I had to close my eyes because I was in so much pain and I didn’t want to put myself through the anguish of having to watch them obey their masters.
“How pitiful it is to hear you plead,” Mr. Griff sneered. “Slayers always have this superior attitude to them and it’s nice to see you being put in your place. Sadly you won’t get to learn from your mistake because there’s not going to be a chance for you to learn anything anymore. You’re going to be nothing more than a test for my boys here. I did find it quite amusing that you would think you could influence them. I can’t really blame them I suppose. Boys will be boys, and they certainly showed good instincts in choosing a Slayer. Now then, I think it’s quite poetic to kill this Slayer with her own weapon. Which one of you would like to oblige?” he said, each word dripped with malicious intent and I continued to wince. The pain in my scalp felt as though a thousand tiny needles were prickling against my skin. I shook my head, trying to warn them off.
“No…no…” I gasped.
“I’ll do it,” Josh said. Of course it had to be Josh. He walked forward and I forced myself to open my eyes to look at him. He looked so different when compared to just a short time ago on the bench. He
must have come straight back here, gathered Adam and Troy, and told them what was happening. They were in thrall to these masters and their place was at the Academy. I should have sensed this sooner. My downfall was my own fault. I had nobody to blame but myself and I only wished that I had been kinder to Arthur. If I had listened to him more I might have been better prepared for this.
I watched Josh reach over and pick up the stake. He licked his lips as he held the weapon of the Slayer in his hand. My throat ran dry and at this point I was just glad that the moment was soon going to be over. Maybe the Slayers were a dying race and vampires were the future. Maybe I was just a failure at this, just as I had been a failure at everything, but I would never get to have a family of my own. I would never know what it was like to fall in love. I would never get to make my parents proud.
“I’m sorry…” I whispered. It was an apology to my parents, to Arthur, to my ancestors, and to myself. Josh leaned over the table. He stood beside his master.
“I’m proud of you Josh,” Mr. Griff said.
I looked up at Josh and wished I knew what to say. I wanted to tell him that I only ever wanted to be close to him. My fondest memory of life had been with the three of them under the moonlight. That was going to be my last thought. I closed my eyes and remembered how good I felt being so intimate and close with them, and then I surrendered to the inevitable, waiting for the feeling of my heart being punctured.
I was all ready to embrace the sweet pain and tumble down into oblivion, to finally be freed from the shackles of life. I thought about what Adam had said to me and how there was some beauty in death. I tried to think of that, even though I felt I was too young for that and hadn’t accomplished everything I wanted in life. In the end I was just like my parents, dying before their time, but at least they had been together when it all ended. I was by myself and everything ended with me.
But the final moment didn’t come. My skin was not pierced by the stake, and I didn’t feel the pain of life slipping away. I heard a grunt from Mr. Griff and opened my eyes. Josh had driven the stake into Mr. Griff’s heart unexpectedly. The headmaster’s face was a picture of shock before his body crumbled into dust, leaving behind nothing but a faint odor and the lingering presence of evil.
Josh still had the stake in his hand and I was scared. But then he dropped it and he ran to me. They all did. I was surrounded by Adam, Troy, and Josh. They smiled and I breathed with relief. I wrapped my arms around the three of them, holding them close.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I thought about what you said,” Josh replied. “When I came back I talked about it with Adam and Troy. We all agreed that it was about time we decided things for ourselves. We didn’t like what they wanted for our future, and we didn’t like being at the mercy of their whims. With you we truly felt alive again. It wasn’t something we ever thought we’d feel again, and we knew we couldn’t let you die. This was the way it had to be, and now we pledge ourselves to you.”
They bowed their heads, and it brought to mind the dream I had of my ancestor. I realized this wasn’t the first time a Slayer had formed a harem of male vampires, but it had been hidden away. The truth was in my mind though, and now it was in front of me. I had been taught that these were creatures of evil, but to me they were instruments of pleasure, they were my boys, my vampires, my lovers. A solemn feeling overwhelmed me as I took them into my arms, taking them from the grip of their masters, and I knew I was going to treat them better.
“We didn’t want any part of what they were offering. They expected us to take their place and to turn others,” Adam said.
“I know, I know. Everything is alright now,” I cooed.
“We only fed on animals because we have to,” Troy said. “I tried to have fun, but they were so serious. They kept holding the fact that they had saved our lives over our heads. All I wanted was to move on from cancer, but they never let us forget it.”
“You can forget about it now. This is a new beginning. We’re going to create new traditions and you don’t have to worry about a thing. I’m going to take care of you,” I said, although I was making promises I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep. This relationship went against all my training and I knew the council wouldn’t be happy. Neither would Arthur. But this felt right and as I looked at them I knew I didn’t want anything else, or anyone. I knew that nothing else was going to make me happy. The fact that they were vampires and I was a Slayer seemed secondary. All that mattered was that we were together.
“What’s going to happen now?” Troy asked, looking at the dust that had settled over the tables, chairs, and floor. I didn’t know how this was going to be explained away. I assumed the council would cover it up somehow, they always did. But there was something else. I turned around.
“Julia!” I called.
“She’s alright. We saved her as we were coming to you. We told her to be quiet,” Adam said.
“Can I come out now?” Julia asked. She pulled herself through the window and dusted herself off, and then she looked at me and the three men. Her eyes gleamed with hunger and she held her stake tightly. “Get away from them Elsa,” she said.
I stepped forward protectively, spreading my arms.
“You know our deal Julia. I told you that these are to be left unharmed,” I said.
“They’re vampires. They have to be dealt with,” she said.
“They’re not. They’re under my protection and I don’t care what you or anyone else says. These aren’t evil vampires. We’ve been looking at this all wrong. They’re not posing any threat to anyone, so let’s just leave things where they are and get back to Arthur.”
“I can’t do that Elsa. Arthur and I had a little chat when you were getting ready. He was worried that something like this might happen, and he gave me direct instructions to deal with you if you became too much trouble. You’re a Slayer. You’re supposed to kill vampires, not fuck them. You’ve betrayed us Elsa, and now you’re going to pay the price.”
I knew there wasn’t going to be any way to reason with her, or talk her down. I had saved her life before, but now she was out for my blood. I wasn’t even angry with her. I was angry with Arthur for giving her those orders. He should have spoken to me, should have trusted me. I couldn’t believe that he would go behind my back like this, but then when I thought about it how much did I really know him? Some of the council’s practices had always seemed shady and they were very rigid in their traditions. I guess I wasn’t meant to be a Slayer after all.