November 2, 2012 § 5 Comments
Because of a few e-mails I recently received, I’ve now been put into a dilemma.
The dilemma is that after the last part of the story – quite a considerable time had passed after the actual vampire story picks up. To put it in other words, after Regina left that day, there has been… almost next to nothing happening in my life.
So what’s the dilemma again? Yeah, some readers are telling me “I don’t believe you and you’re full of bullshit because there’s no way you acted how you acted without any emotional response, and there’s nothing about you personally or about your life in the story or in your diary, who writes a diary without writing their own feelings reflecting on their life?”
Well, I do, but my diary and my story does – and can contain that, no problems, but that just makes it that much longer. I initially refrained from posting too much emotional content or personal opinions because, as you can see in comments past, there’s a number of readers requesting exactly the opposite: “Quit the sissy girl emotional drama and just get on with what actually happened.”
What am I supposed to do?
I have a story to tell, and I can be objective or subjective, and I don’t know how to make peace with both sides.
As such, I think splitting this post in two separate parts is the best way to go. First part is a summary that includes little to no reference to any vampire story, it’s just me. The second part is where the story that you’re interested in actually picks up again. You can choose to read all of it, or skip to the THIS IS THE BOLD LINE that you can’t possibly miss if you scroll down.
So here it goes:
It was now the summer of 2007, almost a year had passed since I told Regina to leave forever that day, and almost a year had passed since I was regretting that very same decision, because as soon as she was gone, I started regretting it. I’m not a man of regrets, but that was a bad decision for me to make, one that I couldn’t, and still can’t believe to this day, that I actually made. But that’s not the point.
The point is that for almost a year I was left alone, to return to my life, to recoup if you want, after the things I’ve been through last time I was with her. I actually thought, at the time (before telling her to leave) that I needed the time to recoup, that I needed to be alone, that I needed to get back to my life to return to normal. However, as days passed, I realized that there’s no way for me to return to ‘normal’ and then it got even worse, with me starting to think that ‘normal’ was actually their world, and that all this… modern day-to-day living was a lie, a facade, a veil over our eyes to keep us going, eating, breathing, living… like livestock.
As days went by, instead of turning more ‘normal’ I turned more and more… bitter and angry. I turned paranoid, I stopped trusting in anyone and anything that moved, and by the years end I was almost a completely different person. What I once was at the beginning of high school was no more, I was now just a figment of that person.
Instead of smart I considered myself stupid, I considered myself a coward, evil, paranoid, introvert and all that. I was, by all definitions, into a really awful depression.
I wanted nothing to do with the outside world. I started to considered it petty, insignificant and false. That night in Turkey changed me more than I thought it would be possible, and only now, years later, I realize that I only realized what I had become and how I changed only when I stepped back.
To make it more clear: While I was with Regina I wasn’t aware I was changing, not so much, but as soon as I was given time-off, and allowed to step back, and be alone for enough time, to be able to really take a look at myself and around me, only then I correctly managed to assess how much I had changed. To think about it, I guess it was rather intentional on Regina’s part. But then again, as I was saying in my second-to-last post (special vampires require special tools) it was all part of the grand scheme of things. I didn’t know then… I didn’t care.
So yes, one year had passed and there I was, one year older, and one year closer to what you, the reader, might imagine that the typical vampire might look like. You see, it is a paradox. I started becoming one, psychologically, only after I was removed from their midst. Stockholm syndrome to extreme one would say. I stopped being able to keep myself in check. Up to that point in my life I always felt strongly that people should be their own psychologists as much as they can, because they do have the power to do so, but after that point, I truly understood the need for “outside help”. For me, it got to the point that it was either getting locked up in a mad-house, or going back in their world, because I just couldn’t function as a normal human being. I couldn’t and more importantly I REFUSED TO. I was just a kid and I had enough trouble adjusting to me growing up as it was, not even mentioning having this thing hovering over my shoulders.
I won’t go into much detail about Viktor or Sophia, for their sake. We’ve kept in touch, and they truly helped me immensely during that time. We remained and still remain friends. They really managed to get me through it all the way. Now don’t go thinking I was the kind of… suicidal depressed type, no, I wouldn’t do that, not then, not now, not ever. No matter how bad it gets, there’s nothing worse than death, and I really believe in that. Well, excluding torture and all that.
I just turned into a… shadow of what I was. I turned bad, sarcastic, egoist, mean, locked inside myself, depressed and angry all the time.
The whole year went by like that, and not once did it occur to me that I was like that because I was terribly, terribly missing something. I was in a damned withdrawal and I couldn’t realize it. And what a withdrawal it was!
A withdrawal from what? From everything! From life itself. I needed the adventure, the adrenaline, the fear, the mystery and the amazement and once I tasted all that, I couldn’t go back.
There are people who paint or sing or climb mountains or write books or just really love doing whatever they do. Those that climb mountains really need the adrenaline every now and then, and taking that away from them would be just as well as a death sentence, because they don’t feel complete anymore.
It’s just like those animals kept in a cage all their lives, ducks that never saw water in their life or such. They continue living… but they are just… zombies.
Trust me, it’s one thing to feel incomplete and not know why – because you haven’t discovered it – and it’s a whole different type of pie feeling incomplete and actually knowing what you’re missing.
A duck that never swam will be a sad duck, but will be a much happier duck than a duck that swam for most of its life and then got locked up.
Do you understand where I’m trying to get to?
I was in withdrawal and I was suffering and that exact thing made me realize quite a few things:
1) I wasn’t that well-intended and smart as I thought I was. I realized I was perfectly capable of hurting anyone (notice how I used “anyone” and not “someone”), in any form, just for the sake of it. I know it’s bad, but I accepted it for some weird reason. I still do. I guess you grow used to it.
2) I realized that the very exact thing that I missed, actually turned me into WHAT I missed. In other words, being kept at a distance for a whole year, I turned more into them, rather than returning to normal, and I did so because I guess, sub-consciously, I wanted it.
3) I realized that I might actually be happier having a life like Regina, rather than what I considered before ‘normal’ and ‘moral’ – basically, human.
4) I realized (after 3) that the balance between “I want to live a normal life” and “I want to be one of them” was by the summer of 2007 about equal. Which meant total chaos for me, because I couldn’t believe I actually got to that point, and I also couldn’t believe that I was faced with the mother of all dilemmas. To live and let live, or to ‘die’ and… well… not let live – speaking of others. There was no ‘middle-way’. Not in the long-run at least. It was proven to be countless times that you’re not spared from taking a life, at some point, even as a human living between them – one could only imagine the amount of lives you would take over the centuries, as one of them.
So here I was. Me, Sophia and Viktor, lying on the green, warm grass in front of Blanche’s so-called crypt. This whole area is very, very peaceful, and it’s the most beautiful thing one can see in a summer afternoon. Huge, tall pine trees and oaks are all around the cemetery, and the orange light is just shinning between their leaves touching you gently and warming you just to the point of being not too warm and not too cold. Just perfect. I still feel that there’s nothing more peaceful and pleasant than a summer afternoon under a tree, in a cemetery.
Anyway, there we were, remembering old times, school, friends, jokes. It was Blanche’s birthday, and although we all knew she wasn’t dead, we missed her, and wondered where she was… and how she was doing… we all hoped that we’ll get to be together again someday, just like we used to be. I mean let’s be serious, is there anyone in this world who wouldn’t want to go back in time to be with their loved ones once again, be it friends or family?
THIS IS THE BOLD LINE
“Don’t you think this is a little dramatic?” – A voice from a tree above and behind us said.
All of us froze. It was Blanche’s voice. IT HAD to be. Creepy times, shivers down our spines, especially after a very un-eventful year in which the most excited we got was when Sophia caught her finger in the door.
We turned around and poof, Blanche was standing before us, hands on her hips, majestically taller, more beautiful than ever, deep red curly hair, smiling from all heart, tears in her eyes, but keeping her stance.
All three of us needed about 10 seconds to actually react, and when we did react, we did so violently. We ran towards her and just tackled her down hugging the life out of her. Dino from the Flintstones had NOTHING on us. Yes, we were that good friends.
We got up and she just hugged all of us one by one really tight, mentioned how we changed and all, but to be honest, she was pretty much the elephant in the room. Speaking of change, she was the most changed from all of us. Nothing about her reminded us of the old Blanche, except her… being… her character.
She was much more… grown up, physically. She matured. She was more muscular, her face was pure joy, shining, perfectly smooth and white. She was gorgeous, dressed casually in blue jeans, a black tank-top and some suede boots. Nothing out of the ordinary. To be honest, it would be hard for anyone that once knew her to recognize her now.
“Blanche! What are you doing here?!” I exclaimed. I was happy that I was seeing her, but I knew very well that she was in for a heap of trouble for coming here. She was strictly forbidden to do so. And she was for as long she was under Viktoria’s control – because she was still in her care by what I remember. As long as Viktoria was responsible for her, she wasn’t really allowed to “take matters and consequences into her own hands”.
“I’m sorry… I just… I couldn’t stay away…” She responded and then added “Plus, you shouldn’t be here. I might just ask you the same question.”
“I’m meeting my parents here. I just have to see them. They won’t live forever, and I don’t want to regret letting them die without seeing them as much as possible… because you know I’ll have a long time to regret that.” Sophia smiled and hugged her again.
Viktor was already hinting me at how… “good” (read hot) Blanche turned out to be, in a not-so-subtle way. Which was by all means true. We were all growing up and changing, but Blanche out-paced us by a decade.
“But Blanche….” I started saying.
“Don’t worry, she’s off to someplace really far away. I’m sure we won’t be seeing her.” She was talking about Viktoria, which calmed me down a bit, and seeing as there was absolutely no sign of any “funny business” going on in the town for the past year, we felt pretty safe and secluded there to share a moment. We were well aware that this was a one-time deal, at least for now, and it wasn’t a vacation. We cherished it even more.
“There they are now!”
Blanche’s parents appeared from the path coming from below the hill and when they saw her they just stared running up the path until they got up without a breath and just hugged Blanche for what seemed like an hour.
“Oh honey you’ve grown so much.” Her mother was saying while taking her face with both of her hands and just looking at her intensely and hugging her again, and again, and again.
Her father wasn’t that far behind with the hugging also. It was both heart-warming and heart-breaking. Knowing that was a happy moment, but because of sad reasons.
Then her father made a rather good observation.
“Isn’t this a little… dramatic? I mean we could have just met at home…” He said.
“But in the cemetery, at your ‘grave’, on your birthday, really?” He continued.
“You would be surprised how many people go home to see their parents on their birthday…” Blanche responded.
“I can’t come home, you know that, and I don’t like spending my birthday alone, you know that too.”
They hugged her again.
We all stood there and just enjoyed the moment which lasted for several hours, and in all that time, plus every other time I went by Blanche’s house, I couldn’t help but have the feeling that somewhere really deep, deep down inside, Blanche’s parents were blaming me for taking their daughter away from them. I couldn’t really say anything, because by any definition, it was true. I mean what parent doesn’t want a normal life for his child?
But then again, they didn’t really show it either, because they themselves weren’t really sure that I was to blame or to thank for… They understood perfectly well what Blanche was and in some weird, twisted form – they actually rejoiced. Rejoiced that their daughter would get to walk this earth for over 100.000 sunrises. I mean their dilemma basically boiled down to what I was previously feeling. To be or not to be. That is the question.
But as all good things, this one had to end too, and by nightfall they were already saying their goodbyes, but with joy and hope in all of our eyes. During the talks, Blanche laid out plans how she was planning to spend every last second they have on this earth with them, and promised them that as soon as she gets to be on her own, without Viktoria, and settles for a life, she’s going tot take them away in some other country where nobody would ever know who they are and why they are there.
And to tell you now, it took more than it should have, but it finally happened this past summer. And good for them.
We also said our goodbyes, perfectly aware that we weren’t leaving together out of that cemetery, and that we won’t end our conversation with “See you tomorrow.”
We spent a good part of the evening just doing that, saying goodbye, and we finally parted ways.
And that was it.
For three or four hours.
By 1 AM I was sound asleep, when ahhh all that too familiar sound started reverberating in the room and around me. The ticking of fingernails on my window. One, two, three. Stop.
One, two, three. Stop.
I woke up, I heard it, and my heart fell to the floor. It took all my will to turn my head and look at the window, because I was in that position in which a kid is when he wakes up in the morning without being sure if Santa came that past night. He’s both really excited to go to the Christmas tree, but fears in the same time that no presents might be there.
That was me. I was well aware that only one person in the world does that – at least just one did that too me – and as much as I wanted that to happen, I was afraid.
I turned my head and there she was.
I opened the window and looked to my right and my left.
“Where’s Regina?!” I asked.
“How should I know?!” Blanche replied and hopped in.
“Aren’t you supposed to wait for me to ask you in?” I said.
“Aww crap. I forgot. Can I come in?” She replied.
“Uhmm… sure?” I answered.
“Good.” She said, smiled and sat down on the bed.
I didn’t really care she was still in town, I was glad to see her again.
“So tell me… how is it?” I asked.
We were now on the point in discussing… that elephant in the room. The fact that she was a vampire and not that normal happy teenage girl we knew before. She needed to talk with someone about it, and seeing as we didn’t do it back in the cemetery, with her parents being there, she wanted someone to talk with that could understand her. At least that’s what I initially thought was the reason for her coming there that night.
And we did talk about it, a bit. Small chat really.
She told me that Viktoria really took an interest in training her the best she could, and started considering her more and more like family, because as we both knew, she was the same blood with Viktoria and Regina. That was it. Only three of them of the pure blood that Regina was.
Viktoria and Blanche were, by their definition, sisters. By my definition… anything but.
She told me how Viktoria taught her every little single thing about every little single insignificant fact, and she also told me (quite excitedly) about a whole bunch of perks – but downsides also – that she had.
She talked about how she’s basically forced by Viktoria too much, too fast.
Blanche understood her position and who she was all too well, and she knew she had to live-up to what she was, and there was no “average” for her. Being Regina’s blood meant you had to be an example of… perfection. She had years ahead of her to learn, but Viktoria – and Regina too – both took a very special interest in keeping her 100% engaged all the time. Sometimes as a pet, sometimes as an equal.
Blanche also told me that there was a single thing she couldn’t do. Hunt.
She couldn’t kill, she didn’t want to, and was forced to feed by her own means as a result. She wasn’t given any help with feeding – that is one thing that every vampire has to learn for himself, and she had a hard time adjusting.
I put out some candles in the room and we just both moved from the bed to the window sill just admiring the night sky…
We just stood there in silence for a few minutes and then Blanche suddenly said:
“She’s coming for you, you know…”
I just… I was both terrified and happy at hearing that, but I kept my excitement to me and just looked at Blanche and said…
“Yeah… I know…” In a disappointed kind of way.
Blanche put her hand to my heart.
“I can feel it you know, better than you can… I can hear it…” She said.
I knew that, but I didn’t realize it when I was trying to hide my excitement. After a year spent among humans, ‘faking it’, it’s hard to realize and change all of a sudden. It was harder to ‘fake it’ near a vampire.
“You want it. I can hear it. Your heart doesn’t lie.” Blanche said.
“I didn’t say I don’t.” I replied.
“No, but why are you trying to hide it? Do you really think denying what you feel would just make it go away?” Blanche continued.
“Well look at you how much of an emotional, romantic psychologist you became all of a sudden!” I blurted out and turned around.
“All I’m saying is, that… there’s no point in regretting something that doesn’t need to be that way, that you can change. Look at me. I came to be with my parents because that’s where I wanted to be on my birthday. I know I shouldn’t have, but I wanted it, and I’m not denying myself that.” Blanche said and then added:
“Anyway, regardless of what you feel. She’s coming for you.”
“What do you mean she’s coming for me?” I was asking because it sounded… bad.
“I don’t really know what I mean, all I know is that she’s not staying away for much longer.” Blanche responded.
“When?” I asked.
“In an hour, a day, or a week, don’t know exactly, but really soon. So decide what you want, and either stay or leave. And if you leave, make sure you leave for good.” Blanche answered, and with that she hugged and kissed me goodbye, and off she was into the night… I wondered if I would ever see her again.
October 7, 2012 § 8 Comments
Regina looked at me in a “stay here” kind of way and left with the cardinal. I was swiftly taken at her place, down below again.
Any normal person would, at this point, worry. Worry about where she went, why she didn’t say anything, etc.
However, you have to understand this happened around five times a day, with her leaving in very strange conditions, with very strange people, without saying anything at all, and then returning like nothing has happened, and normally, that was the case, nothing did happen. I got used to it. I got used to the idea that she had taken care of herself for almost 500 years, the chances of anything happening to her were pretty slim I figured.
Sure enough, she returned about an hour later. She didn’t say anything much, except the fact that we’re leaving for Turkey soon.
I put together two and two, and with what she left out in the process, turned out she had just met the new pope, Benedict, which apparently, like many others before him, had a hard time believing what the cardinal was telling him. Had a hard time believing that the Vatican was built on top of a vampire nest – and not any nest. So Regina kindly “met his acquaintance”. I only felt sorry for not having the chance to meet the pope myself, and not having the chance to see his face when Regina performed her little “Look at what I am” dance.
Do you remember the pope on the TV? That guy which preaches peace and understanding, but goes around in a three-inch thick bullet-proof glass car? That guy, that guy just stood face to face with his greatest enemy, friend, fear and dream – in the same time – Regina, the queen of all that is underneath us. Literally.
And if you think this is too much – wait for it – I’m not even done. The amount of shit – because I can’t really find another word for it – Regina was involved in is unfathomable. It just really is, for me at least, too complex to understand. This is too much of a conspiracy theory for most of the readers, and a Sci-Fi tale for the others. Don’t try to believe it, just focus on the vampire part. I’m already asking too much with that, so just read it and get it over with.
Regina didn’t waste another second. I think this was actually the first time I’ve seen her contact someone directly.
Oh and by the way, she was in a constant state of… hmmm…. paranoia? No. She was on edge. Angry, jumpy, impulsive – rushed in everything, and did I say angry?
She picked up an ancient, landline phone, dialed a number, changed her mind or dialed it wrong, dialed again and waited.
Three words. Russian. Thick Russian. Couldn’t understand what she said, but the last word was “Odessa” for sure.
And Odessa it was.
“Everyone to Odessa.” That’s what she said.
Everyone? Surely she wasn’t planning a modern-day invasion. And why Odessa?
Time for me to retreat was near. I didn’t.
We flew to Odessa in no time. We were taken to the outskirts of the city, 50km or so north of Odessa, and then went off the road, on a path through a forest for about 500 meters. A large abandoned building was in front of us. The car left us there and left.
Gray, no windows, thick grime encrusted walls all around. One meter high grass all around the building, two floors with two big hangar-like doors on the front side, wide open so that you could see on the other side of the building, through it.
We went through the building straight in the back, and there Regina opened a rusty iron door, behind which was another door. But this one was not rusty, this was a pure, stainless steel door. It opened by itself. Viktoria on the inside did actually.
We descended a flight of stairs and ended up in one single large hall, completely empty at a first glance, but sterile like you wouldn’t even dream of. Everything was painted in a blinding white, the lights themselves were so bright you could barely keep your eyes open. The amount of white in that room, and the lack of any features, furniture, anything really, made the room seem like an infinite space. The shape of the room just faded away, the corners were almost invisible and it felt like you were literally floating in nothingness. Four people were present there. Lars, Viktoria, Nikita and Edmund.
“We’re going for Gunnar. If he’s in Istanbul, we’ll find him.” – Regina said.
She looked at Viktoria and Viktoria nodded in agreement – which I later found out, through getting to know their little nods better, was actually a confirmation of “Everything is set” and not a “I agree” type of thing. This is not uncommon at all. We all have our little friends that understand us just by looking at us. Regina and I were the same, but the weird part there was that we didn’t build that. It happened almost from the first day. You just click with some people. Maybe Viktoria and Regina were the same, but I had the feeling they learned about each other, rather than it coming naturally.
Viktoria knew all too well what Regina wanted and how she wanted it to be done, and she complied.
There were no guns involved. There were no knives, there were no weapons. This was just a happy gathering.
We simply met there, and we all left for Istanbul, together. We didn’t take the same plane. Viktoria almost never travelled together with Regina.
We landed in Istanbul, and from there, everyone was on his own, it seemed. Regina and I went straight for the port. We boarded a cargoboat, and inside the cargoboat, not in a container, but down in the bowels of the ship, we met with Viktoria.
She was dressing from head to toe in Kevlar. I knew it was Kevlar because of the weight. I’m not talking here about specially designed vests, this was pure military grade Kevlar material, and she was rolling it around her torso and feet. Hands weren’t a priority apparently.
“I’m not going through that again. I don’t care how I look. Don’t you look at me like that.” She was talking to herself, and to us in the same time. Regina was smiling and looking at her in a “you’re in the weird part of your brain again” way.
“Here.” She threw something at us. Regina caught it, turned it from side to side, clicked, beeped and stuck it in her back pocket. It was a slim, flat, pen-like length, GPS receiver.
I got one too. Viktoria had one too. Hurray! GPS for everyone!
Technology in the world of vampires. This was becoming more and more interesting. Starting easy with landline phones and then moving to state of the art GPS receivers in the same day? That escalated quickly.
Slowly, one by one, they started appearing. At first people I knew, more spread apart, mixed with some I didn’t know.
They came in, nodded, helped themselves at whatever their heart desired – most picked knives, some picked swords, a few picked Kevlar vests. All of them got GPS receivers.
What the hell is with all the Kevlar?! I remember I thought. And then again, they truly hated guns more than anything. It’s not about the fear of dying, that rarely happens, but one, two, three, four, fifteen bullets really, really rendered any of them pretty much useless for quite some time. The younger they were, the more time needed to recover. This again, reminded me, wasn’t a movie. Bullets hurt, and depending on the weapon and wound location, they can also be deadly. There’s no coming back from an explosive bullet to the head. Plus, any bullet wound needed to be taken care of individually. Bullet taken out if it didn’t get out by itself, wound drained or cleaned, made to bleed again, if the bullet prevented it from closing and the blood coagulated. I learned all this the hard way, seeing Viktoria literally punctured with bullets from head to toe. She recovered, sure, but put any other of them in that position, and they wouldn’t live a second longer after the last shot.
They all came in, and left. We remained.
This whole thing went on for quite a few hours, I counted more than 40 of them, maybe more. And none of them was under 100 – 150, you can tell from the way they move, speak or how they hold themselves when picking something up or dressing. That, and the face. I just… it’s something you can just tell, in the same way you can read someone’s thoughts from an expression, or read someone’s “intelligence” by the way they look at you. It’s just something you get used to, it’s something you learn, involuntarily. Sure, some of them can ‘fake it’, but I doubt that was the case there.
I was stunned. This was the first time I’ve seen so many of them in one night. Usually, I knew about 15 of them, and everything that happened, happened in this small circle – I’m sure there was such a circle at each level. This was Regina’s circle.
And these people, women and men, these were no ordinary folk. This was the guard. That very same guard that guarantees the safety of the queen, the very same guard that goes to any affected zone, appeases any major conflict. This was the SS of the vampire world. All the elders that I knew were among them, and some even older that just didn’t oversee any territory. These were no ‘muscle’. These were the brain. Strong, fierce and remorseless, but each one more intelligent and with more skills that an entire university classroom. I pity the fool (sorry T.) that would go against any of them. Now imagine all of them. In any case, and in any major past, present or future conflict, this would be the very last line of defense, behind which Regina would stay. Normally.
WHAT THE HELL WAS I DOING HERE? Panick. Breatheeee… Breatheeee….
“REGINA!” I shouted. I couldn’t help it anymore.
“What the fuck is going on?! FOR GODS SAKE THIS IS GENOCIDE.”
“Not yet.” She replied.
She cut herself rather deep to her wrist and stuck it into my mouth.
“You’re not staying out this time. You’re coming with.” She said, and added: “Swallow!”
While I was doing just that, she explained how I protested last time when she didn’t want me to go with her. Good times.
“Swallow!” I tried, I really tried. It was no better than what it usually tasted like. Copper, warm copper.
I must have swallowed a whole 200 MG cup of it. How do I know? Well that’s about the size of my morning cup of coffee, and I know approximately how I feel after drinking all of it. I was around that level.
“Don’t throw up.” Viktoria said laughing, zipping up behind me.
“Don’t.” She said again and started walking towards the exit. Regina pushed me from behind and I followed, with her behind me.
I was shaking.
Now, years later, I know that the Vampire Diaries, the TV show, says that if you drink vampire blood, and then die, you become a vampire.
The truth is, they are close, but not actually there.
You don’t actually 2need to die. If you get to that point, you’re just that, dead. Instead, you just need to lose a big part of your own blood. Dangerously anemic I would call it.
But the thing is, having vampire blood in you already, will not allow you to lose too much blood. You won’t heal like they do, but it coagulates much faster, the wound doesn’t close, it just stops bleeding really fast. I learned this the hard way, and if you read the story, you know how. Given, if the wound is too large, you’ll most likely just do what any normal person would do, and die.
However, I didn’t know that much at the time, I had my suspicions, but it was fuzzy. Nobody gave me a run-down of vampire characteristics or books to read. Nobody sat me down and explained this and that. I picked it up day by day, some things I got wrong, some turned out to be true. Even to this day, there’s a lot of things I can’t explain or know how they work.
So you see, it’s a very… interesting fact here. A fact that makes it nearly impossible to be turned like this.
Let me put it in other words: The normal way of being turned is by the vampire feeding off you, and then you feeding off her. The moment when the vampire looses enough blood and passes out, you also ingested enough blood of hers, and pass out yourself. Two persons have roughly the same amount of blood if there’s no big difference in body size.
Now, doing it the other way, is a bit impossible. If you feed from the vampire first, she’ll pass out if you drain her, but you won’t, because you haven’t lost any blood. Nothing happens. And if you are wounded after feeding of the vampire, again, you won’t manage to lose enough blood, because it coagulates faster. It works like a super-charged Vitamin K.
I didn’t know all that at the time, I had a hunch, but the whole theory was not clear in my head. I simply figured that, if something happens to me, I’ll turn. I was scared, I was shaking.
We approached a small hotel with a basement bar. The same place where Viktoria was attacked in the first place.
Viktoria went in, me and Regina stayed out. Five minutes in, two persons got out in a rather rushed pace, and ran. We followed them, and I was pretty sure Viktoria was on our footsteps also.
It wasn’t long until we went straight through a park, then through two narrow streets, at the end of the last one being a large building, not tall, just generally large, spread.
They went straight inside, we followed them to the basement. We passed right through the basement, then through a corridor, and ended up in a large interior yard, flanked on all sides by similar two-story buildings. The whole thing smelled horrible, literally.
In front of us, the two guys, observant enough, finally acknowledged someone was following them, and by the time we managed to make ourselves unseen, a rather large number of them started coming out from a door from our right, a door towards which the two guys were now heading too.
I simply stopped and then started backing up with my face still towards them.
Regina stopped too, but didn’t back down. Instead, she started advancing slowly.
That whole crowd started forming, slowly but surely, a semi-circle in front of Regina.
I counted about 20 of them, heavily armed. Simple guns luckily, no RPG, no AK-47. Phew. Phew? It was pretty much, still, the highest number of guns I’ve seen in my life.
Let me rephrase that: It was the first time I had actually seen a gun in my life, not considering the ones I had seen earlier in the ship.
Regina advanced and pulled out from under her jacket, slowly, a cross. A rather big cross. They didn’t flinch, didn’t changed their attitude.
“I was sent here by the Vatican itself. You have something that belongs to us, and we want it back. Please, we mean you no harm.”
She was still advancing.
“STOP!” One of them yelled.
“YOU – NO – VATICAN!”
“We know who you are!” Other one yelled.
And then Regina finally stopped and grabbed her infamous golden knife from inside the jacket. They all tensed when she reached inside, but none made any move.
And while making that move, I knew perfectly well what’s coming. Nothing good. Regina had already started arching her back, bending her knees and pretty much radiating with anger. I could feel it in the air. Ok, I couldn’t actually feel it, but I felt it through the memories that stance inspired in my head.
“If you know who I am. You know what I am.”
“Give me what I want and I’ll leave in peace.”
My heart stopped. No!
Dodged a bullet. Surely that can’t be possible.
And really, it isn’t. But Regina did it. Before you jump to accusations, let me explain.
Any gun has a trigger, and any trigger needs to be, well, triggered. Now, if you ever held a gun, you know that every trigger has a certain weight, some of them have about 5KG of force needed to actually push the trigger. You would also know that the very last part of the trigger is increasingly harder to push. A split-second before actually firing, you end up in that “point of no return” when the trigger is just about to snap and fire, right at that moment. That’s the moment when you apply the most force to a trigger.
You see the hand tensing up, you hear the trigger being pushed more and more, and you get to know, if you can hear it, the exact point of no return, which is about 200 milliseconds before the gun is fired.
Regina could hear that, she was in a full-blown alert. She could hear that perfectly well, and dodged the bullet before the gun was actually triggered. Now, if you can’t hear that, and figure you dodge it anyway, you could end up in that awkward situation where you jump because a bomb is about to explode, but it never does.
This wasn’t the case, Regina ducked before the gun was fired, it happened so fast you couldn’t tell which came first, the shot or the dodge. No jokes about the chicken please.[audio http://k006.kiwi6.com/hotlink/lc4m5gzrf4/05_-_ketto.mp3]
She got up and instantly growled at them. A really, really loud, primal, evil and full of anger growl. Even I tensed up behind her, shivers down my spine. I couldn’t see her face, but I knew it all too well. I knew those dark red eyes, and that primal roar and expression that showed nothing but viciousness, a panther about to jump at you.
The moment when she did that, the whole line of them just backed down a few inches. They still held their ground, but you could tell they were pretty much just seeing it for the first time, most of them, the one that shot was holding his ground.
All around us, from the buildings that formed the interior round, there were cracking sounds and footsteps and in a matter of seconds, all of them, in balconies that ran for the full length of the buildings, were full of people. At first I thought “That’s it, we’re never leaving this place alive.” But then, all of those people jumped from the second floor, and my thoughts changed completely. I knew who all of them were.
The semi-circle was now encircled, almost, by death itself.
Instantly, five of them just backed down and tried to run. Viktoria picked them up in one single run from on side to the other, knocking all of them down as she went by and then just standing to Regina’s left, at 10 o’clock, in front of her but behind the others.
This all happened rather fast, most of the ones around didn’t interfere. Another few of those that remained just dropped their guns and did nothing except just staying there in pure terror, and about 10 of the ones that remained with guns raised, started shooting frantically towards everyone and everything that moved.
I literally saw Regina and Viktoria approaching them one step at a time, walking while being shot at, looking at them straight in the eyes, growling at them and approaching relentlessly. I saw both of them jerking violently as they approached, being hit by one bullet after another. Regina had absolutely no armor, no nothing on her. She just walked towards all of them without backing down. I could see bits and pieces of clothing flying off her.
She got to the point where she was literally 10 centimeters away from them and they were still shooting and in one move she just ripped the throat of the one that shot first, right there, she bit so hard that half of his throat was literally missing. He was still shooting, and not missing, while she did that.
Viktoria pretty much massacred another three of them, and some of the ones that were knocked down by her, got up in the meantime but were held in place by the others.
Three of the ones that were shooting remained, and they stopped shooting.
All in all, there were now only 7 of them left alive.
Regina bent down with one knee to the floor. She looked behind, at me, saw me, and looked back at them.
She looked at Viktoria and Viktoria smiled and tapped her chest in a gesture of saying “Kevlar!”
Regina was coughing blood, almost kneeling. She made a gesture like a horizontal line in front of her, in the air. Without saying anything, with her head bent down.
All of the seven were lined up in front of her, some standing, some to their knees, unable to get up for some reason or another.
I could pretty much tell that she took this very personally, otherwise she wouldn’t even had come here, and wouldn’t have called everyone else like this. It wasn’t really necessary, and five of the ones that were around us could have taken care of this more easily and with fewer casualties. But this was personal to her, and for Viktoria too.
To attempt and strike right at the heart of the kinship… no. Revenge is not a word looked down upon in their world. Revenge is part of everyday life, and is carried out religiously even if futile in the end.
Half of the others were standing guard all around the yard, in random places, but strategically placed so that no single meter remained unobserved. Another half was already picking up dead bodies all around and hauling them through the door from where we came.
Regina started undressing.
Jacket. Shirt. Pants. Almost naked, except underwear. She was bleeding from at least fifteen or twenty different places.
She approached the first one, jerked him to his feet with one hand and just dug deep in him, biting hard while he screamed, and screamed and then stopped screaming, falling down to the floor, dead.
“Where is he?” She asked the others casually.
One bullet to the ground. Ping. It fell out of her and the wound vas visibly closing in front of their eyes. The expression on their face was pure amazement, fear, terror and… amazement again. It was kind of like seeing a dog talk. You don’t really know if you’re amazed or terrified.
None of them said anything.
She picked the next one and repeated the process exactly.
Again, two bullets fell out from her, with a third picking it out herself from a shoulder and dropping it. Wounds closing faster than you could see.
I want to tell you that I wanted to stop her then and ask her not to do that, not to kill all of them, but I can’t. Because that wouldn’t be true. I was actually asking myself how much blood can she drink, and if she can actually drain all of them. I was rather giddy at the thought of that being possible, and was looking forward to seeing the attempt.
I’m a horrible person. I know. But those fucks just tried to kill the only person I’ve ever cared about this much. I would have drained them myself, butcher shop style.
When she picked up the next in line she didn’t even ask anymore. She just did it AGAIN and then looked at them, staring them down, while bullets were coming out of her and wounds closing. They knew the damn question pretty well.
One of them then said:
“Inside… under the trapdoor….”
Regina flicked her head towards Viktoria and waited, wiping blood of her body here and there and taking her pants back on. All of the bullets from her legs were now out, some of them picked out by herself.
Then… the vampire died.
September 20, 2012 § 3 Comments
A man dies twice. When his heart stops beating and when his name is spoken for the last time.
I wondered how long it would take in Blanche’s case to forget about her, because indeed, that is true death – disappearing from the minds of everyone you’ve ever loved, forever.
We were not yet out of the cemetery itself when Regina’s focus shifted from nothing, from relaxed, to full attention towards a flight of stairs that led to the other entrance. I didn’t hear anything but by now I was pretty accustomed to the fact that no, she wasn’t predicting the future, she was just expecting – or hearing – or having better senses, and could notice something before I did, most of the time. Sure enough, a minute later, a very common man, nothing out of the ordinary, around his thirties, medium sized guy with a local sense of fashion, approached.
Small side-story here:
He could have passed as a local and I wondered if he was someone from the town. I don’t know whether he was a human or a vampire. There are a lot of persons that I never found out about if they are one or the other, and this just proves to me, and maybe to some of you, how ordinary and common they are. Even for someone who has spent quite a considerable time with them, it’s damn near impossible to tell. And if I was to take this even further, and hypothetically make someone choose from two people, one human and one vampire, I’m fairly certain he would pick the human as being the vampire. They are just really, really… inconspicuous and hard to tell.
Like I said time and time again: the only real way that you can find out if someone is a vampire or not is by wounding him. This is something THEY CANNOT CONTROL. And I cannot stress this enough. Healing themselves is NOT subject to self-control. It’s a very strong mechanism that kicks in the second one is wounded, no matter if he’s conscious or not, dead or alive. As long as rigor mortis has not yet dissipated. If you don’t know what that is, read about it – but it’s basically the stiffening of the muscles post death, which occurs about two hours after death in humans, and about 12 hours after death in vampires. It lasts for two to six days in humans, and about a week or more in vampires, depending on how old they are. The vampire continues to heal through rigor mortis, and eventually springs back to life. This is the key to their eternal life.
HOWEVER – if the wound is prevented from healing – or the damage is just too great, rigor mortis dissipates and decomposition occurs. Once decomposition sets in, that’s it. This can be done in several ways – leaving the weapon inside the vampire – like a stake, you HAVE to leave it there for the full duration, or decapitation – which basically ensures that no healing will occur whatsoever, and decomposition sets in much faster. I’m sure you can get creative here anyway.
And one last point: rigor mortis can be extended indefinitely for vampires, in sub-zero temperatures.
End of side-story.
He approached Regina, did a very subtle nod towards me and her, and then stared a bit at Regina in an inquisitive kind of way.
Regina looked at me and then back at the man, and said: “Yes.”
I figured he was asking for permission to speak – not in the literal sense, but in the sense of “Who’s this guy and can I speak freely in front of him?”
She didn’t bother introducing anyone, which normally wasn’t the case, but right there and then I knew that he was no close acquaintance of hers, and I even doubted that they knew each other prior to this.
“Message to central five minutes ago. Viktoria attacked by unknown group of humans. She requires your presence, the cvorum has been met.” – The man said.
And then proceeded to give her a piece of ordinary paper full of numbers and special characters from top to bottom. Nothing meaningful it seemed to me.
But before getting into that, I have to tell you that this was truly for the first time after years that I had the least bit of insight into their ways of communication, which will turn out to be even more and more complicated – and yet so simple – in the months to come.
I had absolutely (and still don’t) no idea how she was found anywhere, anytime whenever there was a need. Somebody just popped up and relayed a message. At least that was out of the puzzle. I knew there was a messenger. But how he got it in the first place – or how the one that sent the message even knew where to send it and where Regina was – remained a mystery for a long time.
Basically – they have a central – not a nest or anything – just one simple phone number to which someone answers no matter what, day and night, and then proceeds on sending the message through a number of channels from one point to the other, no matter if it is another person or another phone number. I soon understood that the messenger had to deliver the message as efficient as possible, as soon as possible and as personal as possible – you can see how those three contradict themselves, don’t you? I could never fully understand the whole network or its full extent, it was damn near impossible and it would had taken me a lifetime to learn. It was not a standard network, it relied heavily on word-of-mouth, it changed from area to area and there was a high degree of subjectivity involved, meaning that each messenger conveyed and kept in touch with Regina as he saw to be most fit and efficient way for the given situation and area. Intercepting a message in this network was almost impossible, because the network was deliberately made in a chaos to the untrained eye, but nonetheless, Regina’s location was always available, and I had no idea how.
I figured she was keeping a messenger nearby at all times, but I later found out that it was more a matter of a “check-in”. And that’s why establishing territorial boundaries and control was important before any kinship presence could be established. Because she always had each zone carefully established and with known people in it, it was a matter of a simple alert whenever she arrived at any – literally any – destination within the influence of the kinship. She checked in – simple as that – and someone was made available instantly to convey messages if needed – and to provide any needs. And she wasn’t the only one enjoying this apparently.
Now back to the paper she received.
She focused on it for about twenty seconds, and then for the first time seeing her in a rush and unsettled, she said:
“We need to leave. Now.”
She gave the paper back to the messenger which made his way back to where he came from, and we started going towards my house in a hurry.
“What happened?” I asked.
“That message was from Viktoria herself and she’s got herself in a bit of a mess. We really need to go as soon as possible.”
A code that only the two of them knew – ever. An artificial language developed by the two of them over centuries. And I’m not even joking. It was not just a code, but was a language in itself – I don’t really know if someone could ever decipher that, because it literally had no spaces, no word formations, no nothing. It was just random numbers and special characters, one after another, spanning over an entire page. I never tried understanding it, because it’s of no use – You could never decipher a language based on nothing, and even if taught, I could never learn it properly. I need to tell you: This wasn’t by any means common, or used by anyone else. It was just the two of them that understood it – they created it – together, and never taught it to anyone else. It was their little way of making sure they are truly communicating with one another, and nobody changed, intercepted or interfered with the message.
“Where are we going?” – I was by now almost running down the steps behind her.
“I don’t know. We just need to leave right away to get there.” – That was confusing enough. Regina always knew where she was going.
As soon as we got home I threw in a small bag a couple of clothes for any occasion really, and just shouted away “I’m leaving” to my folks. This time they weren’t so understanding. With Blanche’s funeral and all – although they knew everything about it – it wasn’t so easy for them to leave me just vanish away, again, without knowing where I was going or for how long. I was growing up – but not as fast as I would have liked.
I basically gave them no choice but to accept. I didn’t have the time nor the will to explain everything. I feel sorry now for how I made them feel, but there’s no room for regret now.
As we were rushing out the door, I asked Regina again about what happened, and only when we got in a car she relaxed a bit and told me what happened.
“Viktoria was attacked by a group of humans, she’s hurt apparently but safe for now. I need to deal with this urgently, because as you already know, there’s rarely one human than knows about me or her, not mentioning a group of them.”
“But Regina, if Viktoria was attacked not even two days after Blanche, doesn’t that ring a bell?”
“What?” – She replied.
“They are both… yours.”
“I would bet that this is a new trend, and we need to find all of those that you turned.”
She had an epiphany right there and then, and pushed the car even harder.
“Change of plans.”
We were in the airport in under 40 minutes and in a plane in under two hours. Although it took over eight hours in total to get there, we finally did.
We were in the plane.
“How many descendants do you have anyway?” – I wasn’t expecting an answer to this really, I felt it was way to personal, even for me, to ask her.
“Just three, out of which just Viktoria was planned if you must know.”
The three were of course Viktoria, Blanche and… Gunnar.
We were heading for Gunnar, and as soon as we landed in Gotheborg, Regina checked in with Lars, the elder of Scandinavia, and told him everything that has transpired, and more. It seemed to me, that from all her acquaintances and elders, Lars was the one she not on liked, but trusted, most. Except Viktoria. Maybe.
Lars was already aware of pretty much everything and was also prepared to leave. Later about that.
As we left his place, Regina ended the very short conversation with:
“…and whatever you do, don’t step over the border.”
And with that we were on our way straight for Gunnar. If you don’t remember who Gunnar is, read the post “vampires don’t dig for the past“, last part, after the last photo.
From Gotheborg we took a flight to Trondheim, Norway – the last bastion of Regina’s influence. Everything north of Trondheim, is a no-man’s land. I’m not saying there aren’t any of them, I’m just saying there’s no elder covering that area, be it Sweden or Norway. Scandinavia, north of Trondheim, is without influence. Nobody applies any rule there, and because of that, too few of them go and settle there permanently. The most gruesome stories I’ve heard between them took place there, in the middle of nowhere, with nobody hearing or ever knowing anything. Regina herself didn’t condemn anything as we talked on our way there. It was truly a ‘everything goes’ zone, but it’s rather safe for humans, because like I said – there are very few of them in such a large area, and none of them really stay there permanently. If you have something to do there, good, if you don’t, you’re most likely not going to be there anyway.
The flight to Trondheim was horrible enough, in the middle of the winter, but the drive there was even less pleasant. I honestly expected us to remain permanently trapped in the snow, and with nobody in sight and a hungry Regina next to me, my chances weren’t really good. I mean one can eat snow for only so long.
And while we were at it, we also talked about what she said to Lars.
You see, Viktoria was in triple-trouble.
First, a group of humans knew who she was and what she was, and wasn’t exactly clear if she was to be held accountable for this.
Second, she was in one of the very few areas in which Regina strictly told everyone not to go – for no apparent reason I thought – until then. There aren’t many places where a vampire can’t go, but one of those places is a considerable area of modern-day Turkey.
And third, she was very badly hurt.
Regina sent Lars to pick-her up and transport her to safety, guard her until the cvorum met. He was supposed to do this without stepping over the border, which is not a human border, but the territorial border of the kinship’s domain in Europe. It is basically the strait that divides Europe from the Middle East, it divides Istanbul in two, it is the strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.
Viktoria was on the wrong side of the border, and Lars needed to pick her up with the help of – you guessed it – humans. Even in a situation like this, Regina obeyed, or feared, going over that imaginary line.
We finally got to Gunnar. The plan was…