I knew this time would come: Daniel standing in front of me. But I didn’t know I would be backed up into a corner. I thought I was going to surprise Daniel, not the other way around. But there I stood, like a deer caught in the headlights. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t run, I couldn’t hide, I couldn’t even flirt my way out of this one. Alex was locked up and powerless; even if he wanted to, he couldn’t help me now. My only hope was that Marcus and the others would find us. How could I fight Daniel like this? I wasn’t prepared. I had no weapons except for the one small blade in my hand and even that was getting heavy.
Daniel was leaning against the wall with one foot crossing the other and both arms folded. His long blonde hair draped over his shoulders and his eyes were now a lighter shade of black. Did his eyes ever change color? He looked very muscular; I could see every strong vein in his folded arms. He wore all black, all the way down to his boots. His buttoned shirt was open halfway down and silver necklaces draped around his neck and fell to his hairless chest. His cheekbones and powerful jaw line were perfectly constructed, and his lips crested seamlessly. I now could see that his skin was darker than any other vampire I had come across.
He was beautiful, I must say. Even breathtaking. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought he was one of God’s creations, not a product of the Devil. I couldn’t believe that Lucifer could make such a statuesque being. When he spoke, he had so much authority and power in each little word that anybody around him had to take notice. I could see why people bowed at his feet; they felt they were in the presence of the All Mighty God himself. If it wasn’t for the hate I had for him, I would be on my knees.
The Devil saw fit to make him so alluring and so beautiful that he could attract the attention of his victims, pull them into his hold, and keep them there until he no longer had a use for them. From the little time I spent in the club, and just by standing in front of him now, I could see just how much women wanted to be with him. They flocked around him hoping he would turn and look at them, if only once. He was flawless.
I stood frozen in that moment with nothing but fear to keep me from running. My body wouldn’t move and my eyes were locked onto his beautiful form. I knew I would have to face him, I just didn’t realize it would be so soon and so helplessly. The world that I thought would spin forever had suddenly stopped, as if waiting for his next demand.
Alex grabbed my hand and squeezed it tight. It seemed that he knew all the emotions that were running through me and everything I was thinking. He knew how scared I was. But even his touch couldn’t get me to me move. And even if I could have, there was nowhere for me to run. There were no windows in this dungeon and Daniel was blocking my only way out. Daniel just stared at us and smiled. All I could do was wait to see what he would do next. He knew he had my attention and he used that against me.
“Isn’t this typical,” he said as he looked at Alex. “Falling in love with the one you vowed to protect. You surprise me, Alexander. I thought I disciplined you better than this. I thought I trained you to be heartless and apathetic to those around you. Wow. You had even me fooled.”
“Well then, my mission was a success,” Alex whispered.
“How long have you been plotting against me? Has it been twenty-five years or has it been longer?”
“I don’t know. It’s all a blur. You know, the years just disappear after a time. I wanted you to think you could control me, you cold-hearted bastard.”
“Oh?” Daniel raised his eyebrow.
“When I realized that what you were feeding us was nothing but a lie I recognized where my alliances really stood.” Alex’s voice was fierce; it even frightened me for a second.
Daniel stood there and smiled at Alex, as if unmoved. But I wanted to believe that Alex’s words were like a dagger in his heart and every word was a deeper twist of that knife. He trained this man for years and knew how strong he was. This had to hurt him.
“What did you think? That you would be able to keep her from my grasp? That the two of you would find a way to kill me? And then what? Run off under the moonlight? Ugh. You really make me sick.” Daniel pushed himself off the wall and stood in the middle of the room.
“All the more reason to do it,” Alex said.
“And you.” Daniel turned to look at me. I clenched my body more tightly, ready for any attack. “Trinity, whose future mighty deeds were foretold to me in an ancient prophecy, stands before me.” He smiled.
“Yes.” I wanted to sound strong.
“I can hardly keep my excitement under control. This is such an honor to stand in your presence. You’ve come a long way from where I last saw you in person. The last time I saw you, you were dropping your young Sierra off at school. Yeah, you had a busy day that afternoon. Showing me your routine without even knowing it, you made it so easy for us to keep a track on you.”
I held my breath as Alex squeezed my hand tighter. I wanted to jump at Daniel after he spoke my daughter’s name. But I had to remain calm or else he’d see that he was hurting me with just his words.
“But you disappoint me, too. You’re kind of not living up to the hype. Did you think that you were going to take me by surprise tonight, swoop under my radar and attack when you thought I was most vulnerable?”
I brought my hands down to my side, dropping my knife. “Well, that was the plan.” I didn’t want him to think I was scared to stand up to him; I didn’t want him to see my weakness.
“Tsk tsk. Apparently you’re still not getting it. Clearly all the teachings that you have been given haven’t been good enough. Either that or you’re just hardheaded. So I will try and explain it to you as simply as I can. What you haven’t understood is that I see everything you see and I feel everything you feel.” He tapped his forehead with his finger. “Connected, remember? When you tracked me, I knew you were doing it. I only let you see what I wanted you to see. Did you not think I didn’t want you to find me? Ha, it only made my job that much easier.”
His mockery was infuriating me. I looked over at Alex who was staring at Daniel with repugnance. I could tell he wanted to throw Daniel to the ground and rip his head off more than I did.
I wanted to be in that cell with Alex, sheltered away from Daniel by the prison bars.
“My mind got tired running everywhere with you. You’ve gone to so many places I was beginning to get dizzy. I wanted to rest, for God sake. I knew you would try to find me the way I was finding you. So I let you in. Trust me, you’re not that special.”
Daniel stopped talking. Three men walked around the corner, with Marcus, Jessup and Cyrus firmly in their grasp and another man had my book under his arm. My heart dropped to my stomach. This was a trap and I had led everybody right into it. I knew when I gave Marcus and the others their way out they should have taken it. They hadn’t been strong enough to fight Daniel’s army of vampires.
I gasped. “No,” I mumbled under my breath.
Daniel laughed. “What did you think? That they would be able to get around me undetected? I have men everywhere who would do anything for me. If you thought hard enough you would have seen this coming.
“Who did you think would be the one to stop me? You? Did you really think you were smart enough to pull this off? I’ve had years of practice, you’re going on what – a couple of months? You’re so foolish.” He couldn’t help but smile. “Put them into separate cells. The book and the girl come with me.”
I was forced to follow Daniel into his room. I walked away, hearing Alex yelling and shaking the bars behind me. The minute I walked through the door, I was pushed onto the couch. I slid to the middle and crossed my legs. I didn’t want him to see my terror or feel my fear. I waited for him to speak. I knew he had a lot to say and I wanted to be the gracious guest that just listened.
“Have a seat. You might want to get comfortable.” He smirked. “This might take awhile.” He pulled a zippo and a pack of cigarettes out from his shirt pocket. He put the cigarette to his lips and lit it. The smell of the tobacco made my stomach twist. “But who knows. You might enjoy it.” A big white cloud of smoke came out of his mouth.
“Comfortable for what? The beginning of my death? You’re a little ambitious, aren’t you?” I said sarcastically.
He walked gracefully to his bed and lay down on his stomach, facing me. “Such a funny girl. I don’t plan on killing you just yet. I plan on talking to you first. You know, get to know you a little. I’ve waited years to meet you. I want to do this right before I take such a drastic step.” He took another drag from his cigarette. “Maybe, if you’re good, I’ll want to keep you around. You’re so much prettier than most of the girls I keep here. God knows you could kick their asses if you wanted to.”
I cut him off. “So that’s how you plan to kill me? Torture me to death with your conversation? Please. Just kill me now.” I tried to be rude.
“You might want to bite your tongue, Trinity. You may be beautiful – and trust me, I do have patience – but you’re wearing it thin.” He turned over.
“So then what do you want to talk about Daniel?” I said with exhaustion in my voice.
“Hmmm. I want to discuss our past. I’m sure you’ve been given a meaningless explanation of who I am and what you’re here to do.”
I crossed my legs in the other direction and then folded my arms. “From what I’ve read and what I see before me, I think the legends of you are true.”
“Awe. The famous book of Ismenia.” He quickly got up and grabbed my family’s legacy. His cigarette was hanging from his mouth. He crossed the room and gently placed the book into the empty glass bookcase. “I’ve been waiting to see this book for centuries – ever since I knew she started writing it. I knew I would see it someday so I had this case built for it. Pretty, isn’t it?”
“I’ve been dying to read all that my beloved sister said about me. It must be very melodramatic. She always had a way of embellishing the truth.” He commanded an overwhelming presence as he moved across the room. I only stared and listened. I couldn’t move.
“I’d say it has a lot of truth to it.”
He smiled and closed his eyes, maybe to remember his sister. “It was hard on me when my mother killed her. Not because I cared – hell, I was after her too – but because I wanted to be the one to carry it out. She really crossed a line with our father and I just couldn’t accept that.”
I wanted to jump off the couch and shout at him. I wanted to defend Ismenia and all that came before me. But my desparate hunger for the knowledge that he held was stronger than my urge to yell. I sat quietly, watching his every move, absorbing all he knew, separating his lies from my truth. It was actually insulting for him to think that I would believe him, especially after what he put me through.
He sat on the edge of his bed and crossed his legs, excited to tell his tale. “Do you know how long I searched for Ismenia?” he asked peacefully.
I shook my head slowly, not taking my eyes off his. “No.”
He chuckled softly. “Longer than I had patience for. But when the time finally came and I knew exactly where she’d be, I told my mother like a good son does. But she told me the time wasn’t right and led me away. She told me I had more important things to do.”
“That’s why you’re angry? Seriously?”
“Do you even understand what it was like, hunting for years without end, just for the chance to kill somebody?” He yelled.
“I kind of have an idea.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Yeah, well you wouldn’t understand the anger I felt when I found out my chance was gone! Lilith made it her personal mission to get to Ismenia first, all because she wanted to prove her loyalty to my father. She gave me tasks that were on the other side of the world hoping it would keep me away and that maybe I would forget. But really, how could somebody forget the things that she did? Yeah, I didn’t forget. And when I kill you I will begin my hunt for her.”
“Oh, and I thought you said you might let me live,” I said cynically.
He smiled a sardonic smile. “Kind of poetic, isn’t it. I’ll be the one to kill the woman we both have so much hatred for.”
“Then why do you need me, Daniel? Why am I so important?” I begged to know.
“You’re really not trying to worm your way out like this are you? By begging? I’ve waited so long for this. Come on. Have a little dignity.”
“Fine. Then just be man enough to tell me why I am so damn important.” I wanted to shout, but I remained calm.
He had a smile that seemed like it would never leave his face. “After all this time you still haven’t figured it out. You’re God’s gift to this world. You should feel special. Not many people can say that about themselves when it is actually true.”
“Well.” I paused and rolled my eyes. “I don’t.”
“God created you in His own perfect image, granting you the almighty strength, the strength that was given to me. He gave you enough power to kill me. I mean, that alone should be reason enough to kill you. I can’t let somebody else out there have the same power as me. After all, what kind of leader would I be if I let that happen?”
“You call yourself a leader?” I questioned.
“Are you going to let me finish?”
“But God didn’t realize that you’re the yin to my yang. I thought it was Ismenia at first, until I heard the prophecy… The Almighty Good versus the Damned Evil. We can’t both exist in this realm at once and I have chosen you to leave it first.
“The Devil knew what he was doing the day he came across a scornful Lilith. He knew how powerful he could create her and all that came out of her. He wants to be King of this world and he knows that God has too many followers. You see, there are too many people out there that believe in God and the heavens above. They believe there’s something waiting for them after they die so they will fight to the very end to defend that. The Devil can’t compete with something so strong.
“He needed power to defend himself, power that no mortal could ever possess. So he created us, his own army of vampires, to take the lives of all God’s creatures. Ismenia couldn’t handle it; the human side of her heart outweighed the frozen side. She was weak. Our mother knew it the day Ismenia gave birth. She saw it in her eyes: the love that only a human mother could have.”
I was looking away when he looked at me. When he stopped speaking I looked over at him. “Oh, I’m sorry. Were you referring to Ismenia or me when you were talking about a mother’s love?”
He chuckled under his breath. He stood up and started pacing. “When Ismenia turned away from us, only I was left to carry out our father’s missions. You could only imagine how betrayed he felt when she left. And to him, the cost of betrayal is death.” He knelt down a few feet in front of me and looked at me, hypnotizing me with his eyes. He was close enough for me to kick, but I was so lost in his words, I couldn’t do it.
“And then there’s you. God, you are beautiful.” He ran his fingers down the side of my face. I turned my head away from his hand. “My father never expected God to create such a lethal force – God’s own personal shield.” He stood up and sat next to me on the couch. I unconsciously moved away. I didn’t want to feel his energy next to me. We may have held the same power but that didn’t stop me from fearing him.
“You were hidden well. I went to the church that had raised you, but by the time I got there, what’s her name – Sister Rose? – had already gotten rid of you.”
The mention of her name drew me closer to him. Please tell me he didn’t do anything to that nice woman. “You didn’t…?” I couldn’t find it in myself to finish the question.
“I didn’t know who she was, did you? Mmm, yeah. She was your aunt. She swore to protect you until she could find a family that was right for you. But when I found her, even after the torture I inflicted upon her, she still wouldn’t talk. So I had to do what I had to do.”
My Aunt. I now knew what became of Sister Rose… and actually now she was ‘Aunt’ Rose. He killed her for helping me. I couldn’t believe she was my aunt. Another family member that he stole from me. At least I had the time to get to know her even if I didn’t know we were related.
“I thought I would never find you. I couldn’t track you when you were mortal. That proved to be an obstacle because our minds weren’t linked yet. But then you had a child. Such a foolish decision. After that it was only a matter of time.”
He made me listen to his horrible perversions that were once my life. He made it seem like having a child, unaware of the damage it would cause, was my sin. After all, you can’t hide a child. If I had known, I would have ended my life before the damage could be done.
“You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself, Trinity. Your death will come,” he said, reading my thoughts.
“Why was my daughter taken and not left for dead?” I whispered.
“It wasn’t by my hands that she was made immortal. I may be a bastard, but I would never make a child immortal. They’re just too much of a headache.”
“Then who ordered it?” I demanded.
“Lilith had served her purpose and she knew her death was imminent, so she grabbed your precious Sierra to start her own war – against you or God – I really don’t understand her thinking. But Lilith’s death will be handled accordingly.”
I was done listening to him. “Then you should know that I am as strong as you – maybe stronger,” I said. “I’m not going to lie down and let you kill me, no matter what you think. I will fight you. I will find my daughter. And I will kill Lilith.”
“Your confidence is captivating but I’m afraid I’m getting bored and the time has come for me to carry out my prophecy. It would be easier for you not to fight this.” He stood up and walked to the edge of the bed.
“You and Gerviase are one and the same; you’re both out of your damn mind!” I stood up.
“Trinity, death is your destiny.” He crouched down and barred his fangs. “The Devil sent me here to kill all of you.” The words bellowed from his mouth.
I pulled back my lips, showing my teeth. “And God sent me here to save them!”