And it was all Al's fault.
He was after her! Catching up like some ghoulish competitor in a sprint. She couldn't go much farther. Her lungs were already giving up, rejecting the oxygen that she forced into them in ragged breaths. Her broken arm hung limply by her side, a useless puppet that pushed agony into her brain...her brain...HER BRAIN!
The endless desert was no longer empty. Thousands, no, millions of people blocked her way; their thin, twisted, skeletal fingers caught in her tangled hair, her blood-drenched dress, even her black jeans! They were slowing her down. And he was catching up! He would find her and it would be over. A horribly twisted and grotesquely drawn-out demise, but an end, not only for her, but for her friends too.
Lincoln would get her. Lincoln would tear her. Lincoln would rip out her jewelled throat and kill her. Lincoln would win. Lincoln would laugh and laugh over her broken body...and over His beautiful, perfect body. Lincoln would find out and rip out His throat too.
No Lincoln wouldn't. Lincoln would lose to Him...He would find me. He would rescue me.
She stopped running, her body finally giving in to the twisting, bending, breaking pain spinning through her body...her body...HER BODY! She could hear screams around her: screams that seemed so familiar. The delightfully untainted agony ripped through her. The cries echoed on. Al screwed her eyes shut and prayed-
Not Him, Not Him. Please not Him.
She spun around, hair whipping in the breeze. Lincoln was there still, a few metres behind her, holding a struggling form close to his body. He raised his eyebrow evilly and plucked out a knife from his jean pocket. The poor form he clutched began to wail. Al screamed too, as Lincoln drew the blade across its throat and the wailing ebbed to a weak gargle.
No...Not her either. No! NO! I don't want her to die. Please, God, no!
But she did. She died in pain and in hurt and in scared, with her delicate bright-red life pouring out from her torn throat. And it was all Al's fault.
Lincoln pulled off his jumper and chucked it in the back seat unceremoniously. He scowled darkly as his shiny sports car roared into life and blasted him with hot air from the vents. It slowly melted and twisted its way into his numb fingertips, toes and into the tip of his perfectly-sculpted nose. He rubbed his temples with black-painted nails. This was not going according to plan. The school would have to tighten its security now. It wouldn't be so effortless to get in next time. But it was there...he could sense it in the mass that he had waded through. He mentally sorted through the continual list of faces in his mind and came up with two possible options for the girl who'd run into him and caused that stab of magic. One was bespectacled and had mid-brown loose curls. Her face grinned cheekily into the space between his brain and eyes. The other face was half-hidden behind a thick side-fringe of black-red hair.
Lincoln flicked through all the words called in those few moments. His breathtakingly sinister eyes snapped wide open in satisfaction. He slammed his foot firmly on the accelerator, ignoring the speed limit sign resting just outside the driveway. The vampire grinned, showing his stunning teeth in the process. Flick. Flick and Al. His next targets.
It was ice cold in Science Lab Two as fourth-period biology stared aimlessly out the window at the thunderstorm that dumped its full wrath onto the hills beyond. Al didn't look. Al didn't listen. Al just sat there, knees tucked up to her chin and eyes wide and vacant. Eventually, much to the relief of her classmates, the bell rang to alert the students to their brief freedom.
She was last to leave, hair dangling over her left eye just enough to hide the fact that it was nearly at spilling point with salty, liquid emotion. Her fingers rose to brush the betraying tears away, but Trevaskis was far too quick for her. She looked up from erasing the notes she spent all lesson preparing and fixed her with a kind, weak smile and a glimmer of disappointment in her eyes.
"I heard about Miss Bishop." Trevaskis said eventually, placing test tubes delicately back into their racks. Her stomach was already swollen slightly from the fresh, clean, innocent child budding inside. A child that Al never really got the opportunity to be, especially now. Trevaskis continued, avoiding looking into Al's eyes, "Alison, there was nothing you could've done. There was nothing anyone could do."
"Yes, there was." Al murmured faintly to herself. Her heart rose to her throat to scold her brain. "It's all your fault, you know." /It spat at her mind. /"You saw her corpse hanging from that tree. You knew it was real, but you didn't tell her, did you? How could you be so selfish?"
Before Trevaskis could comfort the distressed girl, she had twirled around, hugging her books hard to her chest and walked fiercely down the stairs. The angry tears flowed freely now, but she punched them off heatedly with tense, white knuckles. What did this all mean? Why her?
Al stormed past her friends, who were waiting for her at the foot of the stairs. She heard a confused grunt and someone called out her name after her. She ignored it, instead letting her feet drag her towards the tiny dip in the earth near the pool...onto the lattice...and there she sat. It seemed like eternity that she was left there with her troubled thoughts and fantasies. She pulled out a rusty nail from the lattice and pushed it quickly through her stocking and deep into her pale right leg. A beautiful, satisfyingly terrible agony shot into her brain.
Pain and bleed and pain and hurt.
What? Where did that come from? Such a familiar phrase.../ CRACK! /Her head flew up from gazing vaguely at her injured thigh. Al spun around, and could've sworn she saw that gorgeous boy again, hiding behind the tree with an inhuman sparkle in his eyes. Her emotions turned from their melancholy state to clean disorientation. Her mouth opened to yell out something to the now-empty tree, but she was interrupted by an intake of surprised breath behind her.
"Alison!?" Flick's eyes fell to Al's bleeding leg and she stared at it in dismay. She looked taken aback as her eyes bore into Al's tear-streaked, rosy face. "Alison! What have you done to yourself?!"
"No Flick," the tiny part of her brain whispered, just quietly enough so that Al's consciousness couldn't hear. "What have I done to Bishop? What have I done to you?"
After school, Lincoln sat in the huge tree by Flick's locker. He had assessed the two of his prey at lunch. The one who'd made herself bleed [though her blood smelled more enticing than anything he'd ever sensed] was unmistakably the weaker of the two, so he went for the sweet-looking girl known as 'Flick'. It seemed like such a shame to target someone so innocent, but these things were sometimes necessary. Once he saw that everything was clear, he allowed himself to drop gracefully onto the ground and advanced on his prey. Hmm...he couldn't see the necklace. Or any jewellery for that matter. Dismissing this thought, he silently made his way behind her to her standard-issue schoolbag.
"Felicity?" Lincoln breathed on the back of her neck. It was beautifully bare now that she'd changed for Musical Practice. He'd followed her all day, not paying much attention to the other target, too spellbound by the cheeriness of the pretty girl. That's when he learned of the Musical, of which she spoke incessantly throughout the lessons and breaks of the school-day.
Felicity turned uneasily, facing the man who looked at her like a...piece of meat. In the literal sense. She shifted slightly in her shirt and jeans and her hand lifted to some kind of necklace at her throat. Perfect. Terrified. Just the way he liked his meals, it made the blood seem fresher, pumped it out of their wounds harder and faster and better. Lincoln slowly pushed his thoughts firmly into her brain. He screwed up his perfect face in deliberation. Tell the nice man now, Felicity...where is The Blooded Heart? Where do you keep it...? I won't tell anyone else, I swear! Her eyes glazed over, but she remained quiet. After a few seconds, Flick shrugged and said in a feeble, flat voice. "I do not know, nice man. I do not even know what it is."
He pulled her by the arm, so that she stumbled into his full grip. Something inside Felicity's mind desperately tried to force him away. He held her fast and glared at the space where The Blooded Heart should've been. It was instead filled with a thin silver chain with a curled 'F' dangling from it like a body from the gallows. Like he would see Flick's body hang. In fury, he effortlessly flung the dazed schoolgirl back into the solid, red-bricked wall. Something snapped, and it most certainly wasn't the wall.
Felicity woke from the relative ecstasy of her slumber-like state and felt the agony that shot down her spine and into every part of her body; a tearing, stabbing sensation that played in her fingers and in her toes and in her veins and arteries, burning like relentless acid. The strange man glowered down at her, panting with resentment, and heaved his foot deep into her left leg. Hard. Her leg shattered into innumerable shards of gruesome glass and Felicity screamed. Lincoln seized her windpipe and pressed down hard. She yelled louder...in pain and in hurt and in scared.
Lincoln pulled out a long, silver, ancient-looking blade and slashed it swiftly against the fragile skin of her neck, effectively ending the scream...
...And Felicity's life.