Jacob may have agreed to stay behind, but he was not being very agreeable about it. He fussed over me considerably, reminding me several times to be careful. It was advice I had already decided upon following, although I knew it would make no difference. If Avery wanted to kill me, I would die. I failed to mention this bit to Jacob, he was neurotic enough.
It wasn’t until I was standing outside alone that I began to get worried. I noticed how much colder the world was without Jacob standing next to me. I walked briskly through the streets of Dublin, amazed at how much the city had changed. Thriving was really the best way to describe it. Unwillingly my mind drifted to a night in Dublin, before the change.
“Lillian Beckett,” cried my mother. Her voice was wrought with concern as she shouted for her oldest child into the darkness. I giggled from my perch in the Hawthorn tree. “Lillian, please come down before you break your neck.” I laughed out loud this time, climbing higher. She sighed and stepped back into the house to fetch my father.
My father filled the doorway of our home. Broad shouldered and bushy bearded, my father was the embodiment of the Irish spirit, my spirit. It was precisely that spirit which had made me think to climb the Hawthorn to begin with. He smiled up at me.
“Lilly, darlin’, why do you insist on defying your mother?” he asked in his goodhearted tone. I laughed. Determined to continue my game I reached for the next branch. My weight made it snap and I felt myself tumbling. One moment, one mistake, and that spirit had been broken forever.
Laughter and a flash of light pulled me from my memories. A couple coming out a pub clutched in each other’s arms and lost in each other’s eyes. They passed me as if I were invisible. That word surfaced other memories, dark things I didn’t want to remember.
Another day, the rain poured down on the graveyard. I stood back from the others, trying to be invisible. My sister Deidra, with two children clutching her hands and tears mixed with the rain on her cheeks. My brother Gaven stone faced, his arms crossed over his chest. There were others, but I wouldn’t remember them now.
After the others had left and Deidra had dragged away her sobbing children, only Gaven remained. I approached him slowly. I kept my face lowered, and tried to be silent, but he looked up and caught sight of my face. I expected him to be shocked; surely he remembered the face of his oldest sister, lost forever one dark night.
“I thought you would come,” was all that he said. I said nothing. I didn’t know how to make Gaven understand what I was now.
“They went together?” I asked, after a moment of silence.
“Yes,” he replied. “Mum first. Dad went the next day. They never forgot you Lilly. Never, not a single day went by that they didn’t talk about you.” He looked up, tears in his eyes. “You should have come back, you should have said you were okay!” He swallowed his sobs and wiped away his tears.
“I know about you, I heard talk from some of the other villagers about the blood drinkers. I never told anyone, not even Dei. They wouldn’t have understood, wouldn’t have believed me.”
“Not people Gaven,” I said quickly, desperate for him to understand. “Never people.”
“Okay Lilly,” he said. His voice was solemn.
“I didn’t choose this,” I whispered.
“You wanted to escape Lilly,” he spat. He looked at me, his eyes full of fire. “You wanted to be different. You may not have chosen it, but you wanted it.” He turned then and left me standing at the graves of my parents. It felt like he’d thrown a thousand knives into my heart.
I laid down a few flowers I had picked on the road to the cemetery. While I kneeled beside the headstone I traced the words written on them with my fingers. Beneath their names was written an old Irish blessing that I would remember forever.
“May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you
In the palm of his hand."