It was her chest that shed bloody tears.
Counting in Blood
Gaping eyes stare terrified at merciless brown irises, the torturous gaze then flickering to the barrel of the pistol.
Before she can even blink, the sickening crack of a gun tears through the night's serene facade.
A piercing pain resonates in her chest, although only few excruciating seconds drag by, and in moments her vision dims. The stranger blurs behind an onyx background, and soon she finds herself in a place she came to loathe.
A five year old Jade lats huddled in a bed too big, with a stuffed bear too soft cradled in her arms.
A silence resounds in her ears, a bit too quiet for her taste actually. She squirms in the colossal bed, floundering in the sea of sheets.
Sapphire eyes scan the room, that's just a bit too neat. The toys sitting perfectly poised, with button eyes staring unrelenting at her. Her clothes hang color coordinated in the ajar closet. Photos of her 'perfect' family littering empty wall space, not a centimeter askew.
She sits up and throws the bear in her arms at the wall casually, and takes comfort in the light thump. But the following silence thunders louder in her ears.
She gets out of the bed, and experimentally knocks over her other toys on the ground. Then raising her tiny arm, she swipes under the army of stuffed animals and dolls, and they collide against the ground with an unsatisfying dull crash.
With a frown, the little girl stares at the toys, some face down, others still staring at her with beady eyes. She matches their gaze with a fierce glare, as though commanding them to make a louder noise. Although, as they continue to lay limply on the ground, she turns and scans he bedroom again.
This time she charges for the closet, ripping the clothes off hangers, and tossing them to the ground. They fall in a rainbow heap, barely even causing a thud, so yet again she turns around, disappointed.
The family photos smile mockingly at her, and she reaches for them, but they are just out of reach for her petite fingers.
Another frown dampers her features, and instead she stands in the doorway, and seeing no other choice to escape the silence, she belts out a shrill screech that ricochets off the house's walls.
Although most parents would come barreling out of their room, ready to comfort their child, neither Mr. or Mrs. West emerge out of their lavished suite.
Though truthfully, Jade isn't surprised, as this 'game' had become more and more frequent lately.
Letting her scream die out, Jade waits a couple seconds before hopping off her bed and slinking into the shadowed halls.
She stands outside the grand master bedroom door, and draws in any clinging particles of oxygen in the air. Yet another terrible shriek shreds through the house, so loud that the little girl's head rang with the reverberation.
Lowering her pitch, she hears a scuffle in the adjacent room, and she quickly runs to her room in record time.
"Jade-" Mrs. West squeals, as the master bedroom door opens, but she stops short seeing her daughter no where in sight.
A low grumble follows, that Jade identifies as her father, but can't make out what he's saying.
However in a matter of seconds the traditional shouting bout resonates in the house, and with a smile, the little girl falls to sleep.
Cringing, Jade glances at her chest, a flower of scarlet blossoming, masked under the navy blue shirt. It spreads beneath the cloth, coming in crimson claws that seem to strangle her very being.
Since the seconds following the bullet, a silence rang in her ears like no other, and out of pure habit she waits for her parents therapeutic screaming match to ensue and rescue her from this solitude.
Now nine, Jade sits at the back of her class, staring absent-mindedly at the window as the teacher drones on. Her eyes flicker to the clock, counting down the seconds till the end of class.
At last, the bell clangs across the school and Jade hurries out of the room. Though before she can escape, her teacher calls her back into the room.
"Jade, a moment please." Mrs. Wethers beckons the fourth grader.
"What?" she grumbles.
"Your father called, and said he's going to be picking you up today instead."
"'Kay." Jade abruptly turns on her heels, and rushes to catch the school bus.
The yellow tank pulls into her neighborhood, and Jade leisurely walks to her house, using the key under the mat to let herself in.
The houses buzzes with silence, and she instinctively turns on the t.v not even bothering to see what channel it lands on.
A mischievous smirk sneaks onto her face, conjuring several scenarios to take advantage over free reign of the house.
She goes into the kitchen and without hesitation starts tearing into the fridge, scattering the room with broken jars and splattered food.
Mr. West shortly pulls into the garage, and tiredly walks in on his daughter trashing the kitchen.
Paying no notice to the mess, he wearily states, "Jade, your mom and I are getting a divorce."
The girl pauses for a second before indifferently responding, "Whatever, she was a gank anyways."
Blood roars in her ears, and deafens her to a shriek, though it comes out pitifully. A hazy fog slips into Jade's mind, and she collapses on the ground. Now more than ever, does she hate the sound of a dull thump.
It's been three weeks since Jade's first day in Hollywood Arts. So far she's made about a dozen enemies, and approximately no friends.
But then again, that's just how she likes it.
Walking down the hallway, sane students don't necessarily cower, but they know better than to get in West's way. Her combat boots click against the linoleum floor, creating another beat in the school of music.
Unfortunately, there is always one person whose luck just seems to constantly taunt them through daily life. This time that person just happens to be Robbie Shapiro.
The boy turns away from his locker, a stack of books weighing him down. As he pivots toward the mass of people, out of the dozens of the students he hits Jade West.
The books jab into her abdomen, not enough to be painful, but still where she's pissed.
"What the hell!" She snaps, glowering at cowering Robbie.
"I'm sorry I just...I didn't know you...sorry!" He all but squeaks, using his puppet as a shield.
"What you gonna do about it West?" Comes Rex's obnoxious comeback.
She stares at the puppet incredulously, before locking her eyes on Robbie, "Not a good idea Shapiro." The boy stumbles back as she takes a threatening step forward.
"Sorry." He cheeps again, though maybe he's not as unlucky as he thought.
"Hey, lets be cool about this." Beck Oliver steps in between them, his voice leveled.
Jade eyes him, not in the least impressed. She snorts, "What you trying to be a hero or something Pretty Boy."
"Just trying to ensure the peace and justice ma'am." He gives a teasing grin, but still not budging.
He's met with a pair of rolling eyes, "Get out of my Oliver."
"Nah." the nonchalant reply makes Jade pause for just a moment.
She measures up the situation, and seeing a pair of teachers she sighs, "Whatever." and walks away, but parts with shoving the two boys on the way to her locker.
And she won't admit it, but may, just maybe she was a little impressed.
But that'd be for idiots, so she decides that Beck is a loser.
Her breaths come in bursts and desperate gasps. Terror shreds through her veins, and it's metallic tendrils claw at her lungs. Invisible gashes mar her breathing, making it even more ragged.
She can feel the blood steadily leaving her body, surging out it in ruby rivers. It feels more like she'scaught in a flood though.
A low grumble of voices echo in seventeen year old Jade's ears, though she can't make much sense of it. Her eyes stay trained on the flickering pictures, not even feigning intrest at the sit-com re-run. Beck acts as her own personal sofa, head laying on his lap, and knees pulled to her stomach.
Her body quivers as a rumble of laughter shudders through Beck. She glances at the t.v, and rolls her eyes at the cliché joke.
Swiveling on her back, she gazes at his profile, an easy smile lining his face.
Feeling her stare, he glances back down, "May I help you?"
She quirks an eyebrow, but doesn't answer.
"What, do I have to guess what you want?" He grins, raising an eyebrow of his own.
Again he's met with silence, so he chuckles and continues, "Um okay then, are you hungry?"
"You trying to say I'm fat?" She glares, though a smirk threatens at the corners of her mouth.
"Really Jade?" He questions, a smile of his own forming, "Okay, well are you tired?"
"It's not even midnight, do I look 80 years old to you?"
"Of course not, you don't look a day over 78."
"You're too kind." She deadpans.
"So what do you want?"
Yet again she doesn't answer, and instead raises off of his lap, closing the gap beween them, until their foreheads touch. Cerulean eyes meet chestnut, and for a few seconds they stay locked within their gazes.
She tilts her head a little more, until their lips unite. The kiss is light and easy, and they move against each other like a graceful dance; an art.
Though the masterpiece halts as Jade leans back, and whispers, "Let's go on a walk."
Jade stares unseeing at the inky sky. Unsteady eyes trace invisible stars, eclipsed by the cities artificial lights.
Her mind races with snapshots from her past, and with her hurried thoughts, she's vacantly aware of the light tremors plaguing her body.
She can vaguely decipher what is a faint whisper in her ears, that resounds around her. Though what she can make out is another crack of a gun.
And so they walk. Beck's arm hanging lazily around his girlfriend. Their feet pad against the gum spattered cement, filling their comfortable silence.
As minutes after minutes pass, the tranquil suburban scenery morphs into unfamiliar back roads.
Looking around, Beck asks uncertainly, "Uh, where exactly are we?"
Seconds come and go, and he wonders if she will answer, until Jade finally says, "I don't know."
"So you just randomly took us here?" He clarifies.
"Yeah." she rolls her eyes.
"At night. In a foreign neighborhood."
A sigh arises, "You scared?" She eyes him challengingly.
"Terrified actually. Can you protect me from the big bad monsters?" He playfully cowers behind her.
"Can you be anymore of an idiot?" She again rolls her eyes, but can't help the smile that comes.
"Is that a challenge?" He envelopes her in a hug from behind, his face grazing hers as he spoke.
"It just might be Oliver, it just might be." She murmurs, before turning her head towards him, and reaching for a kiss.
"Jeez, West." Beck breathes, pulling a back a little with a smile, "I didn't know you were such sap."
She smiles, "Loser." Her voice comes out soft , but she doesn't let him off that easy.
Beck stumbles back dramatically, as Jade pushes him with a smirk playing on her face, "You're right I guess I am too sappy. Maybe I should just give up kissing. You know, to keep up my rep."
"Woah woah woah, let's not get too hasty here." Beck laughs, holding up his hands to emphasize his point.
Though before their banter continues, a steely voice intervenes, "How cute, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to cut in." A man emerges from around the corner, his eyes locked on the couple.
Both remain silent, and Beck takes half a step toward Jade before the man threatens "I wouldn't do that?"
Beck pauses, "And why's that?" His glare hardens, plans dashing through his mind.
"Well I don't know much about your guys relationships, but you don't want her dead do you?" He smirks, revealing the hilt of a gun under his sweatshirt.
"What do you want?" Beck's eyes narrow at the pistol.
"Hm, you wouldn't believe how many times ask me that?" His smirk grows, "Is it so hard to believe that I just like hurting people, it's sort of a hobby of mine actually."
Beck's heart thuds painfully, and he glances quickly at Jade, whose stands frozen, her face unreadable. He gazes back at the stranger, and notices the maniacal glint in his eyes.
"Look," Beck tries to keep his voice level, and reasons, "I can give you money if that's what you want."
"What, you didn't hear me? I'm not looking for money, but if you want to give me it that's fine." His face contorts in a monstrous glee. "They don't call me a serial killer for nothing you know." He pulls out his gun, training it on Jade.
In seconds, Beck impetuously launches himself at the man, his feet slapping against the pavement in frantic steps, but he stops short hearing the gun go off. His horrified gaze turns towards Jade, and for a couple of moments all he can do is stare.
Her eyes remain frozen in a traumatized horror, and her mouth agape in a silent scream that finally escapes, but frail, as she falls to the ground.
Though he wants nothing more than to run to her, anger clouds his thoughts, and with a animosity he didn't know he possessed, Beck dashes at the stranger again.
However, seemingly unknowing, the man stares fascinated at the gasping Jade and takes no mind to his attacker. Although as Beck nears, he lifts his arm, and carelessly aims the gun at him.
"I'm not stupid kid." He mutters, still staring at Jade with a bone chilling gaze. Though finally turns around, as Beck takes a tentative step, "You want revenge? Here take it, I think it's time I finally get a taste of what my victims feel anyways." With that he slides the gun over to the tanned boys feet.
The weapon sits menacingly next to Beck's sneakers, catching the light of a nearby streetlight.
He looks back at the serial killer, and cautiously picks up the gun. With Jade's strained breathing resounding in his ears, he shakily points it at the man, who smirks eerily at him.
"Come on with it, don't you wanna save your girl." He falls to the ground without another word, blood streaking his temple, and toppling in torrents down his face.
The gun falls to the ground with a clatter, as Beck runs to his girlfriend, already calling her name. "Jade, Babe, can you hear me?" He crouches down by her side, ignoring the puddle of blood.
Her eyes stay directed at the starless sky, unresponsive to his pleading voice. "Please Jade, just-just hold on a little while." He scrambles to get his cell phone, dizzily spewing information to the 911 line.
"Don't worry sir, I've just sent out for help." The lady states calmly, oblivious to the chaos on the other side of the phone.
With that, he drops the device, and takes off his flannel shirt, applying pressure to the wound, though she gasps softly at the sudden strain.
He mutters apologies, violently trembling now as her breaths subside.
"Jade?" He questions feebly, wishing for a response that never comes, "I'm so sorry, I'm so so sorry." Tears mix with her blood. "I should have- I should have done something, I should have been able to stop this." He whispers through his tears.
At last her gaze finds him, but it does nothing to comfort his racing heart. Her eyes are half closed, and exhausted, the usual spark in them died to fleeting embers.
Laying paralyzed next one of the few people she loved, a harrowing sorrow like no other eats at her, and she echoes Beck's cries, though it's her chest that sheds bloody tears.
Desperate breaths no longer rack her body, and she falls into a shallow cycle of irregular breathing. She can hear Beck's futile calls, and with a silent goodbye, she counts the seconds to her death.
And being Jade West, silence is all that echoes as she dies; how fitting.