Flesh and Blood

In 2020 Britain, Avril is one of the very few humans left. Ravaged by malevolent demons, human Britain is hanging by a thread. A revolution of blood is taking over the world, drop by drop and Avril finds herself at the bleeding heart of it. Filled with hatred yet human desire, she fights for revenge and for everything she's known. Until someone deadly arrives, who is too alike to Avril. Torn by the presence, will she carry on fighting or will she do what so many others have done. Give in?


5. Memories

Matthew closed the album.
"Now, tell me."
Avril bit her lip "Tell you what, exactly?"
"How you've been, what you've done since the last time I saw you. "
She leaned her head back against the wall
"That is, if you want." He said, unsurely.
She shook her head slightly "No, it's just it's a pretty long, tiring story."
"I am in no rush."
She breathed out. "Okay. I guess I can start from the first, solid memory I have. It was me and Mum, we used to live in Oxford. It was a small little house but then again, it was just the two of us. I used to go to the local school and Mum used to teach there. It felt good, having her close all the time."
"You felt safe?"
"The safest I've ever felt. We stayed there until I was 10." She stopped, looking away.
"I know." he said softly.
"I left when Mum was gone."
There was a silence.
"Tell me what happened." Matthew said quietly.
"You don't know?"
"I...had an idea. I want to know your version of it."
"Fine." she resigned. "She'd been worried lately about something. I was only 10, I didn't know. I ignored it for a bit. Then, she'd gone out for literally 5 minutes to post something and came back breathless. She locked everything, doors, windows. She told me hide upstairs, anywhere safe. I was scared, but I did, under the bed.After a bit, I heard a door opening and some voices. It got violent, they started shouting. The people drove her upstairs, asking for something. She kept telling them it didn't exist, it never did. Then they killed her." She dug her fingers into her palm "They shot her and started looking through the house, ripping it apart. For hours, I had to lie there, an arms length away from her. Eventually they left. She'd told me about this though, she told me if anything happened, if she wasn't there, I had to run. I had to hide. So I left. I've never been back since."
She turned to look at him "I was so scared, I just left. I didn't even bury her, I didn't do anything. I'm so sorry."
He shook his head "No, no, that wasn't your fault. You were 10, of course you were scared. You left straight after?"
She furrowed her brow "Yes."
He muttered a curse "Your mother had just called me that day. I was in Oxford, she said she was worried. But I got there too late."
"Wait. You were there?!"
"I came after a couple of hours and I found her. It took me hours to force myself to bury her. I buried her next to her parents." He bore an expression of sadness "Then I searched for you. All over, I checked the streets, coaches, buses, I asked people about you. I couldn't find you anywhere. It was only a matter of time before someone noticed there was an Other, so I had to leave. I've never stopped trying though, believe me. Where did you go then?"
She twisted her hands in her lap "I didn't really have a specific place to go, so I travelled around England." Her voice softened "Then I met Hex."
"The little boy with the blonde hair?"
She nodded "I was 11 and stopped by in Bath. It was chance really, I happened to look out the window of the room I was in. There was a demon there, standing over something. I watched as it walked away, then I spotted a tiny little kid just standing there in the corner. I don't know why the demon hadn't seen him but I couldn't just leave him there. So I went down to where he was and talked to him. He was so small and so scared, I couldn't find it in my heart to ignore him. He told me he didn't know where his parents so we stayed there for a bit, but they never turned up. So I took him with me. Mum had made a backpack for me with money, so I could afford food and clothes and a place to stay, but things got bad. We moved around for 4 years, probably longer than we should've. But people look after each other now, don't they? They helped us, sometimes not charging for food or a room. I don't even know who the guy was, but a man gave me a small tub of oak tree ashes, saying they'd help us against demons. It did, eventually. We'd gone into a small shop for some supplies. We didn't realise but there was a demon outside." she scoffed "I should've seen it really, but I was being careless. It was almost dark too. I ran to the nearest corner, dragging Hex with me and took out the ashes, spreading them in a tight circle. It turns out the demon couldn't see where we were. I didn't sleep for days after that, wracked with worry. After something that close, I realized we couldn't keep doing this, so we looked for somewhere more permanent. Liz found us 3 years ago."
There was a slight grimace to his mouth "And what did you do then?"
"Went back to school, made some friends, the usual new kid stuff. Turns out I was pretty good at fighting too so they took me in on the tracking team."
He exhaled "Well. My own daughter on a tracking team." His tone sharpened "You haven't been hurt, have you?"
"You mean did anyone ever get hold of some of my blood?"
He looked startled. She chuckled "I'm not stupid, and no, not that I can recall, oddly enough."
"Vampire genes." He explained, reaching out to ruffle her newly coloured hair "explains why your hair hasn't had any damage with all the dye your mother used."
"So, I can't get paper cuts..?" She asked hesitantly.
"Well you can, it'd just be harder to break your skin. You're still human, just a little bit vampire."
She looked away "Charming. So what's your story then?"
"It's fairly tedious compared to normal others."
"The facts then. Name, parents, birthday, birthplace. So I can actually know you a bit better." she admitted.
He smiled "Full name is Matthieu Trocadore De Silva. My-our family live in Venice although that's not where I'm from. I was born in 1603 in Melun, France. My biological parents names were Martha and Yves Trocadore. My Other parents, my current family now are Lienne and Romano De Silva."
"What are they like?" She asked.
"Lienne is a serious, worrisome mother. Romano is on the other hand, the complete opposite. They both know you of course, the whole family does. You did spend your first years with them."
The new information both scared and excited her.
"Will I get to meet them?"
"Of course."
A thought dawned on her "You came here not just to meet me but to take me back, away from England?"
"You seem pretty clever even with missing out school years." he observed, raising an eyebrow.
"I read books." She justified, looking at him expectantly.
"Eventually yes, if you want to. You can take as much time as you need."
"Would they want me there, even if I'm a human?"
The thought seemed to shock him "Of course they would! The whole family's eager to see you. You've always been a part of us."
She chewed on her cuticle "But...I can't just leave everything here."
"You mean Hex?"
She shook her head "Not just him, but these guys need me to help out. The kids are young and it's up to us to look after them and everything else."
"You can have some time to think it over, no rush." He unfolded his long body and straightened up, holding out a hand.
"You should talk to them. They're very worried about you."
She took his hand gratefully and stood up. Gingerly, she hugged him.
"Thank you." She whispered.
He hugged her back and kissed the top of her head. The tenderness of the gesture made her want to cry.
"Now go talk, I'll be...elsewhere." he said, releasing her.

"Are you okay?" Hex asked, climbing against her. She stroked his hair and addressed both him and Zac, sitting across from her.
"I'm fine."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Zac asked.
She shook her head discreetly, gesturing towards Hex.
"Hey Hex, why don't you go help Liz set out dinner?" Zac suggested. Hex seemed puzzled, looking up at Avril.
She smiled reassuringly "Go."
He left, padding out dejectedly.
"So what happened?" he asked. She retold him the story, leaving out the personal specifities of the conversation.
"So...do you want to move?" he said finally.
She looked torn "I don't know, I have you guys here, but they're my family. I guess I could say you guys are too, but...it's difficult." She closed her eyes "I can't just leave you."
They sat in silence
"You should go." he said finally.
Her head snapped up "What?!"
"I don't mean I don't want you here, it's just...you do realize how much danger you're in now, right?"
"Well...I'd never thought about that."
He looked worn out "Think about it, you and Matthew are so alike there is bound to be a strong resemblance with your blood and genes. You're not as strong as he is and can't defend yourself as he can. If the Council found out about this, all hell would break loose."
She couldn't help but feel rejected "So you're just...letting me go?"
He got up and took her face in his hands, their foreheads brushing.
"Can't you see? I'm trying to protect you. I couldn't give a damn about what happens to me because let's be honest, there's not much chance anyway,"
"Don't say that." She growled.
"Shut up. What I'm trying to say is-" he pressed his face against hers "I don't want anything to happen to you. I don't want some murderous bloodhound to torture you. I don't want to see you hunted everywhere you go, in constant danger," his hands softened against her face "I want you to be safe."
Her voice was agonised "But you, Hex, everyone else. I'd feel like I'm abandoning you. Just because I get a lucky break, you'd all hate me."
He smoothed his thumbs across her cheeks and laughed humourlessly "I'd never hate you, neither would Hex."
"I'd never see you as much, Zac."
"I know, but we'll talk, communicate. It'll be for the best."
"You promise?" she whispered.
He nodded against her "I promise. Come on, we have to tell everyone else about this."

Two hours later, Avril arrived at her bedroom where Matthew was flicking through her schoolbooks.
"6 weeks." She promised.
He nodded.
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