I can see the pain behind her eyes, she was living as if she is still under the vampire’s control.
“Bread makes you fat,” she told me.
I watch her from the corner of my eye as I eat. The soup isn’t too bad.
“You know,” I say, turning to look at her, “You need to eat, Rowy.”
She huffs and continues to swirl the spoon in her food.
“You will get sick if you don’t,” I say, she looks to me and frowns, “It tastes good.”
She looks back to the food and then to the bread.
“You don’t have to eat the bread,” I say, “if you don’t want to.”
I watch Rowaelin as she lifts the spoon to her mouth, she finally eats; I sit with her as she slowly eats the soup.
After dinner, she and I walk outside.
“Things will get better,” I promise her, speaking in my Italian tongue. Rowaelin looks up to the stars and smiles.
“I haven’t seen the stars for seven years,” she sighs, speaking so softly, “I had forgotten what they had looked like.”
She sits down on the grass and looks at the stars, the night is clear and there are hardly any lights to block out the stars, Rowaelin smiles as she lays on her back.
“I want to go home,” she whispers, speaking in Romanian.
“Where did you learn to speak foreign languages?” I ask, she looks up to me, “You just spoke in Romanian and before… you spoke Italian.”
Rowaelin shrugs her shoulders and I frown as I sit beside her.
“I don’t know,” She sighs, she touches her neck carefully and I wince at the sight of the purple bruising.
“Does it hurt?” I ask, she looks back to the stars and sighs.
“No more than it usually does,” she says, “It wasn’t the first time. Many men and vampires liked to choke us.”
“I’m sorry,” I say, “I’m sorry that you had to endure that. And I’m sorry… for what I did to you.”
She looks to me again, but I cannot bring myself to look at her.
“You were doing what you needed to,” she whispers, “I was consenting. You helped me escape that place.”
Rowaelin takes my hand, I look to her as her green eyes shine in the starlight.
“I owe you my life,” she says, smiling as she squeezes my hand, “Thank you.”
“You don’t owe me anything,” I say, trying to ignore how my heart races at her touch, “you helped me as much as I helped you. You could have told the vampires that I was a hunter. But you didn’t.”
Rowaelin stays outside looking at the stars while I go back inside and find Max. He lays on a dog bed chewing on a large bone.
“Where did you get that?” I sigh, he looks up to me for a moment before resuming his chewing.
“I gave it to him,” Eva answers, “I hope you don’t mind.”
I look to her and she smiles and gestures for me to walk with her.
“Have you found out anything about the girl’s father?” Eva asks, I shake my head, “I assume she will want to return home soon?”
“Probably,” I agree, “Wouldn’t you?”
“And you will be going with her?” she asks.
“If she wants it,” I say, looking out of a window and seeing Rowaelin still laying on the grass.
Eva purses her lips and then looks at Rowaelin.
“She is something special,” she says and I agree, “Thana will not give her up so easily.”
“What makes you say that?” I ask, looking to Eva.
“I saw the footage from the club,” Eva explains, “every vampire who tasted her, said that she tasted like no other. Thana often favoured her over all of the others. And when vampires favour humans, they won’t release them easily. They will keep coming for her, two vampires tried to take her with them from the brothel. And I am assuming you saw what happened to one of them?”
“He exploded, like nothing I’ve ever seen,” I say, looking back to Rowaelin, “Do you think she did it?”
“I don’t know what to think,” She sighs, “If there are vampires out there. Then perhaps there are other supernatural creatures as well.”
“You think she is supernatural?” I ask in disbelief.
“You think she’s not?”
I look at Rowaelin and blow out a breath of hot air.
Later, when everyone is in bed, a scream echoes through the halls, waking me and almost everyone else. I recognise the scream instantly; I run to Rowaelin’s room and find a crowd outside.
“It’s okay,” one of the girls says, walking closer to Rowaelin.
Rowaelin sits up in her bed, her eyes wide as she tries to move away from the girl.
“What’s going on?” I ask.
“She just started screaming,” a man says, standing next to me, “Nightmares.”
The girl tries to get closer to Rowaelin.
“We aren’t going to hurt you,” the girl promises when Rowaelin winces, “We are all your friends.”
“What did those fangs do to her?” another man gapes, whispering so Rowaelin doesn’t hear.
I keep my eyes on Rowaelin, her eyes are wide with fear as she dashes off of the bed, she looks like a scared little rabbit.
“Go away!” she hisses in German. I frown as she repeats herself in different languages.
“We won’t hurt you,” the girl says in Russian.
“Rowaelin,” Eva says, also speaking in Russian, “Enough.”
Rowaelin looks to Eva and frowns, my hands clench by my side when Rowaelin cries out.
“Leave me alone!” Rowaelin shouts, “I’m sorry, please, I won’t… I won’t do it again.”
“It’s a waking nightmare,” the man beside me whispers, “I’ve had them before, it’s when the nightmare fuses with the real world.”
Rowaelin reaches up to her neck and digs her nails into her skin, spilling her own blood.
“Rowy!” I shout, rushing into the room, “Stop.”
Rowaelin looks to me and her eyes widen.
“Get back,” I say to the others in the room. I kneel down as Rowaelin digs her nails deeper into her neck.
Max walks into the room, clearly irritated at being awoken, he looks to Rowaelin and then trots forward. He presses his nose to Rowaelin’s cheek. Rowaelin pushes him away and Max is visibly offended.
“Rowy,” I say softly, “Listen to my voice, you aren’t there anymore. You’re safe.”
Rowaelin stops scratching at her neck and sighs.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers, falling forward and pressing her forehead to the floor, “I’m sor-sorry Rakin, I’ll do better next time.”
A hush falls over the room.
“Did she just say…?”
“He would have killed her…”
The whispers flitter around the group and I stare at Rowaelin in shock.
“Everyone back to your rooms,” Eva hisses, the crowd disperses quickly as Rowaelin stays kneeling on the floor with her forehead pressed to the ground.”
“I want to go home,” She shivers, “Please, let me out.”
Rowaelin sobs quietly, and then she becomes hysteric, she rolls onto her side and holds herself as she shakes.
I move closer to her.
“Don’t,” She cries, “don’t touch me, Adrian.”
“She has awoken,” Eva says as we watch Rowaelin cry, my heart aches for her as I watch her cry.
“Pl-please leave me alone,” she stammers. I move away from her and follow Eva outside.
“What do you know about this Rakin?” I ask and she bites her lips, “What? Eva, tell me.”
“He is powerful, all vampires fear him, all except two,” she explains and I follow her to the living room, “His brother, the king, and his sister.”
“The king has another sibling?” I ask as we sit.
“He does,” Eva says, shivering at the thought, “She changes her name and appearance often, her original name is rumoured to be Izabel, older than Rakin, younger than the king. No one knows the name of the king. It is said that Rakin wants the crown, but he cannot kill his siblings. He’s been trying to take over for years.”
“How do you know this?” I ask, Eva’s hand goes to her neck.
“The vampire that took me,” Eva says, “He liked to talk. He told me many things, thinking that I would die before I told anyone. Rakin is horrible, my captor told me that his hunger is large and savage. If Rakin becomes the king, chaos would ensue. It is said that Rakin likes to devour his prey, rarely leaving them alive. Adrian, if he has fed from Rowaelin and left her alive, it is because she is important, he wouldn’t leave her alive if she wasn’t. She may be a key to taking the crown.”
“How?” I ask, confused, “She is just a human. What power could she possibly have over the king?”
“I don’t know,” Eva frowns, “But we cannot risk her sanity to find out.”
I awaken on the floor. It takes me a while to remember where I am. When I realise that I am safe, I stand and take a deep breath.
When I open the door to my room, Adrian falls inside, my eyes widen as I step back, he looks up to me and smiles.
“Good morning.” He laughs.
“What are you doing?” I ask, raising an eyebrow as he stands to his feet.
“You had a nightmare last night,” he explains, “I wanted to be close, in case it happened again.”
“Rakin,” I murmur, remembering the nightmare. But it wasn’t just a nightmare, it was a memory, a memory that was compelled away. I can now remember the name Thana used to say over and over again. Rakin is her maker, her sire.
“What did you say?” Adrian asks, I look to him but keep my mouth shut.
I walk to the kitchen and Eva looks at me with uncertainty.
“Good morning,” she smiles, handing me a large plate with bacon, eggs and sausages on it.
“No, thank you,” I say politely.
“Rowaelin, you need to eat,” she says, making me take the plate, “You are far too underweight. You will get sick if you do not eat.”
I bite my lip and then take my plate to the table, Adrian sits next to me and we eat breakfast together, the others under Eva’s care seem to shift away from me, which I am not objective about.
After breakfast, Adrian takes me outside and sits me down under a tree. He holds a book in his hand and a pen in his other.
“You’ve missed out on a lot,” he says, sitting with me, “Especially concerning schooling. I was thinking that I should help you try and catch up.”
He begins with math, I pick it up easily; even the questions that he deems are hard.
Then he moves onto a touch of science, I also pick it up easily.
“Did the vampires teach you?” he asks, I shake my head.
“My mother homed schooled me,” I say, “I remember sitting down with her every afternoon and she would teach me.”
“Wait, so you’re telling me that your mother taught you calculus?” he gapes, I nod my head.
“She would buy me big books and I would read them,” I explain, “She told me that I was too smart for school. She said my brain could absorb things quickly.”
“Did she teach you how to speak different languages?” he asks.
“I don’t remember,” I say, “I didn’t know that I could speak another language until I met you. I was told to speak Italian, so I did.”
“Last night, you spoke, Russian, Roman, Romanian, and French,” Adrian says, leaning against the trunk of the tree.
“I didn’t even realise,” I say absentmindedly.
“What do you know about your mother?” he asks me and I bite down on my lip.
“She was born in Romania,” I say, remembering what my mother told me, “She had to leave when her family disowned her. I don’t remember much.”
“And your father?” Adrian asks, I frown and begin to pick at my nail.
“I met him, once,” I say remembering the day, “I was six years old, he came for my birthday. I can’t remember his face or his voice. But I know he was there. I don’t want to talk about my parents, not today.”
“That’s alright,” he smiles, “So you understand languages as well?”
I shrug my shoulder.
“Can you understand me?” he asks, I nod my head and he smiles to himself, “I was just speaking Latin. It’s practically a dead language.”
“I don’t know how it happens,” I say, speaking in a different language, “I just think about it, and it happens, I don’t even know what I am speaking.”
“That is German,” Adrian says, smiling, “it’s very good.”
“Mist- Thana, talked often in this tongue,” I say, changing my language.
“That’s Gaelic,” Adrian says. He spends the rest of the day finding out what I know and what I don’t know. It turns out that I can also write in the languages I speak.
“Adrian,” I say as Eva calls us for lunch, “I want to go home, I want to go back to Lawrence.”
“I figured you might,” he says, “I think we can arrange it, I need to go there anyway.”
“Why?” I ask, “What’s in Kansas that you need?”
“We want to find your father,” he says, I frown at him and he laughs, “We are trying to find any family that you have, I am going to try and find footage of him at the hospital where you were born, if I can find a picture, then I could probably find him.”
Eva hands us a plate each and I frown when I see sandwiches sitting on the plate.
“I can’t eat bread,” I tell her and she stares at me in confusion, “It makes you fat.”
“Honey, this bread won’t make you fat,” Eva laughs, “Eating a small proportion of bead won’t make you fat.”
I take a bite of the sandwich, despite not wanting to, it tastes thick in my mouth.
“You don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to,” Adrian says as he sees my sour expression, he hands me some fruit and I happily eat that.
“So,” I say as we eat our food outside, “What’s your story?”
“My story?” he asks.
“Where are you from?” I ask, “How many languages can you speak? How old are you? What are your parents like?”
“Italy, sixteen, twenty-four, and I’ve never met my parents,” he says, answering quickly and sharply.
“Why not?” I ask, forgetting about my food.
“My parents abandoned me when I was born,” He says and it makes me feel sad, “The hunter society found me and they raised me.”
“When did you first start hunting vampires?” I ask.
“Since I was ten years old,” he replies, my heart skips a beat as he focuses on the ground in front of him, “I was acting as bait for a vampiress that was taking little kids, the hunter that was with me got killed, I had to kill the vampire with a shard of glass and a piece of metal..”
“We don’t have to talk about it,” I say, noticing how dark his face becomes at the memory.
He keeps his attention on the ground and I bite my lip nervously.
“You said a name last night,” Adrian says, looking to me, “Rakin, do you remember?”
I nod my head.
“It was the fourth night I was there,” I say, my heart races at the memory, “Mistr… Thana, took me into a small dark room. There was no light except for two glowing red eyes. It was him, Rakin. I remember him telling me not to scream, to not move. I… I was so scared, I screamed. He bit me, I tried to fight him.”
I touch my neck absentmindedly.
“I can still feel his fangs,” I whisper.
“We don’t have to talk about this,” Adrian says, becoming uncomfortable.
“He told me not to move,” I say, ignoring Adrian’s words, “He punished me for moving, he… he told me not to move.”
My hands start to shake as I feel tears well in my eyes, I cover my eyes with my hands and lean forward.
“He compelled me to forget his name, his face, his words,” I sob, “How can I remember this?”