The Last Vampire
Disclaimer: The characters belong to ME/ Joss Whedon and Co. The basic storyline belongs to Christopher
Pike, who wrote these fabulous books.
Author's Notes: I don't know if I plan to do the whole 6-book series or not, I guess it depends on how this one turns out. At the moment the story is pretty close with that of the original text, but I hope to steer away from that as it progresses. And I know it kinda seems out of character a bit, but she's 5000 yrs old for god sakes and she’s thinking internally so she doesn't need to use as much of the cursing and such that she usually would. so bear with me and I'm trying to work on it...kay?
Notes: This is based very much on a series of books called “The Last Vampire.” I loved this series so much I thought it would be wicked to see if I could re-write it with BtVS/AtS characters.
Dedication: Hmmm. To my Sarah, who I know will never read this. I’m glad we’re together, hopefully we can help each other with some of our baggage lol. To Starburst!!! I don’t know if she’ll see this either, but you’re such a cutie! And you deserve any good thing that comes your way. And to anyone else who reads this, I have lots of love for all of you.
Feedback: I live off of it and it would be kick ass if you did, but I’m kinda writing this one for me, just to see how it turns out. But feedback away please, cause I need to know if I suck and should drop off the face of the earth.
The truth...I’m a vampire. But not today’s meaning of the word vampire, some of the stories that are floating around today about our kind are not all that true, more like completely bogus. I don’t burst into flames and turn to ash as the sunrises, and I don’t cringe and hide my face when I see a cross. In fact, I wear a small gold cross on a chain around my neck, but only because I think it’s pretty. I don’t have the power to command a pack of wolves nor can I fly though the air. I can’t make another of my kind simply by drinking from them. Wolves are attracted to me however, and I can jump so high that one could imagine I could fly. And blood -- the subject captivates me. I do enjoy warm dripping blood when I’m thirsty...and I’m always thirsty.
My name, at least for the moment is Faith Perne -- they’re just two words, they’ll last me a few decades. I’m not attached to them by any means more than I am attached to the sound of the wind. My hair is dark, almost black, and silk like, my eyes -- dark almost black also. By modern standards in stature I’m of average height I guess for a girl, I stand five five in sandals, but I have very well muscled arms and legs, but not unattractively so. Before I even speak to you I seem like I am just another eighteen year old girl, but there’s something about my voice -- the coolness of my expression, and the echo of thousands of years of experience-- that make people feel like I’m much older. But I hardly ever think about the time when I was born, long before the pyramids came to stand under the pale moon. I was there, in that desert, during that time...although I’m not from that part of the world.
Questions, questions...Do I need blood to survive? Am I immortal? After the years, I still really have no clue. I drink blood because I crave it. But I can eat normal food as well, and digest it. I need food just as much as the next guy or girl. I am a living breathing creature. My heart does beat -- and I can hear it as I talk to you, like thunder pounding throughout my head. My hearing and sight are wicked sensitive. I can hear a dry leaf break off of a branch a mile away, and I can clearly see the craters of the moon without a telescope. As I grow older, my senses grow more acute.
My immune system is invulnerable, my regenerative system is miraculous, if you believe in miracles -- which I don’t. I can be stabbed in the arm with a knife and heal in minutes without scarring. But if I were to be say, stabbed in the heart with an incredibly fashionable wooden stake...then maybe I would die. I don’t know for sure. It’s hard for even a vampire’s flesh to heal around an implanted blade. But, it’s not something I’m too keen on experimenting with.
But who would stab me? Who would even be able to get a chance? I have the strength of five men and the reflexives of the mother of all cats. I’m a master of all systems of physical attack and defense. A dozen black belts could corner me in a dark alley, and I could make a dress fit for a vampire out of the sashes that hold their fighting jackets closed. I love fighting, it’s true, almost as much as I love to kill. Yet, as the years go by, I kill less and less...the need isn't there anymore, and the upshot of murder in the modern world is a waste of my precious time. Some loves must be forgotten, others have to be given up. It may sound strange, if you think of me as a monster, but I can love, and I do very passionately. I do not think that I am evil.
Why the hell am I talking about this? And who exactly am I talking to? I putting out these words, my thoughts, because I think it’s time. Time for what, I really don’t know, and it doesn’t matter because it is what I want that’s always reason damn good enough for me. My wants -- however few they may be, but how deep they burn. And right now, as of the present...I can’t tell you who I’m talking to.
At the moment, I’m standing outside the door of Detective Hank Summers’ office. It’s pretty late; he’s in his private office in the back, with the light down low -- I can feel this, without seeing. Mr. Summers had called me three hours ago to tell me I had to come to his office to have a little chat about some things I may find interesting. I could catch the note of a threat in his voice, and a little more. I can sense emotion, although I cannot read minds. Curiously I stand, cramped in the small hallway. I happened to be annoyed, highly, as well...which is not beneficial to Mr. Summers. Knocking lightly on the outer door to his office, I open it before he can even respond.
“Hey.” I say. I don’t sound very dangerous, this I know. But I am after all supposed to sound like a teenager right? I’m standing beside the unhappy secretary’s desk. I can imagine that she’s been told one too many times that her last few paychecks are “practically in the mail.” Mr. Summers is at his desk, in his office standing as he notices my entrance. He has on a brown sports coat that looks like it’s seen better days, and in a glance I see the heavy bulge of the revolver he has strapped to his left breast. Ahh, Hank Summers believes that I’m dangerous. Noting this, my curiosity goes up another notch or two. But I’m not afraid that he knows what I really am, or he definitely wouldn’t have chosen to meet me at all, even in broad daylight.
“Faith Perne?” he asks. His tone uneasy.
Looking at me from twenty feet away he gestures. “Please come in and have a seat.”
Entering his office I don’t take the offered chair in front of his desk, but one against the right wall. I want a direct line to him in case the ass tries to pull a gun on me...and if he does, he’s gonna die. Maybe even a bit painfully.
He looks at me, trying to size me up, which is difficult since I’m just sitting here. He, however, is a montage of impressions. His coat is not only wrinkled but stained -- greasy burgers eaten way too hastily. Looking him over I note it all. His eyes are red rimmed, from a drug just as much as from fatigue. Speed, most likely. Medicine to feed the long hours of pounding pavement. After me? Most likely. I catch the slight glimmer of satisfaction in his stare, a prey finally caught. Smiling inwardly at the thought, I can’t help the thread of uncertainty that enters me also. His office is stuffy, and cold....which is something I have never liked. Although I could survive an arctic winter completely sans clothing.
“I’m guessing that you’re wondering why I wanted to talk to you so urgently?” he says.
I nod uninterestedly. My legs are uncrossed and my black leather pants creaking with the movement of my tapping boot. One hand resting on my lap while the other plays in my hair -- doesn’t matter, left or right hand...I’m both and neither.
“May I call you Faith?” he asks.
“Yeah, you can call me what you wish Mr. Summers.”
My voice startles him, slightly, and it’s the effect that I was hoping for. I could have pitched it like a modern teenager, but I have allowed my past to become a part of it, the heavy power that it grips. I want to keep Mr. Summers nervous, nervous people say things that they regret later.
“Call me Hank,” he says. “Did you have any trouble finding the place?”
“Can I get you anything? Coffee? Soda?”
Glancing at a folder on his desk he flips it open. He clears his throat and again I can hear how tired he is, and how afraid also. But is he afraid of me? Not sure. Besides the gun under his jacket, I can smell the powder and bullets of another in his desk drawer. That’s a lot of firepower to meet a teenage girl. Faintly I hear the scratch of plastic and moving metal...and I figure he’s taping the conversation.
“First off I should tell you who I am,” he says. “As I told you earlier I’m a private detective. I own my own business, entirely freelance stuff. People come to me to look for loved ones, research tricky investments, give protection, when necessary, and to get hard-to-find background information on certain individuals.”
I smile slightly. “And to spy.”
He blinks. “I do not spy Miss Perne.”
“Really.” I say as my smile broadens. Leaning forward, I make sure that the tops of my breasts are visible at the open neck of my black tank top. “It’s late Mr. Summers. Tell me what you want.”
He shakes his head. “You have a lot of confidence for a kid.” I’m getting increasingly more annoyed, and it’s starting to look dismal for Hank.
“And you have a lot of nerve for a down-on-his-luck private dick.” He doesn’t like that one at all, he taps the open folder on his desk.
“I’ve been researching you for the past few months Miss Perne, ever since you moved to Sunnydale. You have an intriguing past, as well as many investments. But I’m pretty sure you knew that.”
“Before I begin, may I ask how old you are?”
“You may ask.”
“How old are you?”
“None of your fucking business.”
Smiling at me, he thinks he scored a point. What he doesn’t realize is that I’m already thinking of how he should bite it, although I’m trying to avoid such severe measure. Never ask a vampire her age. We don’t like that question. It’s wicked rude. Mr. Summers clears his throat, shaking me out of my thoughts...and now I think that maybe I should strangle him.
“Before moving to Sunnydale,” he says, “you lived in Los Angeles -- Beverly Hills in fact -- at Two-Five-Six Grove Street. Your home was a four-thousand-square foot mansion, with two swimming pools, a tennis court, a sauna, and a small observatory. The property was valued at six-point-five million. To this day you are listed as the sole owner Miss Perne.”
“It’s not a crime to be rich Hank.”
“You’re not just rich. You are very rich. My research indicates that you own five separate estates scattered across the country. Further research tells me that you probably own as much, if not more, property in Europe and the Far East. Your stock bond assets are vast -- in the hundreds of millions. But what none of my research has uncovered is how you came across this incredible wealth. You have no record of family anywhere, and believe me, Miss Perne I have looked far and wide.”
“Yeah, I believe you. Who did you get in contact with for all of this information?”
He’s enjoying knowing that he has my interest. “My sources are of course confidential.”
“Of course.” I stare at him; my stare happens to be very powerful. Sometimes if I stare at a flower too long it withers and dies. Mr. Summers loses his smile and starts to shift uneasily in his chair. “Are you gonna tell me why you’re researching me?”
“You admit that my facts are correct?” he asks.
“Do you really need my assurance?” I pause with my eyes still firmly staring at him. I see sweat begin to glisten in his forehead and upper lip. “Why the research?”
He blinks and turns away from my stare grabbing a hanker-chief to dab at the sweat. “Because you fascinate me,” he says. “I think to myself, here is one of the wealthiest women in the world, and no one knows who she is. Plus she can’t be more that twenty-five years old, and she has no family. It makes me wonder.”
“What does it make you wonder?”
He glances quickly in my direction. Although I’m very beautiful it makes him uncomfortable to look at me.
“Why you go to such extreme lengths to remain invisible,” he says.
“And it also makes you wonder if I would pay to stay invisible,” I say.
He has the nerve to act surprised. “I didn’t say that.”
My question stuns and pleases him. He doesn’t have to be the first one to put the dirt on his hands. He’s still not getting that blood stains deeper than dirt, and much longer. He definitely may not have much longer to live.
“How much are you offering?” he ventures.
I shrug. “Depends.”
“On whether or not you tell me who pointed you in my direction.”
He is indignant. “I didn’t need anyone to point me in your direction. I discovered all of your interesting qualities all by myself.”
Now I’m positive he’s lying. I can always tell when someone is lying to me. Only certain remarkable people can fool me, at the most they have to be lucky. I hate being fooled, so I guess one would have to wonder at their luck.
“Then I guess my offer is nothing,” I say.
At this he straightens visibly. He thinks he’s ready to pounce. “Then my counter offer, Miss Perne, is to make what I now know public knowledge.” He pauses. “What do you think of that?”
I answer distractedly. “It won’t happen.” I say looking at my nails.
He smiles yet again, which I’m beginning to grow sick of. “You don’t think so?”
I look up and smile mockingly back at him. “You would die before that happened.”
His smile cracks his face and he begins to laugh. “You would take a contract out on my life?”
“Something like that.”
Immediately he stops laughing, now he’s dead serious, now that we’re talking about death. But my smile remains....death amuses me. Pointing a finger at me he begins to speak again, somewhat shakily.
“You can be sure that if anything happened to me the police would be at your door the very same day,” he says.
I let a small snort slip from nose. “You arranged to have my records sent to someone else, just in case something happened to you?” I say.
“Something to that effect.” Oh, now he’s trying to be witty. He’s also lying, again. Sliding back in my chair further it looks as if I’m relaxing. I’m not. I decided if I’m going to strike it will be with my right foot. This position allows me to have my feet out straight in front of me.
“Mr. Summers,” I say. “We shouldn’t argue. You want something from...I want something from you. I’m okay with putting a million dollars in the account of your choice, wherever you want...just tell me who told you about me.”
He looks at me straight in the eye, or at least tries to. And now he can feel the heat building in me. I can tell because he flinches before he speaks again, and when he does he sounds more confused as to why I’m so much more intimidating. “No one is interested in you except me,” he says.
I sigh. “You’re armed Hank.”
My voice hardens considerably. “You have a gun under your coat, and under your papers in the drawer. Not to mention you’re taping our little conversation. Now, one may think that these are blackmail precautions, but I don't think so. I’m a young woman. Do I look dangerous? No. But somebody told you I’m more dangerous than I seem and to treat me with a bit of caution....right? And you know who that someone is,” I pause. “Don’t you Mr. Summers? Who is it?”
He shakes his head, now he sees me in a different light and he’s so not liking what he sees. My eyes continue to look straight through him. And now there’s an even bigger splinter of fear in his mind.
“H-how do you know all these things?” He asks.
“You admit my facts are accurate?” I ask mocking his earlier words. He shakes his head again.
Now I’m angry, and I finally let my voice change more, it’s deeper, resonating with the fullness of an incredibly long life. The effect is that of a normal one for the circumstance. He shakes visibly, as if now he finally realizes that he is sitting next to a monster.
“Someone hired you to research me,” I say. “I know that for fact. Don’t deny it again, or it’ll make me angry...er. I get kinda crazy when I’m mad. I do things I may regret later, and I think I may regret killing you, Mr. Summers -- but not for long.” I pause. “Now for the last time, tell me who sent you after me. The million is yours and you can walk out of here, just tell.”
He stares at me incredulously. His eyes see one thing and his ears hear another, I know. He sees a pretty brunette with startlingly deep dark eyes, and he hears the velvety voice of a succubus from hell. It’s too much, and he begins to stutter like a three-year old caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar.
“Miss Perne,” he begins. “You misunderstand me. I don’t mean you any harm. I just want to complete a simple business deal with you. No one has to uhh....get hurt.”
I take in a slow deep breath. I do need air of course. But I can hold my breath for over an hour in necessary. The room cools even more when I let that breath escape my lips. Hank shivers.
“Answer my question,” I say simply.
He coughs. “There is no one else.”
Ooops. There goes the final chance. I decide to give him a heads up. “You’d better reach for your gun.”
“Well you’re gonna die now, and I assume you’d rather die fighting.”
“I’m five thousand years old.”
He blinks. “What?”
I let him have my full un-cocked gaze, which I have used in the past all by itself to kill. “I’m a vampire,” I say softly. “And you pissed me off.”
He believes me too. All of the sudden he begins to believe all the horror stories he’s been told since he was a boy. That they were all true: the dead things hungering for a taste of warm flesh, the hand coming out of the closet in the dark of night; the monster who comes from an unturned page of reality, one who could look so innocent, so human, so cute.
He reaches for his gun, but too slowly, much.
I shove myself out of my chair with suck force that I’m for a minute airborne. My senses snap into hyperactive mode. Over the last few thousand years, when I’m threatened, I’ve developed the ability to see things in slow motion. Doesn’t mean that I slow down, the opposite actually, Mr. Summers can see nothing but a blur. As I moved I shifted my leg to deliver a devastating blow.
My right foot lashed out and the heel of my boot catches him in the center of his breastbone. I hear the crack of bone as he topples backward onto the floor with his gun still holstered in his coat. I land smoothly on my feet beside him. Gasping for breath, blood pouring out of his mouth, I crushed the walls of his heart and the bones in his chest, and he will die. Just not yet. I kneel beside him and put my hand on his head, I have love for my victims... as sick as that may seem, I often do.
“Hank.” I say gently. “You wouldn’t listen to me.”
He’s having trouble breathing as he drowns in his own blood. I hear it gurgling deep in his lungs and I’m somewhat tempted to put my lips on his and suck away the red fluid for him. But I leave him alone.
“Who?” he gasps at me.
Stroking his head I continue. “I told you the truth. I’m a vampire. You never stood a chance, unfair I know. But that’s the way it is.” I lean in and whisper to him. “Tell the truth and the pain will stop. Who sent you after me?”
He stares at me. “Slim,” he whispers.
“Who’s Slim? A man?”
“Wicked, Hank. Now, how do you contact Slim?”
“Yes.” I say caressing his cheek. “Where’s Slim?”
He starts to cry. The tears, the blood-- they make a sad ass combination. His whole body trembles. “I don’t want to die,” he moans. “My daughter.”
“Tell me about Slim and I will take care of your daughter,” I say. My nature is kind, deep inside. I could have said if you don’t tell me about Slim, I will find your darling daughter and slowly peel off her skin. But Summers is in too much pain to hear me, and now I regret hitting him so quickly, not slowly torturing the truth out of him. Hey, I gave him warning, I told him I was impulsive when I’m angry, I told the truth.
“Help me,” he pleads.
“Sorry, I can only kill not heal, and you’re hurt too bad.” I sit back on my heels and look around the office. I see a picture on his desk of him posed by a beautiful blonde girl around eighteen. I remove my right hand for Mr. Summers to reach for the picture and show it to him. “This is your daughter?” I ask innocently. Suddenly he’s terrified. “No!” he cries.
I lean close to him once again. “Damn, I’m not gonna hurt her. I just want to know where Slim is...tell me.”
The pain grips him and he spasms. I grab him to try and steady him, but I’m too late. He tears a hole in his bottom lip with his teeth and adds to the blood already messing his face. He draws in a breath that throws more dirt on his coffin. There’s a series of grotesque wet sounds and finally his eyes roll back in his head and he goes limp in my arms. I study the picture of the girl. I reach over and close Mr. Hank Summers’ eyes.
The girl has a wicked cute smile.
Must have taken after her mother.
My situation is even more crappy then when I arrived here. Now I know someone is after me. And I killed my only lead. I search through his desk to find anything that could help with another lead besides his home address. The reason is currently sitting behind the desk. Summers has a computer and there’s no doubt that he stored his important records on it. Which is then confirmed when I switch it on and find out that I need an access code. I know much about computers, more than most experts, but I doubt I’d be able to get into his data banks without a little outside help. I pick up the picture of father and daughter again. She might know the access codes. I decide to have a talk with her.
After I get rid of the body. Which is somewhat easier than expected because Mr. Summers doesn’t have a carpet. I search the office building and find the janitor’s closet and come back with a mop and bucket to do the job the secretary probably resents doing. I slip Mr. Summers' body into the two large green trash bags I found, and before leaving with my sagging burden I wipe all the fingerprints that I left. There’s not one spot I have touched that I don’t remember.
There’s not a soul around as I carry Mr. Summers from the building and dump him in my trunk. This is good, because I’m really not in the mood to kill again, and murder, for me, is tied to my mood, like sex. Even when it’s necessary.
Sunnydale is a town on the California coast, chilly in late fall, trees on one side, salt water on the other. I don’t feel like wading in the water to dump his body, so I head for the forests. This is the first burial for me in this area. I haven’t killed anyone since moving to Sunny-D a few months ago. I park at the end of a narrow dirt road and carry the body over my shoulder deep into the woods. I don’t need a shovel. My fingers can impale the hardest of soil even better than a knife can a man’s flesh. When I get deep enough in I drop the body and begin to dig. Naturally my clothes get dirty, but I do own a washing machine, and I have detergent at home. I don’t worry about the body being found, ever.
But I do worry about other things.
Who is Slim?
How did he find me?
How did he know to warn Summers about me, to treat me with caution.
I lay Hank Summers six feet under and cover him in minutes without a whispered prayer. Who would I pray to? Krishna? I can’t tell him that I’m sorry, I have before though. No, he wouldn’t listen to my prayer, even if it was for the soul of my victim. He would laugh and return to his flute. His song of Life. Where was the music for his followers that were already worse than dead? Where is the happy? No. I won’t pray to God for Summers.
Not even for his daughter.
Back in my home, my mansion by the sea, late at night, I stare at the girl’s picture and wonder why she seems so familiar to me. Her green eyes are so enchanting, wide and innocent, but alert, like a baby owl under the moonlight. I wonder if I’ll be burying her beside her pops in the next few days. And for some reason the thought makes me wicked depressed.
I don’t need that much sleep, two hours is good for me, which is usually when the sun is at its highest and brightest. Sunlight does affect me, but it’s not my mortal enemy like portrayed in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Actually I read Dracula when it first came out...took ten minutes. I have a photographic memory if you’re wondering with a hundred percent comprehension, I thought it was very yummy. Unknown to Mr. Stoker he had the opportunity to meet a real vampire when I went to visit him one dismal English night in 1899. I made sure to be very sweet to him, he autographed my book and I gave him one hell of a kiss before I left. I was tempted to drink from him, but I thought it might have ruined any chance of him ever writing a sequel, which I vehemently told him to do. Mortals rarely ever dwell for lengths of time on things that frighten them, even though most of today’s horror writers say otherwise. But Stoker was very perceptive, he knew there was something off about me, something not quite of the normal. I think he kinda had a bit of a crush.
But, the sun, that eternally burning flame in the sky, greatly weakens my power. When it’s daylight, often when the sun is straight up, I feel drowsy, not so tired that it becomes a necessity for rest, but I lose my enthusiasm for things. I’m not as strong or fast during the days either, but hey, I’m still stronger than any mortal. I don’t like the day as much as the light, and you may say ‘Well duh.’ I prefer the dark, blurred edges of the night landscapes...I think one day I want to visit Pluto.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the daylight and its sun, I’m up at dawn the next morning. First thing I do... call the three businessmen in charge of my accounts -- each are located on different continents -- I mention that I am extremely angry at the fact that some investigator was able to peek into my finances. With each protestation I listen quietly and hear the innocence that each of them is speaking with, and I believe them. They’re not lying, which is a good for them. My admirations for Mr. Summers’ detecting skills climb another notch. He must have used very subtle means to get into my business.
Or...he had help.
And of course he had help, but I know that he turned against the man who sent him to me as well. When he found out that I was rolling in it he must have thought he could make out better by going after me directly. This leads me to think that whoever had hired Summers doesn’t know any real details of my life, meaning where I live and the like. Hmm, but, he could notice Summers disappearing act and come looking for whoever killed him. I have time, I think, but not as much as I would like. Naturally, I enjoy being the hunter, not the hunted; so, I will kill whoever hired Summers as surely as I took him off the face of the Earth.
Later I make arrangements through my American businessman to be enrolled at Sunnydale High that day. The wheels start rolling and I’m given a new identity. I’m Lara Adams, my guardian, Mrs. Adams, is dropping by the school with my transcripts to enroll me in as many classes with Elizabeth Summers as possible. My arm of influence stretches like the river of blood I have left across history. I’m never going to meet the fake Mrs. Adams, and most likely she’ll never meet me, unless she decides to open her mouth to talk about her efforts on Lara’s behalf. Then she will never talk again. All of my...associates...respect my wishes when it comes to being silent, and they get paid for showing respect.
That night I’m thirsty, and restless. How often do I need blood? After a week I start to crave it. A month and I can think of nothing but the next dripping throat. And my strength begins to weaken. I don’t die without it, not readily anyway. The longest I’ve gone without a human to drink from is six months and I don’t recommend it. I only drink animal blood if I’m desperate. When I feed from a human I feel truly satisfied, the life force, more than the physical liquid is what makes me hunger for more. Defining that life force is difficult, it exists; the feel of a beating heart when a person’s vein is in my mouth; the heat of their desires. An animal’s life force is crude, weak. Drinking from a human feels like you absorb their essence, their will. It takes a whole hell of a lot of willpower to live for fifty centuries.
I don’t change a human by drinking from them. And they don’t change if they drink from me, just more legend. I don’t know how the legend of oral exchange and transformation started. I can only make another of my kind by exchanging blood with the person. And we’re not talking a drop here kiddies. My blood has to overwhelm their system before he or she will be immortal.
Of course, I don’t make vampires these days.
I drive south, I’m in SoCal before I stop; it’s wicked late. There’s a pretty big bar of to the side of the road, and I make a smooth entrance. The greasy guys look me over and exchange looks with their buddies. I don’t get carded when I go for a drink, not after a hard glance anyway. There’s a lot more men than women, so I decide to go for a male tonite, the women in here are hard to detect from the guys anyway. I’m searching for a specific type, someone passing through, and then I spot him, sitting alone in a corner. He’s big, but not fat, semi muscular. He’s unshaven, his warm jacket isn’t dirty, but there’s oil stains that did not come out from the last time it was cleaned. He has a sweet face, sitting behind his frosted beer he looks lonely. Most likely a long distance truck driver. I know the type well; I drink from them a lot.
I sit directly in front of him and he looks up surprised. I smile; the expression can disarm and alarm, but he genuinely looks happy. We talk a little after he orders me a beer. I don’t ask if he’s married -- and he doesn’t bring it up. After a while we leave and he takes me to a motel but I would have been satisfied with the back of his truck, when I tell him this he just shakes his head and pats my leg. I decide then that he’s a gentleman and I won’t kill him.
While he’s undressing me I bite into his neck. He sighs in pleasure and leans his head back, but he’s not too sure in what I am doing. He stays in that position the whole time I drink from him. Hypnotized by the feeling. It feels like being caressed from the inside out -- with the tip of my nails. Which it feels to me like it always does, sweet and natural, as natural as sex. But I don’t have sex with him. Instead I bite the tip of my tongue and let a drop of my blood fall into the wound, and the mark disappears instantly, leaves no scar and I lay him down to rest. I drank a couple pints and he’s gonna be out for a while, may even wake up with a headache.
“Forget.” I whisper to him.
He won’t remember me, most don’t.
The next morning I’m in Mr. Castro’s history class. My black dress in very fashionable, tight, the hem is about four inches above my knees. I have killer legs, I don’t mind showing off a bit. My dark wavy hair hangs down past my shoulders, and I don’t wear makeup or jewelry. Elizabeth Summers sits to my right, and I study her with interest.
Her face has depth, depth her father’s couldn’t even imagine. She looks almost like any other teenage California girl, long blonde hair, and a slim frame. But her inner character pushes through, and I can feel something there, something I’ve never really felt from a mortal, but I can’t really place it. Her inner character makes a mockery of her beauty though. She’s already much more than a girl. It shows in her emerald eyes, soft but quick, in her silent pauses when she takes in what her classmates say. She reflects on it, and either accepts it or rejects it, not caring what others think, Elizabeth Summers is her own person, and I like that about her.
There’s a boy that sits to her right that she talks to, his names Alexander, Xander she calls him. And he’s clearly her boyfriend. He’s a scrawny thing, but his whole face lights up when he looks at her. He’s assertive, but not pushy, just full of life. His hands are always busy touching her. I find myself liking him too and wonder if he’s going to turn out to be an obstacle, but I really hope not. I hate killing young people.
Xander’s clothes are simple, a t-shirt and a pair of faded jeans, I suspect that his family doesn’t have much money. But Elizabeth is dressed...well...damn. It makes me think of the million I offered to her father.
She doesn’t appear upset. Her father often disappears for days at a time.
I clear my throat and she looks over at me.
“Hey,” she says. “Are you new?”
“Hi, yea just checked in this morning.” I offer her a hand “Lara Adams.”
“Buffy Summers.” She shakes my hand and I have to try not to laugh at the nickname that someone has unfortunately given this beautiful girl.
“Buffy?” I ask innocently.
She sighs and gives me a light smile, which I find invariably attractive.
“It’s a nickname, well it rapidly became my name, Elizabeth, is my full name.”
I just smile at her and while we’re shaking hands I feel her warm touch, she’s very healthy. I can smell blood through skin and tell if they have any serious sickness-- even years before the disease rears its head. Elizab...Buffy, continues to stare at me, and I bat my eyelashes at her. Behind her Xander has stopped talking to a classmate and looks over.
“So where are you from?” she asks.
“Really, you kinda have an accent.” Her comment startles me for a second, I’m a master at accents.
“Yeah? What accent?” I ask genuinely interested.
“I don’t really know. English, French maybe? -- it sounds like both.”
I lived in England and France for extended periods.
“I travel around a lot, could be hearing that.”
“Has to be.” She turns around and gestures to her side. “Lara, this is my boyfriend Xander Harris. Xand this is Lara Adams.” He nods and looks me over.
“Hey, Lara.” He’s not defensive at all. I mean why should he be, his girlfriend is straight as a board right? Right. For the moment anyway, but there’s something there. He trusts in Buffy’s love, and in his own. That’s going to change. I start thinking of Hank’s computer, which is left in his office. I know the police will be snooping soon and will probably take the computer away, I didn’t take it cause then I would have a hell of a time trying to convince Buffy on why I had it, let alone trying to get her to open the data files.
“Hey Xander,” I say. “Good to meet you.”
“Same here,” he says. “Nice dress.” He practically drools and it earns him a nudge from his blonde girlfriend.
I roll my eyes slightly which Buffy sees and it makes her laugh, and I love the sound instantly.
I think it would have been more beneficial to me if I met Buffy without the boy toy hanging around. It would have been easier to start a relationship with her that way, without him oogling the two of us at the same time. But I’m still pretty confident in my ability to lure Buffy’s interests...What person can resist what I offer? I take my eyes from Xander and focus back on his girlfriend.
“What are we learning in this class?” I ask.
“I’m pretty sure it’s European history, it’s an overview. We’re on the French Revolution now. Do you know anything about it?”
“I knew Marie Antoinette personally, we were buds.” I lie. I knew of Antoinette, I never really hung around the French nobleman, they were wicked boring. I was there when she was beheaded, now that was a good time. I sighed when the blade sliced her across the neck. The guillotine truly was one of the only execution devices that disturbed me. I’ve been hanged on a few occasions, crucified around four, but whatever, I got over it. Losing your head however, that’s the end of it. I was there for the beginning of the French Revolution, I was in America by the end.
“Did she really say ‘Let them eat cake’?” she asks, playing along with the joke.
“I believe that was her aunt who said that.” The teacher, Mr. Castro, enters the room. One word for this modern educator comes to mind, pathetic. He only makes an attempt to smile at the more attractive young girls in the room. He’s an attractive guy, in that aftershave commercial sort of way. I nod towards his direction.
“What’s he like?”
Buffy shrugs. “Not bad.”
“But not good?”
She looks me up and down. “I think he’ll like you.” She says with a raised eyebrow and a smirk.
I wink back and nod. “Gotcha.”
The class starts and Castro introduces me to everyone and asks me to stand and talk about myself. I just stay firmly planted in my seat and say ten words. He looks put out, but he lets it go and starts class.
Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that humanity has an illusion about its history. Scholars argue how real their texts are, when something as early as the Second World War is always remembered with absolutely no feeling for the time. Feeling, not events, at least for me; are the essence of history. World War II is remembered as an adventure against impossible odds, when in reality it was an unending parade of suffering. Mortals forget quickly. I don’t. Even me, a bloodthirsty harlot of immense proportions, have never witnessed a glorious war.
Our teacher, Mr. Castro, is the type of man with no feeling for the past. The least he could do is get his facts right. The sun is making me tired, and I’m bored. He catches me peeking out the window.
“Miss Adams,” interrupting my reverie. “Could you grace us with your thoughts on the French nobility?”
“I think they were very noble.” I say.
He doesn’t get this. “You approve of their excesses at the peasants’ expense?” I look towards Buffy before answering. I know she doesn’t want the typical teenage boy like she has, not inside anyway, and I don’t intend on acting like a teenager...ha, or a guy for that matter. She’s watching me.
“No. I don’t approve, and I don’t disapprove.” I say. “I accept it. People in power always take advantage of those without.”
“That’s one heck of a generalization.” Mr. Castro replies. “What school did you go to before moving to Sunnydale?”
“Does it matter?”
“It sounds to me like you have a problem with authority.” He says trying to sound smart.
“If the authority is a fool or not.” I say this smiling brightly so he knows it's him I’m talking about. He wisely passes me over and moves on to another subject.
When the bell rings I’m asked to stay behind. I wanted to use this time to chat up my new blonde friend, but I’m forced to watch as she leaves the room with Xander. Just before she leaves the room she glances back at me and Mr. Castro taps his pencil to get my attention.
“Is there a problem?” I ask with false sweetness.
“I hope not,” Mr. Castro says. “I am concerned that we get off to a good start though. That we can understand where one another are coming from.”
I stare at him, not enough to have the effect that it did on that flower I mentioned, but enough so he’s squirming in his seat.
“I think I know exactly where you are coming from.” I say.
He looks at me annoyed. “Really? And where is that?”
At this moment I catch a whiff of the alcohol on his breath, from the night before, and the night before that, and the night before that...I think you get where I’m going with this right? The circles under his eyes show that his liver is close to seventy, while he’s only thirty. His tough stance is totally just an image and his hands are shaking as he sits there waiting for my response.
“You think I have a bad attitude right?” I say. “Truthfully, I’m not what you think. If you knew me like you think you do you would value my understanding in history...and other things.” I say trailing off.
“What grade do you want to get in my class?” His question makes me laugh, that’s how ridiculous it truly is. I lean over his desk and pinch his cheek, hard enough to make him jump. I was actually thinking about doing the same to his dick, but he’s lucky. “I’m sure you’re going to give Lara almost any grade she wants, yeah?”
He swipes his hand at the side of his face trying to brush my hand away, but of course it’s already gone.
“You better watch it miss!”
Again he makes me giggle. “I’ll be watching you, Mr. Castro. Just to make sure you don’t die from drinking like a fish...I need a good grade ya know.”
He tries to protest weakly. “I don’t drink.”
“And I don’t give a shit about my grade.” I say over my shoulder.
I can’t catch Buffy before my next class starts, which I don’t have with her. My “guardian” couldn’t match my schedule to hers exactly. So I have to sit through fifty minutes of trig, which of course I know almost as much of as history, except I manage not to alienate the teacher in this class.
I don’t have next period with her either but we do have biology together fourth. I have P.E. now, and I brought a white t-shirt and blue shorts to wear. The boyfriend, Xander, happens to be in this class, I watch him stroll over and stand beside me as the teacher goes through the attendance.
“Why did Castro ask you to stay behind?” he asks.
“He wanted to ask me out.”
“He’s into all the girls...so, what did you think of Buffy?” The boy seems kind of paranoid. Maybe he picked up on something between us. Now he’s trying to figure out where exactly I’m coming from.
“I think she needs some love.” I say.
He gives me a look, and then not sure what to say, laughs. “I give her more than she can handle.” I catch him looking at my body. “You’re really beautiful, probably got guys hitting on you all the time.”
I adjust my shirt. “...Girls too, but I just hit them back. Hard.”
Xander just smiles back and nods his head nervously.
Hmm. Phys ed archery. Good. The bow and arrow is bringing back memories. But I don't think the memory of Arjuna, Krishna’s best friend and the greatest archer ever is a memory I would want to dwell on at the moment. Arjuna killed more vampires than any mortal.
With one bow.
In one night.
Because Krishna wished it.
Xander follows me out onto the field but keeps his distance. I scared him, which I don’t think is a bad thing. I’m wearing very strong black sunglasses. While I’m gathering my bow and arrows a very pale girl, with red hair, almost like blood, speaks to me.
“You’re new right?” she asks.
“Yeah. F-Lara Adams. You are....?”
“Willow...Rosenberg.” she offers her hand. “Nice to meet you.”
I grab her hand with mine and on contact I can feel that this girl will be dead in less than a year. She has sick blood. I grasp her hand too long and she looks at me strangely.
“You’re pretty strong.”
I smile at her. “For a girl?”
She rubs her hand on her side. I think I bruised her. “I guess,” she says.
“So Red, what’s up with the name? It makes you sound like a nerd or a tree.”
She smiles at the nickname, I have a tendency to give people I like nicknames. She also likes how direct I am, like no one’s ever been that way to her before.
“I hate it, my mom gave it to me.”
“You should change it when you get out of high school. To something like...Callie or Zan or Danette. I bet your mom buys your clothes.”
I’m a revelation to her. She laughs. “She does. But since I am a nerd, shouldn’t I look the part?”
“You think you’re a nerd because you thing you’re so smart. I’m a lot smarter than you and look how hot I am.” I lift up my bow. “Where are we shooting these things?”
“I think it would be best if we shot them in the targets,” she says sarcastically.
A few minutes later we’re at the end of the football field shooting. I’m impressing the redhead when I hit the bull’s-eye three in a row. She’s even more impressed when she has to use all her strength to yank them out. What she doesn’t know is that I could have split the shaft of my first arrow with the second and third if I wanted to show off. Which I kind of am. But I don’t care. My mood is frivolous. First happy thoughts about B (which I decided is my nickname for her now) and Xander, and now I’ve taking a pretty quick liking to Willow. I help her get the arrows out of the targets.
“I’m guessing you’ve shot before.”
“Yup, trained by a master marksmen.”
She pulls the arrow out and almost falls. “You could be in the Olympics.”
I shrug. “Not really my sitch.”
“Yeah.” She says nodding. “I feel that way about math, I’m great at it, but it bores me to tears.”
“What do you like?”
“What do you like to write?”
“I’m not really sure. I like strange things. I read a lot of horror books. Do you like horror?”
“Yea.” I want to make a joke about how close it is to my heart, but I get blindsided by a sense of deja vu. And I haven’t had that feeling in centuries. The feeling is intense and I grab my head to steady myself while I try and look for the source of it. Red reaches to help and I can feel her sickness again. I don’t really know what she has, but I have a good idea.
“You okay?” she asks.
“Yeah.” I wipe away the cool filmy sweat that gathered on my forehead. It’s clear, not tinted pink like it usually is when I drink massive amounts of blood. The sun is burning and I lower my head. Red is staring and I get this sense that her body is very close to mine, almost overlapping. I don’t like that sensation either. I’m starting to think I’m getting more sensitive to the sun, I haven’t been out midday like this in years.
“I feel like I met you before,” she says slightly puzzled.
I look at her and the truth of the matter finally hits me. “Me too.”
Over centuries, and I have said, I got the ability to read emotions. At first I thought is was because of my observatory skills, and I still think that may be at least part of it. But I can sense a person’s feelings without studying them closely, and it crazes me, that would mean a sense that’s not physical. And I can’t accept that yet.
Once in a while there are one or two mortals I bump into that have the same sensitivity. And yeah, I killed them, or most of them, because they could sense what I was...or wasn’t. Not Human. Something else, they would say to their friends, dangerous. I killed them, I didn’t want to, they could understand me.
Red is one of these people. My suspicions are confirmed when I pick up my bow and arrow and get distracted. Castro is standing behind the school gym, talking to a blond. And touching. Apparently making a move on the girl. He’s maybe three hundred yards in the distance, but with the bow and arrow I can definitely get a hit. No one would ever believe that it was me who hit him. I could shoot him straight in the chest. I can make it so the Red doesn’t see where the arrow goes. Killing Hank Summers arose my desire to kill again. I guess violence does beget violence...at least for a vampire, or just me. Nothing satisfies like the sight of blood, unless it’s the taste of it.
I slip the arrow into the bow.
My eyes narrow.
Castro strokes the girl’s hair.
Out of the corner of my eye I can see Red watching me. Seeing what? Sensing what? Bloodlust?
Her next words are a shocker.
“Don’t,” she says.
My arm wavers. I’m amazed and I find myself asking who exactly Willow is.
“Don’t what?” I ask.
“You don’t want to shoot anyone.”
I laugh out loud when in reality her remark gives me the chills.
“What makes you think I want to shoot someone?”
She smiles and relaxes. The innocent tone helped. I start wondering if Willow is one of those rare mortals who can fool even me.
“I just got this feeling like you were going to,” she says. “Sorry.”
“Do I look dangerous?”
She shakes her head, “you’re different from everyone else though. At least anyone I’ve met.”
First B notices I have an accent, and now Red can like what...read my mind? I decide to keep a low profile for the rest of the day.
I don’t really thing she read my mind. If I did, like her or not, she’d be dead before the sunset.
“You’re just dazzled by my beauty.” I say.
She laughs and nods. “Well it’s not very often someone as pretty as you is caught talking to a geek like me.”
I poked her lightly with the tip of my arrow. “Tell me more about what stories you like.” As I put the arrow in the bow I think that Mr. Castro will live to see at least one more day. “Especially your favorite horror stories.”
Red tells me about all the authors and books she has read for the rest of the period. I smile when she says that Dracula is her all time favorite. I purposely miss the bull’s eye on a few occasions, but I don’t know I fooled her or not. She never takes her eyes off of me.
Next period I’m off to biology. B sits in the back at a lab table. I waste no time in walking straight back to sit next to her. She raises her eyebrow almost like she’s about to tell me someone else sits here, then she changes her mind.
“How was archery?” she asks.
“You talked to Xander?” I ask.
There’s the boyfriend, between us yet again. I think again of the files in Mr. Summers’ computer. Hopefully the police haven’t gotten to them yet. If they think Mr. Summers was met with a little foul play, I’ll definitely be paid a visit. I need to either get to the files soon, or get rid of them all together. I decide I should speed things up a bit, or run the risk of blowing my whole seduction. I’m getting to those files tonite. I reach over and touch B’s shoulder.
“Hey, can you do me a favor?” I ask.
She looks at my fingertips on her bare shoulder. My touch is warm...just wait till she feels it hot.
“Uh, sure,” she says.
“My parents bailed for a few days, and I need help moving some stuff into my house. They’re in the garage.” I add, “I could pay you, I mean, you don’t have to it’s just I haven’t really made a whole lot of friends yet.”
“You don’t have to pay me. I’d be happy to help this weekend.”
“Actually one of the things is my bed. I had to sleep on my floor last night.”
“Wow, that sucks.” Buffy takes a breath and thinks. I leave my hand on her shoulder, and I know that my skin on hers is starting to become part of her thought process. But her skin is having an effect on me too. It’s like a tingling sensation. When she looks back at me I now she could feel it by the look in her eyes, and I can’t help but wonder what it is about this girl.
“I, well I have to work after school.”
“Till what time?”
“Nine-ish. But then I’m supposed to go to see Xander.”
“He’s a cutie.” I say. My eyes rest on hers. It’s like they’re saying, yes, he’s a handsome boy, but there’s more to life than love. At least those are my intentions. But I can’t help feeling as I’m looking at this girl that she could be one of those rare mortals I could love. Even though there’s something different about her. This is a big revelation for me, just like the whole day. I haven’t loved a man or women in centuries. And I haven’t loved anyone as much as my wife...yes wife...Lavanya. But I guess that story can come later.
Yet Lavanya comes to mind when I stare at Buffy. And I finally know why she seems so familiar to me. She has Lavanya’s eyes.
Buffy blinks. “We’ve been together for a year.” I sigh without even knowing it. After fifty centuries I still miss Lavanya.
“A year can go by pretty damn quick.” I say quietly.
But not five thousand -- the long years have built up behind me like ghosts, weary and wary. Time has sharpened my caution and all but destroyed playfulness. I start thinking how fun it would be to walk through the park with B...in the dark. I could kiss her, I could bite her-- gently. I sigh again, heavily. This girl doesn’t even know she’s sitting next to her father’s murderer.
“I can help you.” She says clearly. My eyes don’t intimidate him as much as I thought. I can’t figure if it’s because of her internal strength, of if my stare is softened by my feelings for her. “But I’ll have to check with Xander.”
I finally pull my hand back, “if you check with Xander he’ll say it’s fine as long as he can come along.” I shrug. “All guys are like clingy like that.”
“Well can he come? I mean he’s stronger than me, he could help get it done faster.”
“No.” My answer confuses her and I need to think of some reason quickly. “My parents don’t like guys in the house, I really don’t feel like them coming home unexpectedly and getting in trouble.”
She nods and seems to accept the answer, but she is suspicious I can feel it. “I’ll talk to him, maybe I can come later. What time do you go to bed?”
The lecture in biology is about photosynthesis. The sun’s energy is changed into chemical energy through the presence of green chlorophyll, and how the green pigment in turn supports the entire food chain. The teacher compares chlorophyll and red blood cells, which interests me, he says they are practically identical. Except in chlorophyll a magnesium atom replaces the iron atom. I look over at Buffy and think in the evolutionary chain, only one atom separates us.
Of course, evolution would never have created a vampire. We, were an accident, a horrible mistake. It suddenly occurs to me that if Buffy does help me with her father’s files I’m going to have to kill her. She smiles as I look at her. I can tell she likes me already. But I don’t smile back. My thoughts are getting too dark.
The class ends and I give B my address, but not my phone number. I’m not stupid here, if she can’t call, she can’t cancel on me. It’s the address of a new house that was rented for me this morning. Mr. Summers has my other address on his computer files, I don’t want Buffy to draw the connections when and if we do get to his office. Buffy promises to come over as soon as she can, She doesn’t have sex on her mind, I don’t even know if she’s aware she’s sexually attracted to me yet, but I know she is. She has something else on her mind something I can’t fathom. Still, I’ll give her sex if she wants it...I’ll give her more than she can ask for.
I go to my new house, just a plain suburban thing that’s already furnished. As fast as I can. without breaking a sweat, I move most of the furniture into the garage. After that I go to the master bedroom, draw all the shades, and lie down on the hardwood floor and close my eyes. I try to tell myself that it’s the sun that drained my strength. While I’m dozing off I know realistically it’s the people I’ve met today that cut deep into me, where my iron blood flows like a black river over the forgotten dusty ages, dripping onto the green Earth, onto the present, like the curse of the Lord. I hope I dream of Krishna as I begin to sleep. But I know it’s the devil that will be there.
Yaksha, the first vampire.
Just like I’m the last.
...to be continued...