Life of Fear – Chapter 1

The Attack

   It was on a dark Sunday night that Linden was walking home, scared and cold. She hated the dark, and she really wished she would get home as soon as possible. She walked quickly, with large steps, looking only at her feet and a few feet beyond. There were no other people on the street at all – the village she lived in died out pretty early – and there were few sounds. She could hear dogs barking a few houses back, a few birds and her own footsteps.

The lights of the lampposts weren’t enough to make her feel comfortable. She counted them to keep track of the progress she made without having to look up and see how dark it was in front of her.

She thought she heard a sound next to her, but thought it had to be just the wind or something blowing a soda can around. If it was anything at all – she was used to imagining things like that if she was afraid. She didn’t look up; looking up would only frighten her more. She kept moving, focusing only on the rhythm with which she stepped. Thinking only of the hot chocolate she could drink at home, in her cozy chair with the book she was reading.

But she heard the sound again, and this time it seemed to come right from behind her, much more clearly than before. It was the sound of a foot being put against the cold floor, softly, but audibly. Linden even thought she could hear breathing.

Her foot paused slightly, hovering above the floor, before she forced herself to continue at a somewhat faster pace than before. She was almost running.

There were definitely footsteps behind her now, following her. Frustrated with herself, she stopped, closing her eyes with a sigh. The person behind her stopped as well, and she turned, looking to see who was behind her. Whoever it was, she figured, couldn’t be scarier than what her imagination would make of it.

There was no one there. The street behind her was entirely deserted, not a soul in sight. Confused, she turned back around, just in time to see a dark figure jump upon her, covering her mouth with their gloved hand. Her eyes opened widely and she tried to scream, but there was no way for the sound to pass the fabric.

She fell backwards on the floor, but her head was caught in the person’s other hand gently. Panicking, she started fighting, trying to push the hands away from her and to kick the body kneeling by her. It was no use – this person was incredibly strong and could hold her easily.

She saw the face, now – it was a young woman, probably just out of her teens, with brown hair, a soft nose and pink lips. Her eyes were glowing frighteningly yellow.

She sat upon her, pushing one arm to the ground and sitting her knee upon it, then doing the same with the other.Linden’s legs couldn’t reach her, the way the woman was bending forwards, and her arms were being painfully crushed under her weight, pinned entirely. She still couldn’t make a sound, and all she could do was shock her body, throwing her legs up in an attempt to reach her assaulter, mumbling incoherently.

“Relax!” the woman said with a deep, hissing, rattling voice that sounded hardly human. Was she serious? Linden only began kicking more wildly, almost reaching the woman and kicking her off, but not quite.

The woman cursed under her breath and bent forward, her head nearing Linden’s. For the slightest second, her world paused as she thought the woman was going to kiss her, but then she realized that wasn’t what was going to happen. Instead, her face closed in on her neck, and for a second, everything seemed to go quiet and Linden’s movements slowed down, surprised. But then, a freezing cold spread from her neck and through the rest of her body, slowly diminishing until it was followed after a few seconds by an intense pain. Her body shook by itself, out of her control, and tears spontaneously sprung into her eyes.

The pain spread as well, but didn’t lessen. It lay over Linden’s body as a blanket and warmed her uncomfortably. Especially her neck was radiantly hot.

Her body was still having spasms out of her control, and she could barely think straight. Only now did she feel that she was being bitten, in the neck. A slurping sound could be heard, echoing on the wall that was next to them.

Although fear showered over Linden now more and more every second as she slowly came to her senses, this didn’t seem much worse yet than fearing something that was still to happen. The bad part was the pain, even though it was doing an increasingly worse job of keeping the thoughts out of her head.

The sound continued, and she felt weaker and weaker as the blood was drained from her body. Tears ran down her cheek as her tired mind realized that what was happening was real, and that she had to act. She tightened all her muscles, noticing that they responded to her again, and literally threw her body off of the ground all at once. She surprised the woman sitting on top of her, and brought her out of balance for the slightest second, long enough to free her arms. With them, she pushed the woman away, who still wasn’t in the right position to resist. She fell, and Linden jumped up, dizzy from the loss of blood that was still continuing. It was still gushing out of the wound in her neck. For a slight second, Linden could see the expression on the falling woman’s face, before she started running. It was a horrified expression, completely desperate.

Linden wasn’t even afraid to look ahead anymore, and she ran as fast as she could with this weak and empty feeling. She held her hand against her neck, trying to prevent the blood from getting out and the pain from taking over. She felt as cold as ice. Turning the corner to the left, she entered the park, hearing the woman crawling up behind her and following. She felt her heart as if it was beating in her throat. After the park, she was as good as home, where she would be safe.

She cut straight through the grassy area in the center, zigzagging through the trees. She didn’t hear anything behind her for a while and felt like she was actually going to make it.

However, behind her the footsteps suddenly returned, and they were gaining on her faster than she could ever have feared. Before she could think twice about it, she heard her follower forcefully push her own feet off of the floor and fly through the air, and she was once again jumped. She fell over, and before knowing it, the woman’s teeth were once again in her neck at the same spot, sucking the blood out of her. This time, she fought with all her might, but the weight of the woman alone was enough to keep her constrained. Though she kept trying and trying and trying, there was just no way she could get away anymore, especially with her strength drained as much as it was.

Instead of the warmth that she had felt before, she now felt colder and colder by the second. Slowly, as the last bit of her strength left her, her body calmed down and so did her mind. Then, when she thought she couldn’t possibly get any colder than she already was, she started sinking down into herself, or maybe into the ground underneath her. The last thing she thought of was her family back home, and that she would never see them again.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It was as if the pain she felt was what had awakened her. For a second, it was as if she’d never stopped being conscious and she was still being assaulted. She realized that she had, when she noticed the pain she felt was of a different kind than before. And this time, it wasn’t hindering her ability to think.

She felt a finger with a glove around on her lips, then a few more on her chin, pulling her mouth open. Startled, she frowned and opened her eyes, something she hadn’t wanted to do because she hurt too much. Her sight was blurry, probably from the headache she was having. The first thing she did see was brown hair that she recognized. When she looked a bit down, after a second of focusing, she saw the face of the woman that had killed her, the eyes still yellow as before.

Again, the panic seemed to take over her bodily functions. Her breathing quickened and she started sweating. Her entire body retreated from the woman, trying desperately to get away. It worked, but as soon as she moved, the pain took over. It seemed to burn her all over, especially in her mouth and her head. What had this woman done to her?

The woman looked up surprised as she saw Linden move away from her. Linden could just make out the image of her smiling, her hand held up next to her face with blood dripping from the glove, before the blurriness of her vision increased so strongly that there was almost nothing left to see. She fell off of something, landing on the upper side of her back. Now, her vision decreased even more, and in a blind desperation, she got up and stumbled as far back as she could.

Acutely, the pain in her head intensified so much that her knees succumbed to it and she grabbed her head on both sides with her hands. She screamed, and it was the first sound that she had heard since she woke up, except for her own breathing. It was as if her ears only now started listening.

After that, she simply fell forwards, flat on her face, unconscious again.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

When she woke up again, the pain was as good as gone. She could see and think straight again and felt a lot calmer than before. Carefully, she squinted through her eyes. She was lying on her back again, and above her was a wooden ceiling. She proceeded to looking around to see if she was alone. She seemed to be, but she couldn’t see all from her current position. There seemed to be nothing in the room but what she was on top of and a door and two windows in one of the walls. She could see that it was night outside.

She tried not to make a noise as she pushed herself up slightly, putting herself in a position from where she could see the entire room.

It was a pretty dark place, with only a very dim light coming from the center of the ceiling. The corners weren’t visible because of the darkness, so unless someone was hiding in there, she was by herself here. A fearful shiver went through her as she lay back down for a second to catch her breath. Then she got back up, sitting on what she had been lying on. It was a small but high wooden table with a blanket draped over it.

She was pretty sore from lying still like that for such a long time, though she wasn’t quite sure how long it had been. She took a moment to stretch her muscles and feel inside her mouth to see if there was blood, which there wasn’t, before she got up. Then, she quickly ran over to where she saw the only door was and stood behind it. That way, if someone were to enter, she could try to keep them out by pushing against the door. However, if it would be the same woman that had attacked her before, she would undoubtedly be able to break through, or just push her away with the door, strong as she had been.

Holding one foot against the door,Linden leaned away to look out one of the windows. It was very dark and there were barely any lights at all, but somehow she could still see what was going on quite clearly.

There were a lot of people strolling about, but none of them were paying attention to her or the building she was in. Outside were a few other buildings, surrounding a little more than one side of a large dirt field that everybody seemed to be spread over. The biggest one was a farm, the others were barns and stables.

Linden looked at the moon; it was a new one.

Most of the people she saw wandering around were rather young, her age mostly, give or take a few years. There were a few around that were a lot older though, close to their thirties, or even in or above them. She didn’t see the woman that had assaulted her.

She hid again, standing with her back against the wall. She wondered what to do. The most logical thing seemed to her to be to just go outside and walk through all these people, trying to find her way home. That woman wouldn’t dare to hurt her when there were so many others around, would she? Maybe she could even ask someone for directions to get home. If only she had brought her mobile phone with her, she could even ask her mom to pick her up…

Common sense got to her, reminding her that although her attacker had been the only one to be here with her when she was conscious, there were many people around and nothing was keeping this building shut. Anyone could’ve walked in and saw her. It was highly likely that someone had already, while she was unconscious. So, if nobody was doing anything about her being here, did that mean they were all in on this? It didn’t seem possible, but if it were true, then they wouldn’t let her leave either. She had to think of something else.

There were footsteps nearing. It was the same sound she had heard when that woman had attacked her before. Her shoes!

Not knowing what else to do, she ran back and jumped on top of the blanket, closing her eyes as if she was still asleep. It seemed like the safest option to her at the time.

The door opened and shut, and the footsteps closed in on her. It took a lot of effort to keep her eyes closed, but she managed. She paid a lot of attention to keeping her breathing from being audible, as well. The woman stopped next to the table and bent over her to look at her closely.Linden swallowed, hoping it wouldn’t be noticed that she was awake.

She had barely thought it when the woman talked. Her voice was different, though; not as damaged sounding, more normal. “So, you’re awake,” she said. How could she tell? “Welcome to your new life,” she continued. “I’m Lucania, but you can call me Lucy.”

Still,Linden didn’t respond and pretended to be asleep, hoping that the woman was bluffing and didn’t at all know she was awake. Maybe she did this everytime she came to check on her, to catch her.

“You can stop pretending now,” Lucania continued. “I know you’re awake. I saw you swallow. You don’t swallow like that when you’re unconscious. Besides…” She paused and Linden could feel her leaning in real close, trying to intimidate her. “I could smell you near the door. You’ve been there, haven’t you? Go on, open your eyes!”

Linden had to suppress her every urge to not swallow again. She felt her eyes flutter a little, but she kept pretending and didn’t open her eyes. She was increasingly insecure, though, and practically sure that Lucania wasn’t doubting at all.

Lucania strongly pulled her eyelids away with her fingers, this time without a glove around it. Her skin felt cold.Linden felt herself staring straight at that face again and she thought she was going to be sick. “Hello???” Lucania practically spit the word into her face.Linden could feel her eyes focusing on the woman’s face instead of on the ceiling, as they had been first, and knew that it was a tell-tale sign that she was awake. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to keep her eyes open when Lucania let go.

Having walked a few steps around, Lucania was now standing back next to the table. “Jesus you’re stubborn!”

There was a short silence. “Let’s see if this wakes you up,” she said out loud and pushed Linden forcefully, rolling her off of the wooden table and making her fall on the hard wooden floor. She landed with her entire weight on just a few fingers that she instinctively held out at the last moment in an attempt to catch herself. It was painful.

Defeated,Linden kept lying still, not because she was still pretending to be asleep, but because she was afraid, and because she didn’t want Lucania to see the tears that were taking shape in her eyes.

“Get up,” Lucania ordered. “You have to get outside.”

Linden didn’t move.

“GET UP!” Lucania yelled at her. Startled, Lucania began to crawl up. Though the woman hadn’t moved an inch,Linden knew that if she wouldn’t respond, she would be pushed around or beaten again. So, she got up, slowly, shaking, avoiding eye contact.

“And answer me.”

Linden took a deep breath, and said, “I can’t.”

Lucania was silent for a while, as if she was reveling in the unexpected joy of getting a reply. “Can’t get out? Why not?”

“I’m…”Linden closed her eyes and a tear rolled out.

“You’re what?”

She licked her lips. “I’m… I’m afraid to.”

“You’re AFRAID to? I can tell you right now that I’m far more scary than anything else you’re gonna find out there.”

Linden shook her head softly to herself. Lucania took a step closer, but Linden quickly jumped backwards, still too afraid to come near her, sitting down to make herself smaller. Lucania accepted this and stopped trying to approach her. “What are you afraid of?”

Linden didn’t respond in the least, so that it almost looked like she hadn’t heard Lucania at all.

“Well then, since you don’t wanna get out, I’ll just have to get the others in to meet you, right?”

Again,Linden kept her mouth shut, and just moved a bit more back to the corner, making herself even smaller. Lucania sighed and left.

For a second,Linden didn’t realize she had actually gone. Then, when she saw Lucania pass the window a few seconds later, she jumped up and ran over to the door. She tried to open it, but it was now locked. She looked next to her and saw the window. Jumping in front of it, she saw that Lucania was yelling to all the people that were outside on the field, and they all turned to look at the building she was in. There was no way she was going to get away now.

Maybe, she thought, she should just wait and seem like she trusted everyone, didn’t want to leave at all and certainly didn’t think this entire situation was fucking creepy and weird, until they weren’t paying attention anymore, and then leave. It sounded like a good idea to her, even though it meant she would have to stay here even longer. Besides, maybe someone here would understand she didn’t want to be here and help her get away.

Slowly, she started backing away from the window and her original plan to break through it and run. Then, when she saw Lucania returning, she fled back to the corner she had been earlier, no matter the darkness. Lucania was even scarier than the darkness.

Lucania was followed by a huge group of people. All entered the wooden building. It looked to Linden like it were about twenty people, and it got pretty crowded in a matter of seconds.Linden was forced to retreat more and more into her corner, trying to get away from all the curious faces and the talking and whispering. She was horrified by all the glinstering goldenlike eyes that were gazing at her.

A loud, low female voice sounded and most of the other sounds died out pretty quickly. “Quiet everyone, and stop pushing! Give her some room! Hello, passing through!”

A large, strong woman with a nose ring pushed her way towards Linden, who looked away to the wall to her right, ending up next to Lucania, who was standing at a slight distance, staring at Linden with a smirk. She had the same creepy yellow eyes as everybody else in the room. The new woman slowly, carefully neared, as if not to scare her. She held her hands out at all times to show she wasn’t going to do anything. Everybody watched and it remained almost quiet in the building.

Finally, the woman knelt in front of Linden. Softly, she introduced herself. “Hello. I’m Coline Tamsen. I’m sorry about… well, all of this. These people can be a bit, err, tactless sometimes.”

Linden slowly looked up at the woman, ignoring all the other faces in the back. Not only did this woman sound nice, she also sounded ‘real’, more so than Lucania or any of these other voices behind her. She nodded.

“What’s your name?” Coline asked.

It took a lot of courage for Linden to even open her mouth to speak at the moment, but she did and told the woman her first name. She added, “…I want to go home now.”

Coline’s expression changed from attentive to concerned and she sighed. “I gotta be straight with you girl… you can’t go home.” She looked around at Lucania, making Linden remember the presence of the others and recoiling again. “I see you didn’t tell her anything Luce? Good work.”

“Why can’t I go home?”Linden asked.

“You’re… you’re…” Coline licked her lips. She was having a lot of trouble with the conversation.

“For fuck’s sake,” Lucania suddenly spoke out, “You’re a vampire now, that’s why. Like all of us. Look, here -” She pulled the corner of her mouth away with her finger to show the teeth in the corner. One was pointy, extremely pointy, not at all like a tooth anymore… more like a fang. “And I’ve bitten you, and turned you into a vampire.”

A dead silence fell over the room and even the few whispers that had been ongoing until then ceased. After a few seconds, Coline said, “Oh, that’s real nice, Luce. Now get the fuck out of here.”

Lucania didn’t move a muscle at first.

“NOW!” Coline said with a lot of emphasis.

Rolling her eyes, Lucania turned around and pushed her way through the crowd that unwillingly parted for her, and left.

Coline looked back at Linden, whose face wasn’t showing a single emotion. Her eyes stared blankly into the distance. Uncomfortably, Coline extended an arm to Linden to soothe her, but the girl pulled back, pushing herself even deeper into the corner forcibly, so Coline let her arm fall back.

She got up and turned to face all the others in the room. “Alright then… get out everyone. I need to talk to Linden by myself now. You can come back and introduce yourselves later.”

Obediently, the people in the room started leaving, now breaking their silence by talking and footsteps.Linden looked up without lifting her head, chin against chest, to see if everybody was really getting out. One of the people there drew her attention. This woman stood out a lot from the rest because of her age. She appeared to be somewhere near eighty years of age. For a woman her age, she walked very energetically, however.

“Gladys, Jonathon, could you wait a while?” Coline said and a girl of about eighteen years and a boy of Linden’s age stopped and looked at her. Coline walked over to them and whispered something to them. They both nodded and then walked out as well, leaving Linden alone in the room with Coline.

Coline knelt back in front of Linden, remaining sympathetically silent for a while, allowing her a moment to catch her breath. After that, she tried again to connect to Linden. “Linden…”

Linden looked up at Coline, but looked back away almost immediately.

“Linden, what Lucy said was true. You…”

Without warning,Linden broke out into tears and fell into Coline’s arms, no longer worrying about whether or not she could trust her. Coline, startled, hugged her close and allowed her to calm down.

A few moments later, Jonathon entered the room again. “Hey,” he said. “I brought the…” When he saw Lindenin Coline’s arms, being gently shaken from left to right and back again, he stopped. Taking one big, silent step, he reached the wooden table, moved the blanket a little so he could put the glass of water he brought firmly on it, and left without making another noise.


 

Author’s note: Hey, I hope you liked it so far… thanks for reading =) I plan to continue, but I take a while to write often. It really helps me, however, to receive feedback, positive as well as negative. So please, if you have anything to say and a moment to spare, send me a mail at [email protected]. Thanks!

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