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Isobelle (Izzie to her friends) sighed and stumbled over to her wardrobe. The bruises would fade within a week or two, but she thought it would be better to hide them for the time being. She picked out a pair of thin jogging bottoms and the first t-shirt she came to. She pulled on the clothes and slipped into the first pair of trainers she stumbled over on her way to the door. Izzie really wasn't the most coordinated of people.
When she was dressed, she grabbed her mp3 player and headed out of the front door of her flat. As she came downstairs and out of the front door of her block of flats, she set the music to blast down her ears. Children of Bodom. Probably not ideal for running, but their songs had a fast beat and Izzie liked death metal- despite the torments of her being weird.
She started running, with no particular destination in mind. Soon she settled into a nice, fast pace and let the rhythm carry her along, feeling the freedom of her swift run. Her mind began to wander as the music changed, song after song after song.
She barely acknowledged the scenery passing by in a blur of colours as she ran.
Izzie's mind was soon on a dark path, winding on a forever downhill slant.
Blood drunk! Wasted again!
Alexi's voice screamed down her ear. Her path of thought was turning into an impenetrably dark night, although it was a bright, sunny morning in Manchester.
Inside your pain will fade!
She remembered how all her angst had just melted away.
Blood drunk! You call me insane...
The voice screamed at her. Yeah, people had definitely called her insane.
Degenerate blood drunk with a razor blade!
Alexi's voice shattered through Izzie's concentration and determination like a brick through a window. She glanced down at her arms and instantly wished she had thought to put on a long sleeved top. The broken skin stood out in stark contrast to her pale arms. Some of the gashes were still encrusted with dried blood, the parts she hadn't gotten to before the blood had dried and become too painful to remove.
He continued. The sight of blood was intoxicating for Izzie. So he had hit the nail right on the head there. She was hypnotised by the sight of blood. The deep crimson colour, the way it dripped over her soft skin, bathing the surface, cleansing her of evils. The scent. Yes, she could smell it. The sweet, sweet blood. She mentally shook herself and concentrated on her running, pushing herself slightly faster and taking deep even breaths. Izzie felt the rhythm of the pad-pad-pad of her feet.
More calls of blood drunk and insanity. Then the bridge crept in through her thoughts.
The his voice pierced her, as if an arrow had been shot right through her pounding heart.
Ready for another drink, can you wait?
Izzie thought back to the previous night. She had been oh-so concerned about the bruises on her legs, stomach, shoulders and, well, almost everywhere else. Yet being dragged to Adam's extreme fighting hadn't injured her as badly or as noticeably as she, herself, had.
Of course, she had enjoyed every second of it. Every ounce of pain stabbing through her legs, stomach, hips, shoulders and worst of all, on her arms had brought her the most immense amount of pleasure she had ever experienced. She had felt as if she were being cleansed of all her anger and fury. Of her strife and angst. And best of all had been the blood. The sweet crimson wine of her veins. A sudden nagging urge at the back of her mind had suddenly burst forth and took hold. She couldn't deny herself, she had a burning thirst that screamed to be quenched.
When she was done, her lips were dyed a guilty scarlet and the nagging, along with the burning thirst it had brought with it, had been banished to the back of her mind and throat.
She once again mentally shook herself, this time giving herself a more vigorous shake.
She breathed a sigh of relief when the song ended. But her relief was to be short lived. Jack off Jill had wormed it's way into her mind, decaying her barriers with strawberry gashes.
You're living just like a disaster.
Was she? She couldn't be as bad as this woman was declaring her to be.
She said kill me faster.
Is that the message she was sending out?
With strawberry gashes all over . . .
Izzie glanced down at her arms again and her heavy, but steady, breathing turned quickly into pants of hysteria. She picked up her pace again, flat out sprinting to reach the safety of her familiar flat. She drowned the music out with her own thoughts, but the lyrics kept breaking through her fortress. But she couldn't stop to turn her mp3 off now when she was so close to her flat and the promise of a few hours borrowed sanity. So instead she concentrated on the music.
She rounded the corner and her block of flats came into view. Her heart pounded faster and faster as she was reminded of her own strawberry gashes. She knew the sweat that now drenched her tarnished skin had nothing to do with the exertions of her running.
She fumbled with the key for a few seconds and then burst into her familiar flat, ripping her earphones out and hurling her mp3 into the corner of the messy sitting room.
Closing the door behind her, she made her way to the bathroom, taking her clothes off as she went, not bothering to move them from the floor.
She stepped into the ice-cold shower, feeling relief wash over her, trickling down her with almost as a relaxing sensation as the water that was now dripping down her body. Her tarnished skin stung where the water cleansed her, but the dried blood started to slowly come off. The gashes wouldn't look as bad when they were cleaned.
Stepping out of the shower, she wrapped a warm, fluffy towel around herself. She had been right about the cleansing effects of the shower, she felt as light as air.
Although she was still ashamed of the pleasure she had indulged in of her own agony and the intoxicating alcoholic appeal of her own blood, she felt cleansed of her blood lust.
It was nearly mid day by the time she was settling down on the sofa. She had a steaming hot cup of coffee in one hand and balanced a thick, leather-bound writing book in the other, her favourite fountain pen in the pocket of her satin dressing gown.
For some reason she felt the urge to write. So she sat down, poised her pen above the parchment pages of the old book, whilst she took a sip of coffee, and thought for a moment. What would she write about?
A sudden thought came to her head and sent her pen, scrawling across the paper, flying through the pages. The clock ticked by and her coffee stood forgotten on the table, going cold and stagnant as Izzie's scrawling handwriting blossomed on the pages of the leather bound book. All through the day and night she wrote, not once stopping, her ideas just springing to life instantaneously, as if they had been there all along.
After a few days shut up inside her flat and a few sleepless nights, she began to calm down and start eating and sleeping normally again, having filled more than half her book. But her spare time was still filled with the fantasy of her own little imaginary world she had created for her characters to play, fight and love.
Exactly one month later, just as she was signing her name at the bottom of the very last page in her now filled book, Sara burst through the door.
“Right, that's it!” she started.
Izzie looked up, startled.
“I'm sick of you and that book!”
She quickly blew on the ink of her signature to ensure it was dry, before snapping the book closed and holding it protectively to her bosom, as though it were her child.
“This is my heart and soul, in this book!” Izzie snarled at Sara, surprising even herself by her aggressive tone.
“Well it also seems to have become your family, friends, boyfriend and life,” Sara commented, flatly.
“Well I've finished now anyway.”
Sara rolled her eyes at Izzie's haughty tone.
“Oh, so are you ready to rejoin the real world, now that you're done with the fictional one?” she asked, dryly.
“How do you know what I've been writing?” she said defensively.
Sara once again rolled her eyes at Izzie.
“It's all you've been talking about since you started writing that damn thing,” she complained, pacing in front of Izzie's place on the couch. “It's vampyre domination this and battle fields that and that was only after you rejoined the rest of Earth.”
“I wasn't under the impression that I had left Earth,” Izzie returned coldly, her brown eyes looking up and down all of Sara's five feet five inches.
“Well for the first week you didn't sleep, you barely ate, we were hard pushed to get two consecutive words out of you that didn't involve vampyres or some other daft fantasy thing in that book!”
Izzie had just switched off, like she normally did when Sara was getting into the full swing of her rant, catching only parts of what she was saying in between fantasies of Dothengar and the ancient race of the noble vampyres.
She was running across the ground, her legs carrying her in the fastest sprint she had ever known, not even rendering her the slightest bit breathless... “...and you hardly talk to us or acknowledged us...” ...she was waiting for the burning in her muscles to begin, but that never came, just the freedom of her running... “...not to mention that we never saw you...” … she could feel the power and grace of the vampyre as the muscles in her legs carried her further... “... you never put that damn book down...” … she had no idea of where she was going, but she could see a tall figure, across the fields, so she pushed herself further... “... Adam complains to me every thirty seconds that you never answer the phone or talk to him...” … Adam- it was Adam. As she got closer, her saw her and held his arms out wide for her to leap into. The grace of her leap was met by Adam's strong arms... “...getting on my last damn nerve...” … her twirled her around and, still holding her in his warm, safe arms … “... can't stand it any more...” … bent his head to hers and crushed his lips to hers... “... not going to listen to any excuses...” … Izzie wound her hands around his neck and knotted her hands in his soft hair... “... put the book down and forget about it for at least a few hours...” … she could feel herself melting into his arms, pressed against his chest, his piercing blue eyes meeting her brown eyes... “... been acting like you're under a spell...” … Adam put her back on her feet and they lay side by side on the warm grass... “... and are you even listening to a word I'm saying?!” Sara's nagging voice finally broke through her fantasy, the weak distant voice suddenly becoming sharp and strong.
“Of course I'm listening, Sara,” Izzie defended herself, but it was a futile attempt.
Sara narrowed her eyes at her.
“Isobelle, we have known each other since we were both eleven years old, we have shared everything and always been there for each other. Now some stupid book is stealing you from me. We haven't even had a proper conversation in a month. I miss my best friend, but if all she's interested in is some damn stupid book, then I don't think she's the same awesome girl I remember from high school.”
Izzie's shoulders slumped in defeat. She knew Sara was right. As Sara turned to leave, Izzie jumped up and grabbed her, spinning her round to face her. Sara's face was cold and distant, but she started to soften as Izzie spoke.
“I know I've been really involved in my writing lately, but I'm done. It was some weird obsession that was always there in mind, but it's gone now and I'm back to being me again. I'm sorry I've been so distant.”
She was beginning to melt, but Izzie knew she had to do more.
“Look, why don't we call all our friends and have a big party or something, just for the hell of it?”
The corners of Sara's mouth started to turn up into a smile.
“To celebrate you're return from Dotigarm or whatever?” she smirked.
“Dothengar,” Izzie corrected. “But yeah, we'll make it a huge occasion and then we'll all stay over here and do each other's hair and make up and tell ghosts stories just like we used to.”
Sara instantly thawed out and melted.
The two girls both hugged as if they were long lost friends, which by the situation, they were.
“We'd start making phone calls and do some shopping to make sure we have everything we need for tonight then,” Sara started. Izzie jumped slightly.
“Yeah, tonight is Saturday?” Sara asked, not really expecting Izzie to know. She wasn't disappointed. She shook her head at Izzie's quizzical look. "Well let's just say that it is because we're all dying to spend some time with you, without that book.”
Izzie shrugged and picked up her mug off the table, strode into the kitchen and poured yet another un-drunk coffee down the sink. She motioned for Sara to follow her into the kitchen area, where she had a small table.
She reached into a cupboard, pulled out a pad of paper and a biro. Sara rolled her eyes at Izzie's stock of paper and pens.
“Ok, so who do we need to call?” she asked.
“Erm... Adam, Helen, Megan, Amber, Haydn...” Izzie listed.
“Rhiann, Nathan, Josh...” Sara added, as Izzie's biro scrawled furiously across the page, adding guests.