Then Daisy reached up and sliced the underside of my chin open with her fingernails. She tried to wiggle up, so she could get to the blood, and that’s when I let her go.
“Daisy!” Mae yelled, but Daisy ran past her.
Ezra and Peter blocked the doorway to the next room, and I stood on the other side of the room, so Daisy had nowhere to go. She ran to the corner and turned to face us, her face contorted in her demon smile as she snarled.
While I’d been trying to contain Daisy, Jack had come down, and he sat crouched over Milo, holding a blanket to his neck. The scratches and bites that covered my upper body stung and tingled as they tried to heal.
“Daisy, love.” Mae held her arms out to her and walked slowly towards her. “You need to calm down, sweetie. Everything will be alright.”
“No!” Daisy snarled, with blood dripping from her mouth. “No! It won’t! I’m hungry! I’m so hungry!”
“I can feed you, love,” Mae told her softly.
Mae reached out for her, and Daisy swiped at her. Daisy had begun to sob, but her bloodlust hadn’t relented. Mae grabbed her, wrapping her arms around her tightly to hold in her place, but Daisy fought her mercilessly, biting and kicking and clawing.
“Daisy, love, please calm down.” Mae tried stroking her hair, and Daisy nearly bit off one of Mae’s fingers. “Daisy!”
“I’m hungry!” Daisy wailed as tears mixed with blood staining her cheeks. “It hurts! It hurts!”
She threw her head back and began to scream. This wasn’t the scream of a child having a tantrum. This was a child in incredible, intense pain from being hungry, and she could do nothing to satiate it.
“Mae.” Ezra walked over to her, watching as Mae struggled to control Daisy, and he crouched down next to them.
“She’s not usually like this,” Mae insisted, looking up at him with tears in her eyes. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen her, but…”
“Mae,” Peter said gently. “That’s not true. She’s like this all the time now.”
“It hurts!” Daisy cried, but her fit seemed to be lessening. She had stopped biting Mae, but she kept kicking and wriggling.
“Mae, she’s in pain,” Ezra told her quietly, his dark eyes rested on her.
“If I feed her…” Mae trailed off.
“When was the last time she ate?” Ezra asked.
“Three hours ago.” Mae swallowed hard and looked down at the sobbing child in her arms. She screamed and thrashed because of how much pain she was in, and even if Mae fed her now, it would only hurt again in a few hours.
Nobody understood how it felt exactly for a child to be a vampire. By the way Daisy acted, I suspected she felt pain even worse than I did when I was starving. It had to be more than a lack of control that made her react like that. She was in agony.
“Daisy.” Mae held her close to her, hugging her more than restraining her, and stroked the damp curls on her head. “Daisy, love, please…” Mae squeezed her eyes tightly as tears slid out.
Daisy’s fight picked back up, and she reached out for Ezra, trying to claw at him. She snarled and almost lunged from Mae’s arms, but Mae held fast to her. In response, Daisy sunk her teeth into Mae’s shoulders.
“Daisy, I love you.” Mae whispered.
She kissed the top of her head, stroked her hair, and then as she held Daisy in her arms, Mae reached up and twisted her neck sharply. The cracking sound that her neck made as it snapped was barely audible, but I jumped when I heard it.
For a moment – barely even long enough to take a breath – everything was so eerily silent, it didn’t seem real.
Then Mae began to wail, and it was a sound unlike any I had ever heard before. Rocking the dead child in her arms, Mae wept with everything in her. Ezra tried to put his arm around her, and at first she pushed him off, screaming at him that she hated him, but finally she relented, letting him cradle her.
Milo had lost enough blood where he was on the brink of blacking out, so Jack ran to get him blood. I sat next to him, holding the blanket on his neck, and watched Mae fall apart. Milo drank quickly, and then Jack carried him upstairs so he could rest.
My own wounds had already healed, but dried blood covered my skin and clothes. I should’ve went upstairs to change or hide out, but I sat on the steps off the living room, listening to Mae.
For a while, I didn’t think she would ever stop crying, but eventually, she began to lose her voice. She made small croaked sobs and sniffles. I heard Ezra murmuring things to her, but she never responded.
“Alice?” Peter asked, and I looked up. I’d had my head resting on the wall, leaning and listening. He stood in front of me at the bottom of the steps, his green eyes moist.
“Hi,” I said softly. I didn’t want to disturb Ezra and Mae, even though they were both far enough away and so lost in their own pain that they would never notice me.
“What are you doing?” Peter asked, and I shook my head.
I had no good answer for what I was doing. I just… I felt like I should hear. Like this was my fault somehow, and it hurt listening to Mae cry like that, so I should listen. As some kind of punishment.
“Mind if I join you?” Peter asked taking a step up towards me.
“No, of course not.” I gestured to the empty space on the stair next to me, and he sat down. “How are you doing?”
“I don’t know.” He shook his head, but his eyes were still wet and red. Daisy had gotten under his skin, and he hadn’t want to see anything bad happen to her. “I knew it would end this way, but…”
“I’m sorry.” I put my hand on his back, leaving tacky bloodstains on his shirt, but I doubted he’d mind. “I know you liked her.”
“It is better this way,” he said thickly and looked down at his hands. “Her life would’ve been torture. She was going to keep hurting people, killing them, but I think Mae would’ve stomached that. It was just… she was in so much pain.”
“Yeah?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He nodded and swallowed. “Daisy would wake up at night, screaming in pain. The hunger is too intense for something that small. They can’t…” His mouth twisted as he fought of tears.
“I’m still sorry this happened,” I said.
“Me too.” Tears streamed down his cheek, and I put my arm around him, pulling close to me.
Peter cried softly in my arms, and I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for the shaking of his body as he held back sobs. I ached for him, and I wanted to take away his pain.