Chapter 10: Oberon Redmourn and Dracula
I spent my night watching television on my bed.
I watched DVD’s from the collection underneath my TV. They were all at least ten years old since the movie industry died out just like the rest of civilisation when the vampires took over.
I found that I liked action movies best and watched them until the sun came up.
My breakfast of oatmeal came and after I scoffed it down I went to bed like an obedient little night wanderer. I had to work again tonight and I wasn’t about to be sleep walking through the only night I got to go somewhere.
I had a wild dream.
I was running away from the vampires that were chasing me. They ran at full speed but they couldn’t catch me, I was too fast for them. I laughed loudly when I spun around and punched one of them. It was the female noble, Theresa. Her eyes widened when my fist made contact with her face and she was flung backwards. She fell on top of Fabian and they rolled on the ground. Her eyes were filled with fury when she came at me again. I dodged her and suddenly I was fighting Zaiden.
I couldn’t fight him, he was my protector, my death. The battle slowed and disappeared. I found myself in the middle of a ballroom wearing a stunning blue dress.
I just knew that we’d won the battle and that this was the celebration dance. Rustin appeared in front of me and held out his hand, asking me to dance with him. I smiled and took his hand. We waltzed across the floor while everyone stared at us in wonder. I didn’t even pause to think that I didn’t have an idea how to waltz.
Rose and Troy were staring deeply into each other’s eyes in one of the corners of the room and I smiled at Rustin contently. There were no vampires, not a single demon in sight, we’d defeated them all. Everyone was laughing and having a great time. They weren’t afraid.
Paul waved at me and he turned back to the girl he’d been talking to. Janessa and Caleb were making out in the middle of the dance floor and I quickly looked away before it got too disturbing.
Rustin pulled me closer to him and kissed me. Butterflies swarmed around us and suddenly the dream turned dark.
When I opened my eyes after the kiss Rustin was gone and Alexander was the one standing in front of me. The corners of his mouth were bloody as he watched me passively.
I stepped away from him when all the other nobles appeared behind him, their clothes bloody and not with their own blood. The blood was human, I could smell that that was the blood of my friends and my family.
Zaiden held up Paul’s head and even though I tried to scream and run to him I didn’t move.
Samael grinned at me wickedly and bit into Rose’s neck and I watched her die. I couldn’t move.
Theresa held Rustin firmly in her grasp and his eyes were pleading as he looked at me, “Help me, Ash.”
I ran towards him but I couldn’t reach him no matter how hard I tried. Theresa drank him dry and threw him on the ground. I stopped running and watched as she wrapped herself around Alexander and kissed him deeply.
Alexander kissed her back.
Nadine was standing next to me with a blank expression, “What did all your information help us in the end?” one moment she was there and the next Fabian had ripped her head off.
Fabian glared at me and took my hand, “You shouldn’t let the enemy talk to you, Ash.”
Alexander was still kissing Theresa and Janessa was lying dead at their feet.
I woke up with a scream and looked around wildly. It was just a dream, just a dream. My breathing was ragged and it took quite some time for my eyes to focus on anything.
The dream was quickly fading from my memory but I remembered some of it. What a random dream…
I didn’t want to go anywhere, I just wanted to roll over and sleep further.
And unfortunately for me that was just what I did.
“Ash.” Someone shook my shoulder, “Ash, wake up.”
I groaned as I opened my eyes and looked right into bright blue ones. Zaiden watched me gently and I asked, “Zaiden? Oh my gosh, what time is it?” I sat up quickly and looked around for a clock, “Should I have been ready yet?”
Zaiden merely smiled at me carefully, “Are you awake now?”
“Yes.” I replied hesitantly. What a strange question to ask someone. Of course I was awake, I was talking to him wasn’t I?
He sighed in relief, “Good, I’ve been trying to wake you up for nearly ten minutes but you just keep on telling me about the dream you had.”
I stiffened, “What dream?” I asked.
He laughed at my reaction, “Don’t worry, it wasn’t anything embarrassing. You just dreamt of home and your family.”
I frowned, “Oh.” I could have sworn I’d been dreaming about something else, something a lot more violent but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. “Hungry?” I asked him with a small tilt of my head.
Zaiden shook his head, “No, not tonight. The girl in the room next to yours, Clare I think it is, her blood is extremely filling.” He scrunched up his nose, “It doesn’t taste very good though.”
I pulled a disgusted face, “Gross. Does our blood’s taste really differ from one another?”
“Sure, it’s because of what you eat, how healthy you are, your family tree,” he paused to look at me “A lot of different things can taste the flavour of your blood.”
I shivered, “To me blood only tastes like salty metal and I’m sure all types will taste exactly the same as well.”
Zaiden took an unneeded breath and let it out again, “You’d be surprised how much you can tell from a person by their blood.”
I lift up my hand to stop him from speaking any further, “I don’t even want to know.” I winked at him and continued the flow of our conversation, “Should I get ready to go somewhere? I’ll hurry.” I promised him.
Zaiden shook his head, “No, don’t worry about it. When I saw that you were still sleeping I cancelled our reservation for the magic show.”
“What?!” I asked outraged, “I used to love magic shows when I was a kid!” Without thinking exactly who I was talking to I grabbed hold of both of his hands, “Please can we go? Please? Please?”
Zaiden watched me with a bewildered expression for a moment before he laughed, “We’ll go next time.”
“But-” I started to complain.
Zaiden lift my head up with his index finger, “I promise.”
I sighed and crossed my arms, “Fine.”
“Are you mad at me now?” He asked amusedly.
“No.” I said shortly and I huffed, “I’m just mad at myself for sleeping so long. If I’d just woken up we could have been enjoying a magic show by now.” I uncrossed my arms and looked at him sincerely, “I’m so sorry Zaiden.”
He shook his head lightly, “It wasn’t your fault.”
“It was.” I argued stubbornly. “I should get an alarm clock or something.”
“I really don’t mind if you oversleep every now and then.” He said, “It’s not like I have anything else to do anyway. I only wanted us to go to the magic show to keep you entertained.”
I sighed when I realised he had a point, “I suppose you’re right, you do have the rest of eternity to do whatever you want.”
He grinned at me evilly, “If I didn’t know any better I’d think you were jealous of my immortality.”
I scoffed, “Not bloody likely. I can’t even imagine how boring life must have gotten for you over the past thousand years.”
His grin didn’t drop, “It is pretty boring, I’ll admit that, but this is what I chose to be, so it’s my choice I have to live with.”
My mouth hung open, “You chose to become a vampire?” He nodded, “Why on dear sweet earth would you have done that?”
“Things were different back then.” he said as he sat next to me on my bed and I moved up to give him room. When he looked comfy he continued, “For starters no one even knew what vampires were. The legends about us only really started taking roots about a hundred and fifty years ago when a human wrote a book about a mighty vampire.”
I nodded thoughtfully, “You’re talking about Dracula, aren’t you?”
Zaiden didn’t look impressed at all, “Yes, I am.” He said tautly.
“So he did exist?” I asked, “I always thought that was just a myth.”
“It’s a story,” Zaiden said plainly, “and that was all it ever was. Just a story.” He looked down and fiddled with the seam of my sheets. “Anyway,” he went on after a moment, “I was a poor young lad working on a farm in France. Back then of course it wasn’t called France and our farm was one of the few things there.” I hardly even remember what it used to be like to work there… some things I remember… clearer than others… but others the decades have stolen from me.
“I was young, about eighteen maybe, when one day a man came to our house. He was well dressed and my sisters swooned over him. They flirted their little hearts out but he refused, he merely politely turned them all away.
My mother invited the strange man inside and he had tea with us. He asked me questions about myself and he bluntly ignored my sisters who were still throwing themselves at him. I found him intriguing and interesting and I had to admit that I could easily see why my sisters sought after him so. He was perfect. He knew the right things to say and when to say them. He talked to my father and offered me a job that paid well. My father wanted to think about it but I already knew that I was as good as sold this man. Money was scarce and we were poor, sacrifices had to be made.
After tea I walked him to the gate –if it could really be called that… it was more like a stick in the ground that marked the edge of our land. He turned and thanked me for our hospitality and said that he would be seeing me soon.” Zaiden sighed, “And just like that, he was gone. One moment he was there and the next there was nothing. I was terrified of him and I couldn’t stop wondering what my fate would be if I worked for him.”
A silence hung in the air and I swallowed to wet my dry throat, my eyes wide, “What was his name?”
Zaiden looked me in the eyes and his eyes flashed purple again, “Oberon. He was Oberon Redmourn, eldest son of the demon and the first vampire in existence.”
Zaiden had met the eldest vampire personally when he was still human. “What happened then?” I asked him curiously.
Zaiden grinned like he’d won a prize and he flashed me his fangs, “Need I say more?”
My heart loudly banged in my chest because of the fear I was suddenly feeling but I forced words out of my mouth anyway, “Yes,” I nodded “Tell me what happened.”
He sighed heavily and his smile vanished, “It’s not an easy story to tell.” He said, “I’ll tell you another time.”
I pouted unhappily, “You’re mean. You stopped with the story just when it was getting interesting.”
Zaiden’s jaw clenched, “Dracula is a story, this is my life, Ash.”
“I know.” I said, “But all our lives are a story, each story is different and believe it or not but my life is just as much a story as yours is.”
He relaxed a little, “You should be careful with that life story of yours, Ash. You’re going to get the lead character killed before the fighting even starts.”
I didn’t know what to say to that.
We spent the night talking about practically everything and anything. By midnight I’d told him about all my favourite books and he’d told me about all his. Considering how long he’d been alive… there were quite a lot of them. He could speak most languages fluently –except Japanese since it made his head hurt. I found it very funny.
He’d been to every continent and Antarctica was his least favourite since there were hardly any humans there. Fewer humans equal less food.
He hated board games because he found them boring. He even hated poker and apparently that had been the reason why he hadn’t been at the game where I’d sucked at playing pool. Good to know, good to know.
We were in the middle of bickering about what the best type of music was when there was a knock on the door and I stopped mid-sentence. Zaiden’s smile widened a little when he looked to the door, “That will be Alex.”
I was completely baffled “Why is he here?” I asked Zaiden with a scrunched up nose.
Zaiden took hold of one of my hands, “He asked if he could come by to talk to you and I gave him permission.”
I groaned loudly and fell face first into the pillow, “I don’t want to talk to him.” I muttered but even I could hardly hear what I was saying.
“Ash,” Zaiden said firmly and pulled my up to look at him, “Don’t be mean to Alex, he’s a good friend.”
I snorted, “To you maybe.” Zaiden watched me disapprovingly, “Is he important to you?” I asked.
He nodded seriously, “Very important.”
I hit my hand hard on the pillow, “Fine then. I’ll talk to him if it’s important to you.” I got up and marched over to the door. I threw it open without a second thought and stepped aside so the person could enter. I stood there for a moment and waited for someone to step inside. Only when no one did, I actually looked outside to see who’d knocked.
I was greeted by empty air and I cursed under my breath. What was the idea here? To tease me? It had to be that stupid Maddie, I was sure of it!
I was just about finished getting ready for war when Zaiden appeared next to me, “Not Alex?”
I shook my head and my fists balled. I was ready to hit that stupid girl into the ground.
“What’s that?” Zaiden asked and he crouched down to pick up an envelope on the floor that I’d failed to notice before. My name stood on it in near illegible writing and Zaiden held it out to me.
My anger had calmed down a little, at least I now knew it wasn’t Maddie, she wouldn’t have left me a letter. I took the envelope and ripped it open. When I took out the letter dozens of small paper flowers fell out onto the floor and my eyes widened at the pretty sight. It must have taken a long time to fold all of them so perfectly… It was beautiful and I was suddenly eager to see who it was from. I opened the letter and started reading.
Since there aren’t any real flowers on the ship I decided to fold a few for you. I hope they brighten up your day in their own paper-y way.
Join me for breakfast on the deck please?
P.S This was a really lame letter so please don’t ever mention it to me.
I couldn’t stop the goofy smile that spread across my face at his stupid letter. It was adorable.
Zaiden snorted from behind me and I realised he’d been reading over my shoulder. “That is the lamest letter I’ve ever seen.” he rolled his eyes, “Does he actually think you’ll show up just because he tried to woo you by giving you paper flowers?”
“Well…” I said dreamily, “I’m feeling pretty wooed.”
Zaiden’s mouth hung open, “Are you insane? He gave you paper flowers!”
I raised a brow, “Now what would you have done? Offered me a dead body for my affection?” I challenged.
Zaiden frowned for a moment and thought, “Probably….yeah, but that’s not the point. I don’t think you should step into any kind of relationship with him.”
“But I like him.” I said quietly.
Zaiden pursed his lips, “I suppose I can’t do anything about that.” He sighed, “Fine, do whatever you like, but don’t blame me when someone gets killed.”
I frowned confusedly, “What do you mean ‘when someone gets killed’?” I folded the letter again and crouched down to pick up the paper flowers. I looked up at him curiously when he didn’t answer.
“Nothing.” He finally said, “But we should probably go now, if you want to be in time for your date.”
Heat crept into my cheeks, “It’s not a date, it’s breakfast.” I placed my cold hands on my cheeks to cool them down a bit, “Where are we going?”
“Alex wanted to talk to you and I’m sure he wanted to come, but he must have been… caught up somewhere. So if he can’t come here, we’ll just have to go to him.” Zaiden said as he ushered me out the door and shut it behind me.
“So where are we going?” I asked again as I tucked the letter and the flowers safely into the pocket of my nightgown, “And shouldn’t I change into something a bit more… appropriate?”
Zaiden shook his head as he pulled me along, “There’s no time. You can get dressed for your date after you’ve spoken to Alex.”
I sighed, “It’s still not a date.”
Zaiden pulled me after him and we came to a standstill in front of the elevator. He looked at me uncertainly, “Can you handle this?”
I shrugged nonchalantly, “Sure, I don’t freak out anymore when I go to the deck.” He looked away to avoid my eyes and I knew something was up. “What?” I asked impatiently.
“Well, we won’t be going up this time…”
His words didn’t sink in at first and it took me a while to understand what he meant. We won’t be going… what now? “We’re going down?” I asked panicked, “I thought I wasn’t allowed to go down there! Isn’t it dangerous?”
“You have me with you, you will be perfectly safe. And of course you are allowed to go down there… I just won’t advise it.” Zaiden said and he pressed the button to go down.
My heart was beating in my throat and I swallowed hard. Zaiden put an arm around me reassuringly, “I promise I won’t let anything happen to you, Ash. I promise.” I merely nodded as he steered me inside.
I multiplied the floors as we went down and my mind was momentarily distracted enough to forget what might be waiting for me. Zaiden watched me carefully the whole time but didn’t say anything. When the doors opened my breath quickened. “You’ll be fine.” Zaiden promised again, “We’ll only be here a little while and then we can go back.” His grip around me tightened and we walked into the dimly lit hall that could easily be my doom.