Betrayal

by

Rita Dinis


Night time always freaked me out, even after so many millennia.

It made me recall why I was the way I was now. That tended to happen when I had to cross borders.

Dry autumn leaves cracked beneath my feet, a sign I was on the other side already. Even for an elf, weight shifted from my world to theirs - humans. The woods I walked were a coated mirror of the one I walked in my land.

I loathed the sensation. Everything felt heavy: my feet, my body, the air of this polluted Earth. And specially, my heart - it ached with the brightness of long, aged memories.

I avoided crossing borders often, but that night I had been shamelessly tricked. Who would have known, I, as a centenary elf, used to all the kinds of ploys and witchcraft, fell into the simplest trick of all.

The damsel in danger screaming for help.

Demon would have fit her so much better.

I should have known something was wrong, recognized the pattern. But no, I went in search for that voice in agony. When I found her, the scenery cleared.

That woman, dressed in white, tore robes decorated with red all over, looked at me with a puzzled stare. She sniffed the air, and it took me some time figuring out she wasn't human.

I narrowed my eyes at the intensity of that memory.

Bloody Malika. The first of all vampires.

The one that bit everything that moved. Man, animal… and sloppy elves included, such as myself. I feared for my life then.

She wasn't merciful, moving as fast as I did, a little heavier than I was. Her canines were massive and her movements animalistic.

Humanity had abandoned her body and soul, leaving that tricky shell of female to deceive the prey.

I blinked as I remembered. Even now I tried to convince myself it hadn't been my fault - completely. I had fallen into the lure that was meant for humans. Her real prey.

But I emerged instead and Malika got confused. After the first bite and a couple of consistent gulps of elvish blood, her squeals echoed the night of that lost forest in northern Japan.

Her body rejected my blood for sustenance. But the damage had already been made.

I ran, as fast as I could, crossing the border and returning to my world.

My neck ached and I felt my insides shifting. I was changing into something I didn't know what would be or, if I would eventually survive it.

The inevitable happened some days after. My anatomy changed, as well as my physiology. I had become unique, something worthy of hiding from sight: a vampire elf.

To my dismay, exile had been the only viable option.

I remained isolated close to the border, until today, vouching to protect it devotedly, to avoid accidents. Since I couldn't make that border disappear, all I could do was watch it. Kill every human or vampire that would dare to cross it.

One freak was already enough. Me.

Eventually, other elves joined me. Outcasts, deserters, all were welcome. We grew to modest numbers, enough to survey the area.

Sometimes I needed backup when I fed. Among other necessities Malika had infected me with, I needed human blood for sustenance.

And I could only get that on the human side. Thankfully, it was a sporadic need.

The visits were nocturnal. I had gained a considerable intolerance to daylight, which made my living nocturnal and lonely.

But I had my enjoyable hobbies.

One of them was killing vampires. I hated them to a point of delirious satisfaction. Nothing pleased me more than spread their ashes.

"We're here, DiStephano."

Neket's whisper behind me woke me out of my reverie, and my reddish eyes focused on the house ahead, right after the wall of trees, where the forest ended.

I knew that house. I had been there centuries ago, hunting a vampire.

When I had gotten there it had been too late. Two casualties had already been made and another one was on its way. That disgusting vampire had killed a little boy and his mother… and was toying with the father when I appeared in sight.

I didn't give the vampire a chance to talk. Head off, heart smashed and the bondfire had began.

The man was still alive but wouldn't survive the injuries. I was walking away from the scene when I heard him begging me… to save him.

I sighed, recalling how that man had swore loyalty, obedience and allegiance to me, even if I couldn't guarantee I could save him from death.

Even nowadays I asked myself why I did that. I bit him like a vampire would, after having his word of fealty. I had made him swear, under oath, that he would go to exile.

He did so. Until very recently.

Millennia changed the man that turned into an impressive vampire. An honorable creature, the only one I wouldn't hunt.

Things had changed dramatically in the last decade, with the advent of vampire fertility. Nature had taken a curious step.

And now, not only I was facing my disobeying child, but also a strange sensation. It had been disturbing me for three nights, since I first felt it.

My elvish blood, my inherent enchantment flew strangely within someone inside that house.

Within a vampire.

The bitter taste of providence stabbed my senses mercilessly.

"What have you done?" I snarled, invading the house, ready to kill them all - the three vampires lingering inside, letting that familiarity feeling guide me.

My child and a female vampire he called by wife tried to stop me, to no avail. Before they could say a word I was already inside someone's bedroom.

A girl.

A young vampire, pure bread, eyed me with a petrified look.

"I know you," She said. "You're the red eyed effigy."

"I am real, child." I declared, amazed at how similar our psyche felt. Her mind was tangible… real and strong. Just like mine. She felt it as vividly as I did. And that… was simply unacceptable. "You are coming with me."

"Where?"

I smiled deviously.

Under a shower of screams and bloody tears, I took the young vampire with me.

She would pay for her father's betrayal.