The Vampire Gene (Chapter 8, page 2 of 7)

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Chapter 8

We all gathered around a large dining table - not the one in that old stone room - I wondered how many dining room tables the Colbornes had. Lucy had disappeared into her room as soon as we'd arrived back, and hadn't been seen since. Somehow Julia had rescued the lunch that had been abandoned a couple of hours ago - roast chicken with all the trimmings, and we all tucked into it as if we were starving. It was delicious.

The ordinariness of everything suddenly struck me and reluctant tears started dripping from the corners of my eyes. I suddenly hit me that I had become a monster briefly today, someone I never thought I could ever be. I felt normal again now, but I was afraid of the creature lurking within me, and of what that creature was capable of.

Angus reached out and took my hand as it lay on the table, and I turned to smile at him through my tears.

"I hurt them both," I told him. "And the worst part was that I meant to hurt them. I wanted to. And I enjoyed it." I whispered the last phrase, afraid to say it out loud, to acknowledge the madness. "I was so angry. That's not me, Angus! I have never been like that. I rescue drowning bugs from puddles. But hurting those two men felt good, it felt right. And now it doesn't anymore." I looked around at all the sympathetic eyes and felt even worse. Sympathy always does that to me.

His beautiful face hardened, his eyes with their dark lashes gazed at me, compassion in their depths. "You did what you had to do to survive, to get out of there," he told me slowly, squeezing my hand reassuringly. "You cannot think that that is who you are. It is who you had to be for a time. You did not choose to be that person - you had to be them. Do you understand?"

I nodded, but the tears still fell. I so desperately wanted to believe him.

"Have you heard of the warrior gene, Rebecca?" Julia spoke now, her gaze gentle as it rested on me.

"I've heard of it," I replied vaguely, sniffing. "I'm not sure what it is exactly, though."

"It's actually a group of genes that occur in some people, that are associated with an increase in criminal and risk taking behaviour. Those people are genetically predisposed to being evil. It doesn't excuse their behaviour, obviously, and they still definitely belong in jail, but it helps to explain how they are and the things they do."

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