The Fallout - 11 | ii

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Vescovi looked like a different man. Standing in his cell, hands behind his back he was a different person. Marx approached the triple plated ballistic glass. He forced himself to see Vescovi as he is and not as he was.

"Do you know that vampires do not use vervain?" Vescovi lifted his gaze to the vents above him. "We exterminate the plants like weeds. It always fascinated me the choice werewolves made to grow wolfsbane in flowerpots, tending to their Achilles heel." When Vescovi looked at Marx, his eyes were hard. Marx could sense the other man's grief though he gave no voice to it. Suffering a loss of his own, one that left part of him forever lost, Marx could relate. Sympathize with the internal agony that Vescovi had to face with each waking breath. Every time he closed his eyes. But even though Marx felt for him he could not condone Vescovi's actions.

"When it doesn't kill us," Marx said, "it makes us stronger."

"I see." Vescovi looked up at the vents again a thoughtful look on his face. "They pump minute traces of vervain into the vents. Keeps me weak so I do not try to escape."

"Countermeasures have to be taken. We have enough violence as is."

Vescovi sat on a makeshift cot that was his bed, one foot up, the other hanging to the ground over the side of the cot. He rested his back against the wall his attention on Marx. "I have not seen Anabella in days."

"She's—busy," Marx knew that was not the reason, and he knew Vescovi knew that as well.

"There will come a time when she will not be able to fix what has already been broken," Vescovi said. "The discord will not be mended with clever manipulation on her part."

Marx paced in front of the glass that kept Vescovi locked away. The chamber was hundreds of feet below the ground. One-way in and one-way out. There were guards posted just outside the vault-like door that sealed the cell area closed. Marx was uncomfortable holding a friend as a prisoner, but it was necessary.

"You've allowed your hair to grow out." The thick mane of black hair was just above Vescovi's shoulder. Just like the hair on his head, he allowed his beard to grow out. A thick bushy beard that gave him a less than distinguished look. Made him look wild. The look matched the hardness in his eyes. The stubborn set of his jaw.

"This was what I looked like when I can through the portal. You would be amazed at the extent vampires went to blend in. Plastic surgeries, full facial reconstructions, implants, prosthetics. We altered everything about ourselves to be one of them. Be accepted into their society." Vescovi looked off his eyes growing distant. "We gave them everything they value most. Riches. Technology. Science. Primitives. That's what they were before we brought our knowledge to them." Vescovi shifted his gaze to Marx again. "None of that mattered to them when they made us all targets. Made us all enemies."

"Much about you has changed."

Vescovi's smile held no amusement. "Adapt or die."

"Vengeance? Is that how you adapt?"

Vescovi was at the glass in a blur. He hissed. "There is no forgiveness for what they did. They killed my son. Murdered him."

Jason Vescovi. His death came at the hands of human soldiers as he tried to keep fellow vampires and their human families safe. On hearing of his son's death, a part of Vescovi died. And with it his mercy. He released his grief on a military convoy ripping through metal and flesh giving the humans what they sought—a monster. It took Marx and four others to get Vescovi under control. Vescovi now held the sentiment that all humans—outside of those in the fold—should be stuck on pikes and burned for good measure. His view was starting to catch on the longer the conflict continued. The more the humans persecuted the innocent. Soon, Marx feared, there would be mass decent among the vampires. If that were to happen, if the vampires were to succumb to their thirst for blood the werewolves would find themselves in the middle. Marx could not in good conscience sit by and watch the vampires tear the humans apart. Neither could he sit and allow the humans to do the reverse.

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