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Every night I sit in my old, creaking rocking chair next to the fire, thinking. I finger the locket that rests upon my heart and stare out at the moon shining though the boarded windows of my old, age-stained Victorian house. And every night I wish that things had been different. I wish that I didn’t have to spend eternity alone, sinking into the darkness of my reality.
There are many stories made up about what happened to me, but only one of them is true. Tonight, I write the truth. It started with a cloudy night, much like tonight.
I could hear the thunder bang as I opened and old newspaper. The storm raged on as I curled up on the chair in the living room and wrapped myself in a blanket. I scanned through the pages. The date read November 20, 1986.
After a while, the words started to slur as my eyes drooped. Right before I slipped them closed, the telephone rang. I woke with a start and jumped up in sudden surprise. “Hello?” I asked into the phone. I heard nothing. “Hello?!” I tried again. Nothing. Annoyed, I decided to wait a few seconds more.
And then I heard it. Sharp, quick breathing. “What do you want?!?” I raised my voice. I heard someone whisper “You!” and then the line died.
“Probably a joke,” I thought, trying to comfort myself. I headed back to the article for something to drown out the storm. Before long, the telephone rang again. “Hello!?” I questioned. Again, nothing.
“Please stop calling me,” I said. Nothing. I moved to hang up. There it was again: the rapid breathing. I shoved the old phone into the cradle. I hurried back to the sitting room, now afraid of my own shadow.
I gasped when I reached the chair. On the chair-side table stood a tiny wooden doll. I picked it up and threw it, not wanting to touch the creature. I screamed when it hit my ink bottle and sent it tumbling to the floor with a loud crash. Now afraid of what might lurk inside the locked doors of my house, I didn’t dare pick it up.
I sat down in the chair and returned to my article. I wouldn’t fall asleep. Not now, anyway. I sat awake waiting for another phone call, knowing that one soon awaited me. Frozen in my place, I felt Goosebumps forming on my arms. I could hear the upstairs floors creaking. Was someone there? My eyes stayed fixed on the newspaper, not wanting to see what lie behind the Victorian-style furniture. Not wanting to know what lurked in every shadow.
The phone rang once again. This time, I was afraid to find out who might be on the other line. I waited, glued to the chair. The phone rang a few more times. And then there was silence. Dead silence. Slowly, I turned my head towards the table where the phone sat. Out of the corner of my eyes I thought I could see a shadow creeping down the creaking stairs.
I stood up slowly and managed to grab the phone before the final ring. I could hear the top stairs creaking. The dial tone rang for a few seconds and then the phone was dead.
I gasped. Someone was in the house. I brushed aside the idea and denied the possibility in my head.
Upon returning to the chair, I was positive I could see a shadow moving across the wall. When I turned to look in the direction from which the shadow would have come, there was nothing I looked, horrified, back at the wall. The shadow was still there, clear as ever. I switched my gaze back to the hallway. Nothing. I assured myself there couldn’t possibly be someone inside. But just as a precaution, I assured myself, I locked as many doors as I could find and returned to the chair, my safety zone.
The storm continued throughout my mysterious phone calls and showed no signs of letting up. The rain poured on louder than ever, but I could distinctly hear a dripping noise coming from the upstairs bathroom. I gasped in disbelief. At that point, I had no idea what moved me from my safety zone. I cautiously made my way up the stairs and through the hallway towards the bathroom. The dripping got louder every step I took. The door was open a crack and an eerie beam of light peeked out. I grabbed the door frame and pushed the door open further, slowly sticking my head in and taking careful steps toward the dripping.
It was louder than ever before, but I could find no source of water. My mouth dropped open when I saw a message scrawled across the mirror in the unmistakable ink of blood. “BE AFRAID!” it told me in big, bold, dripping letters.
I realized that there was no help for me now. I had no choice but to endure what was coming or die trying. I screamed all the same as I heard a loud thump on the door. I peeked out the door; my eyes wide open for horror. The decorated handle of a knife stood out from the door. A warning, I guessed, for what was soon to come.
Fear crept through me as I fled to the bedroom on the right of the stairs. Nothing. And then to the bedroom on the left. Nothing. I ran back out into the hall and stopped, very suddenly. There was someone in the bathroom. I quickly and quietly opened the creaking door.
A squeal of horror escaped my lips. My eyes bugged out when I realized what I had walked in upon. A woman’s body lie across the floor with her head resting on the
claw-like foot of the bathtub as if she had fallen there. Her dead eyes stared up at me like empty glass spheres.
She seemed to be looking at me, her eyes pleading for help. Her skin was pale as if all of the blood had been sucked out of it. A faint crescent shaped mark on her collar bone glinted with a drop of blood. I recognized a locket staring up from her chest. I identified the body of my best friend. I timidly approached and snatched the ribbon of the necklace with a yelp of sorrow and pain. I clenched it until my knuckles turned white.
I slammed the door and tore down the stairs, hoping to catch her murderer in action. When I entered the living room, I saw nothing. I turned to see a tall, dark figure waiting for me across the room. “Hello,” I offered. Nothing came in reply. I blinked and he was gone. Quickly, I turned to scan the room. He now stood, waiting patiently behind me. “You’re very fast,” I announced, my voice quivering. He began to move towards me and his long, cold fingers clenched my neck. I gasped and was soon unable to move.
He stood behind me and whispered words into my ear which I did not understand. His hand tightened, cutting off my air. I screamed loud and clear, but I knew no one could hear me. I then felt the cold blade of a knife on my throat, which silenced me.
My breathing became harsher, like on the telephone. I prepared for my breath to go away, for my life to be stolen. I closed my eyes, hoping that my silencing would be quick. And at the very moment I heard the phone ring, I did not know if I was
dead or alive. A wave of relief passed over me. I was reassured to know that it was over, that my death was painless.
I woke when I felt my body welcome the cold floor beneath. I finally realized that he was gone. Fear crept back into my veins. I clenched my knees and rocked back and forth as tears spilled down my face as I searched for comfort. The phone rings again.
Somehow, I managed to move my seriously traumatized self from the floor and shook with every tear-filled step to the phone. With trembling fingers I picked up the telephone. It seemed to give off cold energy in my hands. I put the phone up to my head and let the messages fill my ears. “I will be back for you,” his wispy voice informed me.
With no noise, not even the creak of the floor behind me, I felt his stone-like fingers grab me. I dropped the phone and let out a screech of terror. I was abruptly turned around to face him. “Who are you?” I whispered my voice clouded with tears. My body was still shaking violently.
His mouth softly touched my neck and he bit into my skin. My body erupted in pain like nothing I had ever experienced. I could vaguely feel my body fall limp into his stone-like hold. I could feel him drop me to the ground. I balled up, screeching, unable to speak.
And now, for the last time in my life as a human, I heard the phone ring. And I knew, even in the hopeless state I was in, I hoped that this phone call would drive him away.
I could hear nothing for a while as I lie on the ground shrieking. My body had become suddenly cold. After this point, I could hear no more. I fell into a deep sleep and did not awake for a long time. All that I can remember from that stretch is the great pain. I know that I stayed on the hard floor for a very long while. Months, years even.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
My eyelids finally creak open. I am different. I seem almost new. And I am hungry. Very hungry. For human flesh. I realize what I have become. I am a vampire.
I rouse myself from the floor that has been my bed for so long with new agility that is yet to be explained. The pain is still there, but more than ever before. I venture around the house, which has been coated with dust and cobwebs. The sunlight shows through a cracked window onto the bare floorboards. The house is in terrible shape.
It is dark and cold. And he is nowhere in sight. I know he is gone forever and that every night I slept, he had drunk the blood and torture the soul of another innocent being, such as me.
Confused by my new state, I yearn to learn more. I use what only vampire resource I have: Dracula. I open the dusty, yellowing pages, and hope to find some kind of code within it. After a half day of careful reading, I find nothing.
Disappointed, I journey outside to get some of that fresh air I have long missed. My hunger overtakes me. I can smell blood all around me. I need blood. I sneak behind a very wild and overgrown hedge and peak around it, looking for prey. The doorbell rings.
I rush inside, my want for blood still overpowering me. This could be my chance. I hesitate at the door, my humanity now taking me. I can’t eat people! With all the self-control I can muster, turn away from the blood, which seems to be singing to me and climb the stairs.
I wait at the window overlooking the front yard. The door rings again. I gulp, trying to resist the temptation. I could just open the door, snatch the little girl scout cookie-selling girl in and it would be over. No… what little human is left of me pipes up. I cannot eat people; it’s wrong. I take a deep breathe and the door seems to stop ringing. I sigh in relief.
I spend my next couple of days going through the large pile of newspapers that have accumulated on my doorstep in the past few years. I learn about cell phone, computers, and cupcakes; genetically modified foods (I wonder if they can do this so that cows taste like people?!), war, and Google. I need a connection to the world, and the internet seems perfect. Tomorrow I will go and buy a computer. But first I need to eat!
I look around for something to eat. I open the fridge. Nothing but a mini ecosystem… of mold! I open the cupboard. Nothing but old rusty cans. I manage to salvage a mouse, which squeaks when I crunch down on it tiny bones with my newly sharpened teeth. Then I remember her! I race upstairs to the bathroom to feast on my friend’s blood, but when I open the door, there’s nothing left but a smelly, rotting, old skeleton.
The doorbell rings again. I pause. I had to take my chances. I thump down the stairs and slowly open the door. I poke my head around the portal. “Hello, would you like to buy some… EEEKKK! Don’t hurt me… Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!” and a gulp is all I hear from the book-selling girl. I greedily replenish myself with her blood and toss the mangled corpse down the stairs to the basement; I hear a thump when it reaches the bottom.
I throw on a moth-eaten sweater, open my safe and grab quite a sum of money, and run outside. I grab the old, rusty bike and head off into town where I follow the newspaper add to the car dealership. I notice a salsa-red convertible on top of the building.
“Hello, may I help you?” asks a polyester-clad car salesman who smells like new cars and cigarette smoke.
“Yes, I’d like to buy that car on top of the building. The red one,” I tell him. He looks as if he’d just swallowed a worm. He gulps.
“Uh… yes ma’am. Would you like to, uh, test drive it?”
“No.” I reply calmly. “And I can pay in cash.”
“Yes ma’am.” He replies, his face still a little pink.
It takes ages for them to get the stupid little car from the top of the building. The salesman drives around the corner and hops out of the car, leaving it with a forlorn look on his face as if he himself had been planning to buy it. He hands me the keys and I hand him $26,00.
I leave my bike around the corner by an old dumpster and screech off in my new car. I remember the computer article add on the back of the newspaper and sharply turn onto Mane Street. I stop smoothly in front of Bob’s Computers.
I open the door, which chimes annoyingly. I grab a cart and start chucking various computer accessories I’d read about into it. I should have enough money, right? After all, I haven’t spent any for 30 years. I’ve made a fortune in interest alone! I head to the checkout and purchase my spiffy red computer and its many manuals. Next stop: cell-phone store. Luckily it’s right next door.
I sign up for a monthly plan of 2,000 minutes. You never know who I’ll be talking to, right? I leave the store with a blood red Blackberry and head home.
When I arrive, I start making phone calls. Tomorrow, I will have people come and work on my house. I sit down by the window with my laptop and search the internet for vampire sights. All I find is myths about my kind. I laugh in disgust at their dim-witted faults.
A problem comes to my head. My human side speaks up. What can I eat? People. My vampire side puts up an argument. No, that’s out of the question. I Google ‘exotic meats’ and come to an online catalog. I order month’s worth of different choices and check express mail so that it will arrive tomorrow.
I turn off the computer and let myself rest staring up at the moon, for I cannot truly sleep. It is a long night, but I rest. I roll my eyes back in my head for darkness and wait until morning. At 7:53, I see a large van move into the long drive way and stop. A group of six young men get out. The doorbell rings. I slowly climb down the creaking stairs and open the door.
“Hello,” I try to be polite, but the sun glares at me and I glare back. I am very hungry.
“Hi,” says the voice of a tan workman. “What can we do for you?” I am not really listening because of my hunger. I notice a small kitten run across the doorstep. I scoop it up. Meow. It purrs.
“One moment,” I slam the door. Meowwwwww!! The kitten screeches as I swallow it’s furry body whole. I open the door. The men look stricken. I explain what I want done to make the house look dark and forgotten, almost haunted, and return to the study.
While the men work on painting and refinishing my Victorian house to be black like night, I open Amazon.com. I scroll through pages and order black and red pointy shoes and skinny jeans. I put express shipping on these, too.
I move to the bathroom and line my already black eyes with even more eyeliner, which I picked up on my trip to town. I paint my long nails red. I stare into the long-forgotten mirror. Underneath all of that blackness, I see sadness. Who am I kidding? I’m not happy. I have tried to make the best of my situation, but it’s just not working for me. I look into my red eyes and think about the years I will spend alone.
I sigh and leave the bathroom, thunder down the stairs, and exit through the garage. I jump into my convertible and head toward the old, church-like library. The darkness of the place reminds me of my loneliness.
After hours of searching through old, dusty volumes, I finally find what I’m looking for in an age-old book called Vampires’ Secrets. When you truly want death, it will come to you. So, all I have to do is truly want to end my life and it will happen?
I am deeply disappointed by what I have found. No magic potions or chants. I am in a savage mood when I return home. The builders are finished and I admit that the house looks just like I had hoped, but I cannot resist a sudden, hungry urge. The workers are waiting for me at the door.
“We’re done,” the man in charge informs me.
“Thank you very much. Can I all talk to you inside for a moment?” I ask sneakily. I lead them to the living room. I close and lock the door behind them. Screams and curse words echo in the room and I devour them one by one. I bundle up their lifeless bodies and stash them in my basement. When the job is done I feel guilt, not pleasure.
Now is when I truly wish to die, but I know I must do something first. I trod up the stairs and sit down in the den by the fire. I take out some paper and an old-fashioned ink pen and begin to write.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
I bind my story in a big, black book and stain the cover with a crimson red crest. I remove a second ribbon from my neck with a small, ornate key on the end. I open an ornate black box and place the journal in and close the lid with a departing feeling. I lock it and stiffly open the creaking door and step outside for the first time in many years.
The chilly night breeze sweeps my hair back from my pale face. I stop under a large oak tree and start to dig. Once I have a good sized hole, I place the old box inside and cover it with dirt. I snap the locket off of my white neck and press it into the top of the mound of soil. I walk back into the ancient house into the room I had spent so many long, painful years in.
I stare into the fire sitting atop my favorite chair. I close my eyes, but I can still see the fire through my eyelids. I concentrate very hard. And finally, after all those years, I feel my heart stop beating.