She lays one the ground, her body burning up and melting away as the fire eats at her. She’s long gone by the time the fire dies down. The crowd around me is dead silent, the show finally over and no one prevailed, no hero claimed. The world around me slows down it seems, but at the same time it speeds up. The girl I took care of and made sure she lived while she was human and saved her from vampirism, yet being the one that eventually brought her to it... now she’s dead.
The girl that I fell in love with as I laid eyes on her the first time, though I didn’t remember what she had done. The girl I forgave because I loved her...
The crowd in the tent makes their way to the ring, and Kiera regains consciousness. She rushes to Vanessa’s side and seems paralyzed with shock and grief. She never thought Vanessa would lose...
The crowd eventually splits to let through a pair of wizard doctors. They pick up the burned bodies in a ball of blue light and carry them out of the tent, the people following behind them curiously. I stand still where Vanessa told me to stand, as if I’m waiting for her to say it’s okay for me to move, my heart beating too fast and my eyes stinging with venom-filled tears.
They announce the two bodies’ dead and put them in the ground where the tent had been removed. I stand over Vanessa’s grave and set a single red rose down on top of the dirt.
The days drag on slowly, just as they always have. The Underground Cities close and the creatures are let out into the wild to fend for themselves. Kiera stays at her little shack as the years pass, eventually passing away from old age. Skin-walkers only live twice as long as humans, if that. Harold disappeared right after Vanessa’s death and I never saw him again.
The memories fade as the years pass from the side effects of magic and wishes that had been made. I choose to forget, as a vampire never does, about everything. Everything but Vanessa. I remember her face, her name... What she did and how she impacted my life, I forget.
I live a good life. I don’t take the lives of people, and I drink enough blood to keep me satisfied. I make sure I suck all of the venom out so they don’t wake up with the thirst I have every second of every day. I flit from one family to the next as the years go by, telling each one my secret. They accept me and respect my lifestyle.
“It’s great to have you here,” Miss Caroline, my foster mother tells me one day. She smiles up at me behind her oxygen mask and through the steady beeping of the heart monitor. “Brandon really needs someone to be with him.”
I feel tears flood into my eyes and a ball rise in my throat.
“Well, I’m glad I have him,” I say, taking a shaky breath. “Miss Caroline—”
“Mother,” she smiles again. “Call me mother, Adam.”
I smile sadly and looked down at the white tiled floor of the hospital.
“About my offer earlier...”
“No, Adam,” she chuckles. “That’s very kind of you, but I don’t want to live an eternity here on Earth where everything is material and physical. I’m looking forward to spending eternity in heaven with my Maker.”
A burning tear fell down my cheek. It was somewhere I’d never have the chance to go.
She smiles and reaches for my hand. I take hers gingerly and swallow back some more tears.
“You are one of the most humane vampires I’ve ever met.”
“I’m the only vampire you’ve ever met.”
She laughs softly.
“You can still make it, Adam. He forgives. He forgets. Find a way to turn back and live out your life. A life He would be proud of. And don’t forget, I love you, and so does He. He wants everyone to go home to him, though He knows some won’t make it. I want to see you up there some day.
“Now, go take Brandon out and get something for him from the bakery. Go in through the back door. Earl will let you in and he’ll give you whatever you want for free. I’ll still be here when you get back, so take your time.”
I nod, knowing that isn’t entirely true. She was on her deathbed, and they don’t have a cure for Cancer yet. She’s only a test subject, and the tests are failing.
I pick up Brandon from the house, and head to the bakery. Brandon shows me a picture of Miss Caroline, Mother, and he drew her with hair of all kinds of different colors.
“When mommy grows her hair back, she’s going to have hair like a rainbow!” he giggles, and places the picture on the window beside him. It sits in between the crack and he tries to hold it up, getting frustrated because it keeps on falling.
I laugh, despite the grave situation back home as we pull up to the bakery.
His eyes go wide.
“Why are we here?” he asks, jumping up and down in his seat. “Is mommy here?”
I smile sadly at him. “No, but I wanted to get something for you. And her too.”
“Really?” He smiles, his blonde hair sticking straight up in the front and his missing teeth showing his tongue as he wiggles it in his mouth.
“Yeah, we just have to go around back. He’s going to give us free stuff.”
We make our way into the alleyway and I look around to make sure no one—no thing is there, feeling overly cautious for some reason.
“Stay here for just a minute, Brandon. I’ll be right back.”
“Okay!” He calls as I step through the door.
I find Earl and get Brandon’s favorite cookies, along with Miss Caroline’s favorite cake: strawberry. She’ll love it. She can’t eat very much, but she’ll still love the thought of it.
He sticks it all in a brown bag and I step back out into the night.
I don’t see Brandon.
“Brandon?” I call, my voice shaky.
“Right here, Adam!” he calls jumping out from behind a garbage bin. “There was a rat!”
I shake my head and lead him to the car. Something feels off about tonight, like this wasn’t supposed to happen this way...
The days pass and Miss Caroline passes away gracefully. Brandon takes it hard, but I take it even harder. I starve myself from blood for months from grief, passing by the frenzy. Brandon grows with time, and I find I do too. Looking in the mirror, I can see my eyes crystal blue, as they used to be. Am I human again?
We start going to church, because I know Miss Caroline would like that. I start going to school, and I realize I really am human again. Did this come from the starvation of blood? Is that possible?
Then, one day, we get a new girl at school. I had started going back to it shortly after realizing my transformation wasn’t temporary. She sits right by me, and she looks so familiar...
“Hello,” she says, smiling at me as if she knows something I don’t. Her red curly hair falls down to her back and her bright green eyes pierce mine and hold them there. They make my throat go dry and my heart speed up. She looks at me curiously.
“You have blue eyes,” she says, and flashes me a familiar smile. “I’m Vanessa.”
And everything comes flooding back to me.
I remember the wish.
I found her.
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