The Vampire's Donor

December 18, 2011
“Amen,” I hummed under my breath in quiet prayer. Although the word barely parted my lips as a whisper, the word hung heavy in the warm night air. I couldn’t seem to decide whether this weight came in the form of a defending shield or a sharp sword. Either way, the burden wasn’t inviting.

I left my kneeled position at my bedside to tiptoe my way to the windowsill. Even with socks and thick carpeting, an old house like the one I lived in had a tendency to exclaim the actions of its occupants. I bit my lip as the floor let out a low creak, and stopped to listen. The cause of my hesitancy was laying down the hall, hopefully asleep next to my mother. The image of my father —practically my double— appeared in my mind. His dark eyes, framed by dull blonde hair, pierced my heart even in memory.
I should of have been following their example in my lone solitude, but my ritual of utmost secrecy bound me to obedience.

A light sigh and snore convinced me of my safety. It gave me the confidence to unlock the latch on my window. I prayed for the frames to be silent as I carefully opened either side in turn. Ironic that such a prayer should be heard.
The atmosphere remained quiet as I gazed out into the frothing sea of murky darkness. Only the soft glow of a few street lamps could be seen from my second story abode. The stars overhead were pale and the sky opaque from the lights of a city miles off. The moon was nowhere to be seen in this dense atmosphere. It left my poor human sight searching blindly through the night.

‘Maybe she will not come,’ I dared to think, but not announce. She had been absent before. Enough so that my hypothesis was plausible. Strangely, I felt pained at this thought. I wanted to see her face, to hear her voice, to smell her natural perfume, to feel her teeth pierce my healing skin…

I was not staggered by my feelings. They had been my daily conflictions for years now, but to love her as I wanted was not an option. I could barely comprehend the desire in my growing age of fourteen —a boy whose appearance barely labeled him as a teenager. But to feel a certain passion was only natural. She had become something more than a friend, just as she had been for my older sister.

My eyes flickered to a large mirror propped against one of the walls. It had been one of the house’s old relics, and yet the antique had never found its proper place. Instead of reflecting the portraits of elegant ladies and gentlemen, it now gathered dust while angled at my window.

I observed myself, though, I must make it clear, there was not much about me to notice. As I said, my features were of my father. When I was younger, I had wished for my mother’s blue eyes or curly hair, but now that I had found my place in the hierarchy of the world, I found such features to be disagreeable to my character. I was as I appeared: reclusive.

“I’m hungry Joseph.”

I jumped a bit at hearing this voice, as gentle and helpless as it was. One would react as much to hear such words when there was no body to join it in the mirror.

“Faith,” I whispered rather loudly, turning sharply to meet the speaker.

“Shhh…” was the returning command. A cold finger tip was placed before my lips. The surfaces would not touch, but I could feel the chilling temperature roll of her skin as it conflicted with the surrounding air.

I held my breath to hear a body turn over in the bed down the hall.

“You mustn’t be so easily frightened.” Her voice, even when given little volume, still seemed to sing and chime like bells. The tone copied the slightly worried expression on her heart shaped face. The skin was pale, but not white. Simply bloodless. All that showed color was her reddened lips; though her eyes would sometimes glow a similar tint when facing a light. Her brunette hair was the color of coffee and fashioned into large ringlets, pouring over her left shoulder. The clothing she wore was pure black.

“I was not frightened,” I told her with lowered force. “You just surprised me, that’s all.”

She returned the defense with a smile and slight roll of her eyes. The seemingly young woman —owning a questionable youth that suggested an age between eighteen and twenty one— had herself seated on the window sill with her legs dangling out the window. There was no evidence of how she had been able to reach the second story.

“How are you feeling? I hope you’ve been eating and drinking well.” she changed the subject with.

“I’m fine. How about you?” The answer to my question was obvious, but formalities had been already put into play. One of the arms Faith was using to prop herself up with shook for a second as I questioned her. “You haven’t come by in awhile. Are you okay?”

Her dark eyes, having been lowered in deep concentration, now rose to meet mine with an intelligent smile. All of her grins held some form of meaning, as if she predicted every word that was to come out of my mouth, and was simply doing her best to not seem affected.

“I have been through far worse famines. This one was of choice…” She let out a tired sigh, yet still maintained her smile. “Animals have been enough to soothe the cravings, but not enough to keep me away from your open window,” she admitted with a forced patience. Her stubbornness only proved how weak she was.

“Do they sustain you? Animals?” I asked questionably. Faith gave me a searching gaze, but gave no hesitancy. She always seemed to feel obliged to answer my questions.

“Not quite. I was once human, so my body requires human blood in its circulation.”
I suddenly realized she was staring at my neck.

“Here,” I answered in haste, almost feeling like I was unintentionally taunting a small child with a sugary cookie. My hand rose itself into the pale light of the outside street lamps —by now, the eyes I owned were quite adjusted to the darkness— to reveal a long cut on my finger. The clotted blood proved of how fresh the small wound was.

“How did you cut yourself?” she asked with genuine curiosity as her cool fingers cradled my hand.

“I had steak tonight.”

“But your mother is a vegetarian, is she not?” My hand was being raised to her lips where a line of sharpened teeth were being revealed to their full extent.

“It was at a friend’s house.”
I looked away as she grazed my finger under a fang. When I looked back, the cut was bleeding as it had been before. Faith immediately began to lick it clean. I’m sure most guys my age and older could only dream of being in such a position, yet I felt no sense of embarrassment or excitement. It could have just been me, but there is something about watching a vampire politely drink your blood that makes your skin crawl.
The blood drinker lost her enthusiasm once the cut had turned into a small gash, though it was still awhile before she pulled away.

“Thank you,” she sighed as if confessing from overwhelming guilt. I could see some red stains on her teeth. Her health, on the other hand, was rejuvenated. The girl’s tremors were nonexistent, her eyes bright, and her lips a darker shade. Now one could almost begin to think she was sixteen.

“You’re welcome.”

My guest then cleaned up her feast with a small white handkerchief taken from her pocket. I had seen its image stained red so many time, but it was always bleach white at the beginning of every visit. This she wrapped around my finger and held steady. Her cold hands acted like an ice pack.

“Your fingers are becoming tenser with every visit,” Faith commented in a low whisper. There was a sense of awkwardness in her voice. It was a normal tone for her to take during the beginnings of our conversations, but I knew her uneasiness would fade away quicker than my own.

“My father has become strict with my piano lessons.”

“You’re also playing the organ?”

“Yeah,” I muttered, not liking to talk about my personal life to her. My reasons had been born from a slight natural distrust.

“Your father…” she responded in the same tone, slightly shaking her head. “He reminds me of the reverends I listened to as a human child.”

Information on her mortality was always a treat, and could never be asked of. Such a conversation must be strategically eased.

“You mean how my dad actually is a priest?” I laughed quietly. My vampire guest smiled slightly at my remark, but kept her serious atmosphere.

“More than that…”

I realized she wouldn’t clarify. Instead, my attention was drawn to her eyes. They were glaring at my neck again, rather unnervingly. It was then that I realized I was still wearing my cross. I had made it a habit in the past to take it off on nights like these, but had somehow forgotten.

“Would you feel more comfortably if I put this away?” I asked while reaching for the necklace.

“No,” she said immediately, like her staring was a sort of sin. “I do not mind.”
I knew this to be a lie by the way her eyes darted about my room. Wherever they stopped, there was bound to be some religious painting or figurine. It was my father’s pleasure to keep constant reminders of our practices. It was one of the few reasons why I was guilty about inviting a vampire into my house.

“Are you sure? Don’t crosses ward off vampires and stuff?” I was a bit hesitant on my words, not quite sure what effect they would create.

Faith actually laughed, though her response didn’t match her reaction.

“Yes.” She giggled a bit more. “Younglings have a harder time, but I am old enough to endure.”

“How old are you?”

“A girl never reveals her age.” She dropped both hands, somehow knowing that the blood had clotted up the cut.

I pressed for more information. My older sister, who was an expert in the supernatural, never passed on her knowledge. It had always felt rude in the past to ask Faith, but now that I had been given the opportunity, I couldn’t control my enthusiasm to learn.

“Why would it have made a difference if you were younger?”

The girl gave me a blank stare at first, as if I were a still life painting of a bowl of fruit, but proceeded without any signs of being offended. Her bipolar reactions only increased the tension in my questions.

“Young vampires can’t control themselves; either their thoughts or impulses. Therefore, they are easily manipulated and controlled. The church held a lot of power in past centuries, and such influences usually transfer over when we change. We naturally despise our new forms because of it, and seeing such… mementos of our past religions… well, it only reminds us. Its effect acts like a kind of magic.” She paused to collect her thoughts and memories. “I would think modern newborn vampires show fewer signs of be affected, but it truly depends on the person.”

“What about my sister?” I asked, my heart stopping and my face flushing as soon as the words were released. I didn’t regret them, but I wasn’t enthusiastic about my choice of topic either. Faith thought likewise, but still felt it appropriate to follow my example.

“I think the guilt still has a hold on her heart, or what’s left of it.” The vampire glanced into my eyes. “What did your sister ever say about me?”

“Only that you were a close friend and needed our help.” The girl didn’t respond to this, as if waiting for something. I quickly realized what it was. “And of course, that you drank blood, but what was I to think? I was only seven when I met you.”

“Has it really been seven years?” Her dark eyes checked me over. “You’re growing up.”

“I’m not immortal,” I reminded her, blushing a small bit. “Do you know why vampires live for so long? Is it because you’re indestructible?”

“Who told you that?” she accused with a smile. Most of the red stains were gone from her teeth.

“Mary,” I admitted, finally pronouncing my lost sister’s name. “She said it would be pointless to try to hurt you.”

Faith hummed a laugh. Her legs had drawn up to be enclosed in her darkly clothed arms.

“I am as vulnerable as you. If you cut me, I will bleed. If you hit me, I will bruise. If you cut off my head, I will surely die. The only reason why your sister would say that is because we hold more power than mortals, and to fight me would be a grand mistake. To fight a young vampire, who is fueled by instinct alone and naturally hunts young humans, is even more foolish.”

“They hunt kids?”

“Indeed. You see, the reason why we live such a long lifespan is because of the blood we drink. I’m not quite sure of the whole science of it, but I know that aging has a lot to do with blood and cell division. The younger the blood, the more ‘life’ it has in it. Have you not read Dracula by Bram Stoker?”

“No. My dad banned the book ever since he caught Mary reading it.”

“That would be my fault…” she muttered sadly. “Most of what Bram Stoker wrote about us is true.”

“Like what?”

There was a great deal of pondering, but her answer was direct.

“There are not many vampires in the world, no matter what your pop culture would want you to think. Because of this, many males lead lives like Dracula, owning many ‘wives’.”

“Were you ever a ‘wife’?”

I think Faith would have blushed if she had her own natural blood to support it.

“I was young…” The subjected ended there, and she quickly continued with her lecture. “Those of us who are older can obtain certain powers. Through practice, we could conjure storms, control certain animals, change in size, disappear, reappear, and —though I have never tried it— raise the dead.”

“Mary must have known all this then,” I stated.

“If she finished the book.”

“Is that why she became a vampire? To have such powers?”

My acquaintance stared at me with a glare I could not easily forget.

“Do you think your sister would allow that…” She paused to rethink her choice of language. “That ‘extremely bad man’ to transform her for those reasons alone? I know her better than that. You knew her better than that.” Her voice had risen a level up, but upon this last sentence, she calmed down. I somehow found myself able to see my slightly frightened expression reflected in her dark eyes.
I was quick to notice the details of her statement.

“Do you still keep in contact with her?”

“Occasionally. Vampires can only sleep well on the soil of their homeland, so she is naturally drawn to this town. I have been very careful, though, since her funeral.” She was now staring past me, remembering a day my mind was enthusiastic to forget.

I did not need an explanation, nor did I need to read Dracula to understand the basics. Mary had made it very clear to me when I was young. A vampire can only transform a human if they gradually die from the blood lost in the bite. Once there is no blood in the system, the body shuts down and transforms. My sister, who knew all there was to know about the vampires of our world, must have known the kind of deal she was getting herself into. Neither Faith nor I could figure out Mary’s motives, though we silently suspected she had thought herself in love.

I could still remember her funeral. Our father had organized the whole thing single handedly, and hadn’t chocked up once when poetically stating his final goodbye to his daughter’s corpse. She was quite a beauty in death, my mom said. Those were the only words I could recall her saying, the rest being lost in a fit of tears. Mary was buried in the dress she would have worn to prom: black with a silk white belt. The dark lace on her garb —settling on her like a spider’s web — almost appeared to transform into her pale skin. The roses set in her hair coordinated with her outfit. A light pearl necklace was placed on her neck. They resembled milky tears.

Her lips were full and red. I distinctly remember this, for I found them close to my neck a night or two later. If it weren’t for Faith’s panicked rescue, I would have been Mary’s first victim as a blood drinker.

“You do not need to worry about her coming back. She is in good hands,” Faith whispered while silently observing my face. The subject of my sister was becoming too much to bear. It gave me mixed feelings of grief and longing.

“But I want to see her,” I found myself muttering. My companion didn’t answer, her face turning to stone. “To be like her.”

Faith abruptly stood up and looked out the window. Her dainty toes hung over the edge of the window sill while her delicate hand rested upon the frame. A slow breeze pushed against her hair. I stood also, but couldn’t dare place myself in such a position and kept my feet grounded to the floor of my room. Those dark eyes of hers absentmindedly searched through the densely fogged world as if examining things beyond my sight.

“You don’t want to be like me.”

True, it shouldn’t have had the need to question her, but I never understood why one should not want to become a vampire. Modern day views of the species gave it an overall romantic outlook, and though I knew it was a false description of a blood drinker’s life, I wasn’t sure if it would still be a bad thing to desire.

So before I knew it, I asked, “Why not?”

She wouldn’t speak for some time. I don’t think she was either contemplating an answer or observing the scenery. Instead, I believe the creature of darkness to have been recalling a time when she too had asked herself those words.

“To never see the light of day without your eyes cringing in pain. To never feel the rays of sunlight dance across your face without the radiation burning through your skin.” Faith’s gaze became vaguer as her list of restraints went on. “To find yourself in constant solitude as those you knew and those you grow to know die either by natural causes or by your own hand. To never face another of your species without your first thoughts being of murder. Having to live off of everyone else’s blood but your own…” Here she trailed off. Her silence lasted, but sight quickly returned with a snap as her head turned to look down at me from her place at my window. “Is that what you want? To be bound to this land as I am?”

“Why…” Her words held a horrible weight in my heart. I swallowed before continuing. “Why are you bound?”

She was smiling at first, but this dipped into a frown as she spoke.

“I have lived here for hundreds of years. Not only was I one of the first to be born on this soil, but I was almost the first to be married. It’s a shame that I had to be the first to be turned against my religion through death.” Faith sighed. The sound was slow and solemn. “I have watched over all the generations of this city —the good and the bad—, protecting it from others who do not share my sense of regret and devotion.”

“Other vampires?”

“There are far more dangerous things than vampires out there.” She looked back towards the fog. “And until a Van Helsing comes in a quest to rid this place of its remaining witches and demons, I shall stay.”

The gravity of her words forced me to stay silent. Faith took one more glance at me.

“Goodnight young Goodman Joseph Skelton.”

And with those words, she disappeared into the night. The fog was steady, changing neither in shape nor density. One would have never suspected a predator of darkness was lurking through this opaque ocean. The cut on my finger had fully clotted, leaving it in the same condition from the beginning of the visit. Seemingly, nothing had visibly changed, but something was left behind. I now owned a newfound and grave respect for my night bound friend.

“Goodbye Faith.”

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