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Adelric has seen much in his lifetime. He has lived through the death and destruction of both World Wars. He has helped raise a family and watch them prosper. He has traveled through Europe searching to find himself. Now, as he returns to Germany, he begins a new chapter in his eternal life. However, the woman he wants to spend forever with has other plans.

Chapter Seventeen

An Imposible Choice

It was late, nearly three in the morning when the phone rang. Adelric was startled, nearly fell out of bed. He fiddled for the light switch, then he answered. “Hello?”
“Yes, is this Mr. Schmidt?”
“I’m terribly sorry to wake you sir, but we have an emergency. This is Freidrich. I’m a security guard at the hospital. I regret to inform you that Miss Goldberg is missing…”
Adelric dropped the phone. He ran as fast as possible to the hospital. This can’t be happening, he thought, she can’t be gone… The nurses were all scrambling when he arrived. He immediately went to the front desk and pounded his fists on the counter. “What happened??”
“Mr. Schmidt? We just had you on the phone, how did you get here so quickly?”
“Never mind that. I’m asking the questions. What happened? What do you mean Leilah is missing?”
“We…we don’t know sir. A nurse passed by her door around one and she was fast asleep. Then when the same nurse came back around two, she was gone. We searched the whole hospital, but we can’t find her anywhere.”
“So, you waited an hour to call me?”
“Well we thought she was simply wandering around. We called you when it became clear that she had left the premises and we weren’t going to find her…”
“You should’ve called me IMMEDIATELY!” he screamed at the nurse. “She could be anywhere! What if something has happened to her?” Adelric was finding it hard to breath and his face felt funny; like a combination of tingling and bugs crawling over his skin.
“Sir, please calm down. We have already informed authorities and they have officers out looking for her.”
“No, no I need to go, I need to find her…” Adelric’s hands were trembling. He slumped back against the counter. He was distraught and bewildered. “Why…why would she leave? Just like that? Just get up and walk away…It’s been months…Why would she just run away now?”
The nurses had no reply for him, they offered him a drink and tried to comfort him, but he refused. He an out of the hospital and took a deep breath of the brisk January air. He tried to catch even the slightest whiff of her scent to determine what direction her should begin searching. He had wasted so much time already. He climbed up to the roof and took another deep breath, and another. Where had she gone? Why couldn’t he smell her? Adelric sat down. He crossed his legs and closed his eyes, and tried to do something that he only attempted once before. If he and Leilah truly had the connection that he believed they did, then this should work. He opened his mind and searched for hers. He scanned the city, hoping, praying even that he would feel her presence somewhere.
A frozen breeze hit him, square in the back. It sent a chill up his spine, and he nearly lost his concentration. He focused harder and blocked out the rest of the world, just reaching out for her. However, he felt nothing, nothing at all anywhere. He let go and drifted off with the next breeze. He let it carry him over the city as he tried so desperately to detect Leilah’s whereabouts. He landed on the roof of a small diner, long since closed for the evening, still trying to sense anything of her. Tears stung his face in the freezing air. He jumped down from the roof and battered his hands against the brick building. Where was she? Why couldn’t he find her?
He felt defeated, empty. He blamed himself for everything. He slumped against the wall and collapsed to the ground, knuckled bloodied. He was about to completely give up all hope when another breeze hit him. Except this breeze wasn’t cold, no not at all. It was warm and sweet. It penetrated his body and filled him with a lustrous feeling. Leilah was close, he could feel her. He leaped to his feet and sprinted down the street like a madman. He followed his gut and was lead straight to her. However, his joy upon finding her was quickly diminished when saw her.
Leilah was lying in an alleyway next to a dumpster in a crumpled ball. Her face was buried in the snow. She didn’t move. Adelric cradled her in his arms. He could see the fresh needle marks in her arm. Her skin was ice, her lips and fingertips were turning blue. Her heartbeat was practically non-existent and he didn’t think she was breathing. The temperature was barely in the twenties and more snow was beginning to fall. Leilah was fading fast, Adelric knew that she would never make it back to the hospital.
He sat there in the snow and held her to him. He was going to lose her if he didn’t do something. She was dying in his arms and he was willing to do anything to save her life. Desperation took hold and Adelric threw away all of his morals. He loved her too much, he refused to lose her this way. He pulled her close and whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry, please forgive me…” and sank his teeth into her neck.
Her blood was so cold, he could taste the first hints of death. He pulled away as her heart stopped completely. Then, he bit into his own wrist and held it over her, letting his blood drip into her mouth. As her color began to return, he took of his coat and wrapped her in it. He carried her back to her house, changed her clothes and placed her in her warm bed. He sat in a chair on her balcony. Silently he cried to himself. He had sworn that he would never do that, sworn that he would never curse anybody with his eternal hell…and he just did it to Leilah. In his frantic and hopeless state, he was reckless, he was careless and impulsive and he loathed himself for what he had just done. And yet, it wasn’t all bad, was it? He had just saved her life after all, Yes, he had just saved her life, and now they could be together forever…She could be his forever…He dozed off, quite pleased with himself. Of course, he had made the right decision. Everything was going to be great.
Except it wasn’t. Adelric awoke in the burning glow of the morning sun to Leilah screaming at her reflection in the mirror. “Oh no…” he muttered to himself, “Leilah…” He approached her slowly with his hands out. “It’s alright. Just calm down. You’re alright…”
“Alright? ALRIGHT?? What have you done to me??” She came at him in a rage and backed him up against the wall. “What did you do?” Her voice was vicious, she was ready to tear his head clean off.
“I…I found you lying in the show…you were dying…fading away in my arms…I…” he straightened himself, “I saved your life.”
“Saved my life?” She backed away from him, “You didn’t save my life…you damned it…cursed me to live like you…a lowly pitiful creature of darkness…”
“Tell me Leilah…when exactly did your opinion of me change so drastically? Where did all this animosity come from? I used to be your best friend. Then you started hanging out with Hans and everything changed, you tossed me aside like garbage. Why?”
“You had Anne. You didn’t need me. You had Anne and all your fame and all those women begging you to model for them. I had Hans and new friends and people who wanted to buy my art and ask me to paint for them. We had separate lives and you didn’t need me anymore. You were going to be famous, Anne told me so.”
“Anne? This is all because of Anne? Leilah everything she told you was a lie. I never wanted fame, I wanted that for you. I wanted your name to be known all around the world, I wanted your art to be hanging in museums and galleries everywhere. I never pursued Anne, I detested her desperate and naïve attitude. I tried that entire time to see you, to talk to you, but you were never around. And then came the drugs, and Anne knew all about it, she begged me to run away with her and leave you to fend for yourself. And I refused her, I could never leave you, I needed to take care of you…”
Leilah flew at him. She clenched her hands around his neck and bared her fresh fangs, “Is this what you call taking care of me?? You had no right…” She backed off again, afraid of her own strength. “You had no right to do this…”
“I had to…I couldn’t…I refused to let you die…”
“Why? Why couldn’t I die? What makes me so god damn important that you had to do this shit to me?”
“I…I…” Adelric pulled her into his arms and kissed her hard. “I love you Leilah. I couldn’t live without you. I love you more than anything in the whole world. And now, we can be together forever…” She pushed him away and brought her hand to her lips. “Leilah please just think about it. We can be together forever. You can have everything you have ever wanted, and so much more. This can be such a wonderful thing. I love you Leilah.”

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tracy pulinka

tannersville, USA

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