After two long years worth of bloodshed in darkness, the feel and acrid taste involved with the draining of an unwilling donor down to their very last drop of life essence still left me with a sickening sense of nausea. I had mentally come to the point where I knew what had to be done. What had to be done in order for me to survive. But I can't say that it helped my emotional state all that much. Even now...I awaited every new hungry blood cycle with an unimaginable sense of dread. Not just because of the act itself. I was long beyond the fantasy that I could exist without ceasing the existence of another human being. But from the fact that I had to push my humanity aside to deliberately go out and hunt this way. Every time I do it...I feel further and further away from the carefree teenage boy that I used to be.
One would be surprised how quickly murder becomes more habit than horrifying. It was something that I had to do to, but the bitter taste of blood in my mouth as my fangs quickly absorbed as much sustenance as they could...that's what truly bothered me. It never got any better.
The body of the man currently going limp in my arms was still twitching and spasming in response to my fatal bite, but his pain was gone. It was merely a reflex action at this point. A weak seizure from a dying organism. Nothing more. His warm blood spilled over my lips, my fangs unable to extract it all as fast as it gushed forth from his open wound. Perhaps my bite pierced him just a little too deeply. That happens sometimes when you wait too long and the thirst begins to take a savage hold on your senses. The gaping holes in his neck were too wide for my fangs to plug them fully, but he was much bigger than I was, so I was sure that I would get enough of a donation from him, even if I wasted some in the process.
I just kept him quiet and waited for the draining process to be over. I was lucky to have come across him in the darkness of that abandoned park. He saved me a lot of trouble. I was always particularly selective when searching for a donor. He was a last minute godsend before the dawn, and I was thankful for that.
Feeling the man's body go cold, his last remaining fluids being pulled into my bloodstream with an adrenaline rush of fear and anguish, I gave him a few final squeezes and shakes...then I dropped him to the ground. I wiped my mouth clean on my sleeve, and walked off just as I saw the lights of the nearest slaghunter patrol, coming in to clean up my mess before he could be found by anybody else.
Another 'missing person'. And it was all my fault.
Everything had become so routine. So spontaneous. I had to wonder if my emotions, while still feeling pangs of guilt from time to time, had somehow been dulled by the continued practice. I don't know how some vampires live to be over a century old, and never once think about all of the stolen lives it took to keep them alive. Keep them young. I imagine that the weight of it all would eventually crush me when my death toll reached the numbers that some of them had achieved. But not yet. Not now. For now...there is only the method of the kill...and the rush of life to follow my evil deeds.
Deeds forgotten in darkness.
I do have one salvation. And it was the beauty of his smiling face that greeted me as I returned to the old library. A place that we had to call our own. Well, the dark basement beneath it, anyway. But it was a small public library that often closed just as we were waking up anyway. There were isolated compartments in the basement that only the older caretakers knew about, and they almost never went down there anymore. It made for an excellent resting spot. And with no windows or doors for the daylight to creep in, our private paradise below ground remained hidden away from anyone who would discover us and possibly do us any harm.
Noah. My love. My light. The one that I had personally chosen to join me as we reached towards an eternity of love, spent together in each other's arms. We were both fifteen when we crossed over, but I had been in darkness for almost a year and a half longer than he had at the time, so I guess that makes me slightly older. It wasn't really long ago that he had finally lost the last traces of his human blood supply, and had become a full blooded vampire like me. I almost missed it, to be honest. Noah had such a sugary sweet taste to him when he was still a newblood. Not that I had any complaints about what he was now. But it reminded me of what it was like to be so lost in those early stages of discovery. Experiencing it all for the very first time. It was a level of nostalgia that I had forgotten about before he agreed to letting me give him the dark gift of immortality. I truly thought that there was an almost painful beauty in that.
A bit on the slender side, Noah's bright hazel eyes never failed to create a weakness deep within me. Especially when combined with the radiant brilliance of his smile. A well tended mop of dark blond curls topped his head, shaved close at the sides. And full lips that became more exciting to me with every bit of sensual contact that they made with my own. He wanted to leave home. Wanted to join me in darkness when I first fulfilled my deeds as one of the 'hooded ones' for a vampire that agreed to change me. But Noah made me wait until he got his braces off first. Professionally, that is. There was no way that he was going to spend the next century with a mouth full of metal. Wouldn't have bothered me much, though. I thought that he was gorgeous either way.
"Jason? Geez, you certainly made a right mess of yourself tonight. Hehehe, you've got blood in your hair, for crying out loud. I told you, you should cut it before going out for a feed." Noah said to me, his posh English accent still strong, even after years of practice trying to hide it.
"I don't want to cut my hair." I said.
"It's not like it won't grow back tomorrow."
"That's not the point. I like my hair! Hehehe!" I said, giving him a kiss.
But he leaned back away from me for further inspection. "You've got blood all over the back of your shirt. Jesus! I'm surprised that you even made it back here without an officer stopping you to ask what the hell happened." Noah turned me towards one of the mirrors we kept in the dimly lit basement and he showed me a rather gratuitous 'murder stain' on the back of my left shoulder.
I grinned to myself. "Sorry. I really hadn't noticed. He was a messy one."
"I think you were the messy one in this case, Jason. I told you to find a donor last week. You always wait too long, and then you come home looking like a full blown horror movie on two legs."
"You know how I am. It's just..."
"I know, I know...the taste. The taste, the taste, you and your tastes. If you're not careful you're going to get your self nabbed one of these days." He liked to make a fuss every now and then, but it was more playful than anything else. I knew that he loved me, heart and soul. And as he lifted my shirt up over my head...I quickly lurched forward to steal another sweet kiss from my boyfriend's lips. Noah was quick to blush from the intimate contact. "Hehehe! Don't think you're going to con me out of laughing at you for being such a sloppy eater." He said.
"I wouldn't hear of it." I smiled, staring into his eyes. "I love you..."
"I love you too..." He whimpered. No matter how many times I said it...no matter how many times he heard it...the words never lost their luster. He melted each and every time.
My hands on his dainty hips, I pulled him closer to deepen the intimate connection between us. He was so beautiful, almost to the point of androgyny...but not quite. A boyishness in his demeanor always gave him away. I brushed my hand against his cheek, and our lips collided with a tender pressure that brought us both to levels of excitement that was unmatched by any other part of our evening. Or our existence for that matter. We were made for each other. Him for me, me for him. Bound together forever in darkness.
It was real. Our love was so incredibly genuine.
The successful markings of our eternity bands told us so.
"Ugh! Not again! Can't you two do anything other than smooch all the time?" Our friends...perhaps we should call them 'roommates', here beneath the library. Gina could be one tough lady when she wanted to be. Or at least that was the front she put on in front of company. With a shock of red hair and a minimal applying of dark make-up, she had definitely seen her fair share of Noah and I still acting as though we were newlyweds. Even after all this time.
Newton, on the other hand, while taller than the rest of us, was only 14 when he crossed over. An honor student with a love for knowledge that surpassed even the most concentrated bookworm, his lanky arms and legs entered the basement holding a collection of books that he had swiped from upstairs. He reads so much, I doubt that he would be able to sleep without some sort of new material to feed his brain.
Gina and Newton were both 'free born' vampires. Meaning that they had no real sire to speak of. They crossed over into darkness and were basically left to fend for themselves. No mentor. No love interest. No guidance. They seemed to figure it out just fine, thanks to some help from The Long Dark Foundation and their outreach programs, and we were happy to accept them into our special little home here. But I know how difficult it is for free borns to make it out here on their own. Because I was one myself, in the beginning.
Some are born into darkness by mistake. Others lose their sires, or are abandoned before their transformation is complete. There are some who crossover because they're sick, and simply found a willing vampire to turn them in order for them to survive. And others....well, I think they do it for kicks. And if they can find a vampire irresponsible enough to change them...good for them, I suppose.
Me? I was one of the hooded ones that served a short amount of time, helping a few vampires out by doing their bidding during the day. Keeping them safe. Gathering information or getting them supplies. Whatever they needed. In return...they gave me the bite. And I haven't looked back since.
"Jason, did you feed? Did he finally feed? Tell me, Noah, so I can stop sleeping with one eye open around this guy." Gina said.
I told her, "I'm fine. I'm great. I'm full of life and youthful vigor."
She gave me a shove and said, "Whatever, party boy. Just don't let me catch you getting too thirsty around me. I won't have any problem staking your ass if it comes to you losing your marbles in a bloodlust."
Already they were getting ready to turn in for the night. Newton didn't say much more than hello, but he never did. He was a quiet one. It never came off as being antisocial or anything. Just...quiet. Besides, he was already headed towards his compartment to lay back on his mattress with a small desk lamp, trying to get some reading done before the big sleep came to claim us for the day.
Gina always spent what little money she had to keep buying batteries for an old portable CD player that she bought at a Raider's market about eight months back. The basement just didn't seem to be the same without hearing the echoes of her angry girl rock echoing out of her headphones. But again, it was endearing to us. We had all formed quite a stable family unit down here. One we had not only gotten used to...but could be proud of.
And since everyone else was going to bed...
Noah saw the look in my eyes, and gave me another angelic kiss on the lips. "Shall we?" He didn't need to say another word.
Clothes were removed. Kisses exchanged. Touches so bold, so daring, and yet...so familiar. Love guided our every movement. Longing tuned the instruments for a symphony of moans and whimpers, unleashing an audible announcement of our combined happiness. Never had I known such joy. Noah was my everything. And even though he knew exactly how I felt...I wasn't going to hesitate to kiss those sweet lips and tell him again and again tomorrow...
Once the daylight faded...
The ringing of an alarm clock was the first thing that I heard.
An annoying loud ringing...metal on metal...disturbing the last few moments of sleep that I could enjoy before waking up completely. I hadn't heard that sound in such a long time.
I kept my eyes closed, blindly reaching out towards the insane ruckus and turned it the hell off! At first, I thought Gina might have been playing one of her pranks on us, just to see if she could get under our skin. I groaned, "Why the heck would you spend good money on an alarm clock, Gina? It's not like we've got anywhere to be." She didn't answer me. I figured she was laughing her ass off in some dark corner somewhere or something. Whatever. I'm going to smash this dreadful thing right now. So I hope it wasn't expensive.
I yawned, stretching myself out as I came back to waking consciousness. That's when I felt the empty space next to me on the mattress, and I realized that Noah wasn't there.
"Noah...?" It was then that I fully opened my eyes...and was suddenly met with a horrid SHOCK that nearly knocked me out of my bed and down onto the hard floor below!!!
Lots and LOTS of FATAL, unrestricted, SUNLIGHT!!!
I frantically scampered under the covers and rolled myself off of the bed to protect myself! What the fuck was going on??? The light was shining directly on my face before I moved out of the way! Oh God! How long had I been exposed??? Did I suffer any burns! Oh nooooo....vampire sunburns NEVER heal! Not ever! It's the one scar that vampire bodies are incapable of repairing, no matter how many sleep cycles you go through!
What happened??? Why am I up this early? Where is Noah??? WHERE IS HE???
“Noah??? Noah, honey, are you ok???” I cried out, but still got no answer.
There was soooo much light. Blinding light. Flooding the room from every corner. Creeping through the fabric of the blanket I was currently using as my only shield from certain death.
But as my sudden panic began to give way to reason, I realized that I wasn't suffering the kind of intense damage that I should have been going through from such an extended blast of UV rays. In fact...the light wasn't causing me any harm at all. No dizziness. No nausea. No fatigue. No burns. I didn't understand...
Then I began to take notice of the size of the blankets that I had wrapped around me. How warm they were. And big. Smelling fresh, as though they had just been washed the day before. I was hiding behind an actual bed...and not just a mattress on the floor of an old library basement. There was a padding of carpet beneath me, and bedroom furniture, and...and...'space'. Lots of extra space. I don't understand. What happened? Where was I?
It was extremely disorienting, but I was too scared to peek out from under the blanket to figure out my surroundings just yet. After avoiding the daylight for two whole years now, seeing it again was a truly bizarre experience. Inspiring more hysteria than awe.
Confused and alone, I kept myself covered and crawled on my hands and knees around this strange bed to reach up for the shade and curtains at the edge of the room, trying to re-submerge myself in as much darkness as possible.
Even then, the room seemed dangerously bright to me. I was hesitant about trying to experiment with this situation any further, but after catching my breath...I nervously reached out from under the blanket with a shaky hand. Cautious. Scared. Ready to pull it back at the first sign of trouble or distress.
I just...I can't remember the last time that I had felt the warmth of the Sun on my skin. I had almost forgotten the sensation...
I let my hand dangle out there for a moment...turning and twisting it back and forth to see if my skin began to blister and sizzle from the threat of daylight.
I took a deep breath, and I slowly pulled the cover back from over my head, looking around the room.
Something seemed familiar about the place. Strangely familiar. But my brain couldn't process what I was seeing at that very moment. This just...it just couldn't be real!
I saw a bed, a desk with a few academic textbooks sitting on top of it, along with a desktop computer. A skateboard was leaned up against a nearby wall next to the closet...a small, plastic, basketball hoop hanging over the top of the bedroom door.
Bedroom door? I don't have a bedroom door....
I was startled as I heard footsteps approaching the room....and then a light knocking. A female voice asked, “You awake in there, hon? I made some breakfast. Get yourself together so I can get you to school on time.”
An ice cold shiver traveled through me when I heard that voice. My mother's voice. I'm surprised that it was still so clear in my memory....considering that my mother had been dead for at least five years now.
No. This is wrong.
This is ALL wrong!
What am I doing here? Is this a dream? What the hell is happening right now?