August 15, 2013 § 5 Comments
I got up and before having the time to wipe that stupid expression off my face which I got every time something like this happened, Regina sat down on her knees and leaned forward and picked Sigismund up. Viktoria was still behind him also kneeling down looking at Regina.
They were ignoring me, and I decided to keep my mouth shut for the moment. I retreated in the background without a peep.
Regina leaned closer to Sigismund and said in a low, calm voice:
“Over 150,000 days I walked this Earth up and down, back and forth.”
“I searched for you. I searched for him (referring to me I suppose?) and then I gave up. It was all a lie that you told me. There is no greater order of things. There is no order at all. It’s all chaos! Nobody knows what the hell we’re doing, but we are. We are doing something.”
“150,000 days…” She put her head down and just went silent for a full minute.
“150,000 days and just as many…”
“Just as many hearts, sons and daughters, hearts stopped by these hands and these…” And she elevated her head once again.
Her fangs were fully extended. Her eyes were black and flowing with red, injected and tired, mixed with tears that she held back and with anger. Oh she was pissed, but spoke calm.
I was already thinking I shouldn’t be there. I didn’t want to hear that. I didn’t want to hear a head count.
“And for what?” She continued.
“Viktoria? She lost count long, long ago of the souls THAT I MADE her take. Long ago.” Viktoria’s face was still blank. She didn’t care.
“You lied. And you are still doing it.” She continued.
“No, no I didn’t.” Sigismund added.
“Then tell me, what’s so important that would have you rather spend 400 years trapped in a block of ice than being what you are supposed to be. What I am for Viktoria and what EVERY – SINGLE – VAMPIRE is for their offspring?”
“Don’t worry. I made sure NO vampire steps into this life without at least one person to rely on. At least ONE SINGLE PERSON that she can trust.”
Yeah, Regina was talking about herself.
“You left me with a religious myth, a promise and the hunger to bleed dry an entire village. Which I promptly did !”
“But you wouldn’t know that, would you?! No, because you cowardly ran…”
“So tell me, did you really think I’m here to be your liberator?”
“The world has changed, a lot. And you clearly have no intention to adapt, no idea how to adapt, nor do you want me – nor even you – around.”
“I built an empire. AN EMPIRE based on every single value opposed to yours.”
“Look.” She stood up and took him to the window.
“You see that? There are thousands of us out there.” She said as she pointed towards the greater area of Moscow.
“And hundreds of thousands more across the continent. Soon millions across the globe.”
I could see Sigismund’s face going blank. He was scared shitless, but not of Regina. No. Something about the number of vampires in the world made him shiver from within his very core. I was intrigued.
“There is no greater purpose. No good or bad. Nobody to rule over me or to make me do anything that I don’t want to.”
“And after all that, you still have the guts to tell me that it’s wrong. That I can’t. That I won’t. That I shouldn’t ??!”
“It doesn’t matter what you think or what you want. You don’t believe me? That’s great. Then tell me: Why him?” Sigismund asked, and looked towards me.
“Take the necklace away. Throw it away. Let’s see then how that goes.”
“Have you even STOPPED to think for a second that the only reason you’re still able to walk around wherever you want, do whatever you want, is because it’s only now that you found what you were looking for?”
“And you know damn well what you – what WE need to do.”
“Because this is the worst position we can possibly be in. Almost.”
Regina fell silent for a second.
“I don’t care!” She shrieked. Let’s see what happens! Let me show you that the two of us (referring to herself and Viktoria) are stronger than all of you ever were, in the entire history of our kind. You let yourselves be walked over time and time again. Controlled like little cage rats. For what?”
“Let me show you for what!”
Regina came towards me, ripped the necklace off my neck and threw it out the window. I yelled and I protested and all that, but I won’t bore you with any of the details. It was futile anyway. It was gone and I was fucked.
“For nothing.” She added, ad stopped.
I knew very well why I always wore that necklace. Didn’t need another demonstration.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” I yelled.
Sigismund started laughing like a maniac. I ignored him.
“You know damn well I need that!” I continued
“No, no you don’t!” Regina replied.
“Yeah, I know exactly what you’re thinking. And that’s not gonna happen. Not like this. I’m never going to say yes if you force me too.” I replied.
Upon hearing that, Sigismund started laughing even harder.
“Oh, that’s good. You ask for permission now?!” He asked and continued laughing.
“You know, you’re really starting to piss me off with that threat…” Viktoria added from the corner, directed at me.
“Why don’t you do something about it?” I answered, as sarcastically as I could. That was a mistake.
“Alright, alright…” Regina said.
“Well then Sigismund. You know what I want from you.” Regina continued.
“Start from the beginning. Everything that you never told me, now it’s your chance.”
“I already told you everything I know. Have a few of your own. Then find someone like I found you. Pass it on, and then that’s it for you, and your offspring. That’s how is supposed to be.” Sigismund answered.
“Yes, yes. That’s not what I want to hear.” Regina said.
“Everything. From the beginning.” She added.
Silence, blank stares and sadness. Nothing more, nothing less.
“I’ll get to the bottom of it somehow even without you telling me.” Regina added.
“You don’t have time.” Sigismund answered.
“We’ll see about that.” Regina replied as she went into the bathroom smiling.
She came out with a first-aid kit, placed it in front of Sigismund who was looking puzzled at it thinking it’s some kind of torture device maybe. She pulled out a syringe from there, stuck it in his neck and filled it with blood.
He didn’t even flinch.
“Now that I have what I need to get started… it won’t be long.” She continued.
What the hell was she on about? I felt again like I felt the very first day I met her. The more I thought I knew, the less I actually did.
“Viktoria.” Regina said as she gave her a look and nothing else.
“Let’s go.” She looked at me and left the room.
I wanted to complain about 1000 different things. I still remember that probably it was one of the times I felt so tired I just wanted to have a heart attack right then and there.
“Where are we going?” I asked as I rushed to catch her down the hallway like a confused kid.
June 15, 2013 § 19 Comments
I thought about what went on in that room, but I couldn’t really give it more than 10 minutes of my time. I ate everything that I could get my hands on and anything that was offered to me, found an empty bunk bed in a corner under a warm, big, smelly pipe and fell asleep, or rather completely passed out.
I slept for 16 hours straight without waking up for even a second. After I had woken I was pretty sure I had at least a general idea of how Sigismund must have felt when he too woke up two days prior.
In any case, we still had 16 hours or so more to go. We were headed to Novy Port, a small port inside mainland Russia, down a huge river (Ob) and inside a huge bay. The whole trip took just over 30 hours, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I went to check the cabin where I last saw Regina and Sigismund, but it was completely empty as if nobody was ever there. I panicked for just a few seconds, because like it or not, a lonely ship sailing above the arctic circle is a pretty vulnerable place to be for someone like Regina. I quickly went to the upper deck and there they were, both of them, sitting at a table like they were on a pleasure cruise.
“Ahh, so he returns from the dead.” Sigismund said.
“We tried waking you…” Regina intervened.
“You need so much sleep. Like babies.” Sigismund added.
Now, by this point, it was already obvious to both me and Regina that he had more respect for a pet than for a human, especially for me. He wasn’t like the others, he wasn’t like Regina.
“Look who’s talking. And what the hell do you know about babies anyway?” I responded.
“Sit.” Regina said, and smiled.
The ship pulled in the port and things were getting back to ‘normal’. A car was waiting at the docks, empty, no driver but Regina went straight for it, hopped in, keys in contact, already warmed up. This was the way I remembered we left things.
Sigismund on the other hand was left way behind. He stopped every 10 meters and lost his gaze upon common things. The pavement, the gray metal cranes on the dock, powerful lights shining down the docks, etc. I guess the adaptation is not as good as we might see it in the movies. He was amazed, emotional, ecstatic, observant and excited in the same time.
The car was just the last drop. The moment we drove off he was… I can’t describe that expression properly. A kid that sees a theme park for the first time, maybe. The typical questions always included “How?” “Why?” “When?” and “How?” again.
We only drove for about 20km from where we were picked off by a small 4-seat helicopter. Now that was the interesting part of the day for Sigismund. The moment that thing went airborne Sigismund turned white. He couldn’t believe his eyes. I’d love to detail the discussions that we had, but at this point it was nothing more than just asking for random explanations about random common things and stopping in between for more assurances about how this is not going to fall down from the sky.
We flew for about 3 hours south to Nyagan Airport in central Russia, from where we stepped off and took a small private jet to Moscow. Sigismund was almost in Nirvana by now, he just switched from a steel ship to a car then to a helicopter and then a plane all in the same day, without knowing that they even existed prior to that. If time-travel was possible, then Sigismund came damn close to the feeling one might experience when time traveling that day.
Regina dozed off in an instant. We were safe. Plus, flying always made her tired. Even when flying commercially, 10 minutes after take-off she would doze off as if struck by a heart attack.
I went to take a shower. I was expecting this for weeks. You would not imagine the state in which all three of us were. By the time I got out not even 15 minutes later everything was going to hell. The nice lady that left clothes for me was already half-dead, drained by Sigismund. Regina was still sleeping and the plane, fortunately on auto-pilot, was now without a pilot, because Sigismund took care of that too.
He felt insulted because the pilot told him to go back and stay out of the cockpit. None of them were dead, neither the flight attendant nor the pilot, but they weren’t going to wake-up soon.
“What the…? Sigismund what happened?” I shrieked and he smiled.
“You idiot! Not the pilot! Who’s going to land this now?” I shouted.
“What do you mean?” He answered.
“Look, we’re still doing great without him.” He added.
Oh.. the naivety.
“Sigismund, this thing is going at over 500 mph.” I added.
Not a flinch for him.
“That’s over 450 knots.” I explained.
“Impossible.” Sigismund finally acknowledged.
“No, very possible. That’s the speed we’re doing. Look out the window. See that? That’s ‘almost Moscow’ already.” I added.
“Somebody needs to stop this, take it down, put out the wheels, step on the breaks and land it. See all those buttons? The only person that knows what to do with them is lying right there on the floor!” I was shouting by this point, and Sigismund was slowly realizing we might have a slight problem.
All the fuss woke up Regina.
“Morons…” She casually walked past us and straight into the pilot’s place. She closed the door behind her.
Five minutes later the plane turned a hard left and started descending. I went inside the cockpit and sat behind her. I think this was the first time I caught a glimpse of the bigger picture of things in her life and around her. She signaled me to sit in the copilot’s seat. I put on the headphones and laid back.
“RX11 Oversight, contacting Moscow approach on 121.4. Authentication XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX”
“Stand-by RX11 Oversight.”
“Authentication acknowledged RX11 Oversight.”
She then switched what I believe is the frequency, because she was talking with someone else, in Russian this time. I couldn’t make everything from the discussion, but much of it was technical and absent from any ‘street Russian’ and was actually easier to understand.
“Moscow approach, RX11 Oversight, Level 1 inbound.”
“Please repeat that RX11 Oversight.”
“Level 1 inbound.”
I can swear what I heard next was hesitation and weakness of the voice of the controller. I can swear he knew who he was actually speaking with.
“Aaaa, RX11 Oversight. Please confirm.”
“XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX Red. Assistance upon landing required. Inbound 15 minutes.”
“Level 1 Confirmed. Welcome to Moscow!”
“Moscow approach, RX11 Oversight, level 12,000 feet.”
“RX11 Oversight, Moscow approach, turn right, heading 2-2-0.”
“Right to 2-2-0. Down to 8,000, RX11 Oversight.”
“RX11 Oversight, cleared runaway 1-6-left. Intercept (something) 1-6-left.”
“RX11 Oversight, contacting Moscow tower 123.9.”
Then the conversation switched back in English.
“Moscow tower, RX11 Oversight cleared to land on 1-6-left.”
“Confirmed. Cleared for landing on 1-6-left RX11 Oversight.”
After this the landing gear came out and the buttons started flying and I saw Regina take down the thing. She made it seem easier than anything we’ve ever done together, not that I was a part of this.
Sigismund either didn’t care or had no idea how lucky we were that one of us had an idea what to do because this could have ended very, very differently. I don’t care what movies you saw, nobody would survive a missed landing in this thing. Nobody.
As we walked out of the plane, Regina told me “Next time, keep a watch on him.” Which made me think, in what universe was I able to keep a watch on someone like him? But then again, maybe he wasn’t what I thought he was, and Regina knew better. I decided to stick with her instincts for the moment, and put my prejudice aside.
Two people and two cars were waiting on the runway.
“Inside.” Regina said as we left. The two people walked inside the plane but I saw everyone walk out safely out of the airplane just before we climbed inside the car.
“Good thing I was in the neighborhood.” A familiar voice said as soon as we climbed inside the car.
I looked closely and Viktoria was shining a bright smile from the passenger seat.
“Viktoria!” I exclaimed. I was genuinely happy to see her. She didn’t acknowledge me much, except a quick top-to-bottom look towards both me and Regina.
“Rough trip?” She asked.
“You have no idea.” Regina answered.
“Who’s the guest?” Viktoria asked.
“Oh, hello…” Sigismund quickly jumped into action, brought back from his dream world in which he spent every single second since we touched civilization, examining every single thing and being amazed even by the glass from which the car windows were made of.
“I believe you’re Viktoria?” He said and Viktoria nodded.
“Then I must be your grandfather.” Sigismund said.
Regina smiled towards her and Viktoria was in awe. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She jumped from the passenger seat “Move!” she exclaimed to me as she made room for herself inching closer to Sigismund.
“Ahh but this is too good to be true…” She said as she touched Sigismund and looked to Regina.
I took the passenger seat instead and left them with their little reunion, but I felt Regina’s eyes on the back of my head a couple of times. I knew when something was wrong, I learned to read it in her eyes and her smile.
Her eyes were piercing, not soft as they usually were, and her smile was fake, not the one that would mesmerize anyone. Viktoria knew also, she knew from the second we stepped of that plane. I didn’t see it right there, except later when I thought about it, but they had their own little plan going on based on two smiles and three looks.
The car pulled in front of a rather small but nice hotel. I was expecting the same hotel as last time, but this time we were staying at the Metropol Hotel Moscow. I still looked like a homeless person, not to mention Regina and Sigismund but we waltzed inside without anyone as much as turning a head.
Regina was in front, then Sigismund, then me and then Viktoria. We went straight to the room and as soon as we entered the room and the door closed behind us all hell broke loose.
I was pushed aside and managed to break a small table in the process, Regina just took a seat and relaxed and Viktoria…
Viktoria jumped on Sigismund and violently pinned him to the ground.
April 25, 2013 § 25 Comments
“I’m sorry. I can’t anymore. One more drop and you’ll have to carry me back.” I said as I pried both of them off of me. Him from the wrist and Regina from the neck. I remember I started actually praying around that time, for it to be the last time I feel something like that.
I had never had two of them feeding off me in the same time. In five seconds you feel like your whole life just fell apart instantly. There has to be another component to it, because the drain is not only physical, but emotional too. You actually feel yourself being… taken away. I don’t know how else to put it.
“Or we can leave you here.” Sigismund responded.
“You know what? I’m really tired of you already. I’m the only reason you’re not still in that ice prison in the first place. How about some respect?” I said in frustration. I immediately regretted it, but the pressure and stress was taking its toll. I was on the brink of total collapse, emotionally. physically I felt more than fine, just had troubles keeping warm.
“RESPECT? To a boy?! I’m hundreds of years old. You should watch your tone.” He responded.
“No, you’re not. You were dead for all that time. It doesn’t fucking count. You didn’t live. I did. I know this world. You don’t. How about we leave you here?” I said angrily. I don’t respond well to threats.
Regina was smiling. Not saying anything, just smiling.
“Oh you’re acting like children.” She finally said.
“Well at least I have an excuse. I am one. What’s his?” I said. He growled.
We continued like that for what seemed like ages. I only remember what I said above, because that was pretty much the beginning of it. There comes a point in any discussion where arguments stop to matter and you start attacking the person you’re speaking too. Sure enough, we ended up arguing about who’s the man, as in, who’s the best, man or vampire. You don’t want that discussion, ever.
We were in a makeshift shelter for the day, and we needed rest. We fell asleep, one after another.
The second day we continued the talks started a day before. Regina was explaining as much as she could about the world today to Sigismund, I was most of the time left behind. I didn’t mind, I felt confident she could explain it better but then I started poking more and more into the conversation because it felt like it needed a human point of view too. I was making the case so to speak, for all mankind, hence why I say we continued the talks from the previous night. In any case, today I was terrible.
“How did you get here in the first place anyway?” I asked Sigismund.
“Well I certainly didn’t come here in the winter like you.” He responded.
“Good, because we needed an ice-breaker to get to the shore.” I added.
“An icebreaker?” He asked.
“Yes, you know, a ship that breaks ice.” I added smiling.
He was impressed just at the sound of it. I had a feeling he would like this world more than he should.
I also realized around that time that this was a major flaw – well not really a flaw – but more of an entry point into his bubble. Any person, vampire or animal has an invisible bubble around him, a bubble where he keeps all his confidence and it’s his territory alone. It’s hard to get through that bubble to a person, but I find that it’s usually the best approach to get the person interested or open about something that he likes or would like to know more. That’s why people get close if they have something in common, that’s why dogs like you if you offer them something interesting (not necessarily food) and that’s how I planned on taking on Sigismund.
“Ice breaker you say. Tell me more.” He said.
“Well what is there more to say. It’s a ship, that has a hard bow and breaks ice in fr…” I was interrupted.
“No, not about that, about others.” He said.
“Other… things. Like this ice-breaker.” Sigismund added.
“Like new inventions?” I asked.
“Not really, like things that I’m familiar with, but evolved through time. Old things turned new, like me.” He responded with half a smile on his face.
“You want to know old things turned new? Well how about this: Transilvania is not independent anymore. It belongs to Romania.”
He looked at Regina. She nodded.
“I like him.” He added, and turned back to me.
I want you, the reader, to understand that Sigismund was a real person. If you’ve missed the previous posts, Sigismund is a relative of Regina, his name is Sigismund Bathory, he ruled Transilvania for a while. He wasn’t bad nor exceptionally good, he helped lower Romania (Wallachia) with troops for fighting against the Ottomans (because it was in his interest), but in the end he was driven out after the Romanian armies marched into Transilvania.
He was a controversial person. Although of Hungarian family (the name Bathory) he was actually Romanian, and prince of Transilvania. He fought side by side with the Romanian troops against the Ottomans, but then he ceded Transilvania to his cousin, Andrei Bathory, who was Polish. This pissed off the Romanians. He also promised certain privileges to the Hungarians living in Transilvania, which were withdrawn by a Romanian governmental gathering later on.
He then changed his mind about the throne, and asked for it back from Andrei Bathory. After he received it, he decapitated a few officials which were Turkish sympathizers, including one of his own family, Baltazar Bathory.
He then ceded the throne a second time, leaving Transilvania to his wife, and went to Prague. A year later he came back unexpectedly, took Transilvania again, only to cede it back once again to his cousin, Andrei Bathory.
After Andrei Bathory died, he came back once AGAIN and took Transilvania, but this time the Romanian troops have had enough of this power-play, went to war with him, defeated him and he returned to Prague once again.
He supposedly died in Prague, the Czech Republic, in 1613, 28 years after Regina was born, 300 km from Cachtice Castle were Regina was born.
But enough with the history lesson.
“Well at least it’s not Turkish.” He replied.
“Oh don’t get me started on the Turks.” Regina yelled from the front.
“We’re here.” Regina shouted at us without turning, and picked-up the pace.
In front of us was the shore, covered in the thickest of fog you can imagine. A single small boat was there, with one person freezing his ass off in it.
He didn’t say a thing. He didn’t raise his head. None of us said anything either, except me of course, I said hello and a pat on the back. He recoiled.
He started the engine, barely. The boat must have been there for a while, and we headed through some really massive waves into the open.
“YOU – wave – CALL – wave – THIS – wave – AN ICEBREAKER?!” Sigismund was yelling through the splashes of water at me.
“TURN AROUND.” I yelled back.
“WHAT?” He responded.
“BEHIND YOU.” I yelled again.
I didn’t see the look on his face, but I can imagine it.
Such a sight must have been something for him. There it was. Now, I know for some of you the name might mean something imposing, and it should, but there are different types of ice-breakers. Small, Medium, Large and Nuclear. I would have loved for him to see the latter, but the truth is this one barely kept afloat, was of medium caliber, but where it lacked in size it compensated in lights. If you’ve ever seen a search boat in the night, with the lights turned on, you know what I mean.
But he wasn’t impressed by the lights nor the size. He was impressed by the material.
“But this is pure iron!” He exclaimed as he knocked strongly on the side of the ship.
“Steel.” I replied.
“Steel? All this is steel? But this must take decades to make, such a large amount of steel.” He replied back.
“Not anymore.” And I pulled myself on board, leaving him behind on the wooden ladder behind me.
I could hear him still shouting behind me.
“And it floats!” He was ecstatic.
I was sure by now that this was truly the best way to get into his bubble. A curios person will be a curios person no matter for how many centuries he’s been dead. Death doesn’t make you boring – or bored – death makes you want to live and know that much more.
As we walked inside the warm bowels of the ship, warmth for the very first time in over a week, he said in a lower voice, to himself.
“I could conquer the world with a fleet of these…”
Oh, I wondered, what an amazing photo would it make of his expression when presented with a Nimitz class super carrier.
As soon as we descended into the ship, a 60 something old man with clear Russian features and with two missing fingers saluted us and kissed Regina.
Oh I wondered… but I didn’t ask. Was this me, 40 years from now?
A cabin with 2 bunk beds, 4 seats was opened for us and we stepped inside. Not a minute later, two men entered the cabin. Two very big and solid men. I jolted to my feet in less than a second, thinking this meant trouble, but as fast as I jolted Regina did too, straight for the neck of one of the men. He didn’t fight back. It was consensual. She was two, maybe three times smaller than the man, and she coiled around him like a snake with both of her feet wrapped around his waist and one of her hands around his head and with the other hand pushed against the metal bar of one of the beds. I could see the man’s face getting red, then blue, then white, as he failed in strength as solid as he was. His feet slowly gave way, his knees started bending and then he left himself go. Regina fell with him but still coiled around him continued to squeeze like an anaconda and breathe heavily as she sunk deeper and deeper until the man almost passed out.
She stopped and didn’t wipe her mouth. She stood over him, blood still dripping from her mouth, breathing as like she had just finished a hundred meter dash. I was out of there in a second. As I left, the door closed behind me and just through a small crack before closing, as I turned, I could see her face as she was in her true from like this. I shuddered. Oh, if I only knew how close I was and how much control she has over her body to resist such hunger with me next to her, for so many days.
Not a minute later, the two men left the cabin, barely keeping their balance, but ok, and with a smile on their face.
This was a
brave weird new world.