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    C. Henderson
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Sacrum - 3. Chapter 3

“Why was I created?” I asked Vinicius once. He thought about it for a moment.

“You were created to act as a force of good, in a world that can be shockingly ugly and cruel,” he replied.

“And what if…what if I don’t turn out to be so good?” I asked, feeling insecure.

“That is your choice, of course,” he replied.

“It is?”

“Of course. Nobody can force you to be good. Not even me,” he smiled. His old blue eyes kindly gazing into mine.

“I’m not always good. Sometimes I’m lazy about my work,” I confessed, and his smile got wider.

“Nobody’s always good. You’re a Special, not a Saint.”

“You’re always good,” I replied.

“That is far from the truth, my boy. But if I appear to be good, it’s only because I’ve had hundreds of lifetimes to practice goodness, while you’re just starting out.”

When I woke up, I quickly forgot all about my dreams, and focused on the fact that I had done zero work on my paper for Maratoni. I scrambled to rewrite the first three pages, but there was no way I could get it all done on time.

He stared at me with pure revulsion when I handed the measly three pages over.

“You really dare to come in here with this?” He asked, not even bothering to take them from me.

“I’m sorry sir, I wasn’t feeling well yesterday,” I replied.

“Get out of my sight, and don’t come back until you have the finished assignment,” he replied, then went back to his desk. Great, another day wasted, I thought. How in the world was I going to learn anything, when this man refused to mentor me. I walked over to the library in total and utter frustration. I took out my notebook and started working on the assignment yet again, trying to decipher his chicken scratch.

Too vague!” One comment stated. “I need more info!” Another screamed.

I scrambled my brain for more information. How was I supposed to come up with things I was never taught. Vinicius didn’t believe in sitting down and cramming facts and dates into my memory. Most of our days were spent having long conversations about random things.

I strained my brain trying to think of something that could appease Maratoni, but nothing came to mind. I sat there uselessly until the bell rang, and then I made my way out to the cafeteria to meet with Laura, Angelo and Kyle. Laura threw me a blood juice—blood juices were all the rage now, and the bottles came in a variety of fun and different colors that appealed to teenagers—to get my strength up after hearing my dilemma with Maratoni and after I told her that Boeriella Trusting refused my plea for a different mentor.

“No surprise,” she replied.

“Yeah, he’s no ray of sunshine, but Trusting has his back,” Angelo chimed in.

“Also, Angelo said you met Vincent the other day?” Laura asked. I shot Angelo a look. Did he really have to blast my private business?

“I did,” I replied. “And strangely enough, Trusting also told me to stay away from him,” I confessed hoping someone would illuminate me as to why Vincent was such a supposed bad influence. But nobody at the table even looked remotely surprised.

“Speaking of the devil,” Kyle suddenly said, looking in the other direction of the cafeteria. I followed his gaze until my eyes landed on Vincent, who had just entered. And just like the other day, students seemed to part the way for him. He walked over to a small group a few tables away from us, then looked in my direction. I smiled, but he just held my gaze.

“Why does everyone seem so afraid of him,” I inquired, pushing my blood juice aside, and looking back at Angelo, Laura and Kyle. It was strange the way people tip-toed around the dark-haired boy. But apparently, I had asked something dumb, because everyone at the table burst out in fits of laughter. Even the typically stone-faced Kyle.

“Why does everyone seem afraid of Vincent? Is that what I just heard you say,” Angelo asked in-between stifled laughs.

“Yes, why is that so funny?” I replied. It seemed that everyone knew something I didn’t, and I was tired of it.

“Ahh, you Specials are hilarious. Always unaware of everything going on around you. In your own little world,” he mused, as if he knew a multitude of other Specials beside me. That was impossible. There were only 5 of us in the world. But then again, Maratoni’s Special attended Baritone High School, so it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility for Angelo to have known him.

“Are you going to tell me or not?” I asked, growing annoyed.

“Dang, you really are bad at our people’s history, aren’t you? I cannot believe that your old mentor didn’t teach you about any of this,” he said. “Let me put on my Captain Nerd crown,” he announced, and went through the motions of putting on an imaginary hat, then cleared his throat, ready to take me on a trip down memory lane.

“Remember back in the good old dark days when our people didn’t have a modern government, but were instead ruled by an evil monarchy? And that monarchy just happened to have no respect for human life whatsoever, and pretty much did any unspeakable acts they wanted to do, whenever they felt like it?” He didn’t wait for me to answer. “Yeah, neither do I. But I read about it in a couple books, and some of my family members who date back to that time period have told me how it was. So, anyways, after the Rebellion of The Clans War, the monarchy, AKA the Carandini family, were mostly killed off. But not all,” he said, his voice getting more excited by the second. He really was a history nerd. Some of what he was saying rang a bell, but I wasn’t a great student, so the memory refresher was useful. “Some escaped, some turned themselves in and were punished, and some were given clemency, mostly women and kids.”

“Okay,” I replied, slowly losing focus. History had never been my favorite subject, and none of this seemed like it was relevant to my question.

“Anyway, seeing as I’m quickly losing you, let me fast forward. At the top of the Monarchy food chain, in those wonderful olden days, was King Romero Carandini and his wife, Queen Rosalia. They had three children, two of them were killed during the revolt, only the youngest survived. Princess Alessandra Letizia Carandini, who had two kids of her own. An infant, and a two-year-old. Her two boys were now the sole heirs to the Carandini throne. She went into hiding with the infant, while her husband took the older boy, Gianni, and escaped into a different part of the city. The idea was that if one of them were killed, there would be a spare heir remaining. But the person tasked with hiding Gianni and his father got scared, and secretly informed the opposition of the hiding place. The angry mob broke in, and violently murdered Gianni and Alessandra’s husband,” I gasped, imagining how scared the child must have been. The violence of it all made me nauseous.

Angelo continued, “That’s when Princess Alessandra decided to take a gamble. She knew that if the mob found her, the infant would be killed. So instead of waiting for the inevitable, she turned herself in to the men leading the revolt and begged for the life of her only son. The men did unspeakable things to her in return for granting her request. Things I won’t even repeat here. But they kept their word, and afterwards the Princess and her baby boy were given regular names and integrated back to society as inconspicuously as possible. Seventeen years later, and now here we are,” Angelo finished off. I raised my eyebrows, still not understanding. He sighed and rolled his eyes. He took another breath, ready to continue my lesson. “Vincent is not just any Vincent. The boy you know as Vincent is the child that was granted life. He is the surviving son of Princess Alessandra Letizia Carandini, and the rightful heir to the throne—if there was a throne. He is Salvatore Vincenzo Romero Carandini,” he said, almost as if he was speaking the name of a celebrity. “That’s why everyone is so afraid of him.” I stared back at Vincent in wonder, shuddering at the image of the small infant so close to being brutally murdered.

“I still don’t get it. That was years ago, isn’t he just a regular Joe like you and I now? Why are people scared?”

“Not exactly, no,” Angelo chuckled. “There’s been some rumors that many of the aristocratic families aren’t happy with the progress we’ve made in our relationships with humans. They think it’s shameful, as they consider humans to be a lesser species. So they’ve been plotting to revert back to the old system. Back when we were the rulers and humans served as food and entertainment. And who better to take back the throne than the Carandini family.”

“That’s ridiculous!” I exclaimed. “Didn’t you say that most of them were killed?”

“Many, yes. But many are also said to have escaped and went into a deep sleep, in various secret hiding places, asking to be awakened only when it’s time for the rightful heir to take back the throne,” Angelo completed his tale, and the hair on my neck stood up. I couldn’t imagine such a brutal world. It made no sense to me. “You know the Specials program was created mostly out of fear that something like the Carandini Monarchy could happen once again,” he said, studying my face carefully.

I sat in silence. Of course, it had to be my luck to develop some sort of strange feelings for the one vampire whose evil family’s existence directly led to mine. I spent the next few hours digesting the information while trying to take notes in class. I wrecked my brain for anything Vinicius might have said about the family, but I couldn’t remember him ever directly mentioning the name. How strange not to talk about the family that inspired him to create the program in the first place.

“Power is a strange thing, Dani. It can create a lot of delusion, and a lot of damage,” he had said one time. I was growing so frustrated with Vinicius and all the unfinished fragments he left me with. All the metaphors I was supposed to somehow untangle all on my own. What if Maratoni was right? What if Vinicius left me completely unprepared for the world. How was I going to cope or protect anyone?

When class was over, I said goodbye to my friends and made my way to the library to try to finish the dreaded paper. I sat and scribbled for an hour, my head completely devoid of any ideas, until I nodded off on top of the desk. In an ideal world, vampires did not need sleep. We only chose to rest if we so decided. But in the modern world, raised on a blood supply that came from the freezer and sometimes from animal sources, it was natural for us to sleep more frequently.

“Not making much progress,” Vincent said, waking me up. I wondered how long he had been sitting across from me.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked.

“Tell you what?” He said, even though his face revealed he already knew what I meant.

“Why didn’t you tell me you’re a descendent of the Carandini family?”

“Does it matter?” He asked. I thought about it for a moment.

“No. But it would have been nice to know.” He smiled.

“It should matter, you know,” he said suddenly. “I mean, if we’re being honest Dani. You were pretty much created to…kill me, if I ever decide to, you know, get out of line or something,” he said so casually that I almost missed the implication.

“Well then, let’s hope you never get out of line, or something,” I replied. Our eyes staring intently at each other. He leaned in.

“And what if I do?” He asked in a whisper.

“I guess I’ll just have to…reel you back in,” I replied. He laughed as if I were adorable.

“You know, despite everything, I’m really happy you’re here,” he said, suddenly vulnerable.

“Me too, Vincent,” I replied. “Or is it Salvatore now?” I asked with a smirk. He held my gaze.

“That’s up to you,” he said with a serious face. “Here, this should help you avoid Maratoni’s wrath,” he slid over a book. “It’s highly illegal to have it though, by both the school and our government, so don’t get caught with it,” he said, and before I could protest, he was gone.

I opened the book and my eyes couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was part of a manual. An intricate manual on the creation of the Specials program. Vincent just handed me something akin to a live grenade and walked off. He could have been arrested and tried just for touching this book. I shuddered at the knowledge that my “enemy” knew more about me and my creation, than I knew about myself. How did Vincent get his hands on this book, and more importantly, did he plan on using the knowledge inside of it against me one day?

Copyright © 2021 C. Henderson; All Rights Reserved.

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

If you enjoyed what you have read, please leave a reaction and/or comment for the author!

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Chapter Comments

Wow that was a bit of a curve ball, getting hold of that manual, is going to be an eye opener no doubt, he will learn more than he expected. Interesting times ahead

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You know what they say...  Keep your friends close but your enemies even closer (I wonder how close he sand Vincent could become?)

 I'm more worried about why his mentor seemed to have failed to prepare him in anyway. I can't wait to see what happens next.

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Ah...the plot thickens like congealed, well...you get the hint..Maratoni I believe, is one of the descendants of many of the aristocratic families. I think the fact that he preys on 'live' humans is an important clue. 

That he is mentoring a 'special',is akin to that old adage "Keep your friends close but your enemies even closer" as noted above, and forcing him to 'spill' all that Vinicius taught him is a blatant attempt to gather all the information needed to assist the overthrow of the present governing agreement!

Hang on to your seat boys and girls, fireworks ahead...BTW, Dani should 'struggle' with his paper to throw a monkey wrench into Maratoni's plans...as he isn't to go back till the paper is finished!!

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49 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

Ah...the plot thickens like congealed, well...you get the hint..

🍷🩸 haha!

50 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

Hang on to your seat boys and girls, fireworks ahead...

🎆🎇🧨 fireworks ahead indeed. 

 

51 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

Dani should 'struggle' with his paper to throw a monkey wrench into Maratoni's plans...

That's what I would do as well. But will Dani dare to undermine his mentor? Highly unlikely 😬

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drpaladin

Posted (edited)

On 2/23/2021 at 1:21 PM, C. Henderson said:

That's what I would do as well. But will Dani dare to undermine his mentor? Highly unlikely 😬

It would be my choice as well, but why wouldn't Dani? Exactly how much power does his half assed mentor have over him?

As to the big reveal, just as I thought.

Edited by drpaladin
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