“TOMMMASSSOOOO!” She screamed with such rage and anguish that it rang through the stone corridors long after she stopped screaming. She wasn’t far away. He smelled blood as well, and it smelled familiar. He closed his eyes and concentrated. Faintly he could hear Victoria talking. She must be talking to Camille.
“Shh, it’s ok honey. You’ll be fine.” He heard and sprinted towards the sound.
He slowed to a quiet walk as he came upon the two women. They were huddled on the stone floor, he tiptoed to within a few feet of them. Victoria’s back was to him. There was an ancient light fixture set into the stone ceiling a few feet past them that cast a faint light into the corridor.
“Mi amore,” he whispered as he crouched and placed his hand on her back. He could feel her sobbing and he could see Camille’s bright red hair cascading over her arm. He looked over her right shoulder and the young girl’s legs were still.
“Turn her Tommaso,” Victoria said, her head turning towards him slightly. In her profile he could see pure anguish. There was blood smudged on her chin and in her hair, her tears were rivers down her cheeks and she slowly rocked the girl in her arms.
Gently he stepped over them. He winced when he saw Camille. She’d been bitten bad, her throat was gashed open and there was blood down her chest. She would die very soon. The corridor was cool and quiet except for Victoria’s low moaning and sniffling.
“Victoria, I…” he began as he crouched down in front of them. The scent of the blood was overwhelming.
“Please Tommaso.” She said through deep sobs. “Please turn her.” Her voice hitched and her eyes presses shut. “I know she won’t be the same, but she doesn’t deserve to die.” Her eyes opened and in a barely audible whisper she said it one last time. “Please.”
In her eyes he saw such pain it caused him to shiver and clench his teeth. Witnessing his love in this much pain was too much to bear. In the past three months, Camille had become like a daughter to the both of them. He looked at the girl in Victoria’s arms and was struck by the whiteness of her skin. Her natural complexion was very fair, but now her freckles stood out as partners to the splatters of blood. Her full, curly red hair seemed orange next to the deep, red blood that had drained down her black t-shirt and denim jacket. The stone floor was a red-brown mess under the two women and the spaces between the old bricks ran like a macabre series of rivers.
He reached towards them and Victoria willingly let go. Gingerly he took the girl from Victoria and she scooted away, pressing herself against the stone wall, her hands gloved in rich, red blood. Tommaso cringed at the sight. Not one cell in his vampire body craved any of this blood.
Looking down at the her, he took in the sight of the teenage girl. Camille was slight in build, she looked younger than her actual age. Her big scuffed boots that her skinny jeans were tucked into, the collection of rings on her fingers, the triangle/circle tattoo on the inside of her wrist and the simple gold loop in her left nostril. He closed his eyes as he knelt and propped her against his chest.
He could feel the life slowly draining out of her. She was going to die. Period. The blood loss was too great and there was no way they could save her. In that moment he concentrated and went into the girl’s mind and what he saw caused him even more pain. He simply saw the three of them yesterday sitting at the cafe outside the Palazzo. They were all laughing. The girl was in bliss at that moment. Whatever her tragic life had shown her previously had been forgotten. She may die now, but he knew that in the short time they’d known her, she had been happy. She had a family. Finally. Opening his eyes he looked at Victoria and she was staring at him through huge eyes filled with tears.
“I’ve never done this before.” His voice raspy and broken. She mouthed one word. ‘Please.’ He knew she wasn’t making a rash request as he had told her of his turning nearly five centuries before.
He raised his left wrist to his right hand and swiped his thumbnail across the veins. The skin separated and thick blood began to flow. He pressed the cut to the girl’s lips. Slowly the blood seeped into her mouth and a few seconds later, her eyes fluttered. Victoria gasped. He held his hand to the girl’s mouth and her tongue began to move and her lips began to suck the open wound. Her hands blindly convulsed and drunkenly reaching up, she grasped his wrist, pressing his arm to her face. Camille’s eyes blinked and Tommaso looked to Victoria and he saw hope on her face. It would work, but they weren’t out of the woods yet.
“Victoria,” he whispered and the girl drank from him. “We are going to need to get out of here very soon. This is just the beginning.” He gently pulled his wrist away from her face. “Remember. I told you what happens next.” She looked directly at him and he could see the recognition in her blinking eyes. She was remembering the story of his turning; the death, the pain. “This isn’t going to be pretty and I don’t know how long we have. You go for the car.” She stood up quickly nodding. She looked around the corridor, trying to bring herself back to the moment and task at hand.
“You’re right.” She said looking at her hands and clothes. There was a fair amount of blood on her jacket and left thigh. She took off her jacket, wiped her hands, face and hair, turned it inside out and tied it around her waist so that bloody jacket covered the bloody jeans. At that moment Camille slumped in his arms, completely limp. She was dead. Human dead.
“Do you know where we are and where to go?” He asked. She nodded once. “I’ll wait in the doorway that leads to the street. It should be quiet as it’s on a side street. Honk twice when you’re outside.”
He reached for the keys in his back, left pocket, tossed them to her. She bent, placed her hand behind his head and kissed him hard. She pulled back slightly and looked into his eyes, searching.
“Ti amo anche, mi amore. I love you too.” he whispered and she turned and ran down the corridor. He watched her go, then licked his wrist a few times to help close the wound. He stood up and cradled Camille in his arms, she was as light as a pillow. He looked over his shoulder at all the blood on the floor, shook his head once and thought of Luciano. A deep, quiet rage began forming. He turned and started following Victoria.
copyright©2014 James T. Simon