Of Prophecies and Disgraces
The blood of the Pure One seeped down into the earth
All Nature cried out in agony of receiving the crime
The Most Holy One cursed the First Kinslayer to oblivion
He and all who follow him to never die unless by His Hand.
Light be still from the dark shadow
As the night holds sanctuary to the hidden
Purity and darkness will never be One
Until the Bearer of the Mark will accept another Mark.
“Haha-ue, what is the meaning of this verse?” A dark-haired willowy woman turned her golden eyes to meet the same shade of orbs in a young boy’s innocent countenance which wrinkled in a frown.
But it was not she who gave the answer to the bewildered boy’s question. “That is the Curse. The Mark of Cain.”
“Father, I still do not understand!” The dark-haired boy glowered at the man who shared most of his features except his eyes and hair. “Why did I have to read this?”
“It is time for you the Truth, my son.” The boy followed his father’s movement as the grey-eyed golden-haired man walked briskly to his side and set his shoulders in a straight posture that made him grimace at the abrupt handling of his young body.
“Nani?! What do you mean?” The boy shifted nervously in his seat as innocent amber clashed with cold grey orbs.
“We are no ordinary beings. We have lived far beyond ---”
“Hai, hai. I know, we are vampires and we have a long-winding history to prove our pure blood. What else do I have to know now?” The boy huffed disgruntedly, his pencil sticking out of the side of his cupids bow mouth lazily then yelped as his ankle connected with a sharp slap to the hard tough steel blade of his father’s katana. “Itai!”
“Remember your manners! Do not interrupt your father when he is speaking with you. Remember, you are a scion of the Minamoto clan.” His mother stood up and turned to meet amber orbs with his in a harsh, scolding manner. Even when she did not raise her voice, her velvet tone sent shivers to the boy’s spine because he knew his mother could carry out greater threats in that same neutral tone of voice.
“Hai, Haha-ue.” The little boy gave an apologetic bow to his mother and an even lower bow to his father.
“Do not presume to be all-knowing when you have not achieved even a fifth of my lifespan.” He cringed at the condescending sneer of his father.
“Hai, Otou-sama.” Looking resolutely anywhere but at his parents, the boy bowed respectfully and turned his eyes to the ground, his eyes misted in tears that he forced not to fall.
Without waiting for the boy to look up to him, the father then cleared his throat imperiously and said. “We are blessed more than mortals yet cursed worse in their lifetime. The vampires are cursed, because the first family was broken. The first blood was shed on the ground of this world because of the betrayal of a son to his own brother. The First Kinslayer.”
“O-Otou-sama… Y - You don’t mean, Cain…?” The boy gasped, his snapping to his father instantly, incredulity swimming within the amber orbs.
“Hai, sochi. The most important vampire in our history is Cain, son of Adam and Eve, slayer of Abel, his brother…” The mother patted the boy’s curly hair soothingly then smoothed reverently the pages of the book which the boy was reading.
“And what you have just read is the Prophecy of our Salvation…”
“Rei-chan, Rei-chan, Rei-chan… That’s it, that brat! Kiyohara Reiko, come home this instant!” A dark-haired woman squinted her brown eyes at the long road outside a traditional Japanese-style house, looking for any sign of a little girl with curly brown hair and clear aquamarine eyes. Unable to find what she was looking for, the woman frowned deeply then stomped her foot on the ground, scattering soil, grass, leaves in one sinuous motion, before going back to the house.
Meanwhile, the brown-haired boy girl was simply studying the Lectionary in one of the aisle pews in front of the altar in the Monastery of Saint Clare that was situated just a few blocks away from her house. She widened her eyes as she was abruptly forced off her reading by a gentle tap on her shoulder.
“Oh, Father Francesco, I’m so sorry…” She gasped, bowing her head lowly to an old auburn-haired man wearing the brown habit of a Franciscan priest looking fondly. “I was so engrossed with reading the biblical texts which will be used for this Lenten season, you see…” Her fingers involuntarily tensed over the pages of the book she was reading then eventually dropped the book gently on the cushioned rostrum in front of the altar.
“It’s alright, dear child. I’m glad that you love reading the Bible so much, most young people these days no longer see the significance of the Bible other than its unmoving position in the altar of the house,” The girl looked up and nodded understandingly as the priest ruffled her hair fondly with a genial smile on his time-wearied features.
“He is right in speaking so, dearest Raquelina…” The girl and the priest turned as soft yet firm footsteps resounded in the floor of the church. Looking up, they smiled as they met with warm eyes of the purest of sapphires. Clad in the same brown habit that the priest wore, she gracefully sauntered to the girl’s side, her veil swaying with her every movement, calling attention to the long thick, silky dark wavy tresses that were hidden expertly underneath the dark veil she wore over her head. “Dios que sabe, maga jovenes ahora… Material possessions hold their fascination and focus more than the treasures of Heaven – the food of the Soul, the Word of God…”
“Hello, Mother Trina…” The priest nodded to the nun then shook hands with her amiably. The girl watched them curiously as the two immediately went in a quiet conversation - after the priest whispered something to the nun’s ear – while she furrowed her alabaster brows as the two Franciscans constantly snuck glances at her small figure.
“Indeed, it is already time for her to know…” The girl raised her eyebrows and tilted her head to the nun as the older woman looked at her from head to toe, examining her as if she was a very important participant in one of the sacred activities in the church.
“Come, child…” The priest extended a long hand to the girl, upon which she put her palm on his calloused one firmly, despite having dozens of goose bumps appear in her skin due to continual cluelessness in the situation. “It is better that we talk about what we should talk about in the sacristy…”
“Okay…” The girl smiled at the priest, her other hand taken by the nun in a tender grasp as they walked slowly into the sacristy.
After seating herself in one of the chairs in the sacristy, the girl waited with the nun beside her as the priest took a thick, cloth-bound Bible from the glass shelf against the wall. He had handed it to the girl, saying, “Child, will you please read Genesis 4:1-26?”
The girl nodded, smiling as she recognized the story. “Oh, you mean, Cain and Abel’s story!”
“Yes, Ina… Go on, mi hija…” The nun helped her find the pages of the text that the priest requested to hear then smoothed the found pages reverently before giving the little girl an encouraging smile.
The girl looked at the kind yet serious facial expressions of the priest and the nun before reading the text requested by the priest and nun.
“Thank you, Raquelina…” The girl smiled brightly as the priest nodded to her and patted her hair tenderly. “But do you know that the story you had just read is far from its end?”
“What do you mean, Father Francesco?” The girl raised an arching eyebrow and tilted her head quizzically as she closed the Bible with slow glides of her fingers over the covers of the book.
“Cain was never mentioned anymore in the Old Testament nor was his history fully discussed in the books of the New Testament…” The nun said to her with a serious lilt to her soft voice. “But Ina, Cain has a far deeper story than what the Bible has let on in its pages…”
“Yes, child… Cain serves a longer place in history’s annals but his story is one that is unknown to all but a few groups of people,” The priest continued. “As the First Kinslayer, he was cursed by God into oblivion. Into a being with neither right to be a creature of the Living World or a Spirit of the World of the Dead… One who feasts on the blood of the innocent.”
“H – He is the first… V – Vampire…” The girl gaped at the priest and the nun with her eyes widened into pools of the clearest aquamarine. Her jaw all but fallen in her incredulity at what her ears had just heard.
“Yes, Ina… God made Cain the first vampire,” The nun nodded at her seriously. “Cursed threefold for these three sins – disrespect to God, slaying of his own blood, and the absolute refusal to repent of his crime. The first curse was the vulnerability to fire – God’s symbol of power in his spirit form; the second, the weakness to the sun’s power; and the last, an animalistic urge of unexplainable hunger that can only be quenched by blood…”
The girl pondered on these words for a long while, rubbing her jaw by the flat of her thumb for several times. Her forehead creased with the harsh meeting of her eyebrows then she looked up to the priest and the nun with a surprisingly sharp fierce expression.
“It is not right for the vampires to be condemned to a curse simply because of the crime that had been committed not by themselves, but by their ancestor!” She tersely said, her fingers curling in the palm that was being soothed by the warmth of the nun’s hand. “I – I mean, mankind had the chance to be saved from the brunt of the sin of Adam and Eve’s disobedience – by the Grace of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the Cross and His Resurrection…”
“The vampires are never allowed on hallowed ground because they live their lives in disgrace – the blood they spill will always hinder them from entering Heaven,” The priest said to her solemnly.
“But Father Francis, it’s terrible.” The girl shook her head at him, her eyes darkening in sorrow. Pursing her lips, she sighed heavily and looked at the nun. “To subject the vampires to such a situation is tantamount to blaming the present-day Jewish people for what happened to Jesus Christ two thousand years ago! It’s blatant unfair judgment!”
“I know, child.” The priest nodded at her words with a small frown marring his grandfatherly features. “But that is what these beings are destined to be. Unless they are freed from the curse –”
“How?! How can they be freed from their curse? Tell me, Father Francis, Mother Trina, tell me!” The girl abruptly stood up then prostrated herself upon the priest and the nun, her eyes overflowing with cool tears that wet the floor of the sacristy.
“Oh, mi hija… Your heart is too pure and kind for your own good.” The nun shook her head at the little girl then said to her seriously. “The curse can only be lifted by the mutual joining of the Light and the Dark. When an angel will accept the monster, Heaven will open up once more to the damned…”
As the girl walked back to their house, she shivered at the cold air that settled over her. Shivering, she rubbed her hands over her arms and frowned as she tried to find a reason of this occurrence.
Her footsteps abruptly stopped cold in front of their house when an all-too-familiar dark-haired and brown-haired couple came into view from the open window of one of the larger rooms. She tiptoed to the wall nearest to the left of the window and pressed her body flat against the wall, making sure that the edge of the windowpane was thick enough to hide her entire face, especially her curly hair. She frowned, grimacing as her ears pricked at the high pitches of the voices inside. She did not understand most of the words that were said there but all she could decipher from the mad flurry of words and phrases surrounded by nasty feelings - that she absolutely swore to herself that she never wanted to feel such for any one at any cost – was that her parents were on the verge of separation.
Fisting her hands at her sides, she turned to the door of their house and ran as fast as her short legs could carry her to intercept the brown-haired man who was then slowly walking out of their house with a huge suitcase in hand.
“Tou-san, what is the meaning of this?” She cried, pointing a shaking hand at the suitcase that the man was carrying as she even noted that the man grunted while holding the luggage in one hand. She swallowed the painful lump in her throat as she looked over her shoulder and frowned at the dark-haired woman who was doing nothing to stop the man. Instead, she balked as the older woman gestured for her to go to her in a rather impatient motion of her right hand.
Frightened at the conclusions that were flooding her head due to the situation, she called to the woman in a soft voice made hoarse by the tears she never felt flowing down her face until that moment. “Kaa-san, please, tell me… What is really going on here?”
Her mother closed her eyes for a split-second, but the girl saw clearly how the woman’s face was pinched in an expression of pain, hurt, and anger. What is happening to my parents? What is happening to my family? The girl thought, her eyes misting in tears of askance.
“Your father and I have decided to go separate ways now, Reiko…” Her father gripped his suitcase more tightly, making the veins in his hands bulge more visibly. Her mother sighed heavily and once again bid her to go to her side by the harsh movements of both of her hands.
“Why? There is no reason for you to separate, right?!” She gasped, her lungs making it harder for her to breathe as the air seemed to clog her airways in icy temperatures. “I – I mean, you have been married for more than ten years…! You can’t do this…! You love each other. You love me, even if I am still your only child…! Kami, please, I want a complete family! Tou-san…! Kaa-san…!”
“I’m sorry, Raquelina… I’m so sorry that you had to suffer this, but remember Tou-san loves you so much…” Her father staggered to remain standing as she rammed straight to his path and wrapped small, shaky, sweating hands around his waist as far as they would go. The girl flinched as the rough leather cover of the suitcase scratched against her soft cheeks. “I cannot stay here any longer, my dearest daughter. Please, be good for your Kaa-san, okay… Take care of her well and do not leave her…” Her father tried to wrest away the control of his lower limbs from the iron grip of his girl but the girl did not budge from her position, still tears flowed incessantly and stained the shirt of her father.
“T-Tou-san… P-Please, d-don’t l-leave me… P-Please, I-I’m b-begging y-you…” She fisted her tiny hands at her father’s waist, desperate not to allow any inch of space to separate the two of them because she feared that if she let go of him, this would be the last time she would be seeing him. “Please… Oh Kami, please…. Please, whatever Kaa-san and Tou-san are fighting about, you can just talk it over in a peaceful manner… Please, do not go, Tou-san…! There is another solution here, other than you leaving our home… Please, Tou-san, please…!”
Alas, her tiny hands were powerless against the stronger limbs of her father who forced her hands off his person but wrapped his arms around him before kissing his precious little girl’s forehead tenderly. “I love you so much, my chibi tenshi… But I must let you go now… Ina…”
She stumbled to the ground as her father pushed her away from him then turned his back to her, walking briskly out of their house. She tried to follow his path but her mother caught her by her wrists, forcing her to go back to their house even as she flailed her limbs wildly, scattering things everywhere they passed. “No please, Tou-san… Tou-san…! TOU-SAN!!!”