// THE CONVERTED TRAIN STATION //
It’s been a quiet fall. Just two months ago, my beloved returned to me. I was thankful, I was grateful; leaving the young vampress VANESSA TANG alone was not only trying my patience, it was downright unsafe. Giving her the Curse of my ancestors was something I privately regretted but had tried to spend little time dwelling over.
In all of my time as a Vampire, I could not recall a convert who had reacted in such a way. The girl was unhinged, manic. She laughed when she inflicted suffering on others. Her eyes steely and unmoving while others quivered in pain. I suspect she’s always been this way but the Curse has given her a new freedom.
I’m trying to contain her, trying to give her an outlet for her unbridled aggression. I must try to funnel her into something productive. But what?
The Sun beats down overhead, the smallest trickles of which crowd the edges of the windows. I have the day off from my duties at the Clinic and am spending the day with AVAELLE.
SHE’S BEEN READING EVERY LORE BOOK SHE CAN GET HER HANDS ON.
IT’S NOT GOOD FOR HER. SHE’S GETTING A LOT OF FAULTY IDEAS IN HER HEAD.
YOU NEED TO START EDUCATING HER.
I KNOW I DO.
I had my suspicions about where she’d learnt to drain the bodies completely dry.
THERE’S LITTLE I CAN DO FOR HER ANYMORE.
SHE DOESN’T TRUST ME, DOESN’T WANT TO LISTEN TO ME.
DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY.
SHE’S NOT IN HER RIGHT MIND.
I ACCEPT THAT BUT SHE DOESN’T ACCEPT ME.
PERHAPS WE SHOULD ACCELERATE THE PLAN.
I DON’T THINK I’M READY.
IF YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED THE DESIGN, I’M NOT SURE THAT I’M READY.
I’M NOT SURE I’LL EVER BE READY.
I KNOW IT’S FRIGHTENING, BUT I CAN’T THINK OF ANY WHO’D BE MORE WELL-SUITED.
I DON’T KNOW. I’LL TRY.
YOU’LL SUCCEED. IT’S IN YOUR BLOOD.
YEAH, AND I’VE ALWAYS HATED THAT ASSERTION.
WHAT USE TO ME ARE THINGS MY ANCESTORS DID?
COULDN’T I JUST WEAR THE GLOVES?
WE WOULDN’T HAVE ENOUGH COVERAGE TO SEE THE FEEDBACK IN YOUR NERVES.
YOU WOULD NEED TO WEAR THE ENTIRE OUTFIT.
SO MUCH FOR GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE.
WHERE WE’RE GOING, YOU WON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT SUCH TRIVIALITIES.
MAYBE THAT’S WHAT I’M WORRIED ABOUT.
I’LL THINK ON IT, OKAY?
VANESSA WANTED TO SEE YOU THIS EVENING.
I’LL GO WAIT ON HER.
VANESSA had claimed an underground room as her bedroom. She’d fastened a sturdy lock on the inside of the door but today it had been left undone. I come in and sit on the empty bed.
The youngest vampires had the greatest need to regenerate during the day, their wills not honed enough yet to resist the siren’s call of peace and quiet. The meditation promised a temporary still from the Craving, a still the younglings desperately needed.
I wring my hands and wait. I look about her windowless room. She’d decorated it in children’s fare, collecting posters and figurines of characters I didn’t recognize. Many of them possessed hair and eyes in colors not naturally occurring in Earth’s humans.
It was a funny thing for which to strive.
I can feel her stirring in her wooden coffin, the stale essence of life crackling like firewood.
Soon, she pushes the lid off and emerges, easily rising to her feet.
She wears a long dress in dark blue lace. Even before she turns around to make eye contact with me, she knows I am here and her expression warms into a smile.
She turns around to greet me.
LENARD. GOOD MORNING.
NO LONGER DO YOU WAKE IN THE MORNING.
YOUR ROUTINE HAS CHANGED, BUT THE TIMEKEEPER’S HAS NOT.
She sits in a revolving desk chair.
I KNOW, I KNOW–
BUT WHAT GOOD IS FITTING IN WHEN I DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS?
DO I NEED TO IMPRESS ALVARO WITH MY FINE BREEDING AND CULTURE?
ALVARO HALCOM was another of our coven with whom VANESSA did not get along well.
IT’S ABOUT TRADITION.
AND FAMILY VALUES?
She pauses and turns about in the swiveling chair with a twisted grin on her face.
FAMILY VALUES… YES, FAMILY VALUES!
THAT’S WHAT I WANTED TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT.
I DON’T WANT MY MOTHER AROUND ANYMORE.
AVAELLE had been right. I needed to educate the girl. But how could I tell her the truth when I didn’t yet trust her to keep it?
VANESSA, I DON’T THINK THAT’S SUCH A GOOD IDEA.
AND WHY THE HELL NOT?!
YOU DON’T LET ME HAVE ANYTHING I WANT!
THAT’S NOT TRUE. YOU CAN HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT.
YOU JUST HAVE TO WAIT ON IT.
I’M TIRED OF WAITING!
I’VE BEEN WAITING ON HER FOR YEARS!
The impatience of youth infuriates me, but I try to contain my rage.
SHE’S AN OLD WOMAN.
SHE WON’T LIVE FOREVER.
BUT SHE COULD! DON’T YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW THE POTION WORKS?
SHE’LL BE DEATHLESS AND AGELESS AND IMMUNE TO THE COMMON COLD!
(stern) I DO HAVE AN IDEA OF HOW IT WORKS.
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO ENJOY LIFE ETERNAL WHEN SHE’S STILL AROUND POLLUTING MY VIEW?
WE’RE NOT HERE TO ENJOY IT.
I DON’T CARE WHAT KIND OF IRON MAIDEN YOU SLEEP IN, I INTEND TO ENJOY THIS ‘CURSE’ OF YOURS!
IT’S NOT MEANT TO BE ENJOYED.
THEN YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!
Silence fills the air. It is hard for me even to contemplate a proper education for the girl when she spends each night screaming in my face.
I’LL OFFER YOU A DEAL.
YOU GET ME MY MOTHER AND I’LL STOP DRAINING THE BODIES DRY.
YOU SAY YOU WANT THEM LEFT ALIVE, FINE, YOU GOT IT: HALF-DRUNK, HALF-DEAD HUMANS COMIN’ RIGHT UP.
BUT I WANT DEAR OLD MAMA GONE.
AND THEN TOMORROW YOU’LL BE BACK ASKING FOR YOUR BROTHER’S HEAD.
NO I WON’T.
HE’S JUST A CHILD IN A MAN’S GAME.
A FOOL. I GOT A BETTER BUZZ FROM STREET DRUGS THAN I DID FROM HIS CONCOCTIONS.
MEN ARE USELESS.
I raise my eyebrow.
EXCEPT YOU, OF COURSE.
I HAVE NOTHING BUT THE UTMOST RESPECT FOR HE WHO RAISED ME FROM THE DEAD.
YOU’RE NOT DEAD.
OF COURSE I’M NOT. I’M BEING FRUITY.
BY DEAD I MEAN THE MORTALS AND HOW THEY, YOU KNOW, LIVE THEIR LIVES WITHOUT PURPOSE.
HOW THEY MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD.
WORDS HAVE MEANING, VANESSA.
OF COURSE THEY DO. BUT WHO SAYS I CAN’T CHANGE IT UP A LITTLE?
BUT LET’S NOT GET DISTRACTED.
I DO WANT MY MOTHER’S HEAD ON A PLATTER.
BUT I WANT TO BE THE ONE TO DO IT.
WHY? ISN’T DEATH BY OLD AGE A CRUELER FATE?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HER WEEP OVER YOUR ABANDONED TEDDY BEARS?
SHE STILL MAINTAINS HOPE THAT YOU’LL BE FOUND AND RETURNED.
I DON’T WANT HER TO DEVELOP HER IMMORTALITY!
I WON’T HAVE HER STAND NEXT TO ME IN THE END DAYS!
I THINK YOU SHOULD HAVE LITTLE FEAR OF THAT.
SHE’S BEEN DROWNING IN HER TEARS.
SHE BLAMES HERSELF.
AS WELL SHE SHOULD!
IT’S ABOUT TIME SHE WAS RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING!
IF A WITCH WILL NOT WORK, HER CAULDRON WILL COLLECT NAUGHT BUT DUST.
YOU SHOULD REJOICE OVER HER IDLE HANDS.
ANYWAY, I CAN IMAGINE SHE STILL MOURNS MY DEPARTURE.
WATCHING HER WAILING IS NOT WHAT I’M AFTER.
IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO KNOW SHE’S SUFFERING–
WHICH, BY THE WAY, I’M WELL-AWARE FOOTAGE COULD BE FAKED–
I WANT TO GIVE MYSELF THE SATISFACTION OF KNOWING HER SUFFERING IS OVER.
AND BY CONSEQUENCE, MY OWN.
GIVING YOURSELF WHAT YOU WANT OFTEN ONLY MAKES YOU WANT MORE.
YOU WANT THE WANTING. YOU’LL FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO LUST AFTER.
I’LL GET OVER IT.