Rain poured down, battering the car; the rivulets distorting the somewhat already blurred image of the night. The weather made Kathryn thankful to be inside the warm confines of the car. Where it was taking her...was a different story.
Resting her head against the top of the leather seat, Kathryn closed her eyes, reliving (for the 100th time) those few moments that changed her life, quite literally forever.
Death would never come now; at least not easily.
"Kathryn?" Andre's voice broke through her reverie of the events that could now not be changed. Her eyes opened and she turned her head to see him staring at her, his expression one of concern and pity. Not once, in the time since he'd found her, had Kathryn seen him smile once.
"Are you okay?"
"You should be watching the road."
That was the fifth time in the last hour he'd asked her that question. And she didn't care to respond right now. Not that he didn't already know the answer.
Andre, eyes again on the road, wasn't going to let her get away with avoiding the question. Not this time. He needed to make sure she wasn't traumatised by what had happened to her. He needed to know she understood everything. He needed to make her understand.
"You don't need to be afraid you know. The kids at the Academy are-"
She interrupted, "Look Andre. I don't know you from Adam. I don't know if I was smart trusting you yet. And I'm not afraid. I'm angry." Like there's much of a difference, she added silently.
That was all Andre could take. Kathryn needed to accept what she'd become, whether she wanted to or not. He pulled into the lay-by without turning on the indicator to warn any oncoming cars. There were none. Which was expected considering that it wasn't normal for humans to be on the roads and two in the morning.
Shutting off the engine Andre twisted in his seat to look at his passenger. Kathryn returned his determined stare with her own questioning one. "I thought we weren't near the school yet."
"I need to talk to you."
Kathryn was annoyed. "And we can't do that while driving because...?
"I need you to listen to me, Kathryn. Really listen. Can you do that? Without interruption or argument?"
Rolling her eyes, Kathryn sighed and nodded. Mirroring Andre's stance-leaning against the door, arms folded across the chest- she gestured to him to continue.
"Good. Now, I know you feel that you feel like your life is over; that becoming a vampire is worse than the death sentence, but your wrong. It will be strange at first, maybe frightening when you experience the Thirst, but after a few weeks, you'll come to terms with what's happened."
"I highly doubt that."
Andre knew exactly how she felt. He had once found himself in Kathryn's position. In a way. Albeit he'd been 23 when he was turned almost half a century ago, but it didn't make it any easier.
He had found it difficult in the beginning. Fortunately, The Council had found him after only a few days as a Nightwalker. They took him in and taught him the ways of the Vampire. He wasn't the only on in their care either; five others were educated alongside him.
Through the six's own experiences, and with encouragement from The Council, they decided to open the school to help others as The Council had helped them. They discovered a mansion, away from the rest of civilisation; surrounded by dense forest. It was the perfect setting. It was owned by a 96 year old man named James Edwards. He was dying of cancer, and was selling his home.
The group bought it from him and in the old man's honour; they named the school Saint James Academy. And what a success it had become. Over the years, they had recruited 10 experienced teachers to help educate the young vampires who ended up in their care.
And Andre, along with his five companions, became Mentors, someone to provide extra guidance to the students who found it hard to adjust. And he felt Kathryn would be one of those students that required a team effort rather than that of one Mentor.
"Kathryn, although you may find it hard to believe, but over time, the vampires at James' will feel like your family, like you've known them your whole life. Pretty soon you may forget your past." Andre tried to instil as much truth and honestly into his voice as possible. That's the reason why Kathryn's reaction shocked him so much.
"You know what, Andre? DON'T patronise me. The last thing I need is to be babied! I need you to tell me the truth, to be brutally honest. Stop treating me like I'm breakable! Just because I was rapped by my Maker does NOT mean that I should be ‘handled with care'! it's not as though I'm not used to it!"
Andre was shocked by this. For two reasons. One: that she came right out with it. And Two: that it had happened before. It wasn't the first time someone had...done that to her? When he met her gaze, Kathryn's expression was cold. "What? You mean your friend with the visions didn't tell you what a messed up childhood I had?"
"He only sees visions of those who are coming to use. He sees their Turning." He hesitated. His next question could well upset her. "Was it... was it your father?"
Kathryn released a harsh bark of laughter, the anger evident in the coldness of her blue eyes. "I didn't have a family. I was dumped in the Orphanage when I was three months old. It was the guy who ran the place who did it. He abused all of us." Her gaze snapped towards him suddenly, her long, deep, red curls swinging around her face. "Even the kids."
Andre was disgusted. At this last statement, he frowned. "You were just a baby when you arrived."
"It started when I was six. I was really grown up for my age."
"Oh..." He couldn't think of how to finish that sentence.
All the anger had drained from Kathryn's pale features, replaced by sadness. "I couldn't stop him. When I was around eight, he started on the other girls. Said he was bore and wanted more than one toy to play with. I couldn't stop him. I wanted to...I tried but I just-"
She couldn't finish her words; she was too overwhelmed by sadness at what she couldn't stop...guilt that she didn't try harder...and anger that she couldn't ask for help. Her head fell back against the window as tears began to form in her eyes. They slipped down her cheeks, and she let them.
"Kathryn." She didn't respond... just continued to stare at the roof of the car. "Kathryn." Andre spoke louder this time in an attempt to capture her full attention. It worked. Her gaze slid from the ceiling to his intense almost-black eyes. "I promise you that I won't let ANYONE hurt you again. You will be safe at the Academy. You have my word on that."
She was silent for a moment, contemplating how to respond to that. Then finally she did. "I trust that you will."
Andre gave her a small smile. "Thank you. Now shall we go home?"
Kathryn nodded. "Okay."
Kathryn was not okay. She didn't want to think of the Academy as home. Not before she'd even seen the place. And even if they taught her that she wasn't the monster she believed to be (not likely) she would be more alone than ever.
She'd miss the friends she'd made from the Orphanage. Since they'd escaped that awful place a year ago, they'd become so much closer. But she'd be dead to them now. Nothing but a memory.
Andre had told her that humans do not know of the existence of vampires, and those that do never last long. They would have to be taken care of immediately. But compared to the vampire who told them...?
They'd be getting off lightly.