Sunday, March 3, 2019
The Return: Nightfall Chapter 25
matte lunged at Damon in a lot that clearly exhibit the skills that had gotten him a college football scholarship. He accelerated from utter stillness to a blur of motion, exhausting to tackle Damon, to bring him down.Run, he sh break throughed, at the equal instant.RunElena s withald still, hard to come up with Plan A later this disaster. She had been forced to watch Stefans humiliation at Damons hands at the boardinghouse, only if she didnt think she could stand to identify this. more(prenominal)over when she looked again, sluggishness was standing round a dozen yards from Damon, white- baptisteryd and grim, scarce alive and on his feet. He was preparing to rush Damon again.And Elenacouldnt run. She knew that it would probably be the best social function Damon might punish prostrate briefly but most of his attention would be turned to catch her down. simply she couldnt be confident(predicate). And she couldnt be sure that the punishment wouldnt kill flat, or th at he would be able to draw a way onwards Damon ground her and had leisure time to think of him again.No, nonthis Damon, pitiless and remorseless as he was.There must be some way she could to the highest degree experience wheels spinning in her own head.And wherefore she power saw it.No, non that nevertheless what else was there to do? flatness was, indeed, rushing Damon again, and this time as he went for him, lithe and unstoppable and fast as a darting snake, she saw what Damon did. He plain sidestepped at the last moment, unspoiled when savourless was slightly to get up him with a shoulder. mats momentum unplowed him going, but Damon simply turned in endue and faced him again. Then he picked up his damned waste branch. It was broken at the end where Matt had trampled it.Damon frowned at the stick, so shrugged, lifting it and indeed both he and Matt stopped frozen. Something came sailing in from the sidelines to settle down on the ground between them. It lay t here, stirring in the breeze.It was a maroon and navy Pend allowon shirt. two of the boys turned slowly toward Elena, who was wearing a white lacy camisole. She shivered slightly and wrapped her arms around herself. It seemed unco c gray-haired for this time of evening.Very slowly, Damon lowered the pine branch.Saved by yourinamorata , he verbalize to Matt.I go to bed what that means and its not true, Matt give birth tongue to. Shes my friend, not my girlfriend.Damon simply smilingd distantly. Elena could opinion his eyes on her bargon arms. Soon to the next step, he say.Elena wasnt surprised. Heartsick but not surprised. incomplete was she surprised to see, when Damon turned to look from her to Matt and top, a flash of red. It seemed to be reflected on the inside of his sunglasses.Now, he said to Elena. I think well allot you over there on that rock, mannequin of half reclining. only world-class another(prenominal) kiss. He looked back at Matt. Get with the program, Matt youre blow time. First, maybe you kiss her hair, consequently she throws her head back and you kiss her neck, period she honks her arms around your shoulders.Matt, panorama Elena. Damon had saidMatt . It had slipped out so easily, so innocently. Suddenly her undefiled brain, and her body, likewise, seemed to be vibrating as if to a single note of music, seemed to be fill by an icy shower-bath. And what the note was saying was not shocking, because it was something that somehow, at a subliminal level, she already knew.Thats not Damon.This wasnt the person she had known for was it really only nine or ten months? She had seen him when she was a human girl, and she had defied him and desired him in equal measure and he had seemed to love her best when she was defying him.She had seen him when she was a lamia and had been drawn to him with all her being, and he had cared for her as if she were a child.She had seen him when she was a center, and from the futurity she had learned a great deal.He was a womanizer, he could be callous, he drifted through his victims lives like a chimera, like a catalyst, changing other people while he himself remained unchanging and unchanged. He perplex humans, confused them, used them leaving them bewildered, because he had the charm of the devil.And never unitary time had she seen him break his al-Quran. She had a rock-bottom feeling that this wasnt something that was a decision, it was so much(prenominal) a part of Damon, lodged so deep in his subconscious, that even he couldnt do anything to change it. He couldnt break his word. Hed starve scratch.Damon was still talk of the town to Matt, giving him orders. and consequently take off herSo what close his word to be her bodyguard, to keep her from harm?He was talking to her now. So you know when to throw your head back? After he Who are you?What?You harken me.Who are you? If you had really seen Stefan off and promised him to take care of me, n unrivalle d of this would perplex happened. Oh, you might be messing with Matt, but not in front of me. Youre not Damons not stupid. He knows what a bodyguard is. He knows that wat get upg Matt in pain in the neck hurts me as well. Youre not Damon. Whoareyou?Matts strength and fast-as-a-rattlesnake promote hadnt done any good. Maybe a different approach would work. As Elena spoke, she had been very(prenominal) slowly reaching up to Damons face. Now, with one motion, she pulled his sunglasses off. look red as fresh new beginning shone out at her.What stir you done?she whispered. What have you done to Damon?Matt was out of the lay out of her voice but had been inching around, trying to get her attention. She wished fervently that Matt would just make a run for it himself. Here, he was just another way for this creature to shamefulmail her.Without seeming to move quickly, the Damon-thing reached down and snatched the sunglasses from her hand. It was overly fast for her to resist.Then h e seized her articulatio radiocarpea in a chafed grip.This would be a lot easier on both of you if youd collaborate, he said casually. You dont seem to realize what might happen if you make me angry.His grip was forcing her down, forcing her to kneel. Elena obstinate not to let it. But unfortunately her body didnt destiny to cooperate it sent urgent messages of pain to her mind, of badgering, of burning, searing agony. She had thought that she could ignore it, could stand to let him break her wrist. She was wrong. At some point something in her brain blacked out completely, and the next thing she knew she was on her knees with a wrist that felt deuce-ace times the right size and burned fiercely.Human weakness, Damon said scornfully. It leave alone get you every time. You should know better than to disobey me, by now. non Damon,Elena thought, so vehemently that she was surprised the imposter didnt hear her. all(prenominal) right, Damons voice continued above her as cheerfully as if hed simply given her a suggestion. You go sit on that rock, leaning backward, and Matt, if youll just come over here, facing her. The tone was of polite command, but Matt snub it and was beside her already, looking at the finger marks on Elenas wrist as if he didnt hope them.Matt stands up, Elena sits, or the opposite one gets the full treatment. Have fun, kiddies. Damon had the palm-camera out again.Matt consulted Elena with his eyes. She looked at the imposter and said, enunciating carefully, Go to hell, whoever you are.Been there, done that, bought the brimstone, the not-Damon creature rattled off. He gave Matt a smile that was both luminescent and terrifying. Then he waggled the pine branch.Matt ignored it. He waited, his face stoic, for the pain to hit.Elena struggled up to stand by him. berth by side, they could defy Damon.Who seemed for a moment to be out of his mind. Youre trying to pretend youre not afraid of me. But you provide be. If you had any sense, you would be now.Belligerently, he took a step toward Elena.Why arent you afraid of me?Whoever you are, youre just an large bully. Youve hurt Matt. Youve hurt me. Im sure you can kill us. But were not afraid of bullies.You will be afraid. Now Damons voice had dropped to a endanger whisper. Just wait.Even as something was ringing in Elenas ears, telling her to beware to those last words, to make a connection who did that die like? the pain hit.Her knees were knocked out by it. But she wasnt just kneeling now. She was trying to accumulate into a ball, trying to curl around the agony. All rational thought was swept from her head. She sensed Matt beside her, trying to hold her, but she could no more communicate with him than she could fly. She shuddered and fell to her side, as if having a seizure. Her entire macrocosm was pain, and she only heard voices as if they came from far away. checker it Matt sounded frantic.Stop it Are you crazy? ThatsElena , for Gods sake Do you want to kill he r ?And then the not-Damon-thing advising him mildly, I wouldnt try that again, but the only sound Matt do was a scream of primal rage.Caroline Bonnie was raging, pacing back and forth in Stefans room while Meredith did something else with the computer. Howdare she?She doesnt dare try to ack-ack gun Stefan or Elena outright theres the oath, Meredith said. So shes thought this up to get at all of us.But Matt Oh, Matts handy, Meredith said grimly. And unfortunately theres the matter of the somatic evidence on both of them.What do you mean? Matt doesnt The scratches, my dear, put in Mrs. Flowers, looking sad, from your razor-toothed bug. The poultice I put on will have healed them so that theyll look like a girls fingernail scratches about now. And the mark it left wing on your neck Mrs. Flowers coughed delicately. It looks like what in my twenty-four hour period was called a love bite. Perhaps a sign of a rendezvous that ended in force? Not that your friend would ever do anyth ing like that.And remember how Caroline looked when we saw her, Bonnie? Meredith said dryly. Not the crawling around Ill bet anything shes walking just fine now. But her face. She had a black eye coming in and a sleeveless cheek. Perfect for the time frame.Bonnie felt as if everyone was two go ahead of her. Whattime frame?The night the bug attacked Matt. It was the morning after that that the sheriff called and talked to him. Matt admitted that his mother hadnt seen him all night, and that Neighborhood Watch guy saw Matt drive up to his house and, basically, pass out.That was from the bug poison. Hed just been flake the malachWe know that. But theyll say hed just come back from struggle Caroline. Carolines mother will hardly be fit to testify you saw how she was. So whos to say that Matt wasnt over at Carolines? Especially if he was planning assault.We are We can vouch for him Bonnie suddenly stumbled to a halt. No, I guess it was after he left that this was supposed to have happened. But, no, this is all wrong She took up pacing again. I saw one of those bugs up close and it was exactly the way Matt described.And whats left of it now? Nothing. Besides, theyll say that you would sayanything for him.Bonnie couldnt stand just walking aimlessly around anymore. She had to get to Matt, had to warn him if they could even find him or Elena. I thoughtyou were the one who couldnt wait a minute to find them, she said accusingly to Meredith.I know I was. But I had to look something up and besides I wanted one more try at that page only vampires are supposed to read. TheShi no Shi one. But Ive tweaked the blind in all the ways I can think of, and if theres something indite here, I certainly cant find it.Best not to waste more time on it, then, Mrs. Flowers said. acclaim get into your jacket, my dear. Shall we take the Yellow wheeler or not?For just a moment Bonnie had a wild vision of a horse-drawn vehicle, a sort of Cinderella private instructor but not pu mpkin-shaped. Then she remembered seeing Mrs. Flowers ancient Model T painted yellow parked inside what must be the old stables that belonged to the boardinghouse.We did better when we were on foot than weor Matt did in a car, said Meredith, giving the computer monitor controls a final vicious click. Were more mobile than oh, my GodI did it Did what?The website. Come look at this.Both Bonnie and Mrs. Flowers came over to the computer. The screen was bright greens with thin, faint, dark green writing.Howdid you do it? Bonnie demanded as Meredith bent to get a notebook and pen to copy down what they saw.I dont know. I just tweaked the colouring settings one last time Id already tried and true it for Power Saver, showtime Battery, High Resolution, High Contrast, and every combination I could think of.They stared at the words.Tired of that lapis lazuli?Want to take a vacation in Hawaii?Sick of that same old liquid cuisine?Come and visit Shi no Shi.After that came an ad for the Death of Death, a place where vampires could be cured of their cursed state and become human again. And then there was an overcompensate. Just a city road, no mention of what state, or, for that matter, what city. But it was a Clue.Stefan didnt mention a road address, Bonnie said.Maybe he didnt want to scare Elena, Meredith said grimly. Or maybe, when he looked at the page, the address wasnt there.Bonnie shivered. Shi no Shi I dont like the sound of it. And dont laugh at me, she added to Meredith defensively. Remember what Stefan said about trusting my intuition?Nobodys laughing, Bonnie. We need to get to Elena and Matt. What does your intuition tell you about that?It says that were going to get into trouble, and that Matt and Elena are in trouble already.Funny, because thats just what my judgment tells me.Are we ready, now? Mrs. Flowers pass out flashlights.Meredith tried hers and found it had a strong, steady beam.Lets do it, she said, automatically flipping off Stefans lamp ag ain.Bonnie and Mrs. Flowers followed her down the stairs, out of the house, and onto the street they had run from not so long ago. Bonnies pulse was racing, her ears ready for the slightestwhipwhip sound. But except for the beams of their flashlights, the centenarian Wood was completely dark and eerily silent. Not even the sound of birdsong broke the moonless night.They plunged in, and in minutes they were lost.Matt woke up on his side and for a moment didnt know where he was. Outdoors. Ground. snap bean? Hiking? Fell asleep?And then he tried to move and agony flared like a geyser of flame, and he remembered everything. That bastard , torturing Elena, he thought.Torturing Elena.It didnt go together, not withDamon . What was it Elena had been saying to him at the end that had make him so angry?The thought nagged at him, but it was just another unanswered question, like Stefans note in Elenas diary.Matt realized that he could move, if very slowly. He looked around, moving his head b y careful increments until he saw Elena, lying near him like a broken doll. He hurt and he was desperately thirsty. She would feel the same way. The first thing was to get her to a hospital the kind of muscular contractions brought on by that degree of pain could break an arm or even a leg. They were certainly strong enough to cause a sprain or dislocation. Not to mention Damon spraining her wrist.That was what the practical, sensible part of him was thinking. But the question that kept going around in his mind still do him wave in complete astonishment.Hehurt Elena? The way he hurt me? I dont believe it. I knew he was sick, twisted, but I never heard of him painful sensation the girls. And never, never Elena.Never . But me if he treats me the way he treats Stefan, hell kill me. I dont have a vampires resilience.I have to get Elena out of this before he kills me. I cant leave her alone with him.Instinctively, somehow, he knew that Damon was still around. This was support when h e heard some little noise, turned his head too fast, and found himself staring at a blurred and wobbling black boot. The blur and wobble were the result of turning too quickly, but as quickly as hed turned, hed suddenly felt his face pressed into the whoreson and pine needles on the ground of the clearing.By The Boot. It was on his neck, grinding his face into the dirt now. Matt made a wordless sound of saturated fury and grabbed at the leg above the boot with both hands, trying to get a purchase and throw Damon off. But while he could grasp the smooth leather of the boot, moving it in any cathexis was impossible. It was as if the vampire in the boot could turn himself to iron. Matt could feel the tendons in his throat stand out, his face turn red, and his muscles bunch infra his shirt as he made a violent motility to heave Damon off. At last, exhausted, chest heaving, he lay still.In that very same instant, The Boot was lifted. Exactly, he realized, at the moment when he was t oo tired to lift his head himself. He made a dictatorial effort and lifted it a few inches.And The Boot caught him under the chin and lifted his face a little higher.What a pity, Damon said with irritating contempt. You humans are so weak. Its no fun to play with you at all.Stefanwill come back, Matt got out, looking up at Damon from where he was unintentionally groveling on the ground. Stefan will kill you.Guess what? Damon said conversationally. Your face is all messed up on one side scratches, you know. Youve got sort of a Phantom of the Opera thing going on.If he doesnt, I will. I dont know how, but I will. I swear it. scrupulous what you promise.Just as Matt got his arm working enough to belongings him up exactly then, to the millisecond Damon reached out and grabbed him painfully by a handful of hair, yanking his head up.Stefan, Damon said, looking straight down into Matts face and forcing Matt to look up at him, no matter how Matt tried to turn his face away, was only p owerful for a few old age because he was drinking the blood of a very powerful spirit who hadnt yet adapted to Earth yet. But look at her now. He twisted his grip on Matts hair again, more painfully. Some spirit. manu detailure there in the dirt. Now the Power is back where it should be. Do you visit?Do you boy?Matt just stared at Elena. How could you do that? he whispered finally.An object lesson in what it means to defy me. And surely you wouldnt want me to be sexist and leave her out? Damontched . You have to keep up with the times.Matt said nothing. He had to get Elena out of this.Worrying about the girl? Shes just playing possum now. Hoping Ill ignore her and concentrate on you.Youre a liar.So Ill concentrate on you. Speaking of keeping up with the times, you know except for the scratches and things, youre a fine-looking young man.At first the words meant nothing to Matt. When he understood them, Matt could feel his blood freeze in his body.As a vampire, I can give you an i nformed and honest opinion. And as a vampire, Im getting very thirsty. Theres you. And then theres the girl whos still pretending to be asleep. Im sure you can see what Im getting at.I believe in you, Elena, Matt thought. Hes a liar, and hell forever be a liar. Take my blood, he said wearily.Are you sure? Now Damon sounded solicitous. If you resist, the pain is horrible.Just get it over with.Whatever you like. Damon knelt fluidly on one knee, at the same time twisting his grip on Matts hair, making Matt wince. The new grip dragged Matts upper body crosswise Damons knee, so that his head was thrown back, his neck arched and exposed. In fact Matt had never felt so exposed, so helpless, so vulnerable in his life.You can always change your mind, Damon taunted him.Matt shut his eyes, cussedly saying nothing.At the last moment, though, as Damon bent with fangs exposed, Matts fingers almost involuntarily, almost as if it were something his body was doingapart from his mind, clenched thems elves into a clenched fist and he suddenly, unpredictably, brought the fist swinging up to deal a violent blow to Damons temple. But serpent-quick Damon reached up and caught the blow almost nonchalantly in an open hand, and held Matts fingers in a crushing grip just as razor-sharp fangs un attach a vein in Matts throat and an open mouth fastened on his exposed throat, sucking and drinking the blood that sprayed upward.Elena awake but unable to move from where she had fallen, unable to make a sound or turn her head was forced to listen to the entire exchange, forced to hear Matts groan as his blood was taken against his will, as he resisted to the last.And then she thought of something that, as dizzy and frightened as she was, almost made her pass out in fear.