Chapter 4: The Hour With the Witch
“Connor.” Menoch called me into his office.
I walked into his office slowly; I was still a tad irritated that he would behave so coldly to me, despite the fact that I’d been his fledgling for years.
“Connor my boy.” He was much more cheerful than before. “How goes the witch hunting?”
“Superfluous.” I stated in a bored drawl.
“The witch is hardly threatening.” I lied. Why was I lying?
“Is she training?”
“Yes. The crone is teaching her much.”
Menoch stood up from his chair, “Medea love, would you run out and phone Drescol, he’d be interested in the uprising.”
“Okay!” Medea bounded from the office.
“Connor, I would love if you could go to the festival tonight and keep an eye on our little witch and her little family of mischief makers.”
I gritted my teeth, nearly two hundred years of companionship and I was no better than Medea. Perfect. “It would be my honor Sir.”
“That-a-boy.” He smiled in what I presumed he thought was a pleasant, fatherly way. It was mocking and condescending and he was irritating me.
“Are we not attacking at the festival?” I asked.
“Why would we? The witches are at their strongest tonight, silly boy.”
“I know that, I –”
He interrupted me, “Run along now. Festival has almost started.” He turned and went back to his desk.
I stormed out of the room.
I made my way to the Samhain festival; my goal was to keep an eye on them long enough to report back if need be, but then to get out as quickly as possible. I was in a brooding mood and I didn’t feel like being around a bunch of merry witches, celebrating their silly festivals of nonsense.
I spotted Cassandra dancing around long after I felt the synergic tug. She seemed to be enjoying herself. I was around a clan of witches; however, I was fairly certain that only Cassandra made me feel like I was being dragged toward her. I tested it on some of the other witches, dashing back and forth through the forest, away from Cassandra; focusing my energies on other witches and warlocks, to no avail. The bizarre phenomenon only occurred with the youngest hunter.
I stopped as I noticed she was walking over toward me. “So, are you enjoying spying on us?” she asked. I smiled internally and the games began.
I had not questioned my sanity in approximately a hundred years; there was a time in 1904 where I thought I might have developed dissociative identity disorder. This feeling was nothing akin to that. This feeling was… damn it. No it wasn’t. I looked down at the tickets in my hand, two box seats to Gillette stadium, for a playoff game; Patriots versus Dolphins. I had bought the tickets almost a week ago, hoping to bribe the huntress into divulging useful information to me. I had noticed her fanatic habits when searching through her room one day. If the Tom Brady poster was not a big enough clue for me than perhaps the Patriot pennant and key chain helped. Now, as I looked down at the tickets, then looked back up toward her (sitting three seats away) I was having second thoughts about my plan. Could I be so callous? Wait a minute. This is me I am thinking about. Of course I could. I am a heartless, soulless, godless, bastard. Of course I could use the witch for information.
I had not tried to probe the huntress’s mind all day. It was not worth it. She would be blocking me. As always. Why did this thought depress me so much?
I perked up as I realized her friend was talking about me. I smirked at what I was hearing. “Make him warm him up.” As if that would happen. Did not her friend know I naturally ran at a cool temperature?
Out of habit I prodded at her mind, which was surprisingly free and clear. I thought loudly, Are you going to warm me up huntress?
She retorted and we bantered. This was the highlight of my day. I really had grown into a sad creature. During our conversation however she blocked me again. I tried but it was absolutely no use, she had a very steady block up.
I caught her after class… I had no plan at that moment, but I had her come for a walk with me, because that seemed like a good idea at the time. And after the walk, I asked her out.
I asked out the witch.
The thoughts running through my head had gotten confused. I was living an alternate life. A life where it was okay for me to engage in relations with a vampire hunter. A life where I was not bound by the one rule of vampire kind. A life where she might have had feelings back toward me. A life that did not exist. And yet…
She said yes.
The thought of sounding cliché was not one I enjoyed; being a cynic, was a trait I had come to love about myself. Yet, here I was, metaphorically floating back to my lair on a proverbial cloud. For some reason the huntress had said yes. To a date. With me. I was so baffled; I thought for sure I would have to use my vampire powers of persuasion to get her to agree. It must have been the Patriots tickets that did it. She just could not resist such a generous bribe. I felt better, now that I had reasoned with myself that she did not in fact love me; but rather loved the prospect of seeing a game live.
Before I realized it I was back at the temporary dwelling. On most given days one could find us (or could not find us I suppose since our mission is to not be found) lurking in the northern reaches of the globe. We tried to hide out as frequently as we could. When infiltrating however, it was easiest to blend – so we had rented a quaint little home on the main street. It only had five bedrooms and was not nearly large enough for headquarters, but it was shaped like a castle and that pleased Medea. I only cared for the fact that it had a stereo, and my own room.
“Connor!” Menoch was still cheerful. Superb.
“Menoch.” I could not muster his delight; at least not toward him.
“I sent Medea out just now to follow you,” I balked at this news. He had sent another vampire to spy on me. Did he think I was not doing my job?
“She reported back that you have a date with the huntress!” Menoch was thrilled.
“Uh,” in my long life I had never had a shortage for words; until recently. It was becoming a nasty habit.
“Excellent! You are so clever sometimes! Using her feelings toward you as a way to get information! Good job!”
I sighed with relief, “Thank you. Yes. I am sure she will be a goldmine of information.”
“Very good.” He turned back toward his office, “Carry on.”
“Menoch, out of curiosity, when are we attacking?”
“Patients my boy.” And the door closed.
I went to my room, smiling. Actually smiling. Unable to think of a reason not to smile. Except for the fact that one day I would have to kill the huntress – and using her as a means for information was coldhearted and cruel; but then, I was coldhearted and cruel. My smile dissipated slightly – that was more like it. Always hatred and anger, never happiness; happiness is weakness.
I never much liked football – yet, here I was surrounded by a thousand others who might actually try to punch me if I said this thought out loud. I looked next to me at the huntress, cheering loudly with the rest of the crowd. We might have been in a box (where the more reserved fans sat) but that was not stopping the huntress from calling out bad calls to the referee.
“You are very passionate.” I observed.
She looked at me, her face alight with excitement. “You’re not into this are you?” she asked.
I shrugged, “You are.”
“But you’re bored.”
“I am always bored.” I admitted.
“Yea. I guess a thousand years is a long time.”
I looked around hoping none of the other occupants heard her.
“So, do you want to do something else?” she asked.
I hesitated. “Like what?”
“I don’t know. Walk. Shop. Hunt?” she smiled.
“I might have accidently probed your mind.” She had lowered her voice, “You’re hungry.”
“And you call me a stalker.” I almost smiled.
“It was an accident.” She mumbled. “Oh come on! That was a cheap call if I’ve ever seen one! Get a ref who’s not blind!”
The other patrons looked at her and I could not stop myself. I burst out laughing. Actually enjoying myself. How did I get here?
She looked at me quizzically. “Are you laughing?”
“You make me laugh. Yes.”
She smiled, her big blue eyes twinkling with delight. “Come on,” she stood up, “let’s get some food.”
“You would let me hunt? With you standing right there?” I asked.
We were miles away from the game, and most civilization. “Yes.”
“That seems very counterproductive.” I reasoned.
“Yea, well, the fact that you were hungry wasn’t the only tidbit I picked up.”
“And you heard what more?” I had a feeling I already knew this answer.
“You were thinking that you could really go for some nice black bear. I figured; if you hunted animals, I could stand the thought of eating with you.” she smiled up at me and I felt. I am not sure what I felt, but I felt and that was the key.
“Yes. Black bear does sound good this time of year.” It was so easy to admit things to her. “And you would like,” I probed gently at the edge of her mind. Chinese food, Chinese food, Chinese food. She chanted in a rhythmic mantra, knowing I was listening; I laughed slightly, “Mexican?” I joked.
“Oh yes, I love me some Mexican.” She paused and reconsidered, “Food. Mexican food.”
We laughed and joked to the Chinese food restaurant. “What would you like?” I asked her, gazing at the menu with disinterest.
She hummed, thinking as she read through the options, “You might as well just get the chicken fried rice. You know it’s your favorite.” I said; quirking a smile at her.
“You need to stop that.” She reprimanded me but she was smiling too.
“I’ll have an order of chicken fried rice.” She told the attendant.
“For here or to go?” the cashier asked. Cassandra looked at me, questioningly. It’s your call. She thought.
“For here.” I answered.
“Nope.” We answered in unison, catching each others eyes we laughed quietly.
After we paid for the food we sat down at a booth. She gazed at me with an unreadable expression. I figured myself as someone who could tell expressions, and read people, rather easily. This was not one of the instances where I could prove this statement true. “What are you thinking about?” I asked.
“That second day I saw you.” she admitted.
“At the park?” I knew this was the moment she stated of – I just wanted to make sure.
“Yea. At the amusement park.” She clarified. “I’ve been wondering, why were you there? Were you already stalking me?” she did not seem horrified by the prospect, simply curious.
I pondered briefly, trying to decide to how to word my next statement. “Yes. I was observing you. Clearly I would never go to an amusement park on my own, just for kicks.”
“I figured. I didn’t think of it then ’cause I didn’t know you or anything; but it was kind of bizarre that you were there. Especially on a rainy day like that.”
“And why were you there on such a dreadful day?” I asked.
“We were determined.” She laughed to herself, obviously remembering something I could not know.
I tensed, there was a deer in range, odd for this area, but I could sense it. Then I looked to see Cassandra’s friends were coming our way. “I believe this is a good time for me to get my own dinner.” I half smiled at her.
“Oh,” she looked upset. “But there are no bears around here.” Her voice was low, trying not to be too obvious.
“No, but there’s venison; besides, I think I see some company for you.” I took her hand and kissed it gently. I have no idea why. It seemed a good idea. She smiled. “Good day Cassandra.”
“Bye Connor.” She called, but I was half way out the door.
After I had eaten I could think clearly and I realized that outing was pointless. I had received no information from her. But I saw her smile, heard her laughter, the sweet sound of her melodic voice. Oh hell. I turned the corner and almost walked in to Medea, who was giving me a sour expression.
“Some interrogation.” She stated hotly. “Did she tell you how well trained they are before or after you kissed her?!”
“It’s none of your business how I go about getting information!”
“Actually, it is! Menoch sent me to make sure you were doing your job! He doesn’t trust you.” she gave me a matter-of-fact expression that sent me over the edge. My anger rose to a boiling point. I was through here.
“You are just a lackey for an abrasive, irritating, tyrant! You are no better than I am! Get off your high horse and leave me the fuck alone!”
She stood, mouth agape, in horror at my outburst. I felt… good. I felt relieved to have said the things I had wanted to say to her for a long time. I was tired of playing it cool. I was tired of rolling along with what Menoch had to say and putting up with their crap. I was done.
I rushed to my room. I packed a bag, but knew it was pointless. I would never leave. Soon after I zipped up the suitcase Menoch burst in. I sighed, resigned to what I had to deal with.
“What have you done?” he hissed, grabbing me by the collar.
“I have not done anything.” I insisted.
“That is half the point,” he threw me unceremoniously to the floor. “You’ve been off wasting time wooing the huntress!”
I jumped up from the floor, “She has to trust me if she’s going to talk!” I argued.
“And why are you packing?” he opened the suitcase and threw its contents to the floor. “You know you can never leave here. You know you are bound to this clan until your maker is dead.” He grabbed my arm, leaning in to hiss in my ear, “and I am not going anywhere; which means neither are you. You would do well to remember that.” He shoved me backward and turned to leave. “Pick this up.” He barked, slamming the door behind him.
Anger had overcome me, it was too late to get over it and move on. It was the end of my rope. I could not be bound to this clan anymore; to these ridiculous rules and unwritten laws. I smashed the bedside lamp; I had supernatural night vision anyway. I proceeded to bust the desk, the window, the bed and the door. I looked around at the destruction I had caused. While my frustration was vented somewhat, it did not help. I was still bound to the clan, and I still had to put up with their crap until Menoch was assassinated… or I was.
“Why are you so upset today?” Cassandra asked after history. She had not put up a mental block all day, I was free to probe as I pleased, but I did not. There was nothing in her head that she would not tell me if I asked.
I looked at her questioning eyes. She was so… kind, it was almost as if she had completely forgotten I was her enemy.
“I got into a fight.” I answered honestly.
“Oh no, with Menoch?”
“Yea.” I did not feel like getting in to details – she could search for them if she really wanted to.
“I won’t pry then.” She said and started walking away.
How could I fight that? How could I fight someone so sweet, so… how could I fight her?
“Movies.” I called, “Saturday.”
She turned and smiled, “Okay.”
“I’ll pick you up?”
“Yea, like that’ll happen. Meet you there; at five. Don’t be late.”
“I won’t.” I mumbled to her retreating back.