There it was standing right in front of me. The steepest hill on quaken island, and at the top would be the tower. I turned back to my father.
His pale skin gleamed in the moonlight, his red eyes staring back at my green. Surely, he could see through them, he could tell I was scared.
He nodded at me, indicated the climb that I now must take like my sister and brother before me. So, I turned towards the hill and started climbing.
There were steps to start the ascension, but they were all broken and crumbling away. I had no torches with me to light my way, thankfully the full moon shined bright in the cloudless sky.
I expressed this worry with my mother many times, wondered what would happen if I couldn’t see where I was going.
She merely dismissed my worry saying that on the way back down I will be able to see, no matter how dark the world is. Step by broken step I climbed narrowly avoiding an accident.
Brother said the climb was the easiest part, which makes me wonder what is more difficult than falling to your death.
I felt my fathers red eyes watching me as I climbed and struggled to keep my nerves in check.
After a short while the steps began to disappear all that was left of the path were footprints in mud and grass. The remaining steps must have crumbled away after long use.
Mother says this tower has been on the island for generations. With the lack of steps, the climb was becoming agony, the higher I got the tougher it was to keep my balance.
Surely father couldn’t see me now. I stopped to take a breath. I looked back around to see how much I had climbed in what felt like years.
I was quite high, I could no longer see father, which hopefully meant he couldn’t see how exhausted I was. I looked back up towards the tower. Whatever lays in that tower is for me alone.
I took a deep breath, inhaling some courage and determination. I began again this time focusing on every movement I took, concentrating on my balance, my grip and my nerves.
I was so close to the tower now I could only hear the distant waves crashing against the island shores. Suddenly in what felt like no time at all, there wasn’t anything left to climb.
I was standing in front of the tower door. And now for the difficult part. I pushed open the huge door, it took all the strength I had. I stepped inside.
It was dark, almost completely if it weren’t for the moonlight shining through the slits in the walls. As I took a deep breath however, the room started to light up.
Torches on the walls lit aflame one by one on their own. It was only here I realised how big the room was. Bigger than the halls of father’s palace, this room was probably as big as the island.
How was that possible there was no way this room could fit into the same tower as outside? But here it was. In the centre of the hall was a table with a small goblet on top.
I walked towards it, I could hear the ragged breaths I was taking. As I reached the table I also saw a small dagger next to the goblet.
I looked in the goblet and saw a red liquid, possibly some wine. Suddenly a cold echo of a voice spoke. “Welcome child”.
The voice seemed to move around the room causing the hairs at the back of my neck to stand up. I stood frozen waiting what else the voice would say.
After a pause that felt longer than the climb up the hill, the voice spoke again. “Your conversion is ready”. The end on the sentence pierced through my head.
“You must spill your blood” the voice continued. My heart beat faster than ever. “Mix with the goblets blood”. I looked at the goblet with horror of what was inside it. “And DRINK”.
The voice stopped speaking I stood staring at the dagger and the goblet.
Is this what my sibling’s felt when they did this? Where they as terrified as me? What about my father, he would’ve had to do this to become what he is. The realisation came to me quickly.
I have no choice, I can either do it and complete the conversion.
Or I could leave and see the disappointment in my fathers cold red eyes as he exiles me to where all the other failed teenagers go. I could not bare that.
I must do it, I will not bring shame to my father’s house. I picked up the dagger. “Your wrist”. The voice returned, making me jump. I relaxed my body and took a long deep breath.
I put the blade to my wrist. My heart beating out of my chest. I must do it for my father and my family.
I thought of the proud look of my mother’s eyes as she would see me when I return triumphant, her red eyes just like fathers. I need to do it.
I looked at my wrist and the blade that lay upon it. My hands were shaking showing how hesitant I was. Several times I breathed deep and went to begin the conversion, all to no avail.
‘My family will be proud’ I thought like a song stuck in my mind, replaying over and over. Suddenly courage filled me from a force unknown. I felt the will to act and begin.
It was time I became a man. I sliced the blade along my wrist, pain burst up my arm. My wrist was bleeding a lot and stinging a lot more.
I put my wrist over the goblet, I let the blood pour into the goblet. I was wondering how much I needed to mix, but as if it read my mind the voice came back.
“It is done, DRINK and see your conversion child”. As he spoke this a mirror appeared in thin air floating at my eye level. I picked up my goblet.
However bad this will be I know the pain will stop soon after. I raised the goblet to my mouth and started to drink. It tasted vile.
The overwhelming taste of iron burnt my throat worse than any liquor brother and I had ever drunk.
I didn’t think about whose blood I just mixed mine with, I just carried on despite to get to the bottom of the goblet. The more I consumed, the more I wanted to stop.
I wanted to vomit and choke everything back out of my mouth. I hated it, I felt sick more and more with every gulp in my throat. At last it was empty.
I put the goblet down and looked into the floating mirror. At first nothing happened, only the pain stopped in my wrist and the instinct to throw up had passed.
But suddenly after a pause I felt a sharp pain in my chest as if someone had stabbed me with a blunt knife. The pain was unlike anything I had known.
My entire body burned like my whole body was on fire. Looking at my neck in the mirror I saw my veins pulsing and becoming swollen only to burst out puss and blood moments later.
I was close to tears, but I kept looking in the mirror as this would be the last time I see my mortal self. Whilst I looked I started to see the changes.
My brown eyes were swelling up, blood started to come out like tears. My blond hair was darkening to a charcoal like colour. I felt my hands tingle with and icy cold sting.
I looked at them and saw my fingernails grow into sharp claw like shapes. I looked back at my eyes, but all I could see was the red glow of my father’s staring back at me. I opened my mouth.
I started to scream, the pain was taking over. My teeth were in agony. Two of my front teeth were twisting and sharpening into claws no, fangs. Suddenly all at once the pain stopped.
The hall was silent, I was silent. I could smell the sea. I could taste the salt from the stone walls. All from just standing there. The lights went out in the torches.
But I could still see the whole room. My heart beat was so rested, I felt relaxed and at peace. But so very hungry. I turned back towards the door and left the tower.
Once out in the open air the hunger got stronger, but then I saw it. There was still mortal blood trickling onto my hand from my wrist.
I licked the blood of my hand like a dog does with a plate. The blood tasted incredible.