Home > The Compelled (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #6)(14)

The Compelled (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #6)(14)
Author: L.J. Smith

But Damon didn’t move. I was the one who looked away, turning my attention to Cora, kneeling next to the body of her sister. Cora slowly took Violet’s hands and rested them in a praying position on her stil chest. Then she turned to me, her face slicked with tears.

“She’s real y dead. I kil ed her,” she said quietly.

“You didn’t kil her. Samuel kil ed her. What you kil ed was the monster in Violet’s body,” I said. But it wasn’t that simple. I knew better than anyone that your soul didn’t simply disappear when you became a vampire. Violet had been in there, somewhere, but most likely her spirit had been beaten badly as a result of committing far too many murders. I knew she would never have been the same.

“No, Stefan.” Cora looked up and shook her head sadly.

“I kil ed her. And now there’s no hope she’l ever become a vampire like you. One who cares about others. And that’s al my fault. I’l never forgive myself.”

“Don’t do that,” Damon rasped. Cora turned to him questioningly. “Say good-bye to Violet, then let her go. She wouldn’t want you to hold on. Letting go is the only thing you can do,” Damon said thickly.

can do,” Damon said thickly.

Damon picked up the lifeless body and brought it to the edge of the river. On the bank, the witches were standing with their backs toward us, giving us privacy by ensuring the circle spel remained in place.

Cora nodded and brought her lips to Violet’s forehead.

“Good-bye,” she murmured.

Then Damon threw the body into the river. It rose once to the surface before sinking into the murky water. As soon as it did, Cora broke off into a torrent of sobs. I pul ed her toward me, smoothing her hair.

Your first death changes you.

It was something Damon told me when I’d mourned my fiancée, Rosalyn. At that point, Damon had already seen countless deaths on the battlefield. But so, I realized, had Cora. She’d been pul ed into our war as an innocent bystander, and already she’d witnessed the murders of two friends and the torture and death of Samuel’s brother. But Violet was different. Violet was her sister, and Cora had been the one to kil her.

She continued to sob into my chest.

“Damon needs your help,” I said final y, pul ing back.

“I know.” She turned away from Violet’s watery grave and fol owed me toward my brother. Cora was strong—I only wished we hadn’t learned that the hard way.


The woman thrown into the rushing river with a stake protruding from her chest was a monster who would have killed her own sister if given half a chance. She was bloodthirsty, angry, and savage; a beast in the guise of a beautiful girl.

Twenty years ago, my father created his own history for Damon and me, one in which we were glorious, fallen heroes. He’d wanted Jonathan Gilbert to write in the town ledger that Damon and I had died fighting in a skirmish against Union soldiers. He had wanted his sons to be good, upstanding men. Not protectors of monsters, which was how my father saw my brother’s and my desperate attempts to save Katherine, the woman we loved.

I knew how he felt. Because more than anything I wished Violet had died as the epitome of evil incarnate. But I knew I had to think of the true Violet. Yes, she was a bloodthirsty monster, but she’d also been the young, idealistic girl who had set sail across the Irish Sea with her sister in search of fame, fortune, and romance.

The thought led me again to Katherine. She was the truth at the center of an infinitely complicated riddle. Because of her, I no longer knew good from evil. After all, there was an undeniable monstrous, murderous streak within me. I only hoped I could draw on it to bring down Samuel and live a legacy of honor and victory.

The next morning, I woke up and found myself staring at a vaulted, rotting ceiling high above me. I was back in the witches’ slum, and although Damon was free, Samuel had escaped into the Thames. A few feet away, I could see that Bil y, Vivian, and Jemima were sitting around the open fire.

“They need to leave,” a voice near the fire murmured.

The witches clearly weren’t aware I was awake. I knew the voice belonged to Gus. He must stil be wrapped in blankets and shivering in front of the fire after his fal in the river.

“They have nowhere to go,” Mary Jane’s voice said firmly.

“But Gus and Vivian were almost kil ed last night. We spent long enough forming this family. I won’t just watch it be destroyed.” Jemima didn’t bother keeping her voice down, and the message was clear: We weren’t wanted and she wanted us to know it.

I struggled to sit up, surprised to see Cora sitting next to the fire, flanked by Jemima and Mary Jane.

“Stefan saved Mary Jane’s life. He deserves your help,” Cora piped up.

“We settled that debt. We helped him get his brother back—and we’re close to pneumonia for our efforts. At the end of the day, Stefan is a vampire. Look where helping him got you,” Jemima said to Cora, not unkindly. “You took a chance on him, and he forced you into battle with your sister.”

“He didn’t force anything. And I wouldn’t have kil ed Violet if she’d truly been herself. But my sister died weeks ago—that was a demon who died back there,” Cora countered.

“Whatever gets you through the day,” Jemima said dismissively.

I staggered to my feet. “There’s no need for us to stay.

We’l go. Thanks for al your help,” I said. In truth, I was eager to get back to the tunnel. It may not have had creature comforts, but I felt like it was far safer than a room ful of witches.

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