Home > The Compelled (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #6)(7)

The Compelled (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #6)(7)
Author: L.J. Smith

“He was trying to kil her?” Cora asked, wrinkling her nose. “But I don’t understand. He’s already framed Damon.

And he has al the blood he could want.”

“I know,” I said. Briefly, I tried to explain what I’d seen.

The odd words Mary Jane had been muttering to keep Samuel away. The way Samuel seemed intent on kil ing her with a knife, rather than his fangs. The fact she’d known we were both vampires. The fact that she’d known I hadn’t been lying when I’d said I wouldn’t hurt her.

The fire had burned down to its last embers, casting a flickering orange glow on Cora’s face.

“I think you were right. We need to talk to Ephraim,” she said in resignation.

I nodded in agreement, not able to tear my eyes off the sleeping girl. Was she a witch? An image of Margaret Sutherland swam into my mind. Margaret, sister of Bridget, the girl I’d married in New York, was a witch. She had always known when someone was lying. In fact, that trait had once saved Damon and me: When Margaret came home to find her family brutal y slaughtered, she’d been the only person who believed we hadn’t kil ed them. For my sake, I hoped this girl had the same skil .

“What can I do to help?” Cora asked, gently tucking a frayed flannel blanket around Mary Jane’s thin shoulders.

“I don’t think anything right now,” I said. “We’l see Ephraim at midnight tomorrow. There’s nothing we can do in the meantime.”

Cora nodded and settled back into her pile of blankets, turning to face the wal . I’m not sure how long I sat, silently keeping watch. Like Samuel would just burst in, I thought. If he wanted to, he could. But he wouldn’t. Here, in the dank tunnel, I felt safe. It was only out there—where Damon was right now—that was the problem.

I contemplated building up the fire, but didn’t. Eventual y, the sound of the girls’ even inhalations and exhalations lul ed me into a daze.

But I was startled out of my stupor when I heard the rustlings of Mary Jane coming to.

“Where am I?” she asked, in a panicked voice. The quaver in her voice hurt my heart.

“You’re safe,” I said, trying to calm her. “You fainted. I brought you here to protect you from Samuel. I saved you, remember?”

The girl nodded, relaxing. “You’re the vampire.”

“And you’re a witch.”

“That I am,” the girl said softly. “I’m Mary Jane Kel y. And you, vampire?” she asked pointedly.

“Stefan…” I paused. I was never sure whether to give my ful name. But it didn’t matter. She knew I was a vampire.

She knew when I was tel ing the truth. “I’m Stefan Salvatore.

And this is Cora Burns. She’s human,” I added, gesturing to Cora, who had awoken at the noise.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Cora said. “Stefan, can you start the fire?”

“Of course,” I said quickly, grabbing a match from the cold, wet earth and hoping it wasn’t too damp to light.

“A fire?” Mary Jane asked. “I can do that.” She closed her eyes. “Incendia.”

Immediately, a fire crackled in the fire pit, casting ghostly shadows on the earthen wal s. Cora’s eyes widened in surprise. Despite everything, a glimmer of a smile crossed Mary Jane’s face. It was clear she was pleased with her work.

“Can you tel me what you did to hold him back?” I asked, once we were al situated around the fire. “It’s asked, once we were al situated around the fire. “It’s important that we know. Because Samuel—the vampire who tried to kil you—has captured my brother.”

“Unfortunately, I’m much better at starting fires than staving off vampires,” Mary Jane said wryly. “And warding off vampires isn’t exactly a skil I’d like more practice in.”

“But you did something. He was trying to pin you down, but it was like you were pushing him back with your eyes.

What was it?” I asked urgently, thinking back to the scene. It was more than just pushing Samuel back. I glanced at her peculiar pupils again. What else could she do?

“To be honest, I’m not sure what I did to him. I just focused al my energy into hurting him, and that’s what happened,” Mary Jane said. “Thank goodness you found me. I’d be dead otherwise. Why were you down at the docks, anyway?”

“I was fol owing Samuel, hoping he would lead me to where he’s keeping my brother, Damon. Then I realized he’d captured you. Do you know why?”

“I think he was trailing me. This time, he got me,” Mary Jane said, knitting her eyebrows together. “I’ve seen him a few times around the East End, near the lodging house where I work as a maid. I only noticed him because he’s not the usual type that we see in those parts. And then when everyone was talking about how the Ripper may have been a count or something…wel , I paid attention. You can’t be too careful these days.”

“Did you know the girls who were kil ed?” Mary Jane shook her head. “No, I didn’t. I just keep my head down and do my work.”

“So why did Samuel attack you?” Cora asked.

“How would I know?” Mary Jane asked in exasperation.

“It wasn’t on my mind to ask him why when he was grabbing me right off the street.”

“It’s fine, Mary Jane,” I interjected. “Just tel us what happened.”

“I’d gotten off work early and was about to meet my friends for a pint,” she explained. “But as I walked by an al eyway, he came out of nowhere and snatched me up. I tried screaming and kicking, but we were going too fast for anyone to notice. At first, I thought I was being taken by Jack the Ripper. But he isn’t, is he? Because why would a vampire kil like that?”

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