Fang and Blade watched in awe as a red-haired man walked towards them.
“Who are you? I know your voice but not your face” Blade said, turning his knife on the stranger.
“I don’t blame you for forgetting me. It really has been too long” the stranger said. “My sons” he said, hugging Blade and Fang at the same time.
“Who are you?” Fang asked, anger in his voice.
“I am Apollo”.
He looked around the square until his eyes settled on me. “Is the object my boys fight over?”
“She’s not an object!” Blade and Fang yelled at the same time, shocking themselves.
“Then what is she to you?”
“She’s the girl I’m going to turn” said Blade triumphantly.
“And she’s the girl I love” Fang said defensively.
“You’re not still spewing that, are you? She heard the truth, Fang”
“No, she heard your twisted version of the truth”.
“Boys, please. Let me tell you the story of how I came to be a vampire and indeed how you came to be my sons” Apollo said.
“I don’t have time for this” the two of them said in unison again.
“No, I want to hear it” I said.
Apollo turned, smiled and beckoned for me to come closer. Which I did.
“I come from Jacobean London. It was when the New World was discovered that I was turned. I moved my wife and two sons from London to the New World for a fresh start. Sometimes, though, I wish I had never done so. Life to begin with was hard but we were content. After all, we had each other and we were all in good health. What more could a man ask for? One day a stranger came to town. He kept his face covered and stayed away from most but he took an instant liking to my wife. That night I was turned by said stranger. I suppose he intended to remove me from the picture. The one thing I remember thinking after I regained consciousness was that I had to get back to Althea and the boys. If only I hadn’t. I murdered them. All three of them. And took their blood. I had to flee.
I survived in the forests for a time, until the deer stopped coming. It was on my search for more of these creatures that I met another of my kind. Her name was Sadie and she was the most beautiful woman I had ever met. The two of us were married and we were happy. However, as the years went by Sadie longed for a child. We took a child from the orphanage and turned him, in fear that he should pass away. The Union found out and ordered we kill our son or be killed ourselves. We had no choice but to agree. But Sadie and I had a plan. We would have our family but they would not be children. There were thirteen in total, all marked with a number. Most couldn’t remember their names so we named them for the people we had lost. Word spread of our “children” and The Union felt threatened. They ordered that all eleven children be destroyed. Word spread before we had turned numbers twelve and thirteen. We tried to convince The Union that our family was no threat to them but they wouldn’t believe us. When we refused they did the worst thing imaginable. They killed Sadie in front of me and ordered that I do the same to my children. Reluctantly, it was done. But they didn’t know of our two remaining children. In fact, I believe they still don’t know. Fang, Blade, you are the two that remained”.
“Prove it” Blade said harshly.
“He said they were marked” I said and Apollo smiled.
“Though it is pointless she is a good one to fight over, boys. Smart. Beautiful. Just like your sister Althea”.
“I don’t have any mark” Blade said.
“Same” said Fang.
“But you do. A black Roman numeral” Apollo said.
“Where?” I asked.
Apollo put his hand over his heart and patted his chest. I nodded at him. In a flash he had a hold of Blade’s jerkin. I ambled over to Fang. He knew what I was doing.
“If you don’t have a mark then there’s nothing to hide” I said, unbuttoning his shirt.
Blade struggled under Apollo’s grip. Fang grabbed my hands but let go. Once his shirt was unbuttoned I went to push it back but he stopped me.
“Him first” he said coldly.
Apollo, still holding on to Blade’s jerkin, undid the first clasp. Blade shook him off. “I can do it myself”. He undid the clasps and buttons fast as lightning and threw back his shirt. Tattooed on his left pec was XII. He stood fuming and looked at Fang. He was reluctant to move and in the end it was me who peeled the shirt off him to expose the black XIII. Blade looked at Fang. And Fang looked at Blade. Their eyes met with confusion and denial. Apollo looked at me. He had a tired face and a scar that stretched across his right eye.
“Human, do you know the origins of this town?” Apollo asked, no doubt giving Blade and Fang some time to cool off.
“No” I said.
“Sadie designed it and I built it. It was supposed to be a home for us and our children but I left it to the humans when they were killed. You know, one of my daughters looked a little like you. Hazel hair and hazel eyes. Eyes that hide a secret”.
His eyes shot back to Blade and Fang. They seemed to be talking about something. And it seemed like they were agreeing on something. Apollo smiled.
“I know everything there is to know about this place. About the people and vampires who live here. About who died here and who was born here. In fact, even how people died” Apollo said. Only thing came to my mind.
“Can you tell me about my mom?”
“If you give me her name”.
“Maddie. Maddie Green”.
“Maddie… Ah, yes. She was the sweet little thing who died, what was it, sixteen and a half years ago. What was it you wanted to know?”
“How she died. My dad told me it was a car accident”.
“Then I’m afraid your father has been lying to you. Your mother was killed giving birth to you”.
“I’m not sure you want to hear”.
Apollo sighed. “She was bitten. The venom forced her into premature labour and she died. Whether she stayed dead is another question entirely. A question to which I do not know the answer. This bite, however, makes you a species of your own entirely. My dear, it makes you-”
He nodded. A growl came from Fang and the two of us looked round.
“Now, boys, I can’t have you fighting anymore so I must destroy the object of your desires”.
And before any of us knew what had happened, Apollo had grabbed one of the knives from the ground and held it against my throat.