I could try to describe what it’s like to die. I would say that it’s like running—but not the clumsy facsimile you get with a physical body—real running; like in dreams where there’s nothing but green fields, blue skies, golden light and eternity. Running like wind soaring, coppery blood tangy in your throat but not sticky or stifling. You run through all the unused corridors of your mind—gathering all the knowledge your subconscious hid from you while you were alive—because you know you’ll need it to add to your next experience. It’s wonderful. You feel FULL of wonder. And it’s nothing to fear like the churches and preachers and naysayers try to make you believe. You just keep running and running, flying forever forward into a warm and endless light.
But that’s not what it’s like to become a vampire. When you become a vampire, you’re not running TO something, you’re running FROM something. Something powerful and nameless. Worse than that, something HUNGRY. There’s no light to guide you either; you stumble about in the darkness and try to gather what knowledge you can—hoping that someone or something will rush in and save you, but knowing in your heart of hearts that nothing will. You’re alone with the darkness and a Beast and there is no help coming.
And that’s not what I do either. I refuse to run—to betray that weakness that seems to be the hallmark of our species—and all my hidden knowledge pours into me. Like water falling from an immense height, it vaporizes and enters me through every crack and crevice; every pore, every cell, every space between the strands of my DNA and I start to glow. In the darkness I become a single beacon of radiant white light.
I don’t have to try to understand it. Instead I embrace it. I embrace everything.
I feel a hand in my waist-length curls turning my head this way and that, but I can’t move. If my eyes weren’t already heavily lidded I wouldn’t be able to open them. I can’t swallow, can’t speak, and can barely think; it’s as if I’m awake but my body is asleep and I’m trapped. An arm unwraps from around my middle and my body sinks to the floor. I feel some hair get caught in those unknown fingers and tear out by the roots but I neither cry nor twitch. I might as well be dead.
“Master,” I hear a timid voice whine as if from a great distance, “this isn’t right. She isn’t Turning, she’s …” the speaker pauses, as if carefully considering his words. I would laugh, or shout, or scream, but as fate would have it I can do nothing but listen. “She’s dead.”
“Dispose of that,” I hear Jarvis snarl and through the blurry world between my eyelashes I see feet stomp away from me. A child-like voice releases a merry laugh and a slender white form walks up to me, stopping and then prodding me with her foot.
“You knew the risks, Jarvis,” the female chimes. Unlike the clear tones of bells her voice is like safety-glass shattering against stone, grating and fascinating at the same time. “Although I am surprised to see someone you COULDN’T Enthrall…Oh well. It is, I suppose a choice…”
“MY choice,” he growls and there’s that eerie laugh again.
“Of course, Master,” her tone is instantly contrite and I wonder exactly how much I’m missing, lying here on the floor. “Shall I remove it for you?”
“No,” Jarvis snaps his fingers and I feel bony hands digging into my wrist. In a move that should have wrenched my shoulder from its socket I fly up and something slams into my middle. But I have no breath so I can’t have the wind knocked out of me. “Return quickly, dawn is coming,”
“Yes Master,” the man carrying me replies and I see nothing as the world dims and the man beneath me races toward the unknown.
We exit the mansion and a small trickle of sensation returns to my body. It doesn’t hurt, it’s a pleasant tingling—like waking up in sunlight—and I feel my fingers and toes wriggle slightly. The man carrying me tightens his hand on my ass, lingering just long enough to make me…irate.
“Hurry up!” a new voice cries hoarsely and I open my eyes wider—finally able to focus on the horizon—to see where a thin line of ultramarine blue is the first herald of approaching dawn. Suddenly the world spins around me and I fall into the trunk of a large sedan, banging my leg against the edge—my head against the wheel-well—and hissing in pain.
“What the fuck?” the one who had carried me says as I blink rapidly and shake my head. Even though my vision’s just returned, there’s a red haze creeping into the corners of my sight and as I effortlessly lever myself out of the trunk I can’t help but laugh as the bony vampire before me falls backward and tries to scrabble away.
“I don’t suppose you’re going to apologize for molesting me,” my voice grates out from parched lips and adds an ominous tone that I like entirely too much. As his eyes bleed out in terror—revealing the Beast within—the red continues to close over my field of vision as I stalk toward him.
“What the hell?” the second one squawks before he, too, collapses in terror. Between the two of them there’s a litany of ‘ah fuck’ and ‘oh shit’s and it’s soothing in that way that Gregorian chanting is both monotone and melodious. I step toward them, loosening my fingers from where they’ve clenched into fists and before I can bend over the first man, all the world goes red.
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