Her scream rips through the entire house, as the family runs to the horrific source, the wailing cuts right through to my very core. The memories flood me of the day I used to bellow the same cry so many years earlier. But I can’t think about my own terror anymore, I have a new life now. I can’t allow her to go through what I did. What has he done? I know her terror, her fear, the panic that is starting to set in for a girl who has become like a sister to me.
“She’s in Caspian’s room!” I shout.
Within moments of the painful cry, my entire family reaches the door. Elijah grabs for the brass doorknob, only to find it locked. He pounds at the solid oak door, his demands for it to open becoming more and more desperate as her cries fall silent. I take notice as Elijah and Florence share a glance and then, with his unnatural strength, he throws his shoulder into the door with all his might. The door splinters into pieces as what is left of it crashes to the ground.
Inside the room, Caspian is frantically fighting to save the woman he loves. “I...I didn’t... I didn’t mean to! I didn’t...Please help her! Please!” The tears stream down his face; blood no longer pours from the wound he inflicted on Ashley.
I look at the two of them and wonder how did this ever happen? She lays limp in his arms, as he is desperately trying to give her life again. The bed beneath them is stained crimson with her blood. I notice the small puncture mark on his wrist. It is seeping slowly, almost completely closed over. Surely that is from his attempt to save her. Surely...
“Ashley, NO! Please wake up. I can’t lose you, my love. I am so sorry,” Caspian cries in utter anguish.
Isaac and Constance push through the rest of us, to their aid. If anyone can save her, it will be one of them.
“She is too far gone,” Isaac observes. “There is nothing any of us can do to save her now.”
“Can I help? There has got to be something one of us can do.”
“No, Sophia. I’m sorry, but she has lost too much blood, and her heart has stopped. He drank too much too quickly. I’d try to give her blood if I thought it would help, but it won’t do any good. I am sorry,” Isaac says, “but Ashley is dead. We cannot help her now.” His grim confirmation ends all hope.
Every instinct within me tells me to run and cradle her, to use every power within me to breathe life back into her limp body. “I can feel it now. She is gone forever.” I didn’t need him to tell me; I had felt it the second he released her hand.
“I have much more experience than you, Sophia. In time you too, will have the ability to detect separate entities and feel when the life force leaves,” He adds before he rises from his knees and pulls Caspian from her body. “We have all made mistakes, and I’m so sorry. We all loved her.”
Elijah wraps Caspian in a bathrobe and leads him out of the room away from the rest of us. Leaving us all standing there for a moment, shocked into silence by the tragic loss. Caspian has lost the woman he loved, but we all lost a woman we considered part of our family. It is not very often we let someone in, but our Ashley is just...well, she is special or at least was.
“What are we going to do now?” I ask. Glancing around the usually immaculate room, I see it is in total disarray. The white, satin sheets appear black from the dried blood they are now soaked in. Blood splatter covers every wall, as well as the two lovers’ clothing that is haphazardly strewn about the floor.
Isaac calmly observes our surroundings and tries to piece together the details. “Elijah will handle this. He is a very wise man, and he will assist Caspian in dealing with his loss and the details of the accident.”
Constance agrees. “We will know more after Caspian clarifies what happened.”
Constance’s and Florence’s footsteps pound in my head as they walk down the staircase toward the kitchen. The sound of splashing water echoes through the corridor as they prepare a bucket to do the cleaning. We have to remove any and all evidence of this tragedy.
I realize my senses are increasing from the blood exposure, and quickly turn my focus back to Caspian. “Why wasn’t anyone aware of Caspian and Ashley’s situation? Could no one sense what was happening? This could have been prevented.” My face burns with anger, and my throat is as dry as charred forest. As I become more aware of my surroundings, the drying blood brings the repulsive metallic scent of death. “I better open a window,” I say, needing relief. “It is starting to smell in here.” It is time to air it out a little; even if nothing will remove the smell of Ashley’s spilled blood. I head to the large window at the front of the room. I pull the shades and open the window before taking a seat on the window bench.
Alexander opens a second window on the side of the room. “Agreed. I hate the smell once the blood stops moving and what is left begins to settle.”
I cannot help but wonder how the blood can be so appealing until it starts to congeal in the body and reek. The wind rushes in through the open glass, and the scent of her young blood swirls around the room. I can feel the urge hastening through my body. I am ready to come apart.
“Sophia, relax. You can handle this. Nothing is going to happen. We will all be fine.”
Alexander understands me only the way a twin can. He is so protective of me, and the connection between us is strong, almost unbreakable. Why though, brother weren’t you watching over Caspian instead? I thought but dare not say.
With his large hands on my tiny shoulders, looking directly in to my eyes, into my very core in the way only he can, Alexander interrupts my worries once again. “Because he asked me to butt out tonight, Sophia. They had a special evening planned, and he did not want my intrusion.”
“I am not blaming you. I am only wondering if there was anything we could have done.” I run both hands through my hair, loosening the layers to fall around my face piece by piece. I let out a huge sigh, not wanting to lay blame on anyone. This is just one of the risks we take with our lifestyle, nothing more than a terrible unfortunate mishap.
“What about now? Do you know what happened, what is happening?” I ask, still looking up at my brother, who towers nearly a foot over my diminutive five-four frame.
He lowers his head, letting the sandy blond hair covers his face.
I try to gauge his emotions. I can tell he knows something, but getting him to share it with me is an unattainable feat, at least for tonight.
“Okay, everyone grab a cloth and start cleaning. Caspian doesn’t need to walk back in on this mess,” Florence urges in her motherly tone as she enters the room with a cache of washcloths and cleaning supplies.
Everyone works together to try to remove the hideous evidence from Caspian’s room. This is going to destroy him. He loves her more than anything else, and he will need our help to cope.