“Wait a minute. You brought me here because you think I want to kill vampires?” I jumped to my feet, glaring at Nathaniel. If he wasn’t pinning me in that serious, dark stare of his, I might have burst out laughing; the notion was just so ridiculous.
“I don’t think you want to kill vampires at all, Sarah. You’re not quite that ready. But you know what it is to kill them and hopefully soon, you will understand it is necessary,” he said.
Now I did laugh but it sounded cold and harsh as it echoed through the warehouse.
“Necessary? When did it ever become necessary to kill anyone? What is this place? Rent-A-Vamp-Killer? I’ve never heard anything so crazy in my whole life,” I laughed at him.
“I understand how it must seem to you, Sarah. But your life has taken a somewhat unusual path for a sensor. You live with them. You have what you think is a friendship with certain vampires and although your so-called vampire protector is no longer here you still believe your place is with them. But tell me, do you really feel safe with them? Do you ever wonder, now Michael is no longer around, when they might turn on you? These vampire friends of yours.” There was a distinct sneer when Nathaniel said the word ‘friends’.
“They wouldn’t turn on me,” I bit back “they know Michael wanted them to look after me and that’s just what they do. They would never hurt me.”
“They’re vampires, Sarah. Hurting humans is just what they do. Of course, I can’t blame them for something that is just part of their genetic make-up, but that doesn’t mean I want to accept their existence or tolerate what they do. They kill. It is as simple as that. And no friendship in the world will stop a vampire when he or she is in the clutches of the blood-pull. And yet you willingly live with them? You sleep soundly knowing that at any moment, the three vampires you think are your friends – when let’s face it, they are his friends, not yours – could turn on you and kill you within seconds? Are you comfortable with that? You really trust them that much?”
I hesitated. And there was the problem. If I had answered him immediately, then I could have challenged him with some conviction but that last question was as if he had reached into my mind and summed up everything I did feel about Marina, Vincent and Damien. I didn’t trust them. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. That was why I had not told them about killing the vampire girl. I knew that there was a high chance they would turn on me; that without Michael there to control them, they would just do what they were best at, and kill me. And then there was the whole issue of me being a sensor too. After all, Michael had made it plainly clear that sensors were the only known natural enemy of the vampires and even he viewed me with some suspicion because of that. How could I trust them when deep down I knew they didn’t trust me?
“They wouldn’t hurt me,” I insisted, but could feel my cheeks flushing as the words left my mouth.
“How funny that the past few months could have had such a profound effect on your opinion of vampires,” Nathaniel mused, raising an eyebrow.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I frowned.
“The old Sarah wouldn’t believe that. The old Sarah would know them for what they are. Killers. Nothing more, nothing less.”
I shook my head vigorously. “No, no, the difference is that the only vampires I knew then were killers. They killed my mother, they killed my Nan, they killed my friends and they tried to kill me. But they’re not all like that.”
“Are you saying that your friends are not killers? They’ve never once fed upon and killed a human?”
“Of course I’m not saying that! I’m just saying there’s a difference between the ones that kill for fun and the ones that kill because they have to. You said yourself that they can’t help something that is part of their genetic make-up. If they kill, it’s because they have to.”
Even as I said it I couldn’t quite believe those words were coming from me. Me? The girl who had hated vampires all her life? The girl who had constantly argued with Michael over whether vampires were intrinsically evil or just part of the ever-evolving food chain. And here I was defending them. In my head I could picture Michael smirking with that smug grin that always made me want to smack him across the face.
“Do you know the story of Hansel and Gretel, Sarah?” Nathaniel asked, raking his fingers through his hair.
“Um……sure. Hansel and Gretel were brother and sister. Their parents abandon them out in the woods because they can’t afford to feed them and Hansel and Gretel find a gingerbread house where an old lady lives. Only she’s not an old lady at all, she’s a witch and she lures them inside with the promise of all the food they can eat. What’s that got to do with vampires?” I said, feeling confused.
“Hansel and Gretel let themselves be fooled by the witch. They see this wonderful house made from gingerbread, cake and candy cane and then they see this little frail old woman and they think ‘how could this little frail old woman possibly be dangerous? She has a house made of cake! And what’s more is that she wants to protect us. She wants to feed us and look after us in a way our parents never would’. And so they believe her. They go inside and soon they realise the little frail old woman is not what she seems. So the witch imprisons them and feeds them but only because she wants to fatten them up and make herself a nice juicy succulent meal.”
“Wow if I’d known you were going to read me a bedtime story, I would have asked you to tuck me in first,” I sniped.
Nathaniel ignored me. “The point is that people are rarely what they seem. You of all people should know that. So many get reeled in by vampires because they refuse to see what is right in front of their eyes. The witch lived on her own, right out in the deepest, darkest depths of the forest. Now why did Hansel and Gretel never think that was strange? Because the witch deceived them with kindness and love. The witch made them feel wanted. The witch promised to protect them. The witch offered everything their parents never did. So they went inside.”
And with that, Nathaniel turned and walked away, leaving me staring after him with that awful sinking feeling festering in the pit of my stomach. When he reached the steps, he turned and looked back at me.
“Do you remember what happened to Hansel and Gretel, Sarah? They killed the witch. They shoved her in the oven and they killed her. And then they lived happily ever after.”
Copyright (c) 2012 Lindsey Clarke