It wasn't happening.
Sarah Osborne had expected death to come quickly, but it wasn't happening.
The events of the day blurred in her mind until she couldn't remember in which order things had occurred. The only true thing that remained for her was Nicholas. His image was constant.
Now they would never be together. She knew this as certainly as she knew she was knocking on death's door.
It wasn't that she had illusions of a white picket fence and babies with her vampire. That wasn't possible for them, but what she had wanted was the everlasting love. The forever love that came when two souls destined to be together were merged and never broken apart. At one point, she had thought that possible. Not any more.
Funny, the last thing she remembered about Nick was the fight they'd had the previous day. He'd slung insults at her and she had fired them right back. It was odd the things you thought of the moment before you died.
She didn't feel the pain any longer. She couldn't. She had astral projected herself out of her body and was glimmering in the space above. Things looked strange from this vantage point. Ella Morris was no longer in the house, but that didn't matter. She knew it wasn't Ella anyway. Ella would never have killed her. Sure, she had her own designs on Nicholas as did many of the residents of the Hollow, but Ella would never harm her to win Nicholas back. He wouldn't stand for such a betrayal.
Sarah didn't know what it was that gave the uninvited guest inside Ella's body away. It was almost as if she had instinctively known evil was in her house. Then again, maybe it was in her eyes. Ella's eyes were hazel. Today they were as dark as coal. A dark black void had captured Ella's eyes. The entire eye socket was black and a feeling of pure dread washed over her. The darkness had pushed down her best friend's personality revealing the evil inside.
All of these thoughts took place in the blink of an eye. She had opened the door to her new guest, and a second later, the knife was coming at her, silver glimmering in the moonlight. Now the blood was spilling out of her draining away her life force as quickly as a stake to a vampire's heart.
Again she thought of Nicholas. He was her only hope.
She wanted to cry when she remembered their fight again. It was a stupid fight over mundane things. It had gotten so heated she had uninvited him from her house.
Now he could never save her. He wasn't invited to come inside.
She was dead for sure.
Cora Laskey could feel herself falling. At first it was gently, almost like flying, then the speed increased. She tried to scream but sounds wouldn't emit from her throat. The velocity was too strong.
All she could remember was the wizard and watching him throw a strange red powder onto her skin. Even though she was falling, things around her seemed static. Nothing around her moved. The only problem was, the car had disappeared, the man in the duster had disappeared as did the wizard. What was going on?
Cora didn't like this one bit.
Someone had been protecting her, keeping her safe, but now that protection was gone, ripped away from her like the disappearance of her mother. Then the world around her also began to blur until she couldn't see anything except darkness.
Suddenly, the ground came up and met her with a hard impact. Cora groaned. "I seem to remember something like this happening on an episode of Voyagers." She rubbed her sore posterior and marveled that she hadn't been killed. "Why do I get the feeling I've just walked through the looking glass?"
The place in which she found herself was old. She could smell the cobwebs. It also had a faint odor of mustiness. Someone had definitely let the housekeeper get away with murder.
A light winked at her from one end of the tunnel she found herself in. Cora followed the light and began to notice her surroundings. The walls were dark brown and slimy. She guessed from feeling them that she was underground.
Lane simply wasn't amused.
"Figment, what are you up to?" Lane asked the short red headed wizard.
"Up to, my good boy? Why nothing. Nothing except ... making your destiny happen." Figment seemed please with himself.
"What are you talking about?"
"Why, the young woman, of course. You are destined to be with her, I know such things."
Lane scoffed. Figment knew nothing but making a quick buck. He wasn't remotely the romantic type.
"Yeah, right. Try again."
"I'm sorry," he said. "But you simply don't have time." The wizard's laugh tinkled like a small bell, then he smirked and was gone. Lane wanted to wring the short wizard's neck, but he was right about one thing. The aftermaths of the red dust were finally taking effect.
What were the chances of running into Mr. Right in a dusty, musty tunnel? Cora hoped they were good because the man before her was quickly becoming her idea of Mr. Oh So Right.
The tunnel spilled into a large cavernous room that looked like something out of a Jules Verne novel. The walls were made of earth and light was emitting from a mysterious source above them. She couldn't tell from where.
"My, my," Cora said as she spied the man in the underground tunnel. His hair was a little on the long side. His appearance gave her the feeling of knights and ladies. He seemed like he could easily be a knight. He was built for it. Even from behind she could see the large expanse of his shoulders. The largeness of it made his waist look extremely tiny. But it was tiny in a good way, a very good way. And that butt, oh, my God, talk about Buns of Steel. The man definitely was a hunk. Something born from her dreams.
Merlin felt her presence even before he saw her.
He slowly turned and watched her as she watched him. A grin that could only be called wicked stretched across his face.
"Do you like what you see?"
Lane was not a happy camper. The entire ride he had wondered about what Figment had said. Him and the girl. It was an absurd thought.
Then again maybe the wizard was right. Lane hadn't found someone to connect with in the Hollow. Each woman he dated seemed more like a friend than a girlfriend. But this girl had stirred something in him. And it was awakening like the monster from the Black Lagoon. By the time he fell into the underground cavern, he was in an extremely frustrated state.
The frustration only grew when he observed the girl drooling over Linc Merlin.
Girls always found Linc attractive, but it had never bothered him before. He wanted to say his usual taunt, "Another one bites the dust," but he found he couldn't utter such a horrible maxim.
Not this time.
For the first time in his life, Lane Larson found himself – jealous!
Nicholas de Charme was contemplating Katherine's sudden re-emergence in his life when a chill washed over his body. He had only experienced such a thing a few times in his long existence. And each time it was when someone he loved, cared for, was dying.
He stalked across the park hoping to find some solace in the comfort of the forest, but even that wasn't enough. The wind wasn't enough. Nature in all its glory wasn't enough.
Something was wrong.
His breath came quickly and before he could turn a glimmering vision appeared before him.
Nicholas' voice caught in his throat. There was blood everywhere. Even in her astral state he could see the blood.
"NO!" he cried. "This can't be!"
Using all his vampire strength, Nicholas flew though the night. No one saw his silhouette pass before the moon then fall toward Sarah's house.
The door was standing open.
"If there ever was a God," he muttered. "Please let her be all right." Nicholas flew into the house and collected Sarah's body off the floor.
Her astral form stared at him in shock. He had been uninvited. How had he gotten in?
A second later he was at her side, his hands feeling for injuries. "I'm getting you to the hospital," he grunted.
Before Sarah could speak, Nicholas took her body out the door and flew with her through the night sky. How could she tell him there was no hope for her now? Even if he had gotten some strange admittance into her house. He'd never make it across the border out of the Hollow. The hospital was outside the boundaries of the Hollow. It was a place he couldn't go. He, like all other evils things, had been bound to remain inside the boundaries of Hollow Creek.
Nick didn't seem deterred by the thought of the border created by Merlin.
His focus was narrow and simple. Get her to safety and make her live again. If the hospital didn't do it one way, he knew of another. The moment before death, he vowed to himself to make her undead – exactly like he was.