Part One - Alive
The Damned is written and owned by, and copyrighted to Diviana. All characters, fictional places, and plot belong to her and should not be used for any reason unless with expressed written permission of the authoress.
Jelin's eyes fluttered open tiredly. Raising a heavy hand to her face, she groaned. A set of cuts marked her cheek and, though they did not bleed, she knew they would scar.
The girl struggled to sit up, her head pounding offbeat with her heart. Taking a deep breath, Jelin moaned. The noise was hardly above a whisper, but it echoed harshly in her ears. The memories from the night before flashed through her mind, let loose in a torrent that swept her away beyond her control. Jelin floundered, drowning in the split-second images and the slow-motion scenes.
As her breath slowed from the raggedness of her realization of her fate, she looked around.
Her storm grey eyes had since adjusted to the darkness and saw that she was alone in an empty room. The unlit room was bare but for a dresser and the bed that she had been laid upon. The bedroom was unfamiliar, yet not quite a stranger to her. The canopy draped about her, soft and sateen like the sheets, but they were dark and melded into the darkness like everything else. Jelin could make out two closed doors and a curtained window, all on separate walls. The empty wall was to her right with the window behind her, and the girl squinted in the darkness to see better the swirls of colour that appeared on the wall.
Unable to see much, Jelin turned and slipped off the genial bed, subconsciously realizing she was wearing a dark-coloured but soft nightgown she had never seen before. She padded across to the window in her bare feet, each breath becoming more and more of a gasp. Her headache became more intense, but she registered the sight of her hands reaching out to the window. Her palms laid on the cold glass, shaking.
It must have been night from the way the world was bathed in blackness, Jelin figured. She couldn't even make out the horizon. Suddenly, she was staring at her reflection.
Jelin whirled on her toe, almost tripping over her long pajamas as she tried to see while shutting her eyes from the unexpected light.
She heard him before she saw him, a whisper of movement before her that sounded like a cricket in the brush.
"I wasn't expecting you to be awake yet." Came a baritone voice lilted with a slight British accent. Jelin turned, searching for the stranger before her in the moving darkness. "I apologize. I didn't wish to have kept you waiting."
Finally, the girl saw him. A lanky figure standing behind an unusually bright candle, the man was smiling kindly. He took a step towards her, and Jelin moved back, up against the window. The coldness of the glass crept up her spine.
The stranger pursed his lips and turned away. Calmly, he set the candle on the empty dresser top before continuing towards her. "My child," Jelin squinted up at his tall form, her head still pounding. He reached out to her, running his long fingers through her loose tresses. She twitched back, even as he petted her hair. "Fear not," he spoke again. The feather-light touch was calming but in the lit darkness, the girl remained uneasy.
The stranger's dark brown eyes closed for a moment and the delicateness captured her attention. The long black eyelashes fluttered with every deliberate blink, the tips gently brushing against his pale skin with every swoop.
"Who are you?" Jelin implored quietly, once she had found her voice. She searched the dark eyes before her as she reached up to grasp his wrists.
The candle flame flickered in an invisible breeze, causing the shadows in the room to dance. The man's pale face shone more clearly because of this, and the young woman caught the smile playing upon his lips.
"Requiem." he replied simply. The pads of his fingers brushed through her unruly tresses and she shivered, closing her eyes. There was fire in her veins but ice in her skin, caused by the damned headache, and his gentle touch mixed the two at the point of contact. "And I am your father."
Jelin shook her head, not understanding. "My father is dead," she whispered.
Requiem smiled, pulling her close, palms on her ears. "True." He petted her head as he hugged her. "My child, you are my fledgling."
Jelin writhed out of his grasp, noticing the candle had become brighter; the shadows had receded. "What?"
The man blinked. He reached for her again, but she shrunk away, backing up into the bed. "My child, I am your sire. Do you understand?" Requiem laid a finger upon her forehead, trailing down to the tip of her nose. He tapped it and smiled. "You do," he observed.
Eyes downcast, Jelin said nothing, shoulders quaking in syncopated unison with her ragged breathing. After a moment she began, "I was going to die."
"You have been saved."
"… I died…"
Grey eyes travelled up to meet his brown ones. "You killed me."
"I gave you a new life." Requiem gazed down at her with a tender but placid expression.
Jelin collapsed to her knees, the nightgown getting caught somehow and tripping her up. Her palms hit the floor hard as she sat on her legs. The soft cry shattered the awkward silence as if it were a struck mirror.
Requiem knelt on one knee in front of her. She saw his boots, soft brown leather ones that laced up to his knees, but then was distracted. "Do you smell it?"
Jelin's head still hurt, swarming with memories, and her hand stung. Her eyes rose to look at him, but the senses proved much too unsettling and she dropped her gaze. Cautiously, Jelin shifted her weight and raised her arms to see the damage. Her palms were cut up, bleeding. She looked up at Requiem who followed her gaze.
"I have been satiated, my child. Your blood does not tempt me, even if it weren't vampyric." He took her hands into his and brushed the pooling crimson away to show the unbroken skin.
Her reply was simple: "Nightwalkers heal quickly."
Jelin shook her head, resisting the urge to lap up the red puddle. "I'm human," she argued.
"You were." Requiem agreed mildly. "But she died."
The girl tumbled up, trying to stand in her tangled nightgown. "No!" Calmly, Requiem stood too, an eyebrow raised. "No."
"I'm not! Stop saying that!"
The elder folded his hands together in his lap as he stepped forward. Jelin sat heavily on the bed, wincing at the slight squeal of the mattress. The candle still sitting on the dresser seemed to lose itself and the room was bathed in dark blackness. She could still see the man, though, his resigned figure before her unmoving.
"But you are… And I have nothing else to call you by. I can't call you 'Jelin' for she is dead."
"I'm not dead!" she cried weakly.
Requiem raised an eyebrow again, holding out a hand. It was not to touch her nor reach for her, only an offer. "Can you be so sure?"
Quivering, Jelin said nothing. She stared at the outstretched hand for a long time before sobbing out, "I'm alive, alive dammit!"
The candle flickered again, shedding a dim lit on the room. The vampire didn't notice and, pursing his lips, Requiem nodded in agreement. "You are. Yet you are also dead. It is the balance of thing that you do not understand. But will learn soon enough." He cupped her hand in both of his, watching the pool of crimson. He was silent for a long time, as if waiting for the girl's tears to stop.
Finally, Jelin choked out, "What's wrong?"
He glanced up into the big grey orbs watching him intently. Looking confused for a moment, he then smiled. "I was just thinking…" Requiem touched her hair again. "What shall I call you, my child?"
Jelin shook her head, beginning to understand. "Can't I keep my name? Since you took everything else?"
He frowned. "My child, you had lost everything already. I saved you from joining that world." Before she could reply, he smiled and gestured to her hand and her hair at the same time. "Sanguine."
Jelin blinked. "Sanguine?"
Requiem nodded. "Sanguine. That's your name." He paused, looking at her incredulous expression. "It fits you well, don't you think?" The young woman shook her head, then paused, thinking. She fingered a curl of red hair that had made its way to sit on the front of her shoulder. The man released her other hand silently and she unconsciously pulled that arm up too. The pair sat quietly as Jelin stroked her hair, unaware of the blood that was caking the strands.
After some time, Jelin shrugged. "It doesn't really matter," she whispered. He nodded, and leaned forward. Still wary of him, Jelin went to lean back, but was captured in his warm embrace.
"My child, Sanguine." Requiem kissed the top of her head and released her from his grasp. "Rest here for awhile. I'll return for you when it is time to feed." Jelin nodded distractedly, still playing with her hair, and Requiem left silently.
After a while, the girl looked up at the candle that had since brightened. She could make out details in the room now from the light, but Jelin didn't notice. She stood and went back to the window, standing in the candle's way so the light wouldn't reflect off the glass so much. She stared at the barren land outside, catching half her face on the hill. Sighing, Jelin turned.
"Sanguine," she whispered to herself. "Jelin is dead, but Sanguine is alive... I am alive..."
to be continued