Chapter nine – Falling down
Guys, I am so, SO sorry! 0.o This was meant to be published last friday. I actually had everything ready, but then I pressed “Save Draft” instead of “Publish” and just went home like that. I didn’t even realize until today. I’m very sorry! >.<
I was so completely in shock that my body wouldn’t move from that spot. My mouth was half open, my eyes fixated on the anomalies in front of me. The gun in my hands was still pointed on its target in the corner, but my finger had slowly slipped off the trigger. I was left in complete confusion, trying to wrap my head around just what was hiding in this basement.
The oldest one seemed to be about the same age that Ciel and Ivan had been, before they died, while the youngest was still a toddler. I’d never, ever, ever, heard of children that were vampires before. They had always been adults, beasts, cold-blooded murderers – but adults. Did that mean that these two were different? Could they be something else than those killers?
No. They were vampires still. I only had to cast one look at them to know- the glow in their eyes said enough. They were of the kind that had killed my family, that had killed so many innocent humans. They were merciless monsters without sympathy, whether they were in a child’s body or not.
Beasts that needed to be put down.
My eyes narrowed as I recollected myself, placing my finger back on the gun’s trigger. Slowly, my arm moved downwards until it was pointed straight at the face of the oldest. It saw me do it, and moved. I expected it to jump at me, its fangs bared, trying to kill me before I would kill him. That was what I’d come to expect from their kind over the years, and this would not be an exception.
But instead of jumping at me like I thought it would, it moved to the side until it was right in front of the little vampire. As if it was trying to shield it from harm. It spread out its arms, staring me right in the eyes.
And then it opened its mouth.
Those two words caused another shocked silence on my part. The gun trembled in my hands. I didn’t understand- they were not supposed to be acting like this. Why did it say that? Why would it try to protect something? Maker, why was it speaking like that at all? How could it act so- so… so human?
Several seconds passed by. I was still standing there, my gun pointed at its face, my hands trembling immensely. And that’s when I realized it. I was hesitating. Hesitating. That was something that did not happen, ever. I was trained not to be able to hesitate. I was the coldblooded captain of my squad- I had the nickname vampire killer, for maker’s sake- why on earth was I hesitating?! I needed to wipe them out! NOW!
The words had left my mouth by themselves before I had the chance to stop them. They had been loud enough to be heard even upstairs, and from the top of the staircase I could hear my squad members running to secure the other rooms of the house. After all, they had no reason to doubt my words.
The oldest of the two vampires had heard it, too. He dropped his arms a little bit, and the expression in his eyes, that had been pure fear before, was now mixed with the tiniest bit of curiosity. Slowly, he tilted his head a little and looked at me, frowning. I gazed back, suddenly noticing the likeness between the two. They both had the exact same eyes, a strange, orange glow that reminded me of a dancing fire. The shape of their mouths and ears were identical. And the way the oldest one was protecting the little one left no room for doubt.
Those two were siblings.
I lowered my weapon. I couldn’t do it. Normal vampires left aside- these two were children, and they were brother and sister. Images of myself as a toddler flew into my mind, with my big brothers there, playing with me. There was no way I would be able to hurt something that was so familiar. I couldn’t harm those two.
It was impossible.
Slowly, my gaze drifted over to a single, closed window near the ceiling of the basement. There was a tiny ray of light shining through- probably from one of the lights on the porch. It had to be at ground level. That window- it was probably the only way.
‘Go,’ I whispered to the boy. His gaze met mine and then shifted to the same spot I’d been looking at just a second ago. A group of boxes was piled up just underneath it, forming a tiny stairway to the window. Then his gaze shifted back to his sister, who looked up at him with the trust only a toddler could have in her eyes.
For a full five seconds, no one moved a muscle. Then, the vampire boy abruptly turned around and picked up his sister, carrying her over to the boxes. He helped her climb up slowly. A few seconds and one surprisingly violent push from the boy later, the window was open. The little girl climbed outside, disappearing from my vision without as much as a look over her shoulder.
I expected the boy to jump after her right away, but he surprised me again. He actually took a step back and turned around, looking me in the eyes. Once again I found myself taken aback by their fierce, orange glow. They were like the other vampires’ eyes, but at the same time, they were not.
It was incredibly confusing.
His gaze lingered on me for only a second. The next moment he jumped out the window and disappeared in the same was as his sister. A short silence, and then I heard light, running footsteps quickly distancing themselves from the house.
They were gone.
It was not until we’d returned to the base that I realized what I had done.
I’d let two dangerous vampires go. Just like that. Without good reason, even. I had simply allowed them to sneak away, without the least bit of resistance.
What had I been thinking? Just letting them run off? Who knows what kind of horrible consequences this had for the military- no, for the entire human race. They were the enemy. The people outside of the military didn’t know it yet, but we were at war. And with the way things were going recently, it would not be long before our guerilla war would turn public.
What the hell was wrong with me, allowing the enemy to leave?
Every bad thought I had about myself and my life crashed inside me at once that evening. It was just the final blow of a series of horrible events, and made me end up where I knew I would eventually end up: at the nearest bar I could find. I knew of no other solution to my mistakes. Drinking enough would make the pain and shame go away. That was something I’d discovered at a very young age already.
Drinking that first glass was… incredibly liberating. I could feel the alcohol getting to me right away. It sedated me and caused all of my worries of running into another soldier fade away into the background, and I promptly ordered a second glass. And a third. And a fourth.
My perception of time stopped when I downed the sixth glass of liquor. I vaguely noticed a familiar voice in the background, but my seat was at the dark end of the bar and didn’t attract any attention. It was probably Yurick, or Tybalt chatting up women in his free time.
I’d lost count of how many drinks I’d downed. My vision was blurred, but I didn’t care. Slowly, a warm and fuzzy feeling spread itself through my entire body and I exhaled deeply, feeling how all of my worries disappeared along with the booze.
At last. For once in the miserable thing that was my life… I had no more worries.
I could just forget about everything.
When I came to, I wasn’t at the bar anymore. The outside traffic noise and party music had faded and I was lying on something soft, probably a bed. I couldn’t remember going to sleep…
Where was I?
I tried to open my eyes, but a burning pain shot through my forehead and almost made me throw up. I quickly closed them again and brought my hand up to my face, covering the sensitive eyelids.
Great. This was going to be one hell of a hangover.
Silently, I lied there and breathed in and out until the world had stopped spinning. With my eyes still covered, I tried to remember what had happened. Had I returned to the base? Or did I crash somewhere randomly?
…no good. I couldn’t remember. It was like there was a giant hole in my memory, pretty much from the moment I walked into the bar last night. But even with the memory hole, I knew what had happened. I’d lost control from drinking so much. There was no other explanation. What had I done? Did I pick a fight and get thrown out? Did I kill someone? Or worse?
I slowly got up from under the bed’s blankets, opening my eyes a millimeter. My surroundings were unknown. It looked like a guest room, but I could see the bar from yesterday when I looked out of the window. I must have slept here after drinking so much.
And… I was half naked.
Coming to that realization, I quickly grabbed the blankets again and covered myself. Oh, maker. This was much, much worse than getting in a fight. I didn’t want to think about what could have happened, but my mind came to its own conclusions anyway.
My clothes. Where were my clothes?
I looked around the bedroom and found them lying on the ground next to the bed, just outside of my reach. Even my wallet was still sticking out of my pocket. I grasped the bed’s blanket a little tighter and tried to pull it with me, so that I could stay covered while fetching my clothes. It was surprisingly resistant, though, and it was not until I turned around to pull it loose that I found out why.
There was someone else sleeping in the bed.
My heart seemed to stop at that moment. Everything else in the room disappeared from my vision, even the walls itself. All I could see was the male, curly brown-haired head on the pillow next to me. He was facing the other way, but after months of working together I would have recognized that head from a mile away. It was… It had to be.
But no. That was impossible. Even in a messed-up state like I was yesterday, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to do that. I couldn’t have. I was better than that-
At that moment, he turned around in his sleep. His brown, curly locks fell over his green eyes, that were closed in a peaceful slumber. The blanket shoved off his body for a little bit, showing that he, too, was partly naked.
Dear maker. As if I hadn’t made enough mistakes yet.
I’d slept with one of my underlings.
That did it. I grabbed my clothes, partly put them back on and bolted, running as far away from Tybalt and the room he was in as possible.
That very same morning, took an extended leave from the military.
I took all of my saved holidays, gaining a full four weeks off before they’d summon me for duty again. I never said goodbye to Hao, or anyone else in my squad. They’d figure it out when I didn’t show up for training in the afternoon. My gun, badge and uniform were thrown in a corner of my barrack and sealed behind the lock of the door. In my only everyday outfit that I possessed, a dark blue-ish suit that absolutely didn’t suit me, I fled.
I just couldn’t face it anymore. None of it.
It had been too much.
When the taxi to pick me up arrived and asked for directions, I merely told it to drive. There was no heading, no direction to go to in my mind. I’d sold the apartment that I lived in before joining the military. Going to my dad’s current house was out of the question, and I had no friends that would be willing to let me stay over. Scrap that, I did not have any friends outside of the military at all.
Where was I supposed to go?
‘Just drive,’ I repeated, when the taxi driver looked at me with a confused expression on her face. ‘Leave town. I don’t care in which direction.’
She blinked a few times, but then nodded and hit the gas pedal. We slowly drove out of the base, turning left and right randomly. Soon, I stopped paying attention to my surroundings. My hands were shaking. I clutched the couch tightly, but it didn’t help- if anything, it made the shaking worse.
Why Tybalt- why now?
I closed my eyes and allowed my thoughts to run free. I’d never felt attracted to Tybalt, or any other person, for that matter. He did flirt with me occasionally, but he did so with every single female person on the base. Was this really, purely, the result of drinking so much? Even though the person I’d given my first night to didn’t mean anything to me…
No. Now I was being dishonest with myself. The reason I had no feelings for any of them- hadn’t that just been another part of my mental wall, to keep myself from straying from my goal? I’d been mentally blocking out all emotions for years. Even after my revenge, I couldn’t stop doing it. But… it was not as if they didn’t mean anything to me…
They did mean something to me. All of them. But… what was it? Just what were those four? I opened my eyes again, staring ahead at absolutely nothing while my thoughts ran wild. Were they just squad members, as I’d forced myself to think for all those months? Or were they something more? Was he- Tybalt- something more?
I violently shook my head, burying my face in the palms of my hands. I didn’t know how to deal with this. I couldn’t deal with these things. It had been just another mistake, like everything had been from the moment our parents had left us alone to go to the spring festival. From the moment my family died, while I survived unnoticed in that closet.
And for what purpose? They’d died and I lived, but I couldn’t even live properly. That much I had proven over the years. If it had been anyone else- if any of those four had survived instead of me, they could have become happy. I know they would have. But they vanished, and left life to me, and all I did was completely mess everything up. I was a failure as a sister.
I was a failure as a person.
If anything, I should have just died along with them.
My whole body began to shake as I came to that realization. My life-I’d had the wrong purpose all along. But… if that was all it took, then I could fix it. I could just give up.
And then I’d see them again.
‘Head to Twinbrook,’ I whispered to the driver. ‘Hillstreet twenty.’