Chapter 11: Respect
Peace and silence.
I sat on the cold, concrete floor for hours, hearing my own steady breathing as I held my back against the concrete wall.
It had been about forty-eight hours since I last saw Erebus, or anyone in the matter. Yes, he starved me; not that it was of a surprise to me. I figured that if my punishment wasn’t a beating, it would most definitely be another day of starvation. In fact, sadly, I had gotten quite used to feeling weak and it had only been about two weeks since I was enslaved.
With a deep sigh passing my lips, I shifted my sight to the dead end of the dungeon. Because I had absolutely nothing to do, I spent most of my time observing the room carefully. There was a large pair of wooden window shutters positioned that I had not cared to notice up until a few hours ago. Attached to the ends were a pair of chains that hung right beside the set that had been bolted to the ceiling.
From the looks of it, I could only assume that it was made so that a vampire would be chained up and either tortured by continuously opening the shutters at broad daylight, or burned to death.
Who knows how many have died in here...
The dark essence in the atmosphere suddenly became very unpleasant and a string of chills shot up my spine.
When I decided to turn my attention away, not wanting to give it more of a thought than I should have, my eyes caught a ghostly pair of small hazel eyes staring back at me.
I must be hallucinating...
After my eyelids flickered a pair of times, I came into realization that it wasn’t a ghost that I had spotted, but instead a familiar and alive child.
“Kay?” I questioned as I studied her carefully. It was rather strange: I hadn’t heard the door open, nor felt her presence.
“Hi!” Kevin smiled as she curiously and happily waved at me.
I furrowed my eyebrows, my voice being merely above a whisper as I apprehensively replied, “Hi...”
She eyed me with caution as she tightly clung onto a brown teddy bear, pressing it into her chest. Judging by her messy dirty-blonde hair hanging just beneath her waist, the pink night gown, and the pair of white bunny slippers, I assumed she had just awoken from her slumber.
Having already observed her, I watched as she hesitantly walked closer to the cell in which I had been thrown in. She didn’t halt her movements until her body was merely inches away from the metal bars that separated her from me, and she appeared to be fairly curious as she studied me all the while.
“Why are you in there?” she asked, her head slightly tilting to the side.
I sighed as I breathed out, “Because I don’t know when to stop talking.”
A disappointment had filled her once-sweet voice. However, she was quick to brush it off and she crouched down until she found herself sitting on the floor, across from myself. Still clinging onto her teddy bear with one arm, she moved the other to grab onto one of the metal bars and she leaned closer to the cell.
“You know...when I get in trouble, my brother takes my teddy bear away,” she said innocently and the corners of my lips tugged into a small smile.
I wish those were the kinds of punishments I got when I was a kid...
“I don’t like it when big brother gets mad,” she sighed. “He scares me.”
“You too, huh?”
Clicking my tongue, I turned my attention to my hands before bringing my knees up to my chest and hugging them.
“Hope?” Kevin called.
“Yes?” I replied sincerely as I slowly returned my sight to her. I noticed she still had that curious look on her face and she proceeded to ask, “How old are you?”
With the my lips still tugged into a small smile, I straightened my back to sit up and asked, “How old do you think I am?”
She shrugged and mumbled, “I don’t know…”
There was a moment’s pause before I finally responded, “It’s been twenty years since my birth. I stopped aging on my seventeenth birthday.”
In the next moment, her eyes widened in surprise. “Cool...” she whispered.
With a chuckle having passed my lips, I asked, “How about you? How old are you, Kay?”
I was very curious as to how was Hunter’s sister. If I remembered correctly, all Seekers’ parents were killed soon after their child’s birth--all for the exception of my grandmother, grandfather, and their closest friend, Tarlac. With that being said, it could only mean that she was, in fact, Hunter’s older sister, and either stopped aging at a ridiculously young age or simply appears very young.
Shooting me a sweet and loving smile, she stated, “I was born three hundred years ago. I stopped growing on my seventh month.”
She was so young...
It made sense that she had the curiosity of a seven-year-old child; vampire children age far quicker than human children and when they stop aging, they stop developing not only physically, but mentally as well.
“Kay?” I called.
“Yes?” At her response, I scooted closer to her and asked, “What is your brother doing right now?”
“Big brother?” she questioned to assure.
“Yes.” I nodded.
At my question, she nervously rocked herself back and forth as she hesitantly reverted her gaze to the teddy bear in her arm.
“He’s asleep...” she mumbled under her breath.
“And does he know you are here?”
Tighter clinging onto the teddy bear, she removed her hand from the metal bar and clenched her fist tightly. “No.”
My smile fell away and I sighed, “Are you allowed to be in here?”
She shook her head with apprehension and refrained from muttering another sound. Although I rather enjoyed her presence as she was such a sweet little girl, I didn’t want her to get into any unnecessary trouble.
With that, I kindly stated, “You should get going then. I don’t want you to get in tr--”
I was interrupted by a furious Zeus storming in through the front door and an even angrier Mardel following behind him.
I hardly had time to blink before I caught Kevin quickly scrambling to her feet and stepping away from the metal bars.
“What have we told you about coming in here?!” Mardel yelled as he pulled her even farther away from me. She had flinched at the aggression in his voice and pouted, her lip quivering.
Her voice shook as she exclaimed, “I just wanted to talk to her!”
In witnessing the way Mardel harshly lashed out at her, the odd feeling of wanting to protect her instantly struck. It angered me that it seemed as if they didn’t understand...she was a little girl. There was other ways of showing her she did wrong.
I growled, “Don’t y--”
“Shut up!” Zeus snarled as he glowered down at me through the spacing of the metal bars.
Suddenly, the familiarly intimidating and husky voice echoed from the dungeon doorway, “What the hell is going on?”
Erebus walked with a very displeased look on his face. He scanned the room, his eyes landing on a trembling Kevin who continued to tightly cling onto the teddy bear in her arms.
“Kay?” he arched an eyebrow as he clenched his jaw.
“Y-Yes?” she stuttered, nervously shifting her weight from foot to foot.
“What have I told you about coming in here?” Clearly, he was trying his best not to be angry with her. Sadly, he wasn’t doing a very good job at it.
“I...I-I just wanted t-to be her friend...” Kevin’s voice cracked as she looked up at Erebus in a mixed look of fear and sadness.
I sympathized her, and, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one because in the next moment, he sighed and ran his hand through his hair on defeat.
Without further ado, Erebus turned to Mardel and demanded, “Take her to her room and do not let her out of your sight.” He then averted his hazel eyes to lock with my icy-blue ones while receiving a nod from Mardel and mentioning, “I’ll be there in a couple of minutes.”
Under his command, Mardel reached down for Kevin, picking her up before making his way out of the dungeon. In a whisper, Kevin waved, “Bye.”
As I watched Mardel carry Kevin away, I scooted as far away from Erebus as possible, my back quickly meeting the concrete wall. With hesitation, I looked up to Erebus, eyeing him as he exchanged with the dark-skinned male, “Get Genesee in here.”
“Yes, Sir.” With that, Zeus turned on his heels and exited the room to leave me and the psychotic vampire alone.
“Why was she here? She knows better,” he interrogated as he got dangerously close to the cell. I felt the well-known fear slowly return and I shook my head as I gulped the knot forming in my throat.
“Sh-She was just talking to me...That’s all,” my voice nearly faltered.
“Hmm...” he hummed. The way he glowered down at me made my body subconsciously shudder beneath him, and the way he looked down on me made me feel as if he believed that I had somehow corrupted his little sister into coming here.
That’s impossible...I had only seen her once before this.
“Just talking, huh?” He ceased his movements when he came to stand only inches away from the metal bars. “If you so much as lay a finger on her...” his voice trailed off.
“I-I would never...” I shook my head.
“Yeah, you’d be smart not to.”
He didn’t have to so much as lay a finger on me, my body was slowly but surely submitting to him. Whether it was instinct, the power he held over me, or the fact that I was hungry, I knew it would only get worse the longer I stayed here.
“Sir?” Genesee’s voice had my attention shifting to her as she walked in. However, Erebus had hardly been fazed and continued to glare at me. And only after a while, did he speak, but nonetheless refrained from looking away for a while longer, “Get the slave a blood bag and take her to her room.”
When he finally averted his gaze to her, he placed the small, silver key into her hand and shot me one last look before taking his leave. I felt an exaggerated relief as that...monster’s presence lifted from the room, and with that, Genesee moved to unlock and open the cell door. Once having stepped inside, she motioned for me to take her hand.
I took Genesee’s hand as she had offered to help me up. Still wearing the ridiculously short maid uniform and these stupid high heels, it made it quite difficult for me to walk, but I had been forced to do so and alone as Genesee’s hold left me.
“I am going to take you to your room and while you shower, I will bring you a blood bag, yes?” she asked as she closed the cell door behind me.
“Okay,” I whispered, following her as she lead me out of the dungeon.
For the exception of the sound of her footsteps and my heels clicking beneath my feet, the mansion drowned in utter silence as well as emptiness. Apart from the few vampires that took the day shift to guard, the few others still rested in their slumber therefore it was only ever-so-often that Genesee and I came across anyone. All the while, I had hardly bothered to move my attention from Genesee’s back as I was left to follow silently behind her.
She is so trusting.
“Genesee?” I called on her attention.
“Yes?” she questioned, slightly turning her head to a side to acknowledge me.
“Aren’t you afraid that I may try to attack you?” the instant the question left my mouth, she stopped on her tracks and completely turned to face me.
She eyed me suspiciously for a moment and only after a few seconds did she show her amusement and broke in a string of chuckles.
“Hope, if I thought you were going to try to kill me, I’d accept Zeus’ offer to accompany me on escorting you into your room.” She paused, taking a moment to think before turning to proceed with guiding me and continuing, “But even if my assumptions were wrong, I’ve been trained to kill while being blindfolded. My sight? It’s just a bonus.”
Gee, and here I thought I’d feel less worthless by leaving home...
“Should I be worried though?” she asked as she came to a stop at the door of my bedroom and turned to eye me.
Not having to even think about my response, I quickly reassured her, “Of course not.”
I would never try to kill her--not unless she gave me a good reason to. After all, besides Kevin, she was the only one that had shown me the slightest bit of kindness..
Giving me a small smile, she winked at me and took hold of the doorknob where she turned it under her touch and pushed the door open.
“Here we are,” she stated as she stepped aside, allowing me to walk into the familiar comfy bedroom.
“Thank you...” I gave her a small smile.
“I’ll be back, okay?” Before I could answer, she walked out and closed the door behind her.
In a hurry, now, isn’t she?
With a sigh, I kicked the heels off of my sore feet and threw them into the open closet before walking into the bathroom. I was quick to remove the uniform from my thin form and step into the shower.
I repeated my bathing routine as norm, allowing my tensed muscles to ease, and drowning myself in the comforts of the warm water.
Once having been done and stepping out, I slipped into a new set of clothing and emerged back into the bedroom to find Genesee standing in the doorway with a blood bag in her hand.
“Here you go.” She handed me the small bag.
Though her and I hardly disliked each other, she never really was one to stick around and have a chat. She always seemed to be in a rush, and she only proved it once again as she headed for the door without saying another word.
This time, however, I reached for her hand and pulled her back. “Why are you so nice to me?” I asked as she turned her sights back to me.
In all honesty, I was curious. She never treated me the way Mardel or Zeus did or any of the other vampires in this house for the matter.
She had furrowed her eyebrows at me and crossed her arms just beneath of her chest. For a moment, it almost seemed as if I had offended her with my question.
“I just have respect for you,” she blankly stated.
“Why?” I pried. I hadn’t given her a reason to respect me...we we’re even ‘friends’ if you would call it that.
“You are a pureblood. Sure, Ereb--“, she paused and cleared her throat before correcting herself as she always does, “King Erebus enslaved you, but you are still a pureblood. You’re technically of a higher power than I, but even if you weren’t, you haven’t given me a reason to treat you like crap, so.”
She shrugged. “Everyone else may think it’s okay to treat you as Ere--” she sighed, ”King Erebus does, but I think it’s wrong. Besides, you are his slave, not mine. I have no right to treat you as one.”
Without another word, she bowed her head to me in different sign of respect and walked out, closing the door behind her and locking it.