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Camilla woke up on something hard, most likely the rough stone ground. All around was the darkness, as it engulfed all certain possibility of light. She could barely move. She thought she was paralyzed, but then realized she could easily move her legs. She twisted around and propped up on one elbow, trying to stand up. She balanced, but then fell down again, sprawled against the cold. She sighed, breathing heavily, using all her energy. She thought she could hear voices, but thought nothing of it. But then, she heard someone speaking.
“Shut up and come on!” She heard a male voice snap.
“I love her though!” Another voice replied.
Then it was silence. Camilla held her breath, hoping they didn’t know she was here. They spoke again.
“Are you serious?” The first male voice asked.
“Yes,” replied the second.
“Well, because… I don’t know, I can’t say, I just do.”
“You can’t,” the first male voice said, his voice a little high.
Camilla took a quick breath and then held it again.
“Why not?” The second male voice asked, confused.
“Well, because, I…”
“It’s because I love her!”
There was silence again. Camilla suddenly knew where she was. She was in the cave, the cave from her dreams. But how did she get here? Her head was aching and she felt so bleary she couldn’t remember anything. The voices began to speak again.
“You can’t,” the second voice whispered.
“Well, I do,” the first voice replied, almost arrogantly.
“How dare you!”
“You… you… you don’t love her! You’re just saying that!”
“No, that’s not like it at all,” the first male voice answered, kind of sarcastic. Camilla was confused. She then remembered who the voices were. Haden and Seth. But they sounded so alike that she couldn’t remember which one the voices belonged to.
“Yes, it is! You didn’t even want her to come. You wanted to abandon her back at the castle. You’re a backstabber, you know that? You pretended to be her friend. You can’t love her. You can’t even like her!” Yes! That was Haden. Haden was the one who got all jealous and angry and then he decided to –
Camilla choked, thinking what was soon to happen.
“She already told me that she loves me, though, too.”
“No! You’re lying! You’ll just hurt her, and I won’t allow that to happen! You’re going to pay! Don’t even try to come near her!”
“What? Hey, what are you doing?”
Camilla could suddenly hear an earsplitting crack, as if a bone broke. She then heard that Haden and Seth were fighting. She tried to move, her hand groping out for something to pull her up. She tried to scream, but only a faint croak came out. She tried louder. It came out as a whisper. She tried and tried. The fighting then stopped, as she heard someone fall to the ground. She tried harder to scream, hoping she could stop it if she did. She then heard him crawling, and grabbing something. She heard a click. Camilla yelled.
Suddenly a thunderous explosion exploded. It sounded so because it was coming from the cave. Camilla then screamed as loud as she could. She realized it was she who screamed in her dream. She cried and felt blind there in the darkness, tears streaming down her face, her heart hurting. She heard the person who was shot slump to the ground, crashing hard down.
Camilla cried harder, her body shaking violently now. Her cries were uncontrollable, as she threw her head back and yelled louder. She heard someone walking slowly to her. She tried to crawl away if she could, but everything hurt too much. She saw a light, and tried crawling out, as she heard the footsteps going slower, but louder, every time it moved closer.
Camilla realized she had made it all the way into the opening of the cave. There were many shrubs and trees and boulders in every area, and she realized that this cave was in the middle of the forest. A full moon was glowing bright ahead, and she cried. Her heart stopped, and she froze. She saw a shadow coming out of the cave. Oh my God, Camilla thought, as she shook violently again, her hands hugging her waist, as she stood on her knees. This is what it has come to. Haden will execute me or he shall capture me as his Bride. Haden has turned fanatical. Oh, woe is me!
Haden did come out. Camilla’s hand flew to her mouth as she saw what she had not expected. A dark red circle was on the front if his shirt. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth. He walked slowly towards her, his hand against his chest, soaked in the blood. He fell forward, crashing to the ground. Camilla screamed and crawled towards him.
She turned him on his back, and saw Haden’s eyes, once dark and full of passion and mystery, now glazed over lifelessly as he stared at the sky.
“Haden, talk to me,” Camilla urged, a note of panic in her voice. “Haden, what happened?”
Haden turned his head to look at her, and smiled. His beautiful smile had blood all over it. “I tried to save you.”
“How?” Camilla cried. “What happened?”
“We were at the castle,” Haden spoke. “You got hurt. Cristofer and his gang tried to hurt all of us. Meaning Seth, you and I. We escaped through the tunnel, leading into the cave. You were unconscious, and I wanted to stay with you. Seth didn’t.
“We then argued. I told him I wanted to stay, because, well, because I loved you. He then said I couldn’t because he loved you. He was lying. He tried to trick us because, Camilla, he was a vampire too, like us… only one of Cristofer’s gang.
“I fought with him and tried to get him away from you. I think I snapped his neck, somewhere, which should have killed him right away, but I guess it took a while, at least a minute. And in that minute he got a gun out and shot me.”
Tears stung at Camilla’s eyes, and she let them fall. They fell on Haden’s wound. He cried, and Camilla moved a bit away. “I’m sorry.”
Haden smiled at her, shaking his head, pulling her close again. “No, no… I want them to fall. That way a part of you will always be apart of me.”
Camilla smiled, but still the tears fell. “Please don’t go, Haden,” she whispered. “Please don’t go. You can’t. You can’t die.”
Haden smiled. “It’s alright. I’ll always be with you, in spirit.”
Camilla moaned, clutching her heart. “No, Haden! Don’t you get it? You can’t do that because we have no soul. Vampires don’t have souls!”
Haden chuckled. “Oh, we may not have souls, Cami. But we sure as hell have hearts.” He chuckled again, but felt his heart slowing. Camilla felt it too.
“Oh, Haden…” she cried.
Haden laughed again. “Life is hard.”
Camilla tried to smile, but that hurt. “Compared to what?”
Haden smiled. “Cami?”
Camilla nodded. “Yeah?”
“Do you love me?”
“Yeah, Haden,” she replied, swallowing. “I love you, so much, dear, dear Haden.”
Haden laughed again. “Cami?”
Camilla bit her lip, as tears fell down, her heart screaming from the hurt. “Y-yeah?”
“Did you know that I loved you? Not just because you’re beautiful, or artistic, or smart, or graceful, or compassionate, or independent, or any of that. But because of the time when I got my foot stuck in a tree, you called the ambulance for me. Or that other time when Austin broke his leg you stayed with him all day just to watch CSI shows and eat soup. Or when Marcus and Nicholas were being jerks and selfish and pretending to be better and going around school and bullying people, you made that wonderful poem saying how everyone was equal which totally changed them. Or when Gene forgot to write her English paper, you stayed up with her all night just to help her finish it. You see, Cami, I think you’re most beautiful when you care for people, or teach them, or help them. You always do that because you’re just a caring person. And do you want to know what else?”
Cami nodded, as she bit hard on her lower lip, and the blood seeped through her mouth.
“I love you for all of those things. And I know for sure that you’re going to become an angel when you die, because angels are beautiful, caring creatures, and you’re one of them, Cami. A beautiful and caring creature.”
He breathed in harshly. “Ah… Cami, it won’t be long now. I’m surprised I’m actually still alive. I should be dead by now.”
Cami shook her head. “Don’t say that. Maybe you won’t die. You have to be hit in the heart after all.”
Haden smiled, but it was a grim one. “This bullet was tipped in holy water and garlic powder. I felt it running through my veins and entering my heart. Or maybe all that pain was because I finally found out that you loved me too, and I feel so happy for it.”
Cami shook her head, her eyes widened. “Oh, no Haden! I’ve always loved you. You just seemed so…”
“Arrogant and juvenile?” Haden offered, with a smile on his sad face.
Cami nodded. “I’m sorry, Haden.”
Haden raised a hand, as if to silence her. He felt heavy, and his breathing her heavily. “N-no… I… I… it’s not your fault, Cami. I’m just sorry that you’ll feel sad when I’m gone. But you have to remember, that God is a caring person, just like you. I have a good feeling he will allow me to come up there, ‘cause just because you think you may not have a soul, doesn’t exactly mean that’s true.”
Cami looked up as a rain drop fell against her face. She looked down at Haden who was smiling at her. “Is that a rain drop or a tear?”
Cami cried. Haden suddenly pulled himself up, using all of his energy. Cami sat beside him, crouching over on her knees and she stared at him. He suddenly touched the sides of her face, gently, as he pulled her close, their heads touching. Camilla’s pulse quickened. Haden parted his lips, and then… he kissed her. It was a gentle, soulful kiss. Camilla wrapped her arms around his neck, holding him close. She never wanted to let go, and she didn’t want Haden to go. The kiss was sensual and slow, it seemed like it lasted forever, which Camilla hoped it would. It was so deep that she felt like she lost her self in it. The world seemed to disappear and time stood still. It was as if everything melted away to nothingness, and there was just the two of them. The rain pattered against them and the Earth.
Haden pulled away, feeling his heart tighten. “Cami?”
Cami cried louder. “Oh my god, Haden, please, don’t go! I love you so much! Please, I beg of you. Don’t go!”
“Cami?” Haden asked again, and sighed, letting his head fall against the gentle, wet grass. “Valediction.”
Cami couldn’t hold it in longer. She screamed and cried as she raised her head and stared into the sky, the rain pouring against her face. She pounded the Earth and fell down, lying on her back. She rolled onto her stomach and screamed into the ground. She breathed in, and screamed louder as she realized it hurt to breathe living without Haden. Actually, it hurt to live without Haden. She choked as she heard someone behind. Was Haden alive?
She turned around only to stare into the eyes of Nicholas, Nicola, Adrian, Marcus, Austin and Gene. They all stared sadly down at Camilla. Gene pulled her up, and Nicola hugged her. Marcus patted her back as Austin and Adrian lifted up Haden. Nicholas murmured, “Oh my God… Haden…”
The seven of them, eight including the departed Haden, all headed back towards Camilla’s house. Camilla then stopped. Everyone turned to look at her. “Camilla?” Gene called.
Camilla shook her head, and turned around, running as fast as she could, through the cold night air.
Camilla didn’t know where she was going. She just wished she could go where she knew. Where she knew Haden would be. She ran over a river that after being polluted so much had turned yellowish green. Then she came to big piles and clumps of dark brown dirt, and almost fell into it. She cried harder until she got to a dark forest, and running through where the trees stood tall and bare, and the grass was a dark green. Finally she came to a large meadow that seemed pale green in the moonlight. She realized she couldn’t run anymore, and stopped, slowing crouching down and lying on the soft grass, tears flooding her face. She gasped, choked, and cried harder. She swallowed, and gasped again. She suddenly felt another present coming close to her. She tried to hide her head beneath a pile of weeds and a very tall area of grass that had not been hacked down.
She heard the figure breathing, but normal breathing, only more heavier, like a man’s. She forced herself to turn her head ever so slightly to see who it was. Her heart did a little back flip, and she forgot how to breathe, but only for a second.
Cristofer Cardei stood above her. He seemed, almost, uncertain of something. Maybe making second thoughts of killing her, perhaps? His usually smooth black hair was tousled, and his bright blue eyes were bloodshot. Camilla gulped, looking up at the once sophisticated and feared Cristofer, son of the terrible Great Count Cardei. He attempted a smile down at Camilla.
“Hey… what’s up?”
Camilla said nothing, just stared.
Cristofer looked away. “Um, I just wanted to say… sorry.”
“Ha!” Camilla laughed loud.
Cristofer raised a brow. “For what happened to Haden…”
Camilla nodded, looking away too. Then she shook her head, and stood up. “Shut up. Shut the hell up, you psycho! You… monster! I hate you, and this is your entire fault that Haden is dead! You’re a murderer!”
Now it was Cristofer’s turn to be angry. “What? I don’t think I’m the one that shot him! It was that idiot Seth’s fault. You know… your boyfriend?”
Camilla shook her head, turning away. Her voice was cold. “He’s not my boyfriend. He’s not even my friend.”
“Which is, of course, opposed to Haden?” Cristofer smirked.
Camilla sighed, and walked away, but Cristofer yelled, “Wait, I’m sorry!”
Camilla turned around and walked slowly back. “Say that again?”
Cristofer muttered, “Oh, don’t get me started. I’m sorry, all right? I guess, yeah, I loved power… but I am definitely not a murderer… I’m nothing like my idiotic father.”
Now Camilla was very confused. “What? I thought you would give your life up to be exactly like old Daddy. Guess I was wrong?”
Cristofer laughed. “Guess you were. Nah, I hated him to death. I just craved power so much I kind of became a bully. But never a murderer. I can promise you that.”
Camilla looked down. “But how can I really trust you, Cristofer?”
Cristofer shrugged. “You can’t. But you could try.”
Camilla sighed. “It’s just so… hard. To trust, I mean… for everything. This world has turned so cruel and hopeless that you can barely try to love again.”
Cristofer lifted her chin, looking into her eyes. “It’s hard to trust, I know, to do any of those things. But if everything was easy, could anyone get anywhere in life? Could we all truly succeed? And yeah, the world is cruel and hopeless, but you’ve just got to make it not cruel and hopeful. ‘Cause when one person makes a difference everything can change. You have to make the love for yourself, Camilla. ‘Cause where there’s darkness, this is always light.”
Camilla gaped at him. “You know, I never knew how deep you were. Kind of reminds of Haden. It’s so sad without him.”
Cristofer nodded. “Hey, Camilla?”
Camilla nodded. “Yeah, Cristofer?”
Cristofer laughed. “Just call me Cris. Anyhow, Camilla? Could we be friends?”
Camilla smiled. “Yeah, sure Cris. Why do you ask? What about your gang?”
Cristofer shook his head. “They’re not my gang. They’re not even my friends. In fact, I’d have to say you’re the first.”
Camilla looked down. “Really?”
Cristofer nodded. He smiled at her, and Camilla actually saw a light shine in his eyes. The bloodiness seemed to be gone, and they shone like two crystal diamonds. “Thanks, Camilla. Haden was right. You really a good and compassionate person.”
Camilla smiled back. “When did he say that?”
Cristofer rolled his eyes. “Long ago, when he I used to hang around. He said that everyone time you left. It got kind of annoying. But to him, it was like he was speaking about love, and what a beautiful and wonderful thing it was. In fact, I think he actually referred to you as love.”
Camilla swallowed, as tears filled her eyes. But she smiled. “Yeah. He was a good guy.”
“He still is,” Cristofer said.
Camilla smiled. “Yeah… because he’s angel.”
Cristofer laughed. “Yeah. I think Haden proved that to us all.”
Cristofer then stopped. He leaned close to Camilla. “You know, Camilla. I’ve heard of God actually giving vampires another chance. The good ones, I mean. Like, they can become human, once they died.”
Camilla frowned. “Hmm? Right, like that’s true. I’m just going to accept the fact that Haden is an angel. Or a ghost. As long as he’s resting in peace and not getting burned up in some flames of hell.”
Cristofer smiled. “Yeah… let’s hope.”
Camilla smiled, nudging him. “We should, because someone told me that there is always hope. In this case, I’m pretty sure he was right.”
Cristofer laughed. “I’m pretty sure too.”
Camilla sighed. “Yeah… there’s always hope.”
And as she looked at the dark sky she saw a star glimmer in the distance. That star reminded a lot of the gleam she would always miss seeing in Haden’s eyes. Camilla smiled, thinking of him. “There’s always hope,” she murmured to herself. “We should always trust in those words.”
And she did.