Povídka: Dopis 08: Breaking Point

A short scene from Charles’s point of view. I could put it in episode 6 where it belongs, but since I wrote it separately it deserves its own post.

Words cca 1,400.

Episodes

Breaking Point

I sensed there was something wrong. I put aside the examination tools and carefully approached the door archway to the entrance hall. What I witnessed shattered my soul.

My partner and associate found himself in a mortal danger within a grasp of my maker. He held poor William in front of himself as a shield. Will was astonished and frozen under his influence, heavily bleeding from both nostrils, losing his consciousness slowly. His revolver was missing. That’s what Adrien held in the other hand, hidden behind Will. His fingers choking Will’s neck.

My face went a shade paler. Adrien arranged his revenge and we were about to die.

What can I do to stop this madness? He’ll shoot both of us without even blinking. Things can go south very quickly.

„Not him.“ I begged since there was no space for any argument left. I was desperate.

„Yes, him. Where it hurts most, Charles de Romanet, outcast of French noblemen.“ Oh, he knew something. Adrien’s voice sounded steady yet there was a vile tone to it. His dark eyes gleamed like the eyes of a wild animal.

A weakness knocked William to his knees. He managed to break through the mental barrier in the end and his lips shaped two words addressed to me. „Forgive me.“

Two gunshots struck him down. He twitched to a side as the projectiles pierced his beating heart and burst out of his chest. Another bullet penetrated his skull and went out in a gory fountain of blood. His eyes were blank and his voice died off mid-scream.

I covered the distance between me and his collapsing body in no time. I was able to catch him before he hit the floor. I was shocked yet able to ease him down gently. I pressed my palms against the exit wounds in an attempt to stop some bleeding. My heart was thumping heavily, powered by fear, anger and adrenaline surge.

He wasn’t there for a brief moment. His eyes switched colour from green to hazel, watered with involuntary tears of pain. His eyes always went green when he was stressed or afraid. And the head trauma seemed very definitive.

‚William..‘ I tried to reach whatever was left in his mind but without any coherent response. ‚Will..‘ I felt a piercing pain under my ribs, caused by a sudden grief. Our enemy hit the mark.

I didn’t dare to draw my own gun for our sake. A silly hope that Adrien is done lingered in the air. We all make mistakes, it’s beyond the pale that he let us know he’s very capable of revenge, but he didn’t proceed any further. His eyes met my gaze and whatever he found in there didn’t push him over the edge.

„You are young and foolish. I might understand why you did that to me but you couldn’t expect my utter forgiveness. I let you live since we are a rare breed and you share my bloodline. Even your own offspring is going to survive my surgery. You are predators but you are not invincible.“ He voiced his mercy out loud and clear and turned away, leaving as he did in that basement back in the woods.

„How is that possible, Adrien d’Aumont?“ I had to try to stop him.

„So, you know who I am.“ He halted and turned back. His head slightly tilted, thinking.

„Yes. I had to know. You existed in a very dark era.“ I risked my hide.

„Only lack of knowledge makes the era dark. It was as dark as your world.“ He pointed out.

„I would like to learn more, please, you are the only one.“ And I begged him again.

„Stay in the shadows. People know about you. London’s mafia boss knew about you. You are very exposed. Don’t you dare to bring your world’s madness onto me. I have no desire to deal with that.“ He seemed to be utterly uninterested. I tried and I failed.

„As far as I know you were unwise in the past also. How dare you hurt us like that.“ I let some steam escape.

Adrien happens to be the only other vamp we knew was alive after all and I very much desired to communicate with him, but he won’t let me infiltrate his mind fortress built from privacy and reinforced with utter solitude. Also following him wherever he was heading wasn’t possible since he put us in such a vulnerable position.

„You better check on your boy, medic.“ And he was gone like that. I was defeated.

I felt a frail heartbeat under my bloodied palm. The blood was still oozing from the wounds and I couldn’t do much but put a pressure on it. The head injury almost knitted itself shut and healed. The process took much longer than appreciated as the time changed and every second seemed like a century.

Since William is the youngest of our kind he is also most definitely defenceless against four hundred years old vampire. When I shot Adrien back in the days, the speedy recovery exceeded all my darkest imagination. The toughness comes with age I guess. We weren’t a match to his powers. And he knew it.

I should have protected William better. I was so consumed by my own issues that I didn’t realise his uneasiness comes from an external source, waiting nearby for the opportunity to strike. Our attacker chose the privacy and solitude of this land instead of London, not involving anyone else, which was surprising but not really. Who would have known that Adrien is going to survive my attempt to blow him into pieces, follow us up here and play his little act. And we were absolutely oblivious to his presence through all those years. He let himself known and I’ll become more vigilant from now on, considering his merciful gesture. Of course it can be a foul play. I cannot tell I had the chance to know my maker better as he simply left me helpless and to my own fate.

I have to focus on things I can do something about. I have to help my friend, who had been shot because of me, because it truly hurts the most. Maybe I should stay within these walls for eternity, painting landscapes, locking adventure outside the door. Hmm, I really was audacious when speaking to Adrien, wasn’t I? Maybe we can talk again one day in another century without murdering each other.

I dived deep into my thoughts when I felt a soft touch on my cheekbone. „Charles, it will get better, trust me.“ Poor William was aware, telling me words of comfort. He was covered in his own blood from a head trauma and chest injuries. I’d like to apologize but he wouldn’t accept that due to the awkwardness of the situation.

„Oh, God. I’ll get you some relief. How’s your head?“ I asked him, waking up from my misery.

„Better.“ I believed him.

I brought him a pillow and a blood can. I attempted to clean his face a bit with a wet towel.

„Not yet, please.“ He didn’t allow me to touch his temples yet, since the spots were very much oversensitive at the moment.

„Help me with that bottle?“ He asked me, his eyes were still of hazel colour and I was glad at least for that little sign that he is going to be alright.

„Yes, of course.“ He was able to drink nourishing crimson fluid, provided by our reliable ally from the hospital, who also knew about our true nature and found himself in a life threatening position because of it.

Who would have predicted what is going to happen when I saved his little daughter. She was injured in a car accident. I used to be a field surgeon and was trained to help people. I wouldn’t leave her behind even if I knew what comes from all of it. Yet all the events sparked something wholly human and shell shock took the charge. I resisted a few mild seizures but the main wave knocked in some shooting-at-people later. I became quite fragile and only facing the truth and the past helped me fight it. I didn’t fall apart and God knows I owe Will a big time. He was always there for me. It may be my turn to be here for him.