Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Station House Six: Chapter Six

People were talking around me, but I couldn’t focus on them, I was too busy throwing up blood and shaking like a leaf in a windstorm. If I got bitten one more time this month, I was going to end up binge eating to recover. I was definitely going to need fresh blood in the next few hours. Swift’s venom was more potent than my father’s; I hadn’t been able to move. I wasn’t even certain where I was, there was a toilet, that was all I cared about.
“I’ve never seen this effect before,” someone said.
“I have, but not this bad.”
I stopped vomiting and straightened up as best I could from the toilet. My hands were still shaking. I shuddered and turned away from the porcelain throne. I washed my mouth out and stumbled out of the room. Three people, Inspector Adder, Dr. Chan, and Raimes were all standing outside the bathroom waiting for me.
“Wow. An audience.” I gave them a look over.
Dr. Chan put a hand on my neck. “That healed quickly.” His eyes narrowed. “Open your mouth.”
He wanted to see my teeth, I obliged.
“Strange canines…not vampire.” Dr. Chan shook his head. “Not human either.”
I swallowed and tensed. If I had to make a break for it, I would. I wasn’t so incapacitated that three humans would stop me if I needed to escape.
Ian stared at me. “Dhampir. Am I correct? I thought they were a legend.”
“You aren’t a dhampir?” he replied.
“Not a legend.” I straightened. “I am dhampir.”
He nodded. “You hunt vampires though. Strange, you are half-vampire, why hunt your own kind?”
“Why not?”
“It is common,” Dr. Chan said. “Dhampir do not share the bloodlust of their counterparts, but they do share some of the strengths and some of the weaknesses. It can vary subject to subject. Moreover, it depends on how the dhampir was conceived. They are born, not bitten.”
“So he’s not…evil?” Raimes asked.
“Doubtful,” Dr. Chan said. “Just an oddity of nature, as it were.”
I disliked being talked about while I was right there.
“Right then,” Raimes said. “Back to the infirmary, but then, you are going to explain.” He took my arm. “And by explain, I do mean explain everything.”
Great. I let Raimes pull me to the infirmary and sit me down on one of the beds. The man was in better shape than I was right now, and expected to be stronger, so I let him keep his expectations.
Three people were staring at me, I didn’t like being looked at. I didn’t like talking. I was going to have to put up with both for now. I took a breath and started my story. “My father is a vampire. For a vampire to father a child it must be done within three days of being turned. My father spent those three days in a brothel and fathered three children, of which I am the youngest. Aramis, Briony, and myself. Of the three of us, I am the only one who has chosen not to become a full-blood.”
“Chosen?” Raimes prodded.
“Dhampir cannot be turned,” Dr. Chan said. “They must choose to become a vampire. I believe it involves the consumption of a heart.”
“Not just any heart,” I said. “It must be the heart of your human parent. Or a piece of it at least. My mother has been dead for a long time, but her heart was preserved in case I every change my mind.”
“So you became a hunter,” Ian said.
“And did you kill your father and siblings?” Raimes asked.
“No. I tried a couple times and failed. But we must be more concerned with Jonah Swift, this bite was his handiwork.”
“Why did he bite you?” Ian asked.
“Because he could.”
“What for?”
“A long held grudge.”
“So,” Ian said. “Can he be killed?”
I shrugged.
“Well, I’m convinced Wayland here isn’t going to start eating people,” Ian said. “I want Raimes to keep a close eye on him, but I don’t plan further action. Keep your nose clean, Wayland.”
“Yes, sir.” Well, this could have gone worse for me. Now I was going home, and I was going to get very drunk and possibly very high, I wasn’t sure on the order of those events yet but I really wanted to not remember any of this when I woke up, preferably.
Being outed had never gone better than it had that day. Last time there had been pitchforks and torches, so…I was calling this a win. But the fact was, Jonah Swift was still in the city and I was still uncertain how we were going to resolve that little problem.
Jonah hadn’t killed me, which was strange. I guess he was toying with me. He’d always enjoyed toying with his prey. I wasn’t strictly prey, I was—a means to an end. My father had offended Jonah once upon a time, how I didn’t know, and he’d responded by attacking the thing Daddy cared for most.
I was usually too irritated with him to remember that detail.
I’d grabbed a snack on the way home last night, but I was still feeling particularly like a kitten that got rolled around a dryer and then dunked in cold water. So I did what any person does when they’re feeling under the weather and can’t leave the house yet—I called my father.
“Caspian, calling so soon?”
“I was attacked by Jonah, he bit me.”
“Are you all right?”
“I’m recovering—but I need another couple pints. Could you?”
“I’m on my way, stay still.”
“No worries there.” I wasn’t going anywhere soon. I should have stayed in the infirmary. I pulled the covers back over my head and grabbed a pillow. This week sucked.
“Caspian?” My father shook my shoulder.
I opened my eyes. “Hullo.”
“You look awful.”
“Gee, thanks.”
He helped me sit up. “I brought a few pints, but you need something fresher my boy.” He put a hand on my forehead. “A bit feverish still.”
“His venom is stronger than yours, and all the blood I threw up had a lemon after taste. Is that weird?”
My father frowned. “He could have killed you, Caspian.” He grabbed the cooler sitting next to bed and opened it, picking out a blood bag. “If I lost you…I know we do not get along as most families do, but you must know that I love you.” He took a metal straw from his pocket and thrust it into the blood bag like a macabre juice box.
“I know.”
I took the blood bag and started drinking.
“Perhaps I’ve been too forceful. I know you hate Jonah for what he did to Briony, I know you hate vampires that hurt the mortals, but do you truly hate your own kin, Caspian?”
I swallowed and looked at him. “I suppose not.”
He took a breath. “You are determined to remain dhampir?”
“I am.”
“Then there is but one thing left I can do to protect you.” He pulled a book from his pocket, it was a very small book, the size of a pack of cards. The cover was blackened red leather, worn and smelling of soot.
“What is that?”
“This is the account of Olav the Bloody, in it, he details how a dhampir moves to mastery.” He put the book in my hand. “You have a right to know this. You have a right to go forward to mastery.”
“Father…” I took a breath. “Thank you.”
He sat down next to me and put an arm around my shoulders for a one-armed hug. “Your brother refuses to become a master you know. He fears it will leave me vulnerable.”
“Aramis is paranoid, but right.”
Daddy kissed me on the forehead. “When did you get wise?”
“Palm Beach, 1988.”
“Isn’t that the year you had that Mohawk? It was green.”
“Yup. That’s also the year you buried me at sea for killing that woman you were seeing.”
He rolled his eyes. “You have got to stop being so picky about my dates. Your mother has been dead for hundreds of years. I have a right to move on.”
I huffed. “Fine.”
“That’s my boy. Eat up. You’ll need all of your strength to complete the tasks ahead.”
I put the straw back in my mouth and leaned against my father. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt like this. He smelled like he always did, of blood and spices. It was a smell that made me feel safe, most of the time.
I’d forgotten what it was like, to be a family. Before Briony was a full blood, before I tore off in pursuit of blood in vengeance. Before I alienated myself from them.
Sure, they were vampires, but that didn’t mean they were bad people. At least, not all the time.
Maybe I’m growing as a person.
My father left me to my own devices a few hours later and I started reading the book. It was written in Hungarian, not a problem for me, but the man’s handwriting was atrocious. I grabbed a blank notebook and a pen and started transcribing once I found the section regarding dhampir masters. There was not much known about dhampir’s who achieved that status.
I would be stronger, faster, and greater resistance to the venom of master vampires. I would never reach the same level of power as a master vampire, but I would be better equipped to protect myself against Swift.
I was immersed in the book when someone started knocking on my door. I sighed and tucked the book into my pocket along with the notebook before answering the door. Daddy was family, he could enter my domicile whenever he liked, but another vampire wouldn’t be able to and they didn’t knock.
So I was relatively safe. “Raimes. Why you here?”
“Questions. Can I come in?”
“I suppose.” I stepped away from the door and let him in. “It’s a mess.”
“I can see that. You always so…tidy?” He shut the door behind him.
“Yes. Coffee?”
“No, thanks but I don’t think I should eat or drink anything that came out of that kitchen.”
I shrugged and sat down. “Talk.”
“What’s your real name?”
“Bullshit. It’s the only name listed in your file. I do mean the only one. You don’t have a driver’s license on file under that name. So I’ll ask you again, what’s your real name?”
I sighed. “Caspian. Marek.” I felt weird. I hadn’t told anyone my surname in…a long time.
“So, Caspian Marek, It’s a good name.”
“So where are you from, originally?”
“That’s the accent.”
I gave him a look. “And you. Tel Aviv?”
“You have a good ear,” Raimes admitted.
“You have secrets.”
“So do you.”
I shrugged. “I have reasons.”
“So do I.” I looked at him. “Anything else?”
“What did you do to the master vampire that bit you to piss him off?”
“Not me.” I took a deep breath. “My father.” I fiddled with my hair. “I don’t know the details. Never did.”
“So this Swift fellow bites you. I have the feeling that he’s done something before. Is that why you hate vampires?”
“Yes.” I looked him in the eyes. “Why do you?”
“What makes you think that I do?”
“Experience.” I shrugged.”I know.”
“How old are you?”
“I don’t know. I don’t count.”
“You don’t count? You must be really old then. Even if you do act like a teenager.” He sat down across from me. “So, now that your big secret is out, you think we could, I don’t know, work together? Like real partners.” He gave me a look that meant I wasn’t supposed to say no to him. That made me want to say no even more though. I’m just contrary that way.
“Before you speak,” he held up a hand, “I want you to know that I don’t have any problem with you being all—like you are. You were born this way, I can’t find fault with you because of your birthright.”
“Gee, thanks.”
“Anyway, the Inspector wants it to stay nice and quiet and I agree. If your fellow hunters found out about you I don’t think it would go well.”
“Pitchforks and torches last time.”
He raised his eyebrows. “So you’ve come out before?”
I nodded. “Disastrously.”
“Well, I hope to avoid that. Now. What do you do say, partners?” he held out his hand for me.
I took a long breath. “Partners.” I took his hand.
“Great, now go take a shower you smell like death.”
I couldn’t argue with that statement. “Fine. Order food.”
“Top left drawer.” I pointed at the kitchenette and stood up, pulling off my shirt and heading toward the bathroom.
Raimes was staring at me. “You uh—must work out.”
I looked down at my chest and toned abdomen. “Not really. Dhampir perk.”
“That’s some perk.”
I grunted, “Order meat,” and disappeared into the bathroom feeling a bit like I’d been ogled. Hell, I had been ogled, who was I kidding? I’d sort of forgotten how much I liked being ogled. Stop saying ogled, Caspian. I turned on the shower and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror over the sink.
With a haircut like that it was no wonder I hadn’t been getting ogled. Well, there was a definite fix for that. I took my shower first and then got out the good scissors. If I was going to play nice with Daddy and Aramis, if I was going to start acting like a grown up and a real partner, maybe I should not look like a homeless zombie.
“Well punk shag, we’ve had a good run.” I picked up the first clump of wet hair, and cut. 

Chapter Seven

1 comment:

  1. This just gets more and more interesting. I think Ian, the doctor, and Raimes took the reveal of what Wayland is quite well, all things considered.

    I think maybe Wayland is beginning to realize just how much his father does care too. Maybe it IS time for him to grow up - even though it's way more fun to be a surly teenager. *g*

    Still very curious about Raimes' story.