Friday, December 13, 2019

The Hunters Phantom Chapter 27 Free Essays

string(86) " in their lives than a summer spent with their friends before heading off to col ege\." The next morning was another hot one. The air was so thick and humid that just walking down the street felt unpleasantly like getting slapped with a warm, damp washcloth. Even inside the car with the air-conditioning on, Elena could feel her usual y sleek hair frizzing from the humidity. We will write a custom essay sample on The Hunters: Phantom Chapter 27 or any similar topic only for you Order Now Stefan had turned up at her house just after breakfast, this time with a list of herbs and magical supplies Mrs. Flowers wanted them to find in town for new protection spel s. As they drove, Elena gazed out the window at the neat white houses and trim green lawns of residential Fel ‘s Church as they gradual y gave way to the brick buildings and tasteful store windows of the shopping district at the center of town. Stefan parked on the main street, outside a cute little cafe where they had sipped cappuccinos together last fal , shortly after she’d learned what he was. Sitting at one of the tiny tables, Stefan had told her how to make a traditional Italian cappuccino, and that had led to his reminiscing about the great feasts of his youth during the Renaissance: aromatic soups sprinkled with pomegranate seeds; rich roasts basted with rosewater; pastries with elder flowers and chestnuts. Course after course of sweet, rich, heavily spiced foods that a modern Italian would never recognize as part of his country’s cuisine. It had awed Elena when she realized how different the world had been the last time Stefan had eaten human food. He had mentioned in passing that forks had just been coming into fashion when he was young, and that his father had derided them as a foppish fad. Until Katherine had brought a more fashionable and ladylike influence into their home, they had eaten with only spoons and sharp knives for cutting. â€Å"It was elegant, though,† he’d said, laughing at the expression on her face. â€Å"We al had excel ent table manners. You’d hardly have noticed.† At the time, she’d thought his differences from the boys she’d known – the scope of al the history he’d witnessed – was romantic. Now†¦ wel , now she didn’t know what she thought. â€Å"It’s down here, I think,† said Stefan, taking her hand and returning her to the present. â€Å"Mrs. Flowers said a New Age store has opened up and that they should have most of the things we need.† The shop was cal ed Spirit and Soul, and it was tiny but vibrant, cluttered with crystals and unicorn figurines, tarot cards and dream catchers. Everything was painted in shades of purple and silver, and silky wal hangings blew in the breeze from a little windowsil air conditioner. The air conditioner wasn’t strong enough to put much of a dent in the stickiness of today’s heat, though, and the birdlike little woman with long curling hair and clattering necklaces who emerged from the back of the shop looked tired and sweaty. â€Å"How can I help you?† she said in a low, musical voice that Elena suspected she adopted to fit in with the atmosphere of the store. Stefan pul ed out the scrap of paper covered in Mrs. Flowers’s tangled handwriting and squinted at it. Vampire vision or not, deciphering Mrs. Flowers’s writing could be a chal enge. Oh, Stefan. He was earnest, and sweet, and noble. His poet’s soul shone through those gorgeous green eyes. She couldn’t regret loving Stefan. But sometimes she secretly wished that she had found Stefan in a less complicated form, that the soul and the intel igence, the love and the passion, the sophistication and the gentleness had somehow been possible in the form of a real eighteenyear-old boy; that he had been what he had pretended to be when she first met him: mysterious, foreign, but human. â€Å"Do you have anything made of hematite?† he asked now. â€Å"Jewelry, or maybe knickknacks? And incense with†¦Ã¢â‚¬  He frowned at the paper. â€Å"Althea in it? Does althea sound right?† â€Å"Of course!† said the shopkeeper enthusiastical y. â€Å"Althea’s good for protection and security. And it smel s great. The different kinds of incense are over here.† Stefan fol owed her deeper into the shop, but Elena lingered near the door. She felt exhausted, even though the day had barely begun. There was a rack of clothing by the front window, and she fiddled distractedly with it, pushing hangers back and forth. There was a wispy pink tunic studded with tiny mirrors, a little hippieish but cute. Bonnie might like this, Elena thought automatical y, and then flinched. Through the window, she glimpsed a face she knew, and turned, the top hanging forgotten in her hand. She searched her mind for the name. Tom Parker, that was it. She’d gone out on a few dates with him junior year, before she and Matt had gotten together. It felt like a lot more than a year and a half ago. Tom had been pleasant enough and handsome enough, a perfectly satisfactory date, but she hadn’t felt a spark between them and, as Meredith had said, â€Å"practiced catch and release† with him, â€Å"freeing him to swim back into the waters of dating.† He had been crazy about her, though. Even after she set him loose, he’d hung around, looking at her with puppy-dog eyes, pleading with her to take him back. If things had been different, if she had felt anything for Tom, wouldn’t her life be simpler now? She watched Tom. He was strol ing down the street, smiling, hand in hand with Marissa Peterson, the girl he had started dating near the end of last year. Tom was tal , and he bent his shaggy dark head down to hear what Marissa was saying. They grinned at each other, and he lifted his free hand to gently, teasingly tug on her long hair. They looked happy together. Wel , good for them. Easy to be happy when they were uncomplicatedly in love, when there was nothing more difficult in their lives than a summer spent with their friends before heading off to col ege. You read "The Hunters: Phantom Chapter 27" in category "Essay examples" Easy to be happy when they couldn’t even remember the chaos their town had been in before Elena had saved them. They weren’t even grateful. They were too lucky: They knew nothing of the darkness that lurked on the edges of their safe, sunlit lives. Elena’s stomach twisted. Vampires, demons, phantoms, star-crossed love. Why did she have to be the one to deal with it al ? She listened for a moment. Stefan was stil consulting with the shopkeeper, and she heard him say worriedly, â€Å"Wil rowan twigs have the same effect, though?† and the woman’s reassuring murmur. He would be busy for a while longer, then. He was only about a third of the way down the list Mrs. Flowers had given them. Elena put the shirt back in its place on the rack and walked out of the store. Careful not to be noticed by the couple across the street, she fol owed them at a distance, taking a good long look at Marissa. She was skinny, with freckles and a little blob of a nose. Pretty enough, Elena supposed, with long, straight dark hair and a wide mouth, but not especial y eyecatching. She’d been nobody much at school, either. Vol eybal team, maybe. Yearbook. Passable, but not stel ar grades. Friends, but not popular. An occasional date, but not a girl who boys noticed. A part-time job in a store, or maybe the library. Ordinary. Nothing special. So why did ordinary, nothing-special Marissa get to have this uncomplicated, sunlit life, while Elena had been through hel – literal y – to get what Marissa seemed to have with Tom and yet she still didn’t get to have it? A cold breeze touched Elena’s skin, and she shivered despite the morning’s heat. She looked up. Dark, cool tendrils of fog were drifting around her, yet the rest of the street was just as sunny as it had been a few minutes before. Elena’s heart began to pound hard before her brain even caught up and realized what was happening. Run! something inside her howled, but it was too late. Her limbs were suddenly heavy as lead. A cool, dry voice spoke close behind her, a voice that sounded eerily like the observational one inside her own head, the one that told her the uncomfortable truths she didn’t want to acknowledge. â€Å"Why is it,† the voice said, â€Å"that you can only love monsters?† Elena couldn’t bring herself to turn around. â€Å"Or is it that only monsters can truly love you, Elena?† the voice went on, taking on a softly triumphant tone. â€Å"Al those boys in high school, they only wanted you as a trophy. They saw your golden hair and your blue eyes and your perfect face and they thought how fine they would look with you on their arm.† Steeling herself, Elena slowly turned around. There was no one there, but the fog was growing thicker. A woman pushing a strol er brushed past her with a placid glance. Couldn’t she see Elena was being wrapped in her own private fog? Elena opened her mouth to cry out, but the words stuck in her throat. The fog was colder now, and it felt almost solid, like it was holding Elena back. With a great effort of wil , she forced herself forward, but could stagger only as far as the bench in front of a nearby store. The voice spoke again, whispering in her ear, gloating. â€Å"They never saw you, those boys. Girls like Marissa, like Meredith, can find love and be happy. Only the monsters bother to find the real Elena. Poor, poor Elena, you’l never be normal, wil you? Not like other girls.† It laughed softly, viciously. The fog pressed thicker around her. Now Elena couldn’t see the rest of the street, or anything beyond the darkness. She tried to get to her feet, to move forward a few steps, to shake off the fog. But she couldn’t move. The fog was like a heavy blanket holding her down, but she couldn’t touch it, couldn’t fight it. Elena panicked, tried once more to surge to her feet, opened her mouth to cal , Stefan! But the fog swirled into her, through her, soaking into her every pore. Unable to fight back or cal out, she col apsed. It was stil freezing cold. â€Å"At least I have clothes on this time,† Damon muttered, kicking at a piece of charred wood as he trudged across the barren surface of the Dark Moon. The place was beginning to get to him, he had to admit. He had been wandering this desolate landscape for what felt like days, although the unchanging darkness here made it impossible for him to know for sure how much time had passed. When he had awakened, Damon had assumed he would find the little redbird next to him, eager for his company and protection. But he’d awoken alone, lying on the ground. No phantom, no grateful girl. He frowned and poked one tentative foot into a heap of ash that might conceal a body, but was unsurprised to find nothing but mud beneath the ash, smearing more filth onto his once-polished black boots. After he’d arrived here and started searching for Bonnie, he’d expected that at any moment, he might stumble across her unconscious body. He’d had a powerful image of what she would look like, pale and silent in the darkness, long red curls caked with ash. But now he was becoming convinced that, wherever the phantom had taken Bonnie, she wasn’t here. He’d come here to be a hero: defeat the phantom, save the girl, and ultimately save his girl. What an idiot, he thought, curling his lip at his own foolishness. The phantom hadn’t brought him to wherever it was keeping Bonnie. Alone on this ash heap of the moon, he felt oddly rejected. Didn’t it want him? A sudden powerful wind pushed against him, and Damon staggered backward a few steps before regaining his balance. The wind brought a sound with it: Was that a moan? He altered his course, hunching his shoulders and heading for where he thought the sound had come from. Then the sound came again, a sad, sobbing moan echoing behind him. He turned back, but his footsteps were closer together and less confident than usual. What if he was wrong and the little witch was hurt and alone somewhere on this godforsaken moon? He was terribly hungry. He pushed his tongue against his aching canines, and they grew knife-sharp. His mouth was so dry; he imagined the flow of sweet, rich blood, life itself pulsing against his lips. The moaning came once more, from his left this time, and again he swerved toward it. The wind blew against his face, cold and wet with mist. This was al Elena’s fault. He was a monster. He was supposed to be a monster, to take blood unflinchingly, to kil without a second thought or care. But Elena had changed al that. She had made him want to protect her. Then he had started looking out for her friends, and final y even saving her provincial little town, when any self-respecting vampire would have either been long gone when the kitsune came, or enjoyed the devastation with warm blood on his lips. He’d done al that – he’d changed for her – and she stil didn’t love him. Not enough, anyway. When he’d kissed her throat and stroked her hair the other night, who had she been thinking of? That weakling Stefan. â€Å"It’s always Stefan, isn’t it?† a clear, cool voice said behind him. Damon froze, the hairs on the back of his neck rising. â€Å"Whatever you tried to take from him,† the voice continued, â€Å"you were just fighting to even the scales, because the fact is that he got everything, and you had nothing at al . You just wanted things to be fair.† Damon shuddered, not turning around. No one had ever understood that. He just wanted things to be fair. â€Å"Your father cared for him much more than he did for you. You’ve always known that,† the voice went on. â€Å"You were the oldest, the heir, but Stefan was the one your father loved. And, in romance, you have always been two steps behind Stefan. Katherine already loved him by the time you met her; then the same sad story happened al over again with Elena. They say they love you, these girls of yours, but they have never loved you best, or most, or only, not even when you give them your whole heart.† Damon shuddered again. He felt a tear run down his cheek and, infuriated, wiped it away. â€Å"And you know why that is, don’t you, Damon?† the creature went on smoothly. â€Å"Stefan. Stefan’s always taken everything you’ve ever wanted. He’s gotten the things you wanted before you even saw them, and left nothing for you. Elena doesn’t love you. She never has and she never wil .† Something broke inside Damon at the creature’s words, and instantly he snapped back to himself. How dare the phantom make him question Elena’s love? It was the only true thing he knew. A cold breeze fluttered Damon’s clothing. He couldn’t hear the moaning now. And then everything went stil . â€Å"I know what you’re doing,† Damon snarled. â€Å"You think you can trick me? Do you suppose you can turn me against Elena?† A soft, wet footstep in the mud sounded behind him. â€Å"Oh, little vampire,† the voice said mockingly. â€Å"Oh, little phantom,† Damon said back, matching the creature’s tone. â€Å"You have no idea the mistake you just made.† Steeling himself to leap, he whirled around, fangs ful y extended. But before he could pounce, cold strong hands seized him by the throat and pul ed him into the air. â€Å"I’d also recommend burying pieces of iron around whatever you’re trying to protect,† the shopkeeper suggested. â€Å"Horseshoes are traditional, but anything made of iron, especial y anything round or curved, wil do.† She’d passed through various stages of disbelief as Stefan had tried to buy up what seemed like every single object, herb, or charm related to protection in the shop, and now had become manical y helpful. â€Å"I think I’ve got everything I need for now,† Stefan said politely. â€Å"Thank you so much for your help.† Her dimples shone as she rang up his purchases on the shop’s old-fashioned metal cash register, and he smiled back. He thought he had managed to decipher every item on Mrs. Flowers’s list correctly, and was feeling fairly proud of himself. Someone opened the door to come in, and a cold breeze whooshed into the shop, setting the magical items and wal hangings flapping. â€Å"Do you feel that?† the shopkeeper asked. â€Å"I think a storm’s coming.† Her hair, caught by the wind, fanned out in the air. Stefan, about to make a pleasant rejoinder, stared in horror. Her long locks, suspended for a moment, twisted their tendrils into one curling strand that spel ed out, clearly and chil ingly: matt But if the phantom had found a new target, that meant Elena – Stefan whipped around, looking frantical y toward the front of the shop. Elena wasn’t there. â€Å"Are you al right?† the shopkeeper asked as Stefan stared wildly around. Ignoring her, he hurried back toward the door of the shop, looking down every aisle, in every nook. Stefan let his Power spread out, reaching for a trace of Elena’s distinctive presence. Nothing. She wasn’t in the shop. How could he not have noticed her leaving? He pressed his fists into his eyes until little stars burst beneath his lids. This was his fault. He hadn’t been feeding on human blood, and his powers were sorely diminished. Why had he let himself get so weak? If he had been at ful strength, he would have realized immediately that she had gone. It was self-indulgent to give in to his conscience when he had people to protect. â€Å"Are you al right?† the woman asked again. She’d fol owed him down the aisles of the store, holding out his bag, and was looking at him anxiously. Stefan took hold of the bag. â€Å"The girl I came in with,† he said urgently. â€Å"Did you see where she went?† â€Å"Oh,† she replied, frowning. â€Å"She went back outside when we were heading off to look through the incense section.† That long ago. Even the shopkeeper had noticed Elena leaving. Stefan gave a jerky nod of thanks before striding out into the dazzling sunlight. He looked frantical y up and down Main Street. He felt a wave of relief when he spotted her sitting on a bench outside the drugstore a few doors down. But then he took note of her slumped posture, her beautiful blond head resting limply on one of her shoulders. Stefan was at her side in a flash, grateful to find her breathing shal ow yet steady, her pulse strong. But she was unconscious. â€Å"Elena,† he said, gently stroking her cheek. â€Å"Elena, wake up. Come back to me.† She didn’t move. He shook her arm a bit harder. â€Å"Elena!† Her body flopped on the bench, but neither her breathing nor the steady beat of her heart changed at al . Just like Bonnie. The phantom had gotten Elena, and Stefan felt something inside him tear in two. He had failed to protect her, to protect either of them. Stefan gently slid a hand under Elena’s body, cupping her head protectively with his other hand, and pul ed her into his arms. He cradled her against him and, channeling what little Power he had left into speed, began to run. Meredith checked her watch for what felt like the hundredth time, wondering why Stefan and Elena weren’t back yet. â€Å"I can’t read this word at al ,† Matt complained. â€Å"I swear, I thought my handwriting was bad. It looks like Caleb wrote this with his eyes closed.† He had been running his hands through his hair in frustration and it stood up in messy little spikes, and there were faint blue shadows under his eyes. Meredith took a swig of coffee and held out her hand. Matt passed her the notebook he’d been examining. They’d discovered that she was the best at reading Caleb’s tiny, angular handwriting. â€Å"That’s an O, I think,† she said. â€Å"Is deosil a word?† â€Å"Yes,† said Alaric, sitting up a little straighter. â€Å"It means clockwise. It represents moving spiritual energy into physical forms. Might be something there. Can I see?† Meredith handed him the notebook. Her eyes were sore and her muscles stiff from sitting al morning and going through Caleb’s notebooks, clippings, and pictures. She rol ed her shoulders forward and back, stretching. â€Å"No,† said Alaric after a few minutes of reading. â€Å"No good. This is just about casting a magic circle.† Meredith was about to speak when Stefan appeared in the doorway, pale and wild-eyed. Elena lay unconscious in his arms. Meredith dropped her coffee cup. â€Å"Stefan!† she cried, staring in horror. â€Å"What happened?† â€Å"The phantom’s trapped her,† Stefan said, his voice catching. â€Å"I don’t know how.† Meredith felt like she was fal ing. â€Å"Oh no, oh no,† she heard herself say in a tiny, shocked voice. â€Å"Not Elena, too.† Matt stood up, glowering. â€Å"Why didn’t you stop it?† he asked accusingly. â€Å"We don’t have time for this,† Stefan said coldly, and strode past them to the stairs, clutching Elena protectively. In silent accord, Matt, Meredith, and Alaric fol owed him up to the room where Bonnie lay sleeping. Mrs. Flowers was knitting by her bedside, and her mouth opened into an O of dismay when she saw who Stefan carried. Stefan gently placed Elena on the other side of the double bed by Bonnie’s pale and tiny form. â€Å"I’m sorry,† Matt said slowly. â€Å"I shouldn’t have blamed you. But†¦ what happened?† Stefan just shrugged, looking stricken. Meredith’s heart squeezed in her chest at the sight of her two best friends laid out like rag dol s. They were so stil . Even in sleep, Elena had always been more mobile, more expressive than this. Over the course of a thousand sleepovers, ever since they were little, Meredith had seen sleeping Elena smile, rol herself more tightly in the blankets, snuggle her face into the pil ows. Now the pinkand-gold-and-cream-colored warmth of Elena seemed faded and cold. And Bonnie, Bonnie who was so vibrant and quickmoving, she’d hardly ever kept stil for more than a moment or two in her whole life. Now she was motionless, frozen, almost colorless except for the dark dots of her freckles against her pale cheeks and the bright expanse of red hair on her pil ow. If it weren’t for the slight rise and fal of their chests, both girls could have been mannequins. â€Å"I don’t know,† Stefan said again, the words sounding more panicked this time, and looked up to meet Meredith’s eyes. â€Å"I don’t know what to do.† Meredith cleared her throat. â€Å"We cal ed the hospital to check on Caleb while you were gone,† she said careful y, knowing what effect her words would have. â€Å"He’s been released.† Stefan’s eyes flashed murderously. â€Å"I think,† he said, his voice like a knife, â€Å"that we should pay Caleb a visit.† Elena was suspended in darkness. She wasn’t alarmed, though. It was like floating slowly under warm water, gently bobbing in the current, and a part of her wondered distantly and without fear whether it was possible that she had never come up out of the waterfal basin at Hot Springs. Had she been drifting and dreaming al this time? Then suddenly she was speeding, bursting upward, and she opened her eyes on dazzling daylight and gulped a long, shaky breath. Soulful, worried dark brown eyes gazed down into hers from a pale face hovering above her. â€Å"Bonnie?† Elena gasped. â€Å"Elena! Thank God,† Bonnie cried, grabbing her by the arms in a viselike grip. â€Å"I’ve been here al by myself for days and days, or what feels like days and days anyway, because the light never changes, so I can’t tel by the sun. And there’s nothing to do here. I can’t figure out how to get out, and there’s nothing to eat, although I’m weirdly not hungry, so I guess it doesn’t matter. I tried to sleep to pass the time, but I wasn’t getting tired, either. And suddenly you were here, and I was so happy to see you, but you wouldn’t wake up, and I was getting real y worried. What’s going on?† â€Å"I don’t know,† Elena said groggily. â€Å"The last thing I remember is being on a bench. I think I got caught by some kind of mystical fog.† â€Å"Me too!† Bonnie exclaimed. â€Å"Not the bench part, but the fog part. I was in my room at the boardinghouse, and this weird fog trapped me.† She shivered theatrical y. â€Å"I couldn’t move at al . And I was so cold.† Suddenly her eyes widened with guilt. â€Å"I was doing a spel when it happened, and something came up behind me and said stuff. Nasty things.† Elena shuddered. â€Å"I heard a voice, too.† â€Å"Do you think I†¦ set something loose? When I was doing the spel ? I’ve been worrying that maybe I might have done so accidental y.† Bonnie’s face was white. â€Å"It wasn’t your fault,† Elena reassured her. â€Å"We think it’s the phantom – the thing that’s been causing the accidents – that it stole your spirit so it could use your power for itself. And now it’s taken me, I guess.† She quickly told Bonnie about the phantom, then pushed up on her elbows and real y looked around for the first time. â€Å"I can’t believe we’re here again.† â€Å"Where?† asked Bonnie anxiously. â€Å"Where are we?† It was midday and a sunlit blue sky stretched brightly overhead. Elena was pretty sure it was always midday here: It certainly had been the last time she’d been here. They were in a wide, long field that seemed to go on forever. As far as Elena could see, there were tal bushes growing – rosebushes with perfect velvety black blooms. Midnight roses. Richly magical roses grown for holding spel s only the kitsune could coat onto them. A kitsune had sent Stefan one of these roses once, with a spel to make him human, but Damon had accidental y intercepted it, much to both brothers’ dismay. â€Å"We’re in the kitsunes’ magic rose field, the one that the Gatehouse of the Seven Treasures opens into,† she told Bonnie. â€Å"Oh,† Bonnie said. She thought for a moment and then asked helplessly, â€Å"What are we doing here? Is the phantom a kitsune?† â€Å"I don’t think so,† Elena answered. â€Å"Maybe it’s just a convenient place to stash us.† Elena took a deep breath. Bonnie was a good person to be with in a crisis. Not good in the way that Meredith was – Meredith’s way was the planning-and-getting-things-done way – but good in that Bonnie looked up at Elena trustingly with big, innocent eyes and asked questions, confident that Elena would know the answers. And Elena would immediately feel competent and protective, as if she could deal with whatever situation they were embroiled in. Like right now. With Bonnie depending on her, Elena’s mind was working more clearly than it had for days. Any moment now, she’d come up with a plan to get them out of here. Any moment now, she was sure. Bonnie’s cold, smal fingers worked their way into Elena’s hand. â€Å"Elena, are we dead?† she asked in a tiny, quavering voice. Were they dead? Elena wondered. She didn’t think so. Bonnie had been alive after the phantom took her, but unwakeable. It was more likely their spirits had traveled here on the astral plane and their bodies were back in Fel ‘s Church. â€Å"Elena?† Bonnie repeated anxiously. â€Å"Do you think we’re dead?† Elena opened her mouth to respond when a crackling, stomping noise interrupted her. The rosebushes nearby began to thrash wildly, and there was a great rushing sound that seemed to come from every direction at once. The snapping of branches was deafening, as if something huge was shoving its way through the bracken. Al around them, thorny rosebush branches whipped back and forth, although there was no wind. She yelped as one of the waving branches smacked her across the arm, gashing her skin open. Bonnie let out a wail, and Elena’s heart beat double time in her chest. She whirled around, pushing Bonnie behind her. She bal ed her hands into fists and crouched, trying to remember what Meredith had taught her about fighting an attacker. But as she looked around, al she could see for miles were roses. Black, perfect roses. Bonnie gave a smal whimper and pressed closer to Elena’s back. Suddenly Elena felt a sharp, aching tug rip through her, as if something were being pul ed slowly but firmly out of her torso. She gasped and stumbled, clutching her hands to her stomach. This is it, she thought numbly, feeling as though every bone in her body were being ground to a pulp. I am going to die. How to cite The Hunters: Phantom Chapter 27, Essay examples

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