Home > The Fury (The Vampire Diaries #3)(16)

The Fury (The Vampire Diaries #3)(16)
Author: L.J. Smith

But I'm coming back to you, Stefan, she thought.

As she leaned toward him, Matt said, "I'm going to come and help you tomorrow, you know. Even if I'm not invited."

Then her lips touched his throat.

December 13, Friday

Dear Diary,

I know I've written that before, or thought it at least. But tonight is the night, the big one, when everything is going to happen. This is it.

Stefan feels it, too. He came back from school today to tell me that the dance is still on-Mr. Newcastle didn't want to cause a panic by canceling it or something. What they're going to do is have "security" outside, which means the police, I guess. And maybe Mr. Smallwood and some of his friends with rifles. Whatever's going to happen, I don't think they can stop it.

I don't know if we can, either.

It's been snowing all day. The pass is blocked, which means nothing gets in or out of town on wheels. Until the snowplow gets up there, which won't be until morning, which will be too late.

And the air has a funny feeling to it. Not just snow. It's as if something even colder than that is waiting. It's pulled back the way the ocean pulls back before a tidal wave. When it lets go...

I thought about my other diary today, the one under the floorboards of my bedroom closet. If I own anything anymore, I own that diary. I thought about getting it out, but I don't want to go home again. I don't think I could cope, and I know Aunt Judith couldn't if she saw me.

I'm surprised anybody's been able to cope. Meredith, Bonnie-especially Bonnie. Well, Meredith, too, considering what her family has been through. Matt.

They're good and loyal friends. It's funny, I used to think that without a whole galaxy of friends and admirers I wouldn't survive. Now I'm perfectly happy with three, thank you. Because they're real friends.

I didn't know how much I cared about them before. Or about Margaret, or Aunt Judith even. And everybody at school... I know a few weeks ago I was saying that I didn't care if the entire population of Robert E. Lee dropped dead, but that isn't true. Tonight I'm going to do my best to protect them.

I know I'm jumping from subject to subject, but I'm just talking about things that are important to me. Kind of gathering them together in my mind. Just in case.

Well, it's time. Stefan is waiting. I'm going to finish this last line and then go. I think we're going to win. I hope so.

We're going to try.

The history room was warm and brightly lit. On the other side of the school building, the cafeteria was even brighter, shining with Christmas lights and decorations. Upon arriving, Elena had scrutinized it from a cautious distance, watching the couples arrive for the dance and pass by the sheriff's officers at the door. Feeling Damon's silent presence behind her, she had pointed out a girl with long, light brown hair.

"I'll take your word for it," he replied.

Now, she looked around their makeshift headquarters for the night. Alaric's desk had been cleared, and he was bent over a rough map of the school. Meredith leaned in beside him, her dark hair sweeping his sleeve. Matt and Bonnie were out mingling with the dancegoers in the parking lot, and Stefan and Damon were prowling the perimeter of the school grounds. They were going to take turns.

"You'd better stay inside," Alaric had told Elena. "All we need is for somebody to see you and start chasing you with a stake."

"I've been walking around town all week," Elena said, amused. "If I don't want to be seen, you don't see me." But she agreed to stay in the history room and coordinate.

It's like a castle, she thought as she watched Alaric plot out the positions of sheriff's officers and other men on the map. And we're defending it. Me and my loyal knights.

The round, flat-faced clock on the wall ticked the minutes by. Elena watched it as she let people in the door and let them out again. She poured hot coffee out of a Thermos for those who wanted it. She listened to the reports come in.

"Everything's quiet on the north side of the school."

"Caroline just got crowned snow queen. Big surprise."

"Some rowdy kids in the parking lot-the sheriff just rounded them up..."

Midnight came and went.

"Maybe we were wrong," Stefan said an hour or so later. It was the first time they'd all been inside together since the beginning of the evening.

"Maybe it's happening somewhere else," said Bonnie, emptying out a boot and peering into it.

"There's no way to know where it's going to happen," Elena said firmly. "But we weren't wrong about it happening."

"Maybe," said Alaric thoughtfully, "there is a way. To find out where it's going to happen, I mean." As heads raised questioningly, he said, "We need a precognition."

All eyes turned to Bonnie.

"Oh, no," Bonnie said. "I'm through with all that. I hate it."

"It's a great gift-" began Alaric.

"It's a great big pain. Look, you don't understand. The ordinary predictions are bad enough. It seems like most of the time I'm finding out things I don't want to know. But getting taken over-that's awful. And afterward I don't even remember what I've said. It's horrible."

know. But getting taken over-that's awful. And afterward I don't even remember what I've said. It's horrible."

Bonnie sighed. "It's what happened to me in the church," she said patiently. "I can do other kinds of predictions, like divining with water or reading palms"-she glanced at Elena, and then away-"and stuff like that. But then there are times when -someone-takes me over and just uses me to talk for them. It's like having somebody else in my body."

"Like in the graveyard, when you said there was something there waiting for me," said Elena. "Or when you warned me not to go near the bridge. Or when you came to dinner and said that Death, my death, was in the house." She looked automatically around at Damon, who returned her gaze impassively. Still, that had been wrong, she thought. Damon hadn't been her death. So what had the prophecy meant? For just an instant something glimmered in her mind, but before she could get a grasp on it, Meredith interrupted.

"It's like another voice that speaks through Bonnie," Meredith explained to Alaric. "She even looks different. Maybe you weren't close enough in the church to see."

"But why didn't you tell me about this?" Alaric was excited. "This could be important. This-entity-whatever it is-could give us vital information. It could clear up the mystery of the Other Power, or at least give us a clue how to fight it."

Bonnie was shaking her head. "No. It isn't something I can just whistle up, and it doesn't answer questions. It just happens to me. And I hate it."

"You mean you can't think of anything that tends to set it off? Anything that's led to it happening before?"

Elena and Meredith, who knew very well what could set it off, looked at each other. Elena bit the inside of her cheek. It was Bonnie's choice. It had to be Bonnie's choice.

Bonnie, who was holding her head in her hands, shot a sideways glance through red curls at Elena. Then she shut her eyes and moaned.

"Candles," she said.

"What?"

"Candles. A candle flame might do it. I can't be sure, you understand; I'm not promising anything-"

"Somebody go ransack the science lab," said Alaric.

It was a scene reminiscent of the day Alaric had come to school, when he'd asked them all to put their chairs in a circle. Elena looked at the circle of faces lit eerily from below by the candle's flame. There was Matt, with his jaw set. Beside him, Meredith, her dark lashes throwing shadows upward. And Alaric, leaning forward in his eagerness. Then Damon, light and shadow dancing over the planes of his face.

And Stefan, high cheekbones looking too sharply defined to Elena's eyes. And finally, Bonnie, looking fragile and pale even in the golden light of the candle.

"I'm just going to look into the candle," Bonnie said, her voice quivering slightly. "And not think of anything. I'm going to try to-leave myself open to it." She began to breathe deeply, gazing into the candle flame.

And then it happened, just as it had before. Bonnie's face smoothed out, all expression draining away. Her eyes went blank as the stone cherub's in the graveyard.

She didn't say a word.

That was when Elena realized they hadn't agreed on what to ask. She groped through her mind to find a question before Bonnie lost contact. "Where can we find the Other Power?" she said, just as Alaric blurted out, "Who are you?" Their voices mingled, their questions intertwining.

Bonnie's blank face turned, sweeping the circle with sightless eyes. Then the voice that wasn't Bonnie's voice said, "Come and see."

"Wait a minute," Matt said, as Bonnie stood up, still entranced, and made for the door. "Where's she going?"

Meredith grabbed for her coat. "Are we going with her?"

"Don't touch her!" said Alaric, jumping up as Bonnie went out the door.

Elena looked at Stefan, and then at Damon. With one accord, they followed, trailing Bonnie down the empty, echoing hall.

"Where are we going? Which question is she answering?" Matt demanded. Elena could only shake her head. Alaric was jogging to keep up with Bonnie's gliding pace.

She slowed down as they emerged into the snow, and to Elena's surprise, walked up to Alaric's car in the staff parking lot and stood beside it.

"We can't all fit; I'll follow with Matt," Meredith said swiftly. Elena, her skin chilled with apprehension as well as cold air, got in the back of Alaric's car when he opened it for her, with Damon and Stefan on either side. Bonnie sat up front. She was looking straight ahead, and she didn't speak. But as Alaric pulled out of the parking lot, she lifted one white hand and pointed. Right on Lee Street and then left on Arbor Green. Straight out toward Elena's house and then right on Thunderbird. Heading toward Old Creek Road.

It was then that Elena realized where they were going.

They took the other bridge to the cemetery, the one everyone always called "the new bridge" to distinguish it from Wickery Bridge, which was now gone. They were approaching from the gate side, the side Tyler had driven up when he took Elena to the ruined church.

Alaric's car stopped just where Tyler's had stopped. Meredith pulled up behind them.

"Where are you taking us?" she said. "Listen to me. Will you just tell us which question you're answering?"

"Come and see."

Helplessly, Elena looked at the others. Then she stepped over the threshold. Bonnie walked slowly to the white marble tomb, and stopped.

Elena looked at it, and then at Bonnie's ghostly face. Every hair on her arms and the back of her neck was standing up. "Oh, no..." she whispered. "Not that."

"Elena, what are you talking about?" Meredith said.

Dizzy, Elena looked down at the marble countenances of Thomas and Honoria Fell, lying on the stone lid of their tomb. "This thing opens," she whispered.

Chapter Thirteen

"You think we're supposed to-look inside?" Matt said.

"I don't know," Elena said miserably. She didn't want to see what was inside that tomb now any more than she had when Tyler had suggested opening it to vandalize it. "Maybe we won't be able to get it open," she added. "Tyler and Dick couldn't. It started to slide only when I leaned on it."

"Lean on it now; maybe there's some sort of hidden spring mechanism," Alaric suggested, and when Elena did, with no results, he said, "All right, let's all get a grip, and brace ourselves-like this. Come on, now-"

From his crouch, he looked up at Damon, who was standing motionless next to the tomb, looking faintly amused. "Excuse me," Damon said, and Alaric stepped back, frowning. Damon and Stefan each gripped an end of the stone lid and lifted.

The lid came away, making a grinding sound as Damon and Stefan slid it to the ground on one side of the tomb.

Elena couldn't bring herself to move closer.

Instead, fighting nausea, she concentrated on Stefan's expression. It would tell her what was to be found in there. Pictures crashed through her mind, of parchment-colored mummified bodies, of rotting corpses, of grinning skulls. If Stefan looked horrified or sickened, disgusted...

But as Stefan looked into the open tomb, his face registered only disconcerted surprise.

Elena couldn't stand it any longer. "What is it?"

He gave her a crooked smile and said with a glance at Bonnie, "Come and see."

Elena inched up to the tomb and looked down. Then her head flew up, and she regarded Stefan in astonishment.

"What is it?"

"I don't know," he replied. He turned to Meredith and Alaric. "Does either of you have a flashlight? Or some rope?"

After a look inside the stone box, they both headed for their cars. Elena remained where she was, staring down, straining her night vision. She still couldn't believe it.

The tomb was not a tomb, but a doorway.

Now she understood why she had felt a cold wind blow from it when it had shifted beneath her hand that night. She was looking down into a kind of vault or cellar in the ground. She could see only one wall, the one that dropped straight down below her, and that one had iron rungs driven into the stone, like a ladder.

"Here you go," Meredith said to Stefan, returning. "Alaric's got a flashlight, and here's mine. And here's the rope Elena put in my car when we went looking for you."

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