I watched Adder head outside, obviously wanting to feed. Calla was nowhere to be found, I presumed she was still upstairs.
'You can go to your friends now, Ana,' Jester told me with a sombre expression. 'I -'
'What?' I persisted when it became obvious he wasn't going to go on.
'I have to talk to - to... my - guardian. About...something important...' Without warning, Jester headed outside in an apparent rush. I stared after him mystified. What had that been all about? Jester was an odd one, I hadn't quite figured him out yet. Mind you, I hadn't known him all that long anyway.
I sighed, stretching out my limbs, only now realizing how tired I was. I should probably head back and let Reuben know I was okay. Inwardly, I scoffed; it wasn't like he was bothered about letting me know he was okay. Why should I be?
I took a casual walk back to the flat, not bothering to rush. It was all in vain anyway because when I got inside I realized he was out - again. Heaving a sigh of exasperation, I sank onto the bed closing my eyes.
* * *
Something slammed, jerking me awake.
I sat up, disorientated. Everything was dark and it took a while for my eyes to adjust. I had obviously fallen asleep, my head felt groggy and my limbs felt stiff. My mouth was as dry as sandpaper and it hurt to swallow.
There was no reply.
I was about to roll over and go back to sleep when footsteps creaking across the floorboards grasped my attention. I frowned, fully alert now. Grabbing my phone from my bedside table, I pressed a button to illuminate my surroundings and shuffled off the bed.
'Reuben?' I called out again, uncertainly.
'Ana,' came his reply. I couldn't see him though, I could only hear him. There was something about his voice, something strange and detached that sent chills down my spine.
Without warning, something grabbed me by the shoulders and pinned me to the wall. I cried out in surprise, dropping my phone.
'Keep her here,' a low voice growled. I instantly recognized it, dread began to wash over me accompanied by the most intense feeling of pure ice - cold fear. My stomach dropped and it felt as though an iron fist had grabbed my heart.
It was Scott.
I didn't need to see him to recognize that voice of his, it was so distinct, so full of malice and contempt that it would have been stupid of me to not recognize him.
'W-what are you doing?' I barely managed to choke out.
'I'm sorry Ana,' my brother spoke in a monotonous voice. He replaced Scott's grip on my shoulders, his fingers digging into my skin. I bit my lip from crying out in pain.
'This should keep her from interfering,' Scott hissed. 'While the rest are taken care of.'
'Rest? What do you mean?!'
'It's time to put an end to this,' Scott went on. 'I'm going to kill each and everyone of your little friends and there's nothing you can do to stop me. They'll all be corpses by the time you see them again and then I'll come back for you, you stupid little girl.'
'No!' I struggled against my brother's hold, but it was no use. The door slammed shut after Scott's exit.
Furious, I turned to my brother, who now let me go.
'How could you do this?! Do you have ANY idea of what you've just done?! I have to stop this! I have to warn them!' I had meant to run out of the flat, run after Scott and mentally impair him somehow, then warn the others. I had meant to. Instead, I ended up on my knees, crippled in pain. Something was shooting daggers in my mind, crushing my skull, sending waves of agony through my body.
And then it stopped.
I was left panting, gasping for breath.
'Don't make me do this Ana,' Reuben said flatly. 'I'm on his side now. I'm helping him.'
I turned to face my brother, my eyes wide, my breath coming out in short, shaky bursts. It was in those moments that I knew I had lost him. I had lost him to Scott, to the Evil, to everything. There was nothing I could do to help him. He would rather kill his own sister than betray Scott.
I had never felt so alone.
'Why are you doing this?' I whispered. 'I'm your sister.'
'You shouldn't have gotten involved,' he murmured. 'You should have just stayed out of it. Then you wouldn't be here, like this.'
Something unidentifiable surged through me. I was furious, no, it was more than that, I was vengeful. A red haze covered my vision, and all I thought about then was making Reuben pay. Making him pay for his heartbreaking betrayal, making him pay for the way he had treated me, his own sister.
'You really want to do this?' I inclined my head slightly, challenging.
He responded with another attempted bout of mental torture.
However, this time I was ready.
Something within me blocked his attack. It was as though an invisible shield encased my mind, deflecting any pain he tried to inflict on me. I didn't know where it was coming from, or how to control it, all I knew was that it wanted to get out.
Suddenly, he was flying backwards, through the air. He came to a crash in the coffee table, causing it to break in half with a loud crunch. With quiet awareness, I acknowledged that it was me doing this.
He got to his feet, shakily, but determined.
His dark eyes were livid, fixed on me now with clear hate and animosity.
'It appears as though you have more powers up your sleeve little sister,' he growled, a thin trickle of blood appearing from his nose. 'What you don't know is that I am fully prepared.' His right hand flicked out, stretched towards me and something sharp plunged deep within my heart. I choked out, my eyes bulging, my breathing faltered. My hands desperately tried to seek out whatever weapon he used, but they came up empty.
It was all in my mind.
This isn't really happening Ana, you can defeat this. It's all in your mind, it's all in your mind, it's all in your -
'Argh!' I cried out in frustration, mimicking his previous attack but putting ten times more power behind it. I watched his features contort in agony, his body writhed in pain, his hand curled into a claw, scratching at his chest, trying to stop the pain.
'You bastard! You betrayed me!'
He fell to the floor, still crying out in pain, still twisting and gasping hopelessly, all to no avail. This sudden burst of power wouldn't stop, it flowed straight through me, mercilessly attacking my brother.
With a jolt, I realized I was killing my own brother.
I broke off everything, all my power, all the anger and fell onto my knees, breathing heavily. Reuben was alive, but unconscious. His face was still frozen in pain, but his chest rose and fell with every shaky breath he took.
I didn't look at him again as I stumbled out into the night, to warn of the attack. I didn't allow myself to think of what I'd just done, or the consequences of it.