Chapter 91 - Pets
The mother remained alert, but miraculously her growling seized. The kitten turned in Rowan’s hands, and she held it like it was made out of glass. She had never held a baby creature before, and her heart felt too big for her chest at the wonder of it.
The kitten licked her finger once with its coarse little tongue and purred, Sarah smiled and behind Rowan Alena raised her brow, but she hid a smile. Rowan looked both startled and bemused. Her heart melted in her chest as she carefully stroked the fragile kitten.
“It think that one’s yours,” Sarah declared as she rubbed the mother cat, who relaxed at hearing the contented sound coming from the kitten. Rowan reluctantly handed it back, and the mother washed it carefully as if to remove Rowan’s scent. Rowan couldn’t help wondering; if it felt like that to hold a kitten, what would it feel like to hold the child that would be born from her body? A tiny, helpless miracle that would depend on her.
“What would happen to the rest?” Rowan asked as Sarah poured a little milk into a plate, and the mother abandoned her babies for the comforts of home.
“To prevent a cat infestation replacing the current rat problem, we have to find them homes at the next port. The sailors will drown them if they find them. Father knows, but he pretends not to,” Sarah explained as she replaced the box that hid the kittens from view.
“We eat cat,” Alena said as she pretended to glare the cat down.
“Grandfather used to farm sheep. Come spring we would have a few throwaways, and we reared them in the barn. I played with them, and they were my friends. Come next spring; my grandfather would start his speech on necessities and hard times. I’d run into the barn and cry my eyes out,” Sarah reminisced, and the sisters glanced at each other, waiting to hear where this story would lead.
“He would feel bad and always allowed me to pick one or two to keep. I had a whole flock of sheep by the time my grandfather died. That spring, I had to sell them all. Culling the herd and eating the meat is one thing, but knowing something and seeing its eyes when it dies, that’s something else,” Sera firmly stated, and the two sisters barely kept from laughing at this little morality tale.
“Why are you so sure of us?′ “Alena asked the more profound question that troubled her.
“Apart from what you are? What differences are there really between your kind and my kind?” Sarah asked quietly and in her eyes, betrayed a myriad of painful emotions.
“Grandfather used to say; ‘Give a man enough power over others, and there lies the true test of his nature.’ It’s true. I can’t judge every person I meet by the measure of someone else, you three had all the time in the world to turn against us, but you haven’t,” Sarah sighed.
“I’ve seen what your kind can do to mine. I’ve been there. You don’t need us. You never did, but you gave us lives when we were dead already, but that’s not why I trust you,” Sarah glanced at them, and they were listening intently.
“You’ve been nothing but what you are now. You know the extent of your natures, and you have chosen to rule them. Master Marcus has surpassed his weakness and made it his strength,” Sarah seemed slightly different when she spoke like this, and both vampires realized that her grandfather hadn’t been just some farmer.
“I trust you because even out on that field when you were killing those things, you derived no pleasure from your actions. It’s a necessity and not a sport to you,” Sarah said before she started to leave, but she turned back.
“I’m not imperceptive. I know that if the choice had to be made between our lives and yours, that you would make it. Perhaps not for yourselves, but each other,” Sarah stared them down, seemed to remember what she saw as her place and lowered her eyes. They did not contradict her.
“You underestimate our natures,” Alena reminded slowly, and Rowan looked concerned.
Sarah seemed to come to some decision, and she approached Rowan, without fear, until she stood toe to toe with her. Her shoulders straightened, and her manner changed, verifying their suspicions about Sarah. Her mother hadn’t been born of common stock.
“No my ladies, I think not. I told you before...” Sarah intoned with a sad smile, and then she left abruptly, which made Rowan frown.
“Told us what?” Rowan murmured, perplexed.
“Pets are harder to kill,” Alena clarified with some amusement and Rowan shook her head.
“She was never speaking of the cat or the sheep, was she?” Rowan asked with amused laughter as she leaned back against a crate.
“No,” Alena confirmed.
“Father would have no respect for us, and the way we have become,” Rowan stated flatly as she realized how right Sarah was.
“No,” Alena said as she noted to herself that that was the second time Rowan called him father. It saddened her to realize this, but it also sparked defiance in her. She preferred their way of doing things.
“Sarah virtually challenged us to kill her,” Rowan continued on her whim.
“Father would have seen it that way,” Alena agreed.
“The others of our kind would see it that way too,” Rowan acknowledged.
“Father would have forced us to kill her, and the very fact that we wouldn’t want to? Would have brought punishment down on us,” Alena conceded.
“What does it mean then?” Rowan asked, and Alena hugged her from behind.
“It means we are more than they are or will ever become. They are too stupid and too caught up in themselves to understand what we have,” Alena allowed her chin to rest on Rowan’s shoulder.
“Martin said being one of us was a choice between perversion and insanity,” Rowan mused.
“We are neither, and Martin would have been an asshole even if he was born human,” Alena said with a touch of venom.
“Probably, but he feared Father enough, not to show me that side of him until the very end. I should’ve seen right through him, but I didn’t. He was right about one thing though; I was pretty much a barbarian when he found me,” Rowan admitted.
“Afterwards, when I learned about the things he did before, it was like he had been two people - until I realized it was all part of his game,” Rowan revealed, and Alena felt the bitter aftertaste of Martin’s betrayal echo in her soul.
“Martin liked corrupting innocence and leading people down the path to falling. I may have been uneducated, rough, filled with dangerous emotions, but I was innocent of the things between men and women. What he taught me about those things?” Rowan shuddered before she took a deep breath and Alena just held her.
“If it hadn’t been for Marcus, how long would it have been before I was just like Martin? Unfeeling, uncaring, and seeking only my own ends?” Rowan asked.
“Father made my mother explain to me about the things between men and women; then he told me it was all a load of crap. You take what you want, and you move on. Someone hurt my feelings, and I believed Father,” Alena told Rowan.
“Then he fell in love with your mother, and I was disenchanted. How could I believe anything he said, if the most basic truths he taught me, were lies?” Alena continued with hurt in her voice.
“Then one day I went to inspect one of our hideouts in an abandoned castle. The walls had long fallen to ruin, and two humans were in there, by the light of a lamp,” Alena remained quiet for a moment.
“I shouldn’t have gone nearer, but I did. Humans have always fascinated me - as if they had something we’d lost or long since forgotten,” Alena admitted honestly.
“They were not so young, perhaps in their forties, but the way they were touching each other, the way they gave and took with this gentle ferocity, this wasn’t what I knew. This was not the pleasures of the body, it was making love, and I realized I would never have that,” Alena said with a pang of sadness, and longing in her voice.
“You have that with Marcus, and that’s what your soul knows others of our kind will never experience - because that kind of caring is never selfish. It gives me hope that I am not like them, and maybe I will find love,” Alena revealed her innermost secret before she hugged Rowan closer, and then let go.
“We have to go up to the deck,” Alena reminded as she pulled her emotions together.
“Yes,” Rowan said, but she didn’t move. Alena left, and she knew that somewhere inside Rowan that place that still doubted, had been purged and would heal.