Chapter 6: The Cat and The Bag Controversy
It is the truth universally acknowledged that a single man sitting beside me in possession of a superior knowledge must think he was making perfect sense.
At this particular moment, my most massive and vital organ - the brain - hadn’t got a hint of what Ly was saying.
I felt my brow move in a quizzical position that would be in other circumstances very entertaining to see. “Save- Participating- Attack? What?” Sputtering the assembling words so quickly it was the complete mixture of several sentences I wanted to make, they mashed together into nonsense. To decide which one was more important than the other was impossible. The neurons in my brain were half operating and half-dead at this point as if the radio program was cutting off. Trying to connect at the synapses but the constant: ERROR prevented them from achieving anything.
Lys’ accusatory facial expression didn’t lessen; it remained intact. That was not a good sign, not a good sign at all. “You deny it?” He uttered in a way that was barely above a whisper. The flat, mirror-like expression on Lys’ visage was making me uncomfortable, even more so, when I knew that behind his intelligent eyes, his brain was very active as if it were doing somersaults and jumped through hoops at double speed while on steroids.
“I would if I knew what you were talking about?” Was this another manipulative way Ly has chosen to enact or were the words leaving his mouth the truth? I couldn’t say. That was the immense problem that lies produced. Once they have been uttered too many times, the legitimacy of the truth gets lost to the ears of the audience.
So, what am I to believe?
“But- I don’t-” Stammering at a loss of what I was supposed to think, the sudden image of my friends swam to the surface. If there was an attack there might also be a possibility-. But surely Will would tell me if any of them got hurt, right? Worry contorted my features, and the urgency in my quickly uttered words was evident. “Is everyone alright?!” I sat up straight like an arrow, wincing at the newly bound shoulder that gave a sharp pain at any sudden movement.
Ly moved slightly back to take a full view of my face and sniggered in mockery. “Why didn’t you ask your little ferret of a friend, William? I thought you were talking all the time.”
“No, we weren’t, I heard only once from him and-” I bit my tongue abruptly. I was just in time to stopping myself from giving out very damaging information. Ly was fishing and trying to rile me up with his bait. For all I knew there wasn’t an attack that night, but there surely was one coming from Ly right now.
Cheshire cat-like smile bloomed on Lys’ face while waiting patiently for me to tighten the noose he prepared masterfully around my neck myself. “Go ahead. Don’t let me stop you.” Teasingly on the outside yet wholly grievous on the inside, Ly was waving with one palm for me to get on with it.
I remained quiet. The only good policy that was sworn by the Lawyers to work in such situations. My palm was protectively on the wound Ly inflicted while my eyes were fixed on his features.
Keeping quiet is the only defence that will work.
“All is in your hands, Darling. Either you give me the answers I seek willingly or-” Ly shrugged, letting the silence to have a voice on its’ own.
I didn’t need to be a mind reader to uncover what he wished to convey.
“Blackmail.” The calmness in my voice came as a surprise to me. Ly remained stoic, looking at me from the corner of his eyes while maintaining that polite-fake-smile on his lips.
The feelings of frustration were bubbling up to the surface yet remained underneath my facade of indifference. “And here I thought my opinion of you couldn’t sink any lower. So, what’s it going to be? inflicting guilt or the usual I-will-kill-everybody-you-love-if-you-do-not-do-what-I-want tactic?” Glancing out the window, I noticed that the Gorilla-trio and other Created remained outside with their backs toward us, waiting until their master permits them to come back. I did not doubt that they were listening intently to our conversation.
“Who are you going to threaten now?” My question was seasoned with boredom. “I know you scared Monique into hiding. She wrote to me and explained everything; the fear couldn’t overcome her guilt. Obviously not my mother, she has been dead for far too long. All you can take of her are her ashes and sprinkle yourself with them. The next logical victim would be my father; however, you are out of luck again, since I have a complete and utter wish for him to just be out of my life-”
“How about I just point out that an hour ahead of us is a boy named Jeremy who is getting the only treatment for leukaemia in my-oh-so capable hands.”
“You-” My voice-box suddenly felt very obstructed, “-brought Jeremy here? You kidnapped him again?!”
Lysander smiled kindly down at me; however, it did not reach his eyes. The polite ceramic mask was as fake as the things made in China. “I must say you are a bad guardian. Did you think I wouldn’t go for the most obvious choice? I do not need to point out that if you have any desire for his recovery, you will stay exactly as you were. After all, we do not want someone to mistake his room and, accidentally, of course, give him a little nibble-” He smiled widely, pointedly showing his enlarged fangs to me.
“If you hurt him in anyway-!” I lunged with my nails extended, seeing red. There were many things I wanted to do; rip his ball sack at the point where it attached to his body and put it on his head as a fleshy bow; scratch his eyes out then pull them through his ears as drop earrings. As for the grand finale there would be death by strangulation with his penis. No one threatens my brothers’ life and does not suffer. Not even an immortal being would be safe from my sin of wrath.
“I told you, it is all in your hands Odessa.” Ly shrugged nonchalantly as if we were talking about the weather while keeping a person that had every intention to kill him at an arm’s length with frustrating ease.
“You are a first-class monster!” My shout made the silent vampiric sentinels outside the car turn in an alarm.
“I never claimed otherwise.” Ly moved his hand, and I collided with him in a fury, joyful to be given an opportunity to hurt him.
In less than a second, he grabbed my injured shoulder, squeezing it so tightly that stars erupted behind my eyes. Before I could even scream, the pressure increased to the point I thought I was going to go insane from pain. My vision was blackening at the corners, and it quickly spread until the last thing I could perceive with the tunnel like vision was a hint of worry in Lys’ eyes as he watched the movement outside.
The first thing that returned was the perception of the body, soon after followed the sense of touch. I was lying on my side in a vehicle that was moving while being soothed with a hand that stroked my injured shoulder considerately. The wound still gave a pulsating like feeling, the more I became aware of self, the more it stung. My ears were still filled with a faint buzzing, and my ability to hear was obstructed by it. Yet it soon fizzled out, and as I glanced through my lashes, the darkness was leaving as suddenly as it appeared. The lightheadedness remained not only because of the fainting spell but also because of blood loss; nevertheless, the longer I waited, the more I was convinced that I was transported back in time. Or perhaps a lucid dream. A delusion of what our relationship once was; before I realised the untruthfulness I was told. That was the only reason I felt safe in the arms of a person that bit me to the point of tissue damage. There was the same sense of calmness and tenderness which wafted from Ly in a pulsating motion; however, when he felt me move, it vanished as if it never existed in the first place.
Perhaps the feeling of nostalgia is overwhelming me.
Without a word, I pushed away suddenly as if I was burned by the mere touch of Lys’ fingertip, gazing out onto the quickly passing world out the window. The vamp-squad was sitting motionless; it looked creepy almost to the point of eerie. The constant shifting of their eyeballs only to look at me made the matters only worse for my heart.
“How are you feeling?” Ly asked in a smooth and effortless voice. He was clearly not interested in my well-being, just trying to start a conversation - in my oh-so humble opinion.
“As expected, if someone forcefully bites you in the shoulder, tearing the muscles and leaving you bleeding then squeezes the said body part to prove their point until the pain is so unbearable that you pass out.”
I thought I heard one of the guard snicker then trying to disguise it as a cough in a most unrealistic manner. From the corner of my eye, I caught a flash of an elbow meeting a ribcage and in the aftershock of the blow we all heard the distinct pop that a broken bone makes. A small grunt followed suit.
Ly ignored the misconduct one of his guards made; be that as it may, there was still a glare made for him in the general direction of the noise. After the rowdy bunch had settled, the only Stainless in the car decided to answer my overly sarcastic commentary. “If you have enough energy to reply with spite, you are more than fine.”
I ignored him with all my heart.
Ly was having none of that and bluntly disregarding my hint to be left alone. “Regarding the cold-shoulder, I am receiving—fine is an understatement.”
I had to bite my tongue to refrain from responding, it wasn’t easy given to my past inability to hold it behind my teeth, yet somehow I managed. Gazing out the window while going into the unknown, I hoped that my driving companion wouldn’t disturb me again.
Uncharacteristically of Ly he was unusually chatty and continued. “Oh, you will understand the horror once the woman starts to stew in silence— that is what my uncle Vlad used to say back in the day.”
“I hope your uncle Vlad also has some wise words on how to shut up.” Mumbling, I forgot the supersonic bat hearing all the occupants aside from me had—a fatal mistake.
“She speaks!” Clapping with his hands in a deep and resonating ridiculing appreciation, Lys’ eyes were sparkling with delight. I never thought he would be teasingly insulting toward anyone. Usually, he grumpily grunted and remained silent when displeased, but now Ly was like a jester; entertaining the audience.
Even more proof that all was a lie.
When the guards chuckled, there were no repercussions this time. Lys’ eyes remained unruffled and frigid as he smiled toward the front seats. Those yellowish-purple orbs remained stoic and unyielding as the Gorilla Trio laughed and then I turned away not able to stomach the duality of his character. This was not the Ly that was two sides of the same coin; it was a doubloon and a nickel, bipolar opposites that couldn’t survive in the same person. The only question that remained was, which was the lie and which the truth. Despite of this observation, I couldn’t stand the possibility that the Lysander I knew still existed, because then everything that I had done for the past months would be utterly null. Furthermore, I kind of liked stewing, brewing and being resentful like a total witch; it made me have a target to fix my frustrations, an outlet of sorts.
“What now, Dess? Cat got your tongue again?” His voice, as rich as cream, jabbed at my temper to engage in a battle.
Resisting an urge to show my unicorn finger was tough; nonetheless, I managed beautifully. I was swelling with pride.
“Well then, I shall keep the information where Jeremy is to myself if that is what you want?”
I deflated faster than the punctured Bicycle tire.
Bastard, he plays dirtier than the swindlers in Vegas!
This time my tongue flew before my brain could command it to stay silent. “You are a real bleached asshole; you know that!” I whipped around toward my kidnapper with such a vigorous fury that my ponytail slapped my face.
The Created snarled and growled in protest to my insult. The driver shot me a very nasty look in the rearview mirror, and I decided to ignore him. My instincts; however, were making alarm bells and shouted: ‘Abort mission! Abort mission!’
“I just know how to play the Aces I have up my sleeve appropriately that is all.” Ly lifted his palm up to calm the riot club that exploded in the front. The bestial noise subsided, and their master continued as if nothing happened. “You didn’t think I would just take you and be done with it? I thought you knew me better than that.”
Glancing from the corner of my eye, I noticed Ly watching me intently while leaning leisurely on the window frame with his elbow.
“So, did I.” My chin was set stubbornly, “Then you stabbed me in the back.”
With a theatrical sigh and accompanying roll of his eyes, Ly looked away from me. “Spear me the victim roll Dess; no one buys it.”
“Only if you stop prostrating yourself as a martyr. You are too old to be so childish.”
“Speaking of children.” Leaning forward as if very interested in the topic, Lys’ lips gave a tight and unnatural smile. “Jeremy was in a bad state when I saw him.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised he was. I would feel ill too if I had to look at you for longer than ten minutes.”
“Ouch, that pierced my heart.” Ly massaged the left pectoral muscle with his right palm where underneath the tissue was supposed to be the mentioned organ. He acted feeble and manipulated another chuckle out of the whole van.
“You don’t have one.” Mumbling more for myself than others, I again decided that we were at an impasse. There was nothing left to be said at least not from my point of view.
“I could say the same for you, darling,” Ly replied lowly, softly with a tenderness of a sharp knife.
None of us picked up the discarded conversation; we left it at that, and for the remainder of the ride, the only companion to the car noises was stony silence. We drove like that for what seemed to be a very long time. I haven’t got a phone on me to check the time and was too damn proud to ask anyone when we were going to arrive or where were we even headed. The concrete road seemed to drag on and on for me. The traitor beside me remained stone-faced and unyielding every time I speared a furtive glance in his direction.
Ly seemed so different than when I last gazed upon him. His face, the hair, the way he acted; even his features had shifted into an even more porcelain indifferent mask—to the point that it seemed almost macabre expression that would inspire horror movies. Short hair was just long enough to hide his eyes behind them. It was unnerving to see his neck so exposed and no bun at its’ nape, no longer were there loose silvery strands to frame and to soften his features.
My attention shifted as the speed at which the driver drove changed; we were stopping at the ramp that had a big sign that read: PRIVATE. In the distance, there were the humongous airbus monster planes dotted like little steel birds on the horizon.
Huston, we have a problem.
“Sire?” The driver inquired as if he needed permission to continue with the previously planned route.
Waving at the Created as if he was annoyed at the little insecure question, Ly just gestured with his chin for him to get on with it. “Proceed.”
Drumming with my fingers on the leather seat like I was having a quick-paced drum solo, I tried to see if there was any sign of the private jet that had flown me to the Camaraderie before. There wasn’t a jet in the site. On its’ place was a medium-size plane that had more Created stationed by the foldable stairs.
As the car drifted to a sudden halt, all the Created exited the vehicle with such grace you wouldn’t attribute to the big, muscular men. I secretively tried to open my door, only to find it (unsurprisingly) locked from the inside.
“Really, Dess?” Ly voiced his false concern with a hint of boredom.
I shrugged my shoulders, trying to enact his blasé attitude in the hope of infuriating him. “Just checking if the door works. It doesn’t, which is odd. When you try to exit; it is most appreciated that they open. That is one of the main purposes of the door, you know.”
If Ly felt disgruntled toward my sarcastic lecture about the apparent purposes of doors and gateways, he ignored or hid it from me with incredible stealth.
“Before we go to the aircraft, we need to exchange a few words.” The civil attempt Ly tried to portray had not come from the goodness of his heart. The command was visible in the harshness of his appearance
The pretended polite notice Ly displayed was not holding water at all; I knew him too well to ease my posture. I knew I had no choice in the matter. “Will those be the words of Goodbye perchance?” When Ly allowed himself to glare, I shrugged my shoulders. “Pity.” With that, I turned toward the window, falsely trying to give an image of being interested in the aeroplane before us.
“I see you won’t be reasonable.” The tone of Lys’ voice was barely above a low whisper, and yet it sends collywobbles down my spine.
“Yes, because kidnap victims are an absolutely tolerable delight in their captivity; in fact, they are known for doing precisely that.”
There was a moment of silence as I felt his eyes drilling into the side of my face, possibly waiting for me to acknowledge his existence. I decided that I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
“Very well. Forcefully it is.” I felt his warm arm snake around my elbow, and with a tug that sends me flying into him, Ly grabbed my chin in a vice-like grip. The pupils turned poisonous green, and the explosion of red replaced his normal eye-colour. I fought knowing I have just a second before the inevitable and yet the strength of a vampire was unrivalled to a human.
Ly held my gaze steadily, and I felt as lightheaded as I woke up earlier, swimming in his entrancing eyes. There was nothing I could do not when I was competing against compulsion.
“You will only speak when I allow you to; otherwise, you will smile and act as you always do when in his presence.” Studying me to reassure himself I was well under his spell, Ly opened the car door on his side and exited. “Stay here.” He commanded, and my head involuntarily nodded.
You fucking backstabbing prick!
Being under the compulsion sucked. It was as if I was under sleep paralysis; the brain was awake, yet the body does not comply with the captains’ orders—me. My eyes followed Lys’ progress around the front of the massive automobile. He moved with the strutting slowness, knowing that I was going to pull my nut. It was an unimaginable abuse of power and invasion in my body on his part. And I was not going to forget this intrusion into my mind— he could count on it.
When finally, his majesty the royal twit rounded to my side of the car, he leisurely opened the Rovers’ door. “Follow me.” It was another compulsive order from Ly to which I couldn’t say no.
Nodding, like the good girl, Ly willed me to be, I took his outstretched hand and escaped the metal car and to my horror, felt my lips turn upward without me ordering them to do so.
Revenge! My heart, my dignity, my honour screams for gory, bloodstained vengeance!
“Lift your arms.”
They did so before I could think of another appropriate curse word. I decided that when all this was over and done with, I shall find myself a dictionary and learn all the obscene words I could look up. My current swear- language was abysmal.
Ly dressed me in a bulky sweatshirt with as much gentility as you would a mannequin at a clothes store. The heavy fabric made me wince internally when it weighed heavily on my injury. On the outside, I perhaps looked as happy as a person that just satisfied their midnight munchies. I was waved inside the airplane while the entourage of the S.W.A.T Created bowed us in.
“Dr Sanders! Dess!” The overly familiar voice of a child made me scream inwardly in terror.
My eyes frantically searched and found its’ target. My little brother, who was supposed to be in a hospital, was sitting in the big comfortable chair, playing with the attaching remote which had an assortment of fantastic massage features. I scanned Jeremy’s little body up and down, searching for any sort of new, unfamiliar feature that might maim him. The only new thing I noticed was a large and infectious smile that stretched almost from ear to ear. Beside him, was a metal stand with an I.V. bag which was attached with the sheer and nearly transparent plastic tube to his small and fragile looking forearm. The plastic was undoubtedly filled with blood.
Ly crossed the aisle to the child that was clearly known to him and ruffled the brown hair which were laced with blond. “Hey, there, squirt. How many times do I have to tell you it is Ly?”
“At least a hundred, which makes it a good round twenty now. Only eighty to go.” Jeremy replied with a cheek that would be cute if not for the grave situation. Blue eyes met mine, and there I saw a deep fire of resentment. “Dess you are a liar!” My little brother accused loudly with a clear intent to stand up.
“Come now, that is no way to speak to your sister, is it?” While chastising Jeremy, Ly gently pushed, so the little boy sat down in his seat.
“But she lied, Ly! She never told me she knew you!” Jeremy whined while still shotting daggers at me.
I lied to protect you! I screamed yet the words couldn’t leave my lips. The frustration was unbearable, but the need to protect my little brother was ardent. And all I could do was to stand and take the slander without the ability to defend myself or Jeremy.
Tutting in a condescending way, Ly wagged his finger at Jeremy while discussing me as if I wasn’t even present. “That would be because I told her not to.”
“You sacked her, right? She annoyed you to the point you couldn’t stand her anymore.” Jeremy’s’ eyebrows lowered as he mumbled, “You are not the only one.”
Ly scratched his chin, “It is partially true.”
Widening to the point of falling out of his sockets, Jeremys’ eyes looked hurt at the possible betrayal his newfound comrade committed. “You lied too?”
Especially him! He was the reason you couldn’t see me in the first place!
Slowly crouching down, Ly settled himself so that he could see eye to eye with the child in the seat. “I did, and I must admit that it was not fair to you, so let me correct my mistake. Perhaps your sister never enlightened you, but even the adults make many errors. We are not insufferable know it alls.”
Sure, speaks the person who has temper tantrums when he is proven wrong.
“Could have fooled me. She always knows what to do.” Jeremy mumbled while conspiratorially giving me a furtive glance.
I felt the stewardess move behind me, and yet I still stood like a statue with a plastered smile on my lips. Come on, Jeremy. I pleaded with my eyes. Notice that something is not right with me.
Yet the alluring power of persuasion Ly emitted as he gently patted Jeremy’s hair was no match for me. “Will you allow me to make amends?”
It was as if Lys’ eyes were two magnets from which Jeremy could not look away. He nodded while pouting like a cherub. “Only if you tell the truth.”
The answer was to Lys’ delight, and he smiled in a way that could light up the whole planet for a solid hour if the electricity needed a bit of time-out.
No, Jeremy, don’t fall into his trap. I already did and am paying the price! My pleading fell on the baren soil. Jeremy was still captured by the beautiful snare that was Ly.
“At which Harry Potter book have we left off?” The vampire I once thought I loved feigned forgetfulness.
“The Goblet of Fire! We had just a page till the end!” Jeremy exclaimed and in a thrill boisterously clapped his hands together.
Cut the comedy crap Ly! You are manipulating a child! Have you no shame?! I saw the subject of my inner screaming monologue glance my way as if he heard my roars. That’s right I am talking to you, shitty schmuck! You better not do anything, or I swear I will find a way to become a ghost and haunt you for the rest of eternity! I felt my heartbeat speed up, and for a small fraction of a second, my brainwashed smile faltered.
Ly gave me another dose of green gaze then glanced away and fully put his attention on Jeremy as though nothing transpired in between. “Remind we which character is your favourite?”
“Professor Dumbledore!” Jeremy proclaimed proudly, “If I ever grow as old as him, I hope I will be just like him!”
“Ah, yes, indeed, now I remember. Forgive me, my old age.” Ly theatrically slapped his forehead, which charmed a heap of giggles from Jeremy. Ly grabbed his chin with his palm as if he thought most deeply. “Well then let’s see. ’Understanding is the first step to acceptance—”
“…and only with acceptance can there be a recovery.’ I remember that one.” Jeremy finished the thought smoothly. “I still don’t understand it.” Looking through the window in such a way that seemed Jeremy was embarrassed, he wrung his palms in his lap.
Smiling reassuringly, Ly spoke. “What Professor Dumbledore tries to tell us is that when you understand why and how then you are ready to accept that certain events took place beyond your control. And only when you acknowledge the problem that is when you open the door to finding a solution. Or that is the shorter and much less complicated attempt to transcript the wisdom behind the words.”
“But what has that got to do with me?”
Indeed, I wonder that as well… I listened most intently while giving Ly the once over most closely.
“You asked me at a hospital why did Dess suddenly take you away.”
“Yes.” Nodded Jeremy while intently listening.
“You also asked me why you are sick again when I assured you a few months back that we would surprise your sister with us both announcing you are healed.”
Ha! You probably lied about that too.
“And what did Dumbledore say?” Ly prompted his young listener to engage his blossoming mind.
Jeremy scrunched up his face as he always did when he thought about something most intently. At times like this, I wouldn’t be surprised if steam erupted from his ears. “That I first need to… understand?”
No… he wouldn’t.
Being a forced silent listener, I was beseeching that the conclusion I come too was wrong, entirely false. Ly wouldn’t endanger a child with such knowledge. He might be going ultimately off the rails; however, there still had to be some little mercy left. Right?
Feeling encouraged by the correct answer, Jeremy continued with his mental exercise. “Then, I need to understand how I got healthy again, and why was I ill again?”
Ly, don’t you DARE! Do not fucking endeavour to disclose that to Jeremy!
Nodding and humming in approval, Ly spared me a little glance.“Precisely.”
My blood froze in my veins; if I weren’t rooted to the spot by the stupid vampire ability, I would throw myself on my knees and plead. I would be willing to trade a thousand non-aphrodisiac bites for Jeremy to remain in the dark about it all.
The stewardess led me to my seat, and she strapped me in for the take-off completely unsurprised by my weird doll like state. Ly remained as he was, without a single warning from the plane staff, monitoring me from the corner of his eyes. Jeremy was so deep in thought that he hadn’t even noticed the plane taking off, and that was saying something. This was his first plane ride.
The cute face of my little brother fell as he realised something vital. “But- but I don’t know how or why.”
“That is where I come in. You see Jeremy the answers to both questions lies in what I am.”
Bewildered by Lys’ words, Jeremy asked,“What you are? But you are like me!”
Please, please don’t. Spare him. Grant Jeremy the blessing of childhood innocence.
“Yes, and again no.” Answering cryptically, Ly closed his eyes, and when he allowed them to open again, the cabin was illuminated in a green light that was originating from the centre of his orbs. With numb and silent dread, I watched as Lys’ fangs grew from his gums to the full length. Jeremy watched curiously, not knowing, not comprehending what he was witnessing.
When his eyes completed the transformation, Ly let the cat out of the bag with a bang. “You see Jeremy; I am a vampire.”