Am I Human?
Too scared to say anything against Vancha, I just nod and silently follow him into the heart of town. I would never go through with it though. How the hell could I hunt a human and drink their blood if I'm still human? Well okay only half of me is human. But that still makes me half of a cannibal.
I mean I just accepted the fact that I was a vampire yesterday. 24 hours isn't really enough time to get accustomed to the whole drinking blood thing. And really I wasn't hungry. Maybe yesterday before I snacked on my best friend I was…but now I'm not. Hopefully there's some alternative to this whole blood ordeal. Animal meat is fulfilling to humans so why couldn't the blood be fulfilling to a Halfling.
It doesn't take us a long time to get to what Vancha calls our "hunting grounds," but Vancha sits there complaining about the time it takes us. Apparently he would have preferred flitting which I remember is running really fast. But alas since I'm only a Halfling I can't flit. Or at least I'm not supposed to be able to, there's a chance I can since I'm so different.
But even if I could it's impossible given my injuries. I could barely walk let alone run, so it took us a good fifteen minutes instead of one minute. I roll my eyes at his complaining though. Seriously this guy is centuries old and he's whining like a five year old. Except knowing me I whined quite a bit at, well I don't know how old I got to, so I imagine I have no room to talk.
He pulls me over to a tree and he pulls me behind it, hidden from human eyes. I clutch my head in pain as I'm transported into a memory. This time I'm looking at some middle aged fat man in a boy scout's suit walking home. All I do is stare at him and he comes up to make sure the little boy in the suit is okay. With him distracted a figure with orange hair and a scar along his face jumps from the tree and attacks the man. I stand there with a feeling of disgust.
Back in reality, I frown. I don't know why I was in a suit or how young I must have been when I was blooded, but something about the memory made me feel as if this was not the first time sucking human blood has repulsed me.
Vancha finds his target and breaths in his face, effectively knocking him out. With his nail he cuts a line along his arm and begins to feed. Sickened, I turn away. He gestures for me to take a turn and I shake my head vehemently in the same manner the boy, err I did in the vision. The vampire in front of me just scowls.
"Matt you have to feed, look how injured you are. Surely you want to feel better."
"I do, but not at the expense of my humanity," I snap at him.
He takes a step back and runs a hand through his hair, "It's not something you can say no to Matt, and drinking blood is who you are. You won't hurt the man or anything."
"Do you forget that I'm human?" I remind him. "I won't drink from one of my own."
Instead of saying anything he just picks the man up and begins him over to me, cutting his skin that healed itself and putting the running blood up to my nose. It smells really good and I'm about to cave in when I realize what I'm about to do and scream. The man and Vancha are pushed back by an invisible force and end up about a hundred yards away from me.
My sensitive hearing picks up Vancha's laughter and I scowl. What about this was so funny? He sees my glare and laughs even harder. Seriously what about this situation is funny? I growl at him and he is suddenly flying through the air, eventually landing at the base of a tree. However I still am incredibly pissed and as I stare at him, he screams out in agony.
Shaking my head, I return to reality and Vancha just stares at me. "Well on the bright side your eyes are back to normal." I still glare at him and he sighs before grabbing me and throwing me onto his back and flitting back towards the church.
When we get back Harkat looks at us and laughs, "Why's Matt on your back?"
"He realized how princely he was and refused to walk."
The two crack up and I clear my throat. Vancha turns around and sees me then gently puts me on the pew. "Actually Vancha wanted me to feed off of a helpless human and I refused."
"So you're still on that?" he asks and raises an eyebrow. Well I think he was raising an eyebrow…it's kind of hard to tell with him.
"On what? I'm not going to kill a person," I tell him seeing Vancha's face I continue. "And don't tell me I wouldn't be killing anyone because I've killed a friend by drinking them dry before!"
"Really?" Vancha asks with interest.
"Which you did on purpose to save Sam's memories."
"Wait what?" This was new information to me, well so was the other thing but I at least said that myself even though I don't recall the actual event. And the fact that his name was Sam was a bit disturbing.
"Yeah, he was dying and you wanted to save his memories. Actually he's the reason you like pickled onions so much."
"That carried over to this life," Vancha wrinkles his nose. "They smell awful and taste even worse." I glare at him and he continues, "Now blood on the other hand, now that smells and tastes good."
"Vancha has a point Matt," Harkat sighs. "It will definitely help you feel better."
"Larten would hate to see you like this," Vancha mumbles so softly I don't think I was supposed to hear it.
I growl and somehow I am pushed down, no longer in control of my body in a way. "How dare you use his memory in vain like that! You have no right to talk about him in any way. Neither of you, mention him again and I will hurt you." Deep down where my consciousness is I know the name is familiar and strikes a chord, but I cannot figure out why.
A tear slips down my cheek and the rain begins outside. "Just stop talking about any of this." I see a glaze sweep over their eyes and I groan as a surge of power ripples through my chest. Both Harkat and Vancha frown a moment later.
"What were we just talking about?" Vancha asks. "My memory seems to have escaped me. Please tell me Evanna isn't here, she does enjoy her tricks"
In control of my body once again, I look down sheepishly, "Um that may have been my fault. You guys pissed me off."
"And how did we accomplish this?"
"Let's not talk about it," I say quickly and change the subject. "Why don't you tell me more about this war I seem to be in the middle of."
This does the trick and for the next two hours the two of them debrief me on everything I need to know. But the problem is I don't know if I want to know it. I mean part of me feels deep in my bones that this is what I need to do, but the other part of me wants nothing to do with this. Really the only thing I can be sure of is that I really just want to keep everyone safe. And yes fighting in this war would save people, but I'd be hurt in the process and there'd be casualties, my friends.
Neither of them mentions any specific people or events, and I'm fine with that. I may not be the person they want, but whenever I hear things it feels as if it is me reliving the memories. And well, I don't think I could deal with the guilt that comes with them. Hearing names of people who've I indirectly killed, definitely not my idea of fun.
Eventually I get bored of hearing about bloodshed and lay down on the uncomfortable pew; surprisingly falling asleep much easier than I anticipated given how much pain I'm in. Except the second I drift out of consciousness I find myself smack dab in another one of my uncanny dreams. Octa is there to greet me and leads me through an endless land of fog and darkness to my school's football field.
I look down and see that I'm in my uniform and have the ball in my hand with my team around me. As I hike the ball and go into the soothing routine of playing football, I notice the other team. It's full of vampires and vampaneze and the guy who's making his way over to sac me is me.
Or it would be me if I was pale and my eyes were doing the whole silver and black and red swirling thing. I was smirking, and my face was stained red with fresh blood.
He, or me, or whatever runs through the offensive line and looks straight at me before running as fast as possible towards me. I try to run away, but I can only run at a human speed and even though it's fast for most people, my speed is not match for vampire speed. I throw the ball away before he tackles me.
As I land on the ground Octa crawls onto my head and I am rapidly disappearing, until I am no longer on the field and sitting on a sunny beach. My eyes bulge out of my head when I see the orange haired guy with the scar sitting in front of me in a tanning bed. For some reason I laugh and he scowls at me, "I don't know why you're laughing Matt. You're the one who managed to get tackled in that idiotic game of yours."
I don't even bother trying to figure out how he knows this. All I know is that for some reason the sight in front of me is a bit disturbing and I remember a conversation with a pretty girl about buying this man a tanning bed. I found it funny then as well and I guess it's because he's a vampire. Octa seems freaked out too, well I guess she is since it is hard to figure out what a spider means, and touches my head again.
Now the two of us, and Octa, are standing in a trailer with a coffin in it. "Much better," the guy says and sits down in a chair. I follow his actions and sit down next to him.
"I remember you."
"You do?" he asks with uncontained surprise and glee.
"Well not really," I admit. "But you're Larten Crepsley, I know that. And I've had a lot of flashbacks with you in it. I know that I know you, I just don't know all of the details."
"That's a start. Now why did you call me here Matt? Not that I don't mind seeing you and all, but I was in the middle of something."
"You mean that you were in the middle of something with Arra," I raise an eyebrow, getting a flash of a woman who looks really strong and could kick my ass any say of the week.
He glares at me, "Not funny or appropriate, but I'll let it slide given that without me you haven't learned any manners. Now what do you need help with?"
"I don't know, all I know is that I fell asleep and ended up on a football field trying to not get killed by myself."
"I'm aware of that, but what happened back in the waking world."
I think about it, "Um Steve almost killed me, but somehow I apparently defeated him because I'm some lord guy. Then I refused to feed and got into a fight with Vancha and Harkat and then I fell asleep."
"Still refusing to feed?"
"Don't start with me too!"
"It's my responsibility to take keep you in line your royal highness," he laughs before getting somber again. "I won't have this discussion at the moment, it's not the right time. But if you insist on being stupid, on your own head be it."
"I'm not being stupid…I'm being human!"
"I know, thus why you're being stupid. You aren't human Matt, you're not even a vampire in a way."
"You mean the whole lord of shadows thing? What does that mean exactly?"
"I died before it mattered," he says matter of factly and I frown at his attitude. "But being in paradise gives you a better perspective on things and allows you to see a lot. Basically it is exactly as it sounds."
"Shadows aren't alive," except they kind of were, I've seen that with my own two eyes.
Mr. Crepsley must have mind powers or something because he seems to know that I don't agree with what I just said, "You have the power to control the shadows and they will don anything to protect you."
"Is Steve a lord too?"
"No, the first war decided which of you two would gain the title and powers."
"Then why is he more powerful?"
"He's farther along with his transition than you are. As you could tell he has all of his memories and with that comes your powers. And don't ask about what you can and can't do, I'm not really sure."
"Why do we even have these powers though?"
He sighs, "I don't really know, I would bet the only one who does know is Desmond Tiny. He likes to meddle in the lives of mortals, but he can't actually do it himself, and no I don't know what he is exactly. Somehow he picked you and Steve and gave you these gifts or curses, whichever way you see it, and here you are."
"They weren't developed last time I was alive were they?"
"No, or they didn't exist I'm not really sure."
I nod and feel a pounding on my head, "I think someone's literally breaking my skull.
The dead vampire grimaces and curses, "Its Mr. Tiny, as you know last time we spoke he got through, this time your stronger and could keep in out, obviously you aren't strong enough though. This is where we must end our talk."
"But I have so many more questions! I'm not ready to leave and I still don't have any answers!"
"I know and I'm sorry, but we will speak again soon. Tell Vancha and Harkat that you have seen me, they will give you answers then. And speak to Evanna, she has answers that nobody else has."
Octa comes to touch my forehead again as I scream in pain, "Just tell me one more thing," I plead. "What the hell was my name?"
He chuckles and Octa transports me back to the football field. I start to hike the ball once again and see the anti-me on the other team, running towards me. This time I don't let him get to me. I'm not human so maybe I shouldn't be acting like one…but I'm not going to become a monster like him, I won't let the monster in me win.
I look at everyone's shadows and wave my hand. The shadows and the people all disappear. Leaving me vs. me. This time I look at the anti-me's shadow and take a deep berath before asking in my head for it to steal away the anti-me's strength. It does as I ask and I'm left as the only one on the field.
Some lines are from the Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan, hopefully you can find the two lines I used.