The Art of Dying

By Alice Oddkid All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Anything But…

She was dressed in all black and had a shiny blade in her right hand. “I had seriously hoped to be wrong about you.” Dixie said. What did I do?

“What are you doing here, Dix?” I asked her, a little afraid since she was holding such a sharp-looking knife and was staring at me like I was the intended target.

“We, came to get rid of the abomination that is your kind.” She said, putting emphasis on the ‘we’ part. “You know, I always thought those stories were legends. I mean, sure I had some suspicions about Oliver Pratt and Cassandra Mortis, but I never got close enough to either of them to be able to test my theory… But then, you show up. And we became friends, and when you told me you found Oliver weird, I thought you were normal. Like us. Human, even if you were Cassandra’s roommate. But then you said you were going to her party, on the 31st and that’s when I grew suspicious of you too.” She walked closer to me and I stepped back. “When I was young I was told stories of your world and all the heinous things your kind brought on to ours. And, I remembered that ‘Ellithiens’ celebrate their international holiday on the 31st of October.” She gave a sarcastic laugh as she shook her knife at me. “I believed those stories to be fiction, you know. Until I did the ‘Tecophilaea’ test on you and it turned out positive.” ‘Tecophilaea’ test? What is she talking about? At my confused look she rolled her eyes and said: “The ‘energy drink’… that I spilt on you.” She made air quotation as she said energy drink. “It turned dark blue… It wouldn’t have done anything if you were human but…”

She then started to advance towards me like a lion stalking its prey, with her blade held in front of her, twisting it around her hands expertly. I matched her, step for step in the opposite direction, backing away from her, all the while keeping my eyes fixated on her weapon.

“Now, Dixie. There’s no need to be rash about this.” I said, trying to pacify her. “I’m sure we can solve, whatever beef you have with the ‘Ellithiens’.”

“I don’t have a beef with them.” She said, like I was a moron. I could hear my heart ringing in my ears, my pulse was racing. “I just want to protect my race from yours, so there isn’t a repeat of the ‘Ellithien’/human war.” She then came charging towards me with fury. I screamed in surprised and just had time to dodge her attack before she turned back around and swiped her blade at me.

I step back and brought my arm up to protect my face in reflex. Her blade cut my arm from elbow to wrist. “STI’ D’TABARNAK!!” I yelled. Gosh, that hurt like a bitch. She swung at me again and as I dodged, my foot caught on a tree root, breaking my heel and I fell to the floor, screaming as I went down. I turned on my side and sat up, feeling like a cornered animal as I held my injured arm to my chest with my left one.

Dixie was about to finish me off with a deadly blow and I reflectively closed my eyes as I awaited the impact but it never came. I risked opening my eyes and as if it were all a bad dream, Dixie wasn’t there. The only thing that confirmed that this wasn’t a dream was the long shallow cut on my right arm that bled steadily.

Where did she go? As if to answer my question I saw C.C. running towards me, followed by Blake, Oliver, Abbigail and Zane. They all looked concerned, even Abbigail. “Oh my god, Del. Are you ok?” C.C. asked as she knelt next to me. “Oh gosh, you’re bleeding.” She said as she grasped my injured arm, making me wince. She let go, immediately. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine.” I said, feeling slightly claustrophobic with everyone surrounding me. “I’m fine.”

“No you’re not.” She insisted. “You’re bleeding. That, is so not, how I wanted your first ‘Mertell’ to happen.” She said, mad now.

“It was perfect.” I said, trying to reassure her, even though it was anything but.

“You’re sweet, but no it wasn’t.” She said as she held out a hand for me to take. I grasped it with my good arm and she helped me stand up.

“What happened?” I asked her but it’s Oliver who answered.

“We got crashed by hunters, that’s what happened.” He said angrily in a thick British accent.

“Yeah, but luckily Mrs. Saxton spotted them before they could really hurt anyone.” C.C. said, but then she looked at my injured arm that I was clutching to my chest, with a sad expression on her face. “Except for you, that is. Oh, Del, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault.” I said with a small smile, trying to reassure her. “But how did you guys find me? And where are the ‘hunters’?”

“I heard you scream.” Zane said but he didn’t elaborate on the subject.

“And Blake caught them all in his shadow; anyway we should probably get going. We have some damage control to do and an angry-looking wound to tend to.” C.C. said as she stepped away from the circle dragging me with her by my good arm. After about five steps I had to make her stop.

“C.C. wait.” I said. She turned to me with a worried expression.

“What? Why? What’s wrong?” She asked as she hastily let go of my good arm. “Did I hurt you?”

“No, it’s just… I fell earlier and broke my heel, so just…” I then stepped out of my shoes. “There, that’s better.” I bent down and picked them up with my good arm. “Sorry about your shoes.” I told her with a sheepish smile.

“It’s fine.” C.C. gave me a warm smile and we all resumed our walk back to the school.

“What happened to the party?” I asked C.C.

“Nina is doing damage control but there is not that much to do. We can go back later if you feel up for it.” She said in a hopeful tone of voice as she made her wings disappear. Oliver, Abbigail and Zane, each grabbed their enchanted object ─Oliver, his pocket watch, Abbigail, a pair of earrings and Blake, a bracelet─ from the glass bowls on the pumpkin trees and returned to their ‘normal’ form. “It’s not a bunch of bloody hunters that are going to ruin my favorite holiday.” Oliver then walked up to her and held her as we walked between the two rows of candles leading to the two tree portal.

Zane then stepped up beside me. “Here, let me take them.” He said referring to my shoes. I looked at him angrily. Does he really think that I’ll just forget what he said to Blake, earlier in the woods? And that everything will be fine?

“No, I’m fine I got it.” I said curtly. He was about to argue but I silenced him with one look and then stepped between the two trees, following in C.C.’s and Oliver’s wake.

The cold assaulted me as soon as I stepped on the other side and I shivered. Clutching my injured arm to my chest with my good arm that was also holding my shoes, I tried to shield it from the cold.

I hurried my step, hoping to get to the school faster all the while thinking about all the horrible things that happened since I stepped on the other side of that portal. First I kissed Blake which was wonderful except for the fact that he already has a girlfriend, then I get a death threat from miss ‘I’m your future queen so you should do everything I say’, and then I actually almost get killed by a girl I thought was my friend… oh, and I break one of my high heels. That was just perfect ─not. Soon enough we stepped inside the school and I was grateful for the heat.

C.C. and Oliver then led the way to principal Mortis’s office. “Are we going to ask your uncle for help?” I asked C.C.

“He’s not back from ‘Ellithia’ yet, and we’re not going to ask the wicked witch James for help.” C.C. said as she grabbed a pair of keys in one of the drawers of the Principal’s desk.

“Hey! That’s my mom you’re talking about!” Abbigail said, offended.

“Yeah, and I don’t care. Ugh.” C.C. said, rolling her eyes, before she headed out the door. We followed her to one of the locked wings of the school. She unlocked the gate and let us through before locking it back, behind us.

We followed her to a classroom and entered. She closed the door once we were all in and I sat at a random desk then set down my shoes on top of it.

Oliver leaned on the teacher’s desk at the front of the class with C.C. beside him rubbing his back. “Are you ready, Olly?” She asked him softly.

“Yeah.” He responded, just as softly and unclipped his pocket watch from his waistcoat, setting it down beside him on the desk and resuming his true form. Ready for what?

“Ok, Blake.” C.C. said. “He’s ready.” Blake gave a nod, took off his bracelet that he set aside on a random desk and suddenly all the mist around his hands fell to the floor but instead of forming Hendrix, it just formed a big, round circle on the ground that looked like a giant hole. Blake had this look of concentration on his face and then Hendrix came out of the hole holding a struggling Dexter in his grasp that he delivered in front of Oliver, holding him in place.

“Let go of me, you freaks!” Dexter exclaimed, struggling against the shadow pet to try to get free. Oliver then caught Dexter’s eye with his magnetic snake ones.

“I’m calm.” Oliver said in a hypnotic, monotone voice. “There is no need for me to struggle, everything is fine.” And almost immediately, Dexter stopped struggling. As Oliver continued his mind-control thingy, C.C. walked over to me.

“We should go take care of this.” She whispered, looking intently at my bloody arm. Thankfully it stopped bleeding but it still throbbed painfully and looked awful.

“Yeah.” I whispered back and stood up to go with her.

“I’ll take care of it.” Zane said as he stepped up to us. I rolled my eyes.

“I don’t think that…─” C.C. started to say but Zane cut her off.

“I said I got it.” He grabbed my good arm and before I had time to protest, he already had me outside the classroom. “We need to talk.” He said as he let go of me.

“Thing is, I don’t want to and I need to go tend to my wound so…” I tried to step back in the class so I could go get C.C. but he stepped in front of me, blocking the way. “Do you mind?” I said with slight irritation.

“Look, I’m sorry for what I said earlier.” Zane went on as if I hadn’t spoken. “I didn’t mean it.” I looked at him with a look that said ‘do I look like an idiot?’ “No, seriously. You know I do everything to piss off my brother and I knew it would hurt him if I were to use you.” I raised a brow at that. “Not, that it’s what I was doing, ugh.” He sighed. “Ok, in the beginning maybe that was the plan but then, I got to know you and I really do care about you Delphine…” He said as he looked at me pleadingly. “Do you forgive me?” I sighed; he did say that he cared for me…

“Yeah, ok.” I said. He then gave me a hug and I gave a small hiss as he bumped my injury.

“Sorry.” He said but then he looked intently at my injured arm. “Let me have a look.” I held out my arm before me and he held it gently. He looked closely at it before he sniffed it. What the…? Still holding my arm, he looked up at me. “Do you trust me?” He asked, softly. I considered it for a moment but then gave a hesitant small nod.

“Yeah…?” I said, unsure. He beamed back at me.

“Good.” He said just before I felt his tongue lick my arm from elbow to wrist.

“Eww! What are you doing?” I exclaimed as I tried to take my arm back but he held it with a tiny bit more strength and I couldn’t take it away before he repeated the gross process of licking my arm. “Look, I know you’re a vampire and all, but that’s just gross!” I tried to take my arm again and this time he let it go.

“Mmmm, you were delicious.” He said with a smirk.

“Why did you do that?” I asked, looking at him a little disgusted with what he just did.

“Look at your arm.” He said, with a smug smile on his face. “Does it still hurt?” I looked at my arm and not only was almost all of the blood gone, but the cut was completely healed. There wasn’t even a scar to show that it was there to begin with. But how?

“How did you do that?” I asked him in shock.

“Vampire saliva has healing properties.” He explained. “That way when we feed we leave no scars behind, no evidence at all that we’ve ever used the person we fed from as a happy meal.”

“Wow, well, thank you.” I said, a little stunned over my newly healed arm and a little disturbed as well.

“You are most welcome.” He said charmingly before turning serious, once more. “Look, I know you’re probably still mad over what I said but I’m going to make it up to you. Plus I think it’s about time that I take you out on a real date. What are you doing Saturday?”

“Well, I, would be supposed to see Dixie but I don’t think I want to hang out with her anymore.” He laughed at that.

“Understandable.”

“So, I guess… nothing.” I said.

“Perfect.” He said happily. “I’ll pick you up at 6:30 PM.”

“Ok.” He then leaned in and gave me a sweet, little peck on the lips. “What are we going to do on this ‘date’?” I asked, looking deeply in his bright blue eyes.

“That, is going to be a surprise.” I gave him a small pout. He gave me another sweet peck on my lips before opening the door. “You should probably tell Oliver to make up some excuse for Dixie to want to stop hanging out with you on Saturdays before we send them home.” Zane said before he let me go in the classroom, first.

“Yeah, ok, good idea.” As soon as we walked in C.C. almost ran over to me.

“How’s your arm?” She asked. I showed her my perfectly healed arm and she grabbed it to inspect it. “How…?” She asked, confused.

“Vampire saliva has healing properties.” I said, quoting Zane. She immediately dropped my arm with a repulsed expression on her face.

“Eww!” She said as she wiped her hands on her dress. “Zane’s spit.” I laughed at her antics.

Once I calmed down a little, I asked her: “Hey, has Oliver hypnotized Dixie, yet?”

“No, I think she’s next though.” She answered, still wiping her hands on her dress. “Why?”

“Because, I don’t want to hang out with her anymore. So, maybe Oliver could make her want to get a job, or join an activity that only works on Saturday, as long as I don’t have to hang with her anymore.” I said to her. She nodded deep in thought.

“Ok, let me see what I can do.” She said before going to sit beside Oliver who just finished hypnotizing a small, strawberry blonde woman dressed in all black. ‘Hendrix’ took the woman back to the hole as C.C. talked to Oliver and then ‘Hendrix’ brought Dixie out of it.

“What are you gonna do? Eh, freak?” Dixie asked with hatred. Oliver just rolled his eyes before focusing on her.

“I will shut up now.” He said in a monotone and Dixie went quiet.

After Oliver finished hypnotizing every last one of the hunters, erasing all traces of ‘Ellithien’ knowledge from their minds, Zane offered to drive them away from the school and to a Halloween party somewhere downtown so that it fit Oliver’s story of all of them getting hammered and forgetting where they were. The only problem was that Blake had to go too, since he was the one carrying all of them in his shadow and he couldn’t just go by himself since he doesn’t have a car nor a driver’s license.

Abbigail offered to go with them and be a sort of mediator if they were to fight. They left together while C.C., Oliver and I went back to the party, stopping by Principal Mortis’s office on the way to drop the key that we used.

As we stepped outside, I left my shoes by the entrance. C.C. looked at me a moment then took off her own shoes that she placed beside mine. “Why are you doing this?” I asked her confused. Her heels aren’t broken…

“We’re supposed to be, like, light and dark twins.” She said with a bright smile. “So if you take your shoes off…” She trailed off.

“You take off yours too.” I finished her sentence.

“Exactly.” She then looped her arm through mine and we followed Oliver back to the party.

We came upon the two tree portal with the pumpkin that was smashed on the left tree ─probably those damn hunters─ and crossed to the other side. Nothing seemed out of place and the music was still thumping in the distance. C.C. summoned back her wings as we walked between the two rows of candle, Oliver dropped his pocket watch in a bowl and then we walked through the forest. We soon came upon the glass dance floor and stepped on it, it still had everybody dancing as if nothing happened, earlier.

Oliver whispered something in C.C.’s ear and then walked off. “Hey, where is he going?” I asked her, as I looked at Oliver’s retreating figure.

“He went to set up a hookah.” She said offhandedly as she looked around to see if there was anything out of place.

“Hi, Del.” Nina said, in my head. I turned around and there she was, in all her genie glory. She was floating in the air with a smoky, coral tail, wearing a matching coral baladi-style top. Her hair was up in an extremely high pony tail that showed off her pointy ears and she had a gorgeous dark blue, orange and white smokey eye. She also had Arabian writing on the right side of her neck and on her left ribs, in a dark blue ink that seemed to glow and she was wearing a ton of golden jewelry, looking overall really beautiful.

“Thanks, Del.” She said, in my head. “You look great, too.”

“Thanks.” I forgot that she could read minds for a brief moment. She seemed to be having an inner conversation with C.C. for a moment as they both stared intently at one another.

Suddenly C.C. beamed and exclaimed: “Great let’s go.” C.C. grabbed one of my arms and with the other she grabbed one of Nina’s. Where are we going?

Reading my thoughts Nina answered: “To smoke some hookah.” Ok…

We walked, (Nina floated) through the woods, following a trail of multi-colored twinkling lights in the trees, until we came upon a cave that had a lot of carpets on the floor and candles illuminating the entrance. I could still hear the music from the party as we entered. There were a lot of cushions placed in circles around the different hookahs set up throughout the place.

The only lights in the cave were black lights making the different spirals, skulls and shapes on the walls as well as the people inside, glow different colors. It looked as if there has been a ‘Day Glow’ party before they set up the hookahs, cushions and carpets in this place. There were a lot of people sitting around the hookahs, inhaling smoke and blowing out colorful smoke circles as they chatted and laughed with each other. It was all very mysterious-looking and awesome.

I then looked at C.C. and noticed that she was glowing bright pink, green, blue, orange and practically every colors of the rainbow on her dress and hair. The swirls and patterns that she painted in white on her skin were glowing blue and it was really beautiful. I then looked down at myself, I was glowing similarly to her with different colors splattered on my dress and probably hair too, the white paint on one of my arms (since the other one got cleaned up) and legs glowed the same blue as C.C. It was really special and amazing. Nina also glowed but only in varying shades of pink and orange, in swirling and splattering patterns. It was really pretty.

Oliver was sitting alone in the right corner of the room with a hookah in front of him, and was glowing green and orange from hat to shoes. We walked over to him and sat on the colorful cushions in a circle. Once we sat down Oliver took one of the little bottles he had on his hat and from it, he removed a small bright pink coal that he put on the bowl of the hookah. A bright pink coal? He took a puff from the hookah and blew bright pink smoke as a goofy smile appeared on his face.

He looked high ─ and after just one puff. What the hell?

“He is high.” Nina said to my thoughts. Oliver then passed the hose to C.C. who inhaled the bright pink smoke and when she blew it out, a smile mirroring her boyfriend’s took over her features. Oh my god, my friends are doing drugs! I need to get out of here. Are they out of their friggin minds? “Relax, Del. It’s like drug, but it’s really not.” Nina said, trying to calm me down. How can it be like drugs but not be drugs, I thought as she took the hose and inhaled the pink smoke. “It’s called ‘Eezz’ and has practically the same effects of Mary-Juana mixed with ecstasy but without the negative side effects.” She said, then she blew the pink smoke in a ring and added as an after thought: “For the people of our world, anyway…” She then passed me the hose. “Here, try it.” I looked at it not really sure if I should. “Go on, it’s not going to kill you, I promise.”

Oh, what the heck. I inhaled the pink smoke but since I never smoked before I choked on it. Not going to kill me… right. They all begin to laugh. After she calmed down from her laughing fit and I stopped choking on pink smoke, C.C. asked: “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I replied in a raspy voice. I’m not going to touch that again, I thought but then a warm fuzzy feeling develop over me and I felt great. Maybe I could try it again, after all.

“See, I told yah.” Nina said as she took another draft off the hose. Seb, ─Nina’s boyfriend─ joined us and gave her a small kiss before sitting down next to her. He was wearing a blue glowing turban on his head with an emerald in the front. He was shirtless and had glowing, Arabian writing on his ribs like Nina. He didn’t have a smoky tail though but instead he had a long skinny dark blue tail coming out of his blue glowing baggie pants held with a bright green glowing sash belt. He also had lots of glowing purple, green and blue paint splattering all over his body.

We passed the hookah’s hose around a few times and Oliver changed the coal to a bright green one when the pink one was done and we smoked that one too.

After we finished the green one, we were pretty much all high and I was almost able to blow smokes ring ─almost. We chilled around a little while longer but then C.C. stood up along with Nina.

“Let’s go guys. Wouldn’t want to miss the fireworks, now… right?” She said as she helped Oliver stand up. Nina gave me a hand as Seb stood by himself and then we all went outside. We walked for a while and arrived at the meadow where there were the two rows of candles and a lot of people from the party. “Nina, could you…?” C.C. asked, motioning to all the candles. Without a word, or maybe she answered C.C. in her mind… Nina extinguished all the candles with just a flick of her hand. Wow… that was awesome. “Are you guys ready?” C.C. asked, excitedly.

Before we had time to answer, a big, white, chrysanthemum firework exploded in the night sky quickly followed by several tiny, champagne colored, waterfall ones. It was magical.

The only thing missing would be strong arms to cuddle with. The two couples I was with were doing it and I felt a little alone, on my own. I didn’t have to wait for long though and soon I felt two strong arms grab a hold of me from behind. “Missed me.” Zane whispered in my ear and I leaned back into him. I grabbed one of his hands and kissed the palm of it instead of answering verbally, as we continued to watch the show.

After the fireworks, it was getting pretty late and we were all tired from all that’s happened ─with the exception of Zane, but whatever. They all grabbed their trinkets from the glass bowl and returned to their human appearance. We then all made our way through the portal and back to the school. C.C. and I grabbed our shoes by the entrance of the school and we all made our way to the dormitories.

We said our goodbyes to Seb and Nina on the third floor before C.C., Oliver, Zane and I went to take the elevator to go to the first floor. We rode the elevator in silence and stepped out on the first floor, where mine and C.C.’s room was. Oliver and Zane then walked us to the door. Zane kissed me good night and then left with Oliver, leaving me with a stunned C.C gaping at me.

She then seemed to snap out of it and hurriedly unlock the door before throwing it open and dragging me inside.

“What was that!?” She exclaimed, as soon as she closed the door, looking at me as if I had just lost my mind. Here we go…

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