The Vampire Lord Flashman arose from the brass handled, walnut box and, tossing his long hair over his shoulders, raised his face to taste the night's air. He could smell moths, musk and moonlight but also something else. Something sweet, yet tangy, like... Like a Peach. The Lord Of The Dark growled. The San Fransisco night air was a plethora of aromas, some pleasant, some rank. Her's was both and neither, but he recognized it still.
It was the Contessa Santangelo's essence. How long had it been? Eighty years? More? Of course to the immortal that's like three weeks in your time, Dear Reader, but he had missed her. However had they grown apart? Oh dear, yes. He had fallen in love with a blonde mortal, so in love indeed that he could not turn her. Or would not. Emmaline. And he had told her what he was. The Contessa had been furious.
, common, uncouth!" she had shouted. "You look Ridiculous! We don't fall in love with these mortals. Have you lost your mind as well as your soul? She's warm
! That's means she'll die
! She will die! What happens then? You are a child, Stefan, two hundred years old and you've learned nothing. You disgust me, Sir!"
She looked so beautiful when furious, he remembered, violet eyes glittering, the veins in her porcelain face visible through her alabaster skin. How he had loved her. In their way.
And she had been right, as always, for Emmaline had indeed died. Tuberculosis. A disease of animals. Which is what she was. And he wasn't. Not anymore.
He rose from the coffin and took to the night in search of the Contessa.Things you don't know about My Kind, Part One: The growl or moan of a Vampire causes a frisson of psychic energy in the mortal world. Imagine watching the ripples on a still pond as you throw a pebble in the water. Like that. Or, the shock-wave from an Atom bomb. You have felt it. When you say you've 'felt a tingle up your spine' or when you say 'the hairs on my arms stood up' or, my favorite, 'it felt like someone walking over my grave'. You really are amusing creatures. What would my kind do without you?
Coat-tails flapping as he flew, the vampire chased her scent. Flying above the traffic below, the power of his need for her affected the streetlights as he shot past, each light-bulb momentarily dimming then re-lighting as he flashed past. The stink of the traffic, the garbage, the milling mortals themselves indeed, distracted him and he soared high above the metropolis, searching for cleaner air and her spoor. From here he could see the entire city.
In the park two undercover narcotics policemen were shaking down an unfortunate, or at least unlucky, drug-dealer. On a suburban street a high-school girl performed oral sex on her boyfriend in the rear of his ancient Toyota. She was being eager, thought the boy, and he loved her whoring. In fact, she was hurried because they were parked outside her house and she was terrified her father would come out to investigate. On the steps of one of the hospitals, a young man with trembling hands lit a cigar. He had just witnessed the birth of his first child, a perfect baby boy. Life in the big city.
Normally, any one of these situations, and a hundred others, would have caused Lord Flashman to swoop. Mortal blood for vampires is exactly like food to you. It's all about the flavor. The spice of life, if you will.Things you don't know about My Kind, Part Two: You all taste different, but the same. Let me try to explain it in a way that you might understand. Every woman tastes different, yet all pussy tastes like pussy. Examples: Murderers taste like burnt chocolate. Virgins really do taste like milk. Whores taste like rum. Male whores taste like burnt poppy. Rapists taste like bitter almonds and I make it a rule to always bleed them out. Nuns taste... Actually, nuns taste really funny...
But there is no time tonight for feeding. He catches a waft in the air. Amber and gold-dust, nettles and peaches, opium and vinegar, salt and rain, spun-sugar... Her. He groaned.
(Did you feel it?)
Gliding down on her aroma he remembered. How long had they been together? One hundred and twenty years, more? She was older than he, though she would never confess quite how old. Of course she looked younger. She had been turned at twenty-seven, he, years later, at forty-three. But in idle conversation she would allude to things that had happened even before he had been mortally born. The time she had been tried as a witch at Salem. An affair with Benjamin Franklin. Her involvement in the secret railroad during The War Between The States. (Well, he remembered the war, of course.)
The smell of her now filling his senses, dizzying him, he alighted upon the boardwalk. It had rained earlier, the lights turned the wet wood gold.
And then he saw her in the distance.
She was wearing a favorite gown he had always loved her in. French, black heavy silk. She had bought it, she once told him, to attend the execution of the French queen, the Austrian, the one they guillotined during The Terror. Kirsten Dunst played her.
Oh, an aside. Because you see although the Wampyr, sorry, vampires, do feed on mortals, it's not necessary for the mortals to die in the process. In fact, that rarely happens. (You'll see later, in fact...) But to watch mortals expire is fascinating to vampires. Not in a pornographic way, not in a voyeuristic way, it's not like watching a Knicks game, but because... Well because they can't do that. They can't die. So it's interesting. Fascinating to watch, indeed. And kind of sad. The Lady Santangelo said she wept bitterly when they took Marie Antoinette's head off. Although the Queen, a martyr to gambling, had owed her several hundred thousand francs at the time so... Anyway.
In fact let me talk to you directly, Dear Reader, can I?
We are almost friends now, I feel. No reason for formality. There is no reason for you to be afraid. Well, almost no reason. (But were I you I might button up your top to the neck. I am after all, only inhuman...)
So I'm about to fly up and greet her when I see the boy. Ah! (It was always my pleasure to watch her work. As complicated and beautiful as a spider in a web. And as heartless.)Things you don't know about My Kind, Part Three: It's always about that we can fly with you! You never ask about immortality or the feeding or the history. It's always, 'What's it like to fly?' You are funny. If you really want to know what it's like, buy a motorbike, rev it up to a hundred miles an hour and drive it over the Grand Canyon. The sensation will last three seconds for you but that's what it feels like. Except longer for us. A lot longer, in fact. I'm obviously not suggesting you really do that. (It would be a waste...)
The boy is wearing an apron and smoking a spliff. A waiter from one of the waterfront bars on a break, I'm guessing. He sees her. I step into the shadows and watch in admiration. She notices the boy observe her and places an ankle-booted foot onto one of the boardwalk benches. Hiking her skirts up, she makes a big deal of re-tying the ribbon at the top of the silk black stocking. As the boy greets her, she throws back the cowl of the caped black velvet cloak she is wearing and I see her face for the first time in... In ages.
My eyes tear up and that's unusual for me. She's so beautiful and petite. Dark curling tresses shine blue-black in the light of the moon. Her skin is as smooth and pale as ever, made paler by her crimson lips and dark painted eyes. Her flashing violet pupils are shining now with something I recognize but the boy doesn't see. Hunger. She takes the joint and drags. She blows the smoke into his lips and he moves in to kiss her. I watch her throw her head back in passion, the starlight glittering on her fangs and then she plunges. The boy groans.
(See, you felt nothing that time...)
She drinks. I wait. She never liked to be disturbed when feeding, but, as I hear her slurping noises subside I'm surprised to hear a low throaty giggle. It sounds like the tinkling of diamonds. She holds the boy by the throat at arms length. (Not quite bled-out, his feet flutter, inches above the decking.)
"Have you become shy, My Lord Flashman?" she whispers, "Come and say hello. Look, I got you something to drink."
"I'm not thirsty for the boy, Lady. Not for the boy..."
She drops the kid with a crumpled clunk. He moans again. He'll survive, I think. He'll probably give up on the dope though, for years telling his fellow stoners about the worst trip he ever had...
"Come and kiss me, My Lord. For my sins I have missed you these last years, though I know not why."
I move and kiss her deeply. I taste the boy's blood on her teeth, but it is her kiss that excites me.
I hold her. I smell her. I have lived for over two hundred years. This moment lasts longer.
She speaks first. "And now I suppose you'll be zooming off back to that big old house, tell me, how many mortal girls are you keeping at the moment?" Her eyebrows raise archly.
"None," I whisper. "You should come and see what I've done with the place since you were last here..."
"I jest. But come back for a drink. I mean, I still keep a decent wine cellar."
"If we're going to have an evening, you really should feed, My Lord," she kindly observes.
"I beg a short moment then, M'Lady?"
(I enter the first waterfront bar, a music dive. I follow a pretty young blonde woman into the bathroom. I tell her she is beautiful and she turns, wide-eyed, and comments on my accent.
"Are you British, I love your voice!" she smiles, flirting.
"Close enough, " I offer, opening a stall door. She enters, I follow. She offers herself for my kiss. It's that easy. As I take her I wonder at the return of The Lady. In fact, distracted, I feed until I feel the mortal girl's heart begin to slow. Shame to kill her. So I drop her unconscious half-drained body on the piss-drowned floor and rejoin The Contessa.)
"Now you look better, My Lord. Promptly done, Sir!" she smiles. "Take my hand."
I do and we shoot into the sky.
She flies faster than I can...Things you don't know about My Kind, Part Four: You mustn't think that my kind don't care about you. In my own case, and if you think about it, I need you. I need you much more than any lover you've ever or might ever have will. It is just that we can be selfish. We are not cruel, but we can occasionally be thoughtless. I apologize most sincerely. Please forgive me.
In the candlelight of the main hall we sit and drink a Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux Vosne Romanee Premier Cru Cote.
"This really isn't bad," she comments, sipping sweetly, "though I prefer the Richeborg Gran Cru..." Her violet eyes twinkle.
"The local liquor store was fresh out, Karen," I murmer dryly.
She giggles, the sound of a silver spoon rattling in a crystal glass. I move toward her and kiss her softly, fondly. "You're so very old fashioned," she whispers, but she returns my kiss.
My kind generally don't make love like mortals, but we can. I touch her and she sighs. I reach to unlace the stays of her heavy gown at her back and she allows it. I undress her, still kissing her as my hands explore her. She sighs, contentedly. I lower her to the floor, in front of the log-fire, onto her back. She raises her ribboned-stocking clad legs. And then I laugh loudly.
"Are you wearing a thong?" I ask.
Her eyes flash angrily. "They are very comfortable Sir!" she snarls.
"I'm sure they are, Karen..."
"And they taste delicious," she offers and, as usual, she is right.
After she groans, (and you must have felt that) I remove her panties and take her in the way of mortals. As she comes again, more passionately this time, the power right across the city shorts-out for minutes.
Afterward, I hold her, offering her her wine glass, and she drinks. Her eyes shine with a satisfied dreamy look that makes her look almost... Different. She speaks, still moved by what we have just shared. Things you don't know about My Kind, Part Five: The reason we mostly don't make love like you do is because it reminds us. And what really is the fucking point, if you'll pardon the pun?
"You know, while I was away I spent some time back in England," she muses. "It's very different now. Not like the place I was born at all."
"But darling, I thought you were a Florentine Contessa?"
"Oh, I was, but that was later."
"What were you in England?"
"I was a thief. Well, that was what they called it. But I had a baby daughter to feed. I stole a loaf of bread. He had got himself killed in the war you see, the one when they killed the King at the end. And they took Patience from me and put me on a transport to Jamestown. There was a man on the ship, from the Old Country in Europe, and we, well, he made me like I am now. But I'm boring you, my dear!"
She had in all the time I'd know her never spoken like this.
"What was your name?"
"Oh I forget... Kitty Parish, I think..."
"What year was it, Karen?"
"It was 1645."
Speechless now, I just held her. After a time she spoke again.
"I was sorry to hear about your mortal, Eveline, wasn't it?" she said. "Did it hurt you very much?"
"It did for... for a while," I confess.
"I knew it would," she scolded. "Please don't ever be so silly again or I shan't stay."
"So you're staying?"
"I may for a while," she granted.
"You can stay forever," I offered.
"You never learn, do you? Nothing lasts forever, Stefan."
"We do," I said.
"We'll see," she smiled.
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