As we approached the fourth guard, he just stood there, staring at us. We cautiously got closer to him. Maybe we could just go around him and he wouldn’t notice? Wishful thinking
As the four of us almost got past him, the guard turned to look Jennifer, Rachel, and Summer in the eyes, and whispered: “Kill her”
His voice was thick, like the last bass of a guitar thick, and in an instant, all three of them turned to look at me, eyes dark-red. Their fangs dropped down as they geared up to kill me! Now I know why Jennifer could not sense his extra. He was commanding her to back off. That’s his extra: extreme persuasion!
As Jennifer threw her punches at me, I had to dodge as quickly as I could. Rachel, still weak from the boost she gave me earlier, wasted no time in joining the battle. Her muscles tensed up, as she shot a ray of energy into Summer, who was now glowing out of control. Even Jennifer has now backed off to give Summer space. It seemed as though they were making her the ultimate weapon!
Summer’s whole body radiated. With a blinding flash that blurred the room and everything surrounding it, she screamed out loud and countless rays of sunshine shot out of her. She became red hot, burning like the sun. The sunlight hit me from all angles, each one burning a crisp hole through my flesh! Somehow, Summer seemed unaffected by her own extra. She kept marching forward, using her body as a sword to puncture right through me. I flipped around on my back, just in time to avoid getting cut in half by a ray of sunlight. Before I could even hit the ground, another ray hit me squarely in the face, leaving a burn mark the size of my palm! I could feel my body getting weaker and weaker. My healing ability wasn’t enough to withstand this kind of explosive weapon. No vampire can withstand the sun. And Summer felt as though she had a million suns surrounding her. Just as things couldn’t seem to get any worse, I felt Rachel shot another surge of energy into Jennifer, enhancing her extra. Jenn’s eyes flared up, and she focused her mind on me. What was she going to do, detect my extra even more? No, this time it was different. Rachel’s boost has elevated Jenn’s extra to a whole new level. Her extra was strong enough to not only sense my extra, but also wipe it out completely from my memory. It was as though she just took the knowledge for herself, robbing me of my own extra! Summer was giving me the best offense she could, and Jennifer was stripping me clean of my only defense! The situation was getting dire rapidly!
I had to do something quickly before I was burned to ashes right in this brothel.
As Rachel became exhausted after boosting so many people, she collapsed to the floor. The energy wore off from Summer and Jennifer’s attack. This brief moment was my only chance! I jumped forward, and used my own hands to create a ball around Summer’s head, effectively wrapping the sunlight radiating out of her right back into her own brain! I prayed to God that this would work. My healing extra, now returned to me from Jennifer and Rachel’s momentary lapse, was working at overdrive, regenerating flesh around my hands as sunlight kept burning through them. Smokes of burnt flesh filled the room, as Summer screamed out in agony. Her brain has been fried! And with that, the guard’s influence on her was gone!
It only took Summer a second to realize what was going on. With a nod toward my direction, she shot out millions of sunshine rays directly into the guard’s heart, burning it to ash right in front of his very eyes. I took out my slag hunter’s pen and pointed it at his head. Release! The force from the pen was so strong that it burned his brain and smashed his head into the wall behind him, knocking down the front door. I helped Jennifer and Rachel get up, as the four of us made a run for our lives, charging into the dark alleys in front of us. We split into four different directions to avoid being followed. I ran at top speed, never stopping once to catch my breath, for fear of being dragged back into that hell hole. The street became blurry to my very eyes. And before I knew it, I was at Navy Pier, blending in with the crowds of humans and vampires alike who were out enjoying the festive atmosphere.
I was very careful to collect myself, not letting on that I just had to run for my life! I took careful steps around the Pier, into a dark corner where we agreed beforehand would be our meet-up spot. It looked like I was the first one here. Oh God… what if the others didn’t make it? Please…please let them make it out alive. I stood there, impatiently twitching my fingers to the point of almost breaking them. I couldn’t wait a single minute longer. That’s when I saw Jennifer from a herd of humans. It was hard not to single her out. Anybody could. She walked differently, looked differently, and even felt differently from the humans. God, is that how I must have looked, walking around this Pier thinking I could blend in?!
“What a night, huh?” Jenn smiled as she got closer to me, still limping from her multiple injuries in the fight.
I rushed forward to give her a big hug, prompting her to wince in pain. “Ouch ouch ouch…easy there, tiger! You’re going to crack my ribs, and I do not have your healing extra!”
“You almost took it anyway” I said, referring to her little stunt in the brothel, almost stripping me clean of my extra.
“Yeah, Rachel could be very effective at enhancing others’ ability. I never knew I could do that before tonight.” Jenn said, almost apologetically.
“It’s ok” I said. “We all made it out alive. That’s all that matters, right?”
Did I speak too soon? Jennifer seemed as anxious as I was to find out Summer and Rachel’s fate. Rachel… she was so weak already… what if she didn’t make it? I couldn’t bear the thought of her…
We both turned around. To our uncontainable joy, Summer was holding a half-unconscious but still alive Rachel. “You guys made it” I shouted and hugged them both.
“We did! We never could have done it without you, you know?” Summer said, with a hint of gratitude in her voice.
“Yes, after fifteen years in that place, I never thought I would smell the air again. The cool, liberating air of freedom.” Jennifer added on. Rachel was still too weak to talk.
As the gang has now reunited, we felt it would be best to get out of public sight, especially seeing how heavily battered we all looked. Anyone, no matter how stupid, could have picked us out from miles away.
The Pier was now beaming with people, humans and vampires looking for peace, or excitement, or both. As we made our way out, I overheard some vampire girl crying.
“No… Dion. I don’t think I can do this. My emotions just get so strong. I don’t think I could contain it. This is not the life for me…”
The vampire boy next to her put his hands on her shoulders, trying to console her outburst.
“Jenna, it takes time, ok? Most vampires take years to perfect their craft. You’ve only been in darkness for a month! I can teach you how to use my ability to control your emotions. Trust me.”
Strange. It almost seemed like they were friends! I laughed quietly to myself. Ever since I crossed over, most vampires I met were either out to eat me, or rape me, or both! I never thought of vampires as being “friendly”. But then again, I did make three awesome friends on my escape route, didn’t I? I looked at Jennifer, Rachel, and Summer, and felt a warm surge of emotions through my body. What was that? Was it Rachel’s extra again? The warm emotions filled my body with strength, and gradually healed my wounds. This wasn’t the kind of rapid and desperate healing I was using before. This was a new, more positive way of healing my wounds, almost using …positive emotions to heal my scars instead of turning them into negative feelings.
“I know a friend on the outskirt of town who may have a sanctuary for us.” Rachel said, breaking my trance.
And so we went, deep into the South of Chicago, as far away as we could from the brothel location. We took the red line, past Chinatown, into an abandoned warehouse area.
“What is this?” I asked Rachel.
“My friend lives here. He and I shared a spot together before… you know, before I was kidnapped and turned into a whore.” Rachel answered.
“I hope he still does because the sun is coming up soon” Jenn said.
I looked around my surrounding. This was definitely a warehouse of some sort. Boxes and cargos filled up every rack. Some of them looked so flimsy they could fall down with one touch.
We walked past a wall with some shovels and gloves hanging on top. This must have been where they stored farming supply. And right ahead of us, some industrial supply. This warehouse looked like it was big enough for a national chain, maybe Wal-Mart or 7-Eleven. Suddenly, I noticed something strange. The wall beside me, it moved! I swear to God I just saw it moved!
I jumped back, hitting Summer and dragging her to the floor with me. “Careful there, Chief!” Summer yelled.
“Rachel, is that … you?” Came a voice from the wall. This time, a vampire stepped out of the wall, unmerging himself from it and coming into full view. He was about Rachel’s age, curly black hair with piercing blue eyes. His eyelashes were so thick that you would think he was wearing mascara!
“Jimmy! Oh my God it’s so good to see you!” Rachel came up to hug this guy around the neck. They obviously have known each other for a long time.
“Rachel! God! I thought… I thought that you were dead? I looked everywhere for you. The underground fighting arenas, the spice shacks, I even went to the Ice Zone twice thinking you must have hooked up with someone there.”
“It’s a long story, Jimmy. I might as well have been dead. But I escaped, alive! Thanks to my friends here: Jennifer, Summer, and Rain” Rachel pointed to us.
With a warm, friendly smile, Jimmy shook our hands. “Hey, any friend of Rachel is a friend of mine. I take it you guys need a place to sleep it off?” He obviously noticed the multiple cuts and bruises on our body, not to mention Summer’s burnt forehead. She looked like a hair job went wrong as smoke was still coming out of it.
“Well, we sort of need a place. Period.” Rachel pleaded.
“Hey, no problemo. Plenty of space in this warehouse.” Jimmy said with open warms.
“Here, let me make you guys some makeshift beds.” Jimmy continued to show us around, clearly familiar with his “dwelling”. He pulled out some old sofas and blankets to make us three beds next to his corner in a small room.
“This little room here is perfectly sunproofed. So even if someone were to open this warehouse by accident, the light couldn’t hit us. I got it locked up and everything.”
This room looks like some sort of accountant’s workroom. There was an old broken computer on a desk, and several chairs, with dusty papers all over the shelves. At this point, anything would be better than the hell hole we just crawled out of.
“Thank you, Jimmy. You really didn’t have to.”
“Hey there, I may have stopped being human, but I still remember how to be a gentleman” Jimmy said. And with that, he let out the biggest yawn, making all of us yawn in response. It was so instinctive and unexpected. So we all laughed. Did we do it? Did we finally make it out alive? Safe? Jesus, I would never have dreamed of this. From Daemon’s nightmare, to the brothel… I have come a long way. Now surrounded by friends, laughing and joking around, with a pillow under my head, and blankets, actual soft blankets on my body, I feel safe, at last.