I look back at Soldier and say, "Soldier, I must ask you not to help me when I fight with Kalona. I must fight him alone,"

Soldier nods his head and says, "Alright, if that is really what you want, then I will not interfere,"

I turn back to Kalona, backing up a few feet. Kalona takes his sword from his belt and holds it at his side.

I step closer to him, holding my sword in my right hand. I point it at him.

Kalona points his sword at me. We both stand, across from each other, swords pointed at one another, neither of us willing to back down.

Kalona manages to circle me and is now standing just inside the living room.

Axel still stands in the middle of the living room, watching the fight eagerly.

The radio is on; my Skillet Comatose CD is playing loudly. I had set the radio to repeat the song "Falling inside the Black."

As the music gets more intense, Kalona and I fight each other.

Most of my furniture has been moved down to the basement, so the main floor is almost empty of furniture.

I sing along to the music, more specifically I sing along to this part, "Falling in the black, slipping through the cracks, falling to the depths can they ever go back? Trimming on the way you used to be, Can you hear me? Falling in the black, slipping through the cracks, falling to the depths can they ever go back? Falling inside the black,"

Soldier watches on, worrying for my safety. His hand reaches hesitantly towards his sword.

Kalona has me in the kitchen. I am cornered, wall at my back, the kitchen table blocking my escape. I look coldly into the eyes of my nemesis, not willing to back down.

Kalona has his sword close to my throat, the blade just touching my neck. All has fallen into silence.

I am shaking a bit. My sword is on the ground next to me, I cannot pick it up, and I know that if I try to retrieve my sword, Kalona will bring his sword across my throat without a moment's hesitation. I look deeply into his eyes; his eyes show only hatred and victory.

I rethink my options; again nothing that I do will help me. I can think of only one, try to take the sword from him. Sure it sounds simple enough but if Kalona bites me, I have a good chance of dying from the venom. I only know of one way I can survive if Kalona bites me, let the venom spread, and become a vampire like him. This option comes with a chilling side-effect, while becoming a vampire I will show signs that suggest that I have died, when in fact I am reaching the final stages of my transformation. The whole transformation only takes minutes to hours to be fully completed.

I frown; this is the only chance I've got. I grab Kalona's arm tightly. I cannot let his arm go.

Kalona looks at my arm, then at me, wondering what I plan to do now.

It takes only seconds, Kalona bites deep into my left arm; let's go of my arm, and steps a few feet away from me.

I wince as the pain shoots up my arm. I look down at my left arm. The bite mark is clearly deep. Blood spills from the mark. I look up at Kalona's satisfied expression. He knows exactly what he has done.

Kalona turns and leaves out the kitchen window.

I go back into the living room, the warm blood moves down my arm and drips slowly off my fingertips.

I look at Soldier. He looks frightened. I look back to the kitchen, the trail of deep red spots is worse than I first thought, the spots are only millimeters apart from each other.

I lift my arm, keeping it higher than my heart, slowing the steady flow of blood out of the wound. My hand is stained with blood.

Soldier says, "Oh my god, Alicia!" Soldier runs to me and brings me to the staircase.

I take a seat on the stairs and say, "It was the only thing that I could think of,"

"Alicia, you have put yourself at an unbelievably dangerous risk!" Soldier says, not taking his eyes off of mine.

"I know I have… I thought it over knowing that I would be taking an enormous risk. But it was the only chance I had at the time, he had me cornered, I dropped my sword. He held his sword to my throat, I couldn't move. I had only one option, to grab his arm and get the sword away from my throat. That is exactly what I was trying to do," I explain, tears flowing down my cheeks.

Soldier wipes away my tears with his hands and says, "It is alright, I understand. All we can do is hope that something can be done to stabilize your condition,"

He and I stand up. I gasp and say, "Where is Axel?"

Soldier lays a hand on my shoulder and says, "He left while Kalona had you in the kitchen,"

I nod my head, relieved that he has left. I put a hand to my head, suddenly feeling dizzy.

Soldier says in a slightly alarmed tone, "Alicia? Are you alright?"

"Yeah I-I'm just d-dizzy," I stutter.

The only furniture in the room besides the bookshelf and the radio is a white couch.

I stumble over to the couch and lie down.

Soldier takes a chair from the kitchen and sits next to me.

I look at his expression; he is clearly scared beyond belief. I whisper to him, "Soldier, please do not be afraid. Even if I do die, I will die happy, knowing that I am here, with you. Please, stay here with me. I don't want you to leave. Can you promise me that you will stay?"

Soldier looks into my eyes and says, "Of course I will,"

I close my eyes as I feel a stab of pain in my chest. I whisper, "Soldier I will always love you,"

Soldier chokes back a sob. He says softly, "I love you too," Soldier kisses my forehead lightly.

I close my eyes and drift into unconsciousness. My head falls to one side.

Soldier feels my pulse, my heart beats faintly. Soldier looks at me sadly.

Although I lay unconscious I feel every bit of excruciating pain that is passing through my body. To put it simply, it felt as if I were being stabbed in the heart over and over and I could never die.

Soldier turns the chair away from me and cries softly, thinking that I have died.

I am coming to now, starting to wake from my unconscious state. I slowly open my eyes, and look around. I sit up slowly. I know that if I survived the bite that I have been changed forever. My new body is gifted with invincibility, magic, and extraordinary speed.

I turn my legs over the side of the couch and sit close to Soldier. Soldier is still sobbing.

I say slowly, "Soldier please stop crying," I am surprised at my voice, it seems that my voice has become like an angels, soft, musical, as if I sing the words that I speak to Soldier.

Soldier stands up, not realizing that I now stand beside him. Soldier stands up slowly, draws his sword and quickly swings the sword at me.

I react quickly, grabbing the blade of the sword and pulling it away from him. I throw the sword to the far end of the room.

Soldier frowns, looking deep into my, now bright red, eyes. He recognizes me, but is still not convinced that it is me.

I look into his eyes. I turn to the radio. I change the song to "The Last Night". I set the song on Repeat and turn back to Soldier.

He has gone to retrieve his sword. He does not know that it is me; he thinks that I am an imposter. He goes around the couch and points the sword at me.

I look at him compassionately. I say softly, "Soldier, do not be afraid of me. I told you that I love you. And I always will love you. You stayed with me. That is all that I asked. You kept your promise, that is more than I could ever ask for,"

Soldier looks at me, now realizing that it is me. I smile and sing softly, "This is the last night you'll spend alone. Look me in the eyes so I know you know, I'm everywhere you want me to be. The last night you'll spend alone. I'll wrap you in my arms and I won't let go. I'm everything you need me to be,"

Soldier wraps his arms around me and hugs me tight to his chest. He says happily, "Alicia it is you!"

I look Soldier in the eyes and say, "Soldier, you realize that it is highly dangerous to be around me now?"

Soldier shakes his head and says, "I don't care! You're still alive that is all that matters to me!"

I let go of Soldier's waist and whisper, "There is someone here!"

Soldier draws his sword from his belt and hides behind the couch.

Suddenly there is a loud, aggressive knock at the front door.

I go to Soldier and say, "Go upstairs. Find somewhere to hide, somewhere out of sight. I will find you when everything is under control. Okay?"

Soldier nods and rushes upstairs as quietly as he can.

I take a deep breath and open the door. All of Organization 13 stands in the doorway. Rakus stands at the front of the group, looking at me carefully.

I step aside, inviting them inside. I go to the radio and change the CD to "Awake" by Skillet and change the song to "Dead Inside"

They all come inside and stand in the living room. I begin talking with them. All turns to chaos as I try to negotiate with them.

"Soldier, help me!" I yell, struggling with Rakus, who now holds both of my arms behind my back, holding his sword to my throat.

Soldier hears the panic in my voice and rushes down the stairs. He stops at the bottom of the stairs, staring at the sight before him. I stand in the middle of the living room, Rakus holding his sword to my throat.

Soldier draws his sword. The other members, who stand around Rakus and I, bring their swords out and stand ready.

I look at Soldier helplessly. I feel the blade of the sword touch my neck. I close my eyes, one stray tear falls down my cheek. I grit my teeth as I feel Rakus putting more pressure on the sword.

Rakus says calmly, "If you want her to live, you will do exactly what I say!"

I look at him, shaking my hands one after the other, telling him, "No don't. I can handle this on my own!"

Soldier looks at me, confused and afraid for my safety.

I smile, doing this gesture again.

Soldier nods and steps closer to Rakus.

Rakus brings the sword across my throat in one swift motion.

I fall to the ground.

Soldier rushes to my side. The members of Organization 13 back away from me.

Soldier moves my hair out of my face and says softly, "Alicia? Alicia, please!"

I open my eyes briefly, so Organization 13 does not see. I wink at him, smiling.

Soldier gets to his feet, understanding what is going on.

I am only acting as if I have been badly hurt. In reality I didn't feel a thing! The invincibility has worked amazingly.

Soldier glares at Rakus.

I slowly get to my feet, completely uninjured.

Rakus stares in disbelief as I get to my feet, turn towards him and bare my teeth angrily.

"Rakus, I will only become angrier with you if you continue this useless attempt at finding the necklace. For your own safety I suggest you leave NOW!"

Rakus looks at me carefully, debating on whether he should test my patience any further.

Axel steps forwards, smiling. He says to me, "Alicia you have yet to come to the meeting. We cannot hold the meeting until we all have arrived,"

I look at him, shocked. I say quietly, "I know, I am sorry. I understand that I must…." I stop.

I touch the bandage on my right arm. I sigh, "Rakus, do you think it is time?" I walk up to him and whisper in his ear, "Do you think it is time that I tell Soldier?"

Rakus nods, watching Soldier.

I go back to Soldier and say, "Soldier I am sorry. I am so sorry I didn't tell you,"

Soldier looks at me, confused by what I say. "Tell me what? What is it?"

I lower my head, ashamed that I waited this long to tell him. I take a deep breath and say, "Soldier… I am a part of Organization 13. I am so sorry I did not tell you sooner. I just couldn't I knew you would be angry with me. Soldier I am so sorry,"

I go back to Rakus and stand with the rest of Organization 13.

Soldier stands motionless on the other side of the room. He just stands there, staring with disbelief at me.

I whisper to Rakus, "The leaders of The Revolution are here,"

"Perfect. This should be interesting," Rakus says, crossing his arms.

There is another loud knock at the door. The Revolution leaders are here.

I go to open the door.

Two men and a woman stand on the front step, all have their arms crossed.

"Hello Cairon, Aro, Jane," I say coldly.

They all nod in response.

I step aside, letting them inside.

"You have betrayed us Alicia. You will pay for this dearly!" Cairon says, moving his hand closer to his sword.

I look over at Soldier. He is sitting on the couch, his hands on his forehead. He is trying to make sense of this all.

Jane looks at Rakus with hatred. Jane has the ability to inflict pain with a simple glance. But she is not the strongest of the three.

Cairon is the strongest. He is one of the best swordsmen that I have ever seen! Coupled with his strength he is stronger than most fighters.

Aro is more an enforcer, His purpose in the Revolution is to restrain and tire out their enemies.

I scratch at the bandage on my right arm. I slowly, carefully undo the bandage.

Underneath the bandage is a long, jagged scar on my forearm. The scar is a sign of my "initiation" into Organization 13. I kept it covered so that my true alliance would not be shown.

I show the scar to Jane first.

She frowns, holding my arm in her hand, so she can get a better look at the scar. She looks at me and says, "You are one of them! You have become allies with The Revolution's sworn enemies!"

Jane soon becomes infuriated. She glares at Organization 13 angrily.

Soon they are all screaming in pain.

I frown at their discomfort. I go over to them and say, "Everyone grab my hands. It'll be okay just grab my hands,"

I hold out my hands to them.

They each grab my hands. Suddenly the screaming stops, just as quickly as it had started.

I smile. The gem inside the necklace has the power to heal all who come in contact with it. When they grabbed my hands the power went off of my skin to them. As long as they keep their skin touching mine, they will not feel the pain.

Jane frowns, now turning her gaze to me.

Aro, Cairon and Jane all look at me, realizing that I am the strongest out of them all.

I frown, knowing what they are planning to do. They plan to eliminate me.

I sit next to Soldier; he is still sitting on the couch, hands on his forehead.

"Soldier I know you can't understand this right now. But I promise you, I will never let them hurt you. They know what I will do to them if they do," I turn to them. "Right you guys?"

They all nod. They know that if they hurt someone when I tell them not to, I will hurt them just as badly as I have been hurt.

Soldier lifts his head.

"Good. Soldier I know that this is confusing right now, but you'll understand more in time. Although I know the location of the necklace, I would never give it to them if it meant that it would cause you harm. I could never do that to you," I explain, looking into his eyes.

Soldier hugs me for a long time. After a few minutes he lets go.

I get to my feet and listen carefully. I hear faint footsteps, coming from outside. I look around and say, "Someone is here. Everyone go wait in the kitchen I will call you when everything is ok,"

Everyone moves into the kitchen.

There is a frantic knock at the front door. I hear a muffled yell, "Alicia!"

Anna! What is she doing here?

I run to the door and open it.

Anna rushes inside, dripping wet, pushing me away from the door. She closes the door and locks it. She goes to the curtains and closes them.

I say, "Guys come out it is okay!"

They all come out of the kitchen.

"Anna what are you doing here?" I ask.

"K-K-Kalona He found me! He tried to- too..." Anna breaks into tears.

I hug her and say softly, "It's alright Anna, it's alright. He is gone now,"

Anna steps away from me shaking her head. "No, no, no" she says over and over.

"Anna? What is wrong?" I ask, frowning.

She points a shaking finger past me, towards the back door.

I slowly turn around. I gasp in shock, looking at the doorframe.

I say quietly, "Kalona,"

There on either side of the doorframe, 5 long jagged claw marks. I turn to the others.

"Did anyone see him?"

They all chatter amongst themselves, become silent and shake their heads.

"How long has he been here? It could not have been that long! Anna you stay here with everyone," I turn to Organization 13, "Guys, make sure he doesn't get to her, keep her safe!"

I say in an alarmed tone, "He could be anywhere,"

I look all over the basement first. I look in every possible hiding place. I find no one.

I run up the stairs and check the main floor. Again, I find no one.

There is only one floor left, I run up the stairs.

I pause at the top of the stairs, listening for any movement. I hear a faint shuffle. I move carefully around the second floor. I look in the bathroom, laundry room, and guest bedroom in every possible place that I can think of. No sign of him.

There is only one room left, my bedroom. I move quietly, careful not to make any noise.

I enter the bedroom, looking around myself.

I look for any sign of where he could be. I see more claw marks on the closet door.

As I go to open the door, I stop. Kalona would never leave such an obvious clue to where he is... oh no!

Suddenly I feel the point of a sword touch my back.

"Well done Alicia... you found me," Kalona says.

"You will never get to her Kalona!" I say angrily, closing my eyes.

As I already know, Kalona knows exactly how to kill vampires just like him. He leaves blood on the blade of his sword. It stains the metal and acts as a weapon to vampires.

This sword has been stained for many years, causing it to look red in color.

Kalona puts more pressure on the sword, bringing the sword even closer to my skin.

Kalona says angrily, through gritted teeth, "Where is she?"

"I will never tell you where she is!" I say angrily.

Kalona drives his sword into my back

I close my eyes as I am overcome with pain.

I fall to the ground.

Kalona looks down at me, frowning. He says coldly, "You could have prevented this," Kalona leaves out the window again.

I lay there, my eyes closed.

Soldier heard the fight and rushes up the stairs, only to find me, lying on the floor of my bedroom, a huge gash in the middle of my back.

The cut is bleeding out and I start to black-out.

The last thing I saw was Soldier at my side.

I wake up a few days later, unaware of how long I have been unconscious for.

Soldier is the first person I see. He is sitting in the same chair, watching over me.

"Soldier, what happened?" I say softly, putting my hand to my head.

"Guys come here! She's awake!" Soldier calls upstairs.
Everyone comes downstairs in a hurry.
Anna is the first down the stairs.
"Really she's awake?" Anna says excitedly.
"Anna?" I look at her. Her face is glowing with excitement.
This one word is soon followed by a deafening, "Alicia!"
All of Organization 13 come running down the stairs, so excited they are running each other over!
They all stand around me, hugging me and telling me they all had given up hope!
I get to my feet and say, "K-Kalona, W-where is he?"
Soldier lays a hand on my shoulder and says, "We haven't seen him since the day he attacked you. He told us that he would be back. We have been keeping watch for him ever since,"
I look at them all and ask, "How long was I..."
Alex, a member of Organization 13, steps forward and says, "About 3 days. Soldier never left your side,"
Rakus steps forwards and says, "He talked non-stop. All he said was, 'I won't lose you,' over and over,"
Soldier looks at me and says, "I thought if you heard a familiar voice..."
"It's alright, Soldier. I understand," I say, wrapping my arms around his waist.
Soldier kisses my forehead lightly.
I become slightly frightened and back away from Soldier. I say slowly, "Aro, Jane, and Cairon?"
"They left after the second day. Jane was getting irritable," Alex says.
"Wait a minute! How did I heal from that huge gash... in only a few days?" I ask.
"We have not figured that out yet, but we think it has something to do with the necklace," Rakus says, from the other side of the room.
I bite my bottom lip. The necklace! I had forgotten that I had been wearing it!
I go upstairs, to my bedroom. Soldier follows me.
I look at the wooden floor. There are still traces of my blood on the wood.
I get to my knees and pass my fingers over the stains.
I look up at Soldier, standing in the doorway. I say, "Did I really bleed this much?"
Soldier nods, looking out the window.
I get to my feet, still staring at the dark red lines of blood.
Soldier and I go back downstairs, where everyone is waiting for us.
There is a loud crash. We all look into the kitchen. And there stands Kalona, leaning casually against the table.
"Oh, nice to see you Alicia," Kalona turns to Alex and says in a low, threatening voice, "I told you I'd be back,"

I walk to the front of the group, with my sword in my right hand.

"Oh I see you survived. But how could you have survived?" Kalona says in a confused tone.

"I don't know Kalona. I really don't," I say, watching him carefully.

"We are still trying to figure out," Soldier says, coming next to me.

"Hmmm... nice to know," Kalona says, sounding bored.

"Hey Kalona you sound bored. That's a first," I say, holding back a laugh.

"You think this is funny? Maybe next time I won't go so easy on you!" Kalona says, moving his hand, closer to his sword.

I whisper to Alex, "Why did he come back?"

Alex shrugs his shoulders.

"I came back for her!" Kalona says, as if he has answered my question.

"I told you I would never tell you where she is! That is final," I say in a commanding voice.

Kalona draws his sword and looks at me angrily. "Are you positive you want this to happen?"

I step away from the group and say, "Guys I suggest you leave, NOW!" I command, not taking my eyes off of Kalona, who is glaring at me.

I hear shuffling behind me, they are going up stairs.

Soon all is quiet, we are alone.

"Kalona, why do you bring this upon yourself? I have told you many times that I will not tell you her location. So why do you continue to ask me?" I ask, stepping closer to him.

"I will not rest until she is with me. If I have to kill you to do so… then I will," Kalona says, pointing his sword at my chest.

"You wish to fight? Then so be it!" I stand ready.

Kalona lets out a frustrated growl and charges at me.

I duck down and Kalona soars over my head.

I laugh and say sarcastically, "Oh man, Kalona, I didn't think you missed me THAT much!"

Kalona growls and charges at me again.

This time I stay completely still. I will let him hurt me this time.

Kalona brings his sword across my right arm.

I look down at my arm, then at him. Then something inside me just... snaps.

That a**hole! I'll kill him!

I step towards him and say, "Never,"

I take my sword in my right hand.

Kalona's got quite a thirst, I know from experience.

I look at the bite mark again, it has opened and blood drips steadily from the mark.

Kalona stares at my arm.

I bring my sword across the mark and open it even more.

Kalona smiles devilishly. He charges at me.

I stand still, my sword in hand.

Just as Kalona reaches me I bring my sword across his chest, leaving a fairly large gash on his chest.

Kalona closes his eyes, overcome with pain, "Oh f***. Damn it!" he yells, clutching his chest.

I step a few feet away from him.

Kalona glares at me angrily. "YOU B****! I'll kill you" Kalona screams.

"You brought this upon yourself. I only reacted to your actions. Your actions bring consequences!" I say, looking into his eyes.

Kalona stands up and says, "So sorry but I have someone to get to,"

Kalona begins to swing his sword.

I close my eyes, bracing myself for the blow.

"Alicia!" I hear Soldier yell.

Soldier hurdles down the stairs and jumps in front of me.

Soldier falls to the ground.

"Soldier!" I say, coming to his side.

"Alicia, I'm sorry," Soldier says, looking into my eyes. "I couldn't let that happen, Alicia. I-I couldn't let that h-happen. N-not to you. Alicia I love you, I always will," Soldier kisses me.

I hug him tight to my chest. His body becomes limp in my arms. I gently lay him on the couch.

"Soldier," I say, fighting back tears.

Kalona is gone now; He left moments after Soldier came.

The guys come down the stairs.

Rakus looks at me. "Guys stay here,"

Rakus lays a hand on my shoulder and says softly, "We tried to stop him. We told him not to go, but he kept saying, 'I have to save her', we begged and pleaded with him to stay here, but he was... so determined..."

I sit in the chair next to the couch. I bury my face in my hands and cry.

I stop crying and touch Soldier's hand, hoping that the healing will work. I tell them while I do this, "If he dies, I die,"

I have been sitting in the same spot for over 2 days, not taking my eyes off of Soldier.
Anna is sitting next to me, watching over me.
Ever since Soldier died, I realized that he was willing to do anything and everything if it would keep me safe.
I haven't let Soldier's hand go. I still have hope that my plan will work, so I sit motionless, watching Soldier for any signs of life.
Alex and Rakus come to me and say, "Alicia, it's been 2 days... I know that you are determined to save him, but let's face facts, Soldier is gone. Nothing can be done to change that now,"
I sigh, looking sadly at Soldier, "If I hadn't fought him... Soldier would still be alive. If I hadn't been so angry," I cup my face in my hands and cry.
"Alicia we are all sorry for this, if we had stopped him..." Rakus' voice trails off.
"No. Don't blame yourselves, this is my fault. If I hadn't fought with Kalona in the first place then Soldier wouldn't have come to save me. I am the reason that Soldier is dead," I say, lifting my face from my hands. I stand up and look out the front window. Leaves cover the ground, the sky is dark with clouds and, again, there are no signs of life on the streets.
"I have to fight him again," I say to myself.
"WHAT? He'll kill you!" everyone says in unison.
I turn to them and say calmly, "Exactly, I said before, 'If he dies I die'. That is what I will do,"
I go towards the door.
"Alicia this is crazy, you KNOW that Soldier would want you to live, even if he is gone," Lexie, a member of Organization 13 says, stepping towards me.
"Lexie I am sorry but I must. There is nothing worth living for... if Soldier is not with me. Unless by some miracle, I will continue with my plan," I turn to everyone and say, "I am sorry but my decision is final,"
I open the door and head out to find Kalona.

I walk along the deserted streets, looking for any sign of Kalona. I watch the sky carefully, knowing that Kalona flies everywhere. I walk for hours, watching the sky.

I have walked for a long time. I have not realized yet, but I have wandered into a patch of woods far away from my home.

I look around myself, looking for signs of Kalona's presence.

A squirrel runs past me. I jump, startled by the movement. The squirrel darts up a tree.

I continue walking. Every noise makes me jump, I expect Kalona coming out of the trees.

I stop and listen to the sounds around me. Birds sing in the distance, small animals, run across the leave-covered ground.

There is a louder sound, a footstep? I listen and again I hear the sound. Cracking branches, crunching leaves.

I listen until the sound disappears. I continue walking.

I have reached a part of the woods that seems strangely familiar. I have reached a large clearing, about the size of a football field. There is definitely something familiar about it…. but what?

Suddenly the sound returns, the loud crunching of leaves, the snapping of twigs. I know that it is much larger than the animals in these woods.

I listen to the sounds, keeping my hand close to my sword, just in case.

I continue walking.

Suddenly I hear… a whistle? Yes, a long, low whistle.

I frown, someone is following me.

I hear the person behind me but I keep still, letting them come closer to me.

I feel a breath on the backs of my shoulders. I draw my sword and turn around.

Kali stands behind me, her sword drawn.

"Kali, did THEY send you?" I ask, pointing my sword at her.

Kali is a Revolution member. She wears black leather. Black leather pants, boots, tank top. And black gloves.

"Yes Alicia, they sent me. They sent me with an order. An order to kill you," Kali says, looking at me.

"Kali you do not understand... I am far too dangerous for you to be around right now. I cannot deal with this right now," I say, backing away from her a bit.

Kali laughs, "Too DANGEROUS? That's a good one!"

I am becoming angry. I know that if I become too angry that I will act without thinking, and that could be disastrous for Kali. I try to calm myself down, but Kali's laughter is angering me even more!

I clench my teeth, I will not attack her!

"I won't do it, I won't do it," I say over and over, "I won't do it,"

I back away from her, my eyes shut. "I won't do it, I won't,"

I walk backwards, away from Kali. I know not where I am going but I know that if I attack Kali; Aro, Cairon, and Jane will come after me, and that is even worse!

I fight the impulse to attack her.

I stop, wondering, "Should I fight her? Knowing that Jane will act without a moment's notice? Yes. They have hurt me so much. Kali had been against my joining the Revolution ever since I became a member. She fought with me daily, trying to convince me to leave. I left on impulse; I just had to leave,"

I draw my sword, and stand ready.

Kali frowns pointing her sword at my chest.

I push my sword into the ground. I lean against a tree.

Kali smiles. She walks up to me, stopping to throw my sword into the trees. The sword gets stuck in the trunk of a tree.

I watch her as she gets closer to me.

Kali says smugly, "What a shame, Jane will be so disappointed. She is the one who wanted to kill you. I will explain it all to her later," Kali puts the tip of the sword over my heart.

I close my eyes, thinking, "I know what to do... I know what to do,"

Kali pushes the sword into my chest.

I fall to the ground.

"Alicia Alicia, you could have stayed, but you betrayed us. I did what I had to do," Kali says, walking away from me.

I lie still, on the leave-covered ground.

I get up from the ground, and continue my journey, the journey to find my killer.

I have been looking for hours, and still no sign of Kalona. I am worried for everyone back home. Are they ok? I do not know.

I think of Soldier. I could have stopped him myself, I could have pushed him away... but I didn't. The guilt is unbearable, I go to the tree my sword is lodged into. With one strong tug I pull the sword from the tree.

I go to a fallen tree and sit down.

"Why did I not stop him? I could have pushed him back, I could have told him, 'Soldier stop,' but in my fear I became unfocused," I ask myself, tears streaming down my face.

I wipe away the tears and stand up.

"Why are you crying?" a voice says. It sounds like a young girl, maybe age 7 or 8.

I stand up. "Who's there! Come out!" I command, holding my sword at my side.

I look towards the voice.

I listen to footsteps, small and light.

I see a little girl coming out of the trees. Her black hair is pulled up in a pony-tail. Her hair goes just past her shoulders. Her red eyes catch my attention.

She walks up to me, looking at my tear-stained face and asks, "Please miss; tell me why you are crying,"

"I am crying because someone close to me has died," I explain, getting on my knees so I am at eye-level with the girl.

"I'm sorry. Say have you seen the man?" the girl asks me, looking around her.

"The man, what does he look like?" I ask, putting my hand on her shoulder.

The girl turns around and says quietly, "Like me,"

I move the pony-tail away from her back. My jaw drops and I get to my feet, terrified by what I see... a pair of black wings.

"How do you know of him? How do you know of Kalona?" I ask, stepping away from the girl.

She stands up, looks up to the clouds and says, "He's my protector,"

"Protector? He protects you?" I ask, looking at the little girl's bright red eyes.

"He protects all of us. All who help him," the girl says, looking at me.

The wind picks up, the trees around us shake.

The little girl turns into the wind and says, "He is here. I must tell him who is here,"

"Alright go tell him, I'll wait here," I say calmly.

The girl nods and runs into the trees.

Soon Kalona comes out of the trees and next to him the little girl, pointing towards me.

I look into Kalona's eyes and say softly, "You wanted to kill me... here is your chance to do it!'

Kalona looks at me, a hint of emotion in his amber-colored eyes.

I narrow my eyes; it is as if Kalona looks at me with... compassion? Yes compassion. I have never seen this before.

"Why do you look with compassion at your greatest enemy? I must know," I say, frowning at the sudden silence between us.

"Your eyes remind me of... Anna's. I see you have a fighting spirit within you, just as Anna does. But I realize that my emotions are not for you," He looks down at the girl. "Thank you Hailey. This is the one I have been wanting,"

Hailey nods.

"Kalona if you are as smart as I think you are, then you know why I am here," I say, looking towards the sky.

"Yes, you wish for me to take your life. I understand what I must do. But what I do not understand is why, after all these years; do you now choose to end your life?" Kalona says, stepping closer to me.

"He died at your hands Kalona, I cannot stand that," I say.

"Yes I suppose I am responsible for his passing..." Kalona says.

"No, you are not responsible for his death... I am, if I hadn't fought with you, Soldier would not have come to save me. It is my fault that Soldier is dead," This statement brings tears to my eyes.

"You wish me to end your life because of him? You think that life is not worth living... if he is not in your life?" Kalona says.

Hailey stands at his side, keeping quiet.

"I wish to fight you! I may die in doing so... but it will be worth it. If I have a chance, if any, of surviving the fight… then I will do it myself," I explain, bringing my sword in front of me.

Kalona takes a few steps back, smiling devilishly.

"What is he doing?" I wonder as I watch him move steadily backwards.

Kalona whispers something to Hailey as he passes her.

She nods in response, taking a small, child-size, sword from her belt.

My jaw drops. He wants me to fight a little girl!

Kalona stands about 10 yards away, watching.

Hailey smiles playfully, "Alicia, I want to play a game with you,"

I get down to her level and ask, "A game? What are the rules?"

Hailey smiles and says softly, "Survive," She jumps at me.

I jump up, over her head and land just behind her.

She turns quickly, still smiling.

I look at Kalona; he wants me to fight a little girl? How low can you get?

I turn towards Hailey.

"Hailey we don't have to do this… we don't have to fight," I say trying to calm her.

"If I don't I will get hurt," Hailey says, looking at me.

"He'll hurt you if you don't fight me?" I ask.

Hailey nods, "If someone disobeys, he hurts them,"

I go closer to Hailey and say, "I can protect you, and I won't let him hurt you,"

Hailey says softly, "I don't know,"

"Hailey... I promise you, I won't let him hurt you," I hold my hand out to her.

Hailey still looks uncertain. She looks into my eyes. After a few moments she takes my hand and says, "Okay,"

Back at my home, everything is how it was when I first left.

Everyone is sitting around Soldier, worrying for not only his safety but mine as well. Anna has wrapped Soldier's shoulders in a blanket, and put a pillow under his head.

The guys are standing around him, hoping that he will be alright.

Anna turns to them, "I'm worried for Alicia she's been gone for so long! I hope nothing has happened to her,"

"Anna we are all worried for Alicia, but she knows what she is doing, she will come back to us when she feels it is time," Rakus says stepping closer to Anna.

Alex, Rakus, Lexie and a few others from Organization 13 go to the front window, watching for me.

Anna stays by Soldier, watching over him.

All falls into eerie silence as they keep watch.

After about half an hour of silence, Anna breaks the silence by saying excitedly, "Guys, guys come here!"

Everyone comes around Anna asking, "What is it A… oh my GOD!" they all say now staring at Soldier.

Anna says, "H-his hand moved! It moved!"

Everyone becomes silent with amazement.

Soldier begins to sit up from the couch, looking around himself carefully.

He turns to Anna and asks, "Where is Alicia?"

Everyone exchanges worried glances. Anna says quietly, "She thought you were dead Soldier… she told us 'If he dies… I die,' she left to find Kalona; she could not bear living if you were not in her life. Soldier it is obvious that Alicia cares more about you than you realize," Anna pauses. "But never mind that, you have to find her before she finds Kalona,"

"Thank you all. I hope that I can find her before that happens," Soldier says, running out the door.

Soldier reaches the wooded area that I am in.
Soldier looks into the trees and says softly, "I will find you Alicia. I will find you,"
Soldier walks through the trees, looking for where I might be.
Soldier walks for a long time. He hears a faint yell. He begins running towards the noise.

I stand in front of Kalona. Hailey stands at my side.
I say angrily, "Why would you have a little girl fight me? Are you worried I might be too strong for you?"
Kalona is becoming angry. He points his sword at my chest.
I look at Hailey; she is cowering behind me, whimpering softly.
I hold her hand reassuringly. I say softly, "Hailey it is okay,"
She wipes a tear away from her eye and nods.
"Kalona if you wish to kill me, then do so but please not in front of Hailey," I say, returning my gaze to Kalona.
Kalona nods.
I turn to face Hailey and say softly, "Hailey go, hide somewhere, if you see anyone who looks like they are nice, tell them what is happening, tell them to come and help. Hailey, do you understand what I am asking?" I ask, placing my hand on her shoulder.
She nods, looking into my eyes.
"Good thank you Hailey," I hug her. "Now go,"
Hailey nods and runs into the trees.
I turn back to Kalona, "Okay..."

Soldier is walking through the woods, in the direction the yell came from. All he says to himself is, "I will find you,"
He hears rustling in the bushes. Soldier draws his sword.
Soldier's jaw drops. Hailey is coming out of the bushes, now eyeing Soldier suspiciously.
"Are you good? What is your name?" Hailey asks, stepping closer to Soldier.
"My name is Soldier, I am looking for my friend," Soldier explains. "As for if I am good, yes I am,"
Hailey smiles happily, "Your friend, I think I know where she is!"
Hailey takes Soldier's hand and leads him to where I am.

Kalona stands in front of me, smiling.
I stand in front of him, my head down. "Kalona please stop this torturous waiting, just please get it over with,"
Kalona smiles knowing the pain he is causing me. Kalona lifts my head using the point of his sword.
I close my eyes, knowing what he is doing. He is making it so I must watch what he is doing.
I close my eyes, the only thing running through my head, the same phrase over and over, "Soldier I love you,"
Kalona brings his sword to my chest, the point of the sword directly over my heart.
There is noise in the bushes behind Kalona. The noise soon stops.
Thinking of Soldier, tears begin streaming down my cheeks.
Suddenly I do not feel the sword touching me. I open my eyes slowly.
Kalona is turned away from me, looking at someone.
"Alicia? Alicia please come here!" I hear Hailey's voice.
I stand up from the ground and walk towards Hailey.
I gasp.
"Soldier? Oh my god!" I say, tears running down my cheeks.
"Alicia," Soldier says softly.
I can't stand it anymore; I pull Soldier close to me, hugging him tight.
"Soldier your alive!" I say through sobs of joy.
We stand there, hugging and crying, happy to be reunited.
After a while we find the strength to let go of each other.
We both turn back to Kalona, who is standing in the same spot, crossing his arms.
"Kalona you are never going to separate us again, no matter how much pain and suffering you cause us, we will fight. If you wish to kill one you will have to deal with the other. If you wish to fight with me... you will have to fight both of us," I say, putting my arm around Soldier.
Kalona is obviously angered by this.
It starts to rain, thunder sounds to my left.
Kalona and Soldier draw their swords at the same time.
I look at Soldier, wondering if he knows what he is doing.
He nods to me.
"Okay, he knows what he is doing, that is good," the thought runs through my head.
I draw my sword; I won't let Soldier do this alone.
Soldier looks at me, concerned for my safety.
I shake my head, "I won't let you do this alone,"
Soldier smiles then turns back to Kalona.
I point my sword at Kalona. I smile, moving my sword in an X motion over Kalona's chest.
Kalona glares at me, pointing his sword at my chest.
Soldier looks at me, wondering what I am doing.
I smile, showing him, that I know what I am doing.
"Kalona if you wish to kill me, you will have to fight me first," I say, looking into his amber-colored eyes.
Kalona only looks at me, no emotion in his face. His eyes stare, not at me or Soldier, but simply he stares into space, standing completely still.
I frown, "What is he doing?" I whisper to Soldier.
Soldier shrugs his shoulders, "I don't know,"
Soldier and I stand next to each other, watching Kalona.
I begin stepping closer to Kalona, Soldier pulls me back.
"What are you doing?" Soldier asks in a slightly panicked tone.
"Trust me Soldier I know what I am doing. You have to trust me," I say, looking into Soldier's hazel eyes.
Soldier nods, letting my arm go, "I trust you,"

I walk up to Kalona, keeping my sword close to me. Kalona stands still as a statue, not moving, not blinking.

I get a shiver up my back as I watch Kalona. I turn back to them and say, "C'mon you guys let's get out of here," I look back at Kalona as we exit.

We have walked a while and now we are walking up my front steps. I stand by the door, allowing Soldier and Hailey go inside. There are many questions about who Hailey is and why she is here. I listen for a little bit, then I walk inside, closing the door behind me.

My entrance is followed by a loud cry, "ALICIA!"

Everyone is coming towards me now. Organization 13, having been upstairs at the time, are now barreling down the stairs, trampling each other to get to me.

I am soon smothered by everyone hugging me at once.

I laugh and say sarcastically, "C-can't breathe! Need air! Man I didn't think you missed me THAT much!"

Anna looks at me and says, "Of course we missed you. Why wouldn't we?"

After a lot of questions on what happened and if I was okay, everyone finally lets me go.

"Guys I am so sorry I ran off like that… can you forgive me?" I ask, sitting on the couch.

"Of course we can, you only went because you thought…." Alex begins. He looks over at Soldier.

"I know, but I am still sorry that I ran off," I say again.

"That is alright Alicia, we know you are," Anna says, sitting next to me on the couch.

"This all could have been prevented… if I had just..." My voice trails off

"Alicia no, it is not your fault, let's just put this behind us and forget that it ever happened," Soldier says, putting his arm over my shoulders.

I nod, looking at Hailey, sitting on the couch beside Soldier; she is smiling, looking at everyone and how happy they are.

"Hailey can you tell everyone what you told me? I think they will understand why you are here if you tell them about yourself," I say, looking at her thoughtfully.

Hailey says happily, "Alright,"

Hailey goes to the staircase and sits down.

Everyone gathers around her, Soldier and I remain seated on the couch.

"About 4 months ago, my parents went missing. I looked for them for days before finally coming to the realization that they were gone and they weren't coming home. I cried for hours before he came. Kalona came to my door, asking if I needed any help. I told him what happened and that I was so scared for my parents and that I did not know where they were.

"He told me that he understood and that he would take care of me. At the time I thought he was so nice. I thought that he would help me to find them, but I was wrong.

"One day about a week after his arrival, Kalona told me that he had something that he wanted to share with me... a gift he said. I didn't think much of it and I asked him what the gift was. He said it would help…" Hailey starts to cry.

I frown, knowing what Kalona did. I say to myself, "He bit her,"

I said it a little too loud though; everyone is looking at me now.

Hailey looks at me, "Yes," she says through sobs.

"Hailey how many people has he bitten? I have to know," I ask, looking into her eyes.

"At least fifty people including me have been bitten that I know of," Hailey says, wiping the tears from her eyes.

I fall back into the couch. "No,"

Hailey comes next to me and says, "Alicia it is alright, as far as I am aware, they others only attack when he wants them to. They almost never attack without his approval. Not that they won't but it is highly unlikely that they will,"

Rakus steps closer to Hailey and says, "You are very articulate for your age, Hailey,"

"Yes, listening to Kalona is quite an experience on all of our parts," Hailey says.

I stand up from the couch and say, "We must not fail this, and Anna is still not safe while Kalona is out. We must find more people to help us fight him. Does anyone know who else can help us?"

Soldier says, "I know of 3 people who may be able to help us. I'll see if they can come to help," Soldier leaves, cell phone in his right hand.

"I know of one person who might help," Lexie says, she goes upstairs to find the phone.

"I know one person who can help," Alex says, going upstairs with Lexie.

"Okay I think we can do this. But I have to count on everyone's participation in this. Can I count on that from you?" I ask, looking into the eyes of my friends.

One by one they start to take their swords out of their belts and lift them up.

I do the same. I shout into the screaming crowd, "We will protect each other, we will fight, and we shall prevail!"

A loud cry shakes the windows.

Soldier comes back with a rather muscular man and says, "Everyone this is Jamal, I have spoken with his family and they said that they will help us. His brother, Lance and his sister Gwen are on their way,"

Lexie comes running down the stairs, "Guys I just found out from my friend Alexander that he can have at least 10 people come with him! He'll be here within the hour!"

Rakus hurdles down the stairs and says, "I have found out that Gabriel will be coming with his wife Sophia,"

"Excellent! This should work well," I say, going to stand next to Soldier.

We wait for a while, as we wait more people arrive. The first to arrive are Gabriel and Sophia.

"Hello Gabriel, hello Sophia," Rakus says, inviting them inside.

"Hello Rakus, we hear you have a problem with Kalona," Gabriel says, coming inside with Sophia.

"Gabriel and Sophia are like you Alicia; they too were bitten by Kalona at a young age. They can help you deal with this," Rakus says, turning to me.

I nod.

"Hello Alicia. Would you mind if I asked you a few questions?" Sophia asks, following me to the couch.

"Not at all Sophia, you can ask me whatever you want to know," I say, sitting on the couch.

I look around the room. More guests are showing up. Hailey is still crying on the staircase, Soldier is trying to comfort her.

I say quickly, "Excuse me Sophia," I stand up from the couch and go sit on the steps next to Hailey.

"Hailey can you come sit with me while I talk to Sophia?" I ask, holding Hailey's hand.

Hailey wipes her eyes and asks, "Is she nice?"

I nod, looking towards Sophia.

Hailey stands up from the stairs and walks with me to the couch.

"Sophia, this is Hailey. Hailey helped me recently," I say, looking into Sophia's emerald green eyes.

"Nice to meet you," Hailey says softly.

Sophia looks at me and says, "So she is one of us as well? Are you sure she can be trusted?"

"Of course she can be trusted. Though she is young she is an excellent fighter. I know this from experience," I explain.

Gabriel comes next to Sophia and says, "So she used to be one of his allies?" Gabriel looks at me and says, "Are you positive that she is here to help us, and not to…"

Hailey looks up at Gabriel and says, "Even if I was to do that do you not think that I would have tried by now?"

"I suppose so, but I am not fully convinced," Gabriel says, sitting in the chair next to the couch.

"Anyways, Alicia some things you should probably have under control should be the magic and shielding. But sometimes Kalona will return to you, sometimes to deal with unfinished business, and very rarely to visit," Sophia says.

I frown, "I doubt very much that Kalona will just come and visit me… I have something, rather someone he wants," I explain, looking towards the kitchen.

"You do? Who is it? What is their name?" Sophia asks a note of panic in her voice.

"Anna, her name is Anna," I say, still looking into the kitchen.

"Anna, yes he has talked of her. He talks about her as if she loves him," Gabriel says.

I shake my head, "He may think that she loves him but from what I have been told she does not feel this way,"

"And now he is after you for preventing him from seeing her," Sophia says under her breath.

"Yes, since I have not told him where she is he has already tried to kill me, two times before. And because of my actions Soldier got hurt while trying to help me. And in my grief I did something foolish…" my voice trails off.

"What is it? What happened?" Gabriel asks, coming closer to me.

"I went to Kalona asking for- for," I start to cry.

Hailey explains, "She went to Kalona to ask him to kill her. Her grief was becoming too much to bear,"

I explain to them what happened, "I-I only told them one thing as I left to find him, only one thing. I told them when I left 'If he dies… I die,' I thought only one thing as I walked the streets, 'This is my fault, Soldier is dead because of me,' I know that it was wrong to think this but I felt responsible for Soldier's injuries. Anyways I found Hailey while I walked the woods and later Kalona found me there. I told him why I was there and it seemed like he understood what I was going through. I only have Soldier to thank that I didn't die. He saved my life twice in a day,"

I shiver getting a sudden chill down my back. I look around; wondering what could have caused it.

I frown, seeing something peculiar, a black scarf laid carefully on the railing of the stairs. I get up from the couch and go to the stairs.

I touch the silk scarf, hanging on the railing. I pick it up and examine the scarf. There is an odd feeling of protection when I hold this scarf, as if when I hold it I am protected from something.

I carry the scarf to Gabriel and Sophia.

Sophia eyes the scarf suspiciously, mumbling to herself as she looks at the scarf.

I ask Gabriel, "Do you know who's this is? Do you know where it came from?"

Gabriel nods and says, "It is his. This scarf belongs to Kalona,"

I drop the scarf immediately. I look back at Gabriel.

He is looking at the scarf on the ground.

I apologize, "Sorry I am just not comfortable with Kalona being around right now,"

"That is quite alright, Alicia," Sophia says, smiling.

I look around myself again and ask, "When do you think he will come? I keep expecting him to burst through the front door any minute,"

"I don't know when he will arrive, but when he does we will be ready for him," Gabriel says.

I turn away from Gabriel and Sophia, trying to collect my thoughts.

I look up and say, "No! I can't believe we missed this!"

Soldier comes to my side and asks, "What is it? What is wrong?"

I turn to him and say, "He found us. Kalona is here,"

Hailey comes next to me and says in a frightened tone, "He is here? Then that means…"

"That means that the others have come with him," I say, touching Hailey's shoulder.

Everyone is in a panic now, asking questions that no one can answer, "How long has he been here?"

"Where could he be?"

I stand on a chair and raise my hands, asking for silence. I say, "I will go investigate, if anyone wishes to join me then come forward!"

Jamal steps forwards, along with Sophia and Gabriel. Soldier comes next to me.

Everyone else stays where they are.

"Alright, let's go as a group. Check the basement first!" I say, leading the way to my basement.

We search in all the places that we can think of. There is no sign of him.

We check the main floor next; obviously there is no sign of him.

Now it is time to search upstairs for Kalona. I say to everyone in a harsh whisper, "Watch your backs carefully! I have made that mistake before and I won't do it again! Be as quiet as you can, he could be up here,"

We go through all of the rooms except for my bedroom. We find no sign of him.

I point towards my bedroom. I walk towards the door, everyone follows me.

As we reach the door, I raise my hand. "Two of you come with me, the rest of you stay here,"

Jamal and Gabriel say together, "We will come with you,"

I nod to them, slowly opening the door.

I look inside the room, from the safety of the doorway, Kalona is nowhere to be seen, but that means he could be hiding.

I enter the room, sword in hand. I look around then wave to Jamal and Gabriel to come in.

They come in, looking around the room carefully.

"Kalona we know you are here! There is no use hiding form us we will find you!" I say, holding my sword at my side.

Suddenly Kalona appears at the window, glaring at me.

I go to the window and open it. I back away from the window.

"Kalona I told you I will not tell you where she is so you can just forget it!" I say, going next to Gabriel and Jamal.

"Oh I didn't come for her. I came for YOU! You will not keep me from her anymore!" Kalona says, still glaring at me with hatred. He takes out his sword.

I shake my head and say, "When will you stop this fighting? I am only saying 'No' because I want Anna to be safe. Can you not understand that?"

"I care about her Alicia, when will you stop trying to keep us apart!" Kalona says in a slightly angered tone.

"Kalona do you realize yet that she does not want anything to do with you! She told me herself!" I say, starting to get angry with him.

Kalona takes his sword and points it at my chest.

I look at the sword then at him. I push the sword away from me with my hand. I turn away from Kalona and say, "Kalona I am not fighting you,"

Kalona growls steadily growing more impatient with me.

I shake my head and say again a little louder, "I am NOT fighting you Kalona!"

Gabriel comes in front of me and says, "Alicia do you want us to step in?"

I look down at the ground and shake my head, "No, it is what he wants. He wants us to fight him,"

Gabriel nods and tells Jamal, Sophia and Soldier. There are a few whispered words then all returns to silence again.

"Kalona if you wish to hurt me for this choice then do so," I say, bringing my sword to my side. I wave my hands, telling everyone to move out of the doorway.

They go to one side, wondering what I plan to do.

I look at my sword; I take a deep breath and throw my sword out of my room, over the railing. The sword tumbles down the stairs.

Gabriel and Jamal come back into the room, staring at me in shock. I plan to let him hurt me.

I remain still saying over and over again, "Don't fight back,"

Kalona brings his sword across my back, leaving a fairly deep cut on my back.

I close my eyes, trying to overcome the pain. I continue to chant, "I will not fight!"

Kalona continues to leave large jagged cuts on my back with his sword; all the while I chant the same phrase over and over.

The others watch on, worrying how many blows I can take before I finally reach my breaking point.

Blow after blow, I remain standing only looking at everyone who stands in the doorway. They all look worried and some look angrier than Kalona.

Kalona has stopped now, trying to catch his breath.

I close my eyes, becoming somewhat lightheaded. I put my hand to my head.

Gabriel comes towards me and asks, "Alicia, are you alright?"

My face is emotionless; I am too lightheaded to even respond to Gabriel's question.

"Alicia?" Sophia says, coming next to Gabriel.

I fall forwards, unconscious.

Gabriel catches me just as I fall forward. Gabriel lays me on the floor in front of him and Soldier.

Soldier comes next to Gabriel and asks in a concerned tone, "What happened? Is she okay?"

Gabriel frowns, watching Kalona carefully. He looks down at me. "Hmmm," Gabriel kneels down next to me.

After looking me over Gabriel says calmly, "Soldier there is no need to be worried. She did not pass out because of him," Gabriel looks at Kalona briefly. "She is asleep. This must have been too much for her to handle. You have to remember she hasn't had a decent sleep in the longest time. You mustn't worry Soldier she is just fine,"

Soldier looks at Gabriel, Kalona then me. He looks again at Gabriel and says, "Let's get her downstairs she'll be okay there,"

"Jamal could you help carry her downstairs please?" Gabriel asks, stepping out of the room.

"Alright," Jamal says, coming into the room.

Jamal picks me up, cradles me in his arms and carefully carries me downstairs.

After carrying me downstairs Jamal lays me gently on the couch. Everyone is asking questions again, "Is she okay?"

"What happened?"

Gabriel says nothing, knowing that it might disturb me. He puts a finger to his lips. Gabriel goes back upstairs and gets a blanket and pillow.

Sophia puts the pillow under my head and lays the blanket on me, folding it back so my face is uncovered.

Soldier closes the curtains and locks the front door, and then he comes next to Gabriel.

"Should we tell them?" Soldier whispers to Gabriel and Sophia.

"I think we should tell them what happened, so they know what is going on," Sophia says, looking at the crowd, filled with worried faces.

Gabriel asks Sophia and Soldier, "Should I be the one to tell them?"

"If you'd like then go ahead," Soldier says, looking into the crowd.

Gabriel nods and goes to everyone in the room telling them to go upstairs to my room and to stay there until Soldier, Jamal, Sophia, and himself join them.

One by one they go up the stairs, walking in single file.

"We can tell them together. Let's go join them," Gabriel says, looking towards the staircase.

Soldier is the first to enter the room. He goes to my bed and sits down.

Sophia, Gabriel and Jamal go sit next to Soldier.

"Everyone please settle down we have something that we want to share with you," Sophia says.

All falls into silence. Everyone is looking at them now. Jamal stands up and stands in the doorway.

"Everyone, Kalona was here in this room when we went to look for him. He told Alicia that he was not after Anna any longer, instead he was after her. He wanted to kill her,"

Gabriel steps in, "She told him that she would not fight him, no matter the pain he caused her,"

Sophia continues, "And as a result Kalona got angry and attacked her. He cut her back multiple times with his sword. After a while of doing this, Kalona stopped, out of breath and tired,"

"We asked Alicia if she wanted us to step in. She told us that she did not want us fighting him. After a bit she did not say anything. Gabriel asked her if she was alright and she fell forwards into his arms, unconscious," Soldier says, looking out the window into the starry night.

There is a lot of talking now, mostly about Kalona. Asking where he could have gone, why he wanted me? Too many questions too many unanswered.

Meanwhile downstairs, I am beginning to stir. I slowly sit up, remembering my injuries. I rub my eyes, thinking that I have slept long enough. I get up and make my way to the staircase.

"Oh you're awake," a voice says followed by laughter.

I turn around only to see Kalona smiling at me. "Kalona…" I whisper, staring in horror at my enemy.

Kalona only smiles at me. "Time to go,"

I glare at him, wondering what he means by "time to go". I shake my head, refusing to go with him.

Kalona grabs my arm tightly, pointing his sword at me so I stay silent.

I sigh realizing that I have only one option. I must go with him.

Without a word I leave with Kalona, knowing that I cannot object to his orders.

We have arrived at a large gray building, I frown looking at the barred windows and peeling paint. It looks like a prison.

We enter the building. I look around wondering why Kalona has brought me here. I hear faint talking as we walk down a long deserted hallway.

"Kalona why have you brought me here, what do you plan to do?" I ask, looking at him as we walk up a staircase.

"You'll see soon enough," Kalona says, leading me to a jail cell.

I look inside and see… young boys and girls, about the same age as Hailey.

Kalona pushes me inside the cell, locking the door behind me.

I land on my knees on the damp dark floor. I stand up and brush myself off. I glare at him through the bars.

"I told you that I would not tell you where she is! What part of that do you not get, Kalona?" I say through gritted teeth.

"You will stay here until you co-operate," Kalona says, looking with emotionless eyes at me.

I wrap my hands around the steel bars. "Kalona you know they will be looking for me,"

Kalona comes close to me and says, "Exactly," Kalona leaves through a far window.

I lower my head, resting my head on the bars as I think over what he meant. I hear whispering from behind me, a young girl whimpers.

I turn to face the children in the cell with me. I get on my knees and ask them, "Are you the others that Hailey was speaking of?"

They all exchange worried glances, then a young girl, with light brown hair looks up at me, asking in a concerned tone, "Hailey? Do you know where she is?"

I nod and say, "She is at my house, with my friends,"

The answer brings more chatter. The girls and boys talk amongst themselves sounding concerned for Hailey.

I interrupt by saying, "It is okay. Hailey is just fine; there is no need to worry,"

I return my gaze to the bars. I frown, I am getting angry. Why would Kalona keep me here?

I do not realize it but my skin is starting to glow, deep red. I become even angrier thinking about how Kalona has always tried to hurt me. The glow slowly grows to a flame; every inch of my body is covered in deep red flames.

The children are huddled in the farthest corner of the cell, hugging each other.

I cannot hold it in any longer; I close my eyes and let out an ear piercing scream. The scream is followed by a loud crash. I open my eyes only to see the bars of the cell, broken and twisted.

I smile, turn to the children and say, "You can come with me, you are free now,"

They slowly get up from the floor and follow me, back home.

While I am gone all chaos has broken out.

While upstairs, Soldier is getting worried. Soldier says, "Would one of you go check on Alicia please?"

Gabriel nods to Soldier. As Gabriel passes Soldier he says quickly, "I will go,"

Gabriel makes his way quickly down the stairs. Gabriel stops at the bottom of the stairs, horrified by what he sees.

Gabriel rushes back up the stairs yelling, "She's gone!"

"What?" Soldier says, running past Gabriel and hurdling down the stairs.

Everyone follows Soldier, worried and angry.

They all reach the bottom of the stairs only to find that I have disappeared, the only sign of my being there, a small note on the living room floor.

Soldier is the first to notice the note, a small piece of paper, only folded once. Soldier picks it up and reads the note.

Soldier's mouth drops open, the letter falls from his hands, landing on the ground in front of him.

Gabriel picks up the note, reads the one word scribbled on the paper and yells, "S**T!"

Sophia and Jamal come forward from the group of confused people and ask, "What did it say?"

Soldier drops onto the couch and says simply, "Kalona,"

After a while Sophia manages to console Gabriel. "Gabriel do you have any idea why he would have taken her?"

Gabriel goes to the staircase, sits down and says, "Only one. To get to Anna,"

Sophia goes to Anna, who is sitting next to Soldier. Gabriel says softly, "Anna we would never let Kalona get to you,"

Anna looks into Gabriel's eyes and says, "But what about Alicia?"

"She is smart, she will find a way to get away from him," Gabriel says, putting a hand on Anna's shoulder.

"Yes but I am also worried about all of us. I mean, what if Kalona come back? We can't fight him," Anna says, going to the window and looking out into dark.

Gabriel frowns, "Alicia wouldn't have left willingly we all know that," Gabriel looks around, for clues as to what forced me to go with Kalona.

After a few minutes of looking Gabriel comes upon something that no one had thought of since my second encounter with Kalona in my bedroom.

"Her sword she would not have left without protection," Gabriel says, now looking around the staircase.

Soldier comes to the bottom of the staircase where my sword lies, untouched. He picks it up and flips in over in his hands. He puts in back at the bottom of the stairs.

Sophia says softly, "She didn't leave because she wanted to… she left because she had no choice,"

Hailey looks around, worried and disturbed by something in the air. Hailey walks from the front door to the back door, pacing back and forth, watching both doors for signs of danger.

Hailey stops after the fourth time. She stands in the back doorway.

Sophia, Anna, Jamal, and Soldier watch her as she paces. When she stops so suddenly, Soldier seems disturbed.

Soldier goes to Hailey and asks her, "What is it Hailey? Who is it?"

Hailey stands completely still, only her mouth moves, "Kalona… he is coming for Anna again, this time he is bringing help,"

Hailey turns to Soldier and says, "He is bringing… Cairon,"

Soldier shakes his head slowly, "Cairon… we mustn't fight him. Try to reason with him, find out why he has come,"

There is a loud knock at the front door. Gabriel goes to answer it.

Gabriel opens the curtain carefully so he can see who has come. Gabriel quickly closes the curtain and opens the door.

"Alicia, oh my god how did you get away from Kalona?" Anna says as I enter the room.

"Hailey I have some people who want to talk to you," I say, smiling happily.

I wave my hand to the kids. They come inside, run up to Hailey and soon they are talking non-stop.

Soldier stands by the couch, not moving, only mouthing, "Alicia," over and over.

I laugh, walk up to Soldier, hug him and say, "Yes Soldier it is me. I am okay,"

Soldier hugs me tight to his chest, saying softly, "Alicia your okay,"

Gabriel interrupts by saying, "Hey what about us?" he laughs.

I smile, "Of course," I go to them and get them all in a big group hug.

After a while we calm our selves enough so I can begin explaining what happened.

"Well, I woke up a while ago, thinking I had slept long enough. I was going to go up the stairs when I heard Kalona say, 'Oh your awake,' I turned around and stared at him, wondering what he was doing there still. He said to me, 'Time to go,' I refused to go with him at first. He came closer to me put his sword at my chin and grabbed my arm, and then I realized that I had no choice but to go with him, so knowing that this was risky, I went with him.

"After a while we reached a large building it looked like a prison. He led me inside and up a flight of stairs. We reached a cell. Inside that cell is where I met them," I point to the children. "Kalona pushed me inside and locked the door. As I glared at him through the bars I began to get angry. Angry at Kalona's choice to keep me in the cell, angry at everything that Kalona has done to me. Kalona left soon after. My skin changed as I got angrier,"

"Wait! It changed? How did it change?" Gabriel asks, looking intently at me.

"Flames, red flames hovered just above my skin. It was just so…" I stop mid-sentence, looking out the door and stare horrified by what I see in the window.

"Alicia? What is it? What is wrong?" Anna says, coming closer to me.

I glare out the window. Gabriel tries to go to the window. I put my arms out and stop him.

"Don't open that door. If you do we all die," I say, grabbing Gabriel's arm tightly.

Jamal comes next to me and asks, "For God sakes Alicia, what is it?"

"Kalona, he's here," I say, not moving.

Hailey and her friends immediately stop talking at the mention of Kalona's name.

I look at Soldier and say, "Soldier, I have to hide. Hailey bring your friends upstairs. Soldier you have to keep him busy down here for a little while. I expect you all to help keep him busy as well,"

I look towards the door, and then follow Hailey upstairs.

Kalona knocks loudly on the door, clearly angry. Gabriel and Jamal go to answer it.

Kalona pays no attention to them, pushing them out of his way. Kalona starts walking towards Anna. Sophia, Soldier and Lexie stand between Kalona and Anna.

"Kalona you will not pester Anna any longer," Soldier says, crossing his arms.

Kalona is getting extremely angry now, glaring at Soldier, the only person that will stay standing in front of Anna.

Soldier looks at the determination in Kalona's eyes, clearly he will not leave without Anna. He turns to Sophia and Gabriel and says, "Go get her, we might need the help,"

They both nod, rushing up the staircase.

Gabriel looks around for where I might be hiding. While he looks he mumbles to himself, "Where would she hide with them? Somewhere with a lot of space,"

Sophia says quickly, "The guest bedroom!"

They both rush to the bedroom to find me in the middle of the room, the kids behind me.

"Alicia you have to help! Kalona and Soldier they…" Sophia starts.

"I'll be right down, go help him!" I say quickly, pointing to the door.

They both nod and rush back down the stairs.

I turn to the kids and say, "I will be right back okay? Stay here and stay together,"

"Okay we will," they say together.

I close the door and run down the stairs.

All has gotten out of hand; Kalona is fighting with Soldier, still trying to get to Anna. Soldier is keeping himself between Anna and Kalona.

I come to the bottom of the stairs, look at them fighting and start yelling, "Stop it both of you!"

Of course they are too into what they are doing to hear me. They continue to fight.

I run to them, being careful not to get hit by their swords. I stand in between them.

Kalona and Soldier are still trying to fight each other. Now Kalona is swinging his sword at me.

Soldier has backed away from Kalona and is now talking with Anna, asking if she is alright.

I catch Kalona's sword in my hands as it reaches me. I hold it tight between my hands. I pull his sword, trying to get it away from him.

Anna looks at me, shocked by what I am trying to do. I am trying to make it so Kalona can't hurt Soldier.

My hands are getting cut badly, and the pain is unbearable, but I know that if I let go of this sword, Kalona will kill me (at least that is what I suppose will happen if I let go). So I keep my hands around the blade of the sword, tugging and pulling at it. Blood drips from my hands onto the carpet. I ignore the pain and keep pulling.

Kalona seems aggravated by my attempts to dis-arm him. He also seems, oddly enough, totally relaxed. Though with every tug I pull him closer to me, he does not look as if he wishes to fight me.

Kalona frowns, annoyed with my actions, he takes one hand and pushes me away from him.

I fall backwards; Soldier catches me from behind, looking up at Kalona.

I get to my feet, a little dazed but physically I am just fine. I start walking towards Kalona. Soldier and Gabriel hold my shoulders.

"Another day in this carnival of souls, another nights ends, end as quickly as it goes. The memories are shadows; ink on the page, and I can't seem to find my way home. And it's almost like, your heaven's trying everything, your heaven's trying everything, to keep me out. All the places I've been and things I've seen. A million stories that made up, a million shattered dreams," I turn to everyone behind me "The faces of people I'll never see again. And I can't seem to find my way home. 'Cause it's almost like; your heaven's trying everything to break me down. 'Cause it's almost like, your heaven's trying everything to keep me out; 'Cause it's almost like, your heaven's trying everything to break me down. 'Cause it's almost like, your heaven's trying everything; your heaven's trying everything to break me down, to break me down. To break me down, your heaven's trying everything, your heaven's trying everything to break me… down,"

I turn back to Kalona, draw my sword and stand perfectly still. I look back at my friends; each of them has a horrified look in their eyes.

I smile, knowing in my heart that this will be the last that I see them all like this. I go to Soldier; he has tears in his eyes. "Soldier I'm sorry… but I must," I give Soldier a long hug. As Soldier and I hug, everyone around us joins in. Everyone who can't contain themselves is crying, Hailey is crying more than everyone here (except for Soldier)

When we finally release, everyone is wiping tears from their eyes. I go to Gabriel and Sophia, standing side by side. "Take care of Anna and Hailey, keep them safe,"

They nod, smiling.

I go to Hailey next; she is sitting on the couch, still crying over what I have said. I sit next to her and say softly, "Hailey it is alright, I am only doing this because I think that it is the best for all of you. I want you all to be safe..." I pause briefly, looking around the room. "If I have to sacrifice myself to do so then that is what I will do," I hug her tightly.

Hailey cries harder as I give her one last hug. Her shoulders tremble as she tries to contain her tears.

I hold onto her shoulders and say softly, "Hailey if I do manage to get back here… I will notify Soldier. If he gets the call, wait for the news. While I am gone, Hailey, Gabriel and Sophia will watch over you,"

Hailey nods, wiping her eyes.

I get up from the couch and turn back to Kalona, who is standing in the same spot. I draw my sword and stand feet away from Kalona.

Kalona begins drawing his sword when I stop him, "Wait! Not here,"

Kalona leaves, waiting for me on the lawn.

I begin to leave, stop, and walk over to Soldier. I stop just in front of him and say, "Soldier if I do manage to escape, I will call you on your cell phone,"

"Okay Alicia, I hope that today isn't the final day that we are together," Soldier says, looking me in the eyes.

I kiss Soldier for what seems like an eternity. Look deep into his eyes, and then begin walking towards the door.

Behind me everyone is trying to contain their tears, as they watch me leave for what might be the last time.

I am just inside the doorframe, looking at Kalona, waiting for me in the yard his arms crossed over his chest.

I look back at my friends, then Kalona again. I shake my head, I will not risk my life for nothing if I do risk my life I will do it in the company of the people dearest to me. I slowly back away from the door.

Soldier whispers to the others, "What is she doing?"

I lift my right hand, asking for them to stay quiet. The talking stops. I continue to back away from the door; I stand just inside the house, my right hand resting on the door. I say as I slam the door, "You will not do this Kalona and I will ensure that you never will!"

I turn to everyone, "Get something to hold the door! Quickly I can't hold it for very long!"

I lean against the door; Jamal and Gabriel come to help me.

Sophia and Anna go to find something to put in front of the door that is heavy enough that it will keep Kalona out.

Soon after they return down the stairs, asking for others to help bring it down, a few others rush up the stairs to help.

I move my feet slightly, adjusting my position so I can hold the door. I look towards the window. "He could break the windows," I motion with my hands for Jamal and Gabriel to find something to block the windows, "Floor boards, cabinet doors, anything that can keep him out,"

They begin looking through the rooms, looking for spare wood to block the windows, soon after they come back with armfuls of wood. They begin looking through the toolboxes for nails and hammers.

After a while of hammering and threats being yelled from outside everything is settling down. Jamal, Gabriel and a few others have brought down a heavy wood chest from upstairs and have put it in front of the front door; another identical chest is placed at the back door.

Alexander is pacing back and forth in the living room, wondering how long the blockades can last.

Soldier is sitting with Gabriel, Jamal, Sophia, and Hailey.

I rush up the stairs, into the guest bedroom, where the kids still sit, huddled together in fear. They smile happily when they see me enter the room.

"Kids you need to come downstairs ok? You need to be with the others now," I say, standing in front of them.

They follow me downstairs, wondering what the problem could be.

"Okay everyone is downstairs, the windows and doors are locked and sealed. Turn all the lights off, the light will only help him in finding a way inside," I say, turning off the living room and porch lights. Soldier Jamal and Gabriel run to turn all the lights off.

I go to Sophia and say, "If he gets inside… he's coming after me first. I can guarantee that now,"

"Alicia there is no proof that this will happen, you must have faith," Sophia says, placing a hand on my shoulder.

"I know it's just… I don't want this to affect you all in a negative way. If anyone in this house is getting hurt by Kalona I will make sure that it is me and not anyone else," I say, looking towards the front door.

"Alicia I understand that you are afraid for everyone's safety but we are stronger in numbers," Sophia says, looking at the boarded windows and the doors.

I sigh and turn to Sophia, "Sophia I cannot let any of you help me, it is my fight not yours and I don't want anyone to get seriously hurt. You have to understand Sophia I am doing this for your safety,"

Sophia opens her mouth to speak but is interrupted by a loud *BANG* on the front door. The chests in front of the door rattle loudly but stay in place. I turn to the door quickly, worried about if Kalona manages to make his way inside.

"Sophia, get everyone down in the basement and please hurry! No one is to come up that staircase! I will call you if I need the help," I say, gently pushing Sophia towards the basement steps.

"But Alicia…" Sophia starts, sounding concerned for me.

"No Sophia I must handle this on my own, no one is to help me and that is final!" I say, leading everyone else downstairs.

Soldier is struggling with me, trying to stay on the main floor. "Alicia, please don't do this, let me stay and help at least. You can't handle Kalona by yourself and you know that! Why would you do something so reckless?"

I sigh, "Because I care about you Soldier! I care about everyone here and I will not have him hurt any one of you,"

Soldier looks at me long and hard, wondering if I would really risk my own life to save them from Kalona.

"Soldier my decision is final, I will fight Kalona with all the strength I have… if it will keep you safe," I explain, laying my hands on Soldier's shoulders.

I gently push Soldier towards the staircase again. This time Soldier does not struggle with me. At the top of the stairs I turn Soldier towards me and say, "Soldier if I need help I will ask for it, if I don't then under no circumstances are you to come up those stairs,"

Soldier nods, slightly disappointed that he cannot stay to help me if anything goes wrong. He slowly goes down the stairs.

With everyone down in the basement I gently close the door to the basement, locking it as it closes. I turn back towards the door.

I walk carefully towards the door, knowing the consequences that I now face. I shake the thoughts from my head and open the door slowly.

Kalona's eyes are filled with rage! He glares at me as I slowly back away from him.

"Kalona I know that you are angry, but I had to make sure they were safe before we did this," I say, watching as Kalona closes and locks the door, his eyes on me the entire time.

I watch Kalona carefully, knowing that he could attack at any moment. I watch as Kalona leans casually against a wall, still watching me.

I break the silence, "Kalona why are you doing this? It can't be because of Anna. You came because you want something from me. What is it you want Kalona please tell me,"

Kalona says nothing, still watching me as carefully as I have been watching him.

I walk up to him, knowing the risks. I say again, "What do you want from me?"

Kalona turns his head to look at me, "Why do you taunt me? You know what pain I can cause you… why do you continue to fight though you know all hope is lost?"

"I fight because I know the consequences of my failure. You must understand, I only fight you for the safety of my friends," I explain, stepping a few feet away from him.

I hear faint shuffling in the basement. "Stop no one comes up those stairs unless I say so! Now get away from the door… and Soldier that means you too!"

The shuffling stops and now there are a few shouts of concern coming from the basement, "Alicia please let me come up! I need to see that you are alright!" Soldier shouts through the door.

"Soldier NO! Stay in the basement and DO NOT come up! Staying in the basement is the best thing that you can do for me right now. Please for my safety and yours stay in the basement!"

Kalona looks towards the basement door, somewhat interested in how many people are in the basement.

I stand up, as Kalona starts to make his way to the basement doorway. I go and stand in front of the door, keeping myself between Kalona and the door. I say darkly, "Your attempt to even go into the basement is infuriating. I assure you now you will not get into the basement while I am here,"

Kalona glares at me, his eyes staring hard into mine.

I move my arms to the edges of the doorway, making sure that Kalona can't get around me.

Kalona grabs my arm, glaring at me still. His grip is tightening fast.

I gasp as my arm begins to go numb with pain. I struggle to get away from Kalona, but his tight grip keeps me too stunned to move. I look towards the basement door just behind me. I can escape him, but if I open the door Kalona will be able to get to us all. I would rather risk my life than risk everyone else's.

As I think over my options, I wonder, "Am I perhaps faster than Kalona?" I must find out.

"Okay Kalona I will go with you," I say, hanging my head.

There are muffled cries coming from the basement, protesting my decision.

I call down to them, "No you guys! I have to do this, if it will keep you all safe than I will do whatever it takes! I am sorry but I am going,"

Kalona takes my arm and leads me out the front door. The door slams loudly behind us.

Soldier eventually manages to pick the lock on the door and get out of the basement. He and the others come up the stairs. Everyone is worried now, knowing that I have gone with Kalona. Jamal, Gabriel and Sophia are all standing next to the couch, not knowing what to say to calm Soldier down.

Soldier is beyond angry, staying silent in his anger.

Hailey is absolutely horrified, lying on the couch in the fetal position, hugging her knees to her chest.

Sophia goes to the top of the second floor staircase and whistles loudly to get the attention of everyone in the room. Everyone turns to Sophia, becoming completely silent.

"Everyone calm down please! Remember Alicia's words, she did tell Soldier that she would notify him if she managed to get away from Kalona, so that is what we must do. We have to be patient and wait for the call," Sophia says, looking at the many worried faces that face her.

There are a few words exchanged among the group.

Soldier paces in the living room, the only thing containing his anger the constant noise of his feet hitting the hardwood floor. He keeps rhythm to the clock on the wall as he paces one two three… one two three each of the steps keeping in perfect time. Suddenly Soldier stops pacing, standing in front of a bookshelf.

Everyone looks at him, wondering what stopped his frantic pacing.

Soldier stands perfectly still, examining the book titles carefully. Occasionally he moves down a little, so he can get a better look at the books on the bottom shelf.

After a few moments of carefully going over every title of every book on the book shelf, Soldier stands up, a book in his right hand. The cover is black, no writing anywhere on it.

Not saying a word, Soldier walks slowly to the couch, sits next to Hailey, and flips through the book. Soldier reads the pages quickly. The book is about 256 pages long and the lettering is small but still easy to read.
After a while, Soldier closes the book and angrily throws the book across the room.

The book hits the wall and opens when it hits the ground.

Everyone looks at Soldier, who is now walking up the stairs.

Everyone looks with concern at Soldier as he makes his way up the staircase.

Jamal and Hailey go upstairs as well to see what has made Soldier so upset.

Kalona forcefully takes me to the forest where I first met Hailey. We wind through the hundreds of trees and bushes.

As we walk I become afraid, Where could Kalona be taking me? I do not know… yet.

The sky is dark with clouds, as it has been for 3 days. The wind blows against my face, is it cold. The leaves on the ground are stirred by the wind, floating around us.

Kalona brings me to a large, 18th century house; careful intricate designs cover all the windows, doors and the railings.

I look around; the entire house is bordered by dozens of thick trees. There is no way of anyone finding the house unless they know where they are going. I sigh heavily realizing that the possibility of rescue is very slim.

Kalona takes me into the house, tightening his grip a bit. The tightness of Kalona's grip is making my arm go numb with pain. I close my eyes tight, horrified that if Kalona continues to tighten his grip he will eventually break my arm.

I look around the house interior, amazed at the detail and beauty of everything that is inside the house.

Kalona leads me up a staircase.

I look around, terrified by what I see on the walls as we walk down the long hallway… bloody handprints running down the length of the walls.

Kalona leads me to a room, the door covered in individual, dark red, bloody handprints. I touch the handprints with my fingertips. I pull back quickly and look at my hand, now covered in the dark red blood. This was put here just before I arrived.

I stare at my fingertips; I wipe my hand on a part of the wall without handprints on it. It leaves a long mark on the wall.

Kalona opens the door. I stare at the interior of the room… there are hundreds of the handprints over every inch of the room. On the floor, walls, even on the ceiling!

Kalona turns me towards him, smiling deviously.

There is something about the way that Kalona looks at me that makes me shudder. I slowly back away from Kalona, slightly frightened by the gleam in Kalona's eyes. I look at Kalona; he just stands in the doorway, not moving, following me with his eyes.

I walk up to him, ignoring Kalona's dry stare. I say softly, "Kalona why do you insist on fighting me? Though the fight may not be necessarily physical, the mental battle between you and I has not been settled," I turn my back to Kalona, "If I have to fight you to get you to stop this; Then that is what I will do Kalona,"

Kalona steps forward, his breath on the back of my neck. I shudder. I ignore the constant thought running through my head, "Get away from him, get away,"

I turn towards Kalona, ignoring the constant fear building up inside me. I look at the blood on the walls. I run my fingers along the prints, my fingertips now covered with the blood. I streak the blood under my eyes, I go to a large glass window. I punch the glass, shattering it into large pieces. I ignore the stinging pain in my hand and pick up a large piece of broken glass. Using the glass as a mirror, I look at the reflection of myself in the glass. My jaw drops as I stare at myself in the mirror, I look like a completely different person.

My hair has gone completely black in color, my skin, lightly tanned, is now pale, my eyes have changed color altogether! My brown eyes have changed to a dark red, almost blood-colored shade. I lower the glass away from my face, only to see Kalona, staring at my hand, dripping blood on the concrete floor. He is shaking uncontrollably.

I stare at Kalona, wondering what has brought this on. I shudder and stare at my hand, cut up and bleeding. I smile mischievously, realizing why Kalona is shaking like this. His thirst is getting harder to control when he is in the presence of fresh blood. I look with interest at the glass in my hand. I place the glass at my right wrist, watching Kalona's reaction.

Kalona is baring his teeth, breathing heavily.

I bring the glass across my wrist, closing my eyes and clenching my teeth as the pain comes in waves. I continue to make the cut larger and deeper, trying my best not to scream in pain. The constant noise of my blood hitting the floor makes me think about all the pain that I have gone through to keep my friends safe from Kalona.

I hear a loud scream of rage. In seconds Kalona tackles me to the ground, staring angrily at me. My head hits the ground, nearly knocking me unconscious. I stare at Kalona, more scared of him than I have ever been. I close my eyes, thinking of everyone who has helped me in the past, Hailey, Gabriel, Sophia, Jamal, Anna... I cry softly as I think of Soldier, the reality has finally set in that I might never see Soldier again. I open my eyes and look at Kalona, as he draws his sword and holds it above my chest.

Back at the house, Jamal and Hailey have gone upstairs and have found Soldier in my bedroom, staring out the window.

Hailey comes next to Soldier and asks, "Soldier, what is wrong? I know it had something to do with what you read in the book... can you tell me what got you upset?"

Soldier turns to face Hailey and Jamal. He says, "That book... that books contents will be the death of us..."

Jamal comes next to Hailey and asks, "The books contents will be the death of us? what do you mean Soldier?"

Soldier walks past Hailey and Jamal saying as he passes, "I'll show you,"

When they get downstairs, Soldier picks up the book, sits on the couch, and begins reading, "'the key to ones true nature can only be found with a vampire's bite. When one gets bitten, the venom in the bite brings strange effects to the user. The effects can be minor changes in a person's mood and mental abilities. Or they can be major physical effects clearly visible by anyone. The physical changes can include... changes in eye color, pale skin, flames that express a major emotion, and in some cases, changing hair color and major weather changes. The weather changes can include: cloudy skies that remain for days, even weeks at a time, sudden wind gusts and cloud cover etc.'" Soldier stops, closing the book.

Gabriel says quietly, "The changes are taking effect. Read more Soldier maybe we can find more out about this,"

Soldier reads more of the book, going into more detail about the effects of the venom in the bite and what else can happen if the venom spreads far enough. Soldier mumbles to himself as he reads through the book. Soldier flips past a few pages quickly.

"Wait Soldier can you go back to those pages?" Sophia asks, sitting next to him.

Soldier looks at Sophia, wondering what she could have wanted to see on the few pages that he had skipped over. Obediently he turns back to the pages.

Sophia puts her hand on a page, looks at the page for a few brief moments then says, "Right here Soldier. It says, 'The object of the victim's affections, is more of a threat to the attacker than any one person,'"

"Then that means…" Gabriel mumbles.

"Yes, Gabriel. Soldier has to go find where Kalona has taken Alicia," Sophia says, looking at Soldier's shocked expression.

Soldier does not speak. He only stands up, walks to the window, and stares, like a statue, never moving… wondering what consequences he faces if he does go out to find me.

I stare at Kalona as he stands above me, his sword above my heart. I sigh heavily, knowing that I can't fight my way out of this situation. I stay completely still, knowing that any sudden movements could drive Kalona to attack me.

Thoughts that enter my head are tortuous, frightening me even more. The thoughts of never seeing any of my friends again, never seeing Soldier again… this is the most upsetting of all. I watch helplessly as Kalona brings his sword closer to my chest, closer to my heart, bringing me closer and closer to death.

Kalona smiles mischievously, happy with his apparent victory.

I look with scared eyes at Kalona as he brings his sword down. The pain is unbearable as Kalona slowly drives his sword into my chest, deepening the pain that I feel. As I begin to fade into unconsciousness Kalona looks with triumph at me.

Some say death is easier than life; in some aspects this is true, to think that the suffering is finally over, to think that the fighting and the pain is over, does lessen the pain a bit.

A stray tear falls from my eye as I close my eyes and say my last whispered words, "Soldier… I love you,"

Back at the house, Soldier has begun the journey to come find me. Everyone is wishing him good luck and hoping that he can find me before it is too late.

Soldier says nothing as he pulls his jacket on over his shoulders. Suddenly Soldier's cell phone rings. Soldier answers it quickly, "Hello?"

"Soldier it is me, Alicia, I need to tell you something,"

Soldier's tone turns serious, "What is it Alicia?"

I sigh heavily and say, "I'm not coming back Soldier,"

"W-what Alicia you can't be serious. I mean…you c-can't," Soldier stammers, shocked and scared at my decision.

"I'm sorry Soldier, but I am serious… I will always love you Soldier, tell the others not to worry," I choke back a sob, "It will all be over soon," I hang up.

Soldier stays silent, putting his phone in his pocket. H e turns to the others, looking at the floor sadly.

Sophia steps forward, "Soldier what is it? What did Alicia say? Is she okay?"

Soldier looks at Sophia, wiping a tear from his eye. "She isn't coming back… she wants everyone not to worry for her…" Soldier stops mid-sentence. "Excuse me," Soldier runs upstairs, away from everyone.

Hailey watches Soldier as he rushes up the stairs. "She told him news that he couldn't bear to hear…" Hailey says quietly, turning to the front door.

Jamal gets up from the couch, deep in thought. After a few moments of silence, Jamal walks toward the door, not speaking to anyone as he exits, coat in hand.

As Jamal walks down the sidewalk he talks to himself, trying to figure out where Kalona could have taken me, "He might've taken her somewhere remote, somewhere that is unseen when far away…" Jamal takes off running in the direction of the forest, hoping to find an answer to where Kalona might've taken me.

After a while of walking, Jamal reaches the forest. He walks through the layer of leaves and twigs, looking around the forest carefully, for any sign of me.

Jamal notices a trail of grass, noticeably stepped on by something. He follows the trail, in hopes of finding where it leads.

And finally, after about half an hour of searching, Jamal comes upon the house in which I am imprisoned. He enters the house with extreme caution, should Kalona be inside.

He slowly, carefully makes his way up the staircase, being as silent as he can. As he reaches the top of the staircase, he hears faint whispering.

Jamal whispers quietly, "Alicia…"

All becomes silent, faint footsteps are heard exiting one of the rooms. Jamal hides inside one of the rooms, keeping the door cracked a little so he can see who is coming walking down the hallway. Jamal tries to stay silent as Kalona passes the room that he is hiding in.

After a few moments Jamal continues his search for me, checking each of the rooms. The final door at the end of the hallway looms in front of Jamal. He opens the door slowly.

"Oh my god… Alicia!" Jamal says in surprise, seeing my lifeless body on the floor of the room. He kneels next to me, overcome by sorrow and grief. He carefully picks up my lifeless body and carries it out of the house and begins the journey back to the house, where everyone awaits his return.

Finally Jamal returns home, carrying me in his arms. He enters the house without a word and gently lays my body on the couch.

Gabriel and Sophia come up to the couch, looking at Jamal then at my lifeless body.

Jamal hangs his head and says quietly, "I was too late…"

Sophia and Gabriel go up the stairs, to give Soldier the news.

Soldier is sitting in my bedroom, on the chair next to my bed, staring out the window.

Sophia and Gabriel enter the room, trying to contain their sadness.

Sophia is first to speak, "Soldier… Jamal found her…"

Soldier turns to them and asks, "Is she alive?"

Sophia and Gabriel exchange worried glances.

"I am sorry Soldier, but no, she was dead when Jamal found her," Gabriel finally says after a long silence.

Soldier nods and says, "Thank you for telling me, you can leave now,"

Gabriel leads Sophia out of the room.

Back downstairs, Hailey is sobbing, asking for no one to comfort her.

Alex, Rakus, and Lexie come towards Gabriel and Sophia.

Alex looks over at my body and asks, "How did he take it?"

Suddenly there are loud screams coming from the bedroom, crashing and banging is followed soon afterwards.

A loud shattering sound makes everyone freeze in fear. Soldier is destroying the windows!

Gabriel and Sophia go to Hailey, sitting next to her. Hailey is plugging her ears and closing her eyes, afraid of what is going on upstairs.

Sophia speaks calmly to Hailey, "Hailey it is best to leave Soldier alone for the time being, he isn't taking the news well… none of us are,"

Hailey nods, glancing towards the staircase.

Gabriel and Sophia stand up, helping Hailey to her feet as they do so.

Jamal and all of Organization 13 do the same.

Without a word, everyone in the room goes to the basement, to give Soldier some time alone.

After about half an hour of taking his anger out on anything that is within arm's reach, Soldier come down the staircase, sadness in his eyes. Soldier looks around the main floor, realizing that everyone must have heard him. He takes no notice of it, thinking that everyone must have left the house or is downstairs.

Soldier stands next to the couch, looking at me sadly. The peacefulness of my face is making Soldier question when Kalona killed me.

"Why would she look so… peaceful when she died?" Soldier mumbles, kneeling next to the couch.

Looking at a closer perspective, Soldier sees the letter, folded in half, tucked in my front pocket. Carefully Soldier takes the letter from my pocket.

Opening the letter carefully, Soldier reads the letter; tears flow freely down his face as he reads.

He sits on the chair next to the couch, looking down at the letter in his hands.

Soldier shouts to the others, "Guys you can come upstairs now!"

One by one, everyone comes up the stairs, the first to emerge from the basement are Gabriel, Sophia and Hailey. They stand next to Soldier, looking with question at the letter in his hands.

In a voice, barely above a whisper, Soldier says, "Gabriel, Sophia… read this to them, maybe now they will understand,"

Sophia and Gabriel speak in unison as they read my letter, "To who is reading this letter, if you have come to save me sadly you are too late, but I have this to say to you for your bravery, Thank you for everything… if this manages to make it back to my home, 326 Larsen Ave., tell the people there to read this letter, together around my bed. Soldier if you manage to read this letter, I am so sorry about everything that I have put you through, I know that I don't have to apologize for this but I feel it is my fault for putting you in so much danger… I should have never brought you into this, this could have gotten you killed Soldier… I couldn't let that happen, so I have decided to do what is best for all of you. Thanks to all of you who have helped me, my life was worthwhile, I know that this is hard for you to understand right now… but it is not any of your faults. If it is anyone's fault it is mine, for bringing you all into this. I expect that Soldier found my journal by now, for those of you who are wondering about the book and its contents, the book is filled with information that I have gathered throughout the years, on vampires and about Kalona himself. I pray that none of you will fight him after I am gone; you all know what damage he can and will do if you try to fight him. I want you all to know… that this is what I had planned to do… when Kalona took me away; I planned to let him kill me. I know that this is greatly upsetting to you all but it is true; Soldier, you know that I love you, I always will… but this is what I had to do… I had to keep you safe; and that is what I have done tonight. Though the pain that you feel for me is great, I don't want you to be saddened by my death, you all know that I did this out of love and appreciation for all that you have done for me. Sophia and Gabriel, please take good care of Hailey for me. Hailey I know that you are upset by this but I want you to know that you are in less danger than when I was alive… if Kalona does come to the house… do not fight him! I know that you are all upset by this but I must make sure that you will not do anything reckless, Soldier I know that you are one of the most upset so this goes for you as well! I want you all to know that I love you all like family and this is exactly why I did what I did, for your safety. You know that I think of you as family and I don't want my family to be in danger because of me. I love you all and I always will. Love always, Alicia McKay "

Everyone is holding back tears by the time Gabriel and Sophia finish reading the letter.

Jamal says, "Now you see why she left with him. She wanted us to be as safe as possible,"

Sophia sits on the floor, trying to comfort Hailey, who is sobbing uncontrollably.

Anna is muttering to herself, saying that if she hadn't come that I would still be alive.

Soldier sits completely motionless, feeling something eerie in the air around him. "Something doesn't feel right…" Soldier shivers as a cold chill goes down the length of his back.

Suddenly all of the lights turn off at once, leaving all of my frightened friends in the dark.

Hailey screams, frightened by the sudden darkness, Sophia and Gabriel come closer to her, trying to lessen the fear.

The lights flicker constantly, casting long shadows on the floor.

Everyone has become still with fear, wondering who or what has done this.

Some of them have even drawn their swords, afraid that Kalona may have found his way in the house.

What they hear next makes them question, what is real and what isn't.

My voice rises from the darkness saying, "I know that you are all saddened by the news but you must continue this journey without me. Soldier please take this advice when I say it… do not hold a grudge against Kalona. Look closely at me and you will see what I saw when I left you,"

Soldier looks at my face expression, I am smiling.

"I was not thinking of what your life would be like when I was gone or the pain that I felt when I died… I was thinking about how much I loved you all, and how much you have done for me. I was happy because I knew that in doing this; it would keep you all safe. Please obey my final command, do not fight Kalona. I hope that you can forgive me for all that I have put you through. I love you all,"

My voice fades into the darkness as the lights, one by one, begin to come on again.

Everyone is speechless, not knowing whether what they have just experienced was real or not.

Anna goes up the staircase to examine the damages done to the main bedroom, stopping for a few moments to give Soldier a hug.

Gabriel and Sophia hug Hailey, knowing that the event has scared her.

The lights flicker again, but do not go out; they stay at a very dim glow.

My voice rises again. Singings softly, "No, you'll never be alone; when darkness comes I'll light the night with stars. Hear my whispers in the dark. No, you'll never be alone; when darkness comes you know I'm never far. Hear the whispers in the dark. No, you'll never be alone; when darkness comes I'll light the night with stars. Hear the whispers in the dark. No, you'll never be alone; when darkness comes you know I'm never far. Hear the whispers in the dark, whispers in the dark, whispers in the dark, whispers in the dark,"

My voice fades into silence once again. The radio turns on, my Skillet Awake CD playing "One Day Too Late"

Soldier looks again at the smile, and the peace that has settled into my expression. Soldier gets lost for a moment, deep in thought.

Everyone watches as Soldier carefully picks up my body and carries it out of the house. Jamal and Gabriel follow him, wondering what he is doing.

They walk for what seems like hours, coming up on the forest. Soldier enters the forest, closely followed by Jamal and Gabriel.

Soldier walks around the trees, heading in the direction of the house. Silence is finally broken by Soldier, "Jamal where exactly was the house that you found her?"

Jamal takes to the front of the group, leading the way.

Soon they come to the house. Soldier goes around the back of the house, mumbling to himself as he does so. Soon after going around back, he returns with 3 shovels.

He carefully lays my body on the ground. Soldier tosses Gabriel and Jamal each a shovel.

They look at Soldier, not quite understanding what he plans to do.

"It's time to give her a proper goodbye," Soldier says, driving his shovel into the soft dirt.

After a while of digging, my body is finally laid inside a wooden box, found inside the building a few moments before. Gabriel and Soldier line the inside of the box with silk sheets. They place a large glass sheet over the top of the casket, and attach ropes to the corners of the box, making it easier to lower into the grave.

They each take hold of a rope and begin to slowly lower my body into the grave.

The wind picks up suddenly, violently shaking the trees around them. The leaves at their feet are lifted from the ground.

Soldier, Gabriel and Jamal watch the tornado of leaves as it circles them over and over. The wind continues to pick up, making the tornado revolve around them faster and faster, soon the leaves are all a blur of reds, oranges, and browns.

My voice rises over everything else saying, "Go back… it's too dangerous to be here. Go while you still can,"

Soldier looks into the grave. My eyes have opened and I am watching Soldier with my eyes.

Soldier rubs his eyes, thinking that what he sees is just his imagination.

I tap on the glass, making Soldier look at me. I push at the glass cover, trying to make my way out. As I do this I come to a harsh realization, the glass cover is too heavy to move.

"I can't open it like this, it is too heavy," I say to myself. I look at my fingernails; they have sharpened to a point. I bring my nails to the glass, and begin carefully chipping and cutting the glass with my fingernails.

Scratches cover the glass; the sound from my fingernails scratching the glass is horrible, like nails running down a chalkboard!

My fingernails are being worn away with every scratch that I make, but I must keep doing it so I can escape.

I look at my nails; they are worn down so much already. I try to think of other ways to escape.

I start ramming the scratched glass with my shoulder, hoping that the pressure will make the glass shatter.

The glass moves slightly when I push my shoulder into the glass. I try again, going harder. The glass lifts slightly, and then crashes down, making Soldier, Jamal, and Gabriel look down into the grave.

I wave to them, and then continue to ram the glass with my shoulder. The glass cracks suddenly.

I smile, knowing that if I continue to do this, the glass will break soon enough.

Soldier and Gabriel watch me as I continue to break my way out of the coffin.

The glass is cracking with every hit. There is a solid crack, across the middle of the glass. I hit the glass one more time with my shoulder.

The glass shatters into hundreds of pieces, showering me. The larger glass shards cut into my arms as I shield my face from the falling glass.

I carefully stand up, ignoring the pain from the open cuts on my arms.

I look at the cuts carefully, wondering just how deep the cuts have gone into my skin. I turn my attention to the guys, looking at me, shocked at what I have just done.

Jamal and Soldier help me climb out of the grave.

I stand across from Soldier, tears in my eyes. "Soldier, I am so sorry I scared you like this…" I begin, tears running down my cheeks.

I try to continue apologizing but Soldier catches me by surprise, kissing me passionately. Soldier pulls me close to him.

I don't object, I wrap my arms around his waist. Tears flow freely down my face as we stand there.

After a while we finally stop kissing, and, hand in hand, stand across from each other.

I continue my apology, "Soldier I am so sorry I got you so worried… I just thought that if I did what I did, it would keep you and the others safer. I promise I will never do anything like that again,"

Soldier shakes his head, "No I am sorry. I should have gone with you; I should have been there to protect you,"

Jamal starts laughing hysterically. He says through bursts of laughter, "Just wait until you see what Soldier did to your room!"

I look at Soldier, confused by what Jamal has just said.

Soldier smiles innocently and says softly, "I'll pay for the damages,"

I start laughing happily, "Where you upset Soldier?"

Soldier nods, looking at his mud-covered shoes.

"It's alright; you were upset, so there's a few hundred dollars worth of damage to my bedroom because of it! I can fix it when we get home," I say, stifling a laugh.

Jamal is on the ground, laughing hysterically.

I giggle as I watch him roll around in circles, literally! He is laughing so hard that he has no sense of what he is doing. So he rolls in a perfect circle, crying and laughing.

I help Jamal to his feet. His shoulders tremble as he tries to control his laughter. "Jamal calm down, I know it is funny, I am trying to hold back laughter myself; but we need to go home and make sure everyone is okay," I say, focused on Soldier's gentle expression.

We all begin walking to my house, in hopes that everyone is alright.

As we walk I explain to Soldier what happened, "Soldier, I truly wanted to die that night… but thinking of you and how much you would be upset, I chose to make it seem as though I had died. I know that this was reckless and that I worried everyone very much. Thanks to Kalona, I am stronger than I have ever been…"

"Wait… because of Kalona you are stronger?" Soldier interrupts.

"Yes, Soldier look at this," I say, showing him the newly made bite mark, made by Kalona hours ago.

Soldier runs his fingers across the mark, and across the message that I had carved into my arm.

I explain, "Just think about it Soldier, no mortal has ever survived this many bites by a vampire before me. There is someone keeping me alive and I think I know who it is,"

Soldier looks into my eyes, trying to figure out what I could be thinking about.

"Daniel…" I say softly, getting lost in deep thought.

Daniel, a vampire like Kalona, cared for me as a young child. I was only 8 years old at the time, both of my parents in critical condition in the local hospital after a major car accident. I would lay awake all night, listening to Daniel's stories, most of them about vampires.

I would ask him constantly to let me experience what he was experiencing as a vampire. He would always refuse me, telling me that being a vampire was not as fun as it seemed.

He would always sing to me, the same song every night, "Stage Fright" by Blake McGrath. It always managed to put me to sleep, the sound of his voice, singing those lyrics, was so soothing to me.

After I would go to sleep, Daniel would sit in the chair next to my bed and continue singing softly, being quiet so he wouldn't wake me.

Only a few years ago, Daniel left, thinking that if he stayed with me it would create problems.

"Daniel was one of my closest friends; he cared for me for a long time, only leaving a few years ago," I explain, touching the gold chain bracelet that he had given me when he left.

"So you think that Daniel is watching over you still? Making sure that you are safe?" Gabriel asks, coming next to me.

I smile gently, "Yes, I think that when Daniel left; he was only seeing if I could handle myself without him,"

"I wanted to make sure you could protect yourself in my absence Alicia," a familiar voice says from behind us.

Soldier and I turn in unison. The familiar black haired, grey eyed, Daniel stands a few yards away, his arms crossed over his chest.

He wears a black jacket, grey T-shirt, black combat boots, and a pair of loose-fitting grey-black jeans.

I can't handle my emotions any longer; I run to Daniel and hug him tight.

He hugs me gently, watching Jamal, Gabriel and Soldier carefully. He releases me and stares at the marks on my arms. He runs his fingers across the bite marks on my arms.

I say softly, "I was reckless, Kalona, he …"

"It's alright Alicia, I understand," Daniel says softly.

"Daniel this is Soldier, Gabriel and Jamal. They are here to help,"

"If they were really here to help you they would have protected you from him!" Daniel hisses angrily, glaring at Soldier.

"I wanted to save her from him Daniel! She told me not too!" Soldier yells back.

I come between them, "If you both care about me then you will stop this fighting. Just calm down, we can talk about this when we get home,"

Soldier lowers his eyes and says, "Yes we should be hurrying back now. Daniel I will talk to you more about this when we get back."

We continue to talk as we walk home. I notice more and more often that Soldier is coming closer to me. I hold his hand and squeeze it gently, knowing that he is stressed. As I look into Soldier's gentle eyes I notice that in his expression and body language; Soldier is being very protective of me.

Daniel watches Soldier carefully while I speak to him softly, trying to calm him down.

We come to the front door of my house.

I move everyone, except for Daniel, in front of me.

Soldier opens the door and walks slowly inside.

After him, Gabriel and Jamal come inside.

As the door opens, frantic screams come from the inside of the house. Most of the screams are from Axel and Sophia.

I push past everyone and what I see makes my jaw drop.

Everyone is covered in cuts and bruises. There are blood spots on almost everything in the room. But Anna is nowhere to be seen.

"What happened guys?" I ask a tone of concern easily recognizable in my voice.

"K-Kalona… he came for Anna…" Axel gasps breathlessly.

Daniel, still outside on the front porch, comes inside and stands next to me.

Everyone eyes him suspiciously, wondering who this stranger is and why he has come inside.

"Guys this is Daniel. He's here to help us," I say, looking into Daniel's grey eyes.

Soldier goes to Alex and starts asking questions as to what happened while they were gone.

The answer is the same each time, "Kalona came to get Anna. We tried to fight him but lost. He took Anna and we do not know where,"

I scream in frustration, "F*** sakes! I could have kept him away from her… I could have stopped him… I…" my voice trails off. "Excuse me,"

I run upstairs, too many thoughts running through my head.

I enter my bedroom, my jaw drops as I realize the true damage done to my bedroom.

The pillows that were once on my bed; are now on the floor in pieces, feathers stirred into the air when I move even slightly. The large window just by my bedside is shattered into pieces and large pieces have landed on my bed sheets. The large wooden dresser next to my closet has large gouges taken out of it, chunks of wood on the floor around it. The closet doors have been taken off their hinges completely and now lie, broken perfectly in half next to my bed.

"I cannot believe he was this upset, I mean I know that he cared about me but never like this!" I say, looking at the carnage in front of me.

I begin to go back downstairs, but I stop just inside the doorway, feeling a sudden chill on my back. I know that the breeze from the window is not what is giving me this sensation because the breeze is somewhat warm, it couldn't make me shiver like this… this could only mean… I let out a short gasp as I realize what is making me shiver like this.

"Hello Kalona," I say, facing out the door.

"I see you managed to survive Alicia, peculiar how that is always the case when I try to rid myself of you!" Kalona hisses angrily from behind me.

I glance towards my sword, swaying carelessly on my belt. I shake my head slowly, fighting him won't help anything, it will only make things worse.

I slowly remove my sword from my belt. I look down at the blade of the sword; small blood spots stain the blade. I turn it over in my hands, the blade shimmers as light touches the blade for a brief moment.

I don't want to fight Kalona again; it is pointless to continue this fight any further than it already is.

I look towards the staircase, only a few feet away. Only a few feet away from my escape.

I turn my head so I can look at Kalona, only moving my feet slightly.

"Kalona I am not fighting you and you know this already. I have told you enough times for it to sink in... I will not fight you again!" I say, watching his movements.

"I already have what I want Alicia... the only thing left is to dispose of the witnesses!" Kalona says in a soft hiss.

Dispose of? What could he mean by this?

I shake my head slowly, trying to figure out the meaning of what he has just said. "I will protect them at all costs Kalona you know this," I say, realizing what he plans to do. He plans to kill all of us.

Kalona replies dryly, "Then you will die first…"

I raise my head slightly, knowing what I must do to protect myself. I take a deep breath and throw my sword, over the railing of the staircase, and watch as it tumbles noisily down the stairs.

Downstairs, Soldier and Daniel are talking, trying their best not to argue. They both jump when they hear my sword come crashing down the stairs.

Soldier rushes to the staircase, knowing what had happened the last time I was un-armed.

"Kalona…" Soldier says softly, listening to the intense conversation between Kalona and I.

"Kalona I will never let you hurt them! You know well enough that I will continue to fight you until my heart stops beating!" I yell angrily.

Kalona laughs, and then hisses angrily, "I can arrange that and you know that!"

There is a loud crash from upstairs.

Soldier and Daniel tense as they hear the loud crash.

Soldier rushes up the stairs, Daniel follows close behind.

When they get to the top of the stairs, I am in view, standing in front of the broken window, my hair fluttering in the slight wind. I stare forwards, my eyes locked on Kalona.

Kalona lays motionless on the ground, near the door.

I stare at my hands, which, for a reason still unknown, are engulfed in black and red swirling flames.

"I had to protect myself…" I say softly, petrified that I have managed to incapacitate Kalona so easily.

I put my hands to my sides, there is a soft whoosh and the flames vanish. My entire body shakes as I stare at Kalona's motionless body. My hands curl into fists as I stare at him.

"Alicia its okay now, you do not need to worry any longer," Daniel says, coming towards me.

I put my hand out, asking for him to stay where he is.

I walk up to Kalona, still unmoving. I kneel next to him.

"Alicia what are you doing?" Soldier and Daniel say in unison.

I raise my hand, asking them to stay silent. I touch Kalona's arm.

Though unconscious, Kalona flinches slightly when I touch his arm. I jump back when I feel his arm move.

I stare with intense hatred at Kalona. "He forced this upon himself," I say softly,

"It's alright Alicia, it's going to be alright," Soldier says, wrapping his arms around me.

Daniel watches Soldier.

I feel Soldier tense up; I wonder what could be wrong. I release him, looking at his arms.

They have gone bright red, like if he had gotten burned by a kitchen element, or a hot pan.

I shake my head, "The flames may have disappeared… but the heat is still there,"

I rush downstairs.

"Where is that towel? I know it was somewhere down here…" I mutter as I search through the cabinets and the drawers in the kitchen.