My eyelids peel back and moonlight stabs at the revealed pupils, drowning them in white pain. I throw a hand over my face as I pull myself from the trash I was laying in. When my eyes are halfway adjusted, I survey my surroundings: a washed out alleyway between two buildings that look like they haven’t been used in over twenty years. Trash is everywhere; boxes, trash bags full of decaying food, and squeaking rats with beady eyes scrummaging through the rotting treasures for scraps.
I step away from the heap of mess I’d been laying in and try to dust myself off as best I can. I’m filthy. The back of my head is covered in some sweet alcoholic beverage that smells more like sickness than anything and my clothes are torn and matted with blood, alcohol, and dirt. My throat is covered in dried blood, which sends a slight wave of panic through my awakening body, but that fades quickly as the memory of why I’m in this stinking alley comes flashing back.
“So is you!” I scream back at the blurry figure that is supposed to be my girlfriend. The figure giggles and stumbles off in the other direction, her arm slung around the neck of an equally blurry male figure.
My stomach burns with jealousy, but the ground wavers far too much for me to go after them. Instead, I stumble off in the other direction. The bottle of Johnny Walker in my hand is my only friend now and I drink from the loving fountain all the way down the street. When my supply is gone, I toss the bottle into the side of a building and sink down onto the sidewalk and put my miserable head into my hands.
“Need help, Sir?”
A hand, so cold that the ice seeps through my jacket and shirt, rests on my shoulder. I pull away to free myself of the freezing appendage and glare up at the person who owned this hand.
“You need coffee!” I shout at them, slapping away their reaching grasp.
“Sir, you need help.” The voice is female and through the blurs I can just make out bouncy curls in a white shade and extremely pale skin. The clothes jumble around, but the top looks to be a dark red and her jeans are black. Just another party-goer.
Her hand is back on my shoulder and this time I’m unable to escape her. The fingers close in like a vice grip and she rips me up from the sidewalk, leaving my shoulder feeling detached. I try to pull away and strike out at my curly haired assailant, but she grabs my hand with almost no effort at all and tugs me along with her.
“Where…. is… are we going?” I blunder, knocking my head against her cheek. She’s freezing. It might as well be forty below out here for how cold she is. “You need…. blankets.”
“In here, Sir,” she says, pushing me along. Her words make it seem like I’ve got a choice, but her actions are so forceful I can’t help but go along. “How are you feeling, Sir?”
“Jssst fine, you can… g-go now,” I say as she lets me go. I wave my hand at her and turn to meander away, but her hands are back on me.
“I didn’t say you could go,” she whispers in my ear. For cold her flesh is, her breath is surprisingly and most welcomingly warm.
“Where do… you want me, then?” I ask, sobering up a bit at the prospect of having sex. If I could see this woman, she’d probably be beautiful so I’ll go with it.
She laughs. It’s unnaturally low and menacing and makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up in warning. “On the ground,” she says.
I open my mouth to respond, but she pushes me down, her ice-cold hands rough on my shoulders. She cackles again, leaving my stomach cold and my hands sweaty, and she pushes against me. It’s like a slab of concrete hits the back of my head and I tumble forward, the colors of darkness and the smell of death flying past me._
“Bitch,” I mumble, checking my jacket for my wallet. It’s still exactly where I left it in the inner right pocket. I pull it out and flip it open. All cash and credit cards, even my driver’s license, are securely in place.
I put my hand back to my neck and another wave of panic goes through me. Everyone knows vampire stories—everyone. Creatures of the darkness abduct their prey through seduction and then viciously attack them. Most victims end up dead—those are the lucky ones. The unlucky come back as a walking dead and must fend for themselves in a world they don’t belong in anymore.
“You’re insane, Chris. It’s the drink talking to you,” I say to myself. The drink seems to have worn off, though. I feel amazing, except for the small nagging feeling in the back of my head that the wound on my neck is no ordinary wound.
I shake it off and get myself out of the alley. I look down the street, it’s dark and empty. No parties tonight at the homes of my friends or their neighbors or maybe they’ve long since gone to bed. I check my wrist watch and it tells me that it’s two on Sunday morning. I’ve slept two days in that alley, bathing in filth. I must smell like a sewer rat.
As I round the corner onto a main road, the high-pitched sound of female laughter hits my ears. I stop immediately as if someone hit the pause button on my life. My spinal cord creaks and groans as adrenaline whips through my body, pulsing through every nerve and fiber. The hair on the back of my neck stands up and my ears prick up like they’re inhaling the sound.
The laughter rings out again and wafts around me like the smell of baking cookies at grandma’s. I turn on my heel, making my decision to find this angelic creature. She must be surely be something special for her laughter to effect me in such a way. Normally, though, laughter makes me smile and that’s it, but right now with my stomach rolling and my throat constricting I’m feeling hungry. This woman’s laughter makes me hungry.
Chris, get a hold of yourself. What’s going on with you?
I shake my head and proceed to find this woman. She’s not far. Only on the next block over and she’s talking on a cell phone, her head thrown back in laughter. Her neck is fully visible underneath that fair skinned flesh is a pulsing, blueberry vein.
My stomach rumbles and my mouth waters. I feel like a pitbull gazing at a steak. It’s sick, it’s disgusting, revolting—oh so pleasureable.
The woman runs a long fingered hand through her strawberry colored hair and giggles at whatever the person on the other line says to her. Her mouth, painted cherry red, whispers sweet secrets to the receiver. Her clothing, glowing red from top to bottom, hugs every single curve in her body and there are ample curves. God blessed this woman.
I don’t remember walking over to her, but the next thing I know I’m tapping on her shoulder. She turns around, her shiny hair flipping over her shoulder. Her eyes widen as she looks at me. I can only imagine how terrible I must look. My dark hair is matted down with God knows what substances, my face is no doubt a mess, and all the blood on my throat probably makes me look like some deranged, homeless madman.
“Hello, Miss,” I say, my voice surprisingly low and sultry. “I’m Christopher.”
“Excuse me, Rob, I’ma have to call you back,” she says before flipping her phone shut and shoving it into her pocket. “Do you need my phone? I can call for an ambulance. Your neck…”
“Looks like yours,” I say. My brain is wired with confusion as I speak these words that were not told to be spoken. I knit my eyebrows together as she takes a step back, her hand going to her neck.
“What do you mean?” she asks, touching her neck.
I lunge at her, grabbing her by the shoulders. She opens her mouth to scream and within a split second, before the sound comes from her throat, she falls to the ground, her neck at an odd angle. I drop to my knees beside her now lifeless body and sink my teeth into her neck, into that blueberry vein of perfection.
CHRIS! WHAT THE FUCK!
I tighten the grip I have on her, pulling her by her hair closer to me as I continue ravishing her neck, pulling every ounce of blood from her that I can get. The sensation that washes through me is near orgasmic. The muscles all throughout my body are tensing and relaxing rapidly as each nerve ending shoots off a trigger of electricity. It’s amazing. It’s unreal. It’s…. disgusting.
I drop the woman’s drained body on the sidewalk and scramble away, looking this way and that. The curtains on each house is drawn shut, the inhabitants sleeping soundly and unaware to the murder that just took place outside their bedroom windows. The woman’s eyes are vacant as she looks at me, her mouth open in a silent scream. I look away, wiping my mouth on my sleeve, cringing at what I’ve just done. What’s come over me? What have I done?
The sound of laughter meets my ears and I turn around, my eyes wide with fear and curiosity. I can’t believe what I’ve just done. This woman did nothing to me and she was probably a great human being, given that she offered to call an ambulance for me. So nice, so gentle, so… delicious. CHRIS!
“I see you’re awake.” It’s the woman that led me into the alleyway. The damned woman that made me whatever I now am. “It’s about time. You were out for much longer than the last person I changed.”
She bends down so she’s eye level with me and smirks, her lips curving out like the Cheshire Cat’s. It’s a creepy smile that monsters would be afraid of.
“You should clean up, Chris,” she says, tipping my chin up with a long, thin finger. “You’re so much cuter when you aren’t covered in trash and blood.”
“Leave me alone,” I snap, jerking away from her. I get to my feet and scowl. “What the fuck is wrong with me? What did you do to me!?”
“Me?” she says, her brown eyes going wide. “I saved your miserable life. Did you know there was a guy following you the night I came up to you? He was going to kill you.” She clicks her tongue as she pulls a cigarette from her purse. “You were a hit, Honey, and I saved you.”
“You’re fucking lying!” I growl, taking another step back. “You fucking killed me! I’m dead!”
She smirks again as she inserts the cigarette between her pink lips to light it. “Only technically,” she says, withdrawing the cancerous stick and blowing smoke out. “You’re still able to walk, talk, feel. I would say you’re alive. The only thing dead about you is your heart and it’s not like you really need that anyway. It just gets in the way.”
I turn away from her and start walking down the street. My mind is overflowing with too many details and I’m beginning to get a headache. She killed me. She killed me. I wipe my hands over my face and grimace as they wipe at oil and God knows what. I am filthy.
“Where are you going?” she asks, running to catch up with me. “Chris, you’ve nowhere to go. You’re dead, remember? In a few days your skin is going to be so cold and so white that you won’t be able to go out in the daylight. Your eyes will blister if you try, even moonlight gets to you now. Look,” she rests her hand on my shoulder and I glare at the appendage, but don’t try to shrug her off, “you’re an outcast now. Your friends will think you’re dead in a couple weeks. Your girlfriend won’t give a shit, because she hired that guy that was going to kill you. Everyone’s going to forget about you, Chris. Everyone.”
“I have a fucking job that I have to do,” I say. “My boss is not going to suddenly forget that I no longer come into work.”
“Chris, Chris,” she says, shaking her head, her white-blond curls going everywhere, “he’ll hire someone else. You’re dead. Why worry about work and friends and family when you have an afterlife to look forward to? You’re immortal, Chris. You can do whatever the fuck you want to… at night. Despite it being cliche as hell, you cannot go out in the daylight. It will hurt and burn like you’ve been thrown into a blender and chopped up or something. It won’t kill you, because, well…” she waves her hand over my body, “you know, but it’ll hurt. I say, make the most out of your situation.”
“You are a sadistic psycho! You’re watching me fucking suffer and you’re enjoying it. You’re telling me to just get over it! I’M DEAD! How do you fucking move on from that?”
She shrugs. “I did. It took awhile, but when you have the rest of forever to yourself it seems like no time at all. You’ll miss your friends and your family and you might want to check in on them every now and then while they sleep, but that goes away. They forget you and they die and go to wherever it is that humans go to when they die and you… you just move on. It’s lonely, sometimes, but there are more of us so it’s not that bad.”
“So I just move on and forget about every being human? I just toss that to the side and kill people.”
“You don’t have to kill them, Chris. You didn’t have to kill that lady back there, but I think it was a wise choice. She wouldn’t have adjusted to our life at all. You kill who you have to and you knock out the unruly ones before you feed.” She shrugs again and smiles, “I’m Katherine, by the way, and I’ll be like your mentor. Basically I was sent to save you from your hitman and now I get to lead you in the ways of our people, of our race. I will show you the ropes, although I daresay you’ve got most of them down by now.” She casts a look back at the body laying on the sidewalk of the helpless woman.
“I appreciate you saving me from an untimely death, but I don’t want your help. I want you to get away from me and leave me the hell alone. Is that so much to ask?”
“Actually, yeah, it is.” She nods and sticks out her bottom lip. “I have to trail you like a puppy, all right? It is my job to make sure you don’t fuck up. It’s my job as your turner to make sure that you know what you’re doing. I have to show you how to kill, which you’ve done so bravo, to feed, which you’ve also done, and to adjust. I have to pull you away from a mortal existence and get you used to living in the darkness with us. You’re not human anymore, Chris, you’re a vampire so it’s about time you act like one.”
“And if I don’t want to?”
“I can still kill you.” She turns on her heel and walks to the other sidewalk, her hands on her hips. “All I have to do is break your spine, Chris, and you’re dead… for good. You either adjust and follow the rules that everyone else must or you die. Got it?”
I shake my head and take off walking again. Being a vampire seem like I’m being tossed into a dictatorship. Everyone has to go the same way and if they don’t… WHAM, they’re dead as a doornail. I don’t think so. I prefer to keep my job and my friends and my family. So what if sunlight hurts me? So what if I burn a little bit? Katherine said herself that sunlight will only bring me agony, not death. I can handle intense pain.
I nod as I turn down the street onto a main road and stuff my hands into my pockets. First on my agenda of staying human is taking a shower. I smell like a sweaty foot and I’m ready for a nice, hot bathing. Second on the agenda is eating. I will cook a steak and eat it and I won’t think about breaking that lady’s neck or sinking my teeth into that vein. I run my tongue over my teeth and I’m surprised I don’t have fangs—maybe that’s just a myth. Or maybe she’s lying and I just am getting cannibalistic urges. That must be it. I’m not a vampire at all, I’m just discovering and unleashing a whole other side to myself I never knew was there.
“You won’t get away from me.”
I look up and frown. Katherine is perched on the railing outside my apartment building, one leg tossed over the other.
“It’s almost daylight,” I say, pointing to the sky that is turning slowly from ink black to bruise purple.
“Indeed it is,” she says, slipping off the railing as I go up the steps. “Looks like I’m staying here for the day, Chrissy. There is no way I’m suffering in the daylight just because you’re being an unruly charge.”
“Thanks, now let’s go inside. I am totally ready for a lay down,” she says, stretching her arms out. “We may not need to sleep, but my bones are KILLING me, metaphorically speaking.”
“You’re staying on the couch,” I tell her as I swing the door to the entryway open. “I don’t want you anywhere near me when I’m sleeping.”
“You won’t have me anywhere near you when you’re sleeping, Silly, you don’t sleep anymore.” She ruffles my hair as we walk up the stairs to the third floor.
I unlock the door and swing it open, allowing us inside. Home, sweet home. I toss my keys into the bowl on the counter and walk back to my bedroom, slipping out of my disgusting clothes as I go. I check the watch on my wrist and see that it’s almost seven in the morning and I’m not feeling remotely exhausted.
You slept for two days.
Right, that’s why I’m good. I slept for two days. Katherine thinks she’s going to trick me into thinking I’m some immortal creature when I’m not, she’s wrong—dead wrong. I’m just Chris, with some new quirks added to me including cannibalism. I’ll have to contain that, of course. It shouldn’t be too hard.