The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 89

Sister Elisabeta reached down and swept up Nicoleta in her arms, screaming with joy, “Look everyone, Nicoleta’s back!  She’s back!  She’s alive!”

The whole tone and tempo of the convent changed at that moment.  At once, everyone came to an abrupt stop.  Then, curious to see what Elisabeta was talking about, they started approaching.  Once people recognized Nicoleta and really understood what Elisabeta was saying, they gushed with joy.

Elisabeta hugged Nicoleta so tight, that Nicoleta struggled to breath, while Elisabeta wept profusely.  “You don’t know how horrible it was to see you taken away, I thought, for good,” Elisabeta cried, “It’s like having one come back from the dead.”

Others, just as quickly pushed in to greet and hug and ask their questions of Nicoleta.  Dorina and Mirela were soon in the crowd pushing their way through, squeezing between the bodies of the larger adults that crowded around Nicoleta.  When they finally reached Nicoleta, they too hugged her, tears streaming down their cheeks.

The crowd finally quieted down when Elisabeta asked Nicoleta, “And what about Sister Oana and Madalina?”

Nicoleta tried to weakly smile as she told them, “They’re both alive.  But …”

“What is it?” Mirela pressed.

“Sister Oana was alive the last I saw her.  But she’s trapped.  The vampires have her, and I don’t know how long they’ll let her live.  And Madalina.  She’s become one of them.”

The silence persisted long after they heard these disappointing words.

The next day a meeting was called at the town hall.  The room was filled again to brimming with the curious citizens of Terem elbowing their ways into seats to hear from the girl who’d escaped.

While the crowd murmured in anticipation and people still jostled for seats, Ileana leaned down and told Nicoleta, whispering in her ear, “You’re going to tell the crowd what you told us.  Just say the words however they come to you and take as much time as you want.  You don’t have to be nervous.”

Seated at the table next to Ileana, sat Andrei and besides him, bundled in her black cloak, was Lina.  She kept her head lowered and had wrapped her cloak around her arms so that she looked like a baby in black swaddling clothes, quietly waiting in her corner.

Flaviu, the captain of the guard, stood up and, in his commanding voice, he ordered, “Quiet!” and the room immediately fell silent.  All eyes turned to look at Nicoleta as Flaviu gave her his hand to help her stand and move forward.

Nicoleta stood nervously before the assembled crowd, afraid to raise her eye and look out on all the eyes that looked back at her.  She turned to Ileana for support, and Ileana smiled her encouragement.

“The vampires captured me,” Nicoleta began, “But they didn’t kill me.  They didn’t want to kill me.  They live in a cave underground, out in the forest somewhere.  And underground with them they have a cage, a gigantic cage, where they keep people, very many people.  Almost every day, they go into the cage and they take someone out, and they eat them.  And they have so many, they never run out of people to eat.”

“How many people are in this cage?” Flaviu asked her, bending down to her level and speaking gently.

“I don’t know,” Nicoleta admitted.

“More people than are in this room?” Flaviu asked, as his eyes tracked across the crowd of nearly three hundred people.”

“Yes,” Nicoleta replied, “More than twice as many, I think.  It’s a great many people, so it’s hard to keep count.”

A cry of shock broke out across the crowd as more than one person voiced their amazement.  People started standing up, shouting towards the front, barely able to confine themselves in their seats.

Then a booming voice commanded silence across the crowd.  This time it wasn’t Flaviu.  Lucian stood from a seat in the front row and turned to address the crowd.  “This is a lie,” he told them in his most sincere and forthright voice, “I have it by the word of Asha herself that this is a lie.”

“This girl here was captured for food, shortly before our agreement was signed.  But the vampires have assured me that they consume humans no more.  Just like the rest of us, they eat the flesh of animals: beef, lamb, pork, and so on.  This girl was meant to be food (the vampires do not deny it), and only by the grace of God was she freed.  But she represents the end of an era.  She would’ve been the last human sacrificed to their hunger.  There are no more.”

As the crowd began to stir and object, Lucian raised his voice again, “Now you might ask, ‘Why is it that such lies are being told?’  And I can tell you the answer.  And the answer is sitting right there in that cloak.”

At this point Lucian turned and pointed a finger at Lina, who still sat in her cloak at the front of the room.

<-- Go to Part 88         Go to Part 90 -->

You can see what's been written so far collected here.

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