The whole room was stunned to silence. Eventually Beth said, “I’m sorry, what?”
“Vampire flu,” Robert repeated. “It’s one of the only illnesses that actually affect vampires, among meningitis, malaria and cancer. Nasty thing. It’s classed as severe among a lot of vampires; I don’t know what it would be like for a human.”
“But how did I get a flu meant for vampires?” Beth asked, completely shocked.
“I heard that the only way for a human to get it is close contact with a vampire, or vampires, for prolonged periods of time. And you’ve have eight months of time.”
“But...” Beth didn’t know what to say.
Her own body filled the silence with another round of violent coughing. She stared at the blood pooled in her hand. Catalin disappeared for a moment, and reappeared a second later with a towel in hand. She gave the towel to Beth. Beth smiled at her gratefully and wiped her hand on it.
“You’ve burst a capillary in your lung from coughing so much, and the virus itself has worked its way through your tissue cells and is now destroying your lungs literally from the inside out,” Robert said.
Beth stared at him. Had he really just told her that? That wasn’t something you told people.
“Is there anything that can stop it?” she asked.
“There is one thing...” Robert glanced at Alex.
“No. That’s not an option,” Alex said forcefully.
“It is very much an option; you just aren’t willing to consider it,” he said pointedly.
“But what is it?” Beth asked.
“Vampire blood,” Alex said.
“It seems to have healing properties. Our cells, all of them, are different, stronger, more designed to keep us alive,” Robert said. He was trying to persuade her.
Beth glanced up at Alex and Catalin. Catalin just looked worried but Alex looked angry as well as scared.
“What... What would happen if I did?” Beth asked, looking between Alex and Robert.
“Well, it would get into your blood vessels and travel around your body. Once it reached the lungs, the cells would recognise a vampiric pathogen and they would attack. If it was any normal flu, the vampire cells wouldn’t try to kill them off because they wouldn’t be a threat to a vampire.”
“What about after that?” she asked.
“The cells would return to the blood vessels, where they would die eventually. The spleen would filter them out; the liver would break them down and they would pass out of your system.”
“But don’t blood cells live for three or four months?”
“Vampires can, with practice, control their cells with regards to lifespan. Our cells are short-lived anyway, only lasting a matter of days instead of months.”
Beth thought about it for a minute. This could save her life, but why was Alex so against it? Robert was trying to help her, trying to keep her alive. But what was Alex thinking? Why was he so angry?