“Cora darling,” Aria said. “Our long awaited visitors have finally arrived.”
“You…” Charlotte stared at the orange haired woman. “I’ve seen you before, haven’t you?”
“I haven’t been the best at concealing myself.” She shrugged.
“You’ve been brilliant since the moment we took you away from the drab little human world,” Aria said. “You shall be the only non purebred we keep with us. Everyone else will perish.”
“You’ve fulfilled your promise, it’s been an honor serving under you. I would appreciate if I could live a life with my daughter as I have yearend for. You know, from one mother to another?” Cora asked.
“Certainly.” Aria nodded. “My only other plan for the girl was to send her off with the halfbreed and let her figure out how to sort out the timeline mess, but I like you far more than her.”
“A promise is a promise,” Adeline said. “You cannot back out on your promise.”
“I can, and I just did,” Aria said. “What could you possibly want with this woman anyhow? She’s of little concern to you. Like I said, you are not a Gray.”
“As far as my daughter is concerned,” Cora said. “Neither is she. I wish to rid their toxic presence.”
“We can leave that up to Mason.” Aria shrugged.
Adeline turned to her sister and shut her eyes. It would take a lot of power to do so, but she’d be able to send a telepathic message while blocking both Aria and Altiere’s channels. “That is Leia Gray. I’m able to read her origins. After her mother left, Leia and her twin Lorie were sent to an orphanage where they practically raised themselves. Leia married grandpa’s dad. She is our great grandmother. That’s why grandpa was in so much pain.”
Charlotte’s eyes widened at the words of her sister. Charlotte spoke her answer aloud and directed it towards Aria. “You can’t just bring people to life who aren’t meant to be alive!”
“Why not?” She tilted her head. “Your step father did it. He brought Ethan back to life. I think its only fair that Apollo die early to ammend for Ethan’s return.”
Charlotte looked at the beautiful blue haired woman. She was like a souless doll. Her chest heaved up and down as she breathed, but she said nothing and her eyes were dull. She was sure the woman had no recollection of who she even was. “That is something different entirely!” Adeline argued. “Grandpa was brought back to life safely, and that was your will! You forced that to happen so that Altiere would be released!”
“Minor details,” The woman said.
“You think we’re going to let you get away with this?” Charlotte demanded. “If she keeps existing, not only will grandpa die, but others will get hurt as well!”
“We will all cease to exist,” Adeline answered calmly. “She has not been brought back to life with consideration to the timeline as Ethan has. She is still very deeply rooted into her timeline. Her living this way will kill Grandpa, his brother, and all subsequent generations of the Grays. We will all disappear.”
“That can’t be possible!” Charlotte exclaimed. She reeadied her fangs. “This stops now.”
“Yeas, that’s right. Your heart stops now.” Charlotte felt a sharp pain in her chest as she dropped to the ground. “Ahhh!” She let out a blood curdling scream.
“What are you doing to my sister!?” Adeline shouted, trying to run to her side. Aria was able to hold her bac. Adeline was weak from using her powers to communicate with Charlotte.
“She is not your sister, girl.” Aria slapped Adeline. “You will be a good little girl and behave.”
“What are you doing?” Charlotte tried to breath but all feeling was leaving her body. “Adeline…”
“I control the chains on your heart. I am removing them, but you’re only a halfbreed, so this will result in your very untimely death. If you were a nicer pupil, I might have thought about sparing you.”
“Would you really have?” Charlotte glared at the man with the intensity of a million fire spells.
“Of course not. Consider it payback to that lowly father of yours, Declan.” Declan. The smiling face of her father was the last thing she saw before blacking out from the immense pain.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” Adeline shouted.
“You are my child and you will not speak that way. We’re a race of sophistication-”
“SOPHISTICATION!?” Adeline shouted. “This is not sophisitcation!” Adeline readied as much of her powers as she could. It wouldn’t be enough to stop anything. She was trapped, but all she could think about was protecting her sister.
“Do not make me hurt you like I did the brat,” Altiere said. He stepped over Charlotte’s motionless body and threw an arm over Adeline’s shoulder. “I’d really rather not hurt my pride and joy.”
“Don’t touch me!”A deline tried to struggle, but she couldn’t fight him. Altiere was releasing some kind of paralyzer into her veins. “Please…”
“I won’t hurt you, I just want you to live a life as a princess of my new empire,” Altiere said.
“You can give me the world, but I still won’t abandon my family,” Adeline spat, falling limp into Altiere’s arms.
“It’s not really up to you. You can fight us all you want, but you’ll see soon enough who your real family is when the other is wiped from existence.” He pet her head affectionately. “Everyone will be gone, but you. You don’t have the connection to the Grays that you think. You will not perish with the rest of them.”
“That’s not true-” She said, trying to steady herself. “I felt it too! My emotions were out of control back at the consignment shop.”
“No.” Altiere shook his head. “Your emotions were never unstable. Why do you think I’ve been training you? You thought all along that you were tricking me, but really, I allowed you to go as far as you did to test your limits. You are the perfect vampire in all aspects of the word. You will bring a new generation of powerful vampires to fruition.”
“No…” Adeline shook her head, refusing to believe him. “I was training to defeat you.”
“I was training you for this very moment.” He smirked. “You should be glad to have someone like me in your life. I’ve allowed you to reach your full potential.”
“I’ll do whatever you say, just please, let Charlotte go!” Adeline cried weakly.
“Go where?” Altiere asked. “To cry to her meddling father for him to rescue her? He’s involved himself in the affairs of my world long enough.” No matter how hard Adeline tried to fight off Altiere, she couldn’t and in a matter of minutes she had blacked out as well.
Charlotte groaned in pain. She reached up to her stomach instinctively and held her hand there. Her vision was hazy, but slowly returning. Her breathing was labored as she tried to make sense of the sitaution at hand. Where was she, and what was that smell? “Urgggh…” She let out a loud shriek as she saw the small dark room she was in. The conditions were absolutely disgusting. The rusted cot was splattered with dried blood, the floors looked equally as covered. In the corner was a chair coated in what looked like fresh blood. Her eyes widened as she thought about whose blood that could be. Her body was speckled in the red substance, but she wasn’t sure if that was her own or from the surrounding environment. It looked like she was in some kind of torture chamber, and she felt like crap. Slowly, her memory began to return to her and she thought about her sister. Why the hell didn’t Adeline listen to her when she told her to stay way from Altiere? Why the hell didn’t her parents see it sooner? Adeline, she finally understood, was trying to destroy Alltiere from the inside, and her dad allowed that. She was beyond angry at how ill planned this entire thing was.
When her anger subsided, the reality of her situation was finally settling in. She would die. Her sister’s powers would be used for evil and her family would be wiped from existence. Had the Woods family really won? How had that entire plan gone unnoticed by the Grays for so long? She felt stupid, worthless and confused. All of this time…
“Thanks for coming,” Alistair said as he let Jeff into his house.
“Yeah, it’s no problem. What’s up?” Jeff asked.
“You said you were a cop at one point?” Alistair asked.
“Yeah.” Jeffrey nodded. “For a long time, I’m confident in my ability. Why?”
Alistair looked troubled. He took a moment before speaking. “Normally, I can sense my daughters. Adeline, the most. But, neither have come home at all since they left yesterday morning. It’s to my understading that Adeline was with you?”
Jeff nodded. “Yeah, until about 5 pm we were at the library. Then, we headed home. Ethan and Apollo were out to dinner, and she said she needed to check on something so she left around 7pm. She didn’t come back home, but Ethan said not to worry about it. That, she might be doing something for you. I didn’t think much of it, Adeline is very capable.”
“Yes, but Charlotte hasn’t returned either. She and her sister aren’t on the best of terms, so I don’t think they’d go anywhere willingly together, but it’s strange that they’re both missing. I can’t do anything with my powers, so I was hoping you could help me with your investigating skills.”
There were no windows in the small room, not even light through the bolted door. She couldn’t tell what time of day it was, or how long she had been locked up. It could have been minutes, hours or days even. The silence was slowly driving her mad. It left her alone with her menacing thoughts and she had no idea how long she could deal with it. She was angry. Angry that she let this happen. Angry that she wasn’t strong enough to stop it. Angry that her mind was so preoccupied with pushing one single person out of her life that she caused the downfall of so many more. She loathed Aria Woods. Charlotte might have been relieved that she was locked up in any other situation. This way, she couldn’t cause any more trouble. But, she needed to get out and stop Altiere. If she didn’t, who would? Would her dad come searching for her, or had everyone finally had enough of her rebellious antics?
She dropped to her knees and sobbed. Her mind drifted to Jeff. If she was going to die right now, she’d regret it. She wanted to apologize to him at least. She wasn’t herself when she was around him. She had always felt the need to act overly rambunctious. She didn’t understand why he tried so hard to befriend her even when she made it a point to challenge him. She did have feelings for Jeff. It was obvious to her now. Pathetic, that she acted the way that she did to get his attention, tried to make him feel worthless so that he’d leave after she realized he was getting to close to what really bothered her. Why couldn’t she allow herself to let him in? Adeline was right. He would have helped her, if she just asked. Charlotte tried to steady her breathing. The smell was potent, and causing her to become light headed. She was sure it was left as a reminder that she’d need to feed soon. With no source of fresh blood, she’d surely die. She had to fight it…she needed to tell Jeff that she was being unreasonable. Tell him that she was sorry and then leave so he didn’t have to feel like he had to hang around. But first, she had to escape…She tried so hard to fight the pain, but soon, she had found herself curled on the floor once more.
“You mean?” Jeff’s eyes widened. “They’re both missing?”
Alistair nodded. “I just told Charlotte not to stay out so late. Especially now after what happened to her grandfather. I thought she’d listen. This isn’t like her, she’s been acting strange lately. Maybe it’s because I’m her father, but I’m just really worried about her.”
“She’s been acting a bit more, volatile?” Jeff asked, recalling the last conversation he had with the girl.
Alistair nodded. “You’ve noticed too, huh? I’m sorry that she’s been so rude to you, even more than usual. I think it has to do with the timeline. All of my years alive, and I can’t figure out how to pop it back into place so that my children can live a normal life.”
“She’s been through a lot,” Jeff concluded. He remembered the conversation he had with Charlotte just the other day about her mother, and how she thought she’d be a bad person because of it. He thought back to the last conversation she had with her and how rude she had been to him. It should have reminded him of the woman who killed his mother, but he saw himself that Charlotte was fighting herself. He saw a glimmer of who she really was, a scared little girl. It didn’t matter that she was a vampire or any of that. Under all of that anger and volatility, she was just like he used to be. He remembered how he couldn’t even hold a gun in his hands because of the fear it brought out. He feared taking someone’s life, just as she feared she’d become something she hated. So, he couldn’t blame her for her behavior, because if his wife hadn’t been patient with him, he’d never be able to hold a gun. If Charlotte needed someone to lean on, he’d be there for her. “I don’t blame her. I’ll help as best as I can. In fact, before I left with Adeline to the library, we were with Charlotte at the consignment shop. She was with some orange elf, I think he said he was the leader of the tribe or something. He should know if she left.” They had been pretty clingy, what if that man had done something to her and took advantage?
Alistair nodded. “Thats a good idea.” He was about to comment on the Elven tribe, when he heard a loud knocking on the front door. “Please let that be my daughters.”
Jeff nodded. “I sure hope so. That’d make my job so much easier.”