Blood Rose: Ch. 6

As he explained the origin of vampires, I listened with undivided attention, feeling the emotion of every word. I couldn’t block it out, no matter how much I wanted to. 

I was stuck, a prisoner of my own mind and body, as he spoke.

I felt the pride as he explained that, contrary to popular belief, vampires were not born from undead dead. Instead, they were an evolutionary species amongst the genus homo much like homo sapiens, but with an extra glitch in their DNA. This “glitch” allowed the species of vampire to thrive for several centuries, living mostly off the blood of mammals, though normal human food was just as digestible and sustainable for life. However, drinking blood also activated a peculiar ability to control the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. 

“For centuries we used our abilities to aide the development and protection of human civilization. We lived alongside our human brethren in harmony,” he said.

I felt the pain and the anger as he described the turn of events in the early fifteenth century that ended the harmonious existence of human-vampire alliance. Religious intolerance spread like wildfire, blazing through any hope of harmony between opposing cultures. The existence of vampires threatened the grand majority of the warring religions that had come to dominate human societies. 

Vampires were labeled as demons, witches, embodiments of pure evil, and thus were cast out of society, or worse hunted, and killed. 

“To escape the religious persecution and prevent our extinction, we used our power to create our own civilizations underground. Beyond that wall behind you is the entrance to our own version of Paris. There is a city like it underneath most of the major cities all over the world, a city inhabited entirely by vampires like myself.”

I shivered at the thought, imagining a hoard of vampires living beneath Phoenix like ants, the web of their city extending to my hometown. Was it possible they’d been under my feet my whole life without anyone knowing?

“Are you still listening, love? The effect of my empathic connection should be fading now, I’m afraid. I would prefer not to use it again unless it’s absolutely necessary,” he said. “I need you to pay attention, love. Do you think you can do that for me?”

I glared at him. “Empathic connection? What element is that related to? Or is there something you’re not telling me?”

“Ah, yes, I’ve saved the best for last, love. Humans are quite fascinating creatures. You possess powers of your own, though most of you spend your whole lives oblivious to the powers within you. Though it’s been quite a while since then, I remember my human life in vivid detail. I felt things very intensely as a boy and certainly as a young man. I empathized with others to an alarming degree. When my mother contracted the fever that took her life, I could feel the pain in her body, the fear as she realized she was approaching her death, and the peace when it finally took her. Evidently, this ability stayed with me after my transition into a vampire.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. If vampires evolved like modern humans, how can you just transition into a vampire? I’ve never heard of a chimp magically transitioning into a modern human. Evolution doesn’t work like that.”

“Indeed, it doesn’t. And that brings us to our current dilemma. Vampires can not just be created on a whim. True vampires are born from a particular human known as a Blood Rose. Only a Blood Rose can transition into a vampire. It’s unclear how the process works exactly, but to put it simply, a human Blood Rose becomes a vampire through the activation of a dormant vampire gene within their DNA. Only a Blood Rose possesses this dormant gene, and only a vampire can activate it.”

I felt sick as I suddenly realized why he intended to turn me into a vampire. I was a Blood Rose. My DNA contained the dormant vampire gene. I was one of them.

“Oh god. Oh no. I’m a Blood Rose, aren’t I? That’s…that’s what you meant, isn’t it?” I asked, and he nodded.

“Yes, love. You are a Blood Rose.”

“Oh god. I’m gonna be sick,” I said.

I tucked my head between my knees and took deep breaths, trying to quell the wave of nausea rising in my gut. This couldn’t be happening. This couldn’t be true. My existence suddenly felt like a betrayal to my family, to grandpa…

I flinched as Jay placed a hand on my back. “Breathe, love. Just breathe. I understand it’s quite a lot to take in. Just breathe.”

“No!” I said, swatting his hand and moving away from him. “You don’t understand! I can’t be a monster! I can’t do what that…that…thing did to my grandpa. I won’t! Take me back! Take me back right now! I’m done listening to your nonsense. I can’t take this anymore! Just take me back!”

“Take you back where, love? There’s nowhere left to go. The city of Paris has been destroyed, and more cities will continue to be destroyed if we don’t stop them.”

“No! You’re lying! This isn’t real! Who is ‘them’ anyway? Just take me back!”

He sighed. “That’s what I’m trying to explain to you, love. The creatures who murdered your grandfather, who destroyed the city, they weren’t vampires. At least not true vampires.”

“Really? Cause they certainly seemed like vampires to me.”

“Let me finish. They are and they aren’t. They are what is created when someone tries to artificially duplicate the vampire gene.”

I covered my ears with my hands, and screamed. I was done listening to him. I couldn’t handle anymore of this vampire nonsense. I just wanted to go back to my family.

I felt his arms wrap around me, pulling me against him. I tried to fight him, but he was too strong. I could feel my limbs getting heavy again, a sudden sleepiness taking over.

No, I thought. Not again.

And then everything went black.

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