I was back on Dome Rock.
The sun had not yet risen. Kingsley and Allison were asleep in the bungalow.
It had been hours after the ordeal in the mausoleum.
God, had I really cut off his head?
I had. Or, rather, the thing that lived within me had.
No, it had been me. I had made a point to squeeze the life out of Conner Thurman – or the thing that animated Conner Thurman. I had made the decision to remove his head.
He'd threatened Anthony. He had been going to kill Anthony.
Consume Anthony, in fact.
Yes, I had cut off his head, and I would do so a thousand more times if I had to.
The rain had finally dissipated. The ocean beyond seemed relatively calm. I could even see stars peeking through the thin cloud layer.
Before me were both medallions: the opal medallion that I had plucked from the ocean's depths, and the amethyst medallion that had once been embedded within my chest. Each glittered dully, catching whatever ambient light there was.
My chest had healed marvelously. Not even a scar.
"Penny for your thoughts," said a voice behind me.
I gasped, turning. I hadn't heard anyone approach, and my inner alarm had failed to notify me of danger. Standing behind was, of course, the young Librarian. The alchemist. He was wearing jeans and a sweater and shoes that didn't seem appropriate for a hike up Dome Rock.
"I'm sorry to startle you, Samantha Moon."
"How did you get here?"
"The ferries are running again."
"How did you know I was here?"
He smiled and walked around me and stood over the two medallions. "I, too, am intricately linked to these guys."
"Because you created them."
"Yes. Do you mind if I sit?"
"It's a big rock," I said.
He chuckled and sat before me. A small wind blew steadily over us. His short hair didn't move. Neither did his clothing.
"There's some weird shit going on," I said.
"Yes, I imagine so."
"Why am I connected to the medallions?"
"I don't know, Sam, but I suspect it's a combination of many things."
"The vampire who first created you, for one. He was one of the oldest…and perhaps even one of the most powerful."
"I don't understand."
"Knowledge and power is always transferred through blood, Samantha. It is the carrier of all information, all knowledge. Have you not noticed that those around you, and those blood-related to you, are growing in power?"
"He infused you with his own knowledge, his own power. Sam, you have abilities you've not yet tapped into."
"I don't want them. I just want to be normal."
"That might still be possible."
I looked at him sharply. "What do you mean?"
He picked up the medallions. "I created these medallions, Samantha, to help someone like you find normalcy again."
"But they also do unspeakable harm," I said.
He nodded sadly. "There was an unforeseen consequence of the medallions, I'll admit."
"As long as they are in existence, my son will always be in danger."
"I cannot deny that, Sam. At least, if all four are in existence. However, they can also give back the normalcy you seek."
"So, my two choices are either normalcy for me or danger to my son."
He nodded once.
"That's not an acceptable option to me," I said.
"Then destroy one, Samantha Moon, and the medallions can never again be used for evil."
I nodded. I had been thinking the same thing. I touched the opal medallion. "What will this one do?" I asked.
"That one will remove your need to feast on blood."
"And the fourth medallion, the one that hangs from Fang's neck?"
Archibald Maximus, the young-looking guy with the old man's name, nodded.
"Yes…the diamond medallion."
"What will it do?"
"A very interesting medallion, indeed."
I waited. Seagulls circled high above.
Something small and undoubtedly furry scurried in the brush at the edge of the dome.
"If you'll recall, the ruby medallion reversed vampirism within your son."
I nodded. "Mostly."
He smiled. "The amethyst medallion gave you the ability to exist in the sun."
"The opal medallion would remove your need for blood."
"The diamond medallion grants the user, in effect, all three."
"What do you mean?"
"Once the diamond medallion is invoked, Samantha, one would have all the powers of the vampire, without the shortcomings. One would, in effect, have it all."
"Immortality, too?" I asked.
He nodded. "And great power, great strength, everything you currently enjoy.
Without that which you don't. It is, in effect, the answer to your prayers."
"Why make only one?" I asked.
He smiled sadly at me. "I only brought forth the medallions into the world, Samantha. Think of me as the potter. I did not create the clay, only the shape within.
The energy was always here, waiting. I only gave it shape and form."
"Can you create more?"
"So far, no. But with intent, all things are possible."
"When something is wanted bad enough, the Universe answers the call."
"So, for now, all that exists are the four medallions?"
"Yes, one of which is now infused within your son."
"That sounds so weird," I said.
"Life is a little weird, Sam. Beautiful but weird."
"I cannot risk that another will come for me and my son," I said.
"I understand." He looked at me for a long moment. "You do understand that you can wear only one medallion."
I hadn't known that, but I did now. I nodded.
"You must choose one medallion, Sam."
I thought of my options, and I thought of Fang. "I want these medallions destroyed," I said.
He raised an eyebrow. "Both of them?"
"You are giving up the ability to go into the sun? To bypass the need for blood?"
"Yes," I said. "For now. Besides, the sun is overrated. I'm really more of a night person. And, honestly, who really needs Chicken McNuggets, right?"
"You're going to go after the fourth medallion," said Archibald.
"You bet your ass," I said.
"So, what do we do with these?" I asked, indicating the two medallions.
"It saddens the heart, but I shall destroy them. Admittedly, the harm they could cause was unforeseen."
"How will you destroy them?"
"How strong are you, Sam?"
"Stronger than I look."
He chuckled. "Of that I have no doubt.
Yes, they are composed of gold and other alchemical materials. And like all alchemical artifacts, the spells within can be severed."
"You want me to break the spell."
"It has to be you, Sam."
Still sitting on the smooth rock, as the sky slowly began lightening, I reached over and picked up the amethyst medallion.
"You're sure about this, Sam? As soon as that medallion is broken, you will have only minutes to get back indoors. Your body will return to the day and night circadian rhythms of the vampire."
"I understand," I said. "For my son, I understand. And it's far too late to use such big words."
He chuckled lightly as I gripped the medallion in both hands.
And applied pressure. A lot of pressure.
Nothing happened at first – but then, suddenly, the medallion snapped in half, followed by what I was certain was a supernatural popping sound. Maximus winced slightly.
I did the same with the opal medallion, and soon four halves lay on the rock before me.
"It is done, Samantha Moon," said Maximus. "Would you mind if I took these with me," he said, indicating the four broken halves. "The metal is of use for other alchemical potions."
"Knock yourself out," I said. "But I do have one question."
"Just one?" he asked.
"Okay, many. Why did you hide the medallion so deep in the cave?"
"It was meant to be a test."
"Yes. The shipwreck was fortuitous in the sense that it gave me an opportunity to hide the medallion somewhere I'd previously not foreseen. Well, not entirely foreseen."
"And to the world it appeared that a treasure had gone down with the ship?"
"Right," he said.
"How would Conner Thurman know about the opal medallion?"
"Conner Thurman didn't. The entity within him did."
"Is that why they built this home on this island? To search for the medallion?"
"Part of the reason, I'm sure.
Undoubtedly, they saw the seclusion here as a good thing, too."
"How was I able to find the medallion and he didn't?"
He smiled. "Because it was meant for you."
"I don't understand."
"Or, rather, it was meant for someone like you. Someone worthy. Someone strong. Someone who would bring some light into all of this craziness. Soon, Sam, dawn will break, and you no longer have protection from sunlight."
"Are you coming with me?" I asked.
"No, Sam. I prefer to sit here and watch the sunrise."
"Don't rub it in," I said, slapping his knee.
He smiled sadly. "Go, Sam. You don't have much time."
Indeed, I could already feel my body shutting down with the coming of dawn. I got up and started moving across the domed rock. I looked back once and saw the Librarian now sitting cross-legged, his face lifted to the heavens.
For some reason, I found tears on my cheeks.
Not too long ago, I had seen my first dawn as a vampire. But now that ability was gone. It didn't have to be, of course. I could have chosen it. Or chosen the opal medallion – and never again have been forced to consume filthy blood.
Now, as I turned back to the trail that would lead down to the bungalows, to where Kingsley and Allison slept, I thought of Fang.
How he had found the fourth medallion, I didn't know.
Where he was, I didn't know.
But I was going to find him.
One way or another.
The EndREAD MORE >>