Turned / Chapter Ten

Chapter Ten


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The water covered her entire body, making it hard to breathe, or open her eyes. After about ten seconds, though, after her entire hair and body and clothes were completely drenched, Caitlin blinked her eyes. She braced herself for the pain.

But it didn't come.

She blinked, then looked up at the cauldron, wondering if it were completely empty. It was. She looked back down at herself, and saw she was drenched. But she was completely fine. Not an ounce of pain.

The leader, suddenly realizing, stood in his chair, jaw dropping. He was clearly shocked. Kyle, too, turned and looked, his mouth open. The entire assembly, hundreds of vampires, all stood, and a gasp spread through the room.

Caitlin could see that this was not the reaction they had been expecting. They were all dumbfounded.

Somehow, their water had not affected her. Maybe she wasn't a vampire after all?

Caitlin saw her chance.

While they all stood there, too shocked to react, she summoned her strength and in one motion, broke her chains. She then took off at a sprint away from the assembly, in the direction of that side door. She prayed it led somewhere.

She made it halfway across the room before anyone could get over their shock to react.

"Get her!" she finally heard the leader scream.

And then, the sound of hundreds of bodies rustling towards her. The noise bounced off the walls, came from everywhere, and she realized that they were not just running towards her, but jumping down off the ceilings, off the balconies, their wings spread, speeding towards her. They swept down towards her, like a vulture after its prey, and she doubled her speed, ran for everything she had.

She fumbled in the dark, led only by the torches, and as she rounded a bend, finally, in the distance, she saw the door. It was open. And light came from behind it. It was indeed an exit, and it would have been perfect. Except for that one, last vampire.

Standing before the door, blocking her path, was a large, well sculpted vampire, completely draped in black. He looked younger than the others, maybe 20, and his features were more chiseled. Even in her haste, even with her life in such danger, Caitlin could not help but noticing how strikingly attractive this vampire was. Still, he was blocking her only way out.

She could outrun the others, but she could not get past this man without going right through him. He opened the door even wider, as if making way for her to pass through it. Was he tricking her? She looked down and saw that he held a long spear in his hand.

As she got closer, he held it up and aimed it right for her. She was only feet from the door now, and she couldn't stop. They were on her tail, and if she even slowed, it would be the end of her. So she ran right for him, closing her eyes and bracing herself for the inevitable impact of his spear running through her body. At least it would be quick.

As she opened her eyes she saw him releasing his spear, and she reflexively ducked.

But he had aimed too high. Way too high. She craned her neck back, and saw that he had not been aiming at her after all, but at one of the vampires who had been swooping down at her. The silver-tipped spear pierced the vampire's throat, and a hideous screech filled the room, as the creature fell to the ground.

Caitlin stared at this new vampire in wonder. He had just saved her. Why?

"Go!" he screamed.

She picked up her pace and ran right through the open door.

As she turned around, he turned with her and yanked closed the door with all his might, closing it firmly behind them. He quickly reached up, foisted an enormous metal shaft, and placed it across the door, barring it. He took several steps back, standing next to her, watching the door.

She couldn't help looking up at him, studying the line of his jaw, his brown hair and brown eyes. He had saved her. Why?

But he wasn't looking back down at her. He was still watching the door, fear in his eyes. With good reason. Within a second of his having barred it, a body had hurled against it. The door was over six feet thick, pure steel, and the bars were even thicker. But it was no match. The bodies crashed into it from the other side, and the door was already almost completely caved in. It would only be seconds until they crashed through.

"Move!" he shouted, and before she could react, he grabbed her arm and led her away. He tugged at her, making her run faster than she ever had, faster than she knew she could, and within seconds they were down one hall, then another, then another, twisting and turning every which way. The only thing they had to see by were occasional torches. She never could have made it out of there on her own.

"What's going on?" Caitlin tried to ask as they ran, out of breath. "Where are we  - "

"This way!" he yelled, yanking her suddenly in another direction.

Behind them, Caitlin heard a crashing, followed by the sound of a mob, bearing down on them.

They reached a circular staircase, made of stone, winding its way up along a wall. He ran full speed toward the steps, yanking her with him, and before she knew it they were racing up the steps, twisting in circles, taking them three at a time. They were ascending quickly.

As they reached the top, it seemed to end in a complete wall. A stone ceiling was above them, and she could see no other way out. It was a dead-end. Where had he led them?

He was confused, too. And angry. But he seemed determined. He took a few steps back, and with a running start, charged at the ceiling. It was incredible. With this superhuman strength, he smashed a hole right through. Stone crumbled, and light poured through. Real, electric light. Where were they?

"Come on!" he yelled.

He reached down and grabbed her arm, yanking her up and out, through the ceiling, and into the well-lit room.

She looked about. It looked like they were in a courthouse. Or a museum. It was a grand, beautiful structure. The floors were marble, the room was all stone, columns. It was round. It looked like a government building.

"Where are we?" she asked.

He grabbed her hand and took off at a sprint, tugging her through the room at lightning speed. He charged a set of two huge, steel doors. He let go of her wrist and ran right into them, leaning his shoulder hard. They flew open with a crash.

She followed close behind, this time not waiting. She heard the sound of stone moving behind her, and knew that the mob was close.

They were outside, finally, and the cold, night air struck her in the face. She was so grateful to be out from underground.

She tried to get her bearings. They were definitely in New York. But where? Her surroundings seemed vaguely familiar. She saw a city street, a passing taxi. She turned to look back, and saw the structure they had just left. City Hall. The coven had been beneath City Hall.

They ran down the steps and across the courtyard, heading for the street. They hadn't gotten far when there came the noise of doors opening behind him, and a mob of vampires.

They headed right for a large, iron gate. As they got close, two security officers. They turned around, and saw them running right for the gate. Their eyes opened wide in shock, and they reached for their guns.

"Don't move!" they yelled.

Before they could react, he grabbed her tight, took three long bounds, and leapt for all he was worth. She felt them flying through the air, 10 feet, 20, clearing the metal gate and landing on the other side with grace.

They hit the ground running. She looked at her protector in shock, wondering what the extent of his power was. Wondering why he cared about her. And wondering, why she felt so good beside him.

Before she could think much longer, there was the crash of metal behind them, followed by gunshots. The other vampires had broken through, taking the police officers down with them. They were already close behind.

They ran and ran but it was not working. The mob was fast closing in.

He suddenly grabbed her hand and turned the corner, taking them down a side street. It ended in a wall.

"It's a dead-end!" she yelled. But he kept running, dragging her with him.

He reached the end of the alley, dropped to a knee, and with a single finger reached in and yanked up a huge, iron manhole.

She turned, and saw the huge group of vampires heading right towards them, not more than 20 feet away

"Go!" he yelled, and before she could react, he grabbed her and shoved her into the hole.

She grabbed hold of the ladder, and as she looked up, she saw him get on his hands and knees, bracing himself. He raised the manhole cover as a shield.

He was descended upon by the mob. He swung wildly, and she heard the impact as he knocked vampire after vampire away with the heavy iron. He was trying to join her, to get into the hole, too, but he couldn't make it. He was surrounded.

She was about to climb up and help him, when suddenly, one of the vampires parted from the mob and slipped into the hole. He spotted Caitlin, hissed, and came right for her.

She scrambled down the ladder, taking them two rings of the time, but it wasn't fast enough. He landed on top of her, and they both started falling.

As she fell through the air, she braced herself for the impact. Luckily, they landed in water.

As she rose, she saw she was in up to her waist in filthy, sewage water.

She had barely time to think when the vampire landed beside her with a splash. With one motion, he wound back and backhanded her across the face, sending her flying several feet.

She landed on her back in the water, and looked up to see him pouncing again, right for her throat. She rolled out of the way just in time, springing back on her feet. He was fast, but so was she.

He fell flat on his face. He got up and spun around and squared off in a rage. He clawed his right hand right for her face. She dodged it, and his hand barely missed her, the wind of it passing right by her cheek. His hand hit the wall with such force that it lodged into the stone.

Caitlin was mad now. She felt the red-hot rage pulse in her veins. She walked over to the stuck vampire and wound back her leg and planted a strong kick right in his gut. He keeled over.

She then grabbed him from behind and threw him right into the wall, face first. His head hit the stone hard. She was proud of herself, figuring she had finished him off.

But she was shocked by a sudden pain in her face, and found herself backhanded once again. This vampire had recovered quickly - much more quickly than she had thought possible. Before she knew it, he was on top of her. He landed on her with a crash and brought her down. She had underestimated him.

His hand was on her throat, and on it for real. She was strong, but he was stronger. He had an ancient strength that ran through his body. His hand was cold and clammy. She tried to resist, but it was just too much. She dropped to one knee, and he kept squeezing. Before she knew it, he was pushing her head towards the water. At the last second, she managed a scream: "Help!"

A second later, her head was submerged.

*

Caitlin felt the disruption in the water, the waves rushing, and knew that someone else had landed in the water. She was losing oxygen fast, unable to fight back.

Caitlin felt strong arms under her, and felt herself being hoisted up and out of the water.

She jumped up and gasped for breath, sucking it in deeper than she ever had. She breathed again and again, hyperventilating.

"Are you okay?" he asked, holding her shoulders.

She nodded. That was all she could manage. She looked over and saw that her attacker lay there, floating in the water, on his back. Blood was oozing out of his neck. He was dead.

She looked up at him, his brown eyes looking down at her. He had saved her. Again.

"We've got to move," he said, grabbing her arm and leading her, sloshing, through the waist-high water. "That manhole won't hold very long."

As if on cue, the manhole above them was suddenly torn out.

They ran. They turned down tunnel after tunnel, and heard the sound of water sloshing behind them.

He made a sharp turn and the water level dropped down to their ankles. They picked up real speed.

They entered yet another tunnel, and found themselves in the midst of major New York City infrastructure. There were massive steam pipes here, letting off huge clouds of steam. The heat was unbearable.

He took her down yet another tunnel, and suddenly picked her up and placed her on his back, wrapping her arms around his chest, and ascended a ladder, taking three rungs at a time. They were rising, and as he reached the top, he punched a manhole and sent it flying out before them.

They were back above ground, on New York City streets. Where, she had no idea.

"Hold on tight," he said, and she tightened her grip around his chest, clasping her hands into each other. He ran, and ran, and it turned into a sprint, at a speed beyond which she had never experienced. She had a memory of riding on the back of a motorcycle once, years ago, and the feeling of the wind whipping through her hair at 60 miles an hour. It felt like that. But faster.

They must have been doing 80 miles an hour, then 100, then 120... It just kept going. The buildings, people, cars - it all became a blur. And before she knew it, they were off the ground.

They were in the air, flying. He opened his huge, black wings, flapping slowly beside her. They were up above the cars, above the people. She looked down and saw that they flew over 14th Street. Then, a few seconds later, 34th. A few more seconds, and they were above Central Park. It took her breath away.

He checked back over their shoulders, and so did she. She could barely see, with the wind whipping in her eyes, but she could see enough to know that no one, no creature, was following them.

He slowed a bit, and then dipped, lowering their height. Now they flew just above the tree line. It was beautiful. She had never seen Central Park this way, its pathways lit up, the treetops right below her. She felt like she could reach out and touch them. She had a feeling that it would never look as beautiful as it did right now.

She clasped her hands tighter around his chest, feeling his warmth. She felt safe. As surreal as all of this was, things felt back to normal in his arms. She wanted to fly like this forever. As she closed her eyes and felt the cool breeze caress her face, she prayed that this night would never end.


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