8. Dying Wish

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I floated back to the odd, changed reality of my life. Three faces were staring at me curiously.

"What did you see?" Nana asked.

"I know now what is in here," I lifted the little bundle I was holding and looked into Tomas's dark eyes, "You brought Aaron's Egyptian snake with you, didn't you?"

Jonathan let out a soft hiss that sounded like water being poured on hot coals. Nana stared at Tomas, shocked.

Tomas did not object when I pulled the ends of the string that was holding the cloth around the object. It was wrapped in a long roll of linen, it seemed. I almost dropped it on the ground when I yanked at the cloth impatiently to make it unwrap faster.

But finally it was there on the palm of my hand. A little golden snake that had once adorned the headdress of royalty in ancient Egypt. It was beautifully done, intact and ancient. Now that I had it resting against my skin I could hear clearer whispers of its past in my mind. Glimpses of great glory, then being buried, then stolen, and traveling through times from one hand to another until it ended up in the hands of...

An aching coldness hit my mind and made my neck hurt. The cold throbbing pain on my neck made me gasp and slap my hand to cover the bite marks.

Nana's hand quickly took the snake from the palm of my hand.

"What were you thinking? How long has Aaron owned the snake?"

"A few decades, maybe more. He had it when I was turned into vampire," Tomas said with a tired voice.

"Then this snake has seeped in his energies all that time, and for someone who can read objects, those energies can be harmful!"

"I am sorry, that was not my intention," Tomas said.

"Sorry? Are you, really? How do we know this Aaron did not send you here to see what Elena can read from the snake? How do we know he is not out there as we speak, waiting for you to bring back information what Elena saw?" Jonathan's voice was no longer hissing, it was crackling like fire on dry wood.

"I don't feel the presence of any more vampires," Orri's calm voice announced, "And besides – we haven't even heard what Elena saw. Tell us, Elena."

I opened my mouth to begin.

"Don't tell anything until we hear more of what exactly this vampire wants from you. I want to know why did he bring this snake to you," Nana lifted her hand to interrupt me.

We all turned to look at Tomas. He stared back at us with a tired expression.

"Like I said, I want to die," he said, "Because I was turned into vampire without my consent, I was forced into a nightmarish existence. I tried not to feed so I would die, but that only ended with me attacking people like an animal. My victims died a horrible death if I was at the brink of starvation. My body demanded sustenance, and it took over if my mind tried to stop it. I literally lost my mind and only gained my senses when I had eaten. With time I learned to feed only a little from each person, leaving them alive. But my venom caused them to become ill for the rest of their lives. My living caused immeasurable suffering to others. Death or illness. And I cannot kill my body to stop that. It has a will of its own."

"You wish to gain something from bringing the snake to Elena," Jonathan's voice crackled with barely contained anger, "What is it?"

"I told you already. If it is true that the Creator still exists, I want to talk to him and ask him to undo me and my kind. There aren't enough demons in this world to eradicate us, and a full blown war would be the result if they tried. We have our ways of destroying demons as well. It would not be a straightforward destruction of vampires, even if all the demons attacked vampires."

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