Chapter 7: A Midsummer Night Dream
The inability of moving ones’ face comes in handy when feeling the internal symptoms of shell-shock. My hearing wasn’t impaired at all when Ly revealed the critical word that explained everything about his existence.
I’m a vampire. I’m a vampire. I’m a vampire…
The combination of words Ly choose to use was on constant repeat, like a broken record in a horror movie making the macabre and eerie noises that makes goosebumps on the arms of the audience.
I expected there to be a roaring sensation in my head, so deafeningly bouncing in my mind that I could barely hear the noise of the aeroplane engine. Yet, the only feeling beside the initial shock was a wish to curl up in a ball and cry out of the sheer frustration and sadness that everything will change for Jeremy. With a stab in my heart that was similar to the one I felt when I learned about Lys’ initial betrayal (but not as painful) I angrily discovered that there was still a little microscopic dust-particle of hope remaining. It was dimly shining underneath the trash and shit that Ly piled up on top, and the more he unloaded, the less it shined – but thus far it still glimmered, which showed my naïve and forgivable nature that was imprinted in my soul by my mom.
My poor delusional and an overly forgiving mother. It was hard to have discovered just now that I was my mothers’ daughter. Especially in this situation. This realisation throbbed as a thorn that was embedded in my heart which over time became infested beyond saving.
Fucking toxic patterns that parents leave on their children.
“A vampire?” Jeremy whispered while looking with a mixture of fear and disbelief at Lys’ teeth that were still doing their peek-a-boo revealment from behind the upper lip. The blue eyes of my little brother glanced at my amber ones and then back to the creature in front of him.
Ly just remained motionless while gazing at Jeremy with an intensity that should be unquestionably terrifying to a child. “Yes.” The low voice vibrated with the seriousness that made no one question Lys’ sincerity of his words.
“The person who drinks blood?” Clarifying that he understood correctly, Jeremy whispered the posed question carefully. His voice was barely audible when he spoke the word ‘blood’.
“The person who drinks blood and can turn into a bat but isn’t batman?”
The sobriety left Lys’ gaze; I saw his lips twitch while he poorly tried to hide the fact that he wanted to laugh. “I am sorry to disappoint you, but I can’t turn into a bat. Or fly.” Ly quickly added.
“Then what can you do?” My little brother crossed his arms, starting not to believe that this was the truth at all, but some kind of ruse constructed by the adults to make fun of the only child on board.
The vampire considered Jeremy’s questioning accusation with a small, thoughtful smile. “Hmm, let us see-” There was the ruffling of air and Ly spoke from the other part of the spacious cabin while leaning on the doorway as if he was there from the beginning of the flight. “I can move really fast.”
“Wicked!” Exclaimed Jeremy with stars twinkling in his eyes while turning toward the sound his new hero made while talking.
“And I am pretty strong if I say so myself-” Lifting the beverage trolly that the stewardess just rolled in, Ly gave Jeremy a little show of flexing it then gently putting it on the floor before the woman fainted. There was not a drop of soda or a stain of coffee in sight.
Yeah Ly, omit the power of mind control that you put on his sister. Such a cool dude you are. An iceberg is warmer than you.
“That is so cool! You are basically a superhero! Can you shoot laser beams from your eyes? And-”
Hours passed while I was still cemented into my thoughts that couldn’t be expressed out loud, yet everything was silent inside, wrapped into the blankness that reflected on my facial expression. The boys talked for half of the time; Jeremy as curious as a cat while Ly was obligingly providing answers to all his inquiries. They both utterly ignored my existence; Ly probably because he was punishing me; and Jeremy because he vocally declared he was angry with me as a result of my cover-up of Lys’ awesomeness.
I was bitterly disappointed with my younger sibling; whereas there was nothing but vast resentment I felt for my ex-lover. That was if we excluded the previously mentioned grain of hope that still dimly glimmered every once in a while, from underneath the Ly-made waste. There was little consolation in the knowledge that soon my compulsion would be broken. The irreparable damage was done. And there was also the fact that Ly was keeping me on a short leash, and he hadn’t made a slip that would allow me to break from it.
Soon the excitement of the journey and new adventurous encounter with one of the supernatural creatures this planet provided, tired Jeremy to the point he had curled on the aeroplane seat with his head on Lys’ shoulder and had fallen promptly asleep, looking as serene as only a child could. And as such, it came as no surprise that he reacted in a way that every younger person would have – to still innocently percept the world to be in just black and white, divided into only good and wicked. I was currently the bad guy while Ly was the embodiment of enlightenment for Jeremy.
If only the world would be so simple.
The descend of the plane did not wake the sleeping child, and once we have landed and were bowed out of the metal contraption, Jeremy was still slightly snoring away in Lys’ arms.
“Follow me.” Ly threw the words over his shoulder without looking at me, and my body moved on its’ own. It felt good to move, but my cheeks were burning because of the smile that was still lifting my lip corners into an unnatural look of happiness that you usually saw on politicians’ wives.
Rearranging Jeremys’ sleeping body, Ly extended his hand to help me down the foldable plane stairs. To the outsiders, it would seem a gentlemanly behaviour; however, it was nothing short of the possessive display of power to the literal army of Varshawsky Created that stood by the plane.
Only my eyes moved as I looked into at least twenty unknown vampiric faces. Their eyes remained respectfully on the floor or into the unidentified spot on the dark horizon. If they were perchance surprised to find their heir cradling a small human child, they concealed it perfectly. In almost unison, they bowed their heads and put their right palm on their hearts when Ly passed and said in a practically worshipping whispers: “Sire.” The gesture should give off pride and devotion; however, it stank of fear and overly exulted civility. Ly flatly ignored them as if they were ghosts only visible to my eyes. Although, I had caught several of the ignored scowling at the black concrete floor like it offended their birth mothers. If their perceptive heir noticed, he probably made it seem that the gesture of his subordinates was overlooked. However, did it go unnoticed? Knowing Ly, he just put the information into a neat folder of his mind for later use.
At the end of the lengthy procession was the black Rover, identical to the one we left behind. I wouldn’t be surprised if it teleported from our departure point with the Gorilla Trio still inside.
“Had a good journey, Sire?” The polite female voice that was on the point of fanatical made me cringe and mentally scream. From the vapours’ of hellfire themselves, there was standing one of my most beloved Created of Varshawsky line; Angelica.
This day couldn’t get any worse.
On the outside, it seemed like I was happy to see the newcomer. During our acquaintance, we never saw eye to eye. How could I get along with someone who threatened to dump a whole bucket of creepy-crawlies into my drawer or be at the peril of a live tarantula hidden in my room if I hadn’t studied most diligently?
“I am still here, aren’t I?” Ly snapped at the petite Created.
Angelica, looking confounded, pressed further for information. “Sire?”
“A bad journey would end with a plane crash.” Without waiting for a response of his subordinate, Ly opened the door, placed Jeremy carefully on the seats and indicated for me to get in.
Our car was not the only one that left the driveway with the rumble of the motor; there were several behind and before our Rover, which were filled to the brink with the Created. Together we made quite a convoy of seven huge vehicles that wounded like a large scaly snake on the black concrete. Much too soon to my liking the concrete turned to a familiar gravel road that left dust behind me as I drove away from this world.
The white, handsome manor came into sight in the pre-dawn light, and with it, my heart sank into darkness. The last time I had gazed upon it, I had no idea that I wasn’t going to see it in months. There was nothing but dread as I raked over it with my eyes. I was back. I have come to a full circle. The end has become my new beginning.
And what a shitty starting point this is - with me being compelled out of my will and Jeremy asleep with knowledge of vampires.
If I was not deemed immobile, I would be yanking at the car door-handle while kicking with my heel at the window aggressively. Alas, my stupid smile was the only emotion I displayed. It made me vow to never ever smile again.
The engine was turned off, and before the rest of the convoy had pilled up, Ly exited even though Angelica gave a little protest that advised against doing so. He flatly ignored her while gently picking the sleeping boy then motioning with his chin toward the house to me as if I was a dog to follow its’ master.
Next, he will whistle for me to come, and I will have no choice in the matter but to trott over.
“Sire I really must insist on the security check before you go into the house!” Angelica half-shouted and half-whimpered at Lys’ back.
“Pray, insist away all you want. I, on the other hand, don’t have the time to wait.”
Lys’ posture went stiff, and his features were coloured with annoyance. “Aren’t your senses heightened? My god, we have gone to dogs if you cannot even detect that there is no intruder in or around the manor.” He hadn’t raised his voice at all, which was even more terrifying than if he had hollered so loudly that the front door would shake.
Angelica blushed in embarrassment as the other lower-ranked Created witnessed her humiliation and said no more on the subject. If she were kinder to me, I would have felt sorry for her, but there was a little gleeful joy that was standing and clapping proudly at seeing Angelica put in her place.
Without further acknowledgement from Ly toward the Created, he turned on his heel and marched inside his house and me in toe with him. It was dark, and there were no lights on inside, if the occupants of the house were human I would think they were too stingy to pay for the high electricity bill, but vampires, with their ultra-good night vision, had no need of light.
“Sire.” The only thing preventing me from jumping from my skin was the compulsion as I heard a deep voice behind us.
“Gerard, there you are. Please take him to the room upstairs, will you? The boy is tired after the journey.” The quietly posed question from Ly had no room for rejection.
“Naturally, Sire. As you command.”
Once my heartbeat calmed down, I recognised the low vibrato; it belonged to the only vampire Ly ever created; Gerard. Or more known as G. The gentile giant, that was similar in stature to the WWE fighters, was ever so kind to me. I felt rather guilty to face him and was somewhat relieved that I was unable to see Gs’ expression in the pitch darkness.
Why should I feel shame? It made no sense whatsoever; perhaps it was the atmosphere or the fact that I was caught. Either way, I resented myself for feeling it. He silently cooperated in the lies that Lysander had spun around me.
I saw the shadows of two men exchange Jeremy, and with a silent wind ruffling my hair, I knew that G was dispatched on his way to put the child away. It would have been useful if they graced me with the knowledge where.
Strong fingers gripped my elbow as if the command was not enough. I was being led without the ability to see where, Ly was as chatty as a hanged man, losing his mockery somewhere on the way from the plane to the manor. My senses were heightened, as was my usual dismal sense of direction. I could hear a door close shut somewhere above us, feel several unseen eyes on me and knew that I was going up the grand staircase to the upper floor.
“In here.” Ly pushed me into a dimly lit room which was not the one I called my own a few months back. “I am lifting the compulsion now-”
I could first move my fingers, then the smile that pained my cheeks dropped from my lips in an instant. My hand moved on its’ own and with a loud smack, the palm collided with my ex-lover’s cheek. Lys’ head was thrown to the side without any show of emotion that my gesture hurt him. The sound travelled in the otherwise funeral-like-silence of the house, bouncing off the numerous walls until it died away.
I know that probably didn’t hurt him but damn it sure felt good.
Ly remained with his head to the side my palm slapped it in. However, his eyes gazed at me from under his lashes from the corners of his eyes. “Well, I suppose I deserved that.”
“Come on. Suppose again. Then the other cheek will sting in symmetry.” Crossing my arms in defence, I felt my gaze burn with the rage of thousand suns. The slap probably hurt me, my palm seemed to vibrate with pulsing heat.
“I expected your aggression.”
“No? Really? Because a person would jump with joy by being stripped of their own will to control their body? You don’t say.”
Ly shrugged while moving his thumb across his jawline; his purplish-yellow eyes were never leaving mine. “Wouldn’t know, was never in your position before.”
After a long stretch of silence, I balled my fists and broken our gaze. The anger and the position of having no power over the situation were bringing tears of frustration in my eyes. “How could you do such a thing? Expose him to the dangers of your world. Jeremy is just a child-”
“Children are more receptive and aware than you give them credit.” Ly interrupted, evidently not agreeing with me or my opinions for what was best for my brother. “Jeremy is smart and as sharp as an arrow point. He would have realised that you were hiding something from him and that it concerned him. Just because he is younger than you, it doesn’t mean he is less perceptive.”
There was truth in Lys’ words even though I wanted to reject them and torpedo them out of my ears. But my brain was begrudgingly agreeing that he was probably right; although, I would rather die than to say that out loud.
“That being said, how did you plan it anyway?” Lys’ voice brightened in a snide way and his strained face relaxed into a polite smile. “How would you be able to hide the supernatural world while he is being fed the blood of a vampire? Did you think you will find a Stainless, lure them behind a corner then whack them on the head with a club and drain them of blood? I am indeed curious to know the way your mind planned all this and still thought you would keep him in the dark.” His lips stretched into a wolf-like grin that showed mockery while his hands instinctively tried to reach behind his head to undo the no longer existing knot of long silvery hair. With frustration, Ly rumpled the short hair at the nape of his neck.
“If you wouldn’t lie in the first place, I would have known that his regression would return.” I quickly and coldly deflected the blame as if it were a tennis ball being thrown back to his side of the court.
“Says the person who runs and hides when things get tougher than she expected.” His voice needled me while his eyes narrowed to slits, lowering his guard enough and showing a genuine feeling: bitterness.
“Don’t you dare point fingers and deflect your faults at others when you were the one that lied and manipulated others.” I was eerily tranquil in a sort of repose that resembled the calm before the storm.
“Welcome to the finger-pointing club, darling.” Taking a step towards me, Ly was pushing me away from the only possible escape; the door. He gave a glance over his shoulder with narrowed eyes before deciding to continue. “Perhaps, you don’t realise, but I just saved your brother not once but twice. I suggest you show some respect or at least remorse for your actions.” In a blink of an eye Lys’ body was a mere step from mine while he conspiratorially leaned in, his face in level with mine. “Or perhaps you wanted him to die so that you would be free.”
A nerve in my left eye twitched making the lid vibrate with tremor. Closing my eyes to quiet the irritation, I inhaled through the nose. “Shut up.”
Ly whispered in my ear as the devil had while disguised as a snake in the heavenly garden to Eve. “Able to completely disappear, without any burden in your life,”
“I said. Shut. Up.” I balled up my fist and took a swing right at his overly straight nose.
Catching my fist in his palm and blocking my punch without breaking a sweat, Ly cackled. “Stepped on a nerve?”
More like stomped and did a River dancing number on it.
Only once had a voice from the inner corner of my mind wondered what my life would be like if Jeremy died. I punished myself with relieving a clump of hair from my scalp. It made me physically sick to imagine my life without any family; it was the reason I was fighting so hard. And during our brief blossoming love, Ly knew that it was my weakness and strength at the same time. Exploiting this knowledge made me want to riot even more. “If I had known you are such a monster, I would have never let myself be in love-”
Green pupils mesmerised mine with a flash. “Silence,” Ly commanded while gripping my elbow, and I choked on my words, unable to finish the sentence.
The door behind Ly opened, and I saw a vampire stick his head in albeit somewhat cautiously even though form his stature he had nothing to be careful about. “Sire, I have arrived.”
Ly turned his head toward the voice without breaking his eye contact with me. “I can see that Richard; however, do enlighten me why did you feel the need to interrupt and intrude on the conversation that does not concern you?”
“I- it sounded-” Richard stammered not knowing how to respond.
To see a grown man almost twice the size as Ly cowered behind the thick wooden door would have been comical if I hadn’t witness Ly display his superiority over a Stainless before. This man wouldn’t stand a chance against him even if God himself bestowed on Richard his grace.
If Ly goes for him, Richard is a goner. There will soon be a headstone with words; Here lies Richard; may he never interrupt again.
“That I needed help overpowering a human? Are you perchance implying that I am weak?” Lys’ voice grew quieter, and with it, the chance of the headstone for Richard heightened.
Ly let his polite mask slip on his face as he turned toward the terrified vampire. “For your sake, I hope not. Now is there anything else other than your desperate need to shout to others that you are at the destination?”
Richard winced feeling the threat behind the spoken words. “Not at all-”
“Good now do stand where you can no longer listen in on the conversation and spy on us. Who knows what kind of insubordination you might hear and report to the Suzerian Varshawsky. Because I am that thick-headed to just go rambling in a house where everyone can hear.” The sarcasm was almost palpable when Ly spoke over his shoulder.
“R-right. I’ll be near if you need me, Sire.” Richard gave a slight bow then closed the door silently.
Ly replied coldly, without raising his voice. “Tell my father I said Hi when you brief him on the situation, will you?”
There was no doubt in my mind that Richard heard him, the extraordinary senses picked up on more than an average human. Ly knew that; however, remained concentrated on the faraway noises, probably listening if Richard was obeying his orders.
My voice was still being in control of compulsion, and whenever I had a wish to say something or fight to overpower it, it was as if some invisible hand was choking the life out of me. Releasing myself from Lys’ grip was a small victory in the otherwise dreadful day full of defeats. My joy was short-lived.
His nostrils flaring, I looked upon Ly as he bit himself into his palm then advanced toward me. He quickly caught me while I was wiggling like a fish trying to get away from the fishing-hook. Ly lifted his bleeding palm to my mouth and pressed it firmly there. I tried to squirm away, but Lysander was having none of it. In three moves, he overpowered me, pushing me to the wall with his palm still bleeding all over my closed mouth. When I didn’t open my lips, I felt Lys’ fist colliding with my stomach. It worked.
As I inhaled in pain, the blood trickled in my opened mouth, and I swallowed some while inhaling the rest. Hearing him murmur under his breath, I felt the blockade in my voice-box disappear.
Apparently, Ly drew the line at suffocating me with his blood.
His smile was cold while I tried to catch my breath. “We made a contract, and I do not recall dismissing it. So as long as I wish it, you are still my donor, whether you like to be or not. Except for your rights in our arrangement have been revoked due to your little escapade.”
I struggled; Ly only moved hands to my wrists then tightened this grip cutting the circulation in them. He slowly lifted them above my head and pushed me hard against the wall. It made my teeth chatter.
I tried to free myself, lifting my knee I wanted badly to give his delicate parts a big, earthquake-like shove. I put all my anger, frustration and desperation in it.
Lysander anticipated my move before I could complete it. Pressing his body and all of his weight against mine, Ly put a stop to all my efforts quickly. His other hand shot to my throat like a starving python descends on a rodent, subduing me completely. If he squeezed just a little harder, my airway would be blocked entirely.
To the list of his assaults, I can now add strangulation.
Our eyes locked; we were so close that I felt the tip of his nose brush against mine. The scent of him invaded my nostrils, and my subconsciousness was in the state of confusion. Usually, the frosty pine and the amber fragrance was associated with something good, something safe not with Ly literary taking my breath away with his hands around my neck.
“I can overpower you as easily as lifting a ragdoll. And you know I can force my will on you. Either way, there is no way out, not this time.” To emphasize his words, I felt my feet leaving the ground as Ly suspended me in the air. Slowly he lessened his grip after seeing he got his point across.
Gazing into the coldness of his more purple than yellow eyes, the memories of the meadow entered my heart. It was as if it was just A Midsummer Night Dream, and perhaps I imagined it all. The fireflies, the warmth of our bodies, the feel of the dried grass and the shine of the full moon above us.
Why did it come to this?
My eyes welled up with tears at the feel of loss, my own helplessness and anger. With a plop, they landed on his long fingers that coiled around my neck.
Ly, looking stunned, suddenly let go of me as if my tear electrocuted him. Holding his palms up while his chest heaved in shallow breaths, Lys’ eyes looked at me in sudden terror.
I fell to my hands and knees coughing, gasping for breath. My hands were shaking while my heart was beating loudly in my temples, delivering oxygen to my brain. The adrenaline made my whole-body quake like a leaf in the wind.
“Never test my character again, Dess. It won’t end well for either of us.” A slight rasp and shaking of his voice made me look up, but all I saw was his rigid back. Without a backward glance, Ly walked toward the door, ruffling his hair.
“Right, I will never again forget that you only look human.” I croaked just before the door slammed shut.