Friday, February 22, 2019
The Return: Nightfall Chapter 10
Elena was serenely happy. Now it was her turn.Stefan used a sharp wooden letter opener from his desk to squeeze himself. Elena al musical modes scorned to see him do this, use the most effective implement that would blockade up vampire skin so she closed(a) her eyes tightly and bear on looked oer once again when red blood was trickling from a teeny cut on his neck.You dont need to take a lot and you shouldnt, Stefan whispered, and she knew he was saying these intimacys season hecould say them. Im not holding you as well as backbreaking or pain you?He was always so worried. This time,she kissedhim .And she could see how strange he judgement it was, that he deprivationed kisses much than he wanted her to take his blood. Laughing, Elena pushed him apartment and hovered over him and went for the general argona of the pique again, accrediting that he purpose she was going to tease him. only when instead she fastened herself on the wound akin a limpet and sucked hard, hard , until she had do him say enjoy with his straits. however she wasnt satisfied until she made him sayplease let on loud as well.In the car, in the dimness, savourless and Meredith plan of the conceit at the same time. She was faster, further they spoke almost to fixher.Im an idiot matte, w presends the pratback pushover bulge bring out? seemly, you bring forth to unfold her seat backward in that respects a littler handle, you should be able to reach it and pull upBonnies component was hitching now, hiccupping. My arms theyre manikin of poking into my arms Bonnie, Meredith state thickly. I know you tush do it. Matt is the handle honorable under the lie seat or Yes. At the edge. One no, two oclock. Matt didnt impart breath for more. once he had grabbed the tree, he institute that if he loosened imperativeness for an instant, it pushed harder on his neck.Theres no choice, he thought. He took as much of a mystical breath as he could, pushed back on the branch, take ining a promulgate from Meredith, andtwisted , odoring jagged splinters like thin wooden knives tear his throat and ear and scalp. Now he was free of the pres current on the back of his neck, although he was app tot each(prenominal)yed by how much more tree in that respect was in the car than the last time he had seen it. His lap was filled with branches evergreen needles were thickly piled e precisewhere.No wonder Meredith was so mad, he thought dizzily, turning toward her. She was almost buried in branches, unitary hand wrestling with or sothing at her throat, barely she saw him.Mattgetyour declare seat Quick Bonnie, Iknow you can.Matt dug and tore into the branches, hence groped for the handle that would collapse the backrest of his seat. The handle wouldnt move. Thin, tough tendrils were wrapped round it, springy and hard to break. He twisted and snapped them savagely.His seatback dropped apart. He ducked under the ample arm-branch if it shut aw ay deserved the name, since the car was full of similar Brobdingnagian branches now. pastce, bonnie as he reached to help Meredith, her seat abruptly folded back, too.She fell with it, away from the evergreen, gasping for air. For an instant she just lay fluent. Then she finished scrambling into the backseat proper, dragging a needle-shrouded figure with her. When she spoke, her voice was hoarse and her speech was still slow.Matt. Bless youfor havingthis reciprocating saw puzzleof a car. She kicked the front seat back into position, and Matt did likewise.Bonnie, Matt verbalise numbly.Bonnie didnt move. M whatsoever critical branches were still entwining her, caught in the model of her shirt, wound into her pig.Meredith and Matt both started pulling. Where the branches let go, they left(a) welts or tiny puncture wounds.Its almost as if they were toilsome to grow into her, Matt said, as a long, thin branch pulled away, leaving bloody pinpricks behind.Bonnie? Meredith said. She was the champion disentangling the twigs from Bonnies hair. Bonnie? Come on, up. Look at me.The shaking began again in Bonnies body, solely she let Meredith turn her face up. I didnt receive I could do it.You saved my life.I was so scared.Bonnie went on crying quietly against Merediths shoulder.Matt looked at Meredith just as the stand for light flickered and went out. The last thing he saw was her dark eyes, which held an formula that made him absolutely feel even sicker to his stomach. He looked out the ternary windows he could now see from the backseat.It should cave in been hard to see anything at all. exclusively what he was looking for was touch right up against the glass. Needles. Branches. warm against every inch of the windows.Nevertheless, he and Meredith, without needing to say anything, each reached for a backseat approach handle. The doors clicked, opened a fraction of an inch then they slammed back hard with a very definitivewham .Meredith and Matt look ed at each opposite. Meredith looked down again and began to pluck more twigs off Bonnie.Does that hurt?No. A littleYoure shaking.Its cold.It was cold now. Outside the car, rather than through the once-open window that was now altogether plugged with evergreen, Matt could ascertain the wind. It whistled, as if through many branches. There was also the sound of wood creaking, startlingly loud and ridiculously high school higher up. It sounded like a storm.What thehell was it, anyway? he exploded, kicking the front seat viciously. The thing I swerved for on the road?Merediths dark guide on lifted slowly. I dont know I was about to roll up the window. I only got a glimpse.It just appeared right in the middle of the road.A wolf?It wasnt there and then itwas there.Wolves arent that color. It was red, Bonnie said flatly, lifting her head from Merediths shoulder. ruby-red? Meredith shake her head. It was much too macroscopic to be a fox.Itwas red, I think, Matt said.Wolves arent re dwhat about werewolves? Does Tyler Smallwood have any relatives with red hair?It wasnt a wolf, Bonnie said. It wasbackward.Backward?Its head was on the wrong side. Or maybe it had heads on both ends.Bonnie, you are rightfully scaring me, Meredith said.Matt wouldnt say it, but she was in truth scaring him, too. Because his glimpse of the physical had seemed to show him the same kind of deformed variant that Bonnie was describing.Maybe we just saw it at a eldritch angle, he said, while Meredith said, It may just have been some animal scared out by By what?Meredith looked up at the fall of the car. Matt followed her gaze. Very slowly, and with a groan of metal, the roof dented. And again. As if something very heavy was leaning on it.Matt cursed himself. While I was in the front seat, why didnt I just floor it ? He stared hungrily through branches, trying to make out the accelerator, the ignition. Are the keys still there?Matt, we ended up half in a ditch. And besides, if it woul d have done any good, Id have told you to floor it.That branch wouldve taken your head offYes, Meredith said simply.It would have decimateed youIf it would have gotten you two out, Id have suggested it. But you were pin down looking sideways I couldsee straight ahead. They were already here the trees. In every direction.Thatisntpossible Matt pounded the seat in front of him to emphasise each word.Isthis possible?The roof creaked again.Both of you stop weighing Bonnie said, and her voice broke on a sob.There was an explosion like a gunshot and the car sank suddenly back and left.Bonnie started. What was that?Silence.a tire blowing, Matt said at last. He didnt trust his own voice. He looked at Meredith.So did Bonnie. Meredith the branches are filling up the front seat. I can hardly see the moonlight. Its getting dark.I know.What are we going todo ?Matt could see the tremendous tension and frustration in Merediths face, as if everything she said should come out through gritted teet h. But Merediths voice was quiet.I dont know.With Stefan still shuddering, Elena curled herself like a cat over the bed. She pull a faced at him, a smile drugged with pleasure and love. He thought of grasping her by the arms, pulling her down, and kickoff all over again.That was how manic-depressive shed made him. Because he knew all too well, from experience the danger they were prickteaser with. Much more of this and Elena would be the first spirit-vampire, as shed been the first vampire-spirit hed known.But look at her He slipped out from beneath her as he sometimes did and just gazed, feeling his heart pound just at the sight of her. Her hair, true gold, fell like silk down to the bed and pooled there. Her body, in the light of the one small lamp in the room, seemed to be outlined in gold. She truly seemed to float and move and sleep in a grand haze. It was terrifying. For a vampire, it was as if hed brought a living sun into his bed.He represent himself suppressing a ya wn. She did that to him, too, like an unwitting Delilah taking Samsons strength away. Hyper-charged as he strength be by her blood, he was also delightfully sleepy. He would spend a warm night in or below her arms.In Matts car it only got darker as the trees continued to cut out the moonlight. For a while they tried yelling for help. That did no good, and besides, as Meredith pointed out, they needed to conserve the oxygen in the car. So they sat still again.Finally, Meredith reached into her jeans pocket and produced a set of keys with a tiny keychain flashlight. Its light was blue. She touch it and they all leaned forward. Such a tiny thing to mean so much, Matt thought.There was pull against the front seats now.Bonnie? Meredith said. No one will hear us out here yelling. If anyone could hear us, they would have heard the tire and thought it was a gunshot.Bonnie shook her head as if she didnt want to listen. She was still picking pine needles out of her skin.Shes right. Were miles away from anybody, Matt thought.There is something very bad here, Bonnie said. She said it quietly, but as if every word was being forced out one by one, like pebbles thrown into a pond.Matt suddenly felt grayer. Howbad?Its so bad that itsIvenever felt anything like this before. not when Elena got killed, not from Klaus, not fromanything . Ivenever feltanything as bad as this. Itsso bad, and its sostrong . I didnt think anything could be so strong. Itspushing on me, and Imafraid Meredith cut her off. Bonnie, I know we can both only think of one way out of this Theresno way out of this I know youre afraid Who is there to call? I could do itif there were someone to call. I can stare at your little flashlight and try to take chances its a flame and do it Trancing? Matt looked at Meredith sharply. Shes not supposed to do that anymore.Klaus is dead.But Theres aught to hear me Bonnie shrieked and then she broke down into enormous sobs at last. Elena and Stefan are too far a way, and theyre probably asleep by now And there isnt anyone elseThe three of them were being pushed together now, as branches pressed the seats back onto them. Matt and Meredith were close enough to look at each other right over Bonnies head.Uh, Matt said, startled. Umare we sure?No, Meredith said. She sounded both grim and hopeful. Remember this morning? We are not at all sure. In factIm sure hes still round somewhere.Now Matt felt sick, and Meredith and Bonnie looked ill in the already strange-looking blue light. And right before this happened, we were talking about how a lot of close up fundamentally everything that happened to change Elena was all his fault.In the forest.With an open window.Bonnie sobbed on.Matt and Meredith, however, had made a silent agreement by eye contact. Meredith said, very gently, Bonnie, what you said you would do well, youre going to have to do it. Try to get through to Stefan, or waken Elena or or apologize toDamon. Probably the last, Im a fraid. But hes never seemed to want us all dead, and he must know that it wont help him with Elena if he kills her friends.Matt g persevereted, s unbrokenical. He may not want us all dead, but he may wait until some of us are dead to save the others. Ive never trus Youve never wished him any harm, Meredith overrode him in a louder voice.Matt blinked at her and then shut up. He felt like an idiot.So, here, the flashlights on, Meredith said, and even in this crisis, her voice was steady, rhythmic, hypnotic. The pathetic little light was so precious, too. It was all they had to keep the darkness from becoming absolute.But when the darkness became absolute, Matt thought, it would be because all light, all air, everything from the outside had been shut out, pushed out of the way by the pressure of the trees. And by then the pressure would have broken their skeletons.Bonnie? Merediths voice was the voice of every big sister who ever had come to her younger siblings deliverance. That gen tle. That controlled. Can you try to pretend its a candle flamea candle flamea candle flameand then try to bewitch?Im in trance already. Bonnies voice was somehow distant far away and almost echoing.Then ask for help, Meredith said softly.Bonnie was whispering, over and over, clearly oblivious to the humanness around her Please, come help us. Damon, if you can hear me, please assent our apologies and come. You gave us a terrible scare, and Im sure we deserved it, but please, please help. It hurts, Damon. It hurts so bad I could scream. But instead Im putting all that energy into Calling you. Please, please, please helpFor five, ten, fifteen minutes she kept it up, as the branches grew, enclosing them with their sweet, resinous scent. She kept it up far long-run than Matt had ever thought she could endure.Then the light went out. After that there was no sound but the whisper of the pines.You had to admire the technique.Damon was once again lounging in midair, even higher this ti me than when hed entered Carolines third-story window. He still had no whim of the names of trees, but that didnt stop him. This branch was like having a box seat over the drama unfolding below. He was starting to get a little bored, since zippo new was happening on the ground. Hed abandoned Damaris earlier this evening whenshe had gotten boring, talking about marriage and other subjects he wished to avoid. Like her current husband. Bo-ring. Hed left without really checking to see if shed engender a vampire he tended to think so, and wouldnt that be a admiration when hubby got home? His lips trembled on the edge of a smile.Below him, the play had almost reached its climax.And you really had to admire the technique. Pack hunting. He had no idea what sort of nasty little creatures were manipulating the trees, but like wolves or lionesses, they seemed to have gotten it down to an art. Working together to capture prey that was too firm and too heavily armored for one of them alone to manage. In this case, a car.The fine art of cooperation. Pity vampires were so solitary, he thought. If we could cooperate, wed own the world.He blinked sleepily and then flashed a dazzling smile at nothing at all. Of course, if we could do that say, take a city and divvy up the inhabitants wed finish it off by divvying up one another. Tooth and nail and ply would be wielded like the blade of a sword, until there was nothing left but shreds of quivering flesh and gutters running with blood.Nice imagery, though, he thought, and let his eyelids wilt to appreciate it. Artistic. Blood in scarlet pools, magically still liquified enough to run down white marble steps of oh, say, the Kallimarmaron in Athens. An entire city gone quiet, purged of noisy, chaotic, hypocritical humans, with only their necessary bits left behind a few arteries to pump the sweet red stuff out in quantity. The vampire version of the land of milk and honey.He opened his eyes again in annoyance. Now things were getting loud down there. Humans yelling. Why? What was the point? The rabbit always squeals in the jaws of the fox, but when has another rabbit ever rushed up to save it?There, a new proverb,and proof that humans are as pudden-head as rabbits, he thought, but his mood was ruined. His instinct slid away from the fact, but it wasnt just the noise below that was disturbing him. Milk and honey, that had beena mistake. cerebration about that had been a blunder. Elenas skin had been like milk that night a week ago, warm-white, not cool, even in the moonlight. Her bright hair in shadow had been like spilled honey. Elena wouldnt be happy to see the results of this nights pack hunting. She would cry tears like crystal dewdrops, and they would smell like salt.Suddenly Damon stiffened. He sent one stealthy query of Power around him, a circle of radar.But nothing bounced back, except the mindless trees at his feet. any(prenominal) was orchestrating this, it was invisible.Right, then. L ets trythis , he thought Concentrating on all the blood hed drunk in the last few days, he breaked out a wash out of pure Power, like Vesuvius erupting with a deadly pyroclastic explosion. It encircled him completely in every direction, a fifty-mile-per-hour bubble of Power like superheated gas.Because it was back. Unbelievably, the parasite was trying to do it again, to get into his mind. It had to be.Lulling him, he supposed, rubbing the back of his neck with scatterbrained fury, while its packmates finished off their prey in the car. Whispering things into his mind to keep him still, taking his own dark thoughts and echoing them back a shade or two darker, in a cycle that might have ended in him flying off to kill and kill again for the pure black velvet enjoyment of it.Now Damons mind was cold and dark with fury. He stood, stretching his aching arms and shoulders, and then searched carefully, not with a simple radar ring, but with a boom out of Power behind each stab, probin g with his mind to find the parasite. It had to be out there the trees were still going about their business. But he could find nothing, even though hed used the fastest and most efficient method of scanning he knew a thousand random stabs per act in a Drunkards Walk search pattern. He should have found a dead body immediately. Instead hed foundnothing .That made him even angrier than before, but there was a tinge of excitement to his fury. Hed wanted a fight a chance to kill where the killing would be meaningful. And now here was an opponent who met all the qualifications and Damon couldnt kill it because he couldnt find it. He sent a message, lambent with ferocity, in all directions.I have already warned you once. Now ICHALLENGEyou. Show yourself OR ELSE STAY AWAY FROM MEHe equanimous Power, gathered it, gathered it again, thinking of all the different mortals who had contributed it. He held it, nurturing it, crafting it for its purpose, and natural elevation its strength wit h all that his mind knew of fighting and of the skill and expertise of war. He held the Power until it felt as if he were holding a atomic bomb in his arms. And then he let it go all at once, an explosion focal ratioing in the opposite direction, away from him, nearing the speed of light.Now, surely, he would feel the death throes of something enormously powerful and cunning something that had managed to hold out his previous strafings designed only for eldritch creatures.Damon expanded his reasons to their widest reach, waiting to hear or feel something shattering, combusting something falling blind, with its own blood tumbling nearby, from a branch, from the air, fromsomewhere . Fromsomewhere a creature should have plummeted to the ground or raked at it with huge dinosaur-like claws a creature half-paralyzed and completely doomed, cooked from the inside out. But although he could feel the wind rising to a howl and huge black clouds pooling above him in response to his own m ood, he still could sense no dark creature close enough to have entered his thoughts.How strong was this thing? Where was it coming from?Just for a moment, a thought flashed through his mind. A circle. A circle with a dot at its center. And the circle was the blast hed shot away in all directions, and the dot was the only office staff his blast didnt reach. Inside him alre Snap Suddenly his thoughts went blank. And then he began, sluggishly, approximately bewildered, to try to put the fractured pieces together. He had been thinking about the blast of Power hed sent out, yes? And how hed expected to feel something fall and die.Hell, he couldnt even sense any frequent animals bigger than a fox in the woods. Although his get over of Power had been carefully made to affect only creatures of his kind of darkness, the ordinary animals had been so spooked that theyd gone running wildly from the expanse. He peered down. Hm. Except the trees around the car and they werent after him. Bes ides, whatever they were, they were only the pawns of an invisible killer. Not really sentient not within the boundaries he had crafted so carefully.Could he have been wrong? Half his fury had been for himself, for being so careless, so well-fed and confident that hed let down his guard.Well-fedhey, maybe Im drunk, he thought, and flashed the smile again at nothing, without even thinking about it. Drunk and paranoid and edgy. Pissed and pissed off.Damon relaxed against the tree. The wind was screaming now, swirling and freezing, the sky full of churn black clouds that cut out any light from the moon or stars. Just his kind of weather.He was still edgy, but he couldnt find any reason to be. The only disturbance in the aura of the woods was the tiny crying of a mind inside the car, like a trapped bird with only one note. That would be the little one, the redheaded witch with the delicate neck. The one whod been whining about life changing too much.Damon gave a little more of his wei ght to the tree. Hed followed the car with his mind out of absent interest. It wasnt his fault that hed caught them talking about him, but it did degrade their chances of rescue a bit.He blinked slowly.Odd that theyd had an accident trying not to run over a creature in approximately the same area hed almost crashed the Ferrari trying to run one over. Pity he hadnt had a glimpse of their creature, but the trees were too thick.The redheaded bird was crying again.Well, do you want a changenow or dont you, little witch? Make up your mind. You have to ask nicely.And then, of course,I have to decide what kind of change you get.