“Will and Wisdom win over the Obstacle.
Willpower uncovers the Path.
The Will of the Soul over the Matter.
Simplicity, Fluidity and Honesty.”
- The Prophet of Truth
The night’s cold air helped her calm down, although she still felt restless as the lamp lights quickly passed by her. She looked down at the screen of her cellphone for the tenth time since she’d gotten in the car. But Selena hadn’t called again.
Because everything’s fine. Or she would have called. She just felt anxious, since we haven’t seen each other for so long. And I couldn’t even keep my promise to go and get her this week. I can’t really blame her. Things haven’t been easy, lately …
“So tell me. How did this happen?”
Sarah raised her head and stared at him, unable to understand what he meant. Hale had his gaze focused on the road ahead that, as to be expected, they were traveling on at way over the speed limit. His reddish hair kept ferociously being blown back, uncovering a beautiful young face, a tall forehead and a straight nose.
“How what happened?”
“You slept with him? I bet you were just another of his one night stands but this time he couldn’t get rid of you,” he added mockingly and Sarah felt her cheeks catch on fire.
“Not that it’s any of your business, but there’s nothing like that between Alexis and me,” she answered angrily and Hale looked at her from the corner of his eye in a mixture of disbelief and irony.
“Yeah, right. And you expect me to believe that? You really don’t know us all that well.”
Sarah felt her stomach burn. Somehow that subject was starting to deeply annoy her.
“I couldn’t care less whether you believe me or not.”
“Well, if it really is as you say and he still hasn’t gotten you on his bed, I’m sure it won’t take long. Maybe then he’ll get cured of this stupid, ridiculous idea that he has to be your protector and we’ll all be able to get rid of you once and for all.”
Sarah clenched her fists. The harsh way he spoke left her boiling inside. Even more so since she knew first hand just how seductive Alexis could be. And so she firmly decided that she wasn’t going to be just another toy for him to play around with and toss aside once he got tired. She would never be someone else’s toy ever again …!
“What now?” Hale asked, slowing down, and Sarah looked around to see where they were.
“Turn right,” she told him. She hadn’t even noticed how close they were and anxiety filled her chest again.
The sound of sirens left her immediately alert and Hale pulled to the side, allowing a firemen’s car to pass them. Sarah squeezed her hands together as she noticed the dark cloud of smoke rising towards the sky, a few blocks away from where they were.
“God …” she muttered, fear eating her alive. “Go! Go faster!” she urgently demanded, quickly dialing Selena’s number with shaking hands. The calling tone echoed in her ear and repeated itself monotonously, leaving her on the verge of a nervous breakdown, until someone picked it up. A sigh of relief escaped her lips when she heard Selena’s bright voice … until she realized she was listening to the answering machine.
Hale grunted, annoyed at the red blazing light that almost turned night into day. When they reached the site of the fire the area around a small two storey house was being closed, hot flames devouring everything in sight.
Sarah was jumping out of the car before he could even turn the engine off, her alarmed gaze on those huge flames. The smell of burning filled the air with a heavy, bitter taste, and the crackling of wood sounded more like distant muffled screams.
Selena was in that house! The same Selena she’d just spoken with less than an hour ago. And she couldn’t lose anyone else! Without Selena her life just had no meaning! There was no reason to keep fighting. Fighting for what? Selena was all she had left!
With tears streaming down her face Sarah ran towards the burning house. If Selena had to die there, then she’d rather die as well!
The sudden force of an arm across her waist stole her breath away and she was easily lifted from the ground. Sarah screamed and kicked the air furiously, fighting to get free, but the strength that held her seemed unmovable.
“Are you insane? Be quiet! If you just die like that, without even a direct attack from them, they’ll kill me!” Hale told her, making his best to hold her without using too much strength, and Sarah kicked him, scratching his face. “Ah! Damn it!”
“Let go of me!” she kept screaming in despair and didn’t even noticed he’d grabbed his phone.
“Yeah? It’s me. You better come here. Now!” Sarah kicked him again but this time Hale managed to escape her dangerous nails. “Don’t you think it’s better to discuss that later?”
As soon as he hung up a dark shadow appeared right in front of him.
“Let her go …”
Hale obeyed immediately, releasing Sarah’s kicking and tossing body, and took a step back, raising both hands in the air.
Sarah almost fell, quickly scrambling to her feet, and half blinded by tears was once again running towards the burning house. She almost fell back when she hit a hard, dark wall, and the arms that surrounded pulled her to her feet but, at the same time, stopped her once more.
“No! No, no, no! Let me go! Please let me go!” she begged, sobbing, and the dark wall leaned over her, hiding the red burning flames from her foggy sight.
“Sarah … look at me.” His soft low voice pierced through the despairing madness consuming her and Sarah raised her head, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt.
“Alexis! My sister is in there!” she told him urgently as tears fell down her cheeks, and a sudden hope lit her eyes. If anyone could save her then it was him! He could do unimaginable things!
“Please! I’m begging you!”
“Sarah?” she turned her face towards the new voice and Aaran gave her a gentle smile, even though his eyes looked like dark, empty holes, unable to reflect the lights surrounding them. “She’s alive.”
She felt as if all her strength left her body and blinked her tearful eyes.
“You’re sure…? How can you be sure?”
“I can hear her heartbeat,” he told her, slightly tilting his head as if he could actually hear it, and thin locks of white hair fell over his perfect face.
“How can you even know it’s her …? How can you be sure …?”
“Because her heart sounds a lot like yours,” he replied with another smile, carefully placed on his lips just to reassure her. “So I want you to stay here and wait while I go and get her, okay?”
“Aaran!” Alexis reprimand made her shudder.
“She’s her sister, Alex, and you understand that better than anyone.”
“She’s just some Human!” Hale countered, despise filling his voice, but all it took was one look from Aaran and he was immediately silenced, lowering his head.
“That’s why I’ll go!” Alexis decided and Aaran smiled again.
“Well, wouldn’t that ruin everything we’re trying to accomplish? If loosing you was never a pleasant option, now it’s basically unthinkable. Stay here and watch over Sarah. I’ll be back in an instant,” he assured and, before there could be any more arguing, disappeared amongst the night shadows.
Sarah felt as Alexis tensed up, no less worried than she was. Time seemed to stretch endlessly, as she squeezed her hands together watching the firemen trying to put out the blazing flames. All around them neighbors and news crews filled the scene, and whispers of tragedy and death filled the night. The air felt heavy and hard to breathe, clouds of smoke and ash floating everywhere, and her heart beat anguishedly as her burning eyes stared unblinkingly at the flames.
And then, suddenly, a dark form appeared from the red blaze and in hurried steps miraculously walked away from the burning house that threatened to collapse at any instant.
Sarah released a scream of relief and concern as she noticed the small body he was carrying, and like the firemen and medical teams on site, she ran towards them as fast as her legs would take her.
When she reached them someone had already placed a blanket over Aaran’s shoulders and two medical responders were filling him with questions. Everyone sounded incredulous at how he’d been able to walk out of that blazing hell alive. Sarah noticed that Aaran was breathing heavily but her attention was all focused on the small bundle he carried against his chest.
Selena had her face covered in soot, her hair was gray, her lips purple. And yet, although dirty, her clothes didn’t show any burning signs, which meant the fire hadn’t reached her.
Someone pushed a stretcher towards them and Aaran delicately placed her on it, leaving her in the care of the medical personnel. Sarah glued herself to the stretcher, her hand closing around the metallic handle as to make sure no one would pull them apart. They placed a mask over Selena’s face and an IV on her arm. Sarah tried to understand what the medical team was saying about her state, but the world around her was all mangled up, the emotions surrounding her too strong, mixing with hers, already chaotic as they were.
“I’m with her!” she just said when they started to push the stretcher towards the ambulance. “I’m her sister!” And, as if that was a magical word, no one tried to stop her from climbing on the back of the ambulance. The closing of the doors helped her isolate her mind from the world outside and she finally wiped her tears away. Leaning forward she held Selena’s hand, softly caressing her face.
“I’m right here, Selena. Everything’s going to be all right … Everything’s going to be all right…”