Disclaimer: Rebirth is property of Diawon C.I. Inc., Tokyopop, and its creator, Kang-Woo Lee. No copyright infringement intended.
Sadness. That is the only word that runs through my mind right now, chained to a pole on this hot and sticky summer night. Sadness that I couldn't give my family, my son, a normal life with friends and sunlight, that it wasn't meant to be.
That bastard Maybus swore he would release my wife and son if I complied with his wishes of being burned at the stake by the rising sun. It just isn't fair to any of us. Then again, since when has life ever been fair? Never, is the word that crosses my thoughts in answer.
My father had always told me that my compassion for human life would be my downfall, and that I shouldn't be so complacent when it came to trusting mortals. Well, he was right. My compassion had gotten the best of me this time by not wishing to leave any child an orphan, as I have a son of my own that is about the same age as Maybus' son as well. But yet, here my young son is, soon to be orphaned by the very man that I chose not to kill. I should have killed the bastard while I had the chance.
"I've done as you've demanded," I say. "Now release my wife and son."
My words ring sincere, but all I can think of right now is "please let him be true to his word. Please let him let them go without a fight", and yet I know my mental pleading is all in vain. He'll never let them go, that's just the kind of sick and twisted man he is, but maybe, just maybe, there's a slim chance that he'll…
"Don't be ridiculous." Maybus' words shatter something deep within my soul, even if he hasn't finished the rest of his lecture that I know is coming. "She's a witch and the child is demon-spawn."
Demon-spawn? Demon-spawn? Who the hell is he calling demon-spawn? My son is not, and will never be, the spawn of a demon. The only demon I see here is Kalutika Maybus himself. But then again, our definitions of the word "demon" are two completely different ideals. To them, anything they do not understand is labeled as a demon, but I? I believe actions speak louder than words. Even though I am the supposed "demon" here, Maybus' beliefs are more demon-like than my own appearance.
He grabs my wife by the hair.
"It's judgment day vampire lover!"
"Maybus, you can't do this!" I scream until my voice is hoarse. "She's not a witch, she's done nothing wrong!"
In the background, I can hear my son trying to free himself from his captor's grip, but to no avail. Despite being a vampire, and a half-breed vampire at that, he's still just a ten year-old boy who doesn't understand what is going on, why he is being punished for something he didn't do.
A low chuckle escapes Maybus.
"Nothing wrong you say? By merely associating with you, she is by definition a witch!"
I knew it. I knew it ever since the day I met her. Elysee is condemned to death because of my ancestral origin, because I am one of the damned, the undead.
In today's society, falling in love with a vampire, and sleeping with one for that matter, is a highly punishable offense in the church's eyes. I had told Elysee this before we made love and started a family, but she's always been a stubborn one and something so trivial never really mattered to her. She just didn't care. It was one of the many attributes I loved her for.
"Come here, wench."
Maybus' voice rings through my ears and never in my life have I ever been so desperate to try and stop something that is inevitable as much as I do now, but deep down, I know I am unable to do anything; completely helpless.
"Maybus, you bastard! Run, Elysee! Run!" I plead, and smack the back if my head on the wooden stake in my desperation, but the pain does not register. I am too overcome with emotion to let it.
There is a first for everything, and this is the first time I've ever cried, tasted the salt of tears.
Elysee's soft voice sounds so calm in response to my plea, even though I can sense she is crying as well.
"Never, my love. Even in death, I will forever be by your side."
And then I hear the sickening squelch of metal slicing through flesh, and I know she is gone. Memories flash through my mind. How she told me she missed seeing the sun set over the ocean in a golden glow, or how I went out on the beach with her at night while she went to find seashells to add to her collection, with Deshwitat tagging along behind, tripping over his own two feet in his clumsiness, sometimes landing face-first into the sand. But most of all, how she loved me in the dark of night with whispers of endearment and soft caresses with only a candle to illuminate her beautiful facial features.
I bite my lip and try hard not to let my sobs escape.
Elysee deserved better, she had always deserved better. She deserved a better life, a better death, and a better husband, one that could protect her from all harm. She deserved someone better than me.
Again, I hear my son call out and in my mind, even though it may be impossible, I refuse to lose him as well, even if I myself will die in just a few short moments when the sun rises over the horizon.
I hear shouts of suggestions on how he should be killed.
"Wring his neck!"
"Tie him to a stake!"
"It doesn't matter, just kill him! Just kill him!"
"Let him roast at his father's side!"
"Yes! Let the demon-spawn burn in the sun with his father!"
It's that last one that tugs at my heartstrings.
How cruel can humanity be, especially to a ten year-old child, whether he is a vampire or not? He's still young, and he deserves a full life, even if he will always be rejected by mortals and their foolish beliefs to destroy anything that is different.
Even though I can't see it, I can her Kalutika ordering his son to kill my own, with the younger protesting that he can't kill Deshwitat, but I also hear him reluctantly giving in to holding Deshwitat still while waiting for the sun to rise. It makes me wonder, how are those two people even related? I just can't understand how one so kind could be born of someone so insensitive and cruel, but maybe I can use that to my advantage. Yes. It is the only way I can save my only child, the product of what Elysee and I worked so hard to create. The product of our love for one another.
"Boy. Young boy," I start to Maybus' son. "Don't look at me, just listen. I can see a kindness in you that your father lacks. My son, Deshwitat, is also a kind soul. Please, I appeal to your good nature. Don't let him die like this."
"But my…What-what can I do?" the young boy stutters out.
"When the sun begins to burn my flesh, push Deshwitat off the cliff. Trust me, he will survive the fall."
The boy looks reluctant to do so, but complies anyway.
"Boy, what's your name?" I ask.
"Kalutika Maybus. Some people just call me Kal," he responds.
"Kal, perhaps in a better world, you and my son could have been friends." Again, there's that wish. I turn my attention to my son now. "Deshwitat, I don't know if you can hear me now, but I love you and I'm proud of you. Be strong, my son."
And then, there it is, the sun, and as expected, it burns.
"Now, Kal, push him, please!" I manage to strain out between bursts of pain. "Hurry, Kal! Now!" And then my son is falling, just as I wished him to.
While my body is quickly engulfed by flames, I think of my wish, the one that is hopeless and futile, but a wish nonetheless.
What did I wish for, you ask?
I wished I could have been human so none of this would have happened, where my family wouldn't have to live such a life of pain and misery. I wish for a normal life for my son.
It will never come true…