I was only 20.I had seen my girlfriend brutally murdered, I was dying from a gut shot wound in the belly. Then, out of nowhere, came a man with a face like an angel, who knew what I thought, what I was feeling. He could do nothing for Julie, but he succored and saved me.I didn’t want to die and he had given me back my life. How would you feel?
He picked me up as easily as if he were lifting a child. He ran through the streets so fast that buildings flew by me in a blur. I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t be sick, and when I finally opened them, we were standing on the porch of an old home in the Ravenna District, not far from Children’s Hospital.
The door opened. “Tristan”. A tall, slender woman, middle aged but very attractive, stood there as she were expecting us. She stepped aside to let us in. “Bring him inside and put him on the sofa,” she said, “And get him some clean clothes. Yours ought to fit him well enough.” She laid a warm hand, so different from the cold of the vampire’s, on my forehead. “How are you feeling?” The expression on her face was both welcoming and concerned, like a mother’s might be.
She had no French accent. The inflections in her voice made me think she was from Seattle, like me. And there was another thing—I don’t know if it was the transformation or not--but I had a very strong feeling that this was no vampire I was looking at, but a mortal woman.
She smiled, pushing her short auburn hair back in a gesture similar to Tristan’s. “You’re right; I’m not a vampire like you. Tristan and I have lived together for many years. He keeps shying away from changing me. I keep telling him he’s a coward to keep me mortal.”
“Hush Isolde, you’ll scare the boy. And don’t read his mind, it’s not nice.” Tristan came into the room and laid slacks, a silk shirt, underwear, and socks on my lap. “You’ll feel better when you change clothes. Go clean yourself up in our bathroom—it’s at the top of the stairs in the only bedroom on the third floor.”
As I headed up the stairs I heard Isolde say to him, “Has he fed yet? You know he needs to feed; you need to take him out. But take the car this time, Tristan. He’s too weak to be out on the street just yet.”
The bathroom was huge, littered carelessly with male and female toiletries. I took a shower in an old fashioned claw-foot tub that could easily have held me and Julie.I lathered my body with olive oil soap and used shampoo that smelled like fresh apples.The bottles all had labels printed in French. My high school French was just adequate enough to let me guess at the ingredients.I dried myself off with the softest, thickest towels I’d ever seen, and put on Tristan’s clothes.
Everything about this house said “money”. I was wearing pants that were made out of tensil fiber and a silk shirt. The t-shirt and shorts were of pima cotton, as well as the socks I slid on my feet were also made of the same cotton. I felt guilty when I put on my dirty Nike Airs over them, it seemed disrespectful somehow. I want back downstairs feeling like I should have gel in my damp hair so I could pose for GQ.
Isolde looked at me and gave me smile of approval that made me blush. I felt strange all over. Healthy, well, but strange. It was only thinking about Julie that brought my mood down and Isolde saw it.
“Later, child, later. Now is not the time.” Normally I would bristle at being called “child”, but there was something about the way Isolde looked when she said it that made me not mind.
Tristan kissed her. “I won’t keep him out long. He can meet the others when they return. And don’t worry, I’ll take the car.” He put his hands behind her head and pulled her close. “Lock the door, cherie. The boys have keys.”
I followed him downstairs to the garage. There was a silver Jaguar sedan, a black Porsche Boxter, and a red BMW. I would have given anything to own one of them.Tristan seemed not to even notice them. He opened the door of the Jag for me, then slid into the driver’s seat. He pressed a button on the key ring and the garage door opened, then closed when we pulled out.
He seemed to drive aimlessly, but I noticed we were heading towards the University District. His keen blue eyes flicked back and forth, looking for something. He found a parking place on the “Ave”, then parked and motioned me to follow him out of the car.
“Come,” he commanded, and I got out of the car and followed him. “This is your first lesson,” he explained, “You’ve become a killer, one of the many killers in this world.For me, the only way I justify doing what I need to do is to only kill what I need, and never kill the innocent. You are not God, but you can do God’s work, so to speak. Some day you may decide to give up hunting humans altogether. Some of us do. It’s a noble way to live but not an easy one.For right now it will be best if you stay close to home and do your hunting here.”
We walked along the “Ave”, him elegant in his raincoat, silk pants and shirt. Compared to him I felt gauche and awkward. So uncaring did he seem that when he came upon a girl being robbed at knifepoint, the perpetrator didn’t even seem to notice him until he grabbed his shoulder. His grip must have been powerful because the creep he had hold of was wincing and saying, “Ow, ow, let me go.”
“Go,” he said to the girl, pushing her away from him, “You do not want to see this.” She looked with terrified eyes, then turned and fled, not looking back.
“Now watch,” he told me and sank his fangs into the hood’s neck just long enough to weaken him, then he beckoned me and directed me to pick up where he left off.
I was both horrified and fascinated.Something must have been changing in me that was affecting my mind as much as my body.I walked slowly over to the thug trapped in Tristan’s arms and sank my teeth awkwardly into his neck as Tristan watched.
It wasn’t the easiest thing I’d ever done, I didn’t have a vampire’s fangs yet, but I managed. Part of me felt aghast at what I’d done, another part of me felt exhilarated.
As I finished, then I felt his blood flow into my veins and his life force pour into me. I was not yet used to the way this felt, but I did not want to quit. Tristan gently pushed me away and instructed me to stop when his heart stopped beating. I swore I could hear this guy’s heart beating in my ears, the sound almost hypnotic, seeming even to continue even after he was dead. Tristan told me I could leave them almost dead if I chose, but it was best to learn to feed until the heart stopped.
Had I become a killer?Was that what I was now?I took one last look at the body lying on the sidewalk and wondered how it was me who could have done that.I had a feeling that my old self was slipping away from me.I was as distant from my old self as that body was from its life.Tristan looked at me, sympathy on his face. He, clearly, understood.
We got back into the Jag, and he warned me that I may not feel very good by the time I got home. It was my first time, but after I made a few kills and got used to it, the nausea would go away. When we returned home, Isolde held my head while I got sick in their elegant bathroom, then helped me onto the couch, and threw a soft afghan over me.
A fire was now burning merrily in the marble fireplace. She and Tristan sipped cognac in companionable silence and watched the flames flicker in the marble fireplace. When she finished her cognac, she stood up and kissed him good night.
That left the two of us alone. Tristan threw another log on the fire and sat back, stretching out his long legs.
“How do you feel?”
© Marty Reeh, 2018. All rights reserved.