The darkness is defeating and I have to squint my way alongside Lucas. His hand is firm around mine and I hear the murmurs of hidden inhabitants as we approach closer to our destination.
"We're here," Lucas announces as we abruptly stop in front of what appears to be a wall. With a brief separation of our hands, Lucas presses a button on the blackened wall and an entrance is introduced seconds later. "Come, do not fear what you cannot see."
I oblige and follow closely beside him, all the while ignoring my imagination as it plays cruel tricks on my un-beating heart.
"Welcome," I hear minutes later, just ahead of us in the darkened hallway. Her voice is sweet and determined. "To our world Carol Ann Williams."
Speak Carol Ann, do not fear. I hear Lucas instruct.
"Hello," I say, my voice is shaking with nerves as I size up the situation. "Thank you for your kind welcome."
I hear the rustle of clothes and the mysterious voice, I soon see, is connected to a woman much older than I and her aged beauty strikes me. Her yellow eyes glow in the darkness as she analyzes me and her white lips wrinkle up in a friendly smile. "We have been waiting for much too long a time for your arrival young one."
I find myself smiling back and she takes my cold, unfeeling hands in her own and she closes those mystifying eyes. I can almost feel her thoughts as she decides what to say. "You were right Lucas, this child has seen much hardship. Oh! Poor soul, what a life to leave behind and what sorrow of how you detached yourself from it!"
I am speechless, how this woman knew my life from a simple touch on my hand is beyond me. "Good," she continues, "You have not told her. Oh, how I do enjoy introducing our young ones to their new lives!"
I feel the sudden freedom of my hand and Lucas gently walks me to a hidden couch that the darkness engulfs. He feels my nerves and places his hand on my back, instantly calming me down. You mustn't fear, you will know all now.
"The first of our kind was born out of sin," The old woman who commands so much of our attention begins. "His name was Victorio, the son of a Spanish conquistador with a Native witch doctor.
"The soul that they created was beyond any that had ever existed. When this boy grew, his father was but a stranger to him, and his mother was shunned from her tribe for betraying the beliefs of her people, but she loved little Victorio. Every night she would sing him the songs of her people and teach him the truth behind life.
"As Victorio grew, he began to show the difference that he harbored from all other Native children. He hungered constantly and his hunting skills were exceptional when he had reached the age of fifteen. Soon, he took to the habit of hunting his own meat and devouring it in that instance, frightening his mother occasionally with a bloody face and hands on his returns.
"One day, a riot of hunters who were disgusted with Victorio's talents set his home ablaze, leaving his mother inside. Victorio heard the anguish and pain of his creator as he ran into the woods disappearing from the Native's thoughts and hearts for all of eternity.
"He roamed forests, cities, and towns for hundreds of years. The most significant, however, were four cities that now the world regards as some of the greatest ever created. These four cities housed Victorio's true loves and the beginnings of new species.
"The first city that he inhabited was Toronto. This city offered him the love of Anna Maria, a beautiful woman of twenty whose heart beat of adventure enraptured Victorio. She was the first woman to become a species of her own alongside Victorio—the Pusill. She was my mother, my maker. The disadvantage that Victorio had given my mother was that she could not step foot in the light, for if she did, she would shrivel until the point of combustion, leaving nothing of her. Hence this darkness young one, I am one of her kind, I am a weakened vampire, I cannot live in the light as you can.
"The second city was Paris. Here he met a woman of age twenty-five. Her curls and broad smile had intrigued Victorio's curiosity and with her came the birth of a new vampire—the Tuebors. These were a group of fighters. Destined to protect their city and never once will they hurt a human. These were the greatest of all vampires ever created and they are unfortunately nearly extinct.
"The third city was a different event for Victorio. Here he found his truest heart's desire. What attracted him was not merely physical as it had been with the other two, no, here he found the woman who connected with his soul and his heart--a love who's creation now runs through young Lucas's un-beating heart and yours. These creatures were not the most feared because they were the most loving, but they might as well have been. Your kin are the first to feel no threat of light, as you can see. The light treats you like a normal human and you are blessed. Your kind is called Animus, and was first created in what is now called Manchester.
"The fourth and final city was Tokyo. By then, Victorio had little heart to give, for his true lover had been murdered by villagers after birthing three new vampires that would run for centuries unknown. He found a young woman; her calm features promised him solitude from the world that he could possibly never know. She became his final lover, bringing him the most beautiful vampires who use their calm nature to their advantage when hunting. These are called the Bellus. Their beauty entices but they are a murderous clan, much more violent and dangerous than any other since Victorio's heart was nearly destroyed and little love remained." She sits quiet, concentrating as I try to remember all that I have learned. I am about to ask a question when I feel Lucas hand on my back again, Not yet. He says and I nod.
"There is a rumor amongst the old vampires though, that Akemi Nagasaki was not Victorio's last lover, but a woman unknown to us. If this were to be true, it would have been only a century ago that the last species of vampires was created. And if this were also true, it would mean that this vampire would be far more malicious than any other."
"Why?" I find myself asking, unable to hold back.
I feel her staring at me as she chews over her answer, "Because by that time, all of Victorio's love for humanity would have been gone. All of his mercy, his love, his hopes would be dead and this would only create a lethal killer much like any that humans may have nightmares about."
"But it is just a rumor? Have you any proof?" I ask her, feeling Lucas tense up beside me. "Could he be around the cities in which your—our--ancestors were created in?"
"Yes," she announces and I instantly feel my back straighten out as I await her answer. "Many cases of this mysterious species have been found, but only one exists. He is said to have the ability to control the human mind, that is, to erase or create any memory and a ruthless character that allows him to kill anything that stands in his path."
"But what is his goal?" I dig further into her knowledge of this killer she is introducing to me. "What could he possibly want that is more important to him than causing havoc?"
"Love," She finally breathes, so low in fact, that if I were to not have extreme hearing I would not have heard her.
"Love?" I ask solemnly.
"Yes," She continues, tired. "Victorio, at that stage in his life, had nothing left, but it did not mean that he did not search for it. His last creation, if he truly exists, would kill anything, would do anything for the woman that he found his dead heart beat to. Unlike us, vampires who were most born out of love, this creature harbors a deeper sense of needing love and when he finds it, it is for all eternity."
I inhale deeply and feel Lucas's mind working overload, accidentally letting me glimpse at something in his heart: the image of a mysteriously beautiful young man brushing the hair out of my tear stained eyes.