Chapter twelve – Making plans
Hello, everyone. Long time no see. =)
I’m very sorry for the two-week long delay. There’s a little story behind it, but I don’t want to share that quite yet. Let’s just say school, stress and personal issues have been having its effect on my physical well-being, hehe.
But! I’m slowly getting back on track. I’ve gathered everything I want for the little video, now only to figure out how to put it all together. I hope you’ll like the result. ^^
This chapter will be a little shorter than normal. I’d placed the other half of tekst on a little usb-stick that has gone AWOL, much to my dismay. I’ll combine the other half with the next chapter as soon as I find the little bugger again, so that one will be longer than normal. xD
‘Are you sure that we can eat this?’
On the ninth day, I’d decided that the three of us needed some better living circumstances and had purchased a set of basic furniture from the local consignment store. We now had a tiny table and an old couch, as well as a run-down stove to cook basic food on. I’d used the latter right away, having grown tired of instant food. The result had been… less than desirable, but I refused to admit that in front of the little boy, who had developed a very big attitude in very little time.
‘Hey, I tried hard on that! Don’t make fun of my cooking skills.’
‘Is it supposed to be this brown and crispy?’
‘Of course! It’s the crisp of well-baked food, I tell you. It’s not burnt at all,’ I said, with a slight blush on my cheeks. Nikola saw it and smiled.
‘Well, if you say so, chef.’
‘Watch your mouth. Don’t they teach kids manners anymore these days?’
‘Oh, but you know us kids are always frank and honest,’ he said, his fangs showing in what I’d come to see as a devilish little smile. He was… an interesting child, to say the least. I’d thought at first that Nikola was more like his sister, and he was, in a way. They had that same childlike innocence that showed whenever I taught them something new. But he was also… not like his sister at all. He had a different mind, a much bigger vocabulary than normal children, and now that he knew he could trust me, he didn’t hesitate to use it.
‘Sure you are. Now I suggest you eat that perfectly cooked Mac & Cheese, unless you want to try cooking it yourself.’
I smiled at Nikola to take the sharp edge off those words, after which I put myself next to him on the couch. Selene was next to us, her tiny hands wrapped around another drinking bottle. She seemed to have developed a liking for cold milk.
The two children had been in my mind almost constantly lately. The events in the snow had convinced me of the fact that they did indeed, somewhere, have a family. Some kind of parental figure. I intended to keep the promise I’d made to them. At night, my head had been full of ideas as to what I could do and where I should start, but they were all unlikely to succeed.
‘Nikola, about the promise I made yesterday… There’s something that’s bothering me.’
‘What is it?’
I frowned. What was the best way to tell him this? That, even if I found their parents, things might not go as he imagined it in his head?
‘I’m sure you’ve guessed this, but… I’m not like you, or your sister. Your parents are different from me, as well. They’re vampires… And humans and vampires don’t exactly like each other. That doesn’t mean I won’t try to find your mother, but it does make things a little more complicated.’
I’d never actually considered the possibility that vampires could reproduce before, but seeing the two children in front of me, I just had to assume that they could.
‘You see, all of the mo-vampires I’ve encountered up until now, save for you two, have been… rather aggressive. I’ve had to fight them off a few times already. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?’
‘Where are they different from humans?’ Nikola asked, his eyebrows raised. He scooped his spoon into the gooey mess on his plate and took another bite.
‘Their skin and eyes glow. They’re faster and stronger than humans, but not smarter. Even if I find your mother, she might attack me because she is a vampire.’
‘No, she won’t. Her eyes don’t glow like you say.’
I blinked a couple of times. Nikola was staring at me, trying to predict my reaction.
‘Our mom is not like that,’ he said, tilting his head a little.
‘What… do you mean, her eyes do not glow? What does she look like?’
‘Her eyes are blue. She has red hair, like Selene. I remember her being… weak, weaker than me when I was angry.’
‘What happened to her?’ I asked, intrigued.
‘I don’t know. I was as big as Selene was when she disappeared, and Selene was just a baby. People with the same glowing eyes as us came for her, and then they took us away. I don’t know what happened after that.’
So… their mother was not a vampire. She was a human. Was that what he meant? Could that be what had happened- had a vampire and a human produced offspring together? Was that even possible? The thought alone was utterly repulsing, and yet that seemed to be the only logical explanation for the two children sitting next to me.
‘Nikola,’ I said, after being silent for a few more seconds. ‘Your mother- was she like me? Was she really human?’
He looked at me and frowned, his orange eyes squinting a little.
‘Do you want to know if she was like you, or if she was human?’
‘If she was human, like me. That’s what I said, isn’t it?’
His frown became bigger and I didn’t understand why. The question wasn’t that hard, was it? If he could remember her, he should be able to tell whether she was human or not… if she was still alive.
‘She was human… not like you.’
His answer confused me. What did he mean?
‘Are you trying to say that I’m not human, or something?’ I laughed, trying to turn it into a joke. Nikola however stayed alarmingly serious. He shook his head, his black bangs twirling around his scalp.
‘No. But… you’re not like mum, either. Your blood is… different, somehow.’
‘Well, of course. Everyone has different blood types and variations of bloodcells. It would be strange if we all smelled the same.’
‘That’s not what I mean,’ Nikola said, shaking his head again. ‘You’re different. And the people living here before us, they were different, too. There’s… something about your blood that makes you different from others.’
A chill ran down my spine as I realized he was talking about my family. Half-blood vampires were quite frightening, to be able to still smell blood from so many years ago. And Maker knew what else they would be capable of when grown up…
‘Raven, do you know of the Gate?’ Nikola said, eyeing me in between two bites of his Mac&Cheese. I shook my head, much to his dismay.
‘What is that? A new game you want to play?’
His frown appeared again and he promptly took another bite.
‘No. Never mind.’
I sensed that his talkative mood was over, and so I didn’t press the issue and finished my own waffle in silence. Selene was done drinking already, as well. I took both my plate and her bottle to wash them in the sink, my mind trying to make sense of the things that Nikola had said. It utterly failed: I didn’t understand him at all.
After dinner, just as the sun started setting and the trees cast long shadows across the snowy back yard, I once again approached Nikola.
‘To come back on our talk from a few minutes ago. There’s still something I need to ask you.’
‘Okay,’ he said, putting the toy he had been playing with down next to him. I took a short breath and started to tell him my plan.
‘Listen. I really do intend to find your mother, but it will be incredibly hard for me just by myself. And I can only leave the two of you alone here for a few hours at most. It would take a lot of time just to find a trail, and by then it would probably be too late to follow it.’
‘You want to tell more people about us,’ Nikola nodded, catching on incredibly quickly as usual.
‘Yes. But not just any group of people. Back at the military I used to lead a group of four specialists. We’ve been through a lot together, and I would trust all four of them with my life. If they agree to help us, the chance of finding your mother will become much, much bigger.’
I became silent, trying to read his reaction from his eyes. They were reluctant, but not as much as I’d expected them to be. He was actually considering this, which was a good sign.
‘But I need you to know the exact risk of this. I said I trust them with my life, but all of them have had a history with vampires. They don’t know them as any different than killers, and some of them might be very hard to convince.’
My mind went to Yurick, who had experienced loss similar to mine. And Tybalt, whose eyes always darkened when the others tried to interrogate him about his reasons for joining the army. Tybalt, lying naked next to me in a big, silky soft hotel bed, his chest going up and down slowly…
‘If I tell them,’ I said, quickly pushing the visual image aside with a blush on my cheeks, ‘and they decide you’re a threat, you can’t stay here. We’ll have to flee the entire military. Run to an entirely different country, probably. Things would get very dangerous very fast.’
‘You’d give up your life in the military for us?’ Nikola asked, his eyes a fraction bigger than normal. I answered his question with a smile.
‘I already have, dear. I decided that days ago. Now what do you say? Shall we take the risk, or not?’
Nikola looked to his left, where his sister had been listening in on the conversation. Being the toddler that she was, I started to get the feeling that she was just as intelligent as her brother. No doubt that she had understood most of what had just been said.
His eyes lingered on her for a few seconds, after which he seemed to brace himself. His head turned back to me. Nikola nodded, determination written on his boyish face.