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been sorry you don't know how sorry I've been ever since. You don't know how many times I've
thought about it and wished there was something I could do to change it. I'd have given anything to take it
back anything. I killed my brother& " His voice cracked, and tears spilled from his eyes. Elena, her
heart breaking with grief, turned helplessly to Damon and saw that he wasn't even aware of her. The look
of amusement was gone, and his eyes were fixed on Stefan in utter concentration, riveted.
"Katherine, please listen to me," Stefan said shakily, regaining his voice. "We've all hurt one another
enough. Please let us go now. Or keep me, if you want, but let them leave. I'm the one that's to blame.
Keep me, and I'll do whatever you want& "
Katherine's jewel-like eyes were liquid and impossibly blue, filled with an endless sorrow. Elena didn't
dare to breathe, afraid to break the spell as the slender girl moved toward Stefan, her face softened and
yearning.
But then the ice inside Katherine crept out again, freezing the tears on her cheeks. "You should have
thought of that a long time ago," she said. "I might have listened to you then. I was sorry you'd killed each
other at first. I ran away, without even Gudren , back to my home. But then I didn't haveanything , not
even a new dress, and I was hungry and cold. I might have starved if Klaus hadn't found me."
Klaus.Through her dismay, Elena remembered something Stefan had told her. Klaus was the man who'd
made Katherine a vampire, the man the villagers said was evil.
"Klaustaught me the truth," Katherine said. "He showed me how the world really is. You have to be
strong, and take the things you want. You have to think only of yourself. And I'm the strongest of all now.
I am. You know how I got that way?" She answered the question without even waiting for them to
respond. "Lives. So many lives. Humans and vampires, and they're all inside me now. I killed Klaus after
a century or two. He wassurprised . He didn't know how much I'd learned.
"I was so happy, taking lives, filling myself up with them. But then I would rememberyou , you two, and
what you did. How you treated my gift. And I knew I had to punish you. I finally figured out how to do it.
"I brought you here, both of you. I put the thought in your mind, Stefan, the way you put thoughts into a
human's. I guided you to this place. And then I made sure Damon followed you. Elena was here. I think
she must be related to me somehow; she looks like me. I knew you'd see her and feel guilty. But you
weren't supposed to fall in love with her!" The resentfulness in Katherine's voice gave way to fury again.
"You weren't supposed to forget me! You weren't supposed to give her my ring!"
"Katherine& "
Katherine swept on. "Oh, you made me so angry. And now I'm going to make you sorry, really sorry. I
know who I hate most now, and it's you, Stefan. Because I loved you best." She seemed to regain
control of herself, wiping the last traces of tears from her face and drawing herself up with exaggerated
dignity.
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"I don't hate Damon as much," she said. "I might even let him live." Her eyes narrowed, and then
widened with an idea. "Listen, Damon," she said secretly. "You're not as stupid as Stefan is. You know
the way things really are. I've heard you say it. I've seen things you've done." She leaned forward. "I've
been lonely since Klaus died. You could keep me company. All you have to do is say you love me best.
Then after I kill them we'll go away. You can even kill the girl if you want. I'd let you. What do you
think?"
Oh, God, thought Elena, sickened again. Damon's eyes were on Katherine's wide blue ones; he seemed
to be searching her face. And the whimsical amusement was back in his expression. Oh, God, no, Elena
thought. Please, no&
Slowly, Damon smiled.
Fifteen
Elena watched Damon with mute dread. She knew that disturbing smile too well. But even as her heart
sank, her mind threw a mocking question at her. What difference did it make? She and Stefan were going
to die anyway. It only made sense for Damon to save himself. And it was wrong to expect him to go
against his nature.
She watched that beautiful, capricious smile with a feeling of sorrow for what Damon might have been.
Katherine smiled back at him, enchanted. "We'll be so happy together. Once they're dead, I'll let you go.
I didn't mean to hurt you, not really. I just got angry." She put out a slender hand and stroked his cheek.
"I'm sorry."
"Katherine," he said. He was still smiling.
"Yes." She leaned closer.
"Katherine& "
"Yes, Damon?"
"Go to hell."
Elena flinched from what happened next before it happened, feeling the violent upsurge of Power, of
malevolent, unbridled Power. She screamed at the change in Katherine. That lovely face was twisting,
mutating into something that was neither human nor animal. A red light blazed in Katherine's eyes as she
fell on Damon, her fangs sinking into his throat.
Talons sprang from her fingertips, and she raked Damon's already-bleeding chest with it, tearing into his
skin while the blood flowed. Elena kept screaming, realizing dimly that the pain in her arms was from
fighting the ropes that held her. She heard Stefan shouting, too, but above everything she heard the
deafening shriek of Katherine's mental voice.
Now you'll be sorry! Now I'm going to make you sorry! I'll kill you! I'll kill you! I'll kill you! I'll kill you!
The words themselves hurt, like daggers stabbing into Elena's mind. The sheer Power of it stupefied her,
rocking her back against the iron pickets. But there was no way to get away from it. It seemed to echo
from all around her, hammering in her skull.
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Kill you! Kill you! Kill you!
Elena fainted.
Meredith, crouched beside Aunt Judith in the utility room, shifted her weight, straining to interpret the
sounds outside the door. The dogs had gotten into the cellar; she wasn't sure how, but from the bloody
muzzles of some of them, she thought they had broken through the ground-level windows. Now they
were outside the utility room, but Meredith couldn't tell what they were doing. It was too quiet out there.
Margaret, huddled on Robert's lap, whimpered once.
"Hush," Robert whispered quickly. "It's all right, sweetheart. Everything's going to be all right."
Meredith met his frightened, determined eyes over Margaret's tow head. We almost had you pegged for
the Other Power, she thought. But there was no time to regret it now.
"Where's Elena? Elena said she'd watch over me," Margaret said, her eyes large and solemn. "She said
she'd take care of me." Aunt Judith put a hand to her mouth.
"She is taking care of you," Meredith whispered. "She just sent me to do it, that's all. It's thetruth ," she
added fiercely, and saw Robert's look of reproach melt into perplexity.
Outside, the silence had given way to scratching and gnawing sounds. The dogs were at work on the
door.
Robert cradled Margaret's head closer to his chest. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]