As day broke, not much had improved. If anything, the weather had worsened. John stood at the mouth of the cave, trying his best to see through the constant down draft of snow and ice. Edmund paced impatiently as he wanted to leave the confines of the cave.
I watch Edmund, when a thought occurs to me. “Is it true vampires have to sleep in coffins to regenerate? I know Chris lays with me and pretends to sleep, but when y’all rest, does it have to be in a coffin?”
Edmund is first to answer. “NO! I have never been in a coffin. As a matter of fact, I have this thing about small spaces. And us being trapped here so long, it’s making it bad. I may have to just take my chances with the storm.”
“I didn’t know vampires could have fears. That is interesting.”
“Why? Are you writing a book, or research paper on us?”
“No, I’m just curious. I’m learning what vampires can and can’t do. It is very fascinating to me.”
“Fascinating! She thinks we are fascinating!”
Edmund was beginning to get antsy. I watched as he paced back and forth. As he gets increasingly agitated.
“Edmund, I think it best, if maybe you and John and Tammy take a walk out in the snow. Get you out of here for a bit.”
Edmund nodded, and was immediately at the mouth of the cave. Tammy and John were right on his heels. “I don’t know that out there is much better for me. It feels as though the whole world is closing in on me.”
I nudge Neil with my foot. “Have any advice for a claustrophobic vampire?”
Neil asks, “What’s going on?”
“It’s Edmund. He is having trouble, I knew he had issues with small spaces, but I didn’t know it was this bad. What can we do?”
“You need to give him some blood. When was the last time he fed?”
“Before we arrived, he had drank. Why?”
“I think he needs to drink, and from me. I will fill a cup, get him to drink the whole thing.”
“My love, I need to get up.” I move a dozing Leigh from my lap, and let her continue her rest.
“Edmund, come. I think you need to drink a bit of blood.” Edmund appeared transformed his fangs bared ready to drink. “What are you doing? I have it here in a cup.”
“I do not want that. It is tainted.” He smacks the cup from my hand spilling the blood all over the ground. “I need fresh blood, warm blood, flowing from a vein.” His eyes land on Leigh as she sleeps. “I need her blood.”
I step in front of him and begin to restrain him as best I can alone. I call out for John and Tammy and they are by my side within minutes, helping. “Neil, Neil come I need you to help.”
Neil appears from the back of the cave where he had gone to retrieve meat to cook. “What in the hell? As he sees his blood splattered all over the ground. “What a bloody waste. Pun intended.”
“Neil, do you really think this is the time to make jokes?”
“Sorry Chris, couldn’t pass it up. Hold him still and I will force my blood into his mouth, make him feed.”
Neil moved in closer, and Edmund began to hiss. “Why is he doing that? Is he rabid like John was?” Chris asked.
“No, I will let him explain, when he has recovered. Now force his mouth open.” Neil sliced his palm and began allowing the blood to pour out into Edmunds mouth. Edmund tried his best to spit it out, but it was impossible. As the hunter’s blood replenished his body, Edmund began to relax. He began to return to the way he should be. He returned to the Edmund I had know for many centuries.
We finally were able to release him, and Edmund sat with a loud thump on the ground beneath him. “You want to explain what that was all about? I have known you for centuries, I have known about your fear. NEVER! Have you ever acted like that.”
Neil knew what had caused it. He sat listening grilling up some bear strips for everyone for breakfast. “Explain about your feeding habits Edmund.” Neil coaxes. Edmund stares into the fire, “Well, you know how I try not to kill any more. You know how we have the game and chat rooms to lure people in.”
“Well, we thought what if we helped out society while we fed our thirst. What if we used rapist, pedophiles, murderers. What if we drank their blood, and ended their lives.”
“Edmund, you didn’t.”
His eyes find Chris. “We did.”
“Edmund, you know what that can cause. All of those souls passing through your body, depositing their evil in you. It takes over, amplifying your fears, your weaknesses. I’m glad you caught it Neil.”
“In all honesty, I didn’t know that. My clan just thought we were helping out society. We thought, if we had to feed, and kill, why not let it be those who deserved to die. I never knew there were consequences.”
“How long have you been doing this?” “Remember the bikini pic I posted as my avi, in the game?” Chris nods. “Well, that was the first go.”
“It has taken less than a year for you to get into this shape? Who else in your clan is feeding on the dregs of society?”
“Just my seconds. The ones who created the game, and chat app. Maybe five or six of us total.”
“As soon as we get back to my home, I will send John and Neil with you to get things straightened out. And Edmund, please let it be known throughout your clan of the consequences this type of feeding causes.”