I was determined to make Kaleb human, so determined that I might have lost sight of the bigger picture – what if he was faking? I had learned in my time as a hunter that soulless ones could wear the mask of humanity well – it was what allowed them to function in society long enough to inflict pain.
Then there was my hope.
Intertwined and coexisting as one. I had lived my life hoping that my brothers and sisters might turn away from the darkness that dwelled DNA deep. Leah and Keziah had both weaved their lives with a soulless one – and neither had fared well.
Why did I think I was any different?
I was arrogant, as Dathan sometimes was, drunk with the sense of responsibility I felt for this child.
I would not fail. I had failed many times before in tasks I’d set forth for myself, but failure was not an option. I could not fail Kaleb.
There was something in this child that drew me to him, his eyes, his voice – all alluring as most soulless children can be. Yet, it was more than that; it was a deep seeded need to mother someone. To take care of them, as a parent would – it was why I had looked after Val for all those years. I had done it at a distance, but now I no longer wanted distance, I wanted intimacy.
I vehemently defended him at every turn, seeing that glimmer of positivity and I clung to it. Other counselors grew tired of the crises that Kaleb brought to the floor. Albeit his crises were much less severe and he was growing attached to Dee and especially to Sage. Two other counselors had made headway with him and they were stricter than others. He sometimes went into a deep inner rage, screaming their names even when they were not on duty. They were his anchor to his humanity.
None of the medications worked well for him; some even sent him into a deeper and more violent rage than ever before. All the while, I defended him. I was his champion – Stan and I stood as a united front, trying to make the other counselors understand that we were working to save a human being, not a number in a book or a page in history. This was a child, a child that deserved every chance at redemption. When others didn’t listen to him, I was as rage-filled as he was, but in a vastly more subtle way.
It took time, but Kaleb began to respond to certain medications, and to Sage and Dee.
It took almost a year and Stan was happy to announce at a clinical meeting that Kaleb had a date to go home. Many children had come and gone, but Kaleb had been slow to acclimate, to change the tide of his own ocean. This was received well by everyone, other than me. I was still unsure if he was playing the part or if his turn for the better was genuine. I began to doubt myself. I had yet to ascertain if the blood, my blood, he’d ingested had changed him – as a drop of Quinn’s blood tainted a pure human, what would my blood do to one that was already sullied with Quinn’s bloodline? I was running out of time.
I had little choice in the matter; Dee and Sage were moving to New York. Sage had been offered a job he couldn’t refuse. I had three weeks to assess the situation. To assess if I would become, once again, a killer, what I hated most about my kind and I may well have to become again.
“You didn’t kill him?” asked Felix. His voice was strong and carried through my small house. I was home after a long day of meetings and all I wanted was a glass of wine and a bath. Instead I was getting an unannounced house call from my brother.