Chapter 3

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Arielle choked in surprise when she saw Carmen. Arielle had been expecting some old lady that smelled like mothballs, not this young Latina women.

As she studied the woman, something sparked inside her mind. As if she knew Carmen. Arielle racked her brain for any memory of her but the only thing that came to mind was the clearing. Arielle squinted suspiciously at her. She couldn't have seen Carmen at school (Carmen looked looked to be in her twenties) and Carmen couldn't have been at the party. Arielle was the sole survivor of that attack. Unless Carmen had somehow gotten away from the vampires.

Carmen guided Arielle into a nurse's office. Arielle reluctantly took a step towards the paper-covered table when Carmen sunk her claws into her arm. Literally into her arm! Arielle cried out in pain and tried effortless to get her arm free.

"What is wrong with you!?!" Arielle shouted.

Arielle made the mistake of looking at Carmen's face. Carmen's eyes were entirely blood red and her lips twisted into a snarl. Her fangs glistening in the light. No, no, no, no. Arielle suddenly felt very sick. Her stomach lurked at the sight of Carmen's demonic face. Carmen had been at the party, just she had been one the vampires killing everyone.

The smell of blood sent Arielle deeper into panic. Images flashed across her mind. She almost couldn't make sense of them. The woods. Screams. The stench of death. Her heart was beating too fast. Arielle thought she might be going into cardiac arrest.

Suddenly, Arielle was flying though the air. She fell backwards onto the floor with a solid smack. She ignored the bitting pain in her elbows as she scrambled further away from Carmen in complete and utter panic. Arielle was now up against the wall but kept pressing herself backwards into it, hoping the wall would swallow her whole. Arielle squeezed her eyes shut and curled her body into a ball.

Arielle could faintly hear someone trying to comfort her but she couldn't comprehend the words. It sounded like someone was talking to her underwater.

Then, Arielle started whimpering because of a whole new pain. Her neck felt like it was on fire! Burning like she was getting bit all over again. Oh god, was Carmen bitting into her? The fire burned hotter in her neck and Arielle felt hands restraining her wrist. She screamed in terror.

"Miss Johnson! If you don't calm down I'll have to sedate you," Carmen yelled.

Carmen's threat snapped Arielle back into reality. Arielle whipped her head up so fast she was afraid she'd get whiplash. Carmen looked normal. Absolutely no sign of her ever being a vampire. All previous signs of pain were gone except for the dull throbbing in her neck. Arielle glanced down at her arm. She saw no signs of the damage Carmen had done. No bruising, no blood, nothing.

Baffled, Arielle looked around her. Dr. Lameson stood a few feet behind Carmen and a security guard just entered the room. Dr. Lameton watched the scene emotionlessly. Like a sack of dead flesh. The security guard stepped foreword, probably with all intensions of strapping Arielle down, but stopped when Dr. Lameton put a hand on his chest.

Arielle was panting very hard. What happened? She hadn't imagined it. She had seen Carmen in vampire mode. But now Carmen looked concerned for Arielle. Her big brown eyes were encouraging Arielle to stand and telling her there was nothing to fear. She didn't move a muscle. Arielle wasn't planning to. Aries knew what kind of creature Carmen was. Yet with the doctor and guard watching, Arielle doubted she had much choice but to comply.

Wordlessly, Arielle stood and sat down on the table. Dr. Lameton left after she sat down but the guard staid in the room. 'Just in case I have another episode,' Arielle thought bitterly.

Throughout Carmen's examination, Arielle watched her. Like a mouse watching a snake. She was tense and waiting for Carmen to attack again. Nothing happened. Carmen ignored Arielle's small flinches if she accidentally touched her, she acted like nothing had happened. Once the examination was done, she offered Arielle a tentative smile before she and the guard left Arielle to change into her new uniform. (White pants and a white shirt) That smile made Arielle even more wary of her. She was trying to get Arielle to believe she was harmless.

Arielle paid no mind to the people she passed as the guard walked her to her room. 'Carmen is a vampire. She attacked you.' Arielle repeated that sentence all the way to her room. It did nothing but cause her to doubt herself. Carmen looking concerned and the healed flesh of her arm was making Arielle second guess herself. What if she was crazy?

"No," Arielle whispered. "That's what they want me to think."

That's what places like the Mason's Institute did to you. They put you in here and told you that you were crazy. They would keep telling you and telling you that. They made you feel less of a human-being. Filling you up with medicine that made you feel numb. Then you'd slowly start to break. Then you'd start to believe it too. Arielle would be strong. She wouldn't bend to them. Arielle will stay clear of Carmen and get herself out of here and move to one of those hippie-off-the-grid places where no vampires or doctors would ever find her.

Arielle slumped in both mental and physical exhaustion. She curled back into a ball once she laid down in the bed.

"I'll be strong. I'll get out of here,"
Arielle whispered as she fell asleep.

Yet that did nothing to loosen the knot in her stomach. As she fell deeper into sleep, Arielle felt the hope slowly draining from her. She knew she was telling herself a lie.

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