Chapter 7 - The Secret
She awoke with a startling snarl, and I looked up at the silent figure in the shadows, now stirring violently. The Volturi have not come into my cell for the past three days, probably to ensure I was thirsty enough to kill her, for I knew they did not believe I could actually stop. I also knew they would be coming soon to check up on us and scorn me for my failure of keeping her alive, but they were wrong. I had focused my energy the past few days to try and minimize the pain Gianna felt and to ensure she would be born with powers equivalent to mine. I didn't know what the extent of my abilities were, but after my confrontation with Jane, I knew I was not powerless. By now, Aro would know this too.
Gianna growled wildly as she jumped out from her bed. She snarled ferociously, her eyes pitch black with a tiny red ring that I could only see due to my heightened vision and the darkness of the room. She stared at me quizzically, roared loudly and jumped at me with incredulous speed.
"Stop!" I shouted out and the woman froze inches away from me, her lips peeled back to show her bright teeth. She was no longer the one I once knew.
"Gianna," I said in almost a whisper. The woman struggled with her body, trembling wildly. By her crouching stance, I knew she wanted to scratch at me with her newly imbued strength, but something was stopping her. Was it me? Was this a demonstration of my strength?
"Where am I!?" she growled. "Why can't I move!?"
"Gianna, do you not remember a thing? I had to turn you into this monster to protect your life! I'm sorry," I said shamefully, willing her body to regain motion.
"Change me?" she composed herself when she once again had control of her body, though she still bared her teeth. "All I feel is thirst!"
"A true newborn..." I sighed. This was something I feared. She told me that I was out of the ordinary, the only newborn she'd ever seen that could control thirst and ignore it. She was not the same, she was a true newborn thinking only of blood. At that moment, the door swung open and a quick laughter told me an unwelcome guest had come.
"She lives," Jane said grinning, showing signs of shock washed over with apathy.
"You! You're the witch!" Gianna roared at the petite blonde and lunged at her.
"Gianna stop!" I shouted, knowing what Jane was capable of, but it was too late. Gianna was screaming at the top of her lungs as the girl stared at her with that devious smile. I tried to remember what I did the last time I stopped her, but before I knew it, Gianna's screams had stopped and she stared blankly at Jane who now lay on the floor, motionless.
"What did you do to my sister!?" Alec shouted out, a barely visible mist escaped from him and surrounded Gianna, who now fell onto her knees, dazed. What was that mist doing to her? Whatever it was, it had to stop, and I focused my energy in making the mist vanish. As quickly as it had appeared, the blackened haze evaporated and Gianna snarled again, leering at Alec who also fell to the ground. This time, Felix and the other guard rushed towards her to attack, but I was prepared, controlling the metal bars that caged us into this cell to surround them. They ripped off the ground, and plunged towards the two vampires, the cement ceiling and floor following suit. The burly vampires easily ripped through the metal and concrete, but it stalled them enough for Gianna to do to them what she did to the twins, and now all four guards of the Volturi were on the ground, motionless. She was powerful, extremely powerful. Which meant, so was I.
After the incident, Aro had been exhilarated by the fact that I hadn't killed Gianna. She had been much more useful than anyone expected, as a vampire with a menacing ability to induce comatose on whoever she wished. Between Gianna and I, we were more powerful than Jane and Alec, who reluctantly stayed away from us on Aro's orders. We all knew they desired to kill us on any chance they had, Alec using his fearful ability as others tore us to pieces. The days the Volturi fed, I wished that they had succeeded in ending our lives.
She walked slowly, I could tell she knew what she was doing. The young blonde, almost reflective of a Jane before she became the beastly vampire she was now. So innocent, a tiny girl no older than I was. I couldn't understand the torment that ate away inside her, knowing she was ending the lives of thousands. What I couldn't understand more was how mercilessly Aro could choose this ingenuous soul to replace Gianna.
"Thank you Sarah," Aro smiled as a herd of unsuspecting tourists walked into the palace. They looked around in awe at the sublime decor of the Volturi throne room. The girl, shaking with fear, rivers of hot tears streaming down her plump cheeks, looked quickly over at Jane before running out of the room, hands pressed firmly on her ears. She knew the pain, she obeyed and fought off her own guilt of ending innocent lives to avoid the burning, the same ache that burned my throat daily. I could hear her footsteps, carrying her as fast as human feet could move, not wanting to hear the shrieking that clamored my ears.
I could hear her stumble on her feet, but before she could fall on the cold ground, I motioned it to soften, shelter her in a warm, soothing blanket. As the softening ground enveloped her, drowning out the sounds of the dying victims, she stopped weeping. It was obvious she was confused, but she was not scared. She had been around the Volturi long enough to know that strange things could happen, that mystical beings with powers and abilities she could not explain existed. And as the protective sphere around her hugged her, she knew that she now had someone to protect her. She knew not who this mysterious knight of hers was, but she would always be safe, as long as I was around.
"If you do not feed, you will die," Aro said to me, concerned as he motioned a horrified woman to my direction. She stared at me, wide-eyed in disbelief as her friends and family faced the horrific fate of being the Volturi's repast.
"I'd rather die than kill," I muttered, covering my nose, though it did not stop the alluring scent of sweet blood filling my nose and setting home, picking at my raw throat. I turned my back, though I could still hear the tearing of flesh and violent screams of those who thought they were getting a VIP tour of a royal kingdom.
"Forgive me..." Gianna's voice was barely audible over the feasting. I couldn't say anything to her, using all my concentration to focus on resisting the blood and protecting the innocent girl. I wanted to let her know I did not judge her for trying to stay alive as I allowed my body to quickly shrivel up in weakness. She was only following her inhumane instincts, and I knew she had no desire to kill. The first round of the banquet that we experienced, she fervently tore through countless victims, deeply remorseful for days after. This second time, I knew she only fed on a select handful, desperately seeking the most evil looking men in the room as she had promised she would. Originally, she had begged me to use my powers on her, but I refused.
"The child is weak," Jane smiled at me, her eyes a glowing crimson. She was at her kindest after feeding, but she was still despicable.
"Your lack of feeding worries me," Aro scrunched his face. Did I care what worried him? He instantly knew my thoughts as he placed a hand on my shoulder, and sighed. "I cannot force you to feed, though I cannot allow you to perish through lack of consumption. I will give you the option I once gave to an old friend. You may go out and feed on wildlife."
"Wildlife?" I wondered what David would think of the thought of me going out and killing animals for their blood. He was disheartened enough at my favorite meals of steak and burgers, but I was sure it would be much better than consuming humans.
"I will let you take the girl," Aro smiled, easily reading through all my desires. I was shocked at his sudden kindness. "But be aware that you will be tracked, so please stay close and keep irresponsible activity to a minimum. It would be a shame to kill you now."
Jane made an uninvited grunt and while I so desired to tear her apart, I had to be careful what thoughts crossed my mind when Aro had a hand on me. Being given this great gift of freedom to hunt wild animals was something I could not refuse, or chance losing through my forbidden desires. He smiled in agreement to my thoughts.
"I need to go out tonight," I said quickly, trying to keep my mind occupied with useless thoughts, though I knew my efforts were futile as Aro could see everything, including things that were not currently on my mind.
"It's a miracle how you resist this pain," he finally let go of me, placing a hand on his throat. Did he share the thirst that irked me and did this affect his ability to see my thoughts clearly? I pondered over this idea and wondered if I had found some way to combat his abilities.
"Jane?" was all he said.
"Happy to," she chided.
We happily ran out into the woods, seeing the outdoors for the first time since we were forced into this life. It was amazing how much one missed with human ears and the complete lack of smell. I could hear the sounds of even the most silent animals, feel their little hearts beating frantically whenever Gianna or I came close. I wanted to speak to her, and I wondered if Jane stayed close enough to listen.
"I'm ashamed for what I've done tonight," Gianna finally spoke when we were a good distance away from the Volturi manor.
"You've done nothing wrong," I tried to console her, but I knew that she would not listen, my clean slate of only having tasted her blood surely made her feel worse.
"But you," she sighed, corroborating my feelings. "You are so powerful."
"Please don't," I mumbled, and suddenly I heard her snarl wildly as she jumped into the thick trees. Even after feeding, she was wild like a panther, a true newborn as she explained to me. I knew she hated herself for being like this, unable to control her emotions, and I wished that I could help her.
"How...can you resist," she snarled at me, crouched in an offensive stance, though she fought off the need to murder the hapless hikers who came out at the wrong time.
"I think of things more important. My brother, David, times when things were happy," it was true, my happiness that I shared with him still brought smiles to me even at the hardest times. I could remember the petty fights we had as kids, arguing until the end of time about something stupid, maybe about some video game character or some celebrity, but in the end, we didn't care, we never did. When we shared ice cream cones and sour patches, nothing else mattered. Every moment with him was great.
"I see," she mumbled, finally easing up a bit, though the strain on her face was obvious. "You must have the purest love to be able to overcome this."
"I get some help," I smiled, wishing that she could think of me as a friend as I saw in her. Not just a vampire partner, someone there for convenience and survival, but as an ally, an emotional bond tying us, something even the Cullens would be shocked to see.
"Oh," was all she said, and I wondered if she even cared. I knew she held me closer than anyone else, never having attempted to use her powers on me, always staying close to me, but I also believed there was an emptiness, no truism. If I were like David, she would be loving me already; it was so easy for him to create emotional bonds, everyone loved him almost instantaneously. I would have to work harder.
Then I caught a scent that actually lured me, not as sweet as the blood of human flesh I was so accustomed to, but much more appetizing. A feast that didn't come with guilt; a merciless lion who killed as much as any of us did. I lunged at my opportunity, running fast towards the only creature in the darkness that did not scurry away. Why would he? He had nothing to fear, never having faced a threat, though things were different now. It was easy to catch up to the beautiful creature, its tough hide showing no resistance to my powerful teeth. The blood flowed quickly into my mouth and it washed over my aching throat, a wondrous feeling I haven't faced since I was changed. I needed more.
"This isn't as good as human blood," Gianna spat as she tossed an empty carcass on the ground. "But I like that there's no guilt." Her last word sent a note of joy tingling through my already stronger body. Guilt...a human emotion. If she could feel remorse, a feeling that the others have never considered, she could feel love too. It was not impossible for me to make her more than just a companion.
"Want to race for the next one?" I asked, grinning as I heard the loud footsteps of a fleeting deer.
"Oh honey, you stand no chance," she smiled back and jetted off into the night. Unfortunately, my throat was already singing at the tasty blood that washed over it when she arrived at the sight. Angry to have lost her prey, she lunged at me, and I was sure she would attempt to tear one of my limbs off, but she stopped. I stood completely still, staring at her in shock as her powerful hand gripped onto my left shoulder.
"Bad...idea," she snarled through gritted teeth. "I don't want to kill you, I actually like you..." I smiled. I was halfway there.