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Hold Back the Night – Chapter 12

Chapter 12

October 11 – Fifteen Years Ago

The brightly lit Eiffel Tower stood out against the dark Paris sky like a jewel pendant fastened to a black silk jacket.  It was a dazzling accessory to an already dazzling city and Ondine and Vincent soaked up the ostentatious atmosphere until they were dizzy.  Although they were both immortal beings, Ondine didn’t have to adhere to a vampire’s blood-only diet and could indulge in mortal delicacies like escargot, frog’s legs, and her personal favorite, miniature hot dogs wrapped in croissants.

As Vincent watched Ondine finish her third flute of Dom Perignon, he realized he understood very little of this supernatural being in female flesh, except that she was the ideal person to help him seek his revenge.  Since meeting her for the first time three years ago while riding on the Orient Express, he had learned that beneath the exotic European veneer lay a vicious heart and an unscrupulous soul.  It was that combination that both titillated and terrified him.

During their first night of intense, and sometimes, painful, lovemaking, Ondine told Vincent that their meeting was not accidental.  She had been watching him since his birth and felt it was time for an introduction.  She spoke to him plainly that night but her words altered how he looked at his world, his future, and especially his past.  He vowed that night to wait for the perfect moment to inflict horror and pain on the one person who deserved to suffer as much as Vincent had suffered throughout his lifetime.  At the time Vincent thought it merely coincidental that Ondine also sought revenge against Perry Love.  Years later he would find out the link between him, Ondine, and Perry was not at all a coincidence.

With the glare and the noise of the Eiffel Tower as their backdrop, Ondine and Vincent sat at a small table in a small café aware that they made a beautiful pair.  The smoke from Ondine’s hand-rolled Turkish cigarette wafted over Vincent and reminded him of their train ride.  He could hear Ondine’s words from that first encounter as clear as if she were repeating them to him now.

“In three years time an event will occur that will afford you the opportunity to inflict pain onto Perry Love and his entire family.  I will come for you then and I will help you destroy that man.”

“And how shall I repay you?” Vincent had asked.

“You, my sweet, handsome, child of the darkness,” Ondine whispered, “will be indebted to me for your lifetime.”

“That could be forever.”

Ondine smiled at the vampire, then chortled: “Yes it could.”

Three years dragged on until this moment when the Parisian social scene swirled around them and Ondine continued to gorge herself with delicacy after delicacy.  She had a ravenous appetite and Vincent wondered just how many dinners she had consumed during her several centuries reign on this Earth.  Since their first meeting Ondine had offered bits and pieces of her past to Vincent, typically while resting next to him after making love.  She told him that she was not meant to be of this Earth, but had learned to

make the most of her circumstances, leading Vincent to form the impression that she was bitter about living among humans.  She also told him that although she looked like a human, she had nothing in common with what she referred to as ‘the inferior race’.  Yes, she possessed a soul, but she also possessed a physical body that had yet to finish out its first lifespan.  She was the envy of mortals and immortals alike.

And although Vincent knew there were secrets hidden within Ondine’s soul, he was savvy enough to know that those secrets would remain hidden until Ondine decided to relinquish them, or until some stronger power exposed them for all the world to see.  He prayed that if that ever happened, it would happen during the night.

“I can tell you’re growing anxious, Vincent,” Ondine said between drags of her cigarette.

“Three years of waiting will do that to you,” Vincent replied.

“Three years to a vampire is like three minutes to a human,” Ondine said.  “You obviously hate Mr. Love as much as I do.”

“Yes, I do.  And you know why,” Vincent said, and then asked, “Will you ever tell me why you have a vendetta against him?”

Ondine jabbed her cigarette into the ashtray until its flame was put out and Vincent could see darkness fill her eyes.  When she looked up at him, he was startled by the physical transformation.

“He treated me unkindly.”

In the distance firecrackers exploded and the sky erupted into a pastiche of purple, pink, and persimmon lights.  The colors seemed to bounce off of Ondine’s raven-black hair and the cacophony of sound and light seemed to please her, for she smiled broadly and laughed at the spectacle.

“It’s time!” she declared as she rose from the table.  “Let’s pay Perry Love and his family a visit.”

“Where are we going?” Vincent asked.

“To a little town called Nightfall,” Ondine replied.  “I think you’ll like it.”

 

Vincent, Adam, and Edwina

Drops of blood dripped excruciatingly slow from Adam’s fangs and fell onto Edwina’s face.  As if hypnotized, Vincent watched each drop gather, descend, then splatter on Edwina’s lips, which were beginning to turn an interesting shade of blue.  Most of her fingernails were broken from digging into the cold earth in an attempt to brace herself against Adam’s assault.  Her pink tweed Chanel mini-skirt was torn in three places and her black Manolo Blahnik pumps were scattered among the twigs and underbrush. Vincent took all this in as well as Adam, who was panting loudly, and wasn’t sure if he was more furious that Adam had disobeyed his order not to feed without him or because he obviously didn’t understand the severity of the situation.

Finally the enraged vampire spoke: “Do you have any idea what you’ve done?”

“Father she’s only a human,” Adam replied as he dipped his finger into the open wound on Edwina’s neck.

“She’s more than just a human!” Vincent screamed.  “She’s Perry Love’s daughter!”

“You’re confusing me Father,” Adam said quietly.  “You told me not to concern myself with humans and now you’re telling me that I should be worried because I’ve harmed one.”

Vincent slapped Adam’s hand away as he tried, yet again, to dip his quivering finger into Edwina’s neck for another taste of her still-warm blood.

“Who do you think is my business partner?” Vincent asked.  “Who do you think owns the laboratory and the scientists who are trying to discover a serum so you will never have to fear the sunlight?”

Shocked registered not only on Adam’s face, but his entire body as well.  He knew that his father was working steadfastly to find a way to strengthen his vampire blood; but he didn’t know the vainglorious serum could potentially change his chemistry so he could walk the earth for eternity as a human does and not run from the glorious rays of the sun.  Nor did he waste a moment wondering who Vincent was working with,  Adam just assumed Vincent was working alone, like he always did.

“Perry Love is your partner?” Adam commented more than asked.

“Yes!” Vincent replied.

“You consider that repulsive little man your equal?” Adam asked.

“No of course I don’t consider him my equal,” Vincent said, “and Perry Love knows he is not my equal.  And that is why he is looking for any excuse to withdraw from our partnership.”

Vincent pointed to Edwina’s unmoving body and continued: “I believe Perry will find this a perfect excuse!”

Both men stared at Edwina with growing dismay.  Adam finally understood why Vincent tolerated Perry and why he was now so distraught over the sight of a blood-soaked Edwina.  He felt his body grow discomfortingly hot as he realized he was the cause of his father’s suffering.

“Maybe he won’t link her death to us,” Adam said with wide-eyed innocence.

Vincent looked at his son with wide-eyed shock before speaking: “Adam, you have practically bitten off her neck.  She must have five drops of blood left in her body.  I don’t think Perry will have a difficult time tracing his daughter’s death back to us!”

“Do you think Perry will destroy the experimental serum once he finds out?” Adam asked.

“If we can’t fix this . . . this . . . situation, that’s exactly what he’ll do,” Vincent said.  “And we’ll never be able to produce another serum in enough time.”

The night wind roared between them and Adam felt his father succumb to defeat right before his eyes.  It was the first time Adam saw Vincent look so beaten and he knew he had to shake him from his depression.

“Then do something Father,” Adam said.  “Don’t let me down.”

If Vincent weren’t interrupted by the scent of fresh human blood wafting on the wind, he would have responded to his son’s arrogance with a father’s displeasure.  But the predicament he found himself in demanded immediate action and fate had once again brought him an escape.  In the distance, at Serenity Pond to be exact, was the answer to their problem.

 

Norway Calling

It wasn’t until the third ring that Perry stirred from his bed.  He reached for the phone and noticed Madeline was still asleep.  The tranquil expression on his wife’s face filled Perry with envy for he longed to know such peace.  Ironically, Madeline wasn’t at peace, she was just tired.

“Hello,” Perry said groggily into the phone.

“Perry!”

The shrieking voice on the other end of the phone was unmistakably that of Astrid.  He glanced at the clock and saw that it was only a few minutes after midnight, which meant it was about five a.m. in Oslo.  He wondered why emergencies always erupted at the most inconvenient hours.

“What’s wrong now Astrid?” Perry said in a patronizing tone.

“You didn’t tell me Vincent Savage is a vampire!” Astrid shouted back.

Fully awake now, Perry walked with the cordless phone onto the bedroom’s balcony.

“Astrid I need you to calm down,” Perry said.

“Don’t pretend I just discovered you’ve been cheating on your taxes, which I know for a fact you are!” Astrid replied, grabbing her hair in a clump and yanking it in frustration.  “Vincent paid me a visit tonight and he doesn’t have a reflection!”

“I know,” Perry replied.

“Well when the hell were you going to let me in on the secret!?”

“I didn’t think there was any need to tell you.”

Intensely frustrated by Perry’s apathetic attitude, Astrid slammed the phone on the steel desk in her laboratory several times imagining that the table was Perry’s head.

“I always knew you were a duplicitous and balding man, I had no idea you were suicidal as well.”

“I have known Vincent for a long time,” Perry said.  “He will not harm anyone.”

“Unless we can’t produce his precious serum in time,” Astrid yelled back.

“Well, yes . . .”

“I signed onto this team because you told me we were looking for a cure for rare blood diseases,” Astrid said.  “I thought we were going to help people.”

“You are Astrid, you’re helping more people than you can imagine.”

“I’m helping Vincent Savage walk in the sunlight!”

Perry slid open the sliding glass door and peered into his bedroom to make sure Madeline was still asleep.  Although he was whispering he felt that every word Astrid spoke was echoing through the halls of Nightwind.

“Can you imagine what will happen if Vincent’s vampire buddies get hold of this serum?” Astrid asked, peering out through the sliding glass doors overlooking the forest and suddenly feeling very vulnerable.  “I can’t believe I’m even using the phrase ‘vampire buddies’ in a sentence.”

“This serum will only be used for one person: Vincent’s son Adam,” Perry said.

“How stupid I was!” Astrid screeched.  “I thought Adam was the name of this experiment, like Adam, the first son, not Adam, the vampire!”

“Stop ranting and listen to me,” Perry commanded.  “Adam is the only one who will benefit from this serum.”

“Are you that foolish?” Astrid asked incredulously.  “They’re not going to stop with just one guinea pig.  If it works on Adam, every vampire on the planet will want it.”

“No, that’s not why Vincent and I began this research,” Perry whispered loudly.  “We just want Adam to have the best of both worlds.”

Perplexed, Astrid stared into the phone before asking: “What do you mean ‘you and Vincent’?  Why do you care if a vampire can walk in the sun?”

Perry let out a sigh before replying: “Adam Savage is my grandson.”

October 11 – Fifteen Years Ago

No matter how many times he made the mutation from vampire to eagle, Vincent was still overwhelmed by the sheer joy of flying.  His swift preternatural movements on land didn’t match the feeling he got as an eagle, soaring high above mountains and oceans, through wind and clouds.  Gliding through space now with Ondine, he felt the same sheer joy.  Through ancient magic that manipulated physics, Ondine was able to transform her physical energy into a different, weightless entity.  She soared miles above the Earth’s surface as a ball of orange light next to Vincent as a black eagle.  Together, they looked like a very elaborate Halloween display.

When they landed on the beach near Nightwind, Vincent’s talons sunk into the wet sand and allowed the cold, rushing waves to wash over them before transforming back into a vampire.  By the time he did, Ondine was standing next to him looking every inch a raven haired beauty.

“Welcome to Nightfall,” Ondine said.

“I know this land,” Vincent replied.

“You should,” Ondine said.  “It’s your birthplace.”

Vincent walked several steps behind Ondine on the beach and allowed her words to sift through his memory.  He had no pleasant memories of his childhood, he could not quietly reflect on his mother’s love when he was feeling melancholy nor could he remember the strength of his father’s hand when he was feeling lost and confused.  For as long as Vincent could remember he had only himself to rely on, and for the most part, he had served himself well.  For that reason it was oddly comforting to be able to acquiesce to Ondine’s decisions and let her lead the way.  Acting as the submissive partner was a new role for Vincent to play, but he found it enjoyable.

After they walked for about a mile Ondine pointed out a magnificent castle in the distance.  The structure was clearly out of place and not the sort of building Maine, or for that matter America, was noted for.  But it stood out regally with the beach and ocean behind it and dense forest in front.  Ondine paused and grabbed Vincent’s arm: “Take a good look Vincent.  This is Nightwind, it’s where you were born.”

 

Vincent, Adam, and Edwina

The calmness of Serenity Pond always soothed Noelle Parker’s anxieties. She didn’t believe the legend about Amelia and the mysterious and destructive raven-haired woman, but she did know that if she came to this spot with a troubled heart and prayed under the stars long enough, a part of her pain and confusion would be lifted.  She was here now because she was grieving for the loss of her fiancée, David Anderson.

Six months from now she was supposed to be exiting St. Agatha’s chapel on David’s arm as his wife.  After hearing about David’s violent and unexplained death, she couldn’t imagine living six months without him.  As fate would have it, she wouldn’t have to.

As Noelle knelt at the pond’s edge, she didn’t hear Vincent creep up behind her and since he didn’t cast a reflection onto the pond’s surface, she didn’t see him either.  She did, however, feel his breath on her neck and was about to run until she saw David’s smiling face staring back at her from the pond.

While she hesitated, Vincent’s long, slender hand clamped around Noelle’s mouth triggering the girls’ body to squirm and trounce wildly.  Vincent wrapped his other arm around her body, but loosened his grip slightly so as not to break her neck accidentally.  In order for his plan to work, he needed Noelle alive.

Through the woods he ran with his treasure, stumbling several times due to Noelle’s desperate attempts to escape as well as due to his own frazzled nerves.  Vincent hadn’t felt this nervous since he crossed over to the Golden Life when he was only 18 years old.  This was the most important hunt he had ever engaged in and it was made more complicated because he couldn’t call upon all his preternatural strength and agility.  As a result, Noelle, who had spent her childhood exploring this part of Nightfall, knew just when to turn left to miss falling into a trench or just when to duck to escape hitting a drooping branch.  Vincent was not that lucky.

As he approached a giant oak tree he misjudged the thickness of one of its gnarled branches.  Thinking he could easily break it, he extended his arm and maintained his incredible speed as he got closer.  But the oak was more formidable than it looked and the only crack that occurred was Vincent’s right arm.  Stunned, Vincent cried out in pain as his right arm dangled helplessly at his side.

Without looking back, Noelle could sense her attacker was in trouble and used it to her advantage.  She began to scream even louder for help and as the adrenaline pumped into her heart, her legs began to move quicker than before and her arms pumped with an even more determined fury.  All the time she saw David’s face smiling at her encouragingly.

But unfortunately Noelle’s foe was more than a violent man; it was a desperate vampire.  Vincent ignored the pain in his arm and focused on the matter at hand, he needed this woman to save his son’s life.  Like a bolt of lightning, Vincent charged through the forest, gliding over rocks, soaring through branches until he swooped over Noelle and grabbed her by the back of her hair.  Terrified, Noelle watched the ground whoosh past her feet as she soared a foot above the earth.  The pain in the back of her head was excruciating and she thought her hair was going to be ripped away from her scalp.  She tried to grab hold of a tree, but she was being whisked too quickly over the land until her foot got tangled in a vine and she hit the ground with an astounding thud.  When she rolled over, David’s smiling face was replaced with Vincent’s, which was contorted into a portrait of pure evil, a mask of gnarled and undulating flesh.  In that instant the girl knew her life had come to an abrupt end and with the inner knowledge that she could not fight this inhuman presence that hovered over her, she closed her eyes and prayed to God for mercy.

As God listened to Noelle’s plea, Vincent used his good arm to fling the girl over his shoulder until he reached Adam.  He dropped Noelle’s body next to Edwina’s and by this time the young woman only had the strength to mumble a prayer.  Adam looked at Noelle, then at his Father.

“Is this some sort of joke?” Adam asked.

“This, my son, is our salvation.”

 

Norway Calling

The truth engulfed Astrid like quicksand.  Suddenly she understood why this research was so important to Perry and why the project was carried out with discretion and its benefactor was kept mysterious and, until now, distant.  She had been duped into participating.  She had been paid extraordinarily well, but still, she had been duped.  And Astrid hated when men betrayed her regardless of the circumstances.

“You used me!” Astrid cried.

“I gave you a state-of-the-art facility and the chance of a lifetime,” Perry replied.

“To resurrect your vampire grandson to the land of the living!” Astrid shouted back, finally free from the shock of learning she was working to help the undead.

“He is my flesh and blood Astrid,” Perry said.  “Can’t you understand that?

“Just how dysfunctional is your family tree, Perry?” asked Astrid.

Perry knew that his family history was, at best, eccentric.  He also knew that if he divulged the secret role he played in creating that history he would alienate Astrid even further.

“It doesn’t matter how it happened, but Adam Savage is my grandson,” Perry said calmly.  “And I want him to experience life like all my descendants.”

“Well he can’t!” Astrid replied.  “And do you want to know why? Because he’s a vampire!”

“Stop shouting! Someone might hear you.”

Astrid looked around the spacious, but empty, lab, then looked out the window at the forest below.  “You’ve got me in the middle of nowhere, twelve stories above barren land.  No one’s going to overhear me!”

“Astrid I need you to pull yourself together and think rationally.”

“I am,” Astrid said.  “And the only rational thing for me to do is quit this project.”

Despite the chill in the late night air, Perry felt a warm sensation race up to his heart.  Astrid’s words frightened him beyond belief and he knew he had to find some way to change her mind.

“You can’t abandon me!”

“Watch me!” Astrid yelled back.  “And then watch me tell the media that vampires are on the loose.”

Perry gripped the railing of the balcony until his knuckles were as white as the foam that scurried along the beach’s shore.  All the precautions he took to conceal Vincent’s identity were just an exercise in futility because Vincent had been careless.  Perry’s mind wandered as he realized Vincent’s fury was merely bravado and that he was just as frightened of failure as Perry was.  Right now, however, he had to handle Astrid.

“I understand that you’re upset and confused,” Perry said, “but if you leave the project now Vincent will kill you.”

“Not if I kill him first.”

“What?”

“Before I give the legion of the undead the ability to walk among humans in the light of day,” Astrid said, “I will kill him.”

Without looking into a mirror, Perry knew that his face was now as white as his knuckles.  “You simply are no match for Vincent.”

“I disagree,” Astrid said.  “And if I have to Perry, I will kill your grandson too.”

The dial tone roared in Perry’s ears as he realized he had lost control of yet another woman in his life.

 

Vincent, Adam, Edwina, and Noelle

Vincent pushed Adam away and positioned himself between both women.  Edwina, who was clinging to life as bitterly as she lived it, didn’t move.  But Noelle was starting to awake so Vincent knew he had to work quickly.  He pushed back Noelle’s long hair and plunged his fangs into her neck.  Noelle cried out and her body spasmed involuntarily as Vincent fed.  When her cry became a moan Vincent retracted his fangs.

Adam watched with curiosity and noticed that Vincent had not swallowed Noelle’s sweet fluid, but was holding it in his mouth.  Then, Adam watched as Vincent bit into Edwina’s neck and let Noelle’s blood flow into her.  Faster and faster Vincent repeated this transference of blood until Noelle’s skin became translucent and her body ceased to move.  By this time Edwina’s complexion had returned almost completely to its natural color.  Vincent’s tongue brushed across her wounds until only a small scar was left on her neck.  It might be noticed by the high-maintenance woman, but he figured Edwina would opt for a scar on her neck over a massive wound surrounded by swollen and/or dangling flesh.

“Father, you are amazing,” Adam said.  “I can’t believe what you’ve done.”

“When will you learn that I meet any challenge imposed upon me,” Vincent replied.  “Even one from my own son.”

Adam felt a stab of emotional pain and tears well up in his eyes.  With one foolish act he had betrayed the man who would sacrifice his life for him.

“I’m sorry Father.”

“I will deal with you tomorrow,” Vincent said.  “The moon is beginning to hide and so must we.”

“What are you going to do with them?” Adam said pointing to Noelle and Edwina’s bodies.

“I’ll tuck Edwina in her bed and no human will be the wiser.”

“And that one?”

“That one will be at the mercy of the angels and the vultures,” Vincent said.  “Whichever ones come first to get her.”

“I am sorry Father.  I know I still have much to learn.”

“And I will teach you,” Vincent said as he whisked Edwina into his arms.  “But you must obey me.”

“I will,” Adam replied with a heart filled with sincerity.  “From this day forward I will.”

Adam watched Vincent race down the beach to bring Edwina home.  And as he ran home to his coffin he had no idea that the souls of Noelle and David cavorted happily with each other just a few feet above him.

 

October 11 – Fifteen Years Ago

Standing so close to his birthplace, all the horrible memories of his childhood rushed back into Vincent’s psyche with such force that he became lightheaded and clutched Ondine’s arm for support.  With his preternatural ability to see things clearer than humans he was able to transport his mind back to when he was only a newborn child.  He saw himself greeting the sunlight for the first time after spending nine months in his mother’s womb and he felt his father’s first embrace.  It would also be the last time his father would hold him as a baby.

He could see himself as a child squealing and squirming in his father’s arms.  And he could see Perry Love looking back at him, with disinterest, if not disdain.  Instinctively, Vincent, as a baby, tried to turn to face his mother in an attempt to receive some love and kindness, but Madeline had been sedated heavily by the hospital staff upon Perry’s request and couldn’t offer her son anything but a blank stare.  She merely lay there sleeping and had no idea that her husband was orchestrating a plan that would alter their lives forever.

The Vincent who stood before Nightwind tried to shake these images from his brain, but he couldn’t.  They were too strong and lay dormant for too many years for them to be brushed off to the section of his mind that was designed to forget atrocities.  Just as he was facing the place of his birth for the first time in his life, so too must he face his secrets.

Perry placed Vincent into the hands of a woman who was standing nearby.  She was dressed as a nurse, but even as an infant Vincent understood her uniform was a disguise.  He noticed with a baby’s innocent eyes the stark contrast between her white dress and her raven black hair.

Vincent was stunned by this revelation.  He always knew his father gave him away voluntarily without the consent of his mother, but he always thought Perry gave him to the people who raised him and who ultimately turned him into a vampire.  The same people who tortured him and abused him, both physically and emotionally, for the first fifteen years of his life.  But he was wrong.  Perry gave him to Ondine.

Ondine’s words made Vincent focus on the present: “After my beloved Perry left me to die,” Ondine began, “I thought the most eloquent revenge would be to take life from him.”

“But why did Perry agree to it?” Vincent said sounding much more like a confused human than a powerful vampire.

“Because I tricked him,” Ondine said.  “You probably haven’t noticed but my magic is not as powerful as it once was.  When you were born I was able to stand before Perry and have him think I was someone else.  I told him I saw him that Christmas Eve in 1956 when he dug a grave for that poor, unfortunate French woman.  I also told him I was a barren woman and that I wanted a child of my own.  Perry eagerly consented to give up his son.  Until this day Perry thinks I died in that car crash.  Someday I’ll show him how wrong he is.”

“So it was you who gave me to the people who raised me.”

“Yes,” Ondine replied, then shrugged.  “I misjudged their character, but they did make you a vampire so things didn’t turn out quite so bad.”

“Do you know the agony I went through as a child?” Vincent asked.

“Please, Vincent, you’re not impressing me by exposing your human side,” Ondine said.  “We’ve all had a rough go of it.  Someday I’ll tell you about my childhood and if you’re stilling channeling your humanity you will weep for me.  But now we have other matters at hand.”

In the distance Vincent could see people cavorting underneath a striped tent on the beach.  Balloons were dancing in the breeze and people, young and old alike, were swaying to the music.  Vincent and Ondine moved closer, but Ondine created a mist so that they couldn’t be seen with human eyes.

“This is your family Vincent,” Ondine said.  “There are your parents, Perry and Madeline.  Notice how much distance separates them.  And there is your sister Edwina with a martini glass fastened to her manicured hand, and your boring brother Anthony.  His hand is in his pants pocket clutching a rosary.  Let’s show them how well a rosary can protect them.”

“Who is that?” Vincent asked.

“Ah, I was wondering when you would notice her,” Ondine said.  “That is your sister Amanda.  Actually she is your twin sister.  Personally I don’t see a resemblance, but humans are always searching for connections, however tenuous and frail they may be.”

In Vincent’s memory as a baby he could hear another newborn’s cry while he was being led out of the room.  He had always tried to see who was making the cry, but he was never able to do so.  Now he knew that cry came from Amanda.

Suddenly the irony of the situation struck him and he let out a laugh.  He had come here with Ondine to kidnap Perry’s grandson to make Perry pay for giving him away as an infant.  He never suspected that he would be kidnapping his twin sister’s child.  For a moment his conviction faltered, but for only a moment.  He wanted to hurt Perry and he wanted a chance to give a child the type of life he had never known.  Hurting his twin would be the price he would have to pay.  But as he watched Amanda hold her son’s hand as they walked into the ocean, he vowed that some day he would reunite them.

He watched Ondine raise her hand to the moon and felt time stop.

“Would you really like to touch the moon, Joey?”  Vincent asked.

“Yes, sir.  Can you take me there?”  Joey replied.

Vincent knelt down and met Joey’s gaze wonder for wonder.  Then Vincent looked up and saw Perry standing before him.  Obviously Ondine had allowed Perry to escape her grasp and witness the event as it unfolded before him, all the better so he could watch Vincent’s revenge but be unable to prevent it.

“Will you let me say goodbye to my grandson before you take him away?” Perry asked.

“Why should I?” Vincent asked, too consumed with emotion to even stand.  “You never said goodbye to me when you gave me away.”

“I had no choice,” Perry said quietly.

“We all have choices Perry,” Vincent replied.  “You chose to be a coward and this is the price you have to pay.  From now on whenever you look into your family’s eyes and see their pain and confusion you will know that you caused it.  Every bad thing that’s happened to this family is because of you.”

Perry stared at the vampire who once was his son and remained silent for he knew he was hearing the truth.  Nothing could change what he understood was fact, not if he shouted with anger or if he cried tears of anguish, so he did what he always did, he turned away.

Just a foot away Amanda stood motionless and Vincent was overcome by their physical resemblance.  They both had the same golden hair and delicate features and although Vincent’s eyes were now crimson and not light blue like Amanda’s, they both were filled with sadness.  Sadness that they had experienced and sadness that they knew for certain would come.

“Sir,” Joey asked, interrupting Vincent’s thoughts.  “Can you really take me to the moon?”

“Yes.  Will you follow me?” Vincent replied

“Yes.”

“Forever?”

“Forever.”

Unseen to Perry and the other mortals on the beach, Ondine lowered her hand and time resumed its count.  Perry watched his family scramble as they began their search for Joey, who, along with Vincent were nowhere to be found.  With an emptiness where his soul used to be, Perry joined his family in their futile attempts to find the little boy who, only moments earlier, was celebrating his fourth birthday.

 

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