Black Capes and Red Roses

January 19, 2008
By Laura Burton, Oak Flats, ZZ

I am named Gabriel, named after the archangel who descended from heaven, to inhabit the earth, I was once told that he is my ancestor, a direct descendant I am. Named after such a pristine creature, yet I have become an abomination, the walking un-dead, a blood sucking fiend. I have walked this earth for over four changing and merciless centuries. I have seen kingdoms rise and fall, seen lives created and crushed in an instant, and how I long to be a part of it all once again.
My heart aches to love once more, just once, to feel the caress of a lover, the soft feel of lips brushed against skin, just holding one another, all without the fear and knowledge that I will hurt them. My soul pines for another with which I can share my life with. I yearn for the feel of the unrestricted sun on my face, its rays burnishing my pallid features, ever so slightly turning them pink with the essence of life.
I am amongst the most feared creatures that roam the earth, we are the Vampyre. The original spawn of the Lord of Hades himself, Satan besieged the earth with our presence. We hold so much power over the more insignificant humans, yet we remain hidden in secret, compelled to do so, maybe it is for the better this way, humanity has to remain unspoiled in some ways, does it not?
Part satanic force, part archangel, with a human’s desire to be free. Pure evil battling pure good, with just a hint of humanity remaining, it is no wonder my soul is divided and torn. I didn’t want this, not now, nor ever. I did not willingly seek to become what I am now.
Constantly resisting the ever present urge to feed, feed on the soft, supple flesh of the unknowing, to drink of their blood, become intoxicated with it, a ‘blood high’ they called it. Feeding on living prey rewarded you with inhuman strength and agility, it heightens already enhanced senses. Yet I rebel from this, trying to ignore the urges. For so long I gave into these urges for blood, killing countless innocents, but the inevitable guilt caught up with me, unable to continue this ravaging of flesh, I degrade myself in the face of fellow Vampyres, less than the dirt many of them were buried in they think, all because instead I drink the blood of pigs, already dead creatures.
I lay there, engulfed in my bed sheets, as all these thoughts and memories rally for precedence inside my head. Unable to retreat back into sleep, true sleep that only the dead can succumb to, I raise my cold body from between the black satin sheets.
The absence of windows of any sort, creates the effect of a black abyss in the bedroom, however I can see the tinniest dust mote dancing on a stiff breeze, night vision more advanced than any human technology, just an added bonus for the eternally d***ed. The floorboards creak incessantly as I walk into the lounge room, the creaks never heard by human ears. I stand staring out of the lounge room window in my loft, listening to the bats awaken in the eaves.
Night has finally swallowed the earth, submerged it in darkness, a blanket which covers unimaginable crimes, committed by both the living and the dead. Night, as night-time progresses everything comes alive, after the sun sinks behind the horizon, people show sides never shown before, acts are perpetrated that would never be considered by decent folk in daylight.
Why, why does my mind keep distracting me this evening?
Thinking, remembering like this would turn one such as me insane, I have seen it happen before, the sanity driven straight from their minds. We are designed to forget, not to think and not to feel, to do so is a flaw, one that can be severe in its consequences.

The night is cold, not unbearably so, but enough for me to want a warm shower, to warm my bones, so to speak. The water still flows from my anemic frame, as I wipe steam from the mirror, hoping to see a single glimpse of myself. Again I am disappointed, no image stares back at me, only condensation, quickly obscuring the hastily wiped surface is visible.
My clothes, as always, lay in a heap on the floor, a floor made from great slabs of steal, the artic, chill of the metal sending shivers up my spine. Methodically I drag my clothes onto my still body, no need to hurry, not anymore. Firstly a pair of loosely hanging black jeans, over deep purple boxer shorts; next a once neatly ironed black dress shirt, pulled over shoulder length, lank black hair, acting as a veil over my face, then slowly pulled down over muscular shoulders and a ‘six-pack’; leaving a black waistcoat on the floor, I slip into a full-length obsidian trench coat; this is followed with knee-high, pitch black, lace up boots, covering midnight blue socks; and last, but not least, a blood red tie, just to add some colour.
Two things are slightly out of place with this ‘gothic’ ensemble, one of these being an old silver fob watch, which dangles from one of my pockets, and inscription on the inside reading, ‘To my Dearest, forever and always’. The second item is a rustic necklace, with a lion with bared teeth hanging from it. Both tokens are of past times, almost forgotten times of love and tenderness, all but gone now in his eternal anti-life.
Before leaving the loft I hastily apply some make-up, thick black kohl, ghost white foundation, and a touch of deathly red lipstick; hiding behind the term ‘gothic’ has its advantages of covering up my secret.
Also on my way out I grab a bunch of a dozen red roses and a thermos filled with a mixture of pigs blood and vodka, the vodka used to kill the metallic, bitter taste of the blood, this is to drink on the way to my destination. Inhuman speed and agility comes in handy, as I swiftly make my way towards the graveyard. In less than a half hour I reach my destination, a single grave, the marble headstone bears the carving:

‘My beloved Clementine, you will be greatly missed.
1642 – 1666
Taken before your time.
Now flying with angels wings.’

Slowly I place the roses on the grave site, kneeling down in front of the headstone; tears silently tumble from my eyes, left unchecked. Closing my eyes, images flash before me, images of life, life before I was changed; I actually lived a life, actually witnessed the sun rise and set, and lived with loved ones.
Times have vastly changed since then, but I can still smell her sweet scent, a jasmine perfume, mingled with the slightest hint of vanilla, and her soft, tiny hand clasped in mine. I still remember how her eyes would twinkle when she laughed, the way her hair would curl behind her ears. Every night I would hold her in my arms in front of the fire, just holding her, till sleep claimed her peaceful body.
The eve of my twenty-third birthday would start to bring an end to this. That night, in a time of proper gentlemen and ladies, and of grand houses, I walked through magnificent parks and gardens. I was attacked, my throat ripped open and I was forced to drink from my sire’s bared and slit wrist.
That one night I was transformed into a monster. Before he left me, my creator told me what I was to become, one of the walking dead. Stumbling home that same night, all I could think was, what will Clementine say, she will turn away in disgust. My fears were unfounded, my love still accepted me with open arms, and a warm heart, nurturing me, and bringing me young victims to feed upon until I had recovered my strength, to hunt for myself.
Then it happened, she became sick, the physician said it was the plague, they couldn’t cure her, only numb her with medicines. We had seen the result of the plague; the death wagons often traversed the streets, carrying the latest victims to have succumbed to this deadly disease.
Clementine begged me not to let her go that way, she wanted mercy, so we organised, and in the end I did as she wished. She dressed in a dress of crushed velvet, jet black and to the floor, and for the last time I cradled her in my arms as the drugs took over her body. She haltingly said her final words, ‘I’ll wait for you, for all eternity if I must,’ reaching up, she stroked my tear streaked face, ‘Darling, I think tonight would be a beautiful night to die.’ Her hand dropped and I emptied her body of her life blood, tears spilling onto her porcelain features. It was over.
Her captivating blue eyes would no longer sparkle with laughter, her soft hands gone cold, and her lips had begun to turn blue. That act, that one unforgivable act, had forced me to give up, turned my soul into ice, if my heart still pumped blood, it would run black through my veins.
Returning to the present, bleak high-rise apartments and skyscrapers surrounding the cemetery, four hundred years later, the world is such a sombre, dismal place, and I have become the same, no longer the lively youth I should be, instead I am condemned for all eternity to live on the eve of my twenty-third birthday.
Walking away from the grave, I wish a wish that would never have passed my conscious before I was made in to a monster. I wish that my wrists would bleed, just so that I would feel the pain and know that my heart was still beating, still able to be stopped.
I am among those who should be resting in peace, yet are walking the streets, with no heart beat. I would give anything to be able to rest in peace.

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