Friday, January 18, 2008

Last Memory

I'm sitting with the boys and Dingo has the shakes like a junkie with too much fixed. “Need a slurp?” Sunshine asks. He nods and they both look to me. The night has just started and we're all debating the same thing, Dingo just had to go and get worked up about it. “Lets hit the Heights. The meat is always showered this time of night,” Sunshine comments. I give it a shrug and Dingo looks too hungry to argue. We're on our way. We three vampires, we ran across the rooftops and bounded over the skyscrapers. I could hear a few people below me. They were discussing whether they had just seen me jump by. Fucking meat. We're at the Heights faster than a bird can fly and down on the third floor. It has been ages since I had a good bite myself. I pound on a door with a Welcome Mat on the front. “Flower Delivery!” I call. The door is opened moments later and Dingo is on her like a vulture. A light rap on a door several down, “Video game Delivery!” The door swings open and Sunshine hardly makes a sound. I don't even look behind my shoulder, I just keep walking down the hall. Maybe vary it up, go see another floor. I light a cigarette as I enter the stairwell and take a long drag. “You know those things can kill you,” a voice says behind me. I tense and get ready to make the concerned citizen dinner. The red haze comes over me and things get a bit fuzzy. Night comes onto night and suddenly things go darker than usual.


When I wake up, the sun is on my face. My first reaction is to keep my eyes closed and try to struggle, because my skin should be on fire right now. The pleasant temperature stuck around and I was having trouble moving. I hadn’t felt the sun on me in forty years. The reaction to not dying immediately because of it was mixed. When I finally took a peep, I see white walls and a window with the curtains mostly drawn. I kinda half smiled and looked down at my arms just to double check. Yup, still alive, still not minding the sun. A glance to my right explains the curious lack of panic that should be in my head with a curious bag of fluids dripping into me. Drugs hadn’t worked on me for years, but I wasn’t too concerned about it. Must be doping me with the stuff in the bag. I enjoyed sunlight & drugs being back in my life for about thirty seconds. Then the music starts. In walks this guy in a white coat with a couple of nurses and it’s all happy to see I’m doing well. They ask me how I’m feeling, if I’m hungry, will I need a bathroom break, on and on while I give them the silent treatment. There’s nothing like people asking you how you’re doing to make you wonder just what the hell they want. And then the music just starts to roar. I’m a vampire, a grade A slurper with all the trimmings, and I’m enjoying a sunny day in a hospital with drugs and doctors. I decide to assume the guy in the white coat is in charge and ask him what the fuck is going on. “Why, haven’t you realized yet? You’ve been cured! You’re not a vampire anymore,” he replies.

First Meal

The music stops and suddenly breathing sounds like gongs on a subway. The lights are blinking, or maybe I am, and suddenly all I can fixate on is the weird empty sensation in my stomach. I’m hungry. And not wanting a slurp hungry, like I haven’t had a fix in a while and I don’t care about anything else hungry. I’m irritable about it hungry. The doctor starts explaining that there might be an adjustment period as the cure takes effect and the nurse leaves to get me a glass of water. “You might be re-experiencing some biological functions that you haven’t felt in years, decades even,” he says while I start looking around a bit more. I’m not tied or restrained to the bed, which makes me feel better for about a second. I lunge forward to take the doctor hostage only to have all the blood rush to my head and all the energy drain out of me. I haven’t been weak in a long time either. The doctor takes a step back, startled, but he figures out the score pretty fast. “Now, I realize you might not exactly have been expecting this. Our operatives tagged you just before you could take another innocent life. We came upon you quite on accident, Mr. Shade.” I’m all ears as I lay back in bed trying to figure out which the way room isn’t spinning. A knock on the door and the nurse comes back in, a glass of water and a covered dish. “Before we talk more, we’re going to need to get you adjusted back to being human. Perhaps something to eat, something you’re used to?” He pulls back the cover and there’s a barely cooked steak on the plate. For a second I think he’s making a joke.

Days Go By

And it turns out the joke is on me, because I choke the thing down. The doctor gives me a pat on the back and leaves the room. Days go by like this. Eating turned out to be one of the easier things to get re-adjusted to. When you’re a blood sucker a lot of basic issues go out the window. Taking a crap, for instance. Would you believe I actually forgot how to wipe my own ass? Just never came up after I quit ingesting solids. I complained about headaches for days before I realized drinking water was all I needed to do. I’d been a vampire for about forty years, got tagged in the sixties when things were a bit looser. Thirty years is just enough time to forget what it’s like to have to do the little stuff. The place they were keeping me was some kind of hospital, but there seemed to be only one other patient. Whoever it was, they kept them behind locked doors and told me to stay out. Otherwise, I had free reign around the joint but would get stopped at the front door. It was weird, like they weren’t equipped to have a person like me around. They certainly weren’t pumped about a former vampire being there either. One nurse actually covered up her neck when I walked by. I could’ve ripped the joint apart, had a feast and…well, I could’ve done all that back when I was a vampire. Plus I was a lot weaker, not quite mortal, but still weak by my standards. No one really wanted to talk to me and when I asked what was going on they just said the doctor had ordered me to rest. There were also orderlies in case that answer wasn’t good enough.

Where I'm At

The couple of nurses and orderlies I see start loosening up after a while. Mostly because I’m around all the time but I don’t think I was going to be invited for tea anytime soon. The mystery patient is still behind locked doors and I’m still getting stonewalled for even looking at the door. Still, people start to talk after they get used to you. I’d kinda forgotten about how to do that, make friends. You get so used to being around the same, non-aging folks that you just kinda quit bothering to meet new people. That or you kill them after a good slurp. I find out the place I’m staying is run by some sort of Secret Church Organization. They all call themselves the Paladins of the Light. What a dumbass name, right? When one of the orderlies was first explaining it to me, he was kinda gloating and showing me these weird tattoos they all have on their arms. I told him I’d been sucking blood for thirty years and never heard of them in my un-life. He actually got upset, the schmuck. I told him I’d heard about hunters here and there but things were mostly status after the vampires started regulating themselves. He didn’t talk to me so much after that. I got the impression this was a bit of a new operation, some sort of business venture in combating the immortal vampires. Most of the people there had just started their jobs but they were all long time members of the Church. Lots of enthusiasm, not much experience. They always wanted to know if I still wanted to suck blood. “Lady, if that was going to do anything except make me vomit now, I’d probably not bat an eye. Just because I’m used to it doesn’t mean I’m going to keep doing it,” I told one nurse who also quit talking to me. I had meant it to be reassuring. Honestly though, I thought about it a couple of times.

Mood Swings

They kept me cooped up for about three days like that. Just staring at me and letting me wander around. I smoked when one of the orderlies would bum me a cigarette but I didn’t have any cash so there wasn’t much to bargain with. I wasn’t in great shape during that time, physically or mentally. The term ‘moodswing’ comes to mind. At first I’d think everything was cool, I could do this. Then I’d start thinking about…Christ, nothing in particular. Just the hugeness of it all. The worst was when I started thinking about being a vampire though. I dunno, eating meat to stay alive is one thing, but it’s tough to keep that in mind once you’re human again. The justification of it all, once it stops being applicable, things get un-calm. When I was a vampire killing people didn’t really feel like killing…people. I mean, if it had been a vampire I had to slurp, yeah I might’ve gotten choked up before. That was one of my own. That was another immortal being like me. We had eternal life, that’s a helluva thing to rob someone of. That was a dude whose friends, whose family, really expected them to be around forever. Not that I didn’t kill a couple, but I thought about it afterwards. But being human again? Shit man, I’d slurped so many it’d be fair to say I was beyond redemption. I didn’t have to deal with that too much though, it’s not like I could even remember most of the people I’d killed. I tended to black out just before I made the kill, just like I did before I woke up in this goofy hospital. It was a joke that my other immortal friends used to love, that I could never remember sucking blood. They made some good gags out of it, Sunshine and Dingo. Friends forever. Well, that might be different now too.

The Thickening

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that after a few more days of this screwing around that I decided the suspense would be a lot better if it killed me. Don’t get me wrong, being human again was swell, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Something about being mortal just took all the motivation out of me. I figured that if I had to die again there wasn’t much point in putting it off. I smoked a cigarette, looped a noose around my neck, and was about two seconds from knocking the chair from under me when the doctor waltzes in. Behind him is a real knock-out, one of the best looking blondes I’d ever seen. She didn’t even gasp when she saw me on the stool, ready to knock it loose. She just kept her stone face while the doctor rushed over and dragged me down. I heard him assure her that I had been very stable mentally up to this point. I told them I was the only stable person in the room and to let me back on the stool. The blonde gets real close to my face and sniffs me. After a second I realize she’s not enjoying a fetish, that she is actually smelling me. The doctor keeps me pinned still but I’m frozen solid and staring straight at her. “Ah, now I can smell the fear. Let him up. Mr. Shade, it’s time you found out you just why precisely you’re not dead yet,” she gives me a toothy grin but I stay stone faced. What the Hell is a werewolf doing here?