My Life In Darkness
We both sat in the living room. It was now early afternoon and it was sunny outside. You could hear a breeze stirring the leaves of a nearby tree over the soft sounds of the jazz playing on Astrid’s stereo. I sat in apprehension knowing we were about to have a difficult, and possibly quite scary, discussion. Astrid looked at me.
“Now is the time to ask me any questions you may have.” she said. I stayed quiet for a while thinking about what I wanted to know.
“So how many other vampires are there?” I asked.
“A lot more than people realise. I wouldn’t have any idea of actual numbers, but it would surprise you I’m sure. Many of us live among you and people often have a lot of dealings with vampires and are simply unaware. It helps that no one seriously believes we exist, except for a few.” She stated.
“Some are like you, either in a relationship or have some strong connection to a vampire in their life, but there are also hunters.” Astrid revealed.
“People who know we exist and don’t like us. They try to hunt us down and kill us, which is one reason why we hide and tell few people about what we are.”
“Are vampires easy to kill?” Astrid gave out a short laugh.
“No. We can be exceedingly difficult to get rid of. Some hunters know of ways, but one way to kill an individual vampire may not actually kill another one. It often depends on the age of us. Younger vampires are easy to destroy, but older ones are a lot more powerful and hard to take on.”
“And how old are you?” I asked.
“Let’s just say I’m not young in terms of being a human or a vampire.” She revealed. There was a moment of silence as I pondered her words. There was another thing I wanted to know.
“Why did you take me all that way into the wilderness to tell me you’re a vampire? Can’t you have done it somewhere closer to home?” I asked her.
“Because I suspected you would run when I told you. I wanted to give you space where you could run, but I could still retrieve you once you were out of energy. The trouble with here is that you would have gone screaming out into the street, possibly endangering yourself or bringing other people into it, which would have been trickier to resolve.”
“Would you really have left me out there to die?” This was something I had been wondering since I woke up.
“No. I would have waited for you to pass out and then brought you back, but it would have made things more difficult as I wanted you to come back with me willingly.” She said.
“You have to be invited into someone’s house don’t you?”
“What happens if you’re not invited?” I asked.
“Then I can’t physically enter the house. It has to be a residence that people are living in so it doesn’t count for shops, or restaurants, or anything like that.”
“How does that work? I mean, why does that happen? Who made up the rules?” I asked. Astrid shrugged her shoulders.
“I don’t really know. I’ve been alive for a long time, but I’ve never found out exactly. It’s just the way it is. It’s something to do with a space being inhabited by the living which the unwelcome cannot enter.” She answered. “A lot of rules are created by a type of magic, for want of a better word, that seem to hold sway in this world. It does help protect a lot of people, but there are ways around it. I think when vampires first appeared limits were put on our power to help protect others, the ones we might hunt, and those limits still hold true today.”
“How did vampires first appear?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” She admitted. “I have heard a few rumours over the years, but they didn’t make much sense to me.”
“You said there were other ways around entering other people’s homes?”
“Yes. One way is you can charm them to let you enter their house, but that doesn’t always work.” I raised my eyebrows when she said this. It did seem rather obvious.
“Can you turn into a bat?” I asked. Astrid laughed.
“That would be useful, but no. Nor can I turn into a wolf, or some mist.” She stated.
“How come you can eat other things? You ate some of my burger, and I’ve also seen you drink coffee and wine?”
”Stimulants like caffeine and alcohol still affect me in some way, though not as noticeably as with you non-vampires. I can eat food; it’s just that it doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t get any sustenance from it. After being alive for a while you just lose interest in food as there is no reason to eat it.” She answered.
“Are you repulsed by garlic?” Astrid sighed and lay back in the couch.
“When you’re a vampire your senses get more acute and sensitive. Garlic has quite a strong smell and taste, especially if you are a vampire. Some vampires don’t like it. It doesn’t bother me really.” She got up to turn the record over.
“What about crucifixes or holy water?” I asked. Astrid shook her head.
“No effect.” She replied switching the record player on.
She returned to the couch and sat right against me. She threw her arms around me and the next thing I knew I was being hugged tightly. Then we kissed. Again it was a deep kiss, her cold tongue probing the innermost reaches of my mouth. I never really knew what to do with my tongue in these moments. I usually just reciprocated and moved my tongue around their mouth as well. We continued kissing for a few minutes and then she broke off, but continued hugging me.
“Mmm, you are so lovely and warm.” She said.
“Why did you feed off me the other night?” I asked her wanting an explanation. She pulled away from me and looked deeply into my eyes.
“I wanted to know what you tasted like. I ended up drinking too much of your blood which is why you felt quite weak the next day and I’m sorry for that. Your blood has an odd tingly taste, which isn’t normal.”
“My blood tastes different?”
“Yes but I can’t tell you why.” She replied.
“Can’t or won’t?” I asked accusingly. She just looked away.
“Sorry I just can’t.” Her voice trailed away. She wasn’t going to tell me, so I dropped it.
“What did you give me in the car; you know that stuff in the metal flask?”
“It was a concoction of vampire blood and some other… things.”
“I remember it sharpened my senses for a bit.”
“Yes it would.”
“How did you become a vampire?” I finally asked. Astrid sighed again.
“Well that’s tied up with what happened to my first girlfriend. I can tell you the whole story if you want.” She replied. I sat up intrigued.
“Yes I would love to hear how it all happened.” I said a bit over-enthusiastically.
“It’s not a nice story or a happy one. Just thought I would warn you first.” She cautioned. I nodded in acknowledgement.
“Okay.” I replied.
“Well it’s a long story but I’ll try to be as brief as I can.” She disconnected from me and moved away, but continued looking into my eyes. And then she began her tale…
Next episode: The Story of Astrid and Ingirid.
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