Jerry held Cyrus in his arms. If the vampire could cry tears, his pale face would be stained with them. Cyrus grasped and ungrasped Jerry's shirt, coughing up blood in clots. The crimson mess ran down his face, staining his t-shirt and trickling down the sides of his neck and onto the floor. Jerry's eyes flickered for a moment to the cobweb patterns played out on Cyrus's white skin, but then they floated back to Cyrus's dying eyes.
"Is something wrong Cyrus?" Jerry asked, his voice slow, as if he had to think about the words before they could make it pass his tongue.
Cyrus gagged and pulled Jerry down towards his face. "Dont...don't let anyone kill what you are." Cyrus sputtered between coughs of blood. The dying vampire moved his hand to the silver knife implanted above his heart. He used the last of his strength to pull it out, screaming mildly as he did so. Jerry's head cocked to the side, not understanding what was happening. Cyrus clasped the handle of the knife and shoved it into Jerry's hand, making his wrap his long, pale fingers around the ebony handle. "Never, Jerry, never change what you are."
Cyrus faded away into ash. Jerry was left with nothing but dirt and a bloody knife. He chewed on his bottom lip, his fangs cutting into his own tender flesh as he did so. Sadness crept into his face for a moment, but it was only a flash, and lasted only a second.
A hand gently squeezed Jerry's shoulder.
Earlier that Evening
"Rise and shine." Cyrus pulled the lid of the coffin off of his brother. He sat on the edge and shook Jerry's shoulder.
Jerry was different, he always had been, even as a mortal. It was like Jerry had been born with a part of himself missing. As if a part of his mind didn't make it through child birth. He could talk and perform simple tasks just fine, but he felt no emotion. He didn't grasp concepts. It was like Jerry would forever remain a small child.
It was like this as Cyrus looked down at his brother, curled up in his coffin with his hands beneath his cheek, like a child. Cyrus himself wouldn't have even guessed him to be a vampire if he hadn't of been the one to turn him.
"Jerry," Cyrus said, squeezing Jerry's shoulder. The younger vampire's eyes opened and searched the side of the coffin for a moment, as if he didn't know where he was. They looked up at Cyrus, who smiled down on them. "You must be hungry," Cyrus started, "I'm starving." He pulled his brother upright. Jerry just sat in his coffin still blinking away his sleepiness.
They had been brothers as mortals. Cyrus had always been there for Jerry, always. When Jerry was born, Cyrus was 12. Their mother all but ignored Jerry, because of his lack of any emotion. As a baby, Jerry wouldn't cry. You'd never know if he was hungry or needed to be changed. You'd never know what was going through Jerry's mind as a child. You'd just sit back and wonder as Jerry watched the sunlight move across the floor for hours.
When Cyrus had been turned, he felt like he could escape from all of that. He had been 22, and Jerry had been ten. He'd left his family then, to live the life of a vampire. But Cyrus wasn't like his brother, he still had the love for his family, even as a vampire. When he had gone back, he'd found his brother living poorly, with bruises covering his body and his health in the worse condition. Cyrus felt guilty; like he should have known their mother would ignore Jerry.
So Cyrus turned him. He sired his own brother. It would be safer that way. Cyrus could look out for him, protect him. In the back of his mind, Cyrus had wished that the gift of vampirism would have brought some emotion to Jerry, given him the part of his soul back that he had been born without. But it wasn't to happen. Jerry remained the same, except for the canines and the new bloodlust that even Cyrus had trouble recognizing in his eyes.
Cyrus hauled Jerry out of his coffin and looked him over. "What are we to do with you?" He asked quietly, watching his brother's eyes wander around the room, trying to fix on anything interesting.
It took only a few hours to feed. Cyrus left a trail of blood in his wake, whereas Jerry just ate what Cyrus gave him. He'd stare blindly at the opposite wall as he lapped up the blood on their victims' throats. Cyrus had to watch Jerry feed, to pull him away before the blood ran cold.
After their hunger was fulfilled, they sat against a wall in an alley. Cyrus stared up at the stars, through the laundry strewn across in lines. Jerry bounced his foot, but his eyes had glazed over.
"Jerry, did you ever believe in God?" Cyrus asked, looking over at his brother.
Jerry's eyes didn't even flinch as a single word came out of his mouth. "No."
Cyrus nodded and looked at the opposite wall. "I did once."
"Why?" Jerry asked. Cyrus frowned and looked at him again. He'd never known Jerry to ask why. Never, even as mortals had Jerry wanted to know more.
He shrugged. "I don't know. I needed something to believe in I guess. I needed to know that after I died, everything was going to be okay." Jerry said nothing, and Cyrus wasn't sure if his brother understood him. "But then you were born." He said, staring at the side of his brother's face, wanting more than anything to see a twinge of emotion there. "And I knew there was no God. Why would he punish an unborn baby like that? No one could explain to me why, Jerry."
"I'm punished?" Jerry asked, turning his head slightly and looked at Cyrus' feet.
Cyrus closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall. He didn't know how to answer that. "I don't know. Maybe you're living the life of leisure and the rest of us are punished. You're so innocent Jerry. You don't have worries, you don't feel sadness. You don't have anything to grieve or worry over. Maybe I'm punished, because I do have all those things."
"Nothing to worry." Jerry whispered.
Cyrus chuckled a little, putting a hand over his eyes. "Yeah, Jerry, nothing to worry."
The wind brought in a fould stench at that moment and Cyrus opened his eyes wide, taking in all of his surroundings. He stood up quickly, grabbing Jerry's coat as he did so and hefting his brother to his feet. Jerry didn't say anything, just picked at his fingernail.
"What's this?" Came a voice. Cyrus growled at the edge of the alley, in the dark shadows of a dumpster. "Two vampires chatting about God? It's unheard of."
"Who are you to know, Keenan?" The older vampire stepped out from the darkness and instantly, Cyrus felt fear. It had been a while since he'd seen the older vampire. Keenan was well beyond his years, he was the one who had sired Cyrus.
Keenan was a good looking man, compared to most. His brown hair was pulled back into a rather girlish looking ponytail in the back of his head. He had some facial hair, looking rugid. But his eyes were what got people. Those green eyes looked like a cat. They had been what had entranced Cyrus.
"I'm just a friend passing through the neighborhood." Keenan said. "I wanted to check up on you, Cyrus. To see how my spawn was doing."
Cyrus huffed, taking Jerry's arm and turning around. "We're fine, thank you very much. See ya, Keenan." He gruffly spat, dragging his brother out of the alley. Jerry looked back over his shoulder at Keenan, his brown eyes flashed in the streetlight.
Keenan was suddenly in front of Cyrus. Cyrus growled, pushing his brother to the side. Jerry fell to the ground, tripping over his own feet. He skinned his knee on a piece of glass, but just watched as it healed. Cyrus glared at Keenan.
The older vampire attacked first. Cyrus was not experienced at fighting. He fought for less than ten seconds before Keenan had him pinned against the wall. Keenan pressed his arm into Cyrus' throat. Cyrus gasped for air. For a second, he glanced at his brother, but the only motion he got out of Jerry was his brother's hand quickly yanking the piece of glass from his knee. He hadn't even seen the fight.
"Why are you looking to him for help?" Keenan spat, anger in his voice. "He won't help you, he won't even flinch if I were to kill you."
"Shut up." Cyrus gagged beneath Keenan's arm on his throat.
"Why do you still tote him around? He will get you killed. I sired a better vampire than this." Keenan pulled Cyrus down and slammed him into the wall again. "Tell me, Cyrus, do you think your brother recognizes you? Or are you just another non-memory passing through his life?"
Cyrus looked over at his brother, who was looking up at the sky. "Fuck you Keenan." He spat.
"No!" Keenan yelled, slamming Cyrus again into the wall. "Answer my question. What do you want to gain from dragging him along?"
"Nothing!" Cyrus yelled, tears brimming at his eyes. "I don't expect anything from him."
Keenan paused, finally letting go of Cyrus, who leaning against the wall, rubbing his throat. "Then why?" Keenan asked, leaning down to look in Cyrus' eyes.
"I made a promise to him, Keenan. I promised that I would keep him safe."
"But he doesn't remember that. He doesn't even know who you are."
"That doesn't matter!" Cyrus yelled, striking out at Keenan, who easily dodged it, but caught Cyrus's arm. Cyrus yanked his arm away and pointed at his brother. "I still made the promise, and that does matter."
The three vampires sat for a good half an hour before anyone said anything. Jerry sat, lost in the catacombs of his mind. Keenan watched Cyrus, who couldn't peel his eyes away from his brother. It was Jerry who finally broke the silence. "What is death?"
Cyrus swallowed the lump in his throat before flashy a smile at Jerry. "Death is when you go to sleep and don't wake up."
Jerry nodded. Cyrus knew he didn't understand, but that was Jerry.
"I want you to talk to someone, Cyrus." Keenan said. Cyrus looked at him, question in his eye. "She knows what you're going through, and what Jerry is going through."
"Why do you care so much?" Cyrus asked.
"Because I sired you. I didn't do it blindly. You intrigued me. It pains me to see you fret so much over such an insignificant reason as your mentally retarded, fucked up brother."
"Don't call him that."
"What? Mentally retarded?"
"No, fucked up. He's not fucked up. He's just different."
Keenan rolled his eyes and walked over to Cyrus. "Please, will you talk to her?"
Cyrus watched Jerry for a moment more. "Yes."
It was odd sitting in the trailer. It hadn't taken them long to reach the trailer park. Keenan was out feeding, but Cyrus knew he'd be back later. Jerry sat on a couch, his hands folded neatly in his lap and his head down. Cyrus sat next to him, watching the old woman across from them in her comforter.
The blind she-vamp. That's where Keenan had sent them. To see a blind she-vamp. They'd been sitting there for a while now, and Cyrus feared that the sun would rise before they got anything out of the old hag.
"Keenan said you could help us." Cyrus said, leaning forward.
"Help you?" The old vampire said. "Why would he say that?"
"I don't know. Maybe because you're a vampire who was turned when she was a 64 year old blind and crippled mortal?" Cyrus rolled his eyes and grabbed Jerry's arm, ready to leave. "This is pointless."
"Sit down." The woman said.
Cyrus growled beneath his breath and sat down, patting Jerry's coat down to let him know it was all right. "Can you help us or not?"
"No." Cyrus was about to get up again, when the old woman pointed straight at Jerry. "He is beyond my help. You, however, I can do something for."
"What do you mean?" Cyrus asked.
"You're breaking down, wearing thin. I can feel it radiating off of you. And it's because of that rag doll sitting on the couch next to you." Cyrus looked at Jerry and scowled.
"Don't call him that." He said, malice in his voice.
"Oh, you do care for him, don't you?" She said, sighing and leaning back in her chair. "It's strange for a vampire such as yourself to hold family ties even after death. What makes him so special?"
Cyrus shrugged, but realized the woman wouldn't see it. "I don't know." He said. "He's just...well...he's just everything that I miss about being mortal."
Cyrus shook his head. "No, it's stupid." The woman held up her hand and signaled for him to go on. "Well, he looks at stuff like he's looking at it for the first time. What we take for granted, he thinks it's a miracle. He can look at the moon and still have dreams about it, whereas I know it's just a rock floating around in outerspace with nothing but dust on it's surface."
"So, he symbolizes the innocence that you want back?"
Cyrus sighed and put his head in hids hands. "I guess, something like that."
"It's not healthy for a vampire to live like that. You're not innocent, and it's time that you moved on."
Cyrus looked up. "Why isn't it healthy? It's not killing us."
"Not him, but it is you. How long do you think you can go without fighting another vampire? How long before another vampire wants to challenge you?"
Cyrus stood up and started pacing. "Why would a vampire challenge me?" He yelled, shoving his hands into his pockets and looking at Jerry. He seemed unphased by the yelling. Good Cyrus thought in the back of his mind.
"To make sure you're not a threat. There are many tribulations in the vampire world."
"But why does this have to do anything with him?" Cyrus yelled, pointing at Jerry. "He's done nothing!"
The old woman sighed and stood up. She walked gracefully, which surprised Cyrus. She went over to a table, where a box sat beneath a piece of silk. "Because, it's unethical for a vampire to be innocent. It's gives us a bad name."
"What?" Cyrus spat, frowning at her. "You're crazy. We're leaving." Cyrus grabbed Jerry's arm again. "Vampires have no name. They have no ethics. You just think that because he has no emotions, he's a down right killing machine and that scares you." A light clicked in Cyrus's head. "You think that he could kill without blinking and that's why you're scared of him."
"So, you guessed it." The woman turned around and Cyrus eyed the knife in her hand; the silver knife. "That's why I must kill him before his vampire rage starts to inhabit the hole where his soul was."
The woman lunged, faster than anything Cyrus had ever seen before. He let out a scream, shoving Jerry aside just in time.
The knife entered above his heart and the point came out the back. Cyrus felt his body immediately go cold, limp, numb. He looked over at Jerry. There was a flash in front of Jerry's eyes, and suddenly, he looked as if the part that was missing in him was there.
Jerry moved steadily, quickly. He was on his feet, swinging his arm around so his nails ran across the woman's throat. The woman gurgled on her own blood as she spat it out onto the floor, then fell backwards. Jerry broke the table she had gotten the knife and took a splinter, jamming it through her heart.
Cyrus watched in horror as his brother went from an innocent child to a killing machine, just as the woman had predicted.
As quickly as it happened, it was over. Jerry's eyes glazed over again and faded. He turned to Cyrus and gathered his brother in his arms.
After Cyrus faded away to ash, Jerry held the knife close to his heart. Keenan put a hand on Jerry's shoulder. He kneeled down beside him and looked at the dust covering the floor. "Where is Cyrus?" Jerry asked, not looking at Keenan.
Keenan squeezed Jerry's shoulder and then let out a sigh, pursing his lips together. "I understand now, Cyrus. I understand why you wanted to protect him. You wanted to keep him away from all of this. You knew what he would do if he let the vampire rage get ahold of him."
Jerry whimpered slightly and Keenan looked over at him. "Do you know what just happened?" He asked, bewilderment in his eyes.
"God killed Cyrus." Jerry whispered, fingering the bloody tip of the knife. Keenan watched him for a while. The sun would be up soon. He put his arms beneath Jerry's and pulled him to his feet.
"That's what Cyrus was trying to protect. He did it all for you, everything. You could be two things Jerry. You could be either the ultimate image of innocence, or the horrible image of vampire rage. Either way, people would want you dead."
Keenan looked back one last time at the dust on the ground of the trailer. "I'll help you keep your promise, Cyrus. I'll help him stay innocent."