Ailis could not believe what just happened. Kenneth was a vampire and a murderer. Kind of. No matter which way she thought about it, she couldn’t be sorry about it. She was confused. Her brain was telling her one thing and her heart was telling her another. The terrible thing was, she knew she was falling in love with him and could do nothing about it. Maya would flip out on her. Play with them, Hell Yeah but never fall in love with them. Maya would lecture her. She heaved a sigh. I tried to heed your advice girl. I really did, she said silently to the image of her friend in her mind.
After her shower she left the bathroom through the door that led to her grandmother’s room. She did not think she could see Kenneth like that.
That was another reason that she was so unsure about this. He could never leave during the day. She was very pleased with herself for being able to let him see the sunrise. She was so glad that she had the contractor go ahead and make the plans to finish the windows on the house and to apply the UV protection to the enclosure around the pool. She smiled at the thought that soon he would be able to swim in the pool under the sun and not be burned to death. Vampires may not be able to stand the UV rays but modern science had come along way. One day he may be able to just walk in the sun with the right skin cream.
She sat on the edge of her grandmother’s bed staring at her reflection in the mirror of the antique bureau door. Suddenly her grandmother’s words came back to her. “What you seek, lies behind your reflection.” She jumped up and ran to the bureau and snatched the door open. She flung all the clothes out and found nothing.
She flopped back down on the bed all but laughing at herself for listening to the voice of a dead woman she’d heard in her head. As she was getting up to leave she caught something out of the corner of her eye. Upon further inspection she saw that the back wall of the bureau was two different colors. Almost as if a small piece of the original was cut out and replaced.
Ailis began to knock on various places on the back wall. And found that the spot that was a different color had a hollow sound. She tried to find a seam but to no avail. She finally decided to pull the bureau from the wall and when she looked at it from behind she saw a definite crack. After a few minutes and the help of a screwdriver she broke the board free. At first she could see nothing through all of the dust. Then she saw a small leather bound book wrapped in a plastic bag. She reached in and took it out unwrapped it and blew the dust off. On the front in old lettering it read, Journal. Ailis turned to the first page and read the inscription.
My Ailis, I have left you this account of my life in the hopes that it will help you with your ultimate decision. All my love, Abuela Carmelita.
“Ultimate decision.” Ailis said sarcastically out loud. Always riddles. Can’t she just ever come out and say what she means?” Ailis turned the page and kept reading.
The year was 1882 and I was engaged to the son of a wealthy conquistador. I was 13, but in those days that was a common age to be married.
Ailis was lost already. Who was this story about? It couldn’t be her grandmother. Carmelita was old but only 89 when she passed away. This had to be a joke of some kind. Yet, she continued out of pure interest.
I liked my betrothed well enough but we were not by any means in love. I respected him and wanted to be a good wife but I was in love with someone else. His name was Beto and he was our stable boy. Beto was my age and he felt the same way about me.
Okay, now Ailis was freaked out! Beto was her grandfather’s name. She’d always assumed her grandmother had met Beto after she left her first e. And if this was true, then Beto was alive in 1882 as well. How could this be? Maybe, She reasoned. Abuela got the dates wrong. She thought. She continued reading.
My father was a wealthy farmer and it was unheard of for a woman of my status to marry below her station. I was a proper lady so I would hold my love in and never tell anyone. Beto understood and respected that I must do what was expected of me.
In late September of 1883, three months before we were to be married, Alejandro found out that he had a newly discovered disease that had no cure.
Today it is known as Lung Cancer. He was very upset. He even told my father that if he wanted to call off the wedding that Alejandro would understand. I hid by the door to my fathers study and listed to the conversation. At last. I thought. I am free. But my father refused and told him that I was promised almost at birth and a Vega would never go back on their promise.
“But I will die!” Alejandro exclaimed. “Why should Carmelita have to be subjected to that?”
My father breathed a sigh and responded. “As your wife it will be her job to birth children so that when you die the bloodline of your father’s father’s will be passed on.”
“That’s insanity!” Alejandro told him aghast.
“We shall see what your father thinks about it.” My father stated calmly. I was devastated. Alejandro was a good man but I just didn’t love him. I cared for his well being and was deeply saddened by the knowledge that he would soon die.
Ailis was almost in tears. How horrible for her grandmother as well as Alejandro. But what she couldn’t understand was that her grandmother had once told her that she left Spain because her e had done something very horrible. But from this she could see that he was a very good and noble man. She continued reading
Alejandro came to me three nights later and told me his father would not relent. We were to be married within the week. Our fathers thought to push the wedding ahead so that we would have more time together before he passed. Alejandro knew of my feelings for Beto. He told me once before that he understood but he knew that our mutual respect would grow to love in time.
Alejandro was so sad for me and told me not to worry because he had found a way to fix all of this, and that as soon as he could he would tell me everything. He made me promise that I would have an open mind no mater what. He kissed my cheek and said to expect him back before the wedding. I didn’t hear from him for two days.
The day before we were to be married, most of the women in the village got together for a celebration of my union to Alejandro. Today it would be called a bridal shower. We were celebrating long into the night when suddenly the front door to the house was kicked open. At first, we thought that some men were going to attack us, as all we could see was their figures. But as they came into the light I knew that these where no mere men. Their skin was graying and pulled tight over their faces. I could see long fangs protruding from their mouths.
Most of the women started running and screaming. I was so petrified that all I could do was stare as they hunted down and brutalized almost everyone that I knew including my parents. Finally, the leader walked up to me taking slow and deliberate steps. He was laughing to himself. “My my. aren’t we a pretty one?” He said snickering at me.
Ailis could barley breathe. She was so scared for her grandmother she almost forgot that this was in the past and not happening right in front of her. But through the pages she could almost see the event happening. That was another of her talents. One she had never disclosed to anyone, even her grandmother. She had to continue no matter what. She had to know what happened
I was amazed that I did not die of fright. I was just that scared. But I guess it was stupidity on my part because I started sassing him. I had powers of my own (yes I have always had powers. Not that anyone else knew. In those times I would have been branded a witch and burned at the stake or something.) And I had no reason to be afraid of him. Or so I thought. As he came at me I heaved all the power at him that I could wield but all he did was stumble a bit. He regained his ground fast and laughed at me. “Oh.” He said. “You’re a witch as well. I’ll bet your precious Alejandro doesn’t know that.”
Wait, What? How did this guy know Alejandro? Ailis was confused. She looked out the window. It was about five o clock. She’d better get finished before her guest woke up. She heaved a deep breath and delved back into the book
Kenneth had just awoken and scanned the house for Ailis. She was in the next room over. He knew it was Carmelita’s room as he could still feel her presence lingering there. He started to go to her but stopped just outside the door as he could feel her emotions running high. He took the chance at entering her mind and realized that she wasn’t even shielding herself. He was going to have to make sure she remembered she was going to have to guard her mind when he caught a glimpse of what she was doing. She was reading something. He quickly got up to speed on what she had learned so far and realized why her guard was down. She’d found Carmelita’s diary and was reading it. She knew so far who he was but not that he was the man that her grandmother was engaged to. Kenneth was angry as he could see what Ailis was reading but it was like she was there. She has the sight! He exclaimed to himself. She can see into the past. Why had she not told him this? He turned his concentration back to what she was seeing.
“You dare to speak his name!” Carmelita screamed. “You have no right. Who are you?” She asked.
He chuckled a little and then answered. “I am Monolo. And actually I have all the right in the world to speak of your betrothed.”
Carmelita wore a bewildered look. “What are you talking about?” She asked getting the worst feeling.
“As of tonight,” Monolo answered sounding completely cocky. “Your beloved is now one of us.”
The look on Carmelita’s face changed to pure hatred. “You lie!” She screamed. He laughed as he launched at her. Carmelita screamed as she was pushed to the floor.
Ailis was barely breathing. She couldn’t make the vision stop as much as she wanted to. She was forced to sit there and watch that monster torture and use her grandmother brutally over and over. She couldn’t believe that she was still alive after hours of this brutality. Ailis was dying inside from watching this
Kenneth could take no more of this. He burst through the door and grabbed Ailis by the shoulders giving her a firm command to wake. She looked at him through hazy eyes for a moment before he could see them clear. As her eyes focused on him and she realized whom it was, she started shaking.
He wrapped her in his arms and started talking to her in order to soothe her.
“Its Okay baby.” He said. “I know what you saw.”
She was hysterical now, crying her eyes out. She was shaking all over.
“How could he have let this happen?” She asked.
“What?” Kenneth asked, baffled.
“Alejandro he should have been there. Unless he knew what was happening.” Ailis concluded.
Kenneth had to think fast. He couldn’t reveal too much at this time but he couldn’t let her get that idea about him. (Even though she didn’t know that it was he) “Ailis,” He said. “Look at me.” She did and he took a deep breath.
“Trust me from experience that when a human is brought over that is sick; it is very hard on them. Most have to go to ground for weeks just so that the vampire blood can fully heal their disease ravaged body.”
She stayed quiet for a few moments and he was praying she hadn’t made a connection. He knew he should just tell her the truth, tell her who he was but he wasn’t ready to lose her forever. He’d just found her. He wanted her more than his next meal and Kenneth was a selfish man dammit. She finally looked up at him and asked; “How do you know that?”
Kenneth took a deep breath. “I was sick when I was brought over. My creator made it seem so wonderful and it was my only choice as I was dying.” He told her.
“What were you dying from?” She asked.
He knew that question was coming and he couldn’t say cancer as she wasn’t that stupid and would immediately have put two and two together. So he improvised. “Yellow Fever.” He stated. It wasn’t that far fetched. There was an outbreak of yellow fever around the same time so if she got curious and looked it up she would see that it was possible. It bought him some time but eventually he would have to tell her everything and watch her disappear forever.
“Does the vampire blood kill all of it?” She asked.
“Yes there is no reason to worry I cannot infect you with any diseases. But I doubt I could even if I was human as you are half vampire yourself, although I have no idea how. Hell I don’t even know how your grandmother survived the attack.”
“Well” Ailis stated flatly. “We will have to see if it is in here somewhere.” She held up the journal to emphasize. “But not now I have to go to work.”
“I wish you didn’t have to.” He said. He wanted as much time with her as he could get before he lost her forever.
“Me too.” She said. “But I need some time by myself. I don’t know whether I am coming or going lately.”
He could understand that and as he left the house it was all that he could do not to ask her what she would do about Collin. She was very good at masking her feelings from him and he didn’t even know if she felt the same way about him. This morning really didn’t prove anything. As for his feelings for her, he was very afraid that after being alive for over one hundred years, he finally knew what it was like to be in love. Head over heels, and totally screwed.