I hear Gabby’s thoughts, they’re almost shouting at me. She thinks of Alex with fondness, and me with resentment. I sigh. She’s trying to hide her tears, but I can still see them, glistening in the sunlight. We stay there, unaffected by the light, the silence growing colder between us. The voice in the back of my head, the one that tells me to be less harsh, is berating me for my words. I scowl at the floor, trying to ignore it. But how can you ignore the parental instinct? Regardless of how long you push it aside, it never goes away.
‘Sit down, Gabby.’ I say quietly. She hesitates as I get up to let her sit by the window. Well, massive hole. Reluctantly she sits down and I perch on the edge of the seat next to her. What she says next puts everything I was about to say to the back of my mind.
‘How are you sitting in the sun? I thought vampires were supposed to burn...’
‘It takes about two hours for a vampire to become badly hurt by the sun, Gabby. After about an hour they start to burn, but it’s only as bad as human’s sunburn.’ I shrug, looking away as she wipes her eyes. ‘Otherwise we wouldn’t last long as a species, would we?’ I smile slightly. I look up at Konrad again. He’s managed to survive however many hundreds of years like this. So why is it so hard for the rest of us? She remains silent, but I can still hear her thoughts.
‘What about silver...? What does that do to vampires?’ she asks after a while.
‘Silver...’ I mutter, wondering how I can explain that one. ‘Real silver – not that crap that humans think is silver – has properties that can be used by all manner of creatures. Vampires, demons, angels, shape shifters. Et cetera. As for what it can do? It has thousands of different uses, really. For the most part it depends on how it’s been created and what the creator wants to use it for. It can be used to restrain a creature, or to enhance the powers they already have.’ I pause and look at her. ‘It’s a hard one to explain, that one. I would usually say ask Konrad, but he’s one of the Elders I warned you about earlier... I’m sure there’s someone around other than him that can explain it better than me.’
Her thoughts are still swirling. ‘Is it something I could learn to use?’ she asks.
‘No. I’ve spent the last seventy years or so trying to get it to work for me, and had only minimal success.’ I tell her with a laugh as I remember my last attempt to use silver. I ended up branding myself with it. I trace the burn marks on my arm through my jumper, not needing to see what pattern they formed, though my right hand stays wedged into my pocket, fingers protectively wrapped around the blob.