The La-Iin Series
“Voice of Concerns”
Since Saturday, those in the Vampiris house had been deeply worried about Ai-Reia.
Ai-Reia had become quiet since that day and barely talked to her family except on the occasions that she needed to. She seemed startled when they drank blood and started to whimper and cry. She kept an unusual distance from Ca-Miela, and shot her no glares–instead, she glanced at her as if she were scared of her.
It was getting to be too much for her mother. So that day after school, she decided she would talk to her.
“Ai-Reia…? It’s your mother. May I come in?”
Ai-Reia didn’t respond. She decided to let herself in.
Ai-Reia was curled up on her bed, her blanket pulled over her and looking as though she had barely gotten any sleep. She sat on the bed next to her daughter, who glanced at her.
“Did you need something?” Ai-Reia said quietly.
“I wanted to talk…”
“What about?” She said.
“Ever since Saturday, you’ve seemed to be in a bad mood…and I was wondering if maybe it was something you wanted to talk about…”
“It’s nothing!” She said. “Really, Mother, I’m fine. So you don’t need to bring this up. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Obviously there’s something going on…” She sighed. “Ai-Reia, I am not leaving until you tell me what’s been going on. And I won’t let you leave either. You need to confide in me more often. Whatever you’re keeping to yourself is obviously eating at you. You need to let it out, okay…?”
“You say you won’t leave, but what if Ca-Miela needs you?”
“She has Reuf-Bu, Zih-Amo and your father to tend to her. And dinner can be taken care of by them too. In fact, Reuf-Bu was talking about doing dinner earlier today. And he doesn’t know I came here to talk to you.”
“But Mother, really, it’s nothing. Trust my judgment on this.”
“I do trust your judgment, Ai-Reia. But I also worry about you. You’re only seven years old, you’re a Pureblood Vampire, and you’re a child prodigy. I fear you’ll try and force yourself to act older than you need to, or that you’ll bottle things up that seem immature or suchlike…I’m worried that being such a young child prodigy, with such expectations foisted upon you, will get to you. I don’t want that for you…”
“…do you think that might make someone go crazy, Mother?” Ai-Reia asked calmly.
“Being the youngest known Pureblood Vampire child prodigy,” she said. “Do you think it would make someone go crazy.”
“…are you okay, Ai-Reia?”
“Answer the question.”
“It does seem like a very stressful position to be in…” She said. “I think depending on your personality, it might get to you and you might start doing some destructive things…are you worried about your sanity, Ai-Reia? I’m sorry if we worried you by what we did last year…really, we just want you to be okay…”
“I’m glad. But, you know, Mother, for all my smarts there is still so much I don’t understand.”
“You don’t need to understand everything all at once,” she said. “Don’t let it worry you. Let yourself learn at the pace you need…”
“No, you don’t understand. If this had something to do with book smarts, or scientific smarts, or something of the sort, it would be one thing.” Ai-Reia sat up and stared down her mother. She was surprised by the look in her daughter’s eyes. It was a strong gaze, as if she was trying her hardest to keep her taking her seriously.
But at the same time, something about her gaze seemed cold and distant to her, and it made her shudder.
“But that is not what this is. It has to do with understanding your own sanity. Something I don’t think even the sane can do. I’ve read up on mental conditions in the past, Mother. After all, in some of the advanced classes, they talk of such things. And I learned that even an expert mental health professional is not allowed to diagnose him or herself.”
“That is true…what point are you trying to make here, Ai-Reia…?”
“Even a skilled mental health professional is not allowed to diagnose himself if he thinks something is wrong with him!” She said, her voice almost becoming a shriek. “Even someone who knows lots about the minds of people and how they work! Someone who would know so much still cannot understand that about himself because he may just get it wrong! So I’m grappling with this. I don’t know who I am!”
“You are Vampiris Ai-Reia,” she said, patting her shoulder. “And you have so much more time left in your life. Don’t try and set everything early or you might become miserable. It takes strength to survive all the years we Vampires do.”
“Is that a strength I have?” She said. “Maybe it isn’t! Maybe knowing all I do at seven is just going to send me spiraling until I end up in an early grave!”
“Ai-Reia, don’t say such things!” She snapped.
“Mother, please. What I do understand is that I’ll never truly understand myself. I know that someone else would understand me better than I would. But even then, there’s still room for error. If you’re someone who knows me well, you don’t know if there’s something I’m lying about or being disingenuine about. If you’re someone who doesn’t know me, that’s it, you simply do not know me. You can go only off my words and the words of people who know me. You cannot make much of a personal viewpoint until after you know me more. But if you’re a stranger trying to find out about me, that probably won’t matter much, and already you’ll be colored by biases given to you by myself and the people I know and love!”
Ai-Reia’s gaze became crazed. “So that’s the point! I don’t know who I really am! I don’t know what potential is lurking inside me! I can try and understand as much as I want, but there’s no guarantee I’ll ever know for sure! I probably won’t ever! I’ll live hundreds of years, watching as the world changes and you all die, and I still won’t understand just who I really am. But already I have fears about who she may be, and if I’m right, I…”
Ai-Reia began to cry. “I don’t want that to be me. I know what I want to do that I think is right! I don’t think that’s right at all, at least not consciously, but what if the animal part of me thinks it’s the right thing to do!? I think deep down inside there’s some sort of monster inside of me, Mother. That monster is waiting to break free. She might be a fake trying to take hold of my mind, finding the invulnerabilities that exist in the brain of a young child or someone so sure of the world around her, or at least until recently, I was! Now that leaves my mind even more vulnerable!”
She began to hold her head. “Or maybe…maybe she’s not a fake trying to take hold of my mind. Maybe she’s the real and true Vampiris Ai-Reia, simply trying to take hold of the body that is rightfully hers! She’s pissed off having to sit on the sidelines in my brain and is trying her damndest to break free before it’s too late! But I don’t want her to be the real Ai-Reia, Mother. I don’t believe in the bogus scale of good and evil. But whatever that thing is, she is a monstrosity that anyone who believes in the scale, no matter where they believe they fall on the scale, should want to oppose! She’ll stand in your way! She’ll cause destruction! She is completely and utterly morally reprehensible!”
“And that’s why the scale is a crock of shit! Maybe everyone has this monster inside of them!” She hiccuped. “B-but, their monsters, they’re probably ten times better than what I have. Monsters who lust, monsters who are greedy, they’re all better than the monster inside of me. Or maybe she’s not even a monster, like I said. Maybe, just maybe, she is the real and true Vampiris Ai-Reia. The manifestation of the stresses put upon me from being a Pureblood Vampire prodigy with the personality I was set with. Whatever she is, she’s lurking inside of me, waiting to come out, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about her.”
Ai-Reia flopped back down onto the bed. “Please go, mother. Nothing I say will make sense to you any longer. Evidently you are scared and horrified of all I have said, and I am scared and horrified that I was able to say it. So let us separate from each other while our sanities are still somewhat intact.”
Her mother choked on her words. She was completely unsure of what to say. She left Ai-Reia’s room, then began to wander the house aimlessly. When she spotted her husband walking around the house, she ran over to him, buried her face in his shoulder, and began to cry loudly, not caring who might have heard.
“My resistance is futile.”
Ai-Reia stared at her hand.
“Now I know that. Monster or no, there is something inside of me. Something hiding away that decides she needs to come out at just the perfect times to keep ruining my life. Making it worse than it already is…you’re a more horrendous creature than La-Iin, and that is seriously saying something!”
She sat up. “But maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s what you want. You want La-Iin dead, just as I do, don’t you? If I take her out, will you be quiet? Will you let me go back to the life I led?”
She grit her teeth. “Whatever the cost, I need my old life back. I can’t survive hundreds of years if I lose it now!”