‘What did you give me?’ I asked.
‘A potion to calm the blood. A mixture of D-Camphor, hawthorn berries and morphine’
‘And that will stop my blood reacting to you?’
I noticed Michael shoot a glance over to Montague which I couldn’t quite read.
‘For a time’ replied the old vampire, shifting in his chair ‘but it’s not permanent I’m afraid’
A splinter of panic shot through me at the thought of having to go through that agony again and hoped that our stay with Montague would be over before the effect of the drugs had subsided.
‘But some sensors can learn to control how their blood reacts to vampires?’ I asked, leaning forward.
Now it was Michael’s turn to shift uncomfortably in his seat.
‘What?’ I snapped at him ‘what have I said now?’
Michael flashed his eyes darkly at me.
‘Sarah…’ he warned.
‘No!’ I bit back ‘if you have something to say; then just say it! I have obviously said something to piss you off’
‘No, you haven’t’ he insisted through gritted teeth ‘but we didn’t come here to discuss this’
‘Oh I’m sorry’ I sniped sarcastically ‘I forgot that you prefer to be the main topic of conversation’
‘Oh for goodness sake’ Michael hissed, standing up suddenly.
‘Children, children, please’ Montague said, holding his hands out placating whilst looking mildly amused at our spat ‘Michael, sit down please. She has every right to know the truth’
‘Montague, nothing has changed since you left the council. We still do not educate sensors on how to defeat us’ Michael replied leaning forward and placing his hands on the table, fixing the other vampire with a dark look that would have sent many scuttling off under the bed in fear.
Montague, however, seemed quite unfazed by Michael’s aggressive stance and in fact, reached over and patted Michael’s hand, almost affectionately.
‘But forgive me if I have misinterpreted your relationship, but Sarah is not just any sensor, is she? She is your sensor and surely you would want her to be able to defend herself should she come across an Elder who is, shall we say, less willing to entertain her existence than I am?’
Michael continued to stare at Montague for a few seconds before pulling his hands away and throwing himself back into his chair and running his hands through his hair, exasperated.
‘Why wouldn’t you want me to defend myself, Michael?’ I asked frowning ‘if you know what meeting an Elder could do to me, why wouldn’t you want me to be able to defend myself against one?’
Michael wouldn’t answer; he just glanced at me and went to work biting on his fingernails. I did all I could not to leap off the bed and strangle him senseless with my bare hands, which still felt stiff and sore from being clenched into claws.
‘Sarah, don’t be too quick to judge’ smiled Montague ‘I am quite certain that Michael would not want you to come to any harm at the hands of an Elder but he is a product of years of council programming. Sensors bad. Vampires good’
‘That’s rich!’ I scoffed ‘we don’t go around killing innocent people for food!’
Michael laughed and I hated the harsh tone in his voice.
‘But you see that’s the one thing that humans, and sensors, conveniently forget in their opinion of vampires. Vampires have to kill for their food. That is something we cannot help. Would you deny the lion its right to kill the bison knowing that if it did not eat, it would starve and die? Would you deny the barn owl its right to kill the field mouse? Would you deny yourselves the cow, the pig, the chicken? Of course not. Vampires cannot help that it is blood that gives their bodies the sustenance to survive. It’s all about the food chain, Sarah. It has nothing to do with innocence. It has nothing to do with good or bad. It’s just the way it is!’
‘That’s bullshit and you know it!’ I snapped.
‘Children!’ Montague said motioning for us both to stop ‘you both have a valid point to make. Michael, you and I both know that whilst the basic need for blood is necessary, there are many of us who kill innocents simply because we can. There are many who absorb much enjoyment from the knowledge of power over the weak and helpless. Quite simply, there are good vampires and there are bad vampires. Now, of course, whilst we must drink blood, we could choose how and where we obtain that blood. Sarah, that is also true of humans. You don’t have to eat meat to survive. You don’t have to kill animals to live. But you do it anyway, because many of you enjoy the taste of meat. You have no qualms about how that meat is procured. You walk into a butcher’s shop or supermarket, you buy it, you cook it and you eat it. If you do not want to eat it, you can become a vegetarian. It is about choice. You can choose to be a carnivore or herbivore. We can choose to kill innocents or we can kill the wicked’
‘You can’t compare killing a pig to killing a human’ I insisted.
‘Really? Perhaps you need to explain that to the lion. A human and a pig are very much one and the same to him’
‘But…’I stammered, feeling very frustrated ‘but, it’s just not …not the same at all’
Michael raised a smug eyebrow and smirked.
‘So this sensors bad, vampires good thing? This has something to do with the idea that all sensors suddenly turn into modern-day Van Helsings and go around trying to stake their local vampire community?’ I asked.
‘It has everything to do with that’ replied Montague ‘Although most sensors would rarely risk failure by trying to stake vampires as you say. Their methods have become far more advanced. There are generally two types of sensor; one that is scared of their abilities and chooses to deny what they are and one that decides to take the moral high ground and who believe it is their mission to rid the world of the so-called un-dead army. The council, however, believe that every sensor is of the second type that I just described and have convinced the general vampire population that this is indeed the case. It’s not, of course. I always knew this and the fact that I was quite vocal in my belief caused me to lose much favour within the council. Many years ago the council deemed that every sensor found should be immediately destroyed. I alone stood against them and for this I was outcast. For some time, there has been a very twisted point of view being cultivated within the Elders, one that has been insisted upon by one member of the council in particular. His name is Augustus Shaftsbury. It is Augustus who has actively campaigned for all sensors to be wiped out if found. Unfortunately for him, the average vampire will not come across a sensor very often. You can be a mysterious breed; that is for sure. You are masters at hiding’
He smiled at me and winked and I was sure Michael had told him of my self-imposed hibernation in my little grey cottage out in the woods.
‘So regardless of whether a sensor chooses to use their abilities to hunt and kill vampires, this Augustus guy says we should all be killed anyway? Not all of us want to kill vampires. I know that I would have preferred to have never come across a single one in my whole life’
‘I am sure many sensors feel the same. But unfortunately the actions of a few have blackened all of your kind where Augustus is concerned. He shows no mercy and urges the rest of us to do the same. But as I said, you are an elusive bunch. So elusive, in fact, that many vampires, particularly the younger ones, believe you to be nothing but a myth’
I gawped at him.
Sensors? A myth?
I recalled standing in my mother’s living room, with her battered body lying just feet away and the vampire Bourne with his face so close to mine that I had feared he would kiss me with a mouth still stained with her blood.
Others had told me of humans like you. But I had never seen one for myself…until now.
Montague was speaking the truth. Even Bourne, my first ever vampire tormentor, had never met a sensor until he had laid eyes on me. Still, I was barely fourteen at the time and didn’t even know what I was myself. All I had known was that I was different, but I didn’t really know how different until that day I met him down that awful country lane close to my friend Alisha’s house. But to think that for many vampires, sensors were the stuff of mythology was pretty staggering and it was fair to say that the irony wasn’t lost on me.
I was a myth amongst myths.
Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2011