Stay sane inside insanity
A PastTheStarsAndBoulevards Twilight contest submission.
Song of inspiration: I Miss You- Blink182
"Don't waste your time on me. You are already the voice inside my head." -I miss you, Blink182
On the outside we were the happy little family with a white picket fence.
I never had many friends as I grew up, mainly because I have always moved from place to place seeming as my father is in the army. I have never been what is known to be pretty. I have wavy dark brown hair and blue eyes all packed inside my five-foot figure. I am quiet and keep to myself most of the time mainly because I'm so shy. I have always been teased for being different from everybody else.
My two older sisters are very verbose and outgoing, like my older brother. My oldest sister, Isabel or Iz as we call her, has hair as straight as corn silk and the color of cherry wood, and is about five foot seven. My other sister, Emma, could be Isabel's twin except for the fact that she is about three inches shorter. Cole, my older brother, is six foot three with striking blue eyes like everyone of mom's children. He has hair a shade lighter than black, seeing as he dies it. He is on the wrestling team at our high school and was on the football team except for the fact football season just ended. Cole, Isabel, and Emma have a different father than me. Their father died in a car accident and our mom remarried to my father about two years later, giving birth to me about a year later.
My dad told us recently during a car ride home from Cole's game that he is being relocated, along with our family to a small town in Italy. My mother couldn't have been happier and I really didn't care as long as everyone else was happy. Emma started to cry while Isabel complained. Cole shout out a loud string of profanities resulting in him being grounded. We were to leave in a week, they told us.
Isabel had tears in her eyes as she hugged her friend's goodbye as dad packed our stuff into the back of the car. I handed him my duffel bag as I watched my family's exchanges. Emma kissed her now ex- boyfriend on the cheek and he lifted her up and spun her in a circle. Cole walked out of the garage with two packed suitcases in each hand and handed them to dad.
*A few days later in Italy*
"Lizzie, come on." Emma whined as she grabbed my arm and dragged me toward the castle.
"I have a bad feeling about this guys." I told her as I tried to plant my heels into the cobblestone pavement.
"Your such a baby."Cole said as he lifted me up.
Isabel and Emma swung the large brass colored doors open and motioned for us to enter first.
The halls had a cold feel to them, making me shiver and rub my hands up and down my arms to create friction. You could hear the steady click our feet made as we walked down the long hallway toward the next door. The next door wouldn't open and Emma moved toward an elevator. She clicked the lobby button after everyone was in and the door slid shut. The uplifting music coming from the speakers sounded odd against the feel of the room. I could tell everyone felt the danger I felt as Emma and Iz clamped their hands together and Isabel bit her lip. Cole had a sly smirk on his face as he sneaked up behind Iz and rested is hand on her shoulder making her yelp and quiver into Emma. We walked into a reception area as we exited the elevator and the room's inhabitants gazed at us. The walls looked to be paneled in wood and the floor we stepped out on to, surrounding the main feature of the room being a desk, was covered in a dark green carpet. The hatred and shock in their glare made me take a step back. A large built man lightly touched the receptionist's cheek before she turned to us and he to the two women behind him. The receptionist, Gianna by her name plate, had brown eyes compared to the others' dull red.
"May I help you?" She asked with accented English.
"I'm sorry. We thought," I started but was cut off by Cole who took a step around me placing himself in front of her.
"A few of the locals told us of the tours here, and we were wondering if we could have one." He smiled and winked at her.
Her response was not one to be expected, her eyes widened and she quickly turned to the man who was with her before.
"My name is Felix." He took a few steps till he was in front of us, shaking Cole's hand and kissing mine and the girls'.
"And my name is Jane." A girl with angelic features stood up from the chair she was seated in and came over. She had a small smile playing on her face as she looked us over.
"We would be honored to give you a tour." The tall man, Felix said. He straightened his black jacket and shifted his weight onto his left foot.
"Felix," The blonde girl, Jane, spoke to him without taking her gaze off of us. Her eyes strayed over me for a long while before turning to the others, her gaze made me uncomfortable and I shifted slightly. "Tell the ancients so they will be aware. Heidi," She spoke to the other woman sitting in the corner and her head shot up to fast for my eyes to see. "Make sure Alec is in the throne room when we arrive. I am sure he will want a part of this." Heidi's perfectly sculpted eyebrows knitted together in confusion but she let the subject drop and walked through the door Felix held open for her. The door opened with a loud creek but it didn't seem to phase them in the least. "His throat was burning this morning." Her dull red eyes seemed to sparkle with this revelation.
"Do you live here?" Emma asked in a conversational tone, though her voice was laced with worry.
"That I do." Jane said as she led the way out of the reception area. "Are you new to town?"
"We just moved here. We live right outside of town." Cole replied, not at all phased by the worry that was on the shoulders of my sisters and myself.
"A few of the high school students told us of the ancient city a few miles from our new home and they said coming here would enhance our knowledge of Italy." Emma added.
"Perfect." Jane seemed to whisper to herself. I looked at my family, seeing if they were uneasy by the small girl's response, which they weren't. I must have been the only one to have heard her. I thought. Maybe I'm just hearing things.
Jane led us into a room which she called the ballroom. Red was the main color of the room from the curtains, which were drawn, to the wall-sized portrait of what appeared to be three men standing on a balcony overlooking an ocean of blood red cloaks.
"St. Marcus day." Felix observed with a smile as he walked through the door we entered through and came up behind us."As legend holds, a Christian missionary, Father Marcus drove all the vampires from Volterra some fifteen hundred years ago. The story claims he was martyred in Romania, still trying to drive away the vampire scourge. Father Marcus rid the vampires with crosses and garlic. Vampires don't trouble Volterra, so they must work." Felix seemed to eye Isabel's small cross pendant but his eyes flashed to Jane's with a knowing smile before I could be sure.
My stomach stared to become uneasy each time the tour guides leave or come, the fact that they seem to be much quicker than us and have a secret between them. I tried o let my feelings go, but the goosebumbs on my arms stared up at me in vain. I took a deep breath and followed the group through the tour, stopping and listening to the ever going tales and myths being the great castle and city, till we reached a large room at the end of the hall. The uneasy feeling returned in my stomach as I gazed at the brass door towering high over my head.
Felix held the door open with ease, gesturing for us to enter with a smile. I hesitated for a minute before my thoughts seemed to vanish with an icy look from Jane.
The man who spoke first was not dressed like Jane or Felix, or even Heidi for that matter. His features vaguely resembled that of one of the men in the portrait except for the fact his bright red eyes seemed to have a film clouding them and his shin looked like that of an onion. He wore a long, jet-black robe that brushed across the floor as he walked foward. For a moment I thought his black hair was the hood of his cloak as it flowed carelessly to his shoulders till it blended in with is cloak. The door behind us closed with an audible clasp and I knew there was no way out.
"Jane, dear one, you've returned." He cried in evident delight, his voice just a soft sigh. He drifted foward, the movement flowed with such surreal grace that I gawked. He glided to Jane, took her face in his papery hands and kissed her lightly on each cheek, then floated back a step. He turned his misty eyes toward us, and his smile brightened. His arms opened in a caring and seemingly safe manor. "Welcome guests! Welcome to Volterra!" He sang.
I risked a glance at my family Emma and Isabel held hands and Cole had a hand on each of their shoulders in a protective manor, they looked at me in the same moment and I could feel the apology in their eyes. They knew something bad was going to happen, and the fact that they dragged me here when I told them of my fears was evident in their expressions. Our eyes quickly turned back to the smiling man in front of us and what appeared to be the fellow people of the portrait seated on a throne behind him.
"Forgive me," The dark haired man in front of us spoke. "I never introduced myself. My name is Aro." I could hear a faint Itallian accent in his voice. "What are your names?" He tried to make pleasant conversation but the tension in the room made that task hard.
Cole spoke for, and motioned to us, his deep voice wavering slightly. "This is Emma, Isabel, Elizabeth and I am Cole."
Aro's head tilted to the side in confusion. "All very old fashioned names I see."
"Our mother very much liked studying the past and these names are mementoes of her favorite era." Isabel said softly.
The door behind the thrones closed quietly and a young boy appeared next to the white-haired man. "Alec." Aro greeted without turning around.
I felt as if someone were staring at me and I looked up to see the young boy Aro called Alec staring intently at me. He looked as if he wanted to come foward but thought better of it.
"Stop the small talk and get on with what you are going to do, Aro." The white-haired man glared at Aro as he spoke in a hiss.
"Patience, my dear brother." Aro smiled slightly.
A silence spread throughout the room in a heartbeat, yet the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
Before I knew what was happening, Aro grabbed Isabel. Felix had Cole and Jane, Emma. Alec was in front of me, not grabbing my neck like the others but in a defensive crouch. "Don't touch her." He snarled. My heartbeat spiked until I thought it would jump out of my chest and my eyes widened. My siblings didn't seem to have the same amount of fear that I recently acquired etched in their features, but on the contrary they seemed to be completely at ease, as if they couldn't sense anything. Alec blocked my view before I could see what was happening to my siblings. It seemed he waited until they were dead before he lifted me up and ran from the room, the castle and into the forest.
"We have to save them." I insisted as I tried to walk back toward the stone city.
Alec wrapped his arms around my waist and held me to his chest. "They are already gone." He said softly.
"They killed them." My body shook from the sobs and my tears ran down his grey shirt. He took off his cloak and wrapped it around my shoulders.
"They didn't feel anything." He tried to soothe me.
"How can you be sure?" Anger leaked into my voice at his obvious lie. How could he know they didn't feel anything? "How do you know?" Tears were streaking down my face as I looked into his eyes. His thumb wiped a tear of my cheek.
"I don't know how to say this, but I have a gift, or special ability about me." His eyes traveled to the sun, setting what appeared to be right in front of us. A cold breeze blew through the trees and Alec's arms' tightened around me to keep me warm. "I grew up when it was considered, maybe that's not the right word. . . In my time, different standards were expected of citizens. My father was not well off- meaning he and his family had little money, even for that time. My father expected me, his youngest son to become someone. I never did accomplish anything in his eyes." Alec looked as if he were in a different time. "Physical punishments were very common- and not called child abuse- in my day. Eleazar and Aro seem to think my ability is a form of defense, much like my twin's. Jane can make people drop to the ground in pain from just one look, almost as if they were on fire. I can cut off peoples' senses. I can make any person or group of people not be able to see, feel, smell, taste, or hear anything. It. . . it incapitates a person. If I do this, said person can't move. The others of my kind, of the Voulturi mainly, don't care for human life." His expression was cold and hard. His jaw was taught and eyes unseeing as he gazed where the sun had just set.
"They didn't feel anything." The thought made me feel a little better. A small smile appeared on my face even under the circumstances.
"They didn't feel an ounce of pain." He assured me.
"Thank you." I spoke with sincerity. "For everything."
"I would have done it anyways." He shrugged.
"No. You saved my life and you helped theirs." I got up on my knees so I could look his seated form in the eyes.
"I love you, Elizabeth." He whispered and pushed a lock of my brown hair out of my eyes.
His cool breath brushed across my face and made a shiver go down my spine. "I love you, too." I replied. The moment felt so right. A flash fire could have sparked through the surrounding forest and I knew we would be well. Our lives found purpose.
"You're my angel in this nightmare." His stone cold lips were at my ear as he spoke.
"They are going to come after me." I stated. There was no question in my words though he felt the need to reply.
"They won't hurt you. They won't touch you." He snarled, his eyes suddenly black. I placed my pale hand over his unbeating heart and he visibly relaxed, if only slightly. "They do plan on coming. You saw too much, they believe." His voice was quieter but still tense and angry. "I will keep you safe." He insisted as he picked me up and ran. I curled into his chest as we ran for miles.
-written by Alyce Cullen (Alyssa)