July 4th, 1924
I ran as fast as I could, stumbling a few times in the process. This was partially due to the tears blinding me, along with the trash scattered along the streets of Brooklyn. The fireworks exploding in the sky made it hard to hear their footsteps, along with the loud music blasting from the passing buildings and the gunshots. I was frightened, and I was confused. But all that I could do was run. Run from whatever those…things were. Everytime I blinked, I saw the decapitated bodies of my sister and her lover, along with my mother and father. I didn’t have time to mourn. I just needed to get away. I looked behind me for a split second, only to turn around and run into a White boy in the newsboy uniform of suspenders, a white button down, long socks, and brown pants, head on. Under his brown newsboy cap lie curly, dirty blonde hair that fell over his ears and gray eyes. I panicked, and tried to flee once more, but he grabbed me around the waist, placed a hand over my mouth, and pulled me within the nearest alleyway. I struggled. I had to get away. Whatever those things were, they’d find me, and they’d kill me. I prayed to God that the crowd would help me lose them. But I knew they were still there. I could feel their eyes on me. I could sense their hunger, and I knew. After a short pause, the boy removed his hand from my mouth.
“Do not scream, do not even think of it,” he had a funny accent. It was nothing I’d ever heard around those parts. He grabbed my wrist, and pulled me further into the alleyway. When we got to the back, we turned and ran down three flights of stairs, until we got to a brick wall.
“P-Please don’t kill me. I ain‘t lookin‘ for trouble. I promise” My entire body shook, and I couldn’t control the tears falling from my eyes. My feet were scarred from running through the streets with no shoes on, and my dress was torn from falling a few times.
“I do not wish to kill you,” he knocked on the brick wall a few times, and a pair of bright blue eyes appeared where a brick once was.
“Open the door, please,” The boy said to the eyes.
The eyes peered down at me, and then back at the boy.
I shivered once more, and began to cry again, realizing that my entire family truly was gone. The boy gripped my arm a little tighter, and I stopped crying. When he looked down at me, and I looked back up at him, his eyes were full of sadness.
“Please, do not cry,” he looked back up at the man, and clenched his jaw, “I’m going to ask you once more to let us in to this establishment, or I will not hesitate to kill you.”
The man’s eyes crinkled at the corners with laughter.
“Alright then, Big Six. Lose the Coon and you’re in.”
The boy dropped my arm and a snarl escaped from deep in his throat. His face grew dark, his eyes grew darker. In the blink of an eye, the boy lunged at the door and tore through the brick wall, grabbing the man, and pulling him out by the throat. In one swift movement, he snapped his neck, and dropped him. I covered my mouth and screamed into my hand. The tears drenched my dress and my skin, and I backed into the wall, scared out of my wits.
“Come with me,” the boy’s face was back to normal, and he held his hand out to me, but I didn’t trust it. I shook my head violently and tried to cover my own screams with my hand.
“They are coming, you HAVE to come with me. Rose. Please.”
He knew my name. He knew who I was running from. But I still didn’t trust him. And why would I? He’d just snapped a man’s neck and dropped him like a sack of trash. He sighed, frustrated, and in a flash, I was over his shoulder, and down in the cellar. In an instant, I heard the Jazz band booming, and then muffled by a slamming door. I found myself sitting in a dark room, surrounded by barrels of Moonshine and crates of cigars. I couldn’t breathe, and I didn’t know what was going on.
“Rose, are you alright? Please speak.”
I couldn’t speak. All I could do was let out a hoarse sob. I brought my knees up to my chest and cried. The boy slid down the wall next to me and I jumped to my feet, backing away from him. Once my eyes adjusted, I scurried to the opposite wall. If he was going to kill me, I just wish he’d done it upstairs. I didn’t feel like being played with. Instead of following me, he simply looked up at me with a pained expression on his face.
“I am not going to hurt you. I have no intention of hurting you. I would never hurt you.”
He dropped his head back down and brought his knees up to his chest.
“He called you an ugly word and refused to help me save you,” he shrugged dismissively, “he had to die.”
“No…no…no,” I brought my hands to my face and shook my head, “you just bumped off that man. You bumped him off no problem.”
If it had been the Rose Ellis from just a few hours before, I’d run away, screaming from the room. But the boy and I both knew that I was tired of running, and too numb to feel anymore fear. The boy nodded his head a few times, falling asleep.
“Hey…buddy, you feelin well?”
“I am just really tired, Rose. So tired.”
I kept on my side of the room, away from the strange boy.
“W-What’s your name? How’d you know mine?” I asked cautiously.
“Tyler. My name is Tyler Worthington,” the boy mumbled, “I know…I-I know that you are Rose Ellis, because I could feel it.”
When I was sure that the boy wasn’t going to attack me, I slid down the wall and looked around for a jar. I needed something to make me silly.
“What you mean you could feel it?”
“You called out to me. I heard you,” the boy’s head drooped just as I found two empty jars.
“I ain’t never seen you.” I pushed my falling hair from my face. The sweat loosened my finger waves, and they drooped pitifully around my face.
“Your soul called to me,” he winced as he adjusted himself on the ground, and I cracked open one of the Moonshine barrels, “I did not mean to frighten you, Rose.”
The strong smelling liquor filled one jar, and then the other until they almost overflowed. I cautiously crawled over to Tyler, and handed him a jar full of Moonshine.
“Here, drink this. It’ll help you feel better.”
He took a large gulp and winced, sucking air between his teeth.
“They are here.” He grunted between his teeth.
“Who is? Who’s here?” I sat next to him and downed the jar of Moonshine.
“The ones that killed your family. They are coming for you.”
And then it hit me, once more, the reason why I was so afraid. I finished off my jar and made to get another one. If I was gonna die, I wanted to be drunk for it, at least.
“Oh goodness, they’re gonna kill you too now, for helpin’ me. Oh goodness.” In a millisecond, Tyler was up and gently holding onto my wrist.
“No. Because when I’m done doing what I have to do, then they will not be able to get to either of us.”
I stared up into his dark gray eyes cautiously.
“What you gonna to do?”
He looked down at me, his eyes were soft, and a small smile played across his lips.
“What?” I asked.
“You are not afraid of me anymore.”
A piercing scream escaped from the other side of the door, and it was abruptly cut short as madness ensued. We heard shouts, gunfire, and screaming as heavy bodies fell to the floor left and right. The boy sprang into action, while I, on the other hand, began to panic.
“I need more Moonshine. I need it. I don’t wanna die like this. I can’t. I can’t.” Tears fell onto my cheeks, and Tyler pulled me close to him.
“Okay Rose, okay. I will not let them hurt you. It will all be over soon. I promise.”
Before I could do anything, the boy leaned forward, pressed his lips to my neck, as if it were a kiss, and I felt a stabbing pain. The pain was excruciating, so painful that it shot all the way down to my toes. It felt like tiny knives being forced into my throat. He covered my mouth so that I couldn’t scream, and I felt the warm blood spill down my neck. I tried to push him away, but he would not let go of me. He just held on tighter, and groaned greedily. The stabbing pain turned into burning, and I felt weaker.
“She’s in here. I know it! I can smell her blood.” A man’s voice boomed from the other side of the door.
The boy grunted as he pulled away from my neck, and held my wrists with one of his hands. His face was covered with my blood, and it was not dark like it was when he killed the man at the door. I felt my legs get weaker, but the burning didn’t stop. I slipped my wrist from his grasp, and I slapped my hand to my neck over and over. The burning only intensified. It was almost as if someone literally set my skin on fire, and no matter what I did, the fire refused to cease. I clenched my fingers into fists and clawed at my arms, wailing in excruciating pain.
"It burns! Dear Lord make it stop," tears spilled and there was a lump in my throat, "IT BURNS!"
“I am so sorry, Rose. I am. I am almost done. It will not hurt anymore.”
Just as the door opened, Tyler wiped his mouth. He put his hands on my head, kissed my forehead, and made one swift motion, snapping my neck, and ending my sixteen years of living.