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The Black Rose - Literature - Nairaland

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The Black Rose by Novelistguy(m): 8:57am On Feb 28, 2018
THE BLACK ROSE

All rights reserved.

© Novelistguy 2018

SYNOPSIS

She's strong and independent, She's a Private Investigator just trying to get through everyday, she never knew she was dangerous to vampires.

She gets sucked into their world when all vampires make a choice to kill her or turn her. One wants to save her.

Will she survive?
Re: The Black Rose by Novelistguy(m): 1:51pm On Mar 04, 2018
Chapter One

Death.

It surrounds us, engulfs us, chases us, and eventually, catches up with us. We watch as it grasps people and pulls them deep into its depths. We know it's inevitable, yet we never expect it to get a hold of us.

As I stared death straight in the face, I couldn't help but think of all the stupid things I'd done. I realized with stunning acuity that I regretted more things then I was proud of. In my twenty-five years, it was the unpleasant memories that flashed before my eyes. Not the happy ones. Not even the corny ones, like winning the spelling bee in third grade. But the bad ones.

That was pathetic.

I gasped in pain as the knife plunged into my right side. The buildings fell and the lights swirled as the world tilted. My cheek pressed into the cold cement, oddly comforting as the heat from my side seeped through my fingers, wet and warm.

Several people screamed. Yells broke through my mind, flooding it with bright sound. I shuddered and my breath came in deep, gasping sounds. I closed my eyes and turned to lie on my back. A cool breeze that smelled of the sea brushed softly against my face. My eyes flickered open for the briefest second, and what I saw was the dark night sky stretched out above me. Stars sparkled above me, beautiful, despite their small size.

Suddenly, everything was collapsing. The sky sped towards me and swallowed me. The burning pain in my side faded away into a dull throbbing. I was sinking into blissful numbness, and at that moment, I knew it was over. I could feel it all around me. My life had come to an end. Somewhere deep inside me, a panic was clawing its way to the surface. I let out a small sigh, wishing it would give up.

I cried out as something pressed into my bleeding side. My mind swam its way back to consciousness with the new burst of pain. I was abruptly aware of the pain coursing through my body. My eyes flew open as a struggled for a breath. The panic that I had suppressed was bubbling up, and it was breaking through the surface. It was making everything worse, and tears began to leak out the corners of my eyes.

"Don't give up," breathed a deep voice next to my ear.

In the darkness of the night, I couldn't see the man's face. I could only see his eyes. They flashed a bright, emerald green in the lights of the street. They were beautiful.

They were the last thing I remembered.

******************

"Don't give up," a voice whispered softly.

I jerked awake.

I had absolutely no idea where I was. Bright lights intruded the peace of my mind. I squinted my eyes to adjust to the intensity of the lights, but I only saw white. I blinked several times and turned my head to the side.

Beeping monitors surrounded my head and tubes ran from my arm to an IV bag. I was in a hospital. I was lying in a bed with stiff white sheets and metal railings.

And I was alive.

The beeping sped up as my heart rate picked up. Relief spread through me, tingling my fingers and toes. My breath caught in my throat as the pain swelled in my side. I whimpered slightly as my fingers reached down to touch the wound. My entire midsection was tightly wrapped in gauze, but I could see a dark red stain that had seeped through.

The clicking of high heels echoed down the hospital hallway, slowing as they got closer to my room. A million questions flooded my brain. Where exactly was I? How long had I been here? What the hell had happened?

A woman entered my room. She was tall and willowy, with her salt-and-pepper hair sensibly styled. Her white lab coat pinned her as a doctor.

A look of relief spread over her face when she saw me.

"Finally woke up, did you?" she said as she bustled over to my bed, fiddling with the machines next to me.

I breathed in deeply as I could feel the questions fight their way to the top. I choked, and started to cough violently. Pain seared from every part of my body, and my eyes filled with water. The doctor turned to me with a concerned look and shuffled closer to the bed.

When the coughing subsided, I managed to rasp, "Where am I?"

The woman picked up a clipboard that was lying on the small bedside table next to me. She muttered something incomprehensive, and then looked up at me.

"St. Mary's," she replied.

I cleared my throat and attempted to nod. At least I knew where I was. St. Mary's hospital was about ten minutes from my small apartment.

Giving me an evaluating look, the doctor bent down to scribble something on the clipboard.

"What's your name, dear?" she asked, sounding interested.

I looked up, startled.

"Um, Alex," I breathed out, "Alex Greene."

She continued to write, leaving me there to stare at her with a bewildered expression pasted on my face.

I blinked and asked, "What happened to me?"

The doctor threw me a curious glance, and said, "You don't remember anything?"

"No."

She sighed and perched herself uncomfortably in the plastic chair beside the bed. She clasped her hands together and her eyes rose to meet mine. Hers were a proud, hazy gray with dark flecks in the iris.

"Well, Ms. Greene," she began, "I don't know the particulars. You were brought in through the E.R. The nurse at the desk told me a man had brought you in, carrying you."

I coughed, "Carrying me?"

She pursed her lips and went on. "We don't know who he was, and he left before we could get his name. He only said that you had been stabbed on the boardwalk by 5th Avenue."

Stabbed. The memory of the night sky falling on me as I clutched my side raced back. Swallowing, my hand touched my side.

"You almost died, dear," the doctor said, her look softening as she watched me start to remember.

"What day is it?" I questioned, wanting desperately to get away from the subject.

"November 8th. You've been unconscious for three days."

Three days. My boss was going to kill me.

Gathering some strength, I struggled to prop myself up on the flat pillows.

"When can I get out of here?" I asked, giving the woman a slightly pleading look.

"When we finish our examinations. We just want to make sure there is no permanent damage to the internal organs," she replied, standing up and straightening her white coat.

I closed my eyes when I felt the pain increase and a wave of nausea rose up inside me. The smart clicking of high heels told me the doctor had left.

For the next few hours, I went in and out of consciousness. When I was asleep, the visions of of what I had thought were my last moments haunted me. When I was awake, I stared at the sterile white walls, alone and helpless. I sighed and resented the fact that no one had come to see me. I had thought that I had had a couple of friends who cared enough to stop by after I had gotten brutally stabbed.

Shifting to the left, my arm pressed against the bed's railing. I welcomed the cool sensation it brought to my skin.

The heels were echoing down the hallway again, and the same doctor poked her head in.

"All set to go. Is there anyone we can call to come pick you up?" she said, coming into the room.

I watched as she disconnected the tubes from my body. She opened her mouth, and then shut it after some internal debate.

Her back turned to me, she said, "I've never had a patient as strong as you. You pulled through much quicker than I could have ever expected. Well," she spun around to face me with a pile of clothes in her arms, "here are some clothes for you to wear, Ms. Greene."

I nodded weakly and she walked out of the room. The door shut softly behind her. Her voice was hushed as she talked to someone outside the room. Pulling on the drawstring sweatpants two sizes too large and slipping the faded red t-shirt that read "Howlers" over my head almost made me feel human again. My side throbbed dully, and I suddenly wondered if they had given me painkillers.

My jaw clenched and I gritted my teeth in an effort to suppress the dizziness as I made my way to the door, slowly but surely. I grasped the doorknob when I reached it, feeling proud I had made it this far. I opened it, squinting as the bright lights from the hallway dazzled me. When my eyes adjusted, I saw many pairs of eyes turn to look at me. I quickly looked down, avoiding their gazes, and moved toward the front desk. Guess they heard about the girl who got stabbed on the boardwalk.

"Alex Greene checking out," I said to the frail nurse when I reached the desk."

Her eyebrows rose high, and I thought they might retreat all the way into her soft gray hair. "Already, Ms. Greene?"

Disbelief and wonder laced her tone, the intensity surprising me.

"Um, yes?" I replied, with a hint of doubt in my voice.

The nurse turned her head away and clacked her fingers on the keyboard positioned in front of her. "But you were admitted three days ago in critical condition."

I gave her a blank look, hoping she'd drop it. After six full seconds of staring at me, she nodded curtly, and turned back to the computer screen.

"Dr. Hart has a prescription for some painkillers waiting for you in the pharmacy, Ms. Greene. Just sign the release form, here," the nurse slid a packet of paper across the counter and held out a pen. I took it and signed my name neatly. I noticed my hand was trembling.

The nurse stood and walked to the filing cabinet near her desk. She tucked the paper into a folder, and came back to me.

"You're free to go," she said, her eyes narrowing as she surreptitiously gave me a look-over.

Taking a breath, I walked awkwardly down the white hallway. Nurses rushed passed, a couple was leaning against the wall, the woman crying softly into the man's chest. The last time I was in a hospital was when I was seventeen and had broken an arm in a car accident. The hallways had been still and calm where I was getting my arm patched up. I guess I was in the more critical care part of the hospital.

Before reaching the pharmacy, I ducked into the women's bathroom. I splashed cold water on my face until it started to get numb. Raising my face high enough, I peered at the reflection in the mirror. My hair glinted a deep brown in the florescent lights, tumbling down around my shoulders. My gray eyes had dark circles under them, and my cheeks held absolutely no colour. I frowned at myself, and left.

The man at the pharmacy desk handed me my painkillers, and asked, "Can I help you?" to the next person in the line. I was incredibly thankful that he didn't ask me any questions. I had more trouble with the people in the lobby of the hospital. A group of elderly women cast me interested looks, and began muttering amongst themselves. A young girl looked up at me as I passed by her, her eyes following me out the door.

When the cool breeze hit my face, I breathed in as deeply as I could. The faint scent of salt made its way to my nose. A small smile spread across my face. I always wanted to live by the sea. It was the single most relaxing, most amazing thing on the Earth. As a kid, I would beg my parents to bring me to the sea each vacation. I would just sit there on the cliffs, listening to the sea roar for hours at a time.

A car honked. The sound brought me back to my senses. I glanced at the city spread out in front of me. San Francisco in the daytime was a mess, with cars beeping at each other every ten seconds and people rushing around in their daily lives.

Normally, I would take the subway to the nearest destination and walk from there, but I decided against because of my weakened state. My hand automatically reached down into a pocket to check for money. A sharp jolt went through me as I realized I had none. I had nothing but I ragged t-shirt and sweatpants. Great. I couldn't even take the underground because my monthly pass was still in my handbag, which was lying on my bed.

I turned left and pushed my way into the crowd. Shopping bags full of expensive merchandise smacked into my thighs as I fought my way through the commotion. I looked up to see a cloudy sky hovering above looming business buildings, a hint of sunshine peeking through. The small sliver of light was reassuring, and suddenly walking home didn't seem all that bad.

I made it to my apartment building in less than forty-five minutes. I looked up at the withering brick walls, with cement steps leading up to the door. I punched in the code on the tiny digital keypad the owner had installed for "safety purposes". I didn't think the code 1234 was going to keep out the bad guys.

Climbing the stairs slowly to the third floor, I grunted in pain as I stumbled on a step. I reached my door and stopped in front of it. I didn't have my key. Resigned, I took a step to my neighbor's door across the small, dimly lit hall. Oh, this was going to be fun.

I knocked twice, and the door was yanked open by a tall, handsome man. A smile stretched across his face, making his blue eyes twinkle.

"Alex! What are you doing knocking on my door?" he asked in a pleasant, rumbling voice.

"I need my key back," I said quickly, looking down at the doormat.

His eyebrows rose, mocking me. "Lose yours?"

"Just give it to me, Vince," I said, letting out a breath.

He chuckled, but reached for his keys on the wooden table next to the door. He turned his eyes to me, glancing over my outfit. His expression quickly became serious.

"You don't look so good," he said, holding my key in his hand.

I glared at him, and then eyed the key that he held. "Yeah. Rough week."

"What happened?" Vince asked, sounding genuinely concerned.

Stabbed. Unconscious for three days. Had to walk home in uncomfortable shoes. Forced to talk to you.

"Nothing," I replied, holding out my hand. He hesitated before he dropped the key into it. I curled my fingers around the small piece of metal, and turned to my door.

A warm hand touched my shoulder gently. "Tell me," he inquired softly.

Hearing the click of the latch releasing I turned to Vince with my hand on the door handle. His eyes were creased with worry, giving me a moment of unwanted warmth in my chest. Frustrated with myself, I walked into my apartment.

"No," I said, and shut the door right in his face.

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