There was absolutely nothing he could do as he looked down at the disemboweled remains of Ramand and the bled out corpses of his mother, father, sister and brother. Nothing. Tayre had been given one direct order and still he disobeyed. Eliana’s eyes blackened with rage, her silence a guarantee of a death well deserved for her brother. Her hands tightened into clenched fists, her nails dug so deep into her palms that blood dripped onto the mud. Luluwa’s eyes were filled with sorrow as she looked at the mess that Tayre made of the bodies. He even slaughtered most of the sheep and goats and by morning, the sun would reveal a nightmarish result of Tayre’s violence.
Nunka remained as stoic as ever; expressionless and emotionally void, although Cain knew deep down that Nunka felt that Tayre had gone entirely too far. This was not the family he wanted to create.
“I am so sorry Lily,” Luluwa said softly to her daughter, who stared at what was left of Ramand.
“Tati helped him,” Eliana growled. “She always helps him because that is what twins do.”
Nunka and I are going to find them,” Cain promised, his heart breaking and filling with rage at the same time.
“And do what exactly?” Eliana snapped. “Nothing. Just as you have always done. All Tayre does is destroy and kill. You always warned us, you gave us rules to live by and what does Tayre do? Breaks them. Each and every rule, every boundary set. He did this on purpose! Everything I love, he makes it a point to take from me!”
“At the end of the day Lily,” Cain heard himself say. “We are a family.”
“This is not family,” Eliana croaked as tears cascaded down her face. “I have seen family. This-“ she said pointing at Ramand and his father’s bodies. “Was family. We are not family. Tayre does what Tayre wants regardless of who he hurts while you stand back and do nothing!”
Cain approached his daughter, desperate to take her into his arms and take away her pain. “Lily, I will find Tati and Tayre and punish them for what they’ve done…this was treason…”
Eliana pushed him away as more tears fell from her eyes. She looked angrily at Luluwa, who stood near Nunka, looking on helplessly, and then at Cain. “This goes beyond treason father,” she said, as she closed her eyes. “I am going to hunt them down to the ends of the earth, even if I have to uproot them from the very bowels of the pit if they think hiding there will save them. Tayre will pay for what he’s done… and when I am done with him, Tati will suffer as well.”
“Eliana!” Cain reached out to grab her, but she instantly became mist and disappeared into the ether. “Eliana! Eliana!”
There was no response. A soft breeze carried the traces of her scent away with it, leaving behind the remains of the night’s horrors. Off in the distance, a scavenger dog cried out to its pack. The heat of the sun rising in the distance reminded him that it was imperative that his wife retreat to the safety of their lair.
“Nunka, see to it that your mother arrives to our home safely, and please keep watch over her. I will return soon.”
“Where are you going?” Luluwa asked. “Eliana is just upset. She would never harm her brother, regardless of what he does.”
“Luluwa, my love, if you believe that, then I am afraid you do not know Eliana as well as you think. I have to get to Tayre and Tati before she does, so at least I can stop her from killing them.”
“But father, Tayre crossed a line,” Nunka pleaded. “Even I would have executed him for the crime he committed.”
“I will not have my children killing each other! I just will not have it!” And with that, Cain disappeared, instantly becoming one with the molecules and using his senses to locate his son.
As he sped through the airwaves, he grew to understand Eliana’s perspective. She was born into a family of blood drinkers. She fed off of humanity, but a part of her craved more than just the blood. She wanted to be a part of the human collective, even for a little while. She wanted a little light considering the fact that she was surrounded by so much darkness.
And to think that he once craved the same thing…
The sun crested just above the horizon as Cain materialized onto the sandy banks several miles west of where he and his family rested. Before he took solid form, the blood that tainted the air was on his pallet. He cringed at the sight of what Tayre left behind. Complete and total madness was what it was. Tati’s scent still clung to the air like the skin of his sheep that Luluwa hung on the wall. The small village that just hours before was filled with life, love and expectation of tomorrow, wiped out. Gone. Just like Ramand’s. He’d always wondered which one of his children would go insane with blood lust, and a part of him believed it would be Eliana. But Eliana had found humanity through the love of a boy she wished to marry.
His gums thickened for his fangs to lengthen at the scene. So much blood. The temptation to feed from the dead like carrion struck him with a force he had never known, and he summoned with all of his will the strength to suppress the urge. But a woman lied before him, bare breasted, her thighs twisted at an impossible angle, and her neck, chewed through the bone. Her eyes closed, but her mouth still opened in a silent horror. A child, perhaps no older than eight, lied motionless on the side of a small tree. A man’s arm greeted him as he took a step, followed by his torso. Entrails were pulled and stretched out to line the entrance of the mud dwelling. More blood.
Cain slowly walked through the carnage, studying the extent of his son’s murderous rampage. Aklia would surely come to avenge these humans. Even on his worst night, Cain would have never resorted to this level of violence and savagery. He taught them how to make clean kills. He taught them when to feed and the importance of self- control. But here he stood, staring at the glossy eyes of a dead man whose head that had been separated from his body. He would have to burn this awful memory before humans flocked over to investigate.
A younger female, just a few feet away from him, struggled to push herself up by the small fire that still burned. Her dark hair covered her face, most of it sticking to it from the blood that covered her. Massive bite wounds covered the back of her neck, her arms, her sides…
Cain shook his head as he continued to approach.
He remembered the first time he realized he had the power to turn a human. It was one of Seth’s sons. Cain had left the body, believing it to be dead. He buried it underneath a small cluster of Mangroves only to discover it walking along the sides of the river. The boy, somehow reanimated and with a greater thirst for blood than his own stumbled through the darkness, confused of what he had become. Cain recalled studying him to see what the boy would do, and surely enough, he honed in to his homeland and went there and had Cain not intervened, the boy would have bled his own sister dry.
Cain ripped his head off his shoulders that night, hoping that that would be enough to put him down. And it worked.
This morning, it would have to be the same.