Excerpt: Blood Poems by Colette Ntuj Chevalier

Blood Poems
By: Colette Ntuj Chevalier
Publisher: Self-published
Published: Jan. 30, 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy

Goodreads | LuLu

How much fear will you allow to control you? Discover the limit of courage. Discover the strength of heart. Dare to Discover.

After losing both of her parents, fifteen-year-old Violet longs for a second chance at life by finding somewhere she feels she belongs in. When she is sent to a secret union boarding school (of vampires and humans) deep in the woods of Cook County Minnesota, little does she know that here in this place is where her search for home will end. Hotaru, a vampire, invites her into a world where she recollects the memories she has forgotten, recapture her soul, and through dangerously twisted situations she discovers the limit of her courage and the strength of her own heart.

 

Dim lights flickered from the windows of the fourth floor of the Dining Hall, where the ballroom was echoing with classical music. I entered the building and walked up the vacant staircase. My heart began to beat nervously every time I reached a floor and placed my foot onto the next staircase. I was not prepared to show myself for I felt I did not belong.


Once I reached the top floor, I turned toward the entrance and noticed Hotaru sitting on the bench by the doors. I took a couple of steps down the stairs, sat with my body leaning close to the wall and watched him hold his ticket with one hand while he blew endless breaths against it. His body was slouched onto the bench, his head lay against the top of the backboard, and his other hand lay resting at his side.

I moved back against the wall of the stairs and held the ends of my scarf, tightening it around my neck from the pull. The sandals made my feet feel odd for the inner toes were separated from the rest by a simple material. The white socks felt irritatingly uncomfortable. I wanted to take them off and burn them.

“I thought I heard you,” Hotaru said.

I could have sworn I stopped breathing for a moment. You heard me what? I turned to stare at him.

“Complaining about those socks.” He smiled. “I didn’t know you were coming.”

I was uncertain at first.

“I’m glad you came.” He took my hand and led me into the ballroom.

Lit candles were surrounding the room, the music band had taken their place at the far left of the room, tables and chairs circled the dance area where people were dancing as though the music had casted a spell on them. The Nurse and Professor Eliot sat at a table near the band, keeping watch on the twelve students who were each so very close against each other. Hotaru and I handed our tickets to Samira, who stood behind a podium. She gave me a hateful glare.

“I’m surprised the kimono fits you,” he said.

I had to fold it up and tie it beneath the belt.

“It’s nice to see you wear something other than the school colors.” He took my hand into his again, leading me to the dance area.

I thought you said you did not know how to dance.

“I don’t but this kind of dance is easier.”

What kind of dance?

He turned around to face me once we reached a considerable area, directed me to place my right hand on his shoulder while his left hand was pressed against my waist. He took my left hand with his right, gently forcing me to move with him.

“Sway like this,” he said while moving from side to side, creating a small circle as we continued swaying.

I felt his fingers stroke the butterfly belt at the back of my waist, the sleeves of his kimono rubbing into mine, and the winter of his skin as he drew closer to me. My face was almost buried into his chest, the top of my head touched his chin, and my nose breathed in the scent that had been absent for too long.

He leaned in closer and stole a scent from my neck before whispering in my ear. “I may have just fallen deeper for you, Violet.”

I raised my head up to expect a smile upon his face but he was staring at me as though I had bewitched him. We stopped swaying with the music. He leaned down to press his lips against mine. My eyebrows rose with surprise. The feel of his lips felt nice to the touch. He pulled away to look into my eyes, reading the expression he smiled. I leaned up, on my tip toes, and kissed him. Our eyes closed and I felt as though I was pulled into a place I never knew existed.

For however long we kissed, it seemed endlessly perfect. Our eyes closed and our arms embraced each other. The presence of the other people in the room suddenly disappeared like glowing specks. The music fainted to only a distant humming of enchantment. And soon I knew we both felt that this was more real than anything else surrounding our ground.

Someone called for him by the doors of the ballroom. We turned to look at the vampires waving for him to follow. As the Nurse and Professor Eliot walked toward them, they vanished out the doors. Professor Eliot went after them while the Nurse stayed to chaperone the humans and remaining vampires.

“I’m sorry, I have to go.” Hotaru released me to exit the room.

I turned toward the door where he stopped to take one last look at me. I took a step forward with my heart nearly beating out of control.

“I never heard your heart beat so fast before.” He walked toward me to hold me in his embrace. “I’ll come back.”

I shook my head. I have a bad feeling about–

“Nothing is going to happen. The full moon was yesterday. We’re just going to hunt for some regular animals,” he said before kissing me.

Hotaru. I called as he vanished out of the room.

I knew why he was going. I knew why they all were going. Tonight was the hunt … the most dangerous hunt. But what did he mean that the full moon was yesterday? Was he referring it to the beasts?

I exited the ballroom, ran down the stairs, and stopped at the end of the second floor staircase where two vampires were speaking as they crossed the hall below to exit the building.

“Are you crazy? I’m not going with you vampires to kill those beasts,” the French vampire said.

“Are you scared of losing your head?” the Korean vampire asked.

“I’m not scared, just rational.”

“But there’s going to be about eight of us–”

“Do you know how difficult it’ll be to even kill one of those things? You don’t even know how many there will be. Eight of you vampires are going to come back none. One if you’re lucky.”

“Thanks for abandoning a friend.” The Korean vampire disappeared down the stairs.

I rushed to the bottom of the first floor to catch the French vampire with hope that he would hear me. You! Which way are the vampires heading?

He fell back against the wall with a distorted face of alarm. “What?”

I said which way are they heading?

“North into the forest.” He pointed. “Toward Canada.”

When do they plan to leave?

“Soon,” he replied in a hesitant tone.

I ran out the door and turned directly toward my secret exit to the forest. If these lycanthropes were as dangerous as the vampires claimed, this meant Hotaru would not come back at all. I should have stopped him. I never should have let him go. The thought of never seeing him again brought my heart to an unsteady beat, pounding and pounding as loud as a drum and as hard as stone. I needed more time. More time.

The gravel of the walkway made my feet unstable as I continued to run. I fell heavy against the small dark rocks. But it was the fear inside me that caused me to fall not the gravel. My palms bled deep. I ripped the sandals and socks from my feet before running to the spot underneath the wall of the campus.

I was not going to make it on foot. As I ran to the stable, the wind began to pick up. It whipped the gold and red leaves off their trees, forcing them to dance in circles before releasing them to rest on the ground. Once I reached the stable, I climbed onto the horse without any care of my bare legs and feet showing. On our way out of the stable I grabbed my set of bow and arrows, which hung by the wall of the stable entrance. We rode toward the entrance of the gate, south of the campus, and continued around until we reached the north, heading to the border of Canada.

We were barely near the Canadian border when the horse heaved to a stop and whinnied at the large beastly shadow crossing in the farther distance, which was followed by a group of vampires. I kicked both heels into the horse, forcing him to chase after them.

They were in clear sight until they suddenly turned into an unexpected direction. We waited for any sound of them but nothing was to be heard except for the aggressive wind against the branches of the trees.

A howl sounded into the air and I tried to force the horse into the direction of the beast but he refused to move from where he stood. Their voices passed in the distance behind us, beside us, then in front of us. I shifted my upper body toward the back of us to search for any sign of the beast with the bow and an arrow in my hands. There was a sudden piercing growl in the air and I released the arrow. The beast whimpered softly before it growled with fierce rage. The horse lifted his upper body, causing me to fall as he jolted through the forest and away from the beast and monsters. He disappeared into the darkness with the strap of the case of arrows trapped around the back of the saddle. I threw the bow to the ground and followed their faint footsteps, their taunting laughter, and their imitation of a beast’s growl.

The laughter’s soon turned to screams, bringing a haunting chill down my spine as I reached closer and closer. The lycanthrope stepped forward with its back leg, lifted itself up with its hands, and straightened its back. The black fur waved from the wind and its cinereous eyes glowed in the moonlight before the beast howled once in the air and fell back onto its fours to snarl at its enemy. Hotaru ran toward it, past underneath its arm, and climbed onto the back of the beast as it rose to its feet. Hotaru gave a heavy bite into its shoulder, trying to paralyze it. The beast grabbed onto his arms and thrust him forward against a tree.

There was nothing I could do to save him … if only I had more time. If only I stopped him in the ballroom.

The beast held Hotaru by the shoulders and ripped his body in two. My breathing was out of control, my heart felt like it was going to burst, and the cold shivers running down my spine numbed me. It was as though fear had conquered me entirely.

Its cinereous eyes glimmered in my direction as it placed its hands forward, ready to jolt toward me. I took a step back and sprinted away from the beast. Its paws pounded almost as quick as my heartbeat. Its heavy breathing was violent and aggressive. The wound I had made on its leg from the arrow caused it to slightly limp but the beast did not really allow the wound to control it.

The kimono began to slip from where I had folded it beneath the butterfly belt. The end of the kimono seemed to have tangled around my bare legs, forcing me to fall and tumble down a hill. The red leaves scattered in every direction. I landed on my front and quickly turned around from the growl of the black beast. It walked slowly toward me like a prudent wild wolf. It was beautiful in the night despite its sharp teeth and piercing snarls.

I fidgeted from the harsh winds, lifting an arm to shield my face I used my left hand to support my body. The hairpin had flown a foot to my left; the purple blossoms looked distinctively vivid on the blood colored leaves. I reached for the hairpin, defending myself, aimed it at the beast. I pushed back with both legs as it approached me. The winds revealed my naked legs from underneath the kimono as the red leaves swirled over my dirt stained feet. The birthmark on my foot lightly glowed in the moonlight like a firefly in the dark of a pond … firefly … my eyes began to water.

Its wet nose smelled my scent over and again as though it was confused. The wound on its shoulder leaked blood onto the kimono. And the blood from the wound I had given it stained the black of its soft fur. The structure of the beast seemed almost human; its arms, legs, and torso were muscular. It had ten fingers and ten toes, and the soul of the beast existed in its striking eyes. But the most peculiar thing about the beast was the gray fur on its left foot. It was a small patch of gray in a pool of black. It would not have been noticeable in the dark but in the light of the moon I noticed it with a familiarity I could not yet grasp.

The growling had lessened and turned to whimpers like it was uncertain what to do. I released the hairpin and lay on my back. I was tired of everything, tired of fighting, tired of longing for things it seemed I was not meant to have, and I was most tired of pretending to live.

“S Kay!” voices called from the far distance. They mimicked wolf howls calling “S Kay” as they searched the forest.

The beast turned its head in the direction of the voices then turned back to smell me some more.

This beast had a name? A name it answered to? It whimpered again as its soft tail brushed my leg and its wet nose touched mine before it ran into the dark of the forest.

Believing that death existed was like a bad dream repeating itself. I hated myself for not even trying to save him. I hated myself for allowing him to open the deepest parts of me that I wanted to keep locked away.

Tears escaped endlessly. The unexpected sounds projecting from my mouth echoed pain and sadness into the night. My insides were shivering uncontrollably from crying like small electricity was passing up and down my veins, numbing me with vibrations as though it was executing the exhausted living things inside me. But then I suddenly understood what it was that I was experiencing, that I was doing.

I was grieving. 

 

 

COLETTE NTUJ graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in English, where she studied creative writing along with American and British Literature. Her fascination toward vampires was hugely influenced at a young age and has always been drawn to dark gothic stories.

One Thought on “Excerpt: Blood Poems by Colette Ntuj Chevalier

  1. Crossiing my fingers! Sounds like a really good book. (:

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