Chapter 29: Leaving
I killed Rustin.
I curled up in a little ball on Alexander’s bed and hugged Fluffy tightly to my chest.
I’d ripped Rustin’s throat out because I was a vampire.
I whimpered softly and looked into Fluffy’s plastic eyes. Suddenly I was very disgusted with the stuffed animal since he had bought me Fluffy and I threw Fluffy across the room with my newfound strength. Without caring where he landed I hugged a pillow.
I was a vampire because Alexander had turned me and I hated him for it.
There was a hesitant knock on the door and Cherise came in after a moment in which I hadn’t bothered to respond. “Hey.” She said carefully.
I didn’t turn over to look at her or greet her. I just didn’t care anymore. I was a murderer.
“I just came to help you get cleaned up, alright?” her voice was kind but I could hear how it shook a little in fear, “Ash, please let me help you.”
Oh, that was right, I was still covered in Rustin’s blood, I hadn’t had the strength to try and pull myself together yet. I probably looked like a mess, but I couldn’t care less, “Go away.”
“Ash… what happened was an accident, I’m sure-“
I laughed and sat up so I could throw my hands into the air, “Oh! I see how it is! Alexander turned me into a blood drinking demon by accident! How could I ever have thought otherwise?!” I knew she was referring to Rustin, but…
My smile dropped and I gave Cherise a blank stare, “I can’t do this right now, Cherise, please leave before you join Alexander on the list of people I hate.”
Cherise took a step backwards and she looked sad, “Is it even possible for you to hate him?”
“Oh I assure you it is very possible.” I told her heatedly.
“He didn’t want to turn you Ash, really, but he can’t live without you, don’t you understand? He turned you because he loves-“
“Don’t you even dare.” I hissed at her, “I don’t give a damn how much he cares about me. He shouldn’t have done this.”
“Even now that you say you hate him you’re curling up in his bed to find comfort in his scent Ash,” She pointed out and my blood boiled, “You can’t hate him.”
I was appalled to find that she was right. I was finding comfort in his scent. I sighed, “Please just leave me alone.”
After a few moments of silence I heard her leave and shut the door behind her. I couldn’t believe any of this. I just… couldn’t…
I didn’t know how long I just laid there, unmoving, as still as the dead, as I was supposed to be. Time passed slowly. I didn’t blink when the sun set and rose again because I didn’t need to.
Once again the sun came and went and I didn’t move from my spot on Alexander’s bed.
I found that if I strained my ears I could hear everything going on in the house. Cherise was in her room talking to herself, wondering if her outfit made her look fat. The brothers were in the drawing room, talking to Alexander and he was ignoring them. “You haven’t even moved in days Alex.” Heskel commented. “You’ve just been staring into space.”
“Just go talk to her.” Viktor sounded bored.
“What exactly happened?” Jagger asked.
No one answered.
“Alex.” Oberon’s voice was different than the rest, deeper, filled with more power. “Tell us what happened.”
“She said she hates me.” Alexander’s voice crackled with disuse and a heavy sadness.
The silence that followed wasn’t broken even after three hours so I decided to get up, a gutsy move on my part, but I felt like I needed to go outside. I scrubbed myself clean and when I was dressed I opened the bedroom door and carefully looked outside. There was no doubt in my mind that the whole house had heard me open that damn creaky door.
I didn’t encounter anyone on the stairs, but it seemed like they’d all gathered in the foyer and had been waiting for me to arrive. My eyes glided over the royals but I refused to look at Alexander even though he was blocking my path to the front door.
I looked at each one of the vampires individually as I passed them, my expression blank. When I neared Alexander some hope filled his eyes, a hesitant smile formed on his lips and he slowly opened his arms for me.
I walked right past him without sparing a glance in his direction.
Once outside I took a deep breath to clear my thoughts but it didn’t work like it did when I was a human. I hadn’t taken a single breath since I’d killed Rustin because it was an unnecessary action; much like blinking and it didn’t make me feel better at all when I finally took a breath.
I could smell everything, the grass, the earth, the trees and every living creature.
My breathing turned shaky when I smelled something that smelled even better than Rustin. I stopped the act of breathing immediately when it felt like my skin was being set aflame. I closed my eyes.
Whoever this person was, he smelled a million times more mouth-watering that Rustin had. It was like comparing the smell of flame grilled steak to chicken crap.
I needed to get away, even if it was just for a little while. Away from Alexander, away from the other vampires, but more than anything, I needed to get away from the house where I killed one of my friends. I started jogging in a random direction and after a while when I realised I wasn’t getting tired I ran like the devil was chasing me.
It didn’t feel like I was running that fast, so maybe I wasn’t, not yet anyway, but I didn’t get tired at all. My muscles didn’t start protesting after three minutes of running like they did when I was human, it felt like I could run for centuries on end and never get tired.
I was seriously picking up speed the further I went; maybe I needed to practice being a vampire before I had super speed and strength. Who was I kidding with my little theories, I had no idea what was going on with me.
I wasn’t sure how far I ran but it didn’t really matter because I didn’t care, I just ran away from what I’d done.
When darkness started to fall I finally stopped to look around and even in the blackness of night I could see everything. It was as amazing as it was absolutely petrifying. I loved it, but I hated what I’d become.
How could Alexander do this to me? I thought he loved me… I thought I loved him…
I suddenly let out a terrifying snarl at a random patch of yellow grass in anger and flinched away. I was an animal, a wild uncontrollable and unstable animal that killed someone.
What would my family think of me if they could see me now? Would they be afraid? Would they hate me? And what about Rose, Nadine, Kevin and Troy, how could they ever forgive me when I told them that I ripped Rustin’s throat out? They would hate me and I would be alone.
I needed to be restrained or put down before I killed someone else.
I frowned and kicked the tussock of grass I’d snarled at only moments before. Was it even possible for me to be killed? I was sure Alexander could easily kill me I mean-
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks in the face.
Holy hell, I was a noble.
I was a freaking hell noble vampire!
Alexander had created me and that made me the thirteenth noble of Africa. That meant that Zaiden and I were equals and that I had control over all the common vampires. That was why the sun hadn’t really bothered me the previous day. As far as vampires went I was in the middle of the power line.
The rest of the night I wandered around aimlessly with my thoughts a maze of confusion and shock. I wasn’t some weak human at the bottom of the food chain anymore, if anything I was at the top of it now.
I was a vampire.
When dawn broke I was still wandering around and I started running again. By the time mid-day rolled around I was starting get tired. Not my body, but my mind and I sat down for the first time in a full day. The tree I was leaning against overlooked a small dam and there was a lot of nice and dark shade. The sun didn’t really bother me, but it was very irritating.
I closed my eyes and savoured the moment of peace that came. I should go back to Alexander’s house; he was probably worried half back to life by now. Or maybe he didn’t care. Was he going to come looking for me?
I didn’t move until I heard a branch snapping behind me and my eyes flew open. On instinct my body tensed and I watched the tall man near me cautiously. I could hear his fragile heartbeat, hear his small strained breaths and smell his hot blood. I relaxed when I realised I could easily take him down if he were too attack me. Even more relief flowed through me when I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want his blood.
The man stopped in front of me and looked at me for a long time before he said, “Hey.”
I gave him a weak smile when I heard how gentle his voice was. He must not have realised I was a vampire. “Hey.”
Hesitation filled his eyes, “Do you need help?”
I shook my head, “No, I’m fine, just… taking break.”
“Oh…” He looked away from me and cleared his throat. “Mind if I join you?”
I inspected him carefully. His hiking boots suggested that he’d walked far and the huge backpack on his back must not have been the easiest thing to carry. He did look a little tired, “Please.” I gestured to the spot next to me. “Make yourself at home.”
He took off his backpack and sat down next to me. After a moment of rummaging through his backpack he took out a water bottle and drank from it. I could almost see his fatigue fading with every gulp he took, “So,” I said “What brings you out here in the middle of nowhere?”
“Vampire hunting.” He said casually, “I think I might have found a way to kill them.”
I tried to mask my excitement that was mixed with horror, “Really? That’s cool. So are you just hoping to run into one?”
He shrugged, “I’m sure eventually some starved female will try to drink my blood.”
I frowned, “It’s dangerous to be out here all alone if you’re vampire hunting. You should have brought a few friends with you.”
He flashed me a smile, “This coming from the girl sitting all alone in the middle of nowhere.”
I couldn’t help but smile, “Whatever.”
A moment of peaceful silence passed before he said “Well, I’m starving. I’m going to make a fire so I can cook up something…” there was that hesitation again and it irritated me that I couldn’t tell if it was because he was talking to a stranger or if it was because he knew I was a vampire, “Would you join me for lunch?”
“Sure.” Hopefully his trick for killing vampires wasn’t poisoned food. “Do you want me to gather some wood while you do the hunting?”
His eyes widened, “Really? You’d do that? Most girls I know don’t wat to go anywhere alone.”
“I don’t mind.”
“It’s settled then.” His eyes bore right through mine and he stuck out his hand in my direction “I’m Thomas.”
I shook his hand lightly, afraid that I might crush his hand if I actually tried to give it a decent shake “Pleased to meet you, I’m Ash.”
We went our separate ways, him going to kill some innocent creature while I picked up sticks on the ground. My small pile of sticks gradually grew over the time of fifteen minutes and I made sure not to do anything to fast since I didn’t want him to know what I was.
When he returned I’d started the fire and it was crackling happily, “Not every day I meet a girl who can make a fire.” He sounded impressed and I grinned.
“Not every day I meet a vampire hunter.”
When the poor two fishes were cooked –apparently he’d speared them in the dam- he handed me one and I hesitantly looked into its glassy eyes. My stomach turned and I shivered, “I really don’t know if I’m going to be able to stomach this thing if it keeps looking at me.”
Thomas laughed. “Sorry, I didn’t think you’d mind. I’ll chop off its head if that will make you feel better?” he offered.
“Don’t worry; I’ll just have to put up with it.” He was definitely a better cook than Alexander, the fish was grilled to perfection and there was not a hint of charcoal in sight.
“So, what are you doing here?” He asked when I didn’t say anything else and just continued to stare into the dead fish’s eyes.
“I’m just getting away from everyone for a while…”
His face deadpanned, “Are you running away?”
I shook my head. “No, I am planning on going back… eventually.” I bit into the fish and bloody tears filled my eyes. I chewed slowly, trying to keep it down and swallowed stiffly. I turned away from Thomas and coughed. The fish tasted horrible.
“Is my cooking really that bad?” He sounded concerned.
I continued to cry, “No, I just thought… I didn’t even consider…” I finally faced him with my bloody cheeks, “I forgot I can’t eat human food.”
Thomas edged back, “You’re a vampire.”
I dropped my head into my hands, “Yeah.” I’d completely forgotten that Alexander had told me that human food tasted bad to him and now I couldn’t eat it either.
It just tasted so damn bad.
Was the vampire hunter going to kill me now? I couldn’t even force myself to care.
Thomas placed a hand on my shoulder, “You haven’t been a vampire long, have you?”
I was taken aback by his kindness, “Only about four days.”
His eyes widened, “Really? Is that why you ran away?”
“Yeah, are you going to kill me?” I asked him.
He sighed, “How can I kill you when you obviously didn’t ask for this and you’re crying because you just found out you can’t eat human food. I won’t harm you, Ash. Tell me what happened.”
And so I told the vampire hunter about the last two months of my life, leaving out who the jerk who turned me really was of course. I mean, who knew how he would react when I told him I was a noble.
For a long time after I finished my story neither of us said anything and we just sat there listening to the sounds of the earth.
“So what are you going to do now? Are you going to go back to the jerk who turned you?” Thomas asked.
I sighed, “I don’t know. I suppose I have to, I mean, what else can I do? I can’t just leave and go stay with the humans because I might end up killing them. I have no idea how to control my vampire side.” I turned my head away. “I’m sure he can help me control it.”
“And then what?”
“I… don’t know… maybe then I can go visit my friends, my family… I’m just afraid you know… of what I might do to them…”
“So you’re afraid of yourself?”
“Yes and no, I’m not afraid of myself per say, I’m afraid of what he turned me into. That side terrifies me.” I pulled my knees up to my chest and hugged myself. I offered him a weak smile, “So tell me about your weapon against vampires, is it anything I can use to get rid of a few?”
Thomas smiled proudly and he zipped open his huge backpack, taking out what looked to be an ordinary garlic smelling knife with a fancy silver handle. I inspected the knife from all angles before I said, “It’s a knife.”
“It’s a silver knife dipped in garlic and formed like a cross.” He continued proudly, “You probably won’t be able to hold it because it’s-“
I took the knife from him, first holding it by the handle and then the blade, neither affecting me as all. “I am sorry to have to tell you this but I really don’t think a smelly knife is going to do the trick against a vampire.” I pressed the blade to my palm, “It can’t even break the skin.”
Thomas, with a satisfied look on his face, took back the knife and stroked it like it was a baby, “You haven’t seen anything yet vampire girl.” He said with a little wink.
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at his childishness.
He put on gloves that looked very heavy duty and held the knife over the fire. After a while the blade began to glow red hot and he held it up for me to see, “See? Should I try breaking the skin now?”
I held out my palm without hesitation even though I knew it was going to hurt like hell. I knew he would be able to break the skin because the one time Alexander had tried to cook for me the hot pan had burned him. I hissed and pulled away when Thomas pressed the knife to my palm and it started bleeding. We both watched as the wound stitched itself together again and admittedly I was impressed, “Alright, I take it back, that thing can do some serious damage.”
There was no masking the overwhelming amount of pride in his eyes, “Thank you.”
I rubbed my palm. “Why is it burning so much?”
“I believe that would be the garlic that entered your bloodstream. It turns out vampires are ‘allergic’ to garlic, it makes them uncomfortable, but only if it enters the bloodstream.”
I raised an eyebrow, “I have to admit that that is pretty impressive. There is just one problem with your invention though.”
“And what’s that?”
“How are you going to heat it up in the middle of being attacked by a vampire?” I honestly couldn’t believe he had the brains to come up with a weapon that could kill vampires but he hadn’t thought of that little fact.
His face fell, “The weapon is still in its testing phase.” He muttered.
I smiled at him and an idea formed in my head, one that would solve both my problem and help Thomas with his research. I took hold of the red hot blade with both my hands and pressed it against my chest, “Kill me.”
Thomas’s eyes widened, “What? I can’t-“
“Do it.” I said firmly, “Kill me.”
I’d killed Rustin so I deserved to die as well.