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Order and Chaos, Page 2

Willow Rose

  "Oh, dear God, is that person all right? Who was it?"

  "That's the odd part," she said and stepped aside so I could see for myself. I took a step closer, then bent over the body to see better. Then I dropped my jaw.


  Right there on the asphalt, her eyes closed, her head bleeding, was the girl we had been trying to find for more than a week. The same girl who I believed had abducted Jayden and maybe even killed him. The same girl who we suspected had killed Alyssa Heckler and her dog. The same girl who had tried to kill my best friend and put her in a coma that she might never wake up from. That same girl.

  The anger rising in me was overwhelming.

  "Is she still alive?" Duncan asked.

  "I…I think so," Amy said, then reached down and felt her throat. "There's a pulse, and she's warm. She's bleeding a lot though."

  "We called for an ambulance," Amy's mom said, shaking. "It should be here any minute now."

  "Good. We need her alive," I said, feeling my heart start to race in my chest. What the heck was this girl doing on our street anyway? "She's no good to us dead. We need her to tell us what she did to Jayden."

  I glanced down at Ruelle, then at the house behind her. The big abandoned house at number one, the very first house on the street.

  "Where did she come from?" I asked.

  "I don't know," Amy whimpered. "I didn't see her, okay? There were fumes and then I…I…"

  I stared at the massive house in front of me with its overgrown yard and massive wooden doors. The windows were all black.

  "Could she have come from in there?"

  Amy came up behind me. In the distance, I could hear the sirens approaching.

  "I think the door is open," Amy then said. "There's light coming from inside."

  I took a step toward it. Amy had better eyes than me due to her supernatural powers, but I could still see it.

  "I think you're right. The front door is slightly ajar." I grabbed her by the arm. "Come."

  Cautiously, we walked through the gate and into the wild yard where I felt like the plants were whispering as we walked past them. It was probably just the rain falling on them, except it wasn't raining in there. It was the oddest thing that it never rained on this house, but it didn't. How the yard had become overgrown with wild plants that would never usually be able to grow in this climate and with no rain was beyond me. No one had ever been able to answer why that was.

  When we approached the front door, it suddenly slammed shut right in front of us.

  Amy's mom came up behind us.

  "You shouldn't be here."

  She grabbed her daughter's arm and pulled her away.

  "But, Mo-om? What if Ruelle did come out of the house?" Amy complained. "What if Jayden is in there?"

  "You can't go in there," she said as we walked back. The sirens were close now. "Literally. It's covered by some spell."

  I nodded, remembering when we once tried to get in there alone and we got lost. We had realized back then that it had to be a spell since what happened in there wasn't normal. Hallways appearing out of the blue, and us not being able to get back to where we were before. I had almost thought we would end up getting trapped in there. It was one of the most claustrophobic feelings in the world. I wasn't crazy about ever going in there again, even though I was very curious. I had seen my cousins go through those doors before and wondered if they somehow knew how to break the spell. Not that they would ever share it with me if they did.

  "But you've been in there," Amy said addressed to her mom. "With the other parents?"

  Amy's mom nodded as we left through the gate and I felt the hairs on my neck settling back once again.

  "Briana knows how to break it," she said. "But…well, she's not here."

  I felt bad thinking about Jazmine's mom who was still in jail. I didn't know what to think anymore. Not since this entire affair with Ruelle. Had she killed the others as well? If so, then Jazmine's mother was off the hook, right? There couldn't be two killers, could there? It was impossible. It had to be one and the same. Didn't it?

  I guess we're about to find that out.

  I looked at Ruelle's body as the ambulance parked on the street and the paramedics came rushing out carrying a stretcher. Amy's mom hurried to them and explained what had happened, while I secretly prayed that Ruelle was all right and that she'd wake up soon.

  She had a lot of questions to answer.

  Chapter Five

  My mom was in the kitchen when we got back. She stood by the window and was looking down the street from behind the curtain.

  "You're late," she grumbled without turning to look at us. "Food is getting cold."

  I exhaled. "There was an accident. I had to stay and help."

  "I see that. What happened?" she asked.

  "It was Ruelle," I said.

  My mom finally turned on her extremely high heels. How she stood for hours in those in the kitchen was beyond me. But that was my mom for you. Always looking impeccable.

  "What did you say?" she asked, then squinted her eyes. "What happened to your hair? It looks all…puffy."

  I felt my head and straightened a few hairs, then decided to ignore her. "Ruelle suddenly showed up. Amy ran into her with her truck."

  "But…if Ruelle…then where is Jayden?" my mom asked.

  I shrugged. "That's what we're all asking ourselves. Hopefully, she'll be able to answer when she is better."

  "If she was the one who took him," she said, looking pensive. "I still say the spiders did it."

  "I know you do, but I’m pretty sure it was Ruelle. His dad, Sheriff Smith, was pretty excited to see her."

  "I bet," my mom said. "Well, hopefully, we'll get some answers soon."

  "And hopefully we'll get Jayden back soon too."

  And hopefully alive.

  "Yeah, well, that…too."

  She looked at me again, squinting her eyes, then walked closer, reached out and found a hair, then pulled it out forcefully.

  "Ouch," I said and winced. "Why did you do that?"

  My mom stared at the hair she had pulled out of my head. "You're getting grays. It was standing out in all the…messy redness."

  I felt my scalp. "I am most certainly not. I am sixteen!"

  "Some people go gray early; some even do it overnight," she said.

  "I am not getting gray hair; will you leave it?" I asked, feeling embarrassed in front of my boyfriend.

  My mom snorted. "It'll all stop once you…turn eighteen. I just hope we can keep them at bay till we get to that. And please stay out of the sun, will you? You have to take better care of that precious pale skin of yours. Being in the sun just gives you freckles and wrinkles. You don't want to look both gray and wrinkly for the rest of eternity, do you?"

  I rolled my eyes at her, then turned to face Duncan. My mom grumbled something behind me that I felt pretty sure I didn't want to hear, then said:

  "Dinner is ready. Go get the girl."

  The girl. My mom refused to use Veronika's name. I figured it was a little like a farmer and his cows. She didn't want to get too close to her or get to know her too well. Whether it was because she considered her food or just because she knew she wasn't going to stay here forever and didn't want to get attached to her, I didn't know.

  "Sure," I said and smiled at Duncan. "I'll be right back."

  Chapter Six

  I knocked our secret code on Veronika's door to let her know it was me and not my crazy cousins trying to feed on her. There was a loud thud from the other side of the door, and I knocked harder, while worry began growing inside me.

  "Veronika? Are you okay in there?"

  More fumbling, then another thud making me even more worried before I heard her yell.

  "Just a sec."

  "Open the door, Veronika," I said.

  I heard talking, then another thud before there was scrambling from behind the door and it was unlocked.

  Who is in there with her?

  I stormed inside and looked around. In the middle of the floor, I spotted Veronika. She was just standing there, all casual like nothing had happened. I gave her a suspicious look.

  "What were you doing? Who was in here?"

  She shook her head. "No one."

  "Are you sure about that?" I asked.

  I looked behind the door, then under the bed, then finally in the walk-in closet of what used to be my brother's room before he left for Harvard. He had been home to visit Jazmine in the hospital a few times, but that was all I had seen him since he left for school. I couldn't say I missed him much. At least not yet. I liked having Veronika here instead.

  I placed my hands on my sides. "What were you doing? I heard talking."

  Veronika stared at me, her eyes big and wide. Then she flickered. Part of her right arm was completely gone, and so was half of her left leg. The rest seemed not to know whether to stay or go.

  I nodded. "Oh. You were traveling again."

  And that was when I noticed something in her hand. As she returned to me, I grabbed it and held it up.

  "What is that?" I held it up in the light. "A cape?"

  "It's a costume," she said.

  "A costume? From where?"

  "From the future. It's yours. For Halloween."

  "It's part of my Halloween costume?"

  She nodded. "I grabbed it from you right before…he killed you. I tried to stop you from going that way. Tried to change the outcome, but it still ended the same way."

  "With me dying? And Duncan killing me?"

  She nodded.

  "So, it's at a Halloween party?"

  "Right outside in the street," she said.

  "And I am dressed in this costume? What is it for?"

  "A vampire. You dress up as a vampire," Veronika said.

  That made me laugh. "Ha! That's it. It can't be the future you see, not my future. Because that will never happen."

  She sighed and looked down at her feet.

  "Yes, it will."

  I shook my head and threw the cape on her bed. Then I reached out my hand toward her, and she grabbed it. We walked out of the room.

  "Nonsense," I said as we reached the top of the stairs and the smell of my mom's cooking met my nostrils and caused me to gag.

  "I am never becoming a vampire and I sure as heck am never dressing up as one. I have enough of that in my daily life. Why would I want to?"

  Chapter Seven

  "I think she might have come out of the abandoned house," I said and passed the kale fries to my grandma. She wrinkled her nose at them and shook her head.

  "The abandoned house?" my mom said. "Why on earth would you assume that?"

  "Because the door was ajar, and she ran into the street right in front of it."

  My mom shook her head. "She could have come from anywhere."

  "I just worry that she might have taken Jayden in there and now we can't get to him," I said. "What if he needs medical help?"

  My triplet cousins, Huey, Dewey, and Louie were goofing around at the end of the table and making annoying noises. My mom shot them an angry look, but it didn't make them stop.

  "More Tempeh, Duncan?" my mom asked.

  "Don't mind if I do," he said and took a second round.

  How he could eat that stuff was beyond me. It always made me feel so different than him.

  "Wasn't there a kid once that went missing in that house?" my grandmother asked. "Isn't that why it's abandoned?"

  "It's just an old tale," my mom said. "Old rumors and myths. We don't waste our time with superstition like that."

  Said the vampire.

  I looked at my grandmother while wondering about that old story. I had grown up listening to Amy tell the story tons of times, but never really cared much about it. Now that it was brought up again, I kind of felt curious about it and wanted to know more.

  "How's your mom holding up, Duncan?" my mom asked.

  "She's doing better," he said. "It's tough without my dad."

  My mom nodded. "And the business? Do you enjoy running it?"

  Duncan exhaled. "Enjoy is probably a strong word, but it's what's expected of me, so…I guess that's what I need to do right now."

  I placed my hand on top of Duncan's and shivered when the cold hit me. I gave him a sympathetic look. I knew these days were rough on him. Having to be the head of his household now was a big step and not one that was easy for Duncan. He had never really wanted to work for his dad, even though that was always the plan, and now he had actually had to take over before his dad even had the chance to show him how it all worked. I didn't get to see him so much anymore, and when I did, he was a lot more serious and a little sad sometimes even. He still wasn't his old funny self, and sometimes I could tell that it annoyed him that I got to still be a teenager. But then again, he was two hundred and seventy-two years old, so maybe it was about time he grew up. He just wasn't prepared for it to be now, and frankly, I wasn't either. I still wanted him to be like a teenager with me. I still wanted to be young and not worry about big stuff like he had to. My worst fear was that he would propose to me or something like that. It was expected of him to do so eventually, but I was nowhere near ready for all that serious stuff.

  And then there was the matter of the war. It was on everyone's mind, but no one seemed to want to talk about it anymore. Maybe mostly because no one really knew what was going to happen. Every now and then, I heard my mom and dad talk about it in the kitchen with whispering voices that sometimes grew louder as they got agitated. All I knew was that several supernaturals had been taken down over the past week as revenge for killing the two spiders in Ruelle's backyard and for Mr. Aran's disappearance. They hadn't struck down anyone I knew. At least not yet. And everyone was being very careful not to use any powers at all. After my mom's jail-time, my parents had stopped going out at night and were feeding on bags of blood they had stored in the freezer for times like these, times of war. My cousins had supplied them with more, stolen from a local hospital, and even found a supplier who could help them out when they needed it. My mom had been acquitted of all charges, Caleb had made sure of that, and he hadn't even asked me for a second date, to my happy surprise. But everyone was just waiting for the spiders to make their move.

  No one in the neighborhood felt safe.

  Chapter Eight

  Jazmine was screaming in her darkness. If it was night or day, she didn't know. It was all the same. The only thing that changed was the voices outside of her body, voices she could hear as vividly as if she had been awake, which she was, but just not really.

  It was hard to figure out. All she knew was that she couldn't open her eyes, she couldn't lift her eyelids, and she couldn't move any part of her body to let them know she was there; she was hearing them, and she heard everything they said, every single word.

  I am right here!

  Jazmine was sick of all the darkness surrounding her, sick of just lying there like some potato and not being able to move an inch. But most of all, she was terrified. What if they gave up on her? What if they decided she was probably brain-dead and then decided to bury her? What if they sunk her into the soil and put dirt on top of her? Would she be dead by the time they did, or would she continue to live on down there?

  It's not going to happen, Jazmine. If you're breathing, they won't bury you. You've gotta stay calm and not let your fears run away with you. Stay calm, Jazmine. Stay…calm.

  It was a lot easier said than done. Every now and then she lost it and just screamed. But the only sound that emerged was inside her mind. Panic had rolled over her more than once while lying in this bed, listening to them all talk about her like she wasn't there. Meanwhile, inside of her, she was yelling I am here! I am here! Listen to me; I am right here! I am alive. I can hear you!

  She had even tried doing witchcraft, thinking she had to be somehow able to break this spell that was put on her, but nothing that she had tried had worked.

  Until she managed to wiggle h
er nose. When Robyn was here, she had actually managed to wiggle her nose, and Robyn had even seen it. Everything inside of Jazmine had screamed with joy when she heard Robyn tell the nurse that she had seen it, and then she had screamed in panic when the nurse had simply told Robyn it was nothing unusual. Never had Jazmine felt such deep rage as in that moment. Never had she wanted to scream so badly. But it was no use. She wasn't even sure she could do it again.

  It was hopeless.

  Mommy, where are you when I need you?

  The only one who knew she was in there, and who could hear her, was her dad who was inside BamBam, her cat. Jazmine's Aunt Tina had brought him a few times, and he had been able to hear her screams, and he talked to her in her mind. But he couldn't communicate with the world either. Jazmine was the only one with the power to hear animals speak and understand them. Besides her mother, of course, but she was in jail, and BamBam couldn't get to her. It wasn't exactly allowed for cats to visit someone in jail.

  Why does everything have to be so complicated?

  Jazmine thought back over her life before moving to Shadow Hills. She loved her friends, but other than that, there really wasn't much about her new life that she enjoyed. It had gone from bad to worse to impossible in just a few months. To think that losing her dad hadn't been the worst of it all.

  It was breaking her heart.

  I just want to go home, Mommy. I just want to go home.

  Jazmine felt how her eyes were actually filled with water and then a tear rolled down her cheek.

  I am crying. I am actually crying. Are you seeing it, nurses? Are you seeing it? She screamed inside of herself. She heard steps outside of her body and voices, the voices of two nurses she knew very well after more than a week in this bed.

  Are you seeing it? Please, see it!

  "Is she crying?" one of the voices said.

  "It looks like it," the other said.

  Yes, I am crying. I am alive. I am in here, and I am alive! Please see now that I am in here! Call the doctor and tell him I am.