“Some people are just evil. It’s in their blood,” I said bluntly.

So far Troy had been light-hearted, but now he turned solemn. He spoke slowly and thoughtfully. He hung the towel over his shoulder and furrowed his brow.

“I have to disagree with you there Elsa. I think people always have a choice. I know that upbringings can be hard, but you don’t have to let that define you. There’s

always a chance for someone to be better, to chose a righteous path. The most powerful thing in this world is our freedom to choose.”

I wasn’t sure about that. Sometimes I think freedom is just an illusion.

“I guess we’re going to have to agree to disagree on that. I think some people are lost causes and the only thing we can do is protect ourselves from them.”

“I like to think there’s hope for everyone,” he said. He glanced around at the empty gym. The cluster of people had moved away during the time we had been speaking. “I’m going to have to shower now, but I’ll catch you later, yeah? And remember, just stay out of Julia’s way!”

I waved goodbye to him, but I couldn’t help but think that I had disappointed him in some way. Was it really that bad to think that some people just weren’t capable of changing or worth my sympathy? Maybe my opinions had been clouded by having the veil of lies pulled back, by exposing me to the truth of the world. There was black and white, good and evil. I knew that for a fact. Vampires were evil and Slayers were good. While Julia wasn’t undead, she was just the same as a vampire. She was a bully, preying on the weak and vulnerable, trying to fill a void in her own life. Troy had seen how horrid she was. I didn’t understand how he could think that there was hope for her after everything she had done.

Chapter Six

I took Troy’s advice and stayed out of Julia’s way for the rest of the day. I spent most of my free time in the gardens, looking at the plants with new appreciation after my conversation with Adam. I saw Josh again briefly. There was an instant spark whenever we met and I could always feel a smile twitching at my lips. It was so easy to fall into conversation with him, although sadly he was rushing away to a class so we couldn’t speak for very long.

As I made my way back home Josh was on my mind a lot. Well, all three of the boys were really. Each one of them was attractive in their own way and I chastised myself for being greedy. It wasn’t as though I could indulge myself anyway. The life of a Slayer wasn’t conducive to romance. Still, it was fun to enjoy a little thrill, thinking about the possibilities.

I had dinner with Arthur. He seemed more pensive than usual and barely spoke as we were eating. When I asked him if he was alright, he said he was just tired, but it seemed there was more to it than that. Arthur wasn’t the type to keep secrets from me, so I worried that he had had some bad news from his superiors, but he wasn’t giving anything away. He smiled and reassured me that everything was alright. I had no choice but to trust him.

“There is this one girl, Julia. She’s a mean piece of work and it’s been so hard not to put her in her place. All I’ve wanted to do all day is throttle her,” I said, my words laced with frustration.

“I know it’s not easy, but you must control your impulses. You’re only made to fight vampires, not anything else,” he said, as though I didn’t know it already.

“I know,” I pouted, “I just need to vent. She’s the worst, she really is.”

“Just focus on what you have to do. She is of no concern to you.”

“She is when she’s got it out for me. It’s all over some stupid accident as well. Am I really supposed to just take it? It feels stupid that I have all these gifts and I can’t teach her a lesson. I’m supposed to fight evil, yes? Well, why is that just confined to vampires?”

Arthur smirked at that. It was good to see him smile. He dabbed the corners of his mouth with a napkin. “For a moment there you sounded just like your aunt,” he placed his palms on the table and looked at me sympathetically. “I know it’s frustrating to not be able to use your gifts, when they come so easily to you. There are times when I wish the rules were a bit more relaxed, but they are the way they are for a reason, unfortunately.”

“It’s okay,” I said despondently. “I’m sure that I’ll get over it. I’ll just go and hunt some vampires. That’ll help for sure,” I said.

We cleared the table and then I got ready to go out on the hunt again.

*

The night was cool and calm. The moon was high and bright. The stars twinkled and glimmered and I was eager to run through the night. I patrolled for a while, lurking in the shadows, watching people live their normal lives. I heard them come out of bars laughing, completely lost in drunken glee. I saw lovers push each other up against the wall in a rush of passion, only to disappear to a hidden place where their lust could bloom in private. I had always wondered what it would be like to feel the touch of flesh upon my own. There had only ever been one boy I’d been close to. It was a year or so before I eventually left the orphanage. Michael had been his name and we were the only two of similar age at the time, so we naturally gravitated towards each other. He wrote the most beautiful poetry and one day he let me read some. He had a beautiful soul. We spent more time together and I remember the first time we kissed. It was the first kiss I had ever had. It was chaste and innocent, just a brief brushing of the lips, and yet, it opened up something deep inside of me and I had never been the same since.

Even though I had been nervous, I was ready to give myself to him. I thought that we could find a family in each other, since nobody else seemed to be interested in taking us. He told me that I was the only person who had ever truly understood him, and I felt the same way. My heart beat rapidly whenever I was near him and we both wanted each other. We’d planned our first night together. It was going to be perfect. He was going to be perfect. I even went out and bought a pretty dress for the occasion but when I woke up in the morning I found that he was gone. Some relative had got in touch with him and he’d left without even saying goodbye. I knew in that moment what it was like for a heart to break. He hadn’t even left a letter or anything. It was almost as crushing as when my parents had died and I swore in that moment that I would never love anyone ever again. It didn’t seem worth the pain and anguish, but now my mind was alive with flights of fancy about the charming Josh, the intriguing Adam, and the intense Troy.

Was I crazy for being attracted to three men at the same time? Even if I was I couldn’t help myself. They were all unique and I longed to expose myself to that part of life again, to feel the flush of arousal and the pull of another person. One of the worst things about being a Slayer was lurking in the shadows and watching everyone else enjoying their lives. They were all so happy, so carefree. They could live with abandon and enjoy indulging their desires. They didn’t have to think about any manifest destiny or higher purpose. They could just be creatures of instinct and follow their hearts. I longed to feel the press of warm flesh against me, to have another’s breath mingle with mine.

I soon grew tired and melancholy. The streets were empty. The vampires weren’t coming out to play tonight. I decided that I would make my way to Angel Academy, just to see what the place was like in the evening. I had a vague idea that I wanted to sneak into Julia’s room to see if there was anything I could discover that might help me dissuade her from targeting me, but I think I just wanted to be around familiar surroundings. Things were always different at night, as well. I felt that the academy had secrets that would only be uncovered during the night.

*

The building looked much different, cast in the shadow of the night. The angel fountain was even more impressive and it seemed to come alive. Everything at night seemed more magical, as though spirits were conjured and an enchantment settled across the world. It was as though the impossible could be made real. I almost expected to see pixies dancing in the sky. It did seem a bit incredulous to me, that for all the fantasy creatures that could have existed in reality, it had to be vampires. There couldn’t have been something nice, like unicorns or fairies, no, it had to be the creatures of the night.

I walked around the building, careful to not set off any alarms or catch anyone’s attention. The windows were dark and foreboding. The doors were shut. The grounds were devoid of life and everything was quiet. I knew up there that the people I had met were sleeping. I wondered what was going through their mi

nds. Was Julia thinking of anything that wasn’t vindictive? Were Josh, Adam, and Troy thinking about me as much as I had been thinking about them? And what about the teachers…did they care that their students were bickering?

I ultimately decided not to creep into the building as everyone was sleeping and I doubted I would be able to rifle through any drawers without disturbing Julia. I also didn’t want to get a reputation as a creep, or betray my secret purpose in the world. I felt like an intruder this late at night. Nobody was supposed to be awake, but I felt more at home when I was alone. It was something I had always liked doing in the orphanage as well. It was so peaceful to have the place to myself. I could pretend that I was the only person in the world and it was freeing to not be beholden to anyone, to not have to worry about having anyone come to pick me and ‘save’ me from my life. Occasionally I would bump into another nun and they’d smile. Sometimes they would try to talk, but more often than not we would simply pass each other by and go about our business. The night was a time to be alone, a time to reflect on thoughts, a time to be at peace with the world. I used to love thinking about the future and what my life would turn out to be like, although I never expected it would turn out to be anything like this. Even in my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have pictured myself being a Slayer. I often wondered what the nuns would have said if they knew the truth, for they were so devout in their belief. I didn’t know if they would even be able to acknowledge the existence of such evil in the world.


Tags: Lilly Wilder Paranormal
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