Chapter 16 "The Man I Never Knew"
Sitting at a table in the cafeteria dining room with my head down, I squeeze my eyes shut tight as I take my time force-feeding myself the lumpy, slimy food that smells of strong decay. Reuben is sitting next to me very closely while all other visitors and staff are walking around. I saw one visitor had a breathing stoma; he was carrying a tray of something and stopped halfway to a table; I wanted to look away, yet something just kept me on him. I watched him drop the tray, screaming at the top of his lungs, and he ripped the stoma out, then collapsed to the floor and slurped up the disgusting substance. I flinched, almost throwing up. Reuben held my wrist and shook his head, then looked down at my plate. I jerked away from him and stuffed more of the slop in my mouth. The only thing making it possible for me to bear it was the baby. I hated everything. I hated him, I hated this place, I was scared out of my mind, I was seeing shit I shouldn’t see, but somewhere in my heart and the back of my mind, someone is actually there-someone is reaching their hand out to me; whoever this person is has had an effect on me for a long time now. I knew them--I know them. Could it be Gabriel...? Could Reuben have said all those things about him only to brainwash me? Could Gabriel be my salvation?
Now finished with the plate, I wipe my mouth and shakingly push it forward. The baby is calmer now. Good...
“What will I be giving birth to? What should I expect to see? I must know.” I still don’t look at him. Maybe I’m too angry and anxious.
He scoots closer, hanging his arms off his thighs, rubbing his hands together slowly, “It will look just like you and me. Only, it will not be defective like my other two subjects. The brain will be five times larger than any modern day human.” Why is he telling me ‘it will not be defective’?
“Is the world prepared for such a creature...?” I ask.
He nods at me, “Yes, it is. Now.”
“Yes. Now. I created a being similar to this over a thousand years ago. Man hadn’t evolved enough; my creation self-destructed out of fear of your race. You will give me this child, and I will raise him myself. Is that not fair?”
“I want to go home.”
“You will. Don’t worry.” He stands up from the chair, offering a hand. “Back to your room now.”
I ignore him and also get up. “Who is Gabriel really?”
“Back to him now, are we?” he looks sternly at me.
“Who is he?” I repeat.
“Well... He is my son’s son; a human and vampire hybrid. He is a danger to you and the baby. That is all I will tell you.”
“Vampire? ...Vampires are not real.”
“They won’t be after I’m through with them.” He says in a mater-of-fact way.
As I think over his words, I feel prickling sensations in my neck; as if someone bit me and drained me. Echoic male laughter buzzes in my ears, hurting my head. I recognize that voice but I don’t know who it is. This must be a memory...
Holding my head, I notice past his shoulder, someone with their back turned to me seems a little different than everyone else. Their behavior, clothing and skin are not the same as anyone else in any way. Nobody notices him but me. Reuben puts his hand on my back.
I jump away from him, “Don’t fucking touch me!” I look at that person again. They turn around and I gasp to myself.
Jo! He’s alive! He’s back!
I make a run for him, “JO! JO WAIT!”
His eyes grow huge. He bolts for a door, slings it open and slams it shut.
I ram into it, shaking the handle, “No, come on! Please!” How could it be locked! How could he run when he’s tried to save me all this time?!
“Ha... ha... ha... ha...” Reuben walks up behind me, clapping sarcastically. “Enough games Addison; let’s go back to your room.”
“Unlock this door right now!” I shout.
“He’s not real... Addison.”
“Unlock the DOOR!” I yank on the handle. He takes my shoulders and makes me look into his dark, deathly eyes, “He is an illusion - created by you.” I flutter my lashes at him in shock, disbelief.
“You created him Addison; he represents hope and freedom. All the goodness of your heart... screaming out. Now he runs because you fought against him.”
“How is that even possible?!”
“The human mind has always been capable of manifesting all sorts of things. You’re just sensitive enough to do it. That’s another special thing about you. I’ve witnessed this for thousands of years.”
I stare cold, piercing daggers at him. “...You’re full of bullshit and lies.” I jab my finger into his chest and get in his face, “He’s innocent. He doesn’t belong here. You let him go, or so help me god, I will jump from the top floor window to my death!” He lowers his head, looking up through his eyelashes at me. I look into his cold, dead eyes and see a creature so dark, so disturbed, so completely evil I feel like the room is starting to spin and I’m sinking through the floor.
“Oh my god...” I whisper.
He smirks slowly, “Let’s go back to your room now... Addison.” He takes my hands and pulls me with him. I can’t breathe. I can barely move.
The hallway seems never-ending but the smells are becoming more prominent. I’m seeing legs, arms, torsos and heads spread out across the floor now. Some of these people died from pure fright. I can imagine all the power gained from that. What an extreme amount; it must have been fantastic. “SH!” I hear in a room next to me. Walking over to the door, I reach for the knob but it opens before I can touch it.
There standing in between beds is a man wearing a black trench-coat, a hat, he has long hair and his head is down. He lifts it with a fanged smile, “Gabriel... Gabriel, my boy... Hello.” I freeze in place. It’s been so long since I’ve reacted this way toward anything.
He says, “You have found me. At last. Finally, you’re here.” I walk inside, to him. “Jack... This is where you’ve been?!”
“Yes... Sadly, I cannot leave either. If I do, I will die.”
“What has he done to you?”
“As we speak, this place - it’s changing me. He is changing me Gabriel.”
“How is he doing this to you? Has he been putting you through the same mind games as the ones I’ve experienced?”
“...Son... Perhaps it’s time I finally reveal it to you...”
He takes his hat off and tosses it. “What kind of father am I, holding back certain important information from his child? What a terrible father I have been.” he then grins down at the floor, “You know... This isn’t really me; I am inhabiting a human body. The body I am using was the man that executed Marie Antoinette. What makes me a vampire... is something he injected into my bloodstream. He abducted Marie Antoinette’s executioner and sedated him, then he replaced the man’s blood with some sort of serum... and then, I awoke. I was born. And the man was dead. My soul was plucked from the darkness, you could say. How do I know this? The moment I looked into my father’s eyes, I saw everything.” His words shock me to the core. All this time has passed and he’s never told me this. I’ve never really known him...
I snatch the collar of his coat, “Is this why you’ve summoned me here to this room? To finally tell me the truth before you die?!”
“I won’t die! It’s impossible!”
“Nonsense! EVERYTHING DIES! ALL EXCEPT FOR ME!”
He smacks my hands off, “Careful boy... He can kill you. He will kill you Gabriel. That is why I summoned you here. In the meantime, he is preoccupied with Addison. Yes, I’ve been watching you, too. Once you arrived, I could sense you, and I found her in the process.”
I growl at him. “He impregnated her with some kind of creature. It might kill her. She is mine. I won’t let this happen.”
“Do you really think it would be that easy to find her?”
“I came close once. She almost found me! She was just on the other side of the wall!”
“That’s what he wants you to think. Truth is, she was far off somewhere else on these grounds. I had a difficult enough time as it is, contacting you without being noticed. I found a way to use my mind to create a mass disguised as one of the entities here and capable of going to find you.”
“Father... I need to take her away from him and kill that thing inside her.”
“Well, good luck. The best way is for you to outsmart whatever he throws at you. You should reevaluate yourself son.” he says, then suddenly looks up at the ceiling. Reevaluate? What does that mean? I hear something and quickly look up too. The ceiling is cracking apart; black goo is beginning to drip from it.
“He knows you’re here. Go! Get back to that room!” he pushes me to the door, “GET OUT!” I look back at him one last time before racing out, back into the long hallway.
I hear him shout, “MY MASTER, WELCOME BACK!” He laughs deeply. I never look back as a perplexed grimace fills my face. I try to become the mist but something is keeping me from doing that. What is GOING ON?!