Chapter EightMature

After I swiped her attacking piece, I asked her who her favorite author was. I was surprised to see her struggle so much with it. Most girls her age that I had interacted with were able to rattle off some new best-selling author of some silly tween romance series. Not Bella. I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was, but I couldn't help it. She was so different. I grinned widely in silence as I waited while she had her inner battle.

I had begun to realize that it was getting quite close to sunrise, and by quite close I meant within the next few moments Bella would be noticing the bright bluish white of early morning light filtering through her window. As I looked up at her I knew I was correct because her brown eyes took on a lovely shade when mixed with the light color of sunrise. It occurred to me that Charlie would certainly be getting up soon to head down to the station. I sighed inwardly, knowing that Bella should probably sleep soon. Granted it was Sunday, but I needn't disturb her routine any further.

"Before all the wondrous shows of the widespread space around him, what living, sentient thing loves not the all-joyous light, with its colors, its rays and undulations, its gentle omnipresence in the form of the wakening Day?" My voice was barely a whisper but she was only a short distance from me and as my voice reached her ears, she looked up from the chess board having been pulled entirely out of her thoughts and her eyes jumped to the window. The smile on her face was amused when she looked back at me.

"You used Novalis to tell me Charlie would be awake soon?" If I had a heartbeat, it would have stopped and leaped up into my throat. Since I did not, I was simply left awe-struck. This lovely creature recognizes Novalis. I chuckled softly to myself and shook my head, amazed at my fortune.

"Why yes, I believe I did. You, Bella, are full of shocking information." Her brow furrowed slightly at my statement, thinking me to be sarcastic. I continued so as to avoid that thought going any further, "I am amazed that anyone, let alone someone of your generation, would recognize Novalis."

"Do you want to know who my favorite author is now? I think I've figured it out."

"Most definitely."

"Eliza Haywood." I know the shock took over my face.

"Eliza Haywood." I repeated. It wasn't a question, simply my baffled brain telling my mouth to do stupid things. "Why Eliza Haywood?"

"Well, she was one of the candidates for the first novel in English. I know her work Fantomina was most likely the best known on that list, but it's also the only one I've had the opportunity to read. I enjoyed it immensely and I find that I cannot help but look up to her. Same as some people look up to the first people to do anything interesting, really."

It was then that we heard Charlie groan at his alarm clock and roll heavily out of bed. We remained still on the bed in silence with me being unable to stop staring at this brilliant woman in front of me. Who could leave this woman? He simply must have been stark raving mad. The questions roamed about in my mind while we listened to Charlie shower and march around his bedroom until he finally went downstairs to march around in his big boots for a while. Not long after we heard him shut the front door and start the cruiser up outside. I stood from the bed and stuffed my hands, which were too eager to grab for her for me to trust them, into my pockets and said softly, "Bella, you should sleep." She tripped her way off the bed, righting herself with the nightstand, and looked at me with what I could only assume was shock.

"Wha - Why? You don't have to go."

"You need to sleep. I should go."

"Oh. Right." I knew she was thinking back to Edward, I could tell by the distant look in her eyes. The depression was there again. I wanted to reach out and wipe it from her lovely eyes. I turned and walked to the window, opening it after I was sure I couldn't hear Charlies cruiser anywhere with in five miles. I heard her come up behind me and didn't fight myself when I wanted to look at her. Her eyes were still sad. My heart, though not beating, was straining against my ribcage for her. She looked up at me and a soft smile crept onto her lips.

"They parted not till towards morning; and she oblig'd him to a willing vow of visiting her the next day," she said and the smile spread slightly. Was she inviting me back? I do think she was. My own smile responded to hers and I reached out to lift her small hand into mine. Placing a chaste kiss onto her upturned palm, I nodded at her and threw myself out the window.

Once I landed on my feet, I bolted towards the woods behind her house. I didn't stop when I reached them, either. A sick joy was creeping up from my guts, filling my chest until I thought I was going to explode with it. So I ran. I ran until I had officially run out of woods. When I had passed the last of the trees, I still felt the pressure in my chest except it had grown even more, despite my efforts. It was filling up my throat and had managed to seep it's way down through my legs. My entire body was on fire with this unfamiliar pressure. So I continued running, hoping that eventually the pressure would have to subside. It certainly must, I could not be on my way to imploding.

Could I? Surely not.

Before long, I realized I had crossed the state line between Washington state and Oregon. I continued, picking up my pace even further, rushing through Oregon and coasting down through Nevada. By California I had picked up my pace again until I hit the coastline. Turning from the water, I shot up towards the higher elevation in California, heading away from people. While I was not as threatened by sparkling exposure as newer vampires, it was still a threat. Sunblock eliminated it entirely. An odd thing for a vampire to need, perhaps, but again the realization of just how well-geared my kind of the species are towards not being discovered is clear. Throughout the years as vampirism grew in "popularity" our need to blend in faded. We are the next step up in evolution, it's that simple. Now that between thirty to thirty-five percent of all humans have become vampires our need to be discrete is non-existent. However, we remain in the shadows, silent predators. Perhaps most vampires simply like not having to participate in society like humans do. We don't have to follow laws or go to work every day. Some do, but we certainly don't have to. If we were to reveal ourselves... Well, it wouldn't be long before they unleashed the dogs on us.

And I do mean that quite literally. While shape-shifters that turn into wolves are strictly only in existence on Indian reservations throughout the U.S., they would be glad to reveal themselves if it meant they could freely go after us. The many vampires I've met in my time that found the idea of taking over the planet to be brilliant simply because we are stronger, faster and more fierce were over-confident egotists. They thought the dogs were no threat, considering most of them were untrained because at least we vampires knew the legends were true the first time we heard them. Unlike the dogs who, until the first time they shape-shift, believe the legends to be silly stories.

What these vampires don't understand is, while it is purely instinct for us to drink blood, for us to push our physical limitations beyond what our human mind thinks we're capable of, killing us is instinct for those shape-shifter dogs. They don't need to be trained. They don't need to be told. They simply do. Which is precisely what makes them so dangerous to us. It is also the exact reason that egomaniacal vampires are a threat to us. It is the reason that the smarter of our kind have remained in the shadows or well disguised amongst the humans. While we could eliminate the dogs (at least the first wave of them, seeing as any time a vampire comes within range of a reservation any Indian there going through puberty will become a shape-shifter), it would severely deplete our numbers. That puts us at risk indefinitely. While the wolves will just keep coming, we will just keep dying. Until the governments all around the world will imprison us. While most humans are less intelligent than vampires, it is simply because they haven't been around as long. They would figure out how to contain us eventually. Well, those of us that are not ancients, at least.

Then we would have to fight for rights, claiming that we "are people too" and that would go on for decades. Perhaps even a century or more. No one wants to believe that creatures that need to drink blood in order to survive, creatures that do not have a heartbeat, are actually living. Which equates, to them, to us not deserving the right to live in peace.

I dread the day.

The End

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