OF :: Chasing Justice

Title: Chasing Justice
Arc: Vampyr
Rating: PG-13
Written: 2004?
Summary: Ilyra tries to bring her father to justice after one of his crimes.

These characters, stories, and ideas are the original, copyrighted work of Nicole Sharp and are protected under a Creative Commons License.

The day that Arman killed the mayor’s daughter left our little community in an uproar. The moment I heard the wails of the village women drifting up the street, I knew what must have happened. Cries like those were only left in Arman’s wake. Without even pausing to pull on shoes, I went to the door. Just as I got there Arman’s tall figure streaked past me. I shot after him. Though the braver men of the village would undoubtedly try to chase him, everyone knew it was a lost cause. None of them could match Arman’s speed, and even if they did corner him, his strength would likely protect him.

His shoes slapped the cobblestones; my bare feet thudded behind him. He glanced back and saw me. Flashing his signature wicked smile, he sped up, dodging between houses to trick me. I pumped my arms harder, determined to catch him long enough for the villagers to arrive. As I ate away at the distance between us, the intensity of his smile faded. He cut into a dead-end alleyway, and I ran around the corner just in time to see him climb effortlessly to the roof. Seeing my annoyance, he grinned and waved to me before disappearing in a streak across the rooftops.

“You haven’t beaten me yet, Arman,” I hissed beneath my breath before doubling back and running toward the haunted ravine. Sure enough, not two minutes after I’d hidden myself in the bushes at the top of the dreaded place, Arman appeared, jogging toward the ravine.

How old Arman was, I couldn’t say, though he never looked any more than thirty years of age. His skin was smooth and exceedingly pale next to the blackness of his hair. He kept it cut short in comparison to the men of the village. Arman’s hair was long enough to fall into his eyes, but not to reach the tip of his nose. His face was clean shaven.

Closer to my hiding place he came. I tensed as his black eyes came into view. Just as he passed, I jumped out, tackling him around the waist. His forward momentum was too great, though, and we tumbled down the side of the ravine. I landed on top of him with a grunt and he burst into laughter.

“I should have expected as much from you, little one. Never content to let things be, are we?”

“Never content to let you escape justice, you bastard,” I answered as I dashed dirt onto his face.

He spit it back at me. “We’re really no so different, you know. We both deal out justice.”

“You don’t know the meaning of justice. You’re a murderer and a thief. You and I have nothing in common.”

He reached up, catching my chin in his hand. “You left out rapist.” With one slender finger, he parted my lips to reveal the exaggerated points of my canines, smiling to display his at the same time. “Ah, yes, so very little you have in common with me, daughter.”

I twisted my head out of his reach and spat into his eyes. “I despise you, Arman.”

“For what? Killing the little weaklings of the village who hate us both or for giving you life?” he asked as he wiped his face clean.

“I hate everything about you,” I snarled.

“Then you do this because you hate yourself. Do you think doing anything to me will endear you to them? You can’t change what you are, Ilyra.”

“I don’t have to live like it. Mother didn’t.”

“Oh yes, and they killed her still, didn’t they?”

I glared at him, hating him for the truth of his words. “You could have saved her, but you didn’t.”

“I would have thought you’d figured this out by now,” he said with a chuckle. He leaned forward and put a hand behind my neck, drawing my ear to his mouth. “I’ve always been more interested in saving you.” I tried to pull away, but he held me fast. My strength was great, but not yet as great as his.

“Let go of me,” I said in a low, firm voice.

He ignored me and continued. “Admit that thrill you felt as Terryn’s life bled away in your hands. Remember how glorious his blood tasted on your lips?”

I fought harder, determined to escape him, but it was of little use. I’d forgotten how great his strength was immediately after a kill. “Let me go, Arman!”

“No, Ilyra, not so long as you deny what you are. You chased me here as some kind of atonement. Did you truly think you could control me if I did not allow it?”

I didn’t want to admit that I had believed myself capable of it. Arman saw my thought and smiled.

“I thought as much, little one. You’ve grown weak. They’ve made you weak.”

“I’d rather be weak and honest than be like you.”

“And what will you gain by that? An honest death like your mother’s, perhaps? Do you know how they speak of killing our kind now, Ilyra? I doubt your honesty soothes the anger of fire.”

“They’re not going to kill me,” I insisted. “They thought she’d killed that old woman you murdered.”

He laughed. “Are you really so naïve that you think they believed that? No, everyone knew I’d killed the woman. They killed your mother for another reason.” He paused a moment, smiling to himself. “She wouldn’t give the old mayor what he wanted more than anything.”

“And what was that? Your head on a platter?”

Arman chuckled. “Sharp tongued as ever, my Ilyra. No, he wanted your mother.”

“He wanted to kill her?”

“No, he wanted her, Ilyra.”

I grimaced with disgust at the thought of that crooked little man lusting after my mother. “You’re lying.”

“Why do you think I killed him next?” Arman asked quietly. He ran his fingers along my jawline. “I didn’t deny your request entirely, my dear.”

I jerked my face away from him again. “You’re disgusting. I hate you.”

“Why do you tremble when I touch you? Are you afraid of enjoying it?” When I didn’t answer and refused to look at him, he reached behind my neck again, forcing my face closer to his. Gently, he kissed my cheek. I couldn’t suppress my shudder. “I do love you,” he whispered.

“You don’t know the meaning of the word.”

“There was once a time that I would have agreed with you. But if you think that’s true of me now, then you don’t know me nearly as well as you think.” He let go of me and I scrambled to my feet, stepping away from him as I did so. “I’ve done more for you than you realize yet, Ilyra. Go ahead and be ungrateful. One day you’ll learn.”

Overhead the voices of village men could be heard. My eyes shot back to Arman; I was certain he would take off running. To my surprise, he did not. Instead, he motioned for me to look at myself. Glancing down at my shirt front, I realized what he was indicating. Splotches of blood stained my front side. Panicked, I looked back up to top of the ledge. The villagers would be there any minute, and it would look like I’d helped Arman kill the girl. Before I could speak, Arman covered my mouth with his hand.

“Come with me before they see you, Ilyra. I’ll protect you.”

I shook my head. The last person I cared to trust in the world was my father.

The voices grew louder.

“Listen to me, Ilyra. If you don’t come with me now, they’re going to kill you. Neither your word nor mine will mean anything to them. Come with me. Just for a while.” He let his hand fall away from my mouth. “Well?”

I heard a shout overhead and the sound of someone shuffling through the bushes. The villagers were upon us. I nodded my consent. In that instant, Arman took my hand and we ran—ran with a speed and silence that were uncanny to humans.

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