So it appears that Chuck Wendig’s gonna keep throwing up the flash fiction things every week. And it appears I’m gonna keep biting. So how to I keep this from being wasted time? Turn ’em into a book, or something. So here’s the deal. Last week I did this vampire thing. This week I’m doing more vampire thing. I’ve never done vampires before and never much liked what little I’ve read where they have been done, but it does seem like an inherently interesting construct. So I’m just gonna keep adding to this pile and see what comes of it. So, here’s a second pint of blood. We’ll see where things go from here.
What Love Is
Depravity is the virtue that saved me. Before I was called to the challenge of my new condition, I had long since eroded away the impediment of conscience that has proven fatal to so many of my kind, those tortured creatures I have seen shrivel away, never able to make their first kill while being driven to madness by the desire to do so. But I had already made my first kill, long ago. And my second. And my third. Had bedded my first whore. Broken my first vow. Abandoned my first god. Betrayed my first friend. Sated every perverse appetite. Had clasped hard to my bosom all those deadly sins with which most mortals only flirt. So, in slipping into this eternal dusk in which, to survive, one must first surrender any pretense to one’s humanity, I shed humanity like a wig; the fetid breath of evil flowing through my own locks like the first zephyr of spring. I was not born to this life so much as resurrected to it, finding in this release from pretended allegiance to the cobweb of morals owed to the imagined ramblings of never living gods the full flower of my own status, awakened from my trivial and pitiful mortal slumbers to find that I was now and always had been my own god, finally alive in an authentic world in which I had no longer to excuse my nature, but instead in which I fully inherited the figure I had, in my heart, always known myself to be.
She walked alone away from the theater into the darkness, one of those phones the young now especially are never without held to her ear. I prefer the young. I prefer the female. But those are, at this stage, just tastes. I only need to feed five or six times a year now, so I can be particular, not like those early years when, like any growing child, the hunger was always upon me and I would empty any convenient throat. As one ages, one’s tastes emerge. I know one of our kind who has fed on blood since 5,000 years before the birth of your Christ who is so insulted by the superstition that we might somehow be held at bay by totems to your imagined gods that he dines now only on Catholic popes, but at his age, he feeds only every decade or so. De gustibus non est desputandum, I suppose. I will certainly kill the insolent, but I only feed on the comely.
“Oh my god, I know!” The child into her phone. “I mean I would like so let Edward suck on my throat.”
How delicious. How perfect. She was tallish for a female, willowy in that way that only the pubescent can be, her breasts nearly full, still firm, her legs coltish, her red hair long in an artful cascade of loose curls that gave an illusion of carelessness that can only be achieved through careful effort, her bare legs flaring the short skirt that she wore beneath the thin, tight top. So much flesh, so little fear. In my mortal days, no woman would dream of walking alone in the dark even in the cumbersome costume of the time, let alone so nearly naked.
“Would you?” I ask, an arm’s length in front of her before she even notices. I hold her eyes. One hears about our imagined powers, but mostly they are perfections – improvements on our previous human capabilities earned through decades and even centuries of inhuman practice. The eyes truly are the windows to the soul, and there is a reason why you are so uncomfortable when someone gazes too long into yours. For you can connect. You can reach inside beyond consciousness and inhibition, past the inchoate limitations of language to the caged instincts humans are trained from the moment of birth to blunt with manners, to deny with religion, to domesticate with societal nicety until the noble beast each was born to be is diluted into a pathetic lap dog scrounging at the heels of the milieu that castrated it for the scraps that it should by rights tear from the throats of the timid fear mongers that hold its leash. I have learned to make that connection, and quickly; have learned how to open that cage so that for the first time in their wasted lives my victims truly feel their magnificent and terrible beauty, understand the privilege of offering their blood on the altar of my tongue, and know that in those final moments they are achieving a kind of fulfillment that whatever arc of years they might otherwise have experienced could never had offered, for their heavens and their hells are fairylands, and in this savage ritual some part of them touches for the first time the immortal.
The phone falls from her hand. She reaches up and pulls her hair back, baring her throat. Her flesh is hot and flushed, her breathing quickened, her pupils wide, her nipples swollen and straining against their thin covering. I can smell her musk as she lays back into my arms and tilts back her head and I lower my face to her neck savoring every sense – the rush of blood I can hear in her veins, the citrus smell in the shampoo she had used that morning, that taut resistance of flesh against the tips of my canines, and then the sudden warm flood as they press through, her erotic gasp, and then the seasoning of hormones that pour into her arteries as I reach up between her legs and stroke her just once, bringing her to ecstasy as I release her finally from this venial life and inherit as my own that vital spirit she had only for these last moments known.
I know what love is.
As always, for you fans of my velvet pipes, the audio version – a little nighty night lullaby . . . What Love Is