Posted on 6/25/13
One would think that a literal vampire would have no need for something as human as an alarm clock…
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
Well, that person would be dead wrong. The noise was like standing next to a set of blaring sirens, but it woke me up and that was all that was important. As a human, something as distant as the crow of a rooster was enough to get me out of bed, and I was told, rather I was lied to when my boss told me that one day the sound of the sun rising would be able to wake me from even the deepest of slumbers. It has been over one hundred and eighty years and I can’t hear the sun, the moon, or the stars! Hell, I didn’t even know those things made noises!?
If a monster were capable of having dreams, I would believe all were capable of having are nightmares. I haven’t actually been able to have a nice, a new, or a pleasant dream in the better half of one hundred and eighty years, but a lot of the time I experience memories from my past clawing their way back into my life while I rested. There are sometimes memories of my human life on the farm, and then others are about the blood that I have shed from innocent men, women, families of all ages and species, most of the lives slain by my hands which haunted me in my dreams. Above all else, however, I always managed to have the same recurring thought, the replay of that terrible moment when Bennet found me and he turned me into a monster.
I groaned and walked over to the window, sliding the dirt-caked piece of glass upward to get the stench of the city pouring right into my nose. New York was a disgusting place, but this is where my master keeps me, and since I owed him this lifelong debt, what else could I do except obey his wishes. Almost two hundred years of following his orders---man, where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday I was in England, or France, Romania was a fun place to live for a while. Bennet liked to make me travel when I did errands for him; it was the one perk I had received that managed to shed a light to all of the killing I was required to do. Part of me, that monstrous innuendo of mine, that man loved the killing, he bathed in the blood of his victims like a wealthy man might in gold, but the true me, the self that controlled the monster, he hated taking the life of another and he absolutely loathed working for a devious employer such as Bennet Pryor.
I stretched and started to get dressed, just one pants leg at a time, slipping into jeans worn and in likely need of a wash. I pulled on a basic black shirt and folded my hair back with my fingers in order to get the loose strands out of my face. I then went off to brush my teeth, and before I left the apartment, I grabbed a jacket to walk through the rain with. People don’t like to think it, but honestly monsters and men aren’t exactly two opposite spectrums. We sleep, eat, pee---yeah basically aside from the fact that we don’t need to breathe and we’re about a hundred times stronger, really there’s not much of a difference. In hindsight, most people don’t really know people like me are out there, but you know, if they did, then they wouldn’t like to think that we were similar in any way. All the mortals who do know of us, they’re either paranoid nuts, descendants of downworlders, or just frankly in the wrong place at the wrong time.
My boss he likes to make deals with humans, mostly power-hungry men in big business or dirty trade, whichever one comes first. Ten times out of ten, when my boss’s clients can’t pay up or they attempt one of those humorous double crossing notions, well, that’s when I get called in. For the mortals, the job is easy, but for the monsters things can get a little trickier, and believe me when I say that I have taken down my fair share of monsters. My boss is a very busy man and he doesn’t discriminate based on species, but hey, more work for me I suppose? At least that is how Bennet sees it.
Walking down the puddle soaked streets, my hands shoved deep into my jacket pockets, I stared up at the jumbotron in the middle of town square and I just couldn’t help but groan at the sight that had befallen me, “Another vampire movie?”
There was a little girl, maybe twelve or so, she was bouncing around like a flea, screeching to her friends about how great this movie would be. Something about characters being hot or whatnot and that the books were better, but she was still, “So. Totally. Excited.”
“Mister are you making fun of me?” she spat, her eyebrows raised all the way to the top of her forehead, her head tilted to the side in some form of intimidation. Human teenagers make me laugh; in my day children were not so mouthy or easily distracted. We didn’t have phones and television, we had chores and church. Granted, I still looked the part of a nineteen year old, but in reality I am like two hundred years old. God, I’m old!
“Would never dream of it,” I smiled, and with a curtsey, I turned and walked away.
“That’s what I thought!” The little girl bellowed as they started back on their conversation about the movie. I was two blocks away but I could still hear their insufferable talk of vampires. After all this time, one learns to drown out all of the voices and conversations going on in the streets, but I can practically hear any and all noises happening in a radius the size of Brooklyn. If I hadn’t figured out a way to shut down this “super hearing” then I might have torn my own ears off back in the early nineteen hundreds.
People had such a stupid figmantality for vampires these days. It started with Nosferatu and then went on to Dracula, and they stuck with that a little while until it became movies like Blade, Underworld, and this Twilight craze. Not to mention all of those television shows like: Dark Shadows and Vampire Diaries---some of the stuff people think up, it is frankly insulting. Vampires do not burn in the sun, they do not twinkle or turn to dust; they do not go to high school, live in castles, or have crazy orgy parties in their basements, drinking liquor all hours of the day. That is all human fabrication, and insulting ones at that.
In all honesty, the sun is no more harmful or hotter to me then it was when I was human, aside from all the talk of global warming or whatever, but talk such as that just gives me a headache in the long run. Also, the stench of alcohol is appalling to me, and while I don’t know if others share the hatred of it, I know that I have lived for two hundred years and have never tasted a drop! Any and all education I received, I either learned on the go or from experience. After a while you hear enough things to blend in with people of the time period, learn as they learn and grow as they do. Finally, I have never been with or gone on a date with any woman; not any mundane girl, nor any female downworlders that I was not under orders to kill. Pathetic perhaps, but at the end of the day I was still immortal. What good would a relationship do me if I just wind up alone at the end of it all? Honestly, it isn’t worth the aggravation.
I cannot turn other people into whatever it is that I am, only Bennet can do it. Society deemed me a vampire, and even my boss has referred to me as one, but I am not. I have been called a dhamphyr, a noctambulist, and even a leech on one or two occasions, but never has anyone truly explained to me what it is that I have become. About a hundred years or so back, I tried to turn a human or two into a creature like me, just a few unlucky suckers who had gotten into scraps and were about to die themselves. I did it just to see if it would work, but it never did and the people wound up bleeding to death. It is an odd fact, but I just do not possess enough power to twist reality like my master does. In fact, I don’t equal half the power he has and he could pretty well destroy me just as easily as he had brought me back to life.
I turned the corner and walked up a concrete stoop to knock on a small wooden door. There was no answer. Typical... “Mr. Brown!” I called, “I know you’re up there! Come on, we can do this the easy way or the hard way, I don’t have anything better to do today!” There was no reply---at least not that he thought I could hear. Inside I could hear Mr. Brown’s every footstep, every breath, his every blink; he was tiptoeing through the back window to the fire escape with a backpack of supplies on, and frankly it was just embarrassing, not to mention insulting. Did he really think that he could slip away from me so easily? With a sigh of relief, the human man quietly closed his window and snickered once before turning his head right around into my face.
“Hello,” I smiled.
He screamed and slammed back first into the glass window, breaking it with the pack of useless junk strapped across his shoulders. I’ll admit that I was showing off a little bit just crouching on the bars of the fire escape, my hands resting on my knees, balanced perfectly these three stories in the air as he slid straight to the bar-like floor in a cowering cry for mercy. “Don’t kill me!” He stammered, his glasses slipping over his nose as he ran a hand through his black hair. He was a dead ringer for Wayne Knight, voice and all, but I thought telling him that might be inappropriate all things considered.
“Calm down Jeffery, can I call you Jeff?”
“Uh w-what?” He looked up. “You mean---y-you’re not going to kill me? H-he said they would be coming for me—I thought---”
I hushed him and shrugged, “No, sorry Jeff, I’m totally going to have kill you.” He started to whimper, so I added, “But, it’s not all bad.”
He growled at me with tears falling down his red and puffy face, “What!? H-how is it not bad!?”
I stepped down and took his hand, helping the round man back to his feet as I brushed the glass shards off of his shoulder. I gave Mr. Brown a smile and said, “You see---you took money from my boss, and now he has ordered you to be taken care of…”
“By the end of the day!” I stated strongly.
“Wh-what?” he muttered.
“I’ve been around a while Mr. Brown---I’ve earned a good portion of money in my time and I have no life of my own to spend it on. I’m a nice enough guy Jeff, so I give every mundane man my boss orders me to kill one final request. You know---anything. Anything you want to do----travel to Europe, drive a fancy car; just name it. Though you should probably know that I can’t take you to the moon or let you go free---or anything silly like that, so don’t ask. Other than that, we can do just about anything you want to do Jeffery Brown, but unfortunately you do still have to die by sundown. Are we clear on the rules of the game here my good sir?”
“S-so let me get this straight---” Mr. Brown stammered, “You’re going to grant me anything I want---anywhere in the world I want to go, you’ll take me there for an entire day?”
“Basically,” I nodded.
“What about travel time---and flight numbers---there is no way---”
“Look do you want a final request, or don’t you!?” I sighed, “I can kill you now and get it over with if you want? Seriously, I have the whole day!”
“No, no, no! I have always dreamed of going to Italy. You can take me there?” He gave me a look, the same look of confusion and questioning that all the others give me, and like them he had stopped his groveling, stopped bawling, and begging, and now he had a little something to look forward to---you know---besides death.
“Yeah, yeah.” I clapped, “Now close your eyes and count back from one hundred.”
“Why?” He wondered, the fear returning in an instant, “This is a trick right?”
“Nope, just that I go really fast and if you keep your eyes open, your brains could very possibly fall out through your ears. Now, eyes shut, count back, and I give you my word that when you reach zero, you and I will be in Italy.”
“Venice?” He clarified.
I laughed, “Alright, Venice it is.”
He picked up his pack, but I slammed it down, “You won’t need it. Remember, you only have a day to live.”
“Oh,” he frowned, “R-right…okay so,” He shut his eyes tightly. “One hundred, ninety-nine, ninety-eight, ninety-seven, ninety-six---"
He was a lot easier to convince than some of the other people I had to kill. I grabbed him up by the shoulders and already the breeze past us by as his voice vanished and he groaned at the velocity. I told him to keep counting in his head, and he whimpered a nod back to me as the smell of ocean water filled our noses. By the time I had gotten to ten, I assumed he was there as well and I set him down on the streets of Venice, Italy.
“Are you to zero yet?” I asked.
He shook his head rapidly.
“Well what number are you on?” I asked with a groan.
“Forty-seven!” He screeched.
I slapped my forehead, “Whatever man, just open your eyes.”
“But, you said---“
“Oh my God, I will kill you right now!”
Timidly, Jeff Brown inched his eyes open and took in the grand view of Italy all around us. There were people walking up and down the streets, all talking and greeting merchants as they walked past; the smells of different types of food wafted all around, and the sounds of activity rang out in every colorful corner of the city.
“Oh my!” He exclaimed, “You really did it! You took me to Italy!”
“I said I would, and I am a man of my word,” I bowed, “So what do you want to do first? Gondola? Spaghetti? Drive a Ferrari?”
“You’ll let me do all that?” he smiled.
“Sure why not?”
“Well alright!” he cheered, “Well---h-have you ever been to Italy before?”
I wanted to say yes, but honestly my visits were never for fun. Instead I just nodded.
“What do you recommend?” He asked.
“Let’s go find us a Ferrari my good man!” I clapped, and Mr. Brown followed behind eagerly.
We spent the entire day trekking through Italy. We drove a “borrowed” red Ferrari, ate some premium Italian cuisine, we met a few lovely ladies to take on a gondola ride, and finally by sunset, Jeffery Brown had forgotten all about the reasons we had come to this humble country in the first place. He and I were sitting on this little stone bench, watching the sun set over the Santa Maria della Salute where it acted as a peaceful setting; the silence really reminded the poor human why we had come here and the smile for the first time all day had finally swept from his face.
“You know…” He sighed, “I think I can die without any regrets,” he laughed once, “Well, except for getting into trouble with a madman. Tell me the truth, what are you people?”
“I wish I knew Mr. Brown,” I sighed, “I really do. But, did you have a nice day all future plans aside?”
“That’s good. I’m glad”
“You’re a good guy,” He patted my back. “Thank you. It’s been a while since I had a friend, and not to get all sappy, but I really appreciate you palling around with me today.”
“It was no trouble, Jeff. Oh,” I pointed. “Wow, would you just look at that sky?” He awed, his mouth open as the sky turned peach and the golden sun started to vanish beneath the large building. I shut my eyes and heard a snap before opening them to find the familiar scene of New York all around us, and the dead body of Mr. Brown lying limply on the fire escape.
I had traveled to every town in every land imaginable. I could recreate the sounds, the smells, the tastes, and even the random faces of the pedestrians trailing the streets. People could call me a liar, say we never really spent the day in Italy, but to Jeffery Brown, a man with a debt who got far too deep into my employer’s pocket, he will forever cherish that memory. I snapped his neck to avoid the alternative method of death, but I was still a monster, still hungry for blood and that fabricated Italian food just didn’t do it for me. That growl in my stomach trailed through my throat and I could feel the smile creeping in on me. My teeth were sharp and my mouth was dry, this feeling came around every time I was about to eat.
I couldn’t tell you the names of all the victims I’d ever swallowed, but I do know that I never enjoyed doing what it is I was about to do---no matter how much my instincts told me otherwise. I didn’t like being a killer, but a killer is what I agreed to be. After I was done here, I would need proof of Brown’s death, and to my master, that proof was in his blood. So, I frowned and I took a bite; the taste was enough to fuel my body with unrelenting strength and swarm my memories to the very brink of insanity with the thoughts of the recently late Jeffery Brown. The taste of his blood was mouthwatering though revolting all the same, but as always I could not stop and I swallowed again.
In rushed the memory of this wretched soul's very last words: “I really appreciate you palling around with me today.”
My voice was a cruel hiss that mocked my own thoughts and reveled over the dead body of the unlucky mortal as my murderous tongue whispered, "It was no trouble at all..."