When Honesty is the Best Policy


I didn’t know how long I’d been out of it but it can’t have been long.  Skovajsa still had me by the neck, feet hanging helpless a foot from the floor.  Having been in this position many times before, I know my weight and the pressure on the arteries in my neck will cause me to lose consciousness (or suffocate me) in mere moments.  I lift my sagging head as much as I can to look Skovajsa in the eyes.

He seems to have been waiting for that very thing.  “You have not been paying attention.”  He says it matter-of-factly, no hint of displeasure in his voice.

I croak a response.  Impossible to talk with his hand around my throat and my struggling for breath.  Now is the moment when I find out how far gone this vampire is beyond the reach of society’s morays.  There’s really no reason to kill me.  No reason when he has gone to such lengths to seek me out and try to impress me.  Even if I could speak clearly, I would be tempted to keep quiet.  Petulant behavior should be met with stony silence.

The edges of my vision start to blur in that all too familiar way just as Skovajsa sets my feet back down on the floor.  He relaxes his grip a little but doesn’t release me.  My eyes dart for a moment around the room, making sure no one has taken note of the interaction.  The last thing I need is someone swooping in thinking they will save me and getting themselves killed in the process.  Disgruntled vampires are better left alone.

I cough thickly, trying to get the muscles in my throat to obey.

“I am over five hundred years old.  You have never met a vampire as old as I.  You should pay me better respect.”

I clear my throat.  “Actually, Skovajsa, I’ve met lots of old vampires.  If you want to be an elder, you need to work on your manners.”  I can’t help that a little anger enters my voice.  My skull is pounding like jack hammers are trying to get out of it.  But before he thinks to squeeze again, I add, “I’ve heard every word you’ve said.  The trials of the Carpathians are well documented.”

“You seemed distracted.”

“I was trying to place your origins, your maker.  I do have to think while I listen, Skovajsa.  It’s part of my job.”  Now the anger is barely contained.  You don’t give vampires orders but if he doesn’t remove his hand from my throat, we are effectively done.

‘You are familiar with my plight.”  His statement has a hint of a question.  Then he removes his hand.

I rub my neck and then bend over a bit to take a few deep breaths.  “Yes.  I know several of your brethren who suffered through those dark times.  And I can’t help you if you insist on doubting me.”  Time to push the boundary back into place.  “If you don’t trust me, then I cannot help you and we’re done.”

He frowns.  Not a practiced expression like so many of his I’ve seen.  This one looks sincere.  He doesn’t know what to do or say.  Then his hand reaches up and traces the outline of the bruises on my face.  I flinch but manage to hold my ground.  As his finger moves over my skin, he’s surprisingly gentle.

“What happened to your face?”

“I had a run-in earlier this evening and got kicked in the face.”  My policy with dangerous vampires, especially ones on the verge of killing me is always the same:  tell the truth.  That way, if they kill you, you take your best karma with you into the next life.

He drops his hand and continues to stare down at me.  The effort to keep upright, helped by my right arm clinging to the wall, is still substantial.  I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through this.

“I apologize.  I overreacted.”  It’s almost a question.

“I think we’re done for tonight.”

He looks really saddened by this.  He really does love to hear himself talk, I conclude.  “I will let you decide when next we can meet.”

He then steps away from me and strides away.  I watch him walk out of view before I start to slump to the floor.  There’s a play of shadow beside me and suddenly an arm reaches out.

“Auntie!”

For the third time this night, the dark gobbles me up.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: