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   Chapter 10 9.

On Her Knees By Chyna McCartney Characters: 16596

Updated: 2018-02-06 21:39

"Are you hurt, Teryn." Melanie asked, interrupting my mopping. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her standing behind me with a naked pillow in her hands, still in the process of changing its pillow case.

"I'm fine, " I responded curtly without looking back.

"Then why do you keep wincing?" I heard the pillow she had been holding hit the bed with a soft thud and she came to stand beside me, her hand automatically touching the side that Marcus had kicked last night. I hissed as pain radiated outward from my ribs.

"What happened?" she asked again, more concerned this time because she could see that I was in pain.

"Its nothing, Melanie, " I told her, repaying her glare with a pleasant look.

She opened her mouth to stay something else but I stopped her with a raised hand. "We'll talk about it later. I have an office to clean next and I'm not entirely sure where that might be."

I didn't actually want to get into this with Melanie right now. My side as it were, is covered in a large purplish bruise, that stretches over the bottom half of my rib cage. If I told her about it, she would just panic.

Ruffling her hair, I took the bucket and mop with me down the west hallway, hoping to find someone who could give me useful directions. We had all woken up to find a hand written list of chores for the day stuffed under our pillows. Melanie and I, having opted to get our chores over with quickly, had been up an hour or so before the other girls and were nearly done with our lists.

We were mostly tasked with doing things together; in fact cleaning this office was the only chore I had that she didn't. After I was done with this, we would clean the bathroom together.

It was early in the morning, about 8:30 or so and at this hour there were literally no vampires here. It was eerie but even stranger was the fact that a new staff, made up entirely of humans had arrived before we woke up, to take there place. I wondered how they got to this place. Had they been stolen and brought to this strange island on a boat like we had or was there some other way to get to where we are?

It was just another question that I needed to have answered. I'd spent most of my morning internally compiling a list of things I needed clarification on for Giovanni when I saw him again in a few days.

I had walked halfway down the hall when a woman with brown hair pulled into a ponytail walked out of a room on the left. She was dressed in your standard, cliched maid's outfit with surgical gloves covering her hands and there was an odd grayish tinge to her pale skin.

For a brief second, her black eyes landed on me before she turned and hurried further down the hallway.

"Wait!" I called, trying to get her attention but she wouldn't look back. There was no sound of her feet padding against the cold marble and her figure disappeared into the blackness ahead so quickly, that I wondered if I had imagined her existence.

I stood there, staring at the spot where she had disappeared. There were no lights there nor did I have a penlight or a flashlight to illuminate what was beyond that point. So I wasn't actually prepared to run after her knowing that I wouldn't be able to see.

What was most puzzling was how frightened she looked of me. Choosing to dismiss the strange encounter, I hurried back to my abandoned mop and bucket.

The door to the room that she had exited was open and I took a step inside.

A large desk made of polished cherry wood sat in the center of the room with a black office chair behind it. A chandelier hung from the wood paneled ceiling above the desk and floor to ceiling bookshelves was pushed up against the walls on either side of the room.

'This must be the office, ' I thought, leaving the mop and bucket near the door. My mind immediately wandered to the desk, hoping that there was something in there that would be useful to Giovanni.

I surveyed the room, cautiously observing the vast collection of literature on the book cases. Everything here looked centuries old; I ran my fingertips over their frayed, leather spines and pages that were turning brown with age. Most of them seemed to be written in Latin, given that the titles were in the same language.

At the end of one line of bookshelves was an ancient looking manuscript, even older than the other books, stored in a glass case. The ink had faded with time, from black to a deep burgundy. I was drawn to this strange parchment and its odd language. Hieroglyphs that I had no clue how to translate, danced below the writing. Some looked like jagged claw marks, others were depictions of animals and a few humans who lay on their backs.

I was running my fingers along the edge of the glass, looking for a way to lift the top shield when something cold gripped my elbow. I jumped, holding in the squeal that threatened to burst from my lips. and looked up into the face of a man. A vampire, given the coolness of his touch.

ly, the intensity of his gaze holding mine. "I met him once-- Mr. Cummings. He was a man who saw the repetitive burden of life as something to diligently seek an escape from. I myself, given my nature, have experienced that burden nearly a half dozen lifetimes over. This eternity- this purgatory has lost its appeal; my mind now numb to the flavor of it.

I do not know you, nor do you know me but I think you are the little bird whose song I should be listening to. Will you revive this dead heart-- give new meaning to a life that has lost it's luster two centuries ago?" He shrugged, a slight movement of his slender shoulders and answered his own question. "Maybe."

" can you know that?" I stammered, baffled by the conviction with which he spoke.

"I don't, " he admitted, leaning back in the large chair. "But still I hope. I hope that you are the spark that illuminates my world once more. Hurry on now, little bird."

He pulled out a manila folder from somewhere beneath the desk and bent his head to study it, effectively ending the conversation.

I thanked him briefly again and headed out the door, nestling the rolled parchment between the cloth of the fabric and my chest. I hurried down the hall, trying to make sense of the last few minutes. Antonio was a little too intense but I admitted to myself that if I had to choose between him and Marcus, he was the definitely 'the lesser evil' so to speak.

"But Giovanni is the beacon that we want to run to, " my subconscious reminded me and I shook the thought away. The blond vampire seemed to be at the center of my thoughts as of late. I wanted to rationalize it as just a product of the business relationship we had established but I knew deep down that it was more than that.

There was no one in our large, make-shift bedroom when I came in so I spent the next half an hour trying to find a suitable hiding place for my recently acquired intelligence. There were a few shards of broken, rusted metal beneath a few of the beds from where their frames had been damaged and I used them to cut a thin slit into the mattress, pulling out some of the stuffing and sliding the parchment into the small space.

I was re-positioning the sheets over the compartment, having pushed the stuffing back into the space, when Bailey came into the room. She skipped over to me, looking more jovial than the teary eyed version of her that I'd seen this morning. There was a wide smile on her face, her cheeks rosy with mirth and for the first time, I noticed that she had a light dusting of freckles across the apples of her cheeks.

Kissing my cheek sweetly, she whispered, "Thank you."

"For what, " I asked, confused.

"My schedule has been adjusted. I won't be working anymore. Or at least for a minimum of two weeks. Marcus promised me that if I rendered services to anyone else again, it would never be Curtis."

"Curtis, the vampire that bit you?"

She nodded, giggling. "I have you to thank for this. I don't know how I can ever repay you." She engulfed me in a hug, her arms squeezing me around my waist.

"You never have to, " I replied, wincing at the pressure that she was applying to my injured ribs. Kissing me on the cheek once more, Bailey hurried off to the bathroom.

It seems that Marcus had kept his word.

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