Chapter 6.2: Kill them all

So, this chapter features characters that went lost when my computer crashed. You can find their pictures in the Family Tree if you don’t remember them. Other than that, I can only write them in to the text without pictures, sorry.

Screenshot-30Before this day, I had never seen our entire family gathered at the same place, it was too risky considering the vampires who wanted to kill or turn us all. But today we had made an exception. Grandmother had spent her whole life trying to keep us all safe, and it was only right that we honored her by all gathering and supporting each other. It pained me to think that she was gone and that I would never again get to see her, but at the same time I was glad that she could finally let go of the pressure of keeping everyone safe. It was up to us now, me and Mars.

Screenshot-29Everyone was dressed in their regular clothes. Grandmother had never been much for dressing up or following dress-codes, so it was the only thing that felt right. Some of the family members had even left their shoes at home and came barefoot, a humble way of showing respect. When I saw Lavender barefooted my eyes teared up and I decided to leave my own shoes in the car too. None of Lavender’s children had shoes on either. I hadn’t met my cousins many times before, but Cashmere was basically a copy of grandmother Coral. Her skin had the same red color and her hair was the same light color as my own – inherited from generations earlier.

Screenshot-32Rhubarb arrived last, and when he did dad threw a tantrum. Many years ago, Rhubarb had taken Raindrop under his wings, doing his best to help her handle her vampirism in a similar way as Thunderbird had – only feeding on plasma and living in harmony with the ordinary berries. Dad had always thought he was crazy to sign up for the task and because of that, we had never had much contact with Rhubarb. It wasn’t worth the risk, dad had decided. Of course, Rhubarb had every right to be at the reception, it would have been awkward if he weren’t, but what upset dad was that he had brought Raindrop. A vampire at grandma’s funeral. Insane.

“Are you out of your fudging mind?!” Dad screamed when he saw them both come. “This is an insult to our mother, you crazy, selfish, rotten berry!”

Rhubarb answered calmly, probably prepared for the reaction: “She’s my family, Yew. Mom would respect that.”

“She would respect it?! She devoted her life to keeping us safe from those things.”

Screenshot-34“We don’t need to be kept safe from Raindrop. She doesn’t feed on humans.”

“You keep her the fudge away from my family, or I’ll personally rip you apart” dad growled and Lavender had to come and pull him away.

“Relax” she said. “She’ll keep away from us.”

Screenshot-40I glanced over at Raindrop, who stood at a distance from the rest of us. She almost looked normal, yet she made me shiver. The whole vampire threat had always been quite surreal to me, and even though I often thought about the pressure of mom’s predictions, I had never really understood that it was real. I had never seen a vampire before. And there she was, one of the creatures me and Mars would eventually defeat. I decided to keep an eye at her at all times, I didn’t trust her at all.

Screenshot-31We had all eaten our pizza even before Rhubarb came, so he had to sit on his own in the kitchen and eat while the rest of us hung out in Lavender’s livingroom. We spent the time by telling each other memories from grandmother and trying to not be too sad. Grandma was never really the sad type, even when things had gone completely wrong.

Dad told us about the time when grandpa got abducted by aliens and they didn’t know what had happened. According to dad, grandma wasn’t even too sad then. She was worried, of course, but never really sad. She always had a way of looking at life in a bright light. I found myself hoping, or wishing, that I had got some of that too. I already knew I had her fighting spirit, but it would be nice to get some of that positivity too.

Screenshot-41“Trust me, you are a lot like her” Lavender said and smiled towards me. “You have that same way of living in the moment as she did. I see so much of her in you.” It was the greatest compliment I could have possibly got.

It had been a perfectly fine afternoon. Toned-down and calm, just as grandma would have liked it. Everything seemed to be going just fine, but we should have known, of course, that things would change. Nothing in our family every goes just fine.

It happened so fast. No one even had the chance to react.

Screenshot-28Cashmere and Pearl were sitting on the floor, playing with their dolls. They were not really that close to each other, but somehow Pearl managed to crawl over to Cashmere and pull her doll out of her hands. Cashmere reacted by slapping Pearl in the face, who immediately started crying at the same time as she bit Cashmere in the ear. She must have bitten hard because when she let go, Cashmere’s ear was bleeding. All of this happened in the blink of a second. None of us had even begun standing up to go and separate the girls before Raindrop stood crouched over Cashmere.

Not until then did the rest of us react. I screamed, Froly screamed, Lavender screamed and Pearl cried. Raindrop looked up at the sound of our screams and she looked me straight in the eyes. Her eyes were blank and empty and from the corner of her mouth came a single drop of blood. She was gone before I could blink.

Screenshot-39Dad screamed, not out of fear but out of anger as he ran out of the room. It was impossible to make out any words, but I knew he was running towards the kitchen where Rhubarb did the dishes. It was strange how the room felt silent even though we all screamed and dad’s footsteps loudly echoed. The only one who was silent was Cashmere. Her little body laid seemingly lifeless on the floor and blood trickled to the floor from two small marks on her neck. My young and innocent little cousin had been bitten by a vampire. As the fact sunk in I felt anger rising within my body. My fists clenched themselves and my back straightened up.

Screenshot-35Screenshot-36“You said this wouldn’t happen!” Dad screamed with an anger far from anything I had ever experienced before. “You promised! This is YOUR FAULT!” Rhubarb had no time to defend himself. Dad had taken his neck in a steady grip and kicked his feet away before he even had the chance to react. “This is on you, Rhubie!”

No one even cared to try to stop them and dad gave his brother quite the beating. We heard ouchs and ows into the livingroom but no one did anything about it.

Screenshot-38“You are not a part of this family anymore” dad growled and pushed Rhubarb out through the front door. Rhubarb didn’t complain, he just limped away – beaten and bruised.

I could not believe what just had happened. Lavender had fallen to her knees on the floor next to her daughter. She held her hand on Cashmere’s chest and her eyes were filled with tears and fear. “It’s beating. Her heart, it’s beating”” Lavender started crying of relief as she understood her daughter was alive and the rest of us breathed out.

Screenshot-42“We cannot take her to the hospital” mom said quietly when everything had settled a bit.

Lavender held her daughter in her arms and looked at mom with angry eyes, “I have to, or she’ll die!”

“She’s already in transformation. And what would you say? A vampire bit her? They’d lock you up along with me.”

“Transformation?!” Lavender cried again. “My baby, she’ll be a vampire?”

All of the warnings we had gotten throughout our lives ran through my mind. ‘Babies make the best soldiers’. This was exactly what Soda Pop had wanted to do to myself and my brothers but we had been kept safe. All these years, we had been kept safe by grandma and dad. I had so much to thank them for.

Mom walked up to Lavender and Cashmere and put her hand on Cashmere’s forehead. “She’s burning. Her blood, it’s already… It’s too late.” It was the first time I saw mom cry.

Screenshot-4795Cashmere died two days after the bite. It was tragic, but I couldn’t help but to think that it was better it went that way than that she had transformed. I wouldn’t have coped with the thought of killing her, even if she was a vampire.

“Mom, did you know?” I asked when I visited her the day that Cashmere’s heart stopped beating.

“I can never know for sure.”

“But you had seen it? You had seen her die?”

Screenshot-4797“Not really” mom paused for a moment. “I saw her as a vampire, but I didn’t know how it would happen.”

“But then you were wrong, I thought…”

“Like I said, I can never know for sure.”

“But how can we know that we can stop them then? If you can’t know. What if we get bitten too?”

“I’ve seen many futures, honey. Both you and your brother are in all of them. I’ve seen you overcome the vampires in so many different ways. I know you will do it. It’s the only future I’ve ever been completely sure of.”

Screenshot-43“This shit Mars, it’s real. The vampires, they fudging exist and we can stop them.”

Mars shook his head slowly. “Didn’t you see her? We can never beat that.”

“Mom says we can. And she has to be right.” I wasn’t all convinces myself, but I held on the mom’s words as hard as I could because I really wanted to beat them. I wanted to avenge Cashmere and all the other berries who had been harmed by vampires.

Screenshot-45“But mom doesn’t know everything. You know that.” Mars’ voice was breaking. He was scared, but I knew I would convince him to fight with me. I always managed to convince him.

“There has to be a way. Nothing is unbeatable. We just have to figure out how to do it.”

Screenshot-44“We’ll be risking our lives” Mars kept complaining. He was a coward at heart, but I knew I could push him past his boundaries.

“We’ll risk so many more lives if we don’t try” I said and smiled. Mars frowned and sighed, and I knew that he was about to cave in. “We’ll do it together. I know we can do it. This is what we’ve been waiting for our whole lives.”

Screenshot-47Mars was quiet for a moment before he muttered, “It’s what I’ve been dreading my whole life.”

“So you’ll do it?” I was scared to, but more than so, I was excited to finally go on this adventure. I was done waiting, and ready to do this.

Screenshot-46I hugged my brother tight before sitting back to my corner, feeling determined and strong. “So, this is what we’ll do; We’re going to read everything we can find about vampires, mark down every strength and every weakness that has ever been told about them. We’re going to read fiction and non-fiction, watch movies and documentaries, read on those silly supernatural web-forums. We’re going to learn how we can beat them. Some of the stories has to be true, we’re just going to figure out which ones. You’re an amazing student Mars, this is what you will do.” Mars nodded and smiled nervously.

I smiled back at my brother before I continued, “As for myself, I’m going to get strong and fast. I have to be in perfect condition to take them out.”

“You are crazy” Mars said. “But I’m with you. For Cashmere, and everyone else.”

I stood up, filled with excitement and determination, “Let’s  kill them all.”

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