Chapter Twelve Peter tells his past
Billy carried Kristen downstairs in his arms and helped Peter get her into his car. “Robert will bring her home later” said Peter. Billy nodded and looked at Kristen who was sitting in the front. Peter and Ashley got in and drove away. When they got into the woods, Peter looked at Kristen. “You alright Kristen, you seem very quiet?” he asked. “I’m just thinking about Cam” replied Kristen. Peter looked between Ashley and Kristen. “You told her didn’t you, Ashley?” he asked. “How comes Robert can tell her his and I felt she should know” replied Ashley. Peter looked at the road thinking about something. When they pulled up to the house, Robert was already waiting for them, rushed to the car and lifted Kristen out and into his arms. “Did Ashley frighten you?” he asked. “No, but it gave me a lot to think about” replied Kristen. Robert gave Ashley a look. “No arguing in front of her. She’s been through a lot lately” said Elizabeth coming down the steps. Kellan, Nikki and Jackson stood in the doorway. “Take her to my office, I’ll look at her in there” said Peter. Robert walked into the house carrying Kristen in his arms.
Peter’s office was full of books and paintings. A huge mahogany desk and a leather chair stood in the room. Robert set Kristen down on the desk and looked at Peter. “I’ll leave you to it” he said. He kissed Kristen on the forehead and left. Peter turned to Kristen and smiled. “How are you feeling today?” he asked. “No pain, but I’m fed up and bored” replied Kristen. Peter touched the place where the glass had cut into Kristen’s leg. “That’s healed nicely” he said. He held up Kristen’s arm and frowned at her wrist. “I’m afraid that the bite mark will become a scar” he said. “Does it have it have any vampire properties?” asked Kristen. “It will be cooled than the rest of your body and it will shine in sunlight” replied Peter. Kristen looked away. “Kristen, I know that Robert and Ashley have told you their stories, do you mind if I told you mine?” asked Peter. “No, of course not” replied Kristen. Peter smiled at her.
“I was born in London, England in 1640, my eyes were bright blue before it happened and turned at the age of twenty-three in 1663. My father was an Anglican Pastor, he was a crusader against evil, leading hunts through London and the surrounding areas for witches, werewolves and vampires. Self-righteous and compassionless, my father caused many innocent people to be burned” said Peter. “That horrible” said Kristen. “I’m afraid that’s what people were like back then” said Peter sadly.
“He wasn’t in charge for long?” asked Kristen. “When he grew too old, he put me in charge of these raids. However, I had a very different temperament. I was not as quick to see evil where there was none. I was smart and persistent, though, and I eventually discovered an actual coven of vampires living in the sewers. I gathered a group of hunters and we waited for darkness to fall, suspecting that this was when the vampires would come out” replied Peter.
“What happened?” asked Kristen. “When a thirsty vampire did emerge, he attacked us. Two were killed and I was wounded. Knowing that anything infected by the monster would be burned, I hid myself in a nearby cellar. During the transformation I never cried out, despite the agony I felt. When it was finally over and I realized what I had become, I was horror-struck. I tried to destroy myself by jumping from great heights and attempting to drown myself. When these methods didn’t work, I tried to starve myself to death” replied Peter. “That’s worse than what Ashley’s family did to her” said Kristen. “It is in a way” said Peter. There was a pause.
“The thirst was overwhelming, but I found the strength to resist. Months passed, and I, filled with self-loathing, kept to the loneliest places I could find, places where I wouldn’t stumble across a human. I understood my willpower was weakening” said Peter. “Didn’t you drink animal blood?” asked Kristen. “I’m getting there” replied Peter. “Sorry” said Kristen.
“One night a herd of deer passed by and, crazed with thirst, I attacked without thinking. After feeding, I felt my strength and sense of self return, and I realized I could live without killing human beings. I would feed on animals, just as I always had, drinking their blood now instead of eating their flesh” said Peter. “That sounds like the Peter, Robert told me about” said Kristen. “It was only the beginning” said Peter. Kristen smiled.
“Knowing that my father would hate me no matter how I lived my new life, I never returned home. I watched my father a few times from a distance but never made contact” said Peter. “That must have been hard of you” said Kristen. “It so very hard, but it was for the best” said Peter. Kristen looked away feeling a little bit uneasy. Thinking what Billy and Sarah would do if she disappeared and never came back.
“I had always been eager to learn, and now I had unlimited time. By night I studied music, science, and medicine in the universities of Europe. During my travels I encountered others of my kind. Most vampires I crossed paths with responded to my amicability; in this way I was a novelty among the vampires” said Peter. “That’s where you got your interest in medicine?” asked Kristen. “Yeah, it was” said Peter and smiled.
“While studying in Italy in 1700, I was discovered by an ancient coven of vampires founded by three vampires named Michael, Christopher and Jamie. The vampires of this coven were very different from the sewer-dwellers of London. They were refined and cultured, and I admired their civility. But Michael, Christopher and Jamie never stopped trying to change my aversion to what they called my “natural food source”, and I never stopped trying to persuade them of the value of my pro-human philosophy. In 1720, after living with them for twenty years, I decided to travel to the New World. I was growing increasingly lonely and longed to find other vampires who believed there was a life for them that didn’t involve murder” said Peter. “We like you just the way you are” said Kristen. “Thankyou Kristen, it was very nice” said Peter.
“What happened when you got here?” asked Kristen. “When I reached America, things didn’t change for me the way I’d hoped. I didn’t find other vampires like me. I was, however, able to begin a career in medicine. I felt that by saving human lives I could compensate in some measure for the existence of vampires” replied Peter. “Sounds like you were the first one” said Kristen. “I was at the time” said Peter.
“I couldn’t risk more than a cordial acquaintance with my co-workers, for the fear of exposing what I was, and my enforced solitude and lack of intimacy pained me. So I began to deliberate creating a companion. However, I was reluctant to steal a life the way mine had been stolen” said Peter. “You must have done because you have a family” said Kristen.
“For decades I debated with myself whether or not it was right to doom another to the life of a vampire. The plea of a dying woman, helped me make my decision. In 1918, I was working nights at the hospital in Chicago as an epidemic of Spanish influenza raged through the city. The woman’s name was Elizabeth Marcus, her husband, Edward, died in the first wave of the epidemic, but Elizabeth and her teenage son, Robert, managed to stay alive for a while longer. I was with Elizabeth on her last night. She begged me to save her son, intuiting that I was more than what I seemed. She died less than an hour later. Her son lay in the room with her, his own death imminent. The goodness and purity in Robert’s face finally convinced me to take action. I bit Robert, effecting his transformation” said Peter. “Does he know about his mother?” asked Kristen. “Yes, he understands why she did it” replied Peter.
“Both me and Robert were surprised to discover Robert’s ability to read minds, but due to my experience with the Italian vampires, I quickly understood the phenomenon” said Peter. “He didn’t know he could do that?” asked Kristen. “No, he didn’t” replied Peter.
“Me and Robert began travelling together, using the cover story that Robert was the younger brother of my late wife. In 1921, we moved to Ashland, Wisconsin. While working in the hospital, I was called to the bedside to the bedside of a young woman grievously injured from a suicide jump. I was surprised to recognize Elizabeth, whom I had treated for a broken leg about ten years earlier. It was almost impossible for me to believe that that vivacious, beautiful girl had come to this tragic end. I knew I could not save her life through conventional methods” said Peter. “You have to do what you did to Robert?” asked Kristen. “Yes” replied Peter.
“Influenced by my memory of the happy girl Elizabeth had been, I bit the dying woman and took her to the home I shared with Robert to wait for the transformation to be complete. When it was over, I apologized for what I had done, but Elizabeth was not unhappy with the situation. She remembered our first meeting, too, and had always considered me her ideal of a gentleman. We soon fell in love and were married” said Peter. “You found your soul mate in Elizabeth” said Kristen. “Yes and I loved her since the first time we met” said Peter, smiling.
“In 1927, Robert left us and came back in 1931. By that time we were in Rochester, New York. I wasn’t expecting the coven to get any bigger, but one night in 1933, while I was on my way to work in the hospital, I discovered the nearly lifeless body of Nikki. Struck by the waste of a beautiful young life, I brought Nikki home and transformed her, hoping in the back of my mind that she would that one day she might be a companion for Robert” said Peter. “But they didn’t, Nikki has Kellan and Robert has me” said Kristen. “And I’m glad he found you” said Peter smiling at her.
“In 1935 we were in Appalachia, Tennessee. Nikki had only reluctantly assimilated to vampire life. The relationship I had hoped would spark between Nikki and Robert hadn’t happened. So when Nikki carried home the dying Kellan to me and begged me to change him, I did as she asked. Nikki wanted a companion of her choosing, and I felt I could make amends to her this way” said Peter. “I think they’re great together” said Kristen. “I’m not sure if Nikki would like to hear that. She stills has trouble dealing with the fact the she is the reason Kellan is a vampire” said Peter.
“In 1936 we moved to Hoquiam, Washington. We were hunting one day when we came across three men from the Quileute rez. They had a strange wolf smell and they was something else about them. Their names were Levi Usher, Timothy Andrews II and Ephraim Brown. Unwilling to harm them, I brokered a treaty with their leader, Ephraim Brown” said Peter. “Billy is friends with Ephraim Brown’s grandson and I’m best friends with his great grandson” said Kristen. “Do you know anyone with the surname Usher or Andrews on the rez?” asked Peter. “No, only Gil and Taylor Brown” replied Kristen.
“We continued to move when necessary, and in Denali, Alaska, I found what I’d been looking for when I set off for America – a coven of vampires who shared my philosophy and drank only animal blood. We all ended up close friends, viewing each other as extended family” said Peter. Kristen smiled.
“During our time in Alaska, we were joined by Ashley and Jackson. Since the family was now quite large, a new cover story was devised. Kellan, Robert and Ashley were now said to be my and Elizabeth’s adopted children. Nikki and Jackson were now said to be siblings and my and Elizabeth’s foster children. And as you already know we moved here two years ago” said Peter. Kristen thought about something. “When Robert disappeared after he first met me, did he go to Alaska?” she asked. “Yeah, he did and they convinced him to come home and try to get to know you without doing anything to harm you” replied Peter.