…as the phoenix was reborn, it wanted nothing else but fly away. [story part 19]
February 26, 2012 § 2 Comments
Before going into the post I just want to make a quick point here:
I had written in an earlier post about how Regina told me that there are hundreds of blood types, and I received about two e-mails telling me that’s bullshit – how could she know more than the whole human scientific world. and that was many years ago, but here is a piece of news written one day after my post, just in time.
Scientists discover two new blood-types. Here is the article in ScienceDaily.
Now on with the story.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
– Andis Nin.
That day came for me sooner than expected.
That very night, was it.
That night had been a nightmare, and I truly believed that very night, my heart stopped, maybe just for a second. That counts as dead for me.
But I didn’t die. I prefer not to call it “saved” but “reborn”. Not physically, but mentally.
I don’t know what and how to tell you, but something clicked inside me that night. Inside my mind, inside my soul.
I had been shaken so hard, from my very core within, that it changed me entirely. It changed the way I saw the world, it changed the way I thought about the world.
The next day I woke up after sundown, thinking for a second that it’s the same night.
I had flashes of light in my eyes, during the night before, of street light poles flashing in my face, one after another, after another, and I realized I was in the back of a car seeing them as we drove past.
I remember yet even more screams and I remember Regina screaming in Russian at a guy that was driving.
Then I remember passing in and out of conscience, it was a blur but some things are pretty clear.
Like when Regina woke me up and started speaking in Latin. I knew exactly what words she was muttering. The exact same words that I need to accept, like some kind of spoken contract, before being turned.
I said no. I said it even before she was finished with it. She didn’t stop, kept going, and at the end asked me:
“Do you accept?”
“No…” I muttered.
I remember thinking that was rather ironic. The fact that her face at my answer could have easily meant she would kill me right there and then, if it wasn’t the situation I was in. The irony being she was trying to save me, but my answer prompted her to end me.
“If you don’t figure out what your place in the world is, you will soon not have a place in the world at all.” Regina said. And of course, that meant I would die that night if I didn’t accept.
I remember telling myself sooner that year, that I had stopped fighting with my inner demons, that I was on their side now. But it was all lies. I wasn’t prepared to make this choice under this pressure. Even faced with this, death at my doorstep, I was more stubborn than ever.
I would have said yes, maybe, in any other circumstance but this.
“No…” I muttered again. And before letting her explode, I added:
“What is it?”
“What is what?!” She replied quickly, angry at me nonetheless.
I turned my head from one side to the other trying to muster more strength.
I was on a table, in some sort of bar, and I could still hear music somewhere behind me. Dear god I hoped nobody was dancing behind me, while I prepared to meet death.
“What is it that keeps you going, as a vampire…?” I finally explained. What I meant was actually what was the fuel that pumped in her veins, metaphorically, that kept her living, smiling, interested in the world, lively and happy. The very reason to live, the fabric of life itself. That magic thing which gets you through life, no matter how hard it sometimes is. The mojo. The elixir of happiness. Call it however you want, I’m sure there are thousands of way of putting it. But she put it… rather… perfect. On the spot. Like always.
“The beauty of being a vampire?” She replied as a rhetorical question, and then, answering herself, she continued:
“The beauty of being a vampire? The most important thing for me?
It is not eternal life,
it is not power,
it is not invulnerability to any sickness.
it is something much simpler, but that more important.
it is the fact that we get to choose who we’re going to be, everyday.”
How do I remember this? I would remember it at any given hour of the night, like a prayer if you wish. Because it was the perfect answer, Regina, of course, rarely offered any other kind.
It was also the answer that nearly crossed that bridge I was talking about in the first posts about. The bridge that only goes one way, towards eternal life… and others.
I pondered on that for as much as I could, but alas, it came again:
“You will die soon.” And I believed her. I was terrified, but I didn’t want to accept what was happening.
Which were the five stages of death again? Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I was now in denial, but I didn’t really have time to go through all of them, so I decided, unconsciously, to skip the three and just get it done with. Go straight to acceptance, like a magic dice that tells you to skip three spots at a board game.
I tried looking at myself and noticed my arms were moving and then in a flash I remember how my shoulders were just dislocated, not broken, and she put them back by pushing me really hard against the table until they popped, clicked and creaked. Excruciating pain, so intense I would have rather had my arms broken instead, maybe that would be less painful.
The bites were also almost gone, smeared with blood, but almost gone. Regina closed whatever she could to stop me from losing blood so fast.
But my spleen was… well, it was ripped in half and that wouldn’t heal. There was only so much she could do.
I didn’t understand at the time who exactly set these limits, but apparently the blood flow was just, well, too high.
“Hospital…” I finally said after seeing myself in yet another pool of blood I had made. At least I wasn’t puking anymore, and I was well on my way towards acceptance. I was on the brink of giving up. My heart was already skipping every two or three beats, like an old engine trying really hard not to stall.
“They can’t do anything. Too late for that!” Regina said and then added “We could just pray, maybe that would be more fruitful.” That was sarcasm coming out of her mouth. She had it, lots of it actually.
She was against religion, but also careful about the approach towards science. Science gives us the power, but doesn’t tell us how to use that power she once said. I think she was rather referring to nukes back then, not hospitals.
She looked at me with a last inquiring look, as in asking me with both meanings of the word “asking”, for a final time, to accept.
I said, once again, “No…”.
And then, between my last breathes I would ever take, which were becoming farther and farther apart from one another, eyes closed in between, I saw Regina perform a miracle.
Something, that I later learned, she had never tried before. She risked her own more than five hundred years of existence, to save a stubborn child. To save my ass. I would have died happy even if what she did that night wouldn’t have worked.
How much more kindness and sacrifice would you want from a being that the world considers a monster? This alone, gave her forgiveness from me, god, and whoever else might be listening in, for all that she did over the centuries, that night and for what she did to Blanche that night when I told her I could forgive her, depending on whether she could redeem herself. She did redeem herself, for those and more to come.
She literally slashed her wrist almost to the bone with her mouth and made with her knife on my wound a kind of cross but not really, she crested the wound actually, and then she stuck her hand inside me. I literally felt her hand go under my ribs, grabbing something. I felt my own heart trying to make room for whatever that was. I was literally touched on the heart as she passed by. Physically. That DOES NOT happen in science fiction movies, that doesn’t happen in books, that didn’t happen not even in the mother of all miracle books, the fucking bible. She stood like that for what seemed hours, but was merely minutes, and when that didn’t seem to be working, she ripped her throat out on a side, made Nikita hold my wound open and poured herself inside me. I can’t describe it better, I could see a river of her blood dripping inside me, straight inside the wound which by now was the size of a fist. This is what I called a blood transfusion.
But wait – this would turn me!
“Regina, this will turn me! NO!” She looked at me and just slapped me. Soon after that, I fainted or fell asleep, one or the other.
The next morning (after sundown, so night) I woke up in the hotel, in the bed, full of blood but alive. I tried getting up which proved rather an adventure. My hands, shoulders and bites were all good and healed, although I had a slight ache in both my shoulders.
But my left side… on my abdomen, just above the first two ribs on the bottom. Well that was another story. I was healed alright, but the scar was flaming hot, red, still pulsing and looking about to burst. It was still healing under my very own eyes. It was beautiful. It still is. I have a kind of weird… cross on my abdomen. Ironic. Wasn’t sure what was going on inside though, but it felt ok-ish.
I don’t know how and what she did exactly, but she pulled it off. Hell, I didn’t even knew until years later, that my spleen was intact. I was pretty sure she took it out that night.
Regina was nowhere to be seen.
Then I remembered what she had done.
Shit – I turned. I don’t feel different. What’s happening?
I opened the windows trying to look at the sun see if I burn, then I remembered again. Man, those movies were powerful. I still expected vampires to catch fire in sunlight, even though I was now with one almost everyday, and she didn’t.
Still, fangs. Check, nothing. Of course not.
Mirror, I went to take a look at myself, I was pale as a sheet of paper, I was dizzy, nausea and still shivering cold.
I was either a vampire or so anemic that I shouldn’t even be able to open my eyes, not even mentioning getting up.
I instantly cut myself with a scissor, that desperate I was, and stuck my finger in my mouth.
Still human. But how?
I then thought again about Regina. Where was she. Oh god, I remembered how she drained herself completely.
I didn’t knew what to do. Where to… go?
I went in the bathroom to try to clean myself up and leave the hotel for Nikita, although I had no clue where that was.
When I entered the bathroom, there she was.
Regina, in the bathtub, three inches of blood on the bathtub bottom. Enough for a human being to function with.
She looked at me, tried to smile and then started puking again. Blood.
She was puking blood, and she looked horrible. She could barely hold her head up.
“Regina! What’s happening ?!? Why ?? What can I do ??” I jumped towards her, trying to hold her head up, help her somehow.
“Feed… I need to feed…” She replied.
“But you’re already throwing it out!” I instantly replied.
“It’s mine ! It’s MINE !” I thought she was delirious (Gollum came to mind…), but then I remembered last night, put two and two together in what took me, shamefully, more than it should have, and realized that Regina stuck all of her into me, then sucked it all out to comply with my refusal of not turning. Never done before by her apparently, or rarely by anyone else. It meant death in most of the cases for a vampire. Also, I was pretty surprised it worked for me. By my understanding, I got her blood, healed, then all out again and left on the brink of death with maybe 20% of my juice still in? That seemed way over my limits of understanding biology and started going into “this is sorcery!” field.
Blood poisoning, karma, call it as you want, but you can’t drink all of your own blood and walk around with it. That would be something though, wouldn’t it? That was Regina right now. Poisoned by her own body.
I was perfectly aware I was in no condition to feed her, yet, I didn’t care, once again, and put my neck on her lips.
“NO! Go away! Not you! NO! THIS IS BECAUSE OF YOU!” She blurted out, although with less intensity (obviously) than what she would usually use.
What to do?
Well, believe me or not – I called room service.
What to order? Food? No. Takes too long.
Something to drink – but we have everything here!
Champagne! We don’t have that.
Dial room service – Russian speaking dude answers.
English with a lot of cracks, but understood my message.
Champagne, to me, five minutes ago!
I thought then: Look at myself, standing here, ordering Champagne, to celebrate maybe?
Celebrate what? My survival or Regina’s imminent death?
Because, however you would look at it, I had managed to bring Regina on the brink of death in a few short months. Something that nobody managed to do (I guess) in over five centuries. All because of a necklace.
In no time, room service was there.
“Take it to the bathroom.” I said without even looking at the man who delivered it. Without hello. I only hoped I would get to tip him (funny right? here’s ten euros for your mojo). I couldn’t stand the idea of someone dying because of me.
Not him, not a human being who, by the looks, looked innocent enough.
Regina was, of course, by any means, a killer with who deserved that punishment. For some, it was a blessing if you ask me, but she also
was a philanthropist with those who need not die.
Which is very, very rare in the kinship.
There are others like her of course, but they are like a fistful of pepper, thrown in a bucket of salt.
As soon as the room service guy went inside the bathroom, I stepped behind him and closed the door.
I didn’t want to hear what was going to happen next. But I did.
Large thuds, screams, growls, glass breaking.
Seconds later she stepped outside the bathroom. Blood smeared all over her, although mostly hers. I was sure she was not in the position to let a single drop of good blood go to waste. And she didn’t.
“Is he dead?” I asked.
“He’ll live.” She replied. I was relieved.
“We need to leave.” She added and with a swift move she closed in on me and put her left hand behind my back, her right hand on my wound. Kissing me and checking for the wound in the same time. She seemed pleased.
After she released I also took her wrists and looked at her neck to see how she was. What was I expecting? There was nothing there anymore.
She wasn’t smiling anymore. She was angry. Not at what happened, not for what she might have learned from those… assassins of mine, but at me. I had declined being turned, and we both knew that was a problem.
I couldn’t remain like this forever – even she had to obey the Codex at some point. But for now, she let it slide.
Before I even managed to wash my face she had showered, got dressed and taken on her shoes. I was either slow or she was too fast.
“Regina… what you did last night… you do realize that is nothing short but of a miracle?” I added. I was expressing my thoughts out loud.
“But at what cost?” She replied, almost hissing at me.
“I am no angel.” She added. I didn’t understand until later on what she had meant.
“Yes, but you risked it all… to save me.” I replied.
She said nothing, but I knew what she was thinking.
One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
– Andre Gide
And that was what she did now, but also five centuries ago, when she decided to leave the shore and join the world which she was now a part of. To discover it, you had to leave your land, your life, your comfort and venture into the unknown. But that is a story to be told another time.
We quickly left the room and on our way downstairs, sure enough, a ‘gang’ of three kinship members, men, were going up, bowing their head to Regina very, very subtle as we passed one another. I had assumed they were the cleaning crew. I still don’t know how Regina managed to send for anything she needed without using any means of communication. She must have some sort of… I gave up on trying to find out long ago.
In no time, we were shiny, in the airport, headed for France.
Russia, Moscow (SVO) – France, Le Mans (LME) the tickets read. Again handed by someone inside the airport, already bought and paid for. I started to think this was a charter flight, planned in advanced, it looked like one, but it didn’t feel like one.
As the plane started shaking when taking off, I was once again remembered I’m still human. My left side hurt at each move, each shake.
But I was alive, and I was headed for France, with a few hours to spare, used to put some order in my thoughts.
I opened my laptop and started putting everything down, while it was still fresh, although at the moment, that was the last thing I wanted to do. Remember everything again.
*** Stop asking for photos with Regina. That wouldn’t just be useless for this story, but also impossible. You must imagine how preposterous such a request is, in case you read the story, you must understand.
I can, however, provide other photos, in private. But nothing that cannot be faked or is easily available on the net. I can provide, for example, photos with my scars, taken years later.
Some have asked: Well, if you can’t post a photo with her, then maybe post a photo with a famous actress or someone who looks like her. So we can form an image.
My response on that is: shame on you and fine, I will, as soon as I find something appropriate. I can’t stress this enough, she’s hard to match.