I return to the kitchen ten minutes later.
The woman is standing. She stares at me. Her face is ashen. Misery in her eyes.
"He's dead," she whispers.
I nod. "You are free of him now."
Now she shows anger. Pain. "Free? I was never his prisoner. I loved him."
She attacks. Hands beating on my chest. I catch them. Holding her is easy. Feeling her agony is not.
"How could you have done that? He was a good man." Her voice trembles with emotion.
"He was a Vampyre, you little fool."
"I know." She almost shouts. "I know." Her words barely discernible now. Her eyes brimming with tears. "That did not make him evil."
Shaking her. Needing her to listen. To understand. "I watched him kill. Viciously. Like a rabid animal."
"It was a rabid animal he was killing. That's what he did. He took out people—rapists, murderers—that the law couldn't touch." She collapses against me. Sobbing.
I hold her. Stunned. Not wanting to believe. Wait until she stops. Help her to the chair then.
"This was just his lie to you to excuse his actions."
"No." She takes a deep breath. Another. "No. You see, once, he was a policeman. He lived for his job he told me. No," she frowned, "policeman isn't the right word. It was so many years ago. Not here. Not in this country even. A constable, yes that was it. He believed in justice and hated seeing the evil-doers escape without being punished." Her mouth tightens. She stares at me. "He was like you I suppose, dedicated to ridding the world of evil. But he was different than you in one way." Now her look is reproachful. "He always knew the person he was after deserved to die. He didn't assume it, he made certain. I helped him."
The woman's expression softens. Remembering. "For years that's what we've done...what...what we did, together, after he rescued me from an attacker. He killed the bastard just the way you saw him kill, I suspect. Tore out his throat in anger at what he had tried to do. He was going to wipe my memory of what happened of course but..." She almost smiles. "I was young, headstrong, and after what had just happened, it didn't scare me that my savior was a Vampyre. I talked him out of making me forget, and into letting me help him. That was a night to remember."
"That's a very good story, and I'm sure you believe that he only went after the bad guys, but I have a witness who saw him feeding from a young man here in town a week ago."
She shakes her head. "Impossible. Who told you that?"
"A friend. He saw your...man in an alley with a kid from a fast-food restaurant, feeding and then wiping his memory he said."
"Oh my god."
I think I've made my point. That the Vampyre was not the good person she thought. I'm wrong.
"That 'kid' was his lover." She sighs. "I don't care what your friend thought he saw, he was wrong. Alan, that's his name by the way. Something I'm sure you never bothered to find out." She says that reprovingly. Continues then. Softly. Sorrowfully. "Alan was my friend, my companion, my rescuer, but that was all. And the kid is well over the age of consent. They met two years ago and fell in love. He doesn't know what Alan is…was. Alan was afraid to tell him, though he hoped in time that he'd be able to. He's the son of a man who lives down the block from us, though he doesn't live at home any more. He got an apartment soon after he and Alan met."
"Whoa up, are you sure of that?" I feel like I've been sucker punched.
She nods. "Oh yes, very sure. He moved out rather than tell his father. The man's older and has heart problems. He was afraid that admitting he was gay and in love with another man would kill him."
"So he knew," I whisper. More to myself than aloud.
She looks at me questioningly. I shake my head. She's right. I didn't check. I took my...I took the man's word. He played me. Played on my hatred.
I am a fool. Worse than a fool. A murderer.