A Matriarch short story by Kevin A. Ranson
Yes, it hurts. Believe me, I know. Keeping as still as possible is the best thing you can do right now.
Ironic, isn’t it? A piece of wood sticking out of your chest isn’t killing you, but it’s causing so much pain you probably wish it would.
I’ll also apologize for all the motion. We’ve taken precautions, but being inside a moving vehicle makes it more difficult.
Of course, the best idea is I could remove that stake…but there would be conditions.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been staked before or even how long you’ve been a vampire, but from the way you were being treated by your sire, we guessed it wasn’t voluntary. Those kinds of relationships rarely end well, so we interceded. You watched us destroy your maker, but we both know what stays in our heads. Yes, I still have a little of mine, too.
Besides that, the other thing you’ll have to worry about is yourself.
I’m sorry the choice to become an immortal was made for you. You think you have two options: embrace the monster or allow yourself to be destroyed. From the way you’re looking at me, I’m guessing you don’t want to hurt anyone, but I want you to realize that the pain you’re in is diminishing your thirst. Did you notice?
I’m offering a third choice: you can choose to live with this, so to speak. I’ve learned to cope, but I couldn’t have done it without help. It will require trust and constant vigilance because any slip will not only affect your victim but anyone else whose trust you’ve earned. The blood you crave must be fresh, and it has to be both alive and human. There are no shortcuts here, so consider carefully what it is that will be expected of you.
You’ll be safe under my protection while you’re learning, but once that ends, you’ll have to leave. The place we’re going now can’t support more than two vampires for very long, but you have something you can offer those you befriend, not the least of which is your protection. As a guardian, you’ll be able to survive, but if you can’t do this, myself or someone else will destroy you. Do you understand?
A pair of handcuffs are binding your wrists. You won’t be able to escape them while the stake remains in, but if I remove it, I’m going to ask that you keep them on. If you try to break out, I’ll replace the stake and be very disappointed you’ve decided not to participate in our program. You’re locked into the back of this vehicle with me, so I promise you won’t be able to cause anyone else any harm.
So. Enough threats.
Would you like me to remove the stake, provided you promise to remain bound? Your thirst will return quickly. I don’t know how long it’s been since you last fed — you may be aware we can’t feed one another — plus it will be a while before we’ll be someplace I can provide for you. Or we can leave the stake in and I’ll talk to you if you’d like; I’ll understand completely if you’re afraid you can’t trust yourself to do as I’ve asked.
What do you want to do?