I ran through the streets again. I only stopped when I got to a pasture. I fell to my knees and covered my face with my hands, starting to cry. I was miserable. Not only did I almost harm an innocent woman, I almost revealed who we are. None of this would happen if Erik would just teach me.
To be fair, though, I haven’t made it easy on him. If I would let him feed from me, maybe he wouldn’t have killed so many people. But to do so requires intercourse and I wasn’t ready for that. I didn’t love him. He had assured me that, over time, I would come to but you can’t force someone to fall in love despite what the stars say.
“I have been a terrible companion,” I sighed, ripping up some grass. The sun was getting uncomfortable again. “Perhaps we would both be better if I died.”
Shade fell over me and I looked up. Erik stood beside me, holding my parasol. He wasn’t looking at me but his face was sad.
“You have not been a terrible companion, Camille,” he said softly. “I have been a terrible master.” He sighed. “And we would not be better if you died. If you were to die, so would I.”
“I do not understand.”
He held out his hand and I took it, standing. His eyes were still red but the aura he was emitting was of grief and regret.
“It is time I make up for the terrible mistake I have made,” he whispered. “You were right, Camille. I should have told you this sooner. If I had, none of this would have happened. Come, let us go home.”
We went to the library and he closed the curtains. He had me sit on the couch by the fireplace and did the same. We both turned to face each other. He was rubbing his chin, something he did when he was deep in thought.
“As you know, the sun does not kill us,” he said and I nodded. “One of the many things I have not told you, is that we get energy from the moon; especially the full moon.”
“Hence our nightly walks,” I whispered.
“Yes. On the full moon, we are given a boost which helps us go a few days without needing human blood. When that boost is gone, though, it is easier for us to lose control. It is harder to resist the call of blood. Now, when we become one, that will be our solution. That is why it is so important, Camille,” he whispered.
I shut my eyes. “I cannot, Erik.”
I sighed. “Because I do not love you.”
I could feel the pain my words caused but I had to be honest with him. We would get nowhere if I didn’t.
“I see,” he muttered and cleared his throat. “Johanna is good for moments of emergency. However, if you drink from her too often, you will kill her. I know you are friends.”
“There is more you are not telling me,” I said. “Why will you die if I do? I know it is not because of your love for me.”
He laughed softly. “You are swift,” he murmured. He reached for my hands but I only gave him one. “Whether you wish to acknowledge it or not, the stars have brought us together. I can feel any physical pain you experience and the same is true in reverse. Should you die, I will. If I die, so will you.”
I frowned. “But we have not consummated.”
He shook his head. “It does not matter. The minute I claimed you is when we accepted the contract from the stars.”
I glared at him. “We did not do anything. You did!”
“I am just explaining it to you as it was explained to me, Camille,” he said wearily. “Please do not interrupt me.” I sighed but didn’t speak again. “When we do consummate, we will feed from each other for the rest of the time. It will be better. Not only does it give us the same energy as three humans, it is also sweeter and more fulfilling.”
I ran a hand through my hair. “Erik, there has to be something we can do to stop from killing our victims! If we do here it will be so easy for them to find us!”
“Which is why we need to fulfill our destiny, Camille.”
I stood up. “Such an act may be entered so simply for vampires, but not for humans.”
“Do not leave,” he pleaded. “Please. There is more.”
I shook my head. “It can wait.”
I left and went up to our bedroom. I got into bed and pulled the blankets over my head. All I wanted was to be a human again. I wanted to be with my father and to fall in love. I wanted to get married and have children.
Now I never will.
Erik and I hadn’t said a word to each other after the meeting in the library. I knew I had hurt him with my bluntness but he refused to understand how important love was to me. As long as he kept his bloodlust in check, we wouldn’t have to worry about being killed. Not that he would listen to that reasoning, though.
When we got to the council hall, Gertrude looked nervous.
“Are you all right?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said. “Forgive me. I just felt ill.”
Marie smirked. “Let me guess, you’re pregnant.”
I flushed. “Of course I am not!”
“Why not?” Carol asked and I gulped.
“Well, I just-”
My savior was in the form of Kenneth. He was with a group of men and looked close to fainting. I frowned and resisted the urge to groan. I glanced at Erik and our eyes met briefly.
“There’s been another attack,” Kenneth gasped. “Another deer. It has the same markings.”
Howard sighed and looked at Erik. “What do you suggest?”
He stared at Kenneth for a few moments.
“We send people in,” Erik said finally and I clenched my hands into fists. “However,” he added and everyone looked at him. “I wish to elect my wife and I.”
“Camille can’t go!” Gertrude exclaimed. “She is a woman! She cannot defend herself!”
“Yes I can,” I said defensively but she ignored me.
“I agree with my wife,” Howard said. “Camille could get hurt.”
“She is stronger than she looks,” Erik said and looked at me again.
His gaze clearly told me to support him so I cleared my throat.
“I do believe it is my decision,” I said and stood up. “In this case, I agree with my husband.”
“Do you wish to go now?” I asked Erik who nodded.
“The sooner we find this… predator, the better,” Erik said. “Come along, Camille.”
“Erik, maybe you shouldn’t,” Howard said but Erik and I were already out the door.
When we were away from everyone, I bit my lip.
“I thought we were the only ones,” I whispered.
“We are,” he whispered back. “I made sure of that before I chose this village. It is possible that someone else has moved in, though.”
“We would know,” I pointed out.
“Surely you have felt the change,” he said, frowning at me as we walked.
“No,” I said. “I have been… distracted.”
“Something is here, Camille,” he sighed. “I do not know if it is a vampire or a werewolf, though.”
We got to the forest and I looked around.
“I guess we should begin where my deer was,” I mumbled and we walked over.
That didn’t yield any results and Erik looked around curiously. He walked over to a tree and frowned.
“Come,” he said quietly.
I joined him and touched the scratch marks. They were deep. And deliberate.
“It wants us to find it,” I whispered.
“So what do we do?”
He pointed at a tree a few feet away. “Follow the trail.”