August 7th, 2012 | Published in Haventon Chronicles
Anna was squirmy. The word felt strange in Ragnar’s mind but it was the one that fit the way she was wriggling around, trying to kick and hit him while he held her and waited for George to drag a second bed into the cell. What would she and Caroline make of each other? They were very different people.
“It’s done, master.” George was breathing hard from the effort when he emerged from the room.
“Good boy!” he said and carried Anna into the cell, slammed her down on the bed and began chaining her to the wall. “Welcome to your new home, Anna. If you learn to behave yourself I’ll undo some of the chains.”
Anna just snarled ferally at him and lashed out with one of her feet, catching him hard in the stomach.
“That,” he said. “is the exact opposite of behaving yourself, my dear.” He resisted the urge to hit her back. That wouldn’t help with taming her. It might even make things worse. Anna was nothing like his normal prey. He selected them for their biddability and easy temperament. Anna was anything but biddable, she’d take a long time to tame before it was safe to turn her. There were few things more dangerous than a rebellious child. “Don’t make me shorten the chains on your legs, you really wouldn’t like that when you need the commode.”
“She’s frisky,” Caroline said from where she was sitting on her own bed.
Anna’s head snapped up and she stared at the other girl with an expression that was a mixture of horror and pity.
“Yes, she is a bit isn’t she, Caroline?” he agreed, turning to look at her. He immediately regretted it as she cringed back from the sight of his half melted face. Of course she hadn’t seen the mess that Anna had made of him yet. “She threw a flask of Christian Holy Water in my face while I was capturing her,” he explained. “I need to go and heal myself up. Why don’t you two get to know each other?”
“Holy Water?” Caroline said. “It looks more like she hit you with a flask of acid.”
“Acid would have hurt a great deal less and done less damage,” he muttered and stalked upstairs to let the moon heal him. It might not be full tonight but it would certainly help. Thank goodness that the water had not hit his eyes, being blind – even temporarily – was not something that he relished from past experience, and eyes took a long time to regrow.
* * *
“So, your name’s Caroline?” Anna asked the other girl after she was sure he really had gone. She began investigating her chains. Trying to find a way to escape them, but they seemed pretty seemed pretty secure. “How long have you been here?”
Caroline cocked her head at her. “About a month I think. It’s a bit hard to keep track of the days down here. So your name’s Anna? I’m Caroline.”
“Yes,” Anna replied as she tugged experimentally at the chains, trying to wrench them free of the wall. “So, he’s been feeding on you?” She turned to study the girl who was sitting cross legged on the bed with a novel in her lap. A single shiny chain fastened one ankle to the wall. There were a couple of other chains as well, bolted at points along the wall. He could probably fit three or four people in here at a squash.
“Yeah, it’s not too bad but it’s been getting tiring since Ella killed herself. He really needs more than one food source.” She caught Anna’s look. “She’d been trying for weeks. From what she said while we were talking she had been suicidal even before George found her. The master kept having to force her to eat and she would goad him, trying to get him to take enough to kill her. One day she managed to use her chains to hang herself. He had George alter them after that.” She closed her eyes. “He was furious about that. He likes to have enough of us around that we don’t die, though I think a couple did before George picked up Ella and me.” She frowned at Anna. “But I don’t think you’re food. He gets George to find his food.”
“Is it scary?” Anna asked, wondering why the girl seemed so at ease with being kept prisoner to feed a vampire.
“It was at first, but it’s not that bad. He’s kind to us, and at least he doesn’t beat me up for talking back like my mother step-father did. That’s why I ran away from home.” Tears ran down the girl’s cheeks.
“Oh, honey.” Anna felt sick. “That’s just wrong.” It was a pretty shitty life when being chained up in an admittedly comfortable and well-appointed cellar and being used as an on tap blood supply by a vampire was an improvement. The order said all vampires were evil, though she was beginning to wonder about that, and Ragnar was certainly evil, but sometimes she thought that nothing and no one – even the devil himself – could beat out humans for evil. “But this isn’t a life either. He’ll move on eventually, or the constant feedings will get to you – I doubt he’ll let you go when that point comes.”
Caroline looked away. “I know,” she said softly. “He doesn’t lie about that. He can’t let me go because it’s too risky. He thinks humans can’t be trusted not to betray vampires. He says that a war is inevitable and he intends to make sure vampires win it because that’s the only way for both races to survive and once they do no one will have to die any more.” She paused and frowned. “I’m not sure what I think about that. I don’t think it would be especially good for humans.”
“No,” Anna agreed. “It probably wouldn’t.” She frowned thoughtfully. “But why does he think that a war is inevitable?”