Memories (Completed)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 15
15

I was way ahead of him. I sucked in my breath and opened my mouth. A healthy, piercing scream that was probably heard in Russia came from my throat. It was a little shaky, considering how I was still shaking violently, but definitely loud.

It was all the sound they really needed. Jeff and Max dropped Brian’s limp body and moved towards James and me. James turned around, making me release my hold on his shirt. That only made me fall backwards towards the brick wall. He caught me and held me in his arms. It didn’t help and I seemed to be hurting James’s eardrums. He winced, but tried to stop my shaking.

People came running. They piled in, surrounding Brian’s body and the eight of us. Some people gasped but everyone else screamed as if their lives depended on it. Some ran around, looking for help, but others stayed paralyzed. One girl fainted and another boy was picking her up in his arms so that nobody would step on her. Soon teachers arrived and then the principal. Even the adults screamed. One ran back inside and called 911. Ambulances and police cars arrived and everyone was taken inside.

They had tried to separate James from me, but I didn’t let go of him. I was still shaking uncontrollably then and couldn’t talk. James had to tell them that he was my boyfriend and that I wouldn’t relax enough to explain the situation without him by my side. The police officer had argued and tried to yank me off James, but I wouldn’t let go. After a couple of minutes the police officer just gave up and took both of us in for questioning at the same time.

“What happened?” the police officer, who’d introduced himself as Adam Long, demanded. We were inside the principal’s office. James and I were sitting in front of the principal and Mr. Long. Ms. Haynes, the principal, looked ashen. She was obviously still in shock from the dead boy she just saw, but she’d straightened up enough to come in and talk with us.

I could see myself reflected in the window. I was as pale as Brian had been and my lips were blue. My brown eyes were wide and frightened. My hair was a big mess and I was shaking. James on the other hand, looked distressed but calm. He was in a much better state than I was. Maybe because he’d seen it happen so many times.

“Mr. Long, we don’t know what happened,” James said innocently. He sounded so confident that I almost believed him.

“What happened?” Mr. Long repeated to me. I was shaken. He knew as well as I did that I couldn’t talk. He sighed when I didn’t talk. “Kids, look,” he said. “If you don’t tell me what happened then who does that help? The assassin. Do we want to help the assassin get away with this?” he waited for an answer. James raised an eyebrow and shook his head, but I just shook. “No. We don’t, do we?” he said, looking at me. “And that is why I need you to tell me exactly what happened.” He watched me, waiting for an explanation. A few minutes passed and Mr. Long impatiently tapped his fingers on the desk. “Talk!” he exploded.

I looked up at him, my eyes taking their regular coldness. Still, nothing came from my mouth.

“Look here, kid!” Mr. Long snapped, grabbing my shoulder angrily.

“Don’t touch her,” James growled, pushing Mr. Long’s hands off me. “She’s traumatized can't you see that? You might be used to cases that involve deaths and murders, but she isn’t! You can't just expect her to take this as well as you! I thought police officers were supposed to be smart! It just turns out that a sixteen-year-old is smarter!”

“You look here—!” Mr. Long was cut off.

“Adam, the boy is right,” Ms. Hayden said, her voice hoarse. She cleared her throat and looked at me. “Lumex, honey, are you alright?”

I shook.

“Can you tell us what happened?” she continued.

Nothing.

“Can you write it down for us?” She pushed a pen and pink notepad towards me. I looked at it. I wanted to write. I wanted to tell them everything so that they could put an end to it. But they would never believe me.

I lifted my hand an inch, but it dropped. I tried again, and it dropped. I couldn’t lift my hand. James moved to grab the pen and notepad. He gently lifted my hand and placed the notepad on my lap. Then he grabbed my hand and put the pencil there. I looked over at him. He looked sad and sick. He gave me an encouraging smile. I glanced back down at my hand and tried to move the pen’s point across the pink paper. My hand was shaking and it looked messy. It was hardly readable, but it was the best that I could do in this state.

Mr. Long watched as I scribbled slowly. I finished and looked up at him. He took a step forward and grabbed the notepad. When there wasn’t anything to support it, the pen slid from my hand and fell to the floor.

Mr. Long studied the note and frowned. He showed it to Ms. Hayden and angrily whispered to her. Her eyes widened in horror at the same time Mr. Long’s did. They had figured out what I wrote.

Death.

“What does this mean?” Mr. Long asked.

I had calmed down enough to answer. “It means what it means.” I felt like I was going to faint. I leaned on James for support. “That’s what I saw happen. Death. I saw someone die.”

“How did they die?” he continued.

“I don’t know. I found him dead. Well, almost. He was dying. But I was so scared of what I saw that I just stayed there paralyzed. And then James came to look for me with some friends. They found me there next to the building, watching Brian’s dead body. They startled me and I screamed. That’s the whole story.”

“Where were you when he was killed? Why did James have to come looking for you?”

“Lumex had gone to talk to Demetrius Freeze about something,” James responded. Oh. He saw. “She didn’t return for a while, so we went to look for her. And then we found her just pinned against the wall, frozen in place.”

“Why did you go talk to Demetrius Freeze?” he asked.

“I had to go ask him for something. He came over to my house last week because my mom invited him for dinner and he left with my cell phone. I had to get mine back and return him his,” I lied smoothly.

“But why did you wait so long to return it?”

“I don’t know where he lives.” I tried to shrug. “And I forgot the first two days of school. I just happened to remember during lunch. So we went to his locker and he got my phone and we exchanged.”

Mr. Long narrowed his eyes. He looked like he was ready to accuse me of murdering Brian Jenkins.

“Adam,” Ms. Hayden said. “Lumex Cockcrow is one of our best students here at Blake High School. She suffered a great loss when she was younger, but that didn’t affect her in the wrong way. I can assure you that she hates murder and crime just as much as you, if not more.”

I stared blankly at them. I was listening to James’s even breathing. It helped a little. I was shaking less. I was hardly paying attention, but made sure that at least one part of me knew what they were talking about so that I could make things up along the way.

“You can do a full research on her background and only find positive things,” Ms. Hayden continued.

Mr. Long relaxed his stare and nodded at us. “You can go,” he said.

James looked over at me and slowly put an arm around me and helped me up. The no touching rule didn’t seem to apply when you were shaking so badly that it was like you had your own personal earthquake. Ms. Hayden seemed to understand that at a time like this, you needed all the support you could get.

As James closed the door, I heard Ms. Hayden say something to Mr. Long that sounded like, “Don’t they make a great couple?”

“James,” I said when we reached an empty hallway. “Do you think that you could send a telepathic message to Viv and everyone?”

“Yes. Why?”

“So that they know what to say if they question them.” I leaned my head against his shoulder and clutched to his arm.

“I already did. They know everything.”

“Can you tell Demetrius?” I was expecting an explosion from James. I was waiting for him to start arguing and lecturing me about how we can't trust everybody. How we have to be alert.

“If I answer ‘yes,’ will you answer a question for me?” he asked.

“Okay.” I sighed and tried to relax my body. But it just couldn’t pick up that the horrible scene of death was over.

He stopped in his tracks. “How did he find you?”

I looked up at him, shaken and puzzled. “He? You mean Brian? Brain just appeared. I hadn't seen him since school started and then he just appeared out of nowhere.”

“Oh.” He began walking again.

Oh? What did that mean? And did he send the message to Demetrius? I followed, half shaking and half walking.

                                                                   *****

Half of the school had been stuffed into the Gym and the other half in the cafeteria. James and I entered the cafeteria and all heads turned to look over at us. James held the door open and I stepped in. I kept my eyes on the ground. I was shaking more and more as the seconds passed. James let the door close and put an arm around my shoulders. I leaned against him and we walked to the back of the cafeteria.

Brooke was there, standing beside Andrew, and the rest of them were talking among each other. We got there and James had me sit on a stool set to the side. He took his place behind me and wrapped his arms around my shoulders. Even though I was shaking, he remained perfectly still.

I was staring at the stage where Mr. Wu, the senior’s history teacher, was onstage talking about the murder.

“School will continue,” Mr. Wu said, “but students will be excused from school on the day of the funeral. In addition, after a short meeting, your assistant principals have decided to temporarily add a new rule. So, until further notice, students are not to wander alone in the hallways and must be with someone at all times.” He looked around the room at the students. “Now, I understand that many of you saw the body of Brian Jenkins and because of some laws, we will have some therapists in the guidance counselor’s office, starting tomorrow. You are free to go talk to them, as well as any teacher, whenever you need to.” He kept talking into the microphone.

“Lumex,” Viv whispered to me. She appeared next to me, crouched down. I looked over at her. “Are you okay?” she asked. “That was the first time you saw what happens when—you know.”

“I’ll be okay,” I assured her.

She smiled sadly. “Do you want me to teach you a spell to help you deal with this? I have the perfect one. You know, my parents were killed like that when I was twelve. My parents hid me in a cupboard and my mom put a spell on it so that the thugs wouldn’t be able to smell me out. Then, when I was adopted, my foster parents were witches and they taught me this spell.”

My heart stopped and I froze. That startled them all.

“Your parents were killed?” I asked, taken aback. I at least keeping my voice low. “Oh, Viv, I'm so sorry!”

She shook her head. “That’s the past. This is now. You have to forget about the past to have a healthy future.” Her heart-shaped face softened. Her aquamarine eyes were sympathetic and her sad smile widened. “So do you want me to do the spell?”

“Sure,” I shrugged. Then I began shaking.

James had to let go of me and move to the side. Viv crouched in front of me and pressed two warm fingers to my forehead. I winced as I watched her eyes start change colors and then a warm pink light engulfed me.

“Ugitha,” she said under her breath.

I felt as the light slowly relaxed my muscles and undid knots in my back. I could hear my heart step back into its usual rhythm. Viv watched as I stopped shaking and then her eyes went back to their aquamarine wonder. The warm light retreated from me and seemed to sink into Viv’s skin.

“Lumex?” James asked, taking a step closer to me. “How do you feel? Any better?”

“I feel guilty,” I said. I was beginning to feel my stomach twist and my heart tighten in my chest. It was my fault that this had happened and everyone knew it.

He looked at Viv for a second opinion.

“This spell takes away the worst feelings and leaves little ones. So the guilt is probably a side effect,” she said. She sucked in her cheeks and looked up at the stage where Mr. Wu was exiting.

“Well what does “ugitha” mean?” James asked anxiously.

“It’s Greek for ‘health,’” she mumbled.

James looked back at me as I stood up. Other than the guilt, I felt great. I felt better than I ever had, like a big heavy rock had been removed from my back. It was uncomfortable. It felt amazing, but strange.

“Please tell me that this is temporary,” I begged. “Ugh. I feel like doing a cartwheel.” I wrinkled my nose. “Gross,” I whined, pinching my nose. “It stinks like blood.”

“The guilt and bliss are temporary for you, but the blood has nothing to do with it,” Viv grinned.

“She’s right, you know,” Violet said.

She walked towards us with Max and Jeff by her side. Andrew was a few steps behind them, talking to Brooke. Violet, Jeff, and Max were pinching their noses just like I was and I could see Andrew wrinkle his nose a few times from behind them. “Why can't we just skip? I have a bad feeling that the bloodlust will start if I remain here.”

“And we really just can't take the scent,” Max said. “Blood is your specialty. Not ours.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Scarlett pitched into the conversation. “I can't smell a thing.”

“That’s because you’re a witch. Your sense of smell is hardly any better than a human’s,” James responded.

“I think I'm going to be sick.” I rolled my eyes to the ceiling and cupped my free hand to my throat. “I'm not about to go through bloodlust like you guys, but the scent is making me so dizzy that I feel like I'm on a rollercoaster.”

“Lu, what’s wrong?” Brooke asked, stepping up from behind Violet.

My eyes widened in horror and I looked over at James, slowly taking my hand off my throat. “I thought you said that she was under a spell,” I whispered to him.

“Spells can wear off,” he said.

“Nothing, Brooke,” I said, looking back at her. “It’s just…there was a lot of blood. That’s all.”

Brooke’s catlike eyes softened with burning compassion. “Do you want me to take you home? You know that you shouldn’t be around blood.”

I shook my head. “No.” I looked over at a wall. I wouldn’t be able to say the rest of these words while looking at someone directly in the eye. Especially someone who knew why I was so traumatized. “But…I think…that it’s time to forget. It’s about time that I learned to like blood.”

“Are you sure?” she asked obviously startled by my abrupt decision.

I pressed my lips together. I forced myself to look at her. “I’ll be seventeen next week. Don’t you think that twelve years is enough time to let go?”

“But….” Brooke smiled sadly. “You know…. There are some things that you just can't let go of. Some things are just buried so deep inside that you can't remove them. And if you find a way to let go of them, then…you could lose more than what you wanted. So, is it really worth it?” Her green eyes sparkled and I could see tears form. “Is it really worth giving up all those precious things attached to what you want to let go of?”

I watched a tear roll down her cheek. Brooke was crying. She was crying for me. Brooke knew me better than anyone, maybe even better than James did. She’d known me for so long and she’d learned things about me that I would never be able to speak. She felt my pain and my happiness. She knew all my memories by heart and knew how much they hurt. She knew that it hurt to keep them, but that it hurt even more to let them go. And right now, she was feeling for me. All the times that I had tried to get over this fear, she’d been there by my side. When I was sent to therapy, she was there. When I lost my father, she was there comforting me. All throughout my life, she had always been there. She was all that I wasn’t. The best words to describe her, I had learned over the years, were ‘true friend.’ And she really was. Now that I really took the time to look back on all our good times, I got a glimpse into the future.

I would never be able to repay her. The worst part was that, before I knew it she’d be gone. Brooke was only human. She was going to grow old and eventually die. Meanwhile, I would live forever. This was what James had been talking about. This was what hell of being a vampire was. It was living forever, stuck in a form, while everyone else grew older and eventually died. Vampires are destined to wander the world for the rest of eternity alone. But humans only had one lifetime to live. After that, you never saw them again.

“Maybe,” I answered. “But we’ll never know unless we try.”

“Trying and failing,” she said flatly, “that’s what being human is all about. Learning from your mistakes so that you don’t commit them again.” Pause. “I personally wouldn’t recommend for you to do it, but if it helps free your soul, then, who am I to oppose?”

Free my soul? That was a strange way of putting it. Though, myths said that vampires didn’t have souls. That they were just hollow shells that lived forever and drank human blood as their only resource to survive. Being half-vampire, did that apply to me? Yet I’ve met so many vampires and they all seem to have a soul. They all seem to have a purpose for living. They all had feelings. They felt pain, happiness, sadness, anger—every emotion that a simple human did. This vampire stuff —this Black Moon stuff—was really confusing. And like Brooke said, I would have to try and fail to learn all that I can. It was what connected us to humans. None of us were perfect.

“You know as well as I do that there were only a couple happy memories,” I said. “I’ll never forget him, but I can let go of some things.”

“Yeah,” she agreed. “Your dad was cool. It was just weird how you had so many near-death experiences when you were with him.”

“Mm-hmm.” I looked around the cafeteria. It had almost completely been evacuated.

“We should get moving,” Scarlett suggested. “I don’t even know where my next class is.” She began walking towards the doors. Brooke and I exchanged glances and shrugged in chorus. I looked over at James who was already following behind Violet and Max. Jeff was behind me, waiting for us to move. I hurried to James’s side and Brooke stayed with Andrew.

“When do you think the funeral will be?” Viv asked. I looked over at her.

“I think that just in case, maybe it should be next week,” Scarlett said. “That way there won’t be so much work for—”

“Scarlett!” James growled. They looked at him and he shook his head.

“James, it’s okay,” I said. “I know what will happen. It’s no big deal.”

“It’s not going to happen,” he argued. “I told you that I'm not letting anything happen to you this time.”

“Yeah, but,” I looked up at him, “there are some things that you just can't stop. And this might be one of them.” Talking about my dad like that with Brooke had softened me.

That seemed to be a stab in the heart for him. His face twisted in pain and his sad eyes became sadder. “You can't really expect me to sit back and do nothing while you get killed!” he exclaimed. “You wanted to fight and I finally agreed to it! So—”

“I'm not saying that I won’t fight,” I said in a hushed tone. “I'm just saying that even if I do kill the thing, I might not survive. I'm probably supposed to die. That’s why I was born human all those other times.” I shrugged. “This time might have just been a stroke of luck.”

“Lumex, if you die this time,” James warned, “I'm following right behind you.”

“Then who will greet me next time? Who’ll remind me that I'm The Animus Materia, or The Savior? Do you honestly think that I’ll be safer in my next lives if you don’t exist?”

“Do you want to know the truth?”

I frowned at the realization of his thoughts. “You really think that?”

He nodded. “Do you know why you die every time? Do you know how they find you?” His voice raised and I squeezed his arm. “It’s because I'm always with you.”

Violet sighed. “He started again,” she mumbled. “I'm gonna hurry and get to class. I hate math, but it’s better than listening to him go on.”

“I got tired of it the first twenty times,” Max agreed.

“But you have to admit that he makes a good point,” Viv said, pushing her way past the mess of students crowding the doors.

“It’s not your fault that all that happens!” I argued, pushing some people to the side. “I might not know why it’s after me, but you aren't the reason!”

“Even if I'm not the reason, they still find you because of me!” He followed behind me.

“That’s not probable. It’s not like they have a tracking device to find you. So stop blaming yourself for everything.”

“But they do have many spies,” he argued.

“See, that makes a whole lot more sense!”

“Yeah! And they are everywhere around the world! They recognize me! They know when I've found you!”

“Isn't it possible that you made a friend?”

“They’d think that if I didn’t spend all my time with her.” He waited as I got my English textbook from my locker. It had taken a whole period to get the students in the Gym and cafeteria and for the teachers to give their little speeches. Plus, half of the time James and I had been stuck in the principal’s office as Mr. Long tried to get me to talk.

“Well it doesn’t matter, because I'm going to kill it,” I said. “I’ll do whatever it takes so that it doesn’t return. And if I succeed at it but die trying, then we can meet up in my next lifetime without a threat.”

“That sounds good, for one exception,” he said. His expression softened and he took my face in his hands. “I don’t want you to die.”

“And I don’t want you to die. So don’t even think about it.”

“Ugh! Can we just get a move on?” Jeff exclaimed. “Please!”

I had gotten so caught up in our argument that I hadn't noticed Jeff standing there. I took James’s cool hands off my face and walked past him.

“I have English next. Art is at the other end of the school, so I suggest that you hurry, Jamie,” I said.

He passed the wards,” James said. “I'm not leaving you alone.”

Jeff sighed. “Go, ‘Jamie,’” he said mockingly. “I have English too.” He walked past James and me. He stopped a few feet away from me and turned to look at us. “C’mon, Lumex.”

“Technically I won’t be left alone,” I said, looking back at James. “So relax and go to your class.”

“I don’t care if I'm late,” he said, taking a step forward, “I’d rather be absolutely positive that you get to class safe.”

“You can talk to us telepathically.” I sighed. “And if you keep pushing it, you’ll be the first person that I sink my teeth into.”

“I’ll be in your head all the time. That’s my warning.”

“You’ll be in his head,” I said, pointing my thumb at Jeff. “I'm going to block you out.” James sighed exhausted and the first bell rang. “Love you. Bye.” I turned around and walked side-by-side with Jeff.

“You should give the poor guy a break,” Jeff said when we were out of vampire earshot. “He’s only trying to protect you.”

“I know.” I sighed. “But what he doesn’t understand is that I'm not a baby. He doesn’t get it.”

“I don’t think it’s him that doesn’t get it,” Jeff disagreed.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

He glanced at me from the corner of his eye with frosty blue eyes. “You think that you can fight everyone off without any help. Sometimes you can't do things alone. This is one of those times. You aren't going to vanquish him alone. You need to be properly trained. But then there’s the teamwork that comes into the picture.”

I looked up at Jeff.

“What would you do if you got trapped by the enemy without any way to get out? Would you be able to get out alone? Or would you need help?” He made a good point. “If you were trapped in a spot where a silver stake—or wooden in this case—was just waiting for you to move so that it could kill you? Would you be able to free yourself, knowing that if you even managed to do it then you’d be killed instantly? Would you be able to do all that and more alone?”

I didn’t answer. Instead I stared ahead at a locker.

“I didn’t think so,” he mumbled.

My sadness and guilt evaporated and was replaced by pure anger and disbelief. “Well then tell me, oh, powerful Know-It-All!” I burst out. “To what limits would you go to save the person that you loved? Would you try and save them, knowing that it would most likely kill you? I would do that! That’s what I was fighting with James about! I would rather die than see him in a coffin any day!” We had stopped walking.

“Well, what about him?” Jeff asked calmly. “He’s seen you lay there motionless in a coffin, life after life. Don’t you think that he feels the same way?”

“Well that’s the difference!” I threw my hands in the air, my textbook almost slipping. “I come back to life, but James doesn’t. If I die, James knows that in a few years we’ll be reunited!” I brought my arms down and hugged my textbook. I didn’t like to think of what would happen. But to end this argument, I would have to explain to Jeff what all this meant to me. “If I see him lying there in a coffin with a hole where his heart should be, then I know that I’ll never see him again.”

“Bloom, look,” Jeff said. My head was spinning around so much that I didn’t care what they called me anymore, “that’s the same fear that James has. Funeral after funeral, he’s always had the same expression. It’s not a regular expression. It’s probably not the kind that you should have when attending a funeral. It’s hard to describe, but to put it simple, it’s the kind of face that a ten-year-old girl would make if she were kidnapped and it was her turn to be raped and killed,” he said. My eyes widened in horror. That was a horrible image and it alarmed me that it was his example. “And that’s not even close to the real thing.” The second bell rang and I ignored it. “The real thing is a million times worse. It’s a million times worse than how you reacted to Brian’s drained body. James’s expression of fear is horrible. When he looks at you in that casket, you think that the world is going to end. And do you know why James puts on that face? Have you realized why?”

I opened my mouth, though ended up shaking my head.

“James puts on that face because he doesn’t know if that will be your last life. Nobody will ever know when you will truly die. And James is afraid that it will happen soon. And he blames himself for it. He blames himself for not being able to protect you.” Jeff stopped talking and let it all sink in. “He tries to do everything alone, just like you want to. And personally, I think that he’s finally realized that that is what keeps killing you. So take my advice and let us help.”

“I don’t want to,” I choked.

Jeff shut his eyes and ran a hand through his short caramel hair. “Oh, God, I think that Andrew was right,” he mused to himself. “I thought he was just trying to provoke her, but she’s really starting to act—” he stopped in the midst of his sentence and got back on track. He opened his eyes and looked at me. “Give me one good reason why not.”

“Because, I work best alone,” I said when I was in control of my voice again. “Having to worry about people getting in my way—having to worry about saving people—while I work doesn’t help me concentrate any better. If I can fight him alone, then there’s a better chance that we’ll win. There’s a better chance that no more people will get killed. There’s a better chance that James or you or anyone else in the crew won’t get hurt.”

Jeff’s eyes turned deadly. “That’s not a good reason.” He turned away from me and began walking towards English.


 


 

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