I awoke from a dream of battle and blood, with warlocks and werewolves, to find myself in my bed, with the sound of the doorbell ringing.
My neighbor stood there with a look on his face as if he’d just come from a lost battle.
“Can you pick my daughter and her friends up from school for me? My son was in a car accident and I’m on my way to the hospital.”
How frail the warm blooded humans are. How even now in this so called modern world the fear of injury, illness, and death is still a concern.
A few hours later I drove to the school to wait for the girl called Kaylee and her friends.
I watched the young people march out, shuffling their feet as if a funeral dirge was playing.
I realized they were all carrying huge loads on their backs. They carry books. I this age of everything on a tablet or computer (yes, I know those words) I find this odd. I do not understand. Maybe it is to instill the heavy importance and responsibility of knowledge upon them. Maybe it is to remind them if they do not learn they will carry a weight upon their backs forever.
Three girls wait at the designated meeting place. They smile despite the heavy loads they carry.
They start to ask questions. One asks about the car. Yes, it is a Tesla. It is quiet. Yes, your brother will be alright. I do not know that but I wish calm. No, I was doing nothing. Of course I was doing nothing. It is the middle of the day and I am a Vampire.
Then one asks me about my age. They seem to have no boundaries. “Vlad, how old are you?” As one of them asks the question the other two giggle, then all three of the girls giggle. I do not understand.
“I am thirty four.” I lie. Of course I lie. I am a Vampire.
“You look a lot younger,” one girl tells me.
“It is in my blood,” I say.
I do not tell them I was born in the year 1159. I am 856 years old. It seems like so long ago.
I received a call about the boy in the hospital. He would survive. His leg was broken.
Kylee left her keys inside of the house. I tell the girls they can stay at my house until the parents return home.
The one called Emily asked, “What’s for dinner?”
I just smiled.
I think about yesterday. What they call teenagers did not exist when I was young. We were children, then we were not. At their age I was already dictating political strategy, planning battles, and plotting to take over the kingdom.
The girls asked me what I did when I was their age. At the age of sixteen I starting to take out foes and taking my place as the future Vampire King. Long hours were spent in the great library and with scribes. Most people lived in ignorance, like animals, or worse, for animals knew their place. Animals had a sense of instinct that kept them safe. Humans were weak. I learned to use that weakness to my advantage, yet I soon grew weary of that game, but I digress.
When I a young man there were girls, beautiful girls, the same age as my young friends.
They did not dress as they do today with skinny jeans and tight tee shirts. When I was a young man it was not so easy to see the shape of a female form. They were hidden behind long almost shapeless dresses. Yes, the girls of my youth were beautiful beyond belief. They were the girls of MY youth.
I remember passing by as mothers would take their daughters aside. “Do not look at him,” they would say in whispered hisses. “He will suck out your soul and take your virtue.”
I laugh. I would never suck out their souls.
Some of the girls, the smart ones, would come to me, sometimes alone, sometimes with a young man. I would change them to be like me – a Vampire. It was fun, until it wasn’t.
There were many girls but none took my heart. I was a Vampire Prince. My heart was cold and as hard as a diamond, but as fragile as glass. I would watch others in love. They were fools. They were weak. They were idiots.
Two hundred years later my priorities changed when I met… I still will not say her name…
One of the modern girls, the one called Olivia said to me, “You ought to marry Gillian.”
I came out of my dark thoughts. Gillian is my lover. She too is a Vampire.
“Why?” I asked.
“You’re gorgeous together.”
“Is that a foundation for a marriage?”
“Hell yeah,” said the girl called Kylee, and they all laughed. They would not stop laughing. I was in Hell.
“You’re so funny Vlad,” said the one called Emily. Then they laughed again.
I do not understand what they call funny.
Kylee asks, “How long have you known Gillian?”
“We’ve been friends for a long time, since we were your age,” I said. That so much is true. Not lovers, but friends from when we were young. “She was not my, what do you say, my girlfriend, until recently.”
I was riding through the woods on the way to my uncle’s house to kill him and impale his head on a pole. But I was sidetracked. I heard a scream. A scream of a girl or a woman. Ahead of me, on the road, were two men and a girl bound by the wrists.
She ran towards me crying for help. One of the men grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the ground. He kicked her, then turned to me.
I got off my steed and confronted the men. They drew swords. I held out my hands. “Now sirs, be at peace.” I smiled at them. They dropped their swords. Then I ripped out their throats and tore out the heart of the man who had kicked the girl. I drank my fill of their blood, then moved to the girl.
She sat up defiantly, but had fear in her eyes. Her face was bruised. I held out my hand.
“Take my hand. I will not hurt you,” I told her. I helped her up, then I kissed her.
“You said you would not hurt me.”
“It was just a kiss. I am so sorry my lady,” I said with slight sarcasm in my voice.
“I am not sorry and neither are you. You taste like blood but you kiss nicely. I know who you are. You are the Vampire Prince,” she said.
“You are not afraid of me?” I asked her because she showed no fear.
“I am afraid of many things, but you and death are not among my fears,” she said.
She told me that the men were taking her to be the bride of a well-born man. She was sixteen years of age. The man was twenty-four. He was a man of wealth and power but she did not want him. She said she did not want any man as a husband.
“Then what will you do? Become a nun or a witch?” I asked.
“No,” she told me, “I cannot answer you. I do not have an answer, but it is not a wife, a nun, or a witch. I will not live a life where I am locked away or answering to any power, be it man or spirit. I will be my own woman.”
I had never heard such a thing from a mortal female. I liked this girl.
“Would you like to be a Vampire like me? I can do that?”
“Why would you do that Vampire Prince?”
“You are smart. I need smart friends like you. If you become a Vampire you will not grow old. You will not die on me. We will always be friends. I will never force you to engage with any man you do not wish to be with. I will not force myself upon you. You will be your own woman.”
She looked at me in a funny way and squinted her eyes.
“Let us do this then,” she said.
Before we left I ripped the heads off of the dead men, then put the heads in the road as a warning to anyone who passed. I remember laughing at the thought of the next rider who came along. For some reason that does not seem funny anymore. I have changed. I do not know why.
And that was how I met Gillian. We stayed friends for centuries. Then I was locked away for three hundred years, only to be rescued two years ago, then my friend Gillian sought me out. Then we became lovers, for the first time. We never were before. I no longer put heads on posts, and I rarely tear out hearts, but I have fallen in love with Gillian. I would kill for her again if anyone did her harm.
I woke in the morning with a cat on my chest. The small one was curled on my side. They were warm like small children covered with fur and vibrations.
I lay in the darkness, the curtains drawn against the sunlight. I could hear hawks and turkeys outside. A dog barked. I could hear an air oh plane in the sky.
Closing my eyes I thought more of my youth. How different it was than it is for the young people with the heavy weights of knowledge on their backs.
They speak of things I do not understand. I will learn.
I asked Gillian what BFF was. She smiled and kissed my cheek.
“Best friends forever.”
That is something I understand.