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Blood and Roses

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Anastasia Gastiello, is not your typical girl. She was once the meanest, baddest, most cruel cheer captain in Grimsborrow high. That changed after the accident. When she woke up with no memories from the first day she entered high school, covered in her blood with the dead bodies of her family scattered around her. Anastasia isn’t the main suspect, no in fact the police know that she didn’t do it because her injuries show that she’s supposed to be dead. But somehow she survived. As Anastasia tries to get back into her school routine, while the people she bullied seek out revenge, HE shows up to save her. Griffin Masters scares her. This big black furred wolf hybrid is dangerous, and should not be trusted. But he won’t leave her alone, and seems obsessed with helping her uncover her memories of that night. He is the bad boy every parent warns you about. They begin their investigation in private, away from the cops and some very powerful people who are hell bent on ensuring she never regains her memory, and that the truth about what happened to her family never gets out. Anastasia desperately wants answers, and the closer she gets the more she realizes that the truth might not be worth discovering after all.

Chapter 1: Meet Anastasia

×Anastasia×

Rain pours heavily on the hood of the Mercedes AMG. The soft tapping of it should ease my mind, but it doesn’t. Nothing relaxes me anymore. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be at peace.

“Take me to the bedroom, life is all I’m asking for.” The lyrics to that song said love not life, but who am I to correct my aunt. She has a big smile splitting her cheeks, and a happy tune playing through the radio of the car. Her brown hair bobs with her head, and her manicured fingers work the steering wheel with precision.

How can she be so happy? Her sister was murdered two weeks ago…. That’s right. That’s why I’m here. I’ve been in intensive care for the past two weeks as witch doctors tried to heal the wounds on my body. I was cleared for travel yesterday, and my aunt insisted we return back to the mansion. They said I was Lucky. I don’t agree with them. I’m not lucky.

Oh.

You don’t know me yet, how rude of me. I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Anastasia, last name Gastillo. I am an omega to the Grimsborrow pack, or town. We’re really both. My family comes from money, and I’ve never known what it’s like to suffer, or even work for anything. I just had to ask and it was given. That isn’t the case anymore. You see, two weeks ago, I woke up to something horrifying and I haven’t been able to think straight since then.

/FLASHBACK/

There’s something heavy resting atop my chest. I wonder if Marko snuck into my room again. I swear that cat doesn’t know when to quit. He’s not even mine. I moved my fingers to brush the soft fur of the Persian cat, or I attempted too.

Huh? What the hell? The question is loud in my head. I can’t move my fingers. I can’t feel them. What’s happening? Panic instills itself into my mind, and my eyes shoot open pushing my lids back.

A bright shimmering light burns my retinas, and I groan audibly. My heart punches hard against my ribs, it hurts. Why did that hurt? Every inhale I put into my lungs is like a knife is being pushed further in. My body aches, a liquid runs a trail from my skull to my lips.

I hear faint gasp coming from several people. My lips part, words refuse to come through. Who are these people? Why does everything hurt?

My fingers remain docile and I take note that my toes aren’t working either. My limbs appear to be in a standstill, leaving me completely paralyzed.

Fear assaults my brain, tears flood from my eyes. What is happening? Help! Someone help me please....

“She’s alive!” a male octave bellows loudly into my right ear. My heart is once again thumping very hard, each pump brings me intense pain. My body’s quakes and spasms.

“Get an ambulance here now!” a different man shouts this time.

“Anastasia, I need you to relax. It’s sheriff Douglas.”

Sheriff who? I’ve never heard of this guy. The last I checked our sheriff was Donald. Who in earth is this man? I attempt to thrash around but it’s futile. My body refuses to work. I wheeze, taking in another pain driven breath that makes my stomach tight with aches.

“She’s panicking, sir. Anastasia, it’s Beverly. Remember me, your old nanny?”

I manage to calm at the soft sooth of Beverly’s tone. Yes, I know her. What is she doing in my house? She hasn’t been my nanny for four years. I pry my lips apart, trying to communicate. My tongue is stiff, words don’t come out. This time I cough up something in the form of liquid. My throat squeezes, and more pain is added to my shaking body.

“Anastasia, I need you to try and relax. Don’t speak. Don’t do anything. Hold your breath in, there is an object where your heart is and every time you inhale, it sinks deeper.” WHAT? Oh god. Oh god! “Please be calm, you’ll only hurt yourself if you panic.”

I take her words, and attempt to get my mind to stop its panicking. Once it does, I keep my lips pressed in a thin line. I don’t get what she meant by hold in your breath. Whether you hold your breath or not, it doesn’t stop the heart from working. In fact, it makes the organ work even harder. Instead, I kept my inhales to a minimum. Taking smaller breaths in, and longer ones out. It still hurts. There wasn’t a difference in the pain.

I hope it ends soon. What happened to me? Why am I like this? The last thing I remember was going to bed, excited for the first day of high school. That should be today. Oh no, did the house collapse on me while I slept?

A building doesn't involve a knife....so I can rule that out.

I blinked, the bright light vanished and I got a clear view of the people surrounding me.

“Her pupils just returned, sheriff.”

Returned? Okay, relax Anastasia. Beverly will explain things when the ambulance gets here. Then you can scream, freak out, and run for the hills.

‘Maybe call your parents first?’ A voice added in my head. I immediately tensed, the slivery feminine tone was nothing like mine. It sounded like a completely different person was living in my head.

Hello? I say back, feeling ridiculous and wondering why I wasn’t freakishly screaming at the mere thought of another voice bouncing through the empty space of my mind.

‘Hi, I’m Cecil.’

….

WHAT?!?! WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!?!

‘I believe I answered that already. I am Cecil.’

“Remember not to freak out, Anastasia. The ambulance is almost here.” Beverly smiles at me, a bit sadly. I see the aged marks on her face. She’s been stressed, the marks around her face is strange. Not stranger than the voice speaking back to me in my mind. I take her advice, trying to ease my conscious once more.

The sheriff, I’m assuming, is looking away from me. The back of his head is all I can see.

Who are you? I ask, the voice not the sheriff. My mouth is out of commission.

‘I’m your wolf,’ she replies almost instantly.

My wolf?

'Yes.'

But how? I’m fifteen. We don’t get our wolves until we’re eighteen, and facing off for the blue moon festival.

'You are eighteen. That’s really what I can confirm. The last thing I remember is a bit fuzzy. Like the month of the festival, I remember all of that, but after…. Nothing.'

How can I be eighteen? I-

I cut myself off as a strange realization pops in. I have a wolf. That means she’s not lying. I am in fact eighteen. Or crazy. Then what the hell happened during the past three years of my life? How- why can’t I remember anything.

“Sir, it’s here.”

The man finally turns, I catch the wild look of wonder in his cynical forest green eyes. He tips his hat at me, and starts talking but I can’t hear him. A loud ringing fills my eardrums. I know those eyes, where do I know them from?

An ache wraps around my skull, and I watch them lift me up. My neck turns on its own, I gape, the panic I had tried to stop rushing back with fevor. The severed head of my elder sister, her shining blonde hair soaked in deep red with a pool of blood surrounding her. There are other limbs next to her, her eyes are wide and empty.

Something pushes up against my mouth, and I tremble. A wave of dizziness hits me, I don’t stop staring at the horror show until my lashes flutter down and darkness swallows me.

/END OF FLASHBACK/

“Mom, can you stop singing? This isn’t exactly the mood.” Alexis, my cousin, reprimands her mother. I block their conversation out. Focusing on the passing trees and houses. It rarely rains here, but when it does, it comes like a full thunderstorm. This time, the sky is as clear as day, but the rain is pouring heavily. There are no signs of lightening, or even the booms of thunder.

It's usually not this peculiar, but then again, so is everything about my little cursed town.

Two weeks of waking in and out of a coma. When I was finally ‘healed’ the doctor in charge told me what really happened. Well, what he knows…about my injury. No one knows what transpired the night my family died, even the woman that phoned in the sheriff’s the department is unknown.

She’s a mystery, and the only reason I survived.

The doctor informed me of the level of wounds I had sustained. A broken skull and jaw. Cracked ribs that punctured my lungs. A serpentine dagger lodged so far into my heart, it could have been missed. Popped shoulder blades. Broken legs, and arms. My fingers had completely regrown because they were diced off.

My stomach healed itself thanks to the witch doctor's magic, the tear had been so long and difficult to heal ordinarily. Then the worst news came. Cecil and I are still shaken up. I have what they call an amnesia gap, and so does she. Everything from the day I was to start high school, till the time I woke up, is gone. Not permanently, the doctor said.

It could be years before it returns. Years of never knowing what memories my family and I made together. Three years of my life, just erased like that. And Cecil, she can’t remember anything we’ve done together. Only the festival, and bit of bonding after that.

My parents are gone. My sisters are gone too. My brother, dead. Killed off like animals. I don’t know who’s responsible for this. They nearly took my life too.

They would have succeeded in taking out the entire Gastillo family, if I didn’t wake up. How did I even wake up? I should be dead. The sheriff, the doctors, Beverly, my aunt and Alexis, they all think the same thing. I should be dead. I should be in the grave with the rest of my family but I am not.

Instead, I’m returning back to my town hoping to start a new and rebuild whatever I can of my life. My parents left everything, shockingly, to me. Not one thing to my siblings. I guess now I know who their favorite was.

My humor is dry, I wish I could laugh. Feel a little bit of happiness. I’m miserable.

What were my last words to them? I hope it was how much I loved them. Because I do. I fought back the tears, and caught sightings of new monuments that weren’t there when I was fifteen. Like the sheriff, so much changed over the course of three years.

Three years I don’t remember.

I’m in my final year of high school. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to dive back into the life I don’t recall. What if my new friends are upset that I don’t remember them? What if they hate me for it?

I let out a small sigh, hoping for the best tomorrow. I listen closely to the rain outside. Almost drifting off to another horrible sleep when the car shakes, coming to a complete halt.

“You should never drive again mom. I’m begging you.” Alexis pleads, her mother laughs and the locks come undone.

I stepped out and into the cold pour.

“Anasta-”

“Let her be mom. She’s having a rough time.” The passenger door closes, blocking the rest of Alexis’s words from my ears.

I turned and made my way around the car, hearing a small question from Cecil in the back of my mind.

'Are you okay?'

No.

'Me neither.' She responds.

The depression will soon sink in, and I’d like to be inside when it happens. One good thing came from my amnesia, I can’t remember what happened that night. But also, the sheriff’s department has no leads.

But they’re doing the best they can. With the massive crime scene they had.

“Here.” I flinch a little, whipping my neck around to see Alexis. She offers me a kind smile, she’s older than I remember. And still so pretty. I feigned a smile back, the gesture is harder for the muscles in my face than I’m willing to admit. She waves the keys for me, I mouth an O.

“Sorry, I’m a bit out of it.”

She shrugged, and opening the small door in the gate. She had no umbrella with her, I’m guessing she go out in a hurry. Who wouldn’t when their cousin was standing in front of her own home gate, and staring at her house like a psycho?

“Don’t apologize. Let’s get you inside before you catch a cold.”

I nod, following her through the door. The walkway is just like I remember, on each side are prize winning roses. Of different colors. Huh? When do black roses exist? I took a small detour from following Alexis, bending over a patch of those strange black roses.

My confusion and curiosity grows when my finger brushes past a red one and it turns black. It gets worse I bucked the finger towards the black one and the shade turns.

“What the f*ck?”

'I second that. What the f*ck?' Cecil adds.

I shoot to my feet and walk towards the main door. Alexis was about to turn the key. I can explore the house later, right now everything is freaky and different.

My family aren’t the best people, I’ll admit that. Our home is the only Victorian mansion in the whole town. They bought the property, and had the house made to fit those ancient times. But classy, and beautiful. The décor is olden, it transports you back in time the moment you walk right through the front door.

The bits of modern architecture is barely noticeable.

Why I said they aren’t the best people is the reason behind the house’s design. They wanted everyone who walks by, to feel poor. And it worked.

People hate us for being too rich. The ones who like us are s*ck ups and fellow assholes. I’ve never been one to follow in my family’s way, I preferred to stay on my own. If people don’t want to talk to me then that is okay by me.

That’s how I rolled.

I shouldn’t be too surprised if people are happy my family died. My father was horrible, he enjoyed a game of gunning the poor. Not actually uses a gun on them, but really treating them like slaves as long as he was paying them. My mother was no better, and let me just add, my siblings were a nightmare.

I wasn’t nice, I would never describe myself as such. I never stopped them from doing bad things to people, but I didn’t join them either.

Re-entering my own home is a strange feeling all on its own. I feel out of place.

“The maids will resume work tomorrow, so you and I just gotta survive together.”

I jolt out of my thoughts. My gaze had been scrutinizing the entrance hall, and the large portraits of my parents. Egotistical, yes, but beautiful.

“You and I? What about your mom?” I made my inquiry, sneaking a look at the car still parked outside the gate.

Alexis shuts the door, and gives me an apologetic look.

“We’re on our own. She’s going back to the YA. My things are already here, in a room not too far from yours. If you need anything. Do let me know.” There’s something hidden in her words. She almost can’t wait to get away from me. Her shoulders are tensed, and her fingers brush up and down her elbow.

“Um, sure. Thanks. I’ll be in my room then.”

This is awkward. Very awkward. I chose to end the sombre air there, and walk slowly in the direction I know was my room. That is if I didn’t move to a different one.

No, still mine. I grumbled, the words written on the big oak door made me cringe.

‘This is ANASTASIA’S room. Keep out bitches’

When did I write this?

I made an odd face and twisted the knob to the door. My jaw met the floor, what the hell?

This is the room fifteen year old me had. I don’t remember the wall of trophies, the posters of myself or the huge princess style bed with a canopy.

I’m almost too scared to walk in. I s*ck in, and hurry into the room. Kicking the door with the heel of my boot.

“Since when did I become an ego maniac?” I asked out loud. The posters read, cheer captain of Grimsborrow high.

Firstly, AHHHH! I’ve always wanted to join the cheer team, I can’t believe I’m the captain. Secondly, AHHHH! What the hell?!

Even I don’t want to see this much of-

Oh my god is that skirt really mine. I skipped all the way over to the picture on my drawer. It was of me, and a group of girls I’ve never seen. That isn’t the point though, the skirt. That skirt looks perfect on me. Sweet heavens.

I know it’s weird. But the only thing that makes me happy right now, after not being able to feel happiness for two weeks, is the thought of my high school wardrobe. But first!

I rolled up my sleeves, and got to work. Tearing down the posters. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to see yourself, glancing right back at you.

You’d sh*t your pants. I’m weak to horror. I prefer my sh*t intact. There are so many, it takes up a good chunk of my time but I’m finally done. I folded all of them and exited the room. There’s a trash shoot hidden in every hallway, I remember where all of them are. I pressed the right brick until it sunk in. A gap formed in the wall, I swung the pieces of paper into the shoot and watched them slide down.

I returned to the room, smiling to myself. Whatever phase I was in, I’m glad it’s a bit over.

Now, onto the next part. The closet.

A knock stops me from making my way to the best part of the room. I craned my neck as Alexis walked in. She had that same smile again. Tense and uncomfortable.

“I just came to give you your phone.”

“Thank you.” I reached for it. My thumb pushes hard on the side button, the phone brightens up. The screensaver wasn’t of me. It was of a guy that felt too familiar. His hair long and auburn. A bright glare in his mesmeric silver eyes.

Who is he?

There was a caption though.

“Here lies the school’s biggest failure.” I winced, saying those words made me feel sick to my stomach. Who calls someone a failure and then saves it as the first thing they see when they unlock their phone.

“Yeah, I need to warn you.”

“About?” I say a bit distracted. The man is handsome. Very handsome, but there is so much hate filling his expression. The picture looks to be taken at a hall, a school hall, with lockers to the side. I quickly search for the gallery app, there isn’t a password lock on the phone. Odd, I wouldn’t be so careless.

Once I found the app, I scrolled through the pictures and chose the first okay one. A photo of me, looking off into the window. Seated behind a desk, with my legs crossed. I look nice.

The others were a bit to frisky for my taste. Geezus. What kind of photos are these? I’m drinking in most. Wearing short, skimpy outfits. And those girls from the other picture are there in almost all.

“You aren’t exactly liked in Grimsborrow high?”

Huh? I steal my stare away from the screen, my eyebrows meet at the center of my forehead.

“What do you mean?”

“You’ll find out tomorrow. You were awful, and a lot of people would term you as a monster. Just don’t set your hopes on a warm welcome. Even I don’t want to be around you.” Her admission sliced through my shortly gained happiness. Alexis grimaces at my expression, and turns to leave.

If people don’t like me ….then who are those people smiling with me in the pictures? I’m so confused.

Chapter 2: First day disaster

×Anastasia×

Breakfast isn’t an option for me, I hate to eat in the morning and since Alexis said those things to me last night, I’ve been more than eager to get to school. There has to be a logical explanation for why people don’t like me…and I want to know.

Maybe she’s wrong, and they do like me. I get why my family was hated but I never received hate, not once. I wasn’t liked, but I was never hated. I didn’t do anything to people so they did what I did and kept a good distance.

Hate….

Maybe you joined your family in terrorizing people?

I don’t think so Cecil. I would never do that. I never understood what happiness they gained from causing other people misery. It definitely isn’t a thing for me.

I woke up at the early hours of four to five. School starts by eight. I remember memorizing this little detail and the excitement that thrummed through me. I wonder what it was like, the first day of high school. I’ll be getting the same experience,

Heroes

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