There’s no wind blowing tonight.
And the sky is remarkably clear. If not for the torches, it would be perfect for stargazing.
If not for the torches, and…
Helsing is shaking, his eyes wider than ever, and his face twitching, not settling on any one expression.
Tess keeps her voice steady, low, calm. Civil. “Tell me, Abraham. When he woke, didn’t your partner say anything to you?”
The pitch of his voice is all over the place, his breathing ragged, “He… He tried to convince me it was his choice. That he became that monster by choice.”
“And you said he was lying next to his brother on the bed. Tell me, were they lying peacefully?”
“No… NO! He-… He must have dragged him up there- Posed his body like that! Or-! No. No, he hypnotized him! Just like you’ve done to-!”
“-What will it take to convince you? That vampires are STILL PEOPLE,” Tess’s voice grows stronger — more aggressive, “Or are you just scared of the truth — that you killed your friend that night?”
“No! You’re lying- Stop! Stop trying to convince me of your lies, foul creature!”
He lunges at Tess then, with no regard for any of the people between. In his hysterical state, he pushes them aside with ease and throws holy water from the flask at his hip.
Tess only stands there. Unmoving.
Truly panicking now, he pulls out some sacred wafers and tries again.
Still without effect.
He brandishes the silver cross at her, but still nothing.
< Of course not. I’m not cursed. >
“I don’t understand. Are you…” His face lights up in false-understanding. His voice rises in pitch as he declares, “You’re-not actually one of them! You’re not a vampire!”
Turning into a flock of bats, she flies — a blur to the human eye — the few feet between them and reforms — directly in front of him.
“I assure you, I am. Or, well…” Tess’s eyes smile a little, involuntarily, “I’m a dhampir.”
“A… a what?”
“I’m part vampire… and part HUMAN.”
“But… No… But that would mean…?” He takes a step back.
< You’re smiling outright, now. >
< I really can’t help it. I love it when they jump to conclusions! ~Just like he’s about to.~ >
He’s screaming now.
“But that can’t be! For that to happen, a vampire and a human-! It’s impossible! They don’t mix, they-!”
“-I have an entire village that disagrees.”
Tess turns so that she can address everyone.
“Back in my home, our entire village coexists — half of them vampires and the other humans, living together. Caring for each other,” she looks back at Helsing, “Families full of both humans and humans-turned-vampires.”
He’s backing away. “… That’s… But…”
Tess grins an all-tooth smile. Her voice is overly-cheerful. “You should come visit! I could give you a tour, if you like. I really think some traveling would do you good.
“After all, I know it has for me!”