An hour later, the guards left our house with a promise of an investigation and assurance that it was safe. The five of us gathered in the living room, faces stained with tears and grief-stricken.
Because there were five of us. My parents, Warren, Charles, and myself.
The Darkbloods had taken Terrance like they'd taken me as a baby. Charles' back was missing a chunk, and his arm was broken. Warren's nose was broken, and his calf had a bitemark in it. My parents were worse, with identical cuts down their arms that had been bleeding like crazy and slashes across their toned stomachs. I was the best off, physically, but the most out of it.
I should've been here, I cried to myself, picturing Terrance's face as he got dragged away. The last interaction between us had been me laughing at him for fighting with his twin about liking a girl. It had been me mocking him and Warren.
I glanced at the twin in the room. He looked horrified with himself, and I figured he was reliving the fight they had. I wondered if they'd made up before Darkbloods attacked.
At the thought of the beasts, my wounds began to throb. My shoulders were bleeding, but the bite on my arm was bruising, looking purple and green. Despite not hitting my head, it was pounding as if my skull had been cracked open. What was worse was the silence. All we could do was wait for the guards to bring Terrance home, or deliver us the news of his death.
My stomach churned, and I rose from my spot on the sofa and ran toward the bathroom. Silence followed as I collapsed, holding into the sink as I stared at myself in the mirror. Blood soaked through my leather and cloth tunic, my hair fell in tangles, and dirt was smudged across my cheek.
Then, my night got worse. As I stared at myself in the mirror, I watched as a spot of black flashed through the exposed skin under my tunic. It caught my attention, I continued to watch as two more appeared. Despite the loss of my brother, I was disturbed by whatever was travelling belwo my skin, and peeled off my tunic.
This time, I saw it happen. The bitemark on my arm, bruised and scabbing over, had turned black around the edges. The black substance had oozed in my veins, and bits of it were being carried along with blood throughout them. Those drops of strange fluid were the black, dark flashed under my skin.
And they terrified me.
A Darkblood bite mixing with my blood.
I could be killed for this if anyone finds out.
This time, I threw up, my fear controlling my body. The second the burning sensation in my mouth was gone, I pulled my tunic back on and left the bathroom, beelining for my room. My family, still in shock in the living room, didn't voice their questions as I holed up in my bedroom, staring out the window.
My brother was gone, and I was infected.
Perhaps this wouldn't be up for the guards to deal with alone. If I was infected by a Darkblood, I didn't know what would happen to me. It would be safer for my family if I was out searching for my brother when the Darkblood's influence either killed me, or worse.
I sighed, exhausted. I didn't have it in me to run away tonight, not now after losing Terrance. The eldest of the Rose children, since he'd been born minutes before Warren. My big, reckless brother who's freckles could form an elephant if you pinched the skin just right. The cheery boy who was going to protect people, and help them.
Damn Darkbloods, I thought, rolling onto my stomach. Shutting my eyes, I felt my breath even out until it came to a steady, slow rhythm.
I'll wake up and realize this was all a dream, I thought, drifting off.
Sunlight warmed my cheek, while drool cooled the other. Waking up was a slow process for me, and I gradually came to as the sunlight warmed my face and bed. Pushing myself up, I noticed that I was sore in my shoulders and along my arm, and that my clothes from the day before were ripped, and still on my body. Chastising myself for being lazy, I stumbled to my closet and pulled out fresh clothes before stumbling to the bathroom and washing up. Glancing at my body, I noticed that there were dark circles on my shoulders and one forearm, but otherwise nothing. Even the pain was fading. I finished up and pulled on my clothes, tugging a brush through my hair. The house was quiet, and I figured that I had woken up earlier than normal since everyone else seemed to still be snoring.
That was until I walked into the kitchen and saw my family sitting around the table in grieving silence. The marks on their faces and peeking out from under their clothes reminded me of the attack from last night and of the bloody wounds that should've been on my body. Though I was thankful that the infection seemed to have been a fleeting thing, I was bewildered as to why I felt fine.
Then the thought of Terrance took over my mind, and I joined in on the stricken sadness. Charles didn't even glance up from his cold breakfast as I sat down beside him, taking my portion from the breakfast foods in front of me. When I laid the utensils back on their platters, I noticed that there was still approximately a full portion sitting untouched.
I grimaced. It was as if Terrance was already dead. Instead of eating, I sat there staring at the tabletop, suffocating.
"We should go after him," I blurted, my eyes teary. "The royal forces already have too many cases that are unsolved. They can't search for him as well as we could!"
My mother flew out of her chair, hand clamping down on my shoulder. Her fingers pressed against the bruises, causing me to bite my lip. "Katlyn! That's enough! We aren't in good enough shape to go on a wild goose chase, and you, who conveniently left right before--"
My blood boiled, and I leapt to my feet, knocking my chair over. "You know I didn't plan for our family to get attacked by Darkbloods!" I screamed back at her, tears running down my cheeks.
"Oh really?" She continued, face red. "You left right before they attacked! You were barely even hurt, and now you're not even scratched! You're the runt who lost her magic -- you've been taken before! You are one of them--"
I saw red, and slammed my hand down into the table -- but not just into it. My palm drive straight through the wooden table, and sent food flying. It successfully cut my mother off, who began staring at me as I panted, my hand barely even red.
"I am not a Darkblood," I snarled, my eyes hard but trained on the floor. Silence met my ears, and I stomped out of the room.
I am no Darkblood.