“They fly, of course,” he smiled at me.
“But you just said…” I sighed and shook my head. “What does this have to do with vampire biology?”
“Nothing.” Ezra shrugged. “The bumblebee existed despite scientific evidence to the contrary, much like myself. Eventually, scientists figured out they were looking at the wings wrong and discovered the magic in the flight of the bumblebee.
“Unfortunately, science has yet to figure out the magic of us,” Ezra finished, looking apologetic.
“So you’re saying that nobody knows the answers to my questions?” I asked.
“Yes and no.” He stood up. “You’ll find some things, but it won’t be enough. You look through Peter’s books and see if you can come across anything that might help you feel better.”
“Thanks,” I said.
With that, Ezra nodded at me and strode out of the room. I sighed and listened for his departing footsteps, but there were none. The only thing I could hear was music wafting from Milo’s room that sounded like Mozart.
I settled back in the chair and opened the book where I had left off. As I read on, I found that the faded italics offered little in what I wanted, just as Ezra predicted.
It was interesting though, telling the story of the unnamed author and his transformation into a vampire. He described it as excruciating, but in the end, very brief and hard to define. There was just pain, and then an unquenchable thirst.
The only new information was that some vampires turned more than others. While most retained a sense of their humanity, some of them lost it entirely. They were crazed bloodthirsty monsters, and they didn’t live very long because humans and vampires couldn’t stomach a creature like that.
I had just finished reading that passage when I heard a disgusted scoff at the door, frightening me so much I yelped. I half-expected to find Milo standing there, with shiny new fangs and that animal look in his eyes the book described.
Instead, it was just Jack, standing in the doorway and frowning darkly at me.
“You scared me!” I pointed out in an attempt to alleviate his glare.
“What are you doing in Peter’s room?” He fought to keep the edge off his voice, but he did a poor job. The last time I’d been in this room, I’d almost died, and he strained to keep his eyes from my dried blood on the rug.
“Reading.” I held up the book for him to see, but his expression never changed. “It’s a book about vampires. I figured that I better bone up since everybody around me seems to be one.”
“Why don’t you take the book and go somewhere else to read?” Jack meant to ask it, but it came off as a demand.
I could’ve argued with him, and I would’ve been perfectly justified in doing so. But it felt like too much work, and the scent of Peter distracted me anyway. Thoughts of him kept lurking in my head, keeping my mind in a fog.
Jack stood just outside the doorway, refusing to step inside. When I slid past him out the door, he finally started to relax a bit.
“What do you have?” Jack touched the book, moving it so he could read the title. Immediately, he let go of the book and rolled his eyes.
“What?” I looked down at the cover, trying to figure out what displeased him. Nondescript leather with the words A Brief History of Vampyres emblazed in the cover. “It’s just a book.”
“It’s Peter’s book,” Jack grumbled.
“Yeah, but you knew that when I was in his room.” I gestured back to the bookcases in his room and gave him a peculiar look. “Just because Peter owns something doesn’t-”
“No, he doesn’t just own it,” Jack corrected me. “He wrote it. That’s his biography.”
“What are you talking about?” I flipped open the book, looking for some mention of the author, but I found something that contradicted Jack. “No, it says right here the author is very old when he wrote this, and the book itself is incredibly old, and Peter isn’t even two-hundred yet.”
“Yeah, he wrote it when he’d been turned for like twenty years, but he didn’t think anyone would think anything of it if they knew how young he was. That’s why it doesn’t mention who he is or how old he is exactly.”
“But…” I tried to think of something to counter it with, but I didn’t even know why it was so important to me that I counter his argument at all.
“Was that the first book you picked up?” Jack narrowed his eyes, and his tone took an entirely different turn.
He was vaguely jealous, but mostly, the whole vampire bonding thing sickened him. My blood, Peter’s blood, they only seemed to exist to drive Jack insane.
I felt the same way he did. I hated that my pulse quickened just at the memory of Peter, or that I was automatically drawn to his book. Any connection to Peter felt like a betrayal, and I couldn’t stand it anymore.
“It’s just a book!”
“Whatever.” Jack shook his head and shut Peter’s bedroom door. When he looked back at me, he wrinkled his nose. “You smell like him.”
“Have you eaten today?” He abruptly changed the subject, and he softened. “I can order you a pizza or something.”
“I’m okay,” I shook my head. “I had a bagel earlier.”
“Right.” Jack stood awkwardly in front of me for a moment, and then stepped away from me. “I’m gonna go check on your brother.”
“Good idea. Tell him I say hi.”
He nodded and walked to the end of the hall, into the room I couldn’t go. I was alone in the hall, holding Peter’s book, and I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to read it or not.
Part of me wanted to read it even more now that I knew it was the story of Peter. Anything to get a better understanding of him would be amazing.
The rest of me knew it was a path I didn’t want to go down anymore. After he tried to kill me, a choice had been made, and Peter was no longer an option for me.
While Jack hadn’t requested it, I knew that a shower would fare better with him. I went into his room and discarded the book on his bed before picking out a change of clothes. Getting clean and worrying about Milo’s condition were enough. I would decide what to do about the book later.
The curtains layered the windows so thick the sun never stood a chance. No matter the time of day, darkness shrouded the house. My vision wasn’t as advanced as theirs, so Jack put a night light in the bathroom that adjoined his room.