A Name Worth Dying For – Part 4

by jeanineoloughlin


“Adrian, I’m sorry,” he said and put his arms around me. I pushed him back in anger.

“Sorry? Where’s my sister?! You said she was safe! Where is she?!” I was screaming at him even though he was still over a head taller than me.

“I’m sorry. The vampires….” his voice caught in his throat and tears started to appear in his eyes. It was then that I realized tears were already running down my own face at this point.

“What?!” I yelled again my voice cracked.

“The vampire he…we….” he paused for a long moment. “Darren had her but they were cut off by one of the vampires and he fought hard, but the vampire was too much for him and Gail. They died protecting her, but… He… killed Maddie shortly after. I’m so sorry,” Mr. Winston was physically shaking when he put his arms back around me.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Why Maddie? This was impossible. Who could kill Maddie? She was sweet and innocent; never hurt anyone. I felt my legs collapse under me. Winston caught me and dragged me to a couch.

I have very little memory of the next couple of days. There were a lot of people around. Some of them I knew, some I didn’t. They were talking to me, but their words all muddled together. It was all some kind of hazy dream, a nightmare. All I could think of was Maddie’s face giggling at me as we set the table for dinner, my mother’s warm kisses that I pretended to hate as she said goodnight. They were my only family, my whole life. Back then I never thought I’d feel anything again.

At some point Mr. Winston told me we were going home. “Home?” I asked. Winston smiled at me.

“Yes, we’re going home. You’ll get to meet Lizzie my daughter. She’s about your age.”

I thought of home, our kitchen, and my room with the crayon drawings Maddie used to make for me hidden in a desk drawer. I didn’t want to go back to that place. It was nothing but blood and death.

We pulled into the driveway of a brick house that was larger than mine. This isn’t home. Where am I? Winston got out and I followed him to the trunk of his car. He opened it and picked up one of the two large cardboard boxes from it.  I grabbed the other and followed him. Winston closed the trunk then headed to the door.

As we approached the door a girl with short red-brown hair and deep brown eyes came bursting through it. “Daddy you’re home early!” She awkwardly hugged him from his side to maneuver around the box.

“Yes, I thought I’d surprise you,” Winston’s face lit up in a huge smile. “Now, can you let us inside so Adrian and I can put these boxes in his room?”

“Oh!” she said seeing me for the first time. We walked into a room that had a small twin size bed, dresser, desk, and standard closet. The bare white walls and gray bedding made everything look dull and lifeless. Winston dropped his box on the desk and I did the same.

“Well Adrian what do you think?” he asked me. I didn’t respond, still confused.

Then a small warm hand took mine and shook it. It was Lizzie, her eyes bright and excited. “I’m Lizzie. You’re staying with us for a while. My room is right there,” she pointed across the hall to a closed door. It had a lavender door sign with big letters spelling LIZZIE on it. I didn’t respond. “Do you like bikes? There are lots of places to go riding, but I’m not allowed to go by myself. We could go together if you want,” she spoke so fast and was dragging me down the hallway towards another door before I knew what was going on.

She was like Maddie, energetic and sweet. That irritated me for some reason. I decided that I wouldn’t like this girl. We entered the garage and stood in front of a purple mountain bike she was showing off. Then she stopped suddenly when she had turned to look at me.

“Wha… what’s wrong?” she took her hand and wiped it across my cheek removing tears I once again hadn’t noticed were there.

“Nothing,” I said with a sniff, then wiped my own face.

“Daddy said we get your own bike tomorrow if you want,” she assured me.

“Whatever,” I said and walked back inside.

“Hey!” Lizzie shouted. She grabbed my elbow and pulled me around to her. I pulled my arm away and stomped back into my room slammed the door and threw myself on the bed just staring at the blank wall next to it. There were a few quiet moments, then Lizzie barged right in.

“I was talking to you!” she said in an angry tone.

“Go away little girl,” I said flatly.

“Hey! I’m eleven ya know, and I’m not little either,” She stomped over to my bed and sat down at the foot just glaring at me for a while.

“Lizzie?!” I heard Winston calling from the other end of the house.

“Your dad’s calling you,” I muttered.

She shrugged then crawled up next to me sitting with her legs crossed between me and the wall. I rolled over to look away but she just moved in front of me again.

“What?!” I asked in anger.

“If you’re sad you can cry. I won’t tell anyone,” she whispered. Then in at a normal volume continued with, “Next year I start Hunter training. We can go in together if you want… like police partners. Daddy says people are stronger when they face things together.” She took my hand in hers and smiled. The tears came and I tried to fight them, but they were too strong.

I don’t know when I fell  asleep, but when I woke up I found a blanket over me, my shoes on the floor and a glass of water on the desk next to me. It was dark out my window, a crescent moon shining in the distance. That darkness scared me, but knowing I didn’t have to face it alone made me feel just a little stronger. I pulled the blanket up tighter and went back to sleep.