Six: the Human Ostrich Syndrome
And so, my first venture into the night as a fully-fledged fledgling vampire had begun. With Billy at my back, scooting the rooftops seemed like child’s play. No leap too high, no avenue too wide. The spring in my heels delivered no thrust a mortal was ever bound to realise.
The only thing missing was a racing heart. Mine was dead.
Yet this did not discourage me in the slightest. A trail of lovers had stomped upon my heart before Billy had metamorphosed from a creature that haunted my nightmares into this archaic alchemist who had given me new life. The result: a reincarnated being that transcended those historic, hurtful, corporeal emotions now inhabited the body that those before had sought to scorn. Revenge was never a motive for accepting Billy’s gift so willingly. But neither was it now ruled out as a universe of possibilities opened up beyond the inkiness of the very night sky itself.
I. Felt. Invincible.
Before I could get too carried away with this new-found litheness, Billy raced on ahead of me, as if to divert me away from the path that I had chosen. I could smell the ozone exploding off the crashing waves many, many miles from here. If Billy had not stopped me in my tracks right there, I should have carried on until I felt the broken pebbles on the balls of my feet and the soft sand compress between my toes and would have simply stood, gazing in awe at the jet-black sea, guardian of so many secrets, crashing around my fancy-free feet, the gentle hush of its breakers-on-pebbles soothing my storming mind.
There was plenty of time for that. Billy had delivered unto me this life, as I had bade him, as his master in turn had instructed him likewise. It was time to meet that master. I could only assume it was some fearful wretch that, throughout history, had proceeded to build up a colony of vampires. Though not so many as to both rouse and confirm the suspicions of mortal man, but enough to ensure the longevity of the breed.
This feared breed. Depicted in legend immemorial. Shape shifters, bloodsuckers, the night stalker, the creature that scoffs at the grave, yet seeks solace within its very earth, day after day after torturous day. Garlic-haters, crucifixationalists, virgin-seeking soul-takers. Disheartened Catholics, selling their soul in frustration at The Church in whose teachings they were raised, taunting its priests by their very existence, thus disproving the theories upon which The Vatican City itself has built its very foundations upon centuries of crushing those who stood in its way.
Lore has so many interpretations of and names for the vampire, wampir, vampyr – it even hung a garland around Vlad’s once-spliced neck and christened him Drakool. Yet people prefer to not see that we exist (I can say ‘we’ now that I am in the fold, officially). Which is fine. Have it your way. But never say that you have not been warned.
Remember, just beyond that shadow, you know what you thought you saw is real. But your brain, fearing that it could not accept it so, without condensing to a mush of madness, blocks that which your instinct screams at you to be true. Not hiding, merely invisible. Unless, as I say, you know where to look.