We walk for a little while longer, and I keep stealing glances toward Adam, curiosity taking over my brain.
He catches me staring.
“What?” He smiles and sticks his hands in his pockets.
I look away suddenly, like a little girl with a crush.
But I don’t have a crush, so that’s a bad analogy.
I look back at him, despite my heart beating faster than a normal vampire’s should.
Stop it, I tell myself.
“Why did you save me? And why did you take care of me? I was a complete stranger for all you knew...”
Adam looks off into the distance and shrugs. “I don’t know. I just had this, this feeling about you. Like I needed you around and I didn’t want you to suffer.”
“That’s strange,” I snort. “For all I knew you wanted me dead and you were just waiting for the right moment. That, or you truly forgot and you would remember who I was and what I did at any moment, and it sucked because I was a human and you were a vampire.”
Adam chuckles bitterly.
“Yeah, I don’t know why it was so opposite. I just felt drawn to you somehow... of course, now I know it was the wish. I wished I would find you, not necessarily kill you.
“And even on that note, I don’t know what I would have done when I found you. I always thought about it, and I kept your face in the front of my mind, just in case that day would be the day I’d see you.
“Even on the day it did happen, I froze. I saw you in the alleyway... and I just stopped. I saw your face, and it was indeed the face I’d been searching for for all those years... all those long years.
“But as soon as I saw you, my mind forgot everything that I wanted to do and everything I swore to my brothers dead body...” his voice cracks a bit and I look away as he glances up at me. “And I just couldn’t do it.
“That’s when you made the wish. Harold stayed behind, basking in his pride until I snatched him by the wings. I’d remembered what I had to do.
“Of course, I felt bad about it immediately and let go, and by then he’d wet his pants,” he chuckles and looks down at the fallen leaves he walks on. “He asked me what I wanted and I told him to grant my wish too. You were already starting to slip from my memory, but I held on to what I had left of you. I remembered your face and what you did as I wished to find you. When he finally waved his hand I’d forgotten why I wished what I wished. I remembered that I’d made it, and I remembered your face, but the memory of what you did faded away.
“When I saw you at the carnival, you were performing. Your face looked so familiar…
“By that time, I’d already been here for about a month, just waiting for my wish to be fulfilled. The only problem with that is that the magic wore off and I completely forgot everything, even though, in theory, vampires can truly forget nothing. This was different, I guess, considering the whole time-jump thing.
“Anyway, I just had to know who you were. And then watching the things that happened between you and the Ring Leader... I got protective. I guess because you were human and because he was... him. So I saved you and kept you safe.
“I don’t exactly know why I felt like I needed to take care of you and protect you,” he says, looking into my eyes. “But I did.”
I nod and we walk in silence for a few moments, my brain processing everything that everyone has told me.
“Did you feel anything for me?” I ask suddenly, startling even myself.
Adam smiles and looks at me. I look back sheepishly, and then push my focus to the trees.
“I mean, like, um...”
He chuckles at my unusual awkwardness.
I look at him, expecting him to tell me more, but he wears a conflicting smile and his body is giving off different feelings all at once. I can’t make out what it is he means.
“Like what?” I finally ask, scolding myself silently for prying.
“Like...” he drifts off into thought. “Like when you were—”
The howling of dozens of monkeys breaks our conversation, and Kiera comes running back to us, quickly changing from the form of a deer.
I look up and watch as they rustle the trees, swinging from branch to branch in the canopy of leaves. We start to run, the monkeys keeping up with Kiera and Harold easily, considering they don’t have the speed like Adam and I do.
A monkey-man falls onto Kiera, smashing her into the ground. She turns around and claws at him, rapidly becoming a bear. Harold is captured in a monkey-woman’s long fingers, crying out for help.
Adam and I stop and turn around. I watch as he turns invisible and I’m left standing alone.
I march right up to the monkey holding Harold as the one on top of Kiera flies off of her by an invisible force and hits a tree.
I picture a cloud as I touch the monkey-woman’s hand and she disappears, Harold falling like a pine needle to the dirt. Monkeys start to land on the ground and cackle.
They circle around us, Adam reappearing beside the grizzly bear version of Kiera, and Harold whimpering slightly to my left. Each monkey bends down to grab a stick as the last one drops down in front of me with a flaming torch.
“The Master isn’t happy,” she hisses. “It’s not nice to tease him like that.”
She swings the fire in my face and I jump back, waves of panic rushing through my body. Fire is the only way to absolutely destroy a vampire.
She cackles. The other monkeys stand swaying from side to side eagerly as they hold the sticks up to their vulgar faces.
“Your friends look awfully tasty, but we can’t have them until we kill you,” she sighs.
“Tough luck,” I bark. “He’s a vampire and she’s a skin-walker. That ones a fairy, and he won’t fill you up any.”
She laughs and shakes her head.
“I’m talking about the plump one and her friends.”
“What did he do to them?” I growl as she starts lighting the monkey-people’s sticks with the flame. “What did he do to them?”
The fire starts to be passed exponentially throughout the crowd of monkeys until I can feel the heat all around me.
“I’m not supposed to tell you that,” she smiles. “The Master told me that if you didn’t come with us this time, that we could feast on the people he’s collected. If you do, he said we could have them when he defeats you. It’s your choice, vampire.”