Y'know, I'm getting really sick of writing summaries! Okay...And she swore her retribution to the blood-red sky.
Her torn skin seemed suddenly more real than before. It stung and bit and pulled at her sanity, which was damaged already beyond repair. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to move. It hurt to live. She whimpered helplessly, abandoned in the sand like a puppy in a gutter. Inch by inch, she dragged her mutilated leg out and sat it a few centimetres before her body. She gritted her teeth and wrung fistfuls of sand, like a child having a needle clutched the hand of their mummy. It hurt like holy hell, and she would pay any price to be in the real Hell at that moment, but she did the same with her other leg and hauled herself into a more-or-less standing position. Gasping for air when all she swallowed was grainy, polluted cloud, she began to stumble approximately forward.
"Alison. Look what you've done, Alison. To me. To Him." A haunting voice sung in her ear. Like a child's nursery rhyme. It sounded so familiar, yet so very disturbing. Felicity!
Eagerly, pain shoved somewhere in the back of her mind, she ran towards the source. He broken leg ripped through her skin, glinting white amongst the red of meat and blood like a pearl shone against scarlet velvet. She screamed and clutched at it, but hopped on towards salvation in the form of Flick and her rescue. Her other leg gave way and she hurtled to the sand. The girl spat out sand and a few of her teeth, before looking up, her hands spread before her, desperately grabbing the ground. Her heart, frozen and cold, shattered as she looked upon the slit throat of her friend. She dusted away some of the sand covering her beautiful body and face. Her eyes were closed, peaceful and sleeping.
She was just sleeping. It was just a joke! She giggled hysterically, shaking Flick's shoulders. She didn't wake.
"Fuck's sake, Flick! Joke's over! Stop pretending!"
A pair of soft, cold hands closed on hers and gently pulled her off. Al looked up and felt His eyes meet hers with sadness. He lightly kissed her head. "She's not going to wake up."
No sob shook her shoulders; no tear came to her green eyes. She sat there dazedly, the shock resting unused in her quiescent veins. This was where the will to live lay, unable to stir, eternally dead. She wanted to die; she had no right to enjoy life. She never would enjoy life! She hugged her injured legs tight, remaining quiet, until He hugged her from behind and a sob tore through her throat and into the never-ending hush.
And she swore her retribution to the blood-red sky.
"No. No! NO!" Her brain screamed, but her mouth didn't want to release the anguished yell. She just followed the throng of people pushing through the doors into the hall. Her legs didn't feel, she didn't even register that people were pushing her, prodding her; one over-enthusiastic girl actually dug her long nails into her arms, drawing purple blood. Trapped inside her mind, cut off from reality. Lincoln got her. Lincoln got Flick. All for that stupid Blooded Heart. Her fingers traced it absent-mindedly, fiddling with the chain under her clothes. Her friends grabbed her by her unusually icy arms, not quite knowing what was going on for this emergency meeting to happen, but liking it all the same. They squeezed into Ruby's contact group and, for a blissful minute, Al pretended everything was normal. Then Doran demanded silence, and made the announcement to the horrified congregation: "Yesterday, Felicity Handley was found, murdered, near her locker." And that's where Al sat numbly, wedged tightly between Ruby and Zoidberg. Izz sat beside ZoÃ«, leaning on her shoulder heavily with soft little noises of bereavement. Normally an emergency assembly would be a great opportunity for bludging, talking and iPod blaring, but today's meeting seemed more like a funeral...Flick's funeral. Even the IT Girls had shut up, with their fake-grief faces plastered on almost a thickly as their lip-gloss. Slowly, Al raised a hand to her stiffly-collared throat and the jewel that rested behind it. It offered no comfort, but chilled even colder than her sub-zero flesh. It seemed to soften slightly into her skin; one with her. Cursed thing. She sighed and raised her head.
Beside her, Ruby made a little choking noise and Al gently touched her arm. Ruby recoiled a little under her freezing fingertips. Al pulled back her hands in shock, the scalding pain from touching hot skin unbearable. She traced the tiny little blisters already forming and winced. Al was thirsty for blood, so perhaps physical contact should be avoided. She sang a distracting tune in her head, the same one that Lincoln had marred the previous night. Ruby seemed to have already forgotten her arctic attempt at comfort and was now weeping imperceptibly into the warm shoulder of Al's navy vest [she had put it in the oven that morning, in-case Mum tried to hug her]. Al could feel her lustrous pulse. So delicious. What would it be like to drink her blood? Salty and warm and trickling down her throat. The tilting back of her head to make it slide down easier. The lingering scream of delight. Alison winced. What about Ruby's scream of horror and death?...Mustn't kill. Mustn't kill...She felt like such a terrible friend, to Flick and everyone else that was stupid enough to put their trust in her. How dare she let this happen?
Doran continued his talk, leaning against the lectern and rubbing his temples like George Bush, under fire for the Iraq War. He struggled for words to tell the shocked assemblage. Al's cataleptic ears only detected a few words. "Sad time".../It's just another bit of paperwork for you, isn't it?/..."all suffering".../Oh, yeah? What about the one that's stuck in the ground tomorrow? What about the all poor family that has to put her there?/..."therapy is available"/It's not gonna bring her back, Doran. It's not gonna get this blood off my hands!/. Her hands were clean and neat...with their chipped black polish and white skin. Like that chick in Macbeth, the blood was going to stay there, long after it washed off...even if it had never really been there at all. She was interrupted by a tiny sniffle and a weak cry of "No!" Al looked at Zoidberg, who had now surrendered to contagious misery and was bawling loudly into her palms. Even Zoidberg had given in to tears! Al felt as if she should be mourning, but she had no right to; Al let this happen!
Ignoring Ruby's hands that tried to push her back into her seat, hands that clung at her, trying to stop her, she walked through the row of howling girls. The teachers called after her, demanding she sit. Their voices reached the back of her head before deflecting off and echoing around the silent hall. Al didn't hear them, and the salty tears ran down her face now, unchecked. They left faint dribbles of red down her cheeks. She stumbled slightly through the crowd of people just like wading through a desert of red sand that tugged at her legs in feeble attempts to stop her and out the door. Al broke into a run, twisting around to make sure she wasn't being followed. Over stairs and planks of wood that barred her way. Past the toilets where the smokers took their refuge. Into the phone room, with its yellow walls and alienating cheeriness. Her strides became wider and clumsier until she finally reached Flick's locker and the grisly patch of crimson under it. Shoulders shook with agonising sobs and apologies.
"Fuck, Flick. I'm sorry. So, so, sorry!" She touched the stain lightly as her tears splashed onto the cement. With a quick motion, the vampire pulled back her head and battered it mercilessly on the floor. Pain splashed through her like her frozen purple blood splashed onto the concrete. The tears stopped. Flick hated when she hurt herself intentionally. Their last conversation, her worried voice, advising she seek help. The way her big eyes searched Al's cold, dead face imploringly. It was only yesterday and, despite how long ago it felt to Al, she could still feel Flick's warm, concerned touch. The sobs came back with a vengeance. She owed Flick so much more than this. She owed her Lincoln's head. Al punched the tears off her face and found her bag. As a monument to her fallen friend, she pulled out her Sharpie and went to work in the black ink that never failed to calm her.
After assembly was dismissed, Doran made his way to the Phone Room. He wanted to see Hell for himself. The police had taken every sample they possibly could. Swept the whole school clean of evidence. Took everything except the blood-stains on the floor and the tarnish on the school's dignified, cheerful history. They'd found a long, black hair twisted in the blood, but it had no DNA to speak of. Something alien or inhuman. Unidentifiable. Unless there were any new leads, Flick's death was remaining one of the millions of mysteries around the world and a huge fucking splodge on the locker-room floor was the only proof that she ever existed at all. Doran rubbed his temples, stressed beyond belief. How much would the counselling cost...to heal all the friends the poor girl had left behind would take a small fortune! A small fortune that would most certainly come straight from the principal's Extravagant and Unnecessary Luxuries Fund. Damn! Jackson was so looking forward to that massage-chair made from mechanics from the Titanic's engine! Doran sighed and rubbed his temples even harder, making soft, pink tender spots on his head. Two murders in as many days. It sounded like something from America! So, why at this quiet, Australian place of education?
Doran walked through the doorway into the ironically brightly-coloured locker room. And halted. His eyes bulged slightly. On the floor was the red splat of death, but around it was something else, unreadable from this angle...he walked slowly into the centre of the stain, overwhelmed by what met his eyes. His heart skipped a beat and his throat choked up. He ran a finger over a thick, black line. There...all over the floor, spreading from the middle of that horrible puddle was a giant portrait of Flick, repeated a million times in different positions. Sitting. Standing. Dancing. Laughing. Her many pairs of eyes gazed at him from the grave. Doran twirled on the spot, looking at the Old English style writing spreading around the room. Flick Handley. Too deeply loved to be forgotten. 1992-2007. Al sat in the corner, finishing the detail on a sleeping Flick's curly hair. A small beam played on her cerise mouth [stark against her pale skin] and she stood up for her company. She fixed her red, puffy eyes on Doran. "Wash it off if you want. She's seen it anyway." Al said simply, before putting the lid on one of her many markers and shoving them into her uniform backpack. Her hands were rough and stained black from her work. She swung her bag over her shoulder and disappeared into the sombre crowd making their way to class.
Was she singing?
Zoidberg and Ruby parted company with Al and Izz at the school gates. It had been a month since that awful assembly, and the wounds were beginning to heal. But Al still remained miserable in the backdrop of her skull. She was the reason that Flick died, and she wouldn't forget that. And though her 'counsellor' had insisted it wasn't her fault [calling it 'survivor's guilt'], the fat, balding woman didn't know about any of her situation. Telling a counsellor that she was caught in a vampiric battle over her necklace was a great method of getting a one-way ticket to the loony bin. So, her thoughts remained unvoiced, bar to Frank in her dreams, and Al carried that guilt with her, in the form of The Blooded Heart around her throat. Frank remained a beautiful fantasy; something that she couldn't even prove that it happened...maybe it didn't. Frank hadn't even made contact since that night, so maybe he was a beautiful phantasm, created to make her happy. Well, she wasn't! Al had never been more miserable...on the inside, at least. On the outside she put on a show for the world, happy little black-haired girl. She put a hand against The Blooded Heart and Ruby waved around everyone's pink five-dollar notes teasingly as they marched towards the corner store to bring home chips for dinner. Their hair dragged behind them in the building wind and Ruby pushed her glasses up her nose with her middle finger: a fitting salute. Izz returned the gesture, before darting across the road to avoid Ruby's anger. Al grinned crookedly, roughly perching a blue, Frisbee-like hat on her head. Izz did the same on the other side, the hat crushing her dark fringe flat against her face. She scowled darkly, attempting to neaten her ruined hair, while Al laughed. She marched across the road, with its road raging grannies and teachers making their way home to salvation and a mouth-watering dinner. One particularly impatient one [probably Doran] honked their horn at her, so she made sure to walk extra-slowly across their path. Al smiled, though it was mixed with sadness, like it would be for the rest of her life...death...existence. Whatever a vampire's continuation was called. Her cold hands fiddled with the bottom of her navy vest, while Izz looked at her pensively. Oh God. Look at those warm, flushed cheeks. The tiny criss-cross of tiny hot capillaries in her eyes. Full of delicious blood. She shook herself. No. Al chanted her mantra [as she had for the last month] Mustn't kill. Mustn't kill. Mustn't kill.
"There's something different about you." She said finally. "Your face..." She trailed off while Al snapped her head in the opposite direction. Oh, yeah. You noticed that? The reason I'm suddenly so pale? Yeah, about that, I'm a vampire! Somehow it didn't seem like a response that would go down well. Al's brain began desperately searching for an excuse. It was like Google-ing the letter A on a dial-up computer from the Stone Age. Slowly, her brain found something that didn't seem too far-fetched. As if wrapped in cotton buds, her senses reacted sluggishly and achingly slowly, taking their time as she raised a hand to her mouth. Right. Pretend to be ill. Eventually, she laughed and let it choke into a barking cough. Frank may have been a good actor, but Al couldn't perform to save her life. Then again, Izz wasn't the Most-Likely-To-Be-Nominated-For-An-Oscar either. Al hunched over in her fake fit and then straightened. She flicked her hair expertly out of her eyes with a casual air. Waved a black-painted hand at Izz dismissively. "Oh, I'm sick. That's all!" Izz raised a finely-shaped eyebrow in doubt, but then dropped it. She wasn't convinced, but she accepted it anyway.
They walked slowly through the park, taking the time to absorb the luxurious red colour of leaves dying and plummeting to their demise. Rotting on the ground without a tomb, soon forgotten. The smell was thick and choking, but strangely fragrant and peaceful. Large, tall trees shadowed them so that the whole place looked dark and blood-soaked, with tiny little freckles of light occasionally reaching an object and revealing it in all its splendour...Izz's wide, pretty eyes...a pile of warmly-coloured leaves...Al's features, half-hidden under the brim of her round hat...the reflection off a puddle...Frank's breathtaking face and his perfect body, clothed in black and watching ...wait, what? Al jumped and spun around, holding out her phone like a gun and using its backlight to illumine the park. It cast an eerie blue glow on everything. Izz looked around, alarmed at Al's reaction and then gasped in shock. There stood Frank with his two friends, his eyes inviting and contented. Teary, even? Mikey was glancing distractedly around, while Gerard gawked, captivated, at something just behind Alison. But Al wasn't interested in them. Her eyes were only for Frank in all his glory and flawlessness. He looked divine, with that beautiful light behind his head, making him look so dangerous...so unblemished. She sprinted forward, locking her arms firmly around his torso, letting her fingers trickle over his shoulders. Ever so slowly, his hands responded, running down and up her spine with his cold, gentle touch. Frank said nothing in English, instead murmuring in a language that Al couldn't understand, while he slid his nose over her throat and chin. His slightly wintry breath tickled her face and she smiled, exhaling fragile little whispers of adoration in his ear.
"I never left you. I've watched you like a hawk. I swear." Frank said finally, squeezing her back gently and resting his chin in her black hair. Al smiled helplessly while his fingers traced her shoulder blades and delicately explored her vest, with its tiny woollen impurities. She was so glad he was back. The last month had been a dull ache in the background of her life, and had been finished each day with crying and mourning and cutting. Now that he was here, it would be okay.
Well, that's what Al thought...
Izz stood there numbly, while the handsome vampire stared openly at her. He mouthed her name in silence and she froze to the spot. She was addicted to his gaze, and couldn't tear her eyes away...those perfect eyes...This didn't make any sense...and, yet, it made all the sense in the world. Him. And his voice. So familiar...but so distant. He was so stunning, even if this mystery didn't root her to the spot, she would barely be able to move if he so much as glanced at her. And here he was, a vision of perfection, gawking at her like she was something prized and precious. She was just a simple Australian schoolgirl! Izz heard her voice in the background, softly repeating his name. It felt right on her tongue, like a hearty dinner on the tongue of a starving man. "Gerard." It was lovely and fitting to say it. He reached out to touch her hair and she smiled weakly. His touch was icy...like Alison's. Understanding slipped deep into her mind with a soft, Einstein-like 'A-ha'. Her hands eventually moved up and down his arms, shifting to the dyed hair that crowned his head. She entwined her fingers in it a little, shakily. Gerard grinned feebly and his legs trembled as if ready to give way. She was so beautiful...so unspoiled. He exhaled her name. Isabelle. To think that he could've lived without her before this moment! Izz shivered slightly as Gerard's fingernails traced her nose...her eyebrows...her lips...he leaned in quickly, unable to prolong it anymore.
And he delicately pressed his mouth to hers. Soft. Gentle...amazing! Whoa. Crazy with joy, Izz's hands grabbed the back of his head, pushing him hard against her body. His eyes rolled into the back of her head in happiness and she kissed him wildly back. They pulled apart slightly, and in that space, he groaned her name. Her head spun with his fragrance. His cold fingertips brushed her throat and carried down to her waist. Then he kissed her again...and again...bliss...perfection...
Around them, the park was silent as if it were holding its breath...waiting for disaster.