Black Rose

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1. GLORY




AS I’M RUNNING, I’M THINKING, WHICH IS NOT THE purpose, but I am thinking. I land with a soft thud on the next roof, about two blocks from the last roof. It’s a crisp, fall night, the moon glistens off my snow white, ice cold arm, not caring if I get red marks all up and down my arm. The moon’s reflection sends a rainbow of colors onto the windows across the street. “It’s not like anybody is going to notice”, I whisper to myself, knowing that everybody is probably dead asleep by now.

I wish I could, but I can’t. Simple fact, I’m what you would call a half breed. Half human, half vampire. I don’t’ exactly know how it happened, my grandfather won’t tell me the whole story.

Anyway, I shake my head to try to clear it of all the nonsense that happened today. Once they take a break and leave me, they start creeping into my head again. I let them, assuming (a very bad thing for me to do), that if I keep putting it off, it will eventually drive me crazy.

The first thing that is bothering the hell out of me, is that I’m getting change in a few weeks, and I must choose what I want to be before next Wednesday- which is in three days- I have no clue as to what I want to do or be. As I jump off of the five-story building onto a much smaller but longer apartment complex, I remember what my grandfather- Jerry Casto- told me about having to choose, the consequences, and the advantages and disadvantages of what I choose to be. I remember the conversation very well, like it was just yesterday that he talked to me about it:



“Raina, can you come in here a minute, I would like to tell you about something.”



“Yes, Grandpa, is it about the school thing yesterday? ‘Cause if it was, it was not my fault! I didn’t know it was her pop tart!”


“No, it’s not about that, please sit and listen carefully.” He had a certain edge to his voice, like he had problems trying to state, or organize what he was trying to say, almost nervous. I sat down cautiously, nervous as well. Usually, when he had this much trouble it was something bad...... a tragedy?


“Nobody has died, it’s more about what your choose is going to bring with it. As you know, when you turn 15, you must choose what you want to be. And whatever you choose, you must know what is going to come with it.
“When you become a vampire, you’ll be very thirsty the first few months, and you will not be able to go out into the sunlight with so much skin showing,” he was eyeing my blue cotton spaghetti strap, jeans, and sandals, unimpressed.
“Also when you become a vampire you must be able to control your thirst when you are around anybody. It will be hard, I won’t lie, but that is what Maria and I are for…….” I was jolted out of my memory by something that struck the back of my head, it was hard as stone, and as cold as my skin. I skid to a stop, spin around in less than two seconds, and find my older sister, Haley, standing in the middle of the building smiling her mocking smile.

Haley is the adopted one in my family. She is one of the only people, besides Grandpa, and Maria, that I trust with mostly anything. Her eyes are deep violet, showing that she needs to hunt soon, but unlike anyone else in the family, her eyes always stay violet, they just change shades. Her hair is a mahogany brown, flowing down to the middle of her shoulder blades, windblown across her perfect, carved-out of stone face, whiter than snowfall, and beautiful in any since of speech.

“What are you doing here, Haley?” I growl.

“Oh! Don’t be such a pout; I’m only here to check on you, I was getting worried. Do you know it’s three o’ clock in the morning?” She asks still with that familiar mocking smile on her face, but concern showing greatly in her eyes.

My head is still clouded, but I’m able to concentrate on what is happening; better than when I got home. Haley is right beside me now, staring at my face, trying to read it I guess. I look at her confused, worried eyes, composing my face before she could notice anything.

“No.” I reply, confusion taking over me. I start to count the hours of when I left, quickly giving up, not wanting to do the math.

“Well, it is, you’ve been running for six hours now and Zack and I are getting concerned. Anyway, you need to come home before mom, and grandpa gets back from their hunt.”

“Come on Raina; come home, before Haley and I drag you by your stubby fingers!” Suddenly, our friend for many years, Oliver, out of nowhere, landed softly beside Haley, shoots a wide, friendly smile, and wraps his arm tightly around her shoulder. With abrupt force, Haley shrugs off Oliver’s broad arm with enough strength that could send a human airborne off the building.


“Shut up, Oliver, don’t you have anywhere else to go than here. Go, hit on some other girl!” I snap at him, then it hit me, I was completely aware of what I had just said; wondering if it had upset him. Oliver was a hard person top get fired up.

Studying his face carefully, finding in some way he was taking it seriously, I hastily add, “I didn’t mean that literally, Oliver, please don’t hit on anyone.” He smiled as I unraveled the misunderstanding, and I calmed down a bit.


Finding that I didn’t offend him at all, with light sarcasm, replied, “Oh, I already tried Sadie, but she wouldn’t give me the time of day. Apparently she already has the “hotts” for someone else, but she won’t tell me who it is.” but she won’t tell me you it is.” There was silence after what he said, and then all of a sudden, Haley and I stared at Oliver, then at each other, trying to hold back the impatient laughter that was escape our lips with force.
Without warning, we burst out in hollow amusement, not caring if we woke anyone up, then Oliver joins in. Shortly, all three of us are laughing so hard, that if we could, we would start crying.

We start to run back home, still amused by Oliver’s clever remark.

As we get closer, we start to quiet down, only because we don’t want Jerry or Maria to think we’ve gone nuts.


***


As we walk into the huge, dark house, noticing nobody home yet, I turn swiftly around, and before I can even blink Oliver is on the floor with Haley crouched on top of him. In one split second I’m in front of them, hunkered down, ready to spring if it gets too far. I swiftly, but easily straighten up when I find out Haley is smiling the mocking smile of hers, and Oliver, is trying to hold back a chuckle.


“ Got Ya!” Haley whisper in his ear before steadily getting up.


“That’s not fair! You caught me off guard.” Oliver complains. “You know what? Enjoy the glory while you can, ‘cause I’m gonna get you back, sooner or later.”


“Yeah, yeah, noise, noise.” Haley replies with a very noticeable smirk taking over her face.

Then she turned around to me, in a seconds’ notice grabbed in a bear hug, it was tight, but I needed a hug, so I embraced her back. Then I feel more pressure from my right side, it’s Oliver. For a couple minutes, we stand there hugging each other until I started to scrim. Haley and Oliver, at the same time, drop their hands, staring at me, puzzled. I respond with a peaceful smile, and say, “I’m hungry.” They nod with sensitivity, smiling back at me.


“Snack time for the half breed!” Oliver jokingly says, following behind me into the massive kitchen, flipping on all the lights while I rummage through the too big, too long, (long enough that if you put Zack in there, you’d still have room), refrigerator.
I finally find something, after almost crawling into the frozen cave; I pull out some cheese, and some butter, and leap to the cabinet, getting out the bread.


As the popping and sizzling of the butter increases, the visions of yesterday creep into my head, I try to distract myself by recalling Haley’s past and how she became a vampire. I was just to the part where she gets change when grandpa and mom walk in. Their eyes were like green ice, and the tired- looking circles under their eyes disappearing. Their faces, white as a sheet of paper, and model material expressions looked refreshed. I was suddenly aware that I knew everyone else’s past but my own. I didn’t want the short, careless, right-out-of-the-book summary. I didn’t want all that crap again.

I sit down at the table with my plate and start to chew on my grilled cheese, trying to find a polite way to phrase my question.


“Grandpa, what about my past, why don’t you tell me the whole story like everybody else’s?” I ask him, looking directly at his face, making sure that I have eye his face, making sure that I have complete eye contact with him.

Jerry sits in the chair across from me, which was a reaction I wasn’t expecting. Everyone else was following him. I straighten up, and continue to eat my sandwich, listening eagerly at the whole, not half, truth of my past.





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