welcome to my world [story part 48]
April 24, 2013 § 12 Comments
I managed to set everything up, set a small fire, light the small portable stove which took quite some time because of the cold, and managed to set-up some ice to melt, boil and cool for drinking water. Regina didn’t need any, and even if she did she managed to just chew on snow even if we both knew that was a very bad choice in terms of maintaining your temperature. I on the other hand, I was worried about germs. I’m not usually even thinking about that, but in that environment right there, that was the last place you wanted to get stuck with a stomach bug.
These are non-details, and most of the time I don’t discuss them because it would be just much more to write and for you to read, but they just expose the real side of it all. It might seem at times as just this long trail of day of adventure after another, but in reality most of it was carefully planned and often turned into misery.
To think of it, a lot of you have been asking me how can you cook in such an environment. It’s simple. You carry one of these. Make sure to choose a propane and not iso-butane one, as the propane one burns at a higher temperature, for longer and works in very extreme cold conditions.
In any case, by the time I finished all that, Regina was appearing from the tunnel I had left her in, almost 3 hours earlier, time in which we kept talking with one another by means of shouting – not very efficient – she was dragging Sigismund behind her.
It wasn’t really a big block of ice, more like the backside was free of ice altogether and the front side had some 2-3 cm of ice. It was still more advantageous to drag it rather than carry it, so there you have it.
She placed it between the small fire and the stove. I said absolutely nothing in all this time. I was looking at my water, not raising my head, peeking at what she was doing now and then, but in the end I didn’t say a word.
I was used by now. She would explain what and when she wanted, and nothing that I said or did could force her to do it sooner.
The ice started to thaw slowly and slowly. Meanwhile we barricaded the best we cold each and every entry and tunnel to trap as much heat as we could. We needed it to thaw it faster because we couldn’t stay much longer. It would take us 2 days to get to the coast and someone was coming for us, on a schedule.
We sat there and talked about hopes and expectations. Regina was positively sure he would come back to life. Surely, he wouldn’t have done that without knowing it for sure?
I was more pessimistic, as always. There is no way you’re bringing someone back to life. Decomposition must have set it, at least on the inside, because it looked more or less like a sleeping person.
The night came and went, and the body continued to thaw. All through the night we routinely burned everything that we didn’t need anymore just to keep the fire going. We were down to our last canister of gas, which I wasn’t letting go of. We needed it on the way back and we both knew it.
As it got free of ice, naturally, the body started getting warmer from the surrounding temperature. Regina turned it from one side to the other like it was no more than a piece of meat, I watched in amazement how for the first time she was getting more or less desperate. The body was getting warm, but nothing else was happening. He was dead.
She stripped off the clothes off him and off her too, and got inside the sleeping back with it. That’s it I was thinking, that’s the last time I’m touching her. I could see it on her face how she was pushing herself to the limit to become warmer and warmer, but unfed, and in that environment, it was hard even for her to keep any kind of effort for more than 5 minutes.
On a number of occasions she collapsed, or how she put it “feel briefly asleep”. I fed her more than I could handle too but at one point I had to open my mouth and say what nobody wanted to hear.
“Regina. I’m sorry, but he’s gone. He’s been gone for 500 years, it’s useless. Let’s put him back in the ice and leave or we’ll end-up there with him too.”
She looked at me, then looked at him, then back at me, and nodded. She got up and started dressing, and me, without wasting any time, I started packing. I was more than happy to get out of there already. Disappointed that we went through all that for nothing, but happy to leave.
“I don’t understand it. He’s in perfect condition. Look.” Regina said, and cut him on one of his hands and thick, dark red blood started slowly oozing out.
“Everything should be more than fine. I’ve been in much worse situations that these, and I had no problems recovering.” She continued as she peered open one of his eyes to check for a reflex. Nothing.
“Well maybe we need a defibrillator.” I said, not in a serious manner, as I was taking apart the last things and shoving them down in the backpack.
But Regina did take it seriously, and with a flick of her hand, through the left side, under the arm, she was inside him. I could hear ribs cracking, see blood flowing out and for the first time in my left, feeling dizzy from the sight. Something about considering the body dead, and not alive, made such images much harder to bear. Something about me being in that very same position not so long ago.
It didn’t take long and Regina gasped. The second she gasped I looked at her, and he was looking at me.
I froze completely. No way. This isn’t possible. This is beyond natural.
But then again, you don’t need to be a vampire to be trapped in ice and still have flowing blood through your heart 500 years later. Here’s a human that managed to do that. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know this.
Regina pulled her hand out of him and turned her head towards his eyes. I could see it in his face, frozen and stiff still as it was, that he knew who she was on the spot.
He couldn’t breathe properly, he couldn’t move and he was not healing.
“Drink. He needs to drink.” She shouted towards me.
Not sure of how I felt about that, or even with the time to think, without hesitating, because that’s why I was there in the first place, I jumped towards them and pulled my wrist out, shoved it in his mouth.
I looked at Regina and she looked at me smiling.
“Nothing is happening.” I said and I pulled my wrist away slowly.
“He doesn’t even have to power to draw.” She responded. To draw meant to pull or grow the fangs. He couldn’t bite down and to be honest, he didn’t even look like he knew what was supposed to happen. Confusion was in everyone’s mind, especially mine, but he was winning this round.
Regina bit down on my wrist instead. Once, twice, three times and then let go.
I shoved it in his mouth again and in that second his eyes widened, they started getting darker and darker. I could feel his fangs extending and I felt the bite. Oh I felt it alright. It wasn’t like anything I have ever felt before. His fangs felt ten times bigger and thicker than Regina’s. He was clearly no cat.
Aggressive and insatiable, he kept drinking and drinking. I could feel him getting warmer right there. His breathing was stronger and his hands were gripping mine with more force each second. I started getting cold shivers in less than 20 seconds and then I tried pulling away. He let go the second I tried doing that. It was, by all means, a surprise. The appetite in him did not give any indication he would give-up so easily.
“I can’t see.” He said, in Hungarian. I don’t speak it, but I understand it on some level.
I stopped looking at my wrist and opened my mouth in amazement.
“It’s all too unclear.” He continued.
“But I would recognize that smell from a thousand rivers apart.” He said that as he started getting up.
I guess his vision got clearer by the time he stood up, and I stood back, because the very next thing I saw was Sigismund coming towards me. I knew that look.
“Sigismund. No. He’s almost drained.” Regina exclaimed.
He didn’t listen. Oh god. We’re in trouble.
“No!” She shrieked and pinned him with ease against a wall. He was barely breathing from how hard she was squeezing him.
“He’s… what I was to you.” Regina continued.
He stopped when he heard that, not that he had any other choice.
And then, with still a frown on his face… and an expression of confusion, he said: “So much strength. Anna, my dear…” as he got close and cuddly with her, and started caressing her cheek and holding one of her hands. I could see it in her face that she was melting down, almost like a 15 year old girl getting her first kiss. I didn’t know what it was. Love, respect, submission, missing someone for too long. I liked it and disliked it in the same time.
“How are you so strong?!” He then exclaimed in a loud, deep, angry voice.
Then he started making heads and tails of what was going on. He looked at our clothes. He looked at what was around him and everything that we have been using, the gadgets, the stove, the backpacks, the materials.
Eyes wide opened, he said almost startled:
“How long have I been in there?!”
“Well, when and how did you end-up there?” Regina asked.
“Soon after… soon after I’ve last seen you.” Sigismund responded.
“Well, then, let’s take it slowly.” Regina said.
“It has been more than 400 years my dear.” She continued.
“The year is 2007.” She said and waited for a reaction.
Oh and the reaction came alright.
This is all Sigismund:
“WHAT?! You fool! Oh, that fool! You’re both incompetent!”
“I slept too long! He was supposed to wake me centuries ago!”
He was exclaiming at the walls and at Regina as he was pacing back and forth.
“And you! You! Why are you here?!”
“Why are you still alive?! YOU KNEW EXACTLY WHAT YOU HAD TO DO!”
He almost growled towards Regina. He was 100% steaming.
“Regina…” I tried telling her we ought to start going and talk along the way. A small distraction, because he wasn’t headed the right way. The calm way.
“REGINA? Is that how you call yourself now?!” He continued.
“You were supposed to pass your gift and die! YOU KNEW THAT! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” He raged on.
What?! I thought. Well this is certainly productive.
“And you bring a human with you?! A human?! Have you lost your senses?!”
“Of course you have. You’re too old. Your mind has seen too many lives!”
Regina wasn’t saying anything.
“Look at him! He’s terrified!” He said, with his hand turned towards me.
Hei! (Truth is, I was a bit terrified, I would be terrified even of a mouse that angry.)
Speaking of which, he was very different of how I imagined or how Regina described him. He was much shorter for starters, shorter than me, thin, very pale, very narrow compared to me. Regina was bigger than him in any way and any direction possible, and she is average by our standards.
“Sigismund. Things have changed. A lot.” Regina finally said.
“CLEARLY!” He responded.
“We number in the millions now. A lot of humans know about us!” She added.
He gasped. And stopped in his path.
“We can feed in peace, by willing humans offering to us. We don’t need to kill anymore.” She added.
His eyes widened in anticipation, but he was still very much steaming angry.
“Most of the humans willingly donate their blood in special receptacles that keep it for months! You can buy it just like clothes!” She continued.
That didn’t sound right.
“Millions?! ARE. YOU. INSANE?!” He responded without a hesitation.
“There is no way there are millions of us. From where did they come from?! How can they survive?!” He said.
“They come from me. They come from you. You made me a queen.” She responded.
He was almost shaking with contempt.
“And the humans… the humans number in billions. Over 7 billion of them!” She continued.
That seemed to just increase his contempt.
“Rats… like rats…” he added.
I didn’t like that, but I didn’t say anything. By all means, he might be right.
“So you’ve built yourself an empire. An empire where humans offer to you willingly, billions of them?!” He asked.
“Yes my dear. And we…” She trailed off, and then picked up another thought “There are legions upon legions of carefully trained kins, stronger than you could ever imagine.” She responded.
“Well, you’ve done it. You doomed us all. Humans and vampires alike. You, my dear, you are death, standing in front of me.” He added.
I didn’t understand a thing. I was expecting him to be proud, happy. Yet he was an angry old man, really old man.
He then looked at me.
“Is this true?!” He asked me.
“Yes, it is.” I responded, in Romanian, as I got closer to him. The closer I got, the stronger I felt. I was taller and almost looking down on him. I knew that wouldn’t make any difference, but I needed the feeling at the time. I was feeling too irrelevant in the whole ordeal.
He understood me well, but did not switch to the language. He had even more contempt for me now that he had before.
Then he saw my necklace, and his expression and everything about him changed. From raging and confident, he turned small, scared and paranoid. In a second.
Without taking the eyes off me and the necklace, he continued the same line of thought.
“If they ever find out about this… we’re going to suffer. All of us. This is not what they wanted.”
I knew very well who ‘they’ were. I couldn’t believe ‘they’ were such a great influence on him too. He was talking about the black eyed kids.
“They already know… they never tried to stop me, and I never saw them again. They can’t stop me now. I am too old, to angry and too strong for them to do anything against that. I think you’ll be surprised.” Regina said.
“Their plans might have been changed.”
“You’re also too arrogant.” He added.