Turned / Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen


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When Caitlin woke, it was morning. She could feel more than see the sunlight striking her, and she groggily raised her head to get her bearings. She felt cold stone touching the skin of her arms and forehead. Where was she?

As she raised her head and looked around, she realized she was in Central Park. She remembered now that she had stopped along the way, sometime during the night, to take a rest. She had been so tired, so weary. She must have fallen asleep sitting up, leaning over and resting her arms and head on the marble railing.

It was already mid-morning, and people streamed through the park. One lady, with her young daughter, walked by and gave her a strange look. She pulled her daughter close as they passed.

Caitlin sat up straighter, and looked around. A few people stared at her, and she wondered what they must have thought. She looked down at her dirty clothes. They were covered in grime. At this point, she didn't really care. She just wanted to get out this city, this place which she associated with everything going wrong.

Then it hit her. Hunger. A pang struck, and she felt hungrier than she ever had. But it wasn't a normal hunger. It was an insane, primal urge. To feed. Like she had felt in Carnegie Hall.

A small boy playing with a soccer ball, no older than six, kicked it, by accident, right near her. He came running over towards her. His parents were far ahead, at least 30 feet.

Now was her chance. Every bone in her body screamed to feed. She stared at his neck, zoomed in on the pulsing blood. She could feel it. Almost smell it. She wanted her to pounce.

But somewhere, some part of her stopped herself. She knew that she would starve if she didn't feed, and that she would die shortly. But she would rather die than harm him. She let him go.

The sunlight was bad, but bearable. Was that because she was a half-breed? How would it have affected other vampires? Maybe this gave her some kind of edge.

She looked around, blinking at the harsh sunlight, and felt dazed and confused. There were so many people. So much commotion. Why had she stopped here. Where had she been going? Yes... Penn Station.

She felt the pain in her weary feet, sore from all the walking. But she wasn't far now. Not more than 30 blocks. She would walk the rest of the way, catch a train, and get the hell out of here. She would urge herself, out of sheer will, to become normal again. If she got far enough from the city, maybe, just maybe that would happen.

Caitlin stood slowly, preparing to walk.

"Freeze!" a voice screamed.

"Don't you move!" yelled another voice.

Caitlin turned slowly.

Before her were at least a dozen uniformed New York police officers, all with guns drawn and pointed. They kept their distance, about 15 feet away, as if afraid to get any closer. As if she were some sort of wild animal.

She looked back at them, and strangely, was unafraid. Instead, she felt a strange sort of peace rise within her. She was beginning to feel stronger than the humans. And with every passing moment, she felt less and less a part of their race. She felt a strange sort of invincibility, felt that, no matter how many of them there were, or what weaponry they had, she could outrun them, or outfight them.

On the other hand, she felt tired. Resigned. A part of her really didn't want to run anymore. From the cops. From vampires. She didn't know where she was running to, or really what she was running from. In some weird way, she would welcome being hauled off by the police. Getting arrested would at least be something normal, rational. Maybe they would shake her up and make her realize that she was just human after all.

The officers slowly, warily approached her, guns drawn, moving with the utmost caution.

She watched them come closer, more interested than afraid. Her senses had heightened. She noticed every tiny detail. The detailed shape of their guns, the contour of the triggers, even how long their fingernails were.

"Get those hands up where can see them!" a cop screamed.

The closest cops were only feet away.

She wondered what her life would have been like. If her father had never left. If they had never moved. If she'd had a different Mom. If they'd stayed put in one of the towns. If she'd had a boyfriend. Would she have ever had been normal? Would life have ever been normal?

The closest cop was now only a foot away.

"Turn around and place your hands behind your back," said the cop. "Slowly."

She slowly lowered her arms, turned, and placed her arms behind her back. She could feel the cop grab her tightly around one wrist, then the other, jerking her arms behind her too roughly, too high, using unnecessary force. How petty. She felt the cold clasp of the handcuffs, and could feel the metal cut into her skin.

The cop grabbed her by the back of head, squeezed her hair, way too tight, and leaned in close, putting his mouth beside her ear. He whispered, "You're going to fry."

And then it happened.

Before she knew what was happening, there was a sickening noise of crunching bone, followed by the splatter of blood - and the feel and smell of warm blood all over her face.

She heard shouting, and screaming, and then shots fired, all in the fraction of a second. It wasn't until she instinctively dropped to her knees and hit the ground, spun around and looked up, that she realized what was happening.

The cop who had cuffed her was dead, decapitated, his head severed in half. The other cops were firing wildly, but they were outmatched. A mob of vampires  -  the same ones from City Hall  -  had descended. They were tearing the cops to pieces.

The cops managed to shoot some of them, but it didn't do any good. They kept on charging. It was a bloodbath.

Within a matter of seconds, the cops were torn to pieces.

Caitlin suddenly felt the warm, familiar rush through her blood, felt the power filling her, rising up from her feet, through her arms and shoulders. She reached back and snapped the handcuffs clean. She brought her hands in front of her and stared, shocked at her own strength. The metal dangled on each wrist, but her hands were now free.

She jumped to her feet, watching with fascination the grisly scene in front of her. The entire mob of vampires hunched over the cops' bodies. They seemed too distracted to notice her. She realized she needed to escape. Fast.

But just before she could finish the thought, she felt an icy, super strong grip on the back of her neck. She looked over and recognize the face. It was Kyle. And he had the look of death.

He grinned at her, more of a snarl.

"We are not saving you," said. "We are simply taking what is ours."

She tried to resist. She swung her arm around but he blocked it easily and grasped her by the throat. She was losing air. She was simply no match for him.

"You may be immune to some things," he said, "but you are not nearly as strong as I. Nor will you ever be."

At that moment there was another blur of motion, and Caitlin could suddenly breathe again. She was shocked to see Kyle suddenly stumbling backwards. He went hurling back with such force that he smashed backwards into the marble railing, shattering it, and went flying over its side.

She looked over and saw what had done it.

Caleb.

He was here.

Before she could even process what was happening, Caitlin felt his familiar, tight grip around her waist, his muscled arm and torso, and felt herself being held by him as they ran and ran, faster and faster, just as they had the night before. They ran through Central Park, heading south, and in moments, the trees became a blur. They lifted into the air. Once again, they were flying.

They were up in the air, over the city, when Caleb spread his wings and wrapped them around her.

"I thought you couldn't leave," Caitlin finally said.

"I can't," Caleb said.

"So...does that mean you'll be - "

"Banished. Yes."

She felt overcome with emotion. He had given it all up for her.

As they flew, higher and higher, almost into the clouds, Caitlin had no idea where they were going. She looked down and could see that they were leaving the city. She relaxed. She was so happy to be away from it all, so ready for a fresh start. Most of all, she was happy to be in Caleb's arms. The sky before them broke into a soft orange glow, and she only wished that this moment would never end.


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