“You set me up!” I cried, charging bull-like into the room where I had met the other sensors, only now it contained just Nathaniel, Jem and Eric in what looked like deep consultation. They looked up as I came hurtling through the door, with Jared close on my heels. Jem and Eric eyed me warily, but Nathaniel just leaned back in his chair and raised an eyebrow at me.
“You set me up,” I growled, fists clenched and fit to burst, I was so angry. “That girl. That girl that chased me the other week, it was a nothing but a set up. You planted her there. You made her do it.”
On realising his error, Jared had been forced to explain everything. How they had captured this girl, starved her half to death, made her follow me with the promise that she would be released if she did what they asked. They had told her she would be watched the whole time and that if she tried to run away, they would catch her and kill her. I was horrified. Horrified that they could do such a thing. And I didn’t understand. Why? Why would sensors intentionally set a vampire on another sensor?
Nathaniel said nothing to me. Instead he just turned to the others and said “Would you leave us for a moment? That includes you Jared.”
“I’m sorry, Nate,” Jared said behind me. “I didn’t meant to tell her, it just slipped out.”
“It’s fine Jared, now go on, all of you. Leave me to chat with Sarah here.”
Chat? Chat? Like we were going to discuss the weather or the current price of milk or something!
The others got up quickly and left, although Jared loitered for a moment as if he wanted to say something else. Finally he just shook his head and followed them, closing the door behind him.
Nathaniel didn’t move. He just stayed leaning back in his chair, quietly observing me as I stood in front of him, like this little ball of rage that was about to ignite and spontaneously combust.
“I would ask you to take a seat but something tells me you might throw it at me,” he said with a small smile.
“You think this is funny?” I snapped “You torture a girl, starve her to the point of desperation and then plant her on my train so she can attack me? How is that even faintly amusing?”
He was right though. I did want to chuck something at him. Preferably something heavy.
“You know, you seem more concerned about the girl than anything else,” he mused, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
“I killed her,” I gasped. “I killed a girl.”
“A vampire. You killed a vampire,” he said, his deep brown eyes steady and serious.
“What does that matter? I still killed someone!”
“It’s called survival of the fittest, Sarah,” he replied. “It was you or her. And you chose you.”
“I didn’t chose anything! What choice did I have? She was going to kill me.”
“And so you did what you had to do. Why is that so difficult for you to get your head around? And why are you so angry about it?” he said calmly, not taking his eyes off of me.
“Because I’m not like you. I’m not like any of you. I don’t want to go around killing them and you made me. You made me do it. If you hadn’t have put her there, wound her up, then….”
“Then it would have been someone else. Some other vampire that you happened to stumble across. Okay, so it might not have been that night, but it would have happened eventually. Come on, Sarah. How long did you think you could go on without coming across a vampire that wants you dead? A vampire who would sooner open your throat than cohabit with you in some weird modern day take on The Waltons? It was going to happen sooner or later and personally I thought it would be better for you to realise that now than start feeling too comfortable in their presence.”
“Why? What business is it of yours what I do? Okay, so we might both have the ability to spot one in a crowded room but that’s where our connection ends. You guys can go on doing whatever perverse, disgusting things you do here and I can go on with my life and it’s got nothing to do with any of you how I chose to live it,” I said, glaring at him.
Nathaniel didn’t reply. Instead, he stood up and I was a little taken aback by how close he was as he looked down darkly at me.
“Perverse?” he said quietly. “Disgusting? Come with me.” Before I could protest, he grabbed me by the hand and pulled me from the room. He turned left down the corridor and led me past a number of rooms, in which I could see some of the others, until finally he stopped at one and knocked lightly. From within I heard the American Green Eyes say “yep, come on in.”
We walked into the room, which had been transformed into some kind of make-shift dormitory with sleeping bags, air beds and blankets all laid out neatly in rows. It had a distinct military feel to it. Green Eyes was sitting up as we walked in and as soon as he saw Nathaniel and I, he stood up immediately and smiled broadly.
“Hey there,” he grinned at me. “Still with us then?”
“Louis, would you mind removing your shirt, please?” Nathaniel said. I glanced at him, shocked at his request.
“Sure,” Louis shrugged and began to unbutton his long sleeved shirt, which was very similar to the one I remembered him wearing the first time I had met him on the underground. I felt myself squirming on the inside as I watched him open the front and pull it back revealing pale skin. Pale skin that was covered with ugly twisted scars. They criss-crossed his body and tattooed his chest, his stomach, his shoulders, down his arms. I could see nasty knots of scar tissue on his wrists. I wanted to look away but felt strangely hypnotised by it, yet he seemed quite unashamed to be standing there topless in front of me.
Nathaniel turned to me and gestured at Louis’ scarred skin. “Disgusting? Perverse? You want to talk to me about how what we do is disgusting and perverse, Sarah? They did this. They caught Louis and they tortured him. They hung him upside down from the ceiling and they tried to drip him dry. They cut him. They let the blood drip from his wounds and drank it. And when that didn’t kill him, they took him down and they attacked him again. And again. And again. When we found out where they held him, we went in there to find him like this. They had gone by then, knowing that we were coming and they had just left him there to die like he was some kind of animal. Okay, so we might have to use certain distasteful methods to extract information, but the difference between us and them is that we don’t do it for fun. We don’t do it for sport. We do it because we have to. It’s the only language they understand. Yet we’re the perverse ones? I think not.”
Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2012