'I'm off to work,' Reuben popped his head round the door of my room. 'See you later.'
'Wait a second, I never did ask you. How did you get that job? When we both asked they said they didn't have any.' I had forgotten to ask Reuben about this before, being a little preoccupied with almost dying and all, but now the topic had arisen again it was the perfect opportunity. I kept my eyes trained on his face, assessing his reaction, looking for any telltale signs that he was up to no good.
'Someone got fired. They remembered me asking about a job and so they offered me one,' he replied calmly. Nothing in his features told me he was lying, he looked truthful enough, but I still had a gut instinct something wasn't right. I didn't know whether or not it was to do with my newfound powers, but I had suddenly become incredibly suspicious of my own brother.
There was only one thing for it: I had to follow him.
'Okay,' I smiled. 'See you later.'
I waited until the door had slammed shut before grabbing my jacket and heading outside after him. He was a little way ahead of me, going at a pace that was unnaturally quick for him and I had to jog to keep up, staying in the shadows so as not to be seen. I was following him down the alleyway that ran along the back of The Pig's Head when all of a sudden he veered sharply to the left, down an unfamiliar path. In my haste to keep up, I ended up ploughing straight into him.
'Why are you following me Ana?' he demanded.
I sighed, deciding to be honest. 'You've been acting really weird lately. You seem more...angry and withdrawn than usual and honestly, it's frightening me a little.'
He stared at me incredulously for a second before his eyes softened and he smiled slightly. 'I'm sorry Ana. I just have a lot going on at the minute.'
'Well, you can tell me, I'm your sister and you're all I've got. Please don't push me away.' To my extreme embarrassment, my voice broke on the last word and tears pricked at my eyes.
'I know Ana. I promise I'm not leaving you, it's just too dangerous for you to get involved in. Now go home, straight home and I'll see you tomorrow. We'll talk about it then.'
'Fine,' I grumbled, turning round and leaving him in the alleyway.
He wanted his secrets? He could have his sodding secrets. See if I cared.
Stupid, you do care, a voice drifted into my mind.
Of course I care, I just don't see why he should be keeping secrets from me. What's so terrible that he can't even tell his own sister?
Maybe he really does want to keep you out of danger, you know what it's like in this area.
Great. I was having conversations with myself in my head now. But that last thought had sounded surprisingly credible. All I wanted to do though was to alleviate any problems he may have, I was so grateful for the way he had looked after me, taken me away from that horrible place..
Someone walked into my path, jerking me out of my reverie. A hooded figure stood in front of me, their face hidden in shadows.
'Evening miss,' they spoke.
'Do I know you?' I frowned, taking a little step back.
The person in front of me cocked his head slightly to the side as he stared straight at me. The strangest feeling washed over me, causing my limbs to soften and my mind to turn into one jumbled mess. It was like I wasn't a part of my body anymore, everything had slowed down, my eyelids drooped. I ended up against the wall.
'It'll all be over soon love, promise.' When he spoke, his voice sounded distorted and distant, as though he was underwater. What he said wasn't making any sense to me; I could only blink at him stupidly.
Until he bit me.
All feelings of lethargy and drowsiness soon dissipated and I felt my neck flare in absolute agony, fire burning it's way along my jawline and up the back of my throat. In one fit of absolute panic, I unleashed whatever had been wanting to escape from within me and the man stumbled backwards, clutching his head cursing. My hands flew to my neck where warm, sticky liquid flowed out at a worrying pace.
I sagged against the wall, watching him squirm in pain, my vision growing cloudy.
The last thing I saw before I blacked out were two figures, running towards us both.
* * *
When I woke, my surroundings were unfamiliar. I was laying on something soft, a sofa perhaps. There was a kitchen just to the left of me and antique curtains hung at the window, just touching the floor. It was dark, elegant and completely intimidating.
I sat up far too fast, my hand flying to my throat.
There was nothing there. No blood, no scar, nothing.
The crazy idea that I might have dreamed it entered my mind and I might have believed it, had I not been in some stranger's apartment. I could hear voices, drifting in from one of the rooms. One was a male's voice, loud and impatient.
'How was I supposed to know?'
The other was softer, but firmer. It rang with power.
'You should have known from the first time what would happen to you.'
'Adder you really should be more careful,' a female's voice spoke softly, and I recognized it.
My eyes flickered to the door. Could I make it in time? Setting one foot tentatively on the floor, I held my breath, certain that the tiniest sound would alert them to me. My own frantic heartbeat was enough to make me nervous, surely they could hear that.
Each step I took towards the door allowed my heart to grow ever more frenzied.
Just one more step. One more. One more.
My hand outstretched towards the door handle, I was nearly there..
I whirled round at the sound of my name, pressing myself against the door.
Three figures stood facing me, two of them I recognized.
One was the girl I had run into the other night, the blonde who had helped me back to my flat. She was smiling at me, trying to reassure me, but it wasn't working. Especially as I saw who the other guy was.
The one who had tried to attack me a few nights ago, he was hanging back as though uncertain. He made me want to get the hell out of there. I tried to convince myself that I could use powers if need be. I would be fine.
The third and final person was completely unfamiliar to me. He had long graying hair and was wearing the most unusual clothing. Long robes that fell to his feet, the colour of midnight, a perfect jet black. He was the one who had spoken, the one whose voice rang with authority.
'Do you remember what happened?'