The Persecution: Part Five
"This is madness what is going on -- our town is practically in chaos!"
"I think it's for the better! You've seen what happened to people in the past; it's good that the vampires are finally leaving town."
"Aren't you worried, though?"
"Well, aren't you afraid that they'll rebel? I mean, I know the only make up a small percentage of the town but they are more powerful than we are..."
"Are you kidding me? A little silver and garlic and we can have them all under control!"
Salvatore sighed and looked around at the men and women sitting around him. The town council was made up of twenty Neovians hand-picked by the mayor to help him in decisions regarding the running of the town and passing of laws. It wasn't the best system, Salvatore knew that half of the council was only there because of large bribes paid to the mayor or special favors they did him. On occasion someone even managed to get a seat by smooth talking their way in, just like their newest member had.
Sal turned to look at Gabriel as the council's newest member stood and smiled. "Friends, I thank you once again for inviting me to sit in this honored chair, but I am not here just to sit and listen. We need to make real changes to this town, and we have to prevent anyone else from getting hurt like I did. We have already made great strides in bettering this town, and I think that it is time that we pass some actual laws."
Murmuring and nodding spread around the table. The mayor's associates all had a bias toward the vampires, most of them wanted to adhere to tradition and only have mortals live in the town. Sal had been fighting for vampire rights for years, and he knew that if he didn't do something the mayor would pass the laws that Gabriel wanted. He knew it would happen if he didn't step in; the mayor himself almost never spoke against the majority of the council.
Sal decided now was the time to chime into the conversation. "Gabriel, I think you're over-thinking this. The vampires have just been running into some bad luck, and they would have been fine if we just left them be."
Gabriel chuckled. "Oh, I disagree. You saw what one did to me in the street, I'm just working to prevent that from happening to anyone else. "
"Your article set them off, Gabriel. Everything was fine until you had to go and mess things up."
"I did not mess things up, I was just telling the town everything that those monsters have been hiding from them."
"Most of those things were lies! You don't even know any vampires, do you?"
Gabriel paused. "I do. I know vampires, how do you think I researched for my article? I even tried to be nice, I tried to donate to that blasted place they own, and look what they did to me!"
He waved his bandaged arm above his head. Salvatore could feel his anger boiling up.
"That was one vampire, Gabriel. You can't judge an entire group based on the actions of just one member."
"I'm not judging them based on one member; I've been watching them destroy lives and families for years! What about all those people lost at that gala, huh? What about them?"
"That was twenty years ago! I know you're still in pain over what happened to your family, but you can't keep letting that run your life! You have to let go of the past!"
"So I'm just supposed to forget? Vampires destroyed my family! My life! Just because you managed to forget that your wife died years ago doesn't mean I should forget about my daughter!"
The room was dead silent. The entire council, including the mayor was staring at the Gabriel and Sal, eager to see how this battle was going to end. Sal looked around at the council, and some returned his looks with fear and others with smug interest. They knew Gabriel had him cornered, and he had to fight his way out.
Sal took a deep breath. "Vampires have lived in Neovia for decades, longer than any of our families can remember. The lived here in the Haunted Woods before us, and they still live here now. I personally know many vampires, and I know the ones that live for the safety of vampires and the safety of everyone else in town. The have rules and morals and have stood by them for all this time. We have no right intruding on their culture and attempting to try and drive them from their homes. They are people just like us, and we can't treat them different."
"See, that's where you're wrong, Salvatore." Gabriel smiled. "They are not like us. They live forever, and they drink blood. Normal people don't do that."
"That isn't what I meant."
"Then what do you mean?" Gabriel went on before Sal could interject. "No, don't answer. We are just talking in circles." He turned to the rest of the council.
"Friends, I am trying to save this town. I'm trying to make it so that our parents and children can walk the streets safely and without worrying. I want to make it so that we won't have to worry that every place we go and every party we attend isn't just a trap so we become a meal. Neovia should be safe, and I want to save this town from itself."
For the first time all night the mayor spoke. "And just how do you propose doing that, Mr. Gabriel?"
Gabriel smiled again. "We have to continue convincing the town that vampires don't deserve to live here. The town is already doing that quite nicely; many of the business have banished vampires and fired their vampire employees. Right, Julie?"
Gabriel turned toward a purple Aisha, the youngest council member. "You fired all of the vampires that worked at the hospital, yes?"
Julie nodded. Her voice was stoic as she said "My parents ran the hospital as an ethical place to help the people of this town. Having vampires around just jeopardized the business. Some of my regular patients refused to come back for treatment when they found out my secretary was a vampire."
"And you stopped treating vampires as well, correct?"
Julie curtly nodded again. "Of course. My patients are under enough stress as it is, they don't deserve to have to fear for their lives at a place that is supposed to be safe as well."
Sal was disgusted. "Julie, the point of a hospital is to help people. You can't just refuse people treatment."
"Of course I can. It's my business, I can run it as I please. At the end of the day a hospital is a business, and allowing vampires to work and stay there was bad for business. Ever since I banned them, my doctors have been happier and my patients have relaxed more. Everything is running more smoothly and I can return my focus to helping people instead of having to always think about if my patients were safe or not."
"Yes, Salvatore, think about it." Gabriel turned back to Sal. "Your little granddaughter is in the hospital right now, would you want her surrounded by vampires?"
"Unlike you, I trust vampires. I have nothing against them."
Gabriel shook his head. "Julie is not the only one, business owners in Neovia have to learn to see the light. They have to see that vampires are dangerous, and if we are going to drive them out of town we must start with the business. We must also follow the pattern as well. Already we fired the two vampires that sat on this council, and now we must take another step. I don't believe that friends of vampires deserve to sit on this council either."
Nineteen heads turned toward Salvatore. He stood up and looked directly at the mayor. "Mayor Thumburt, I've been loyal to this council for over fifteen years, you can't just make me leave because of something that a man who has only been here for a few days said."
Thumburt shrugged. "He makes a good point."
Sal's heart sank to his feet. "Sir..."
"No, Salvatore, he's right." The Bruce stood. "We need to help this town, and in order to do that we can't have any distractions."
He paused and took a deep breath. "As Mayor of Neovia, I hereby relieve you, Salvatore Malice, of your seat on this council." He paused, as if he was going to say something else, but nothing came.
Gabriel left his chair and moved to stand in front of Sal, his grin plastered across his face. "You heard what our mayor said. Get out."
"You're making a mistake."
"Our mayor doesn't make mistakes; now leave before we call security."
Sal stepped back. "Fine, I will." He turned and walked toward the door, trying to ignore the nineteen pairs of eyes burning into his back. As he pushed the door open he paused and slowly turned back to the council.
"You're going to regret this. If you don't stop what's going on, the entire town is going to fall into chaos."
With the silence hanging over the room like a thick blanket, he slammed the door, leaving and not turning back again.
To be continued...