Sample Chapter: Immortalis Carpe Noctem

Immortalis Carpe Noctem

By Katie Salidas
Chapter Excerpt
Darkness surrounded me. A voice spoke softly in my head. Do not die, young one. Be strong. Do not die.
I became painfully aware of liquid pouring down on me, each drop like an icy hammer hitting my sore skin. Movement echoed in my ears, telling me that I wasn’t alone. Slowly, I opened my eyes. Harsh light blinded me. My mind was fuzzy. I struggled to recall any small detail that might clue me in to what had happened and where I was.
I reached up to wipe the splattering water from my face. I chanced opening my eyes again. As I looked up, I spotted the source of the water, a showerhead on the opposite wall. Confused by this odd location, I struggled to penetrate the blackness of my memory and figure out how I had ended up in a bathtub.
Where the hell am I?
I tried to focus on the bright, unfamiliar surroundings.
My vision, it seemed, had become remarkably sharp while I was unconscious. I couldn’t remember ever noting so many details in such simple surroundings as these before.
Cream-colored tiles covered the walls, each rippled with tiny imperfections. Each held an individual pattern, making them unique and special. Yellowing, porous grout, framing the tiles, appeared to be littered with dots from small air bubbles that had come to the surface, creating different patterns and shapes.
Even the plain white curtain that separated me from the rest of the room seemed unusually detailed and perfectly woven. I saw each tiny strand that had been tightly bound together to form this heavy, durable cloth.
Small specks of mold building up in the corners of the porcelain basin weren’t able to escape my new sight either.
 The amazing level of detail I experienced didn’t hold my attention for long. Freezing water still poured down on me. I needed to reach the handle and end the cold assault, but it seemed so far out of my reach. I eased myself up to a sitting position, my muscles aching with each small movement. Looking down, I saw my beaten body. The water had washed away some of the grime, but what was left of my shredded clothes was stained and clinging to my skin.
“Uggh!” I moaned.
“Oh, good, you’re alive,” said a male voice from behind the white curtain.
The voice seemed strange and yet somehow familiar. I searched my fuzzy memories to place the voice with a face. A wave of fear came over me as I remembered the attack.
Had I been kidnapped? Was I a hostage of some kind? I struggled to recall the events of the evening.
“You’ve been out for a few hours. I was worried I might have lost you,” continued the voice.
“What?” I called, still not sure who I was talking to.
“It doesn’t always work. Some people can’t be turned,” the voice said matter-of-factly.
“Turned?” What the hell is that supposed to mean?
I again tried to run through my memories of what had happened. I remembered blood, and the feeling of my body burning from the inside.
“I’ll explain it when you’re done in there. I’ve left some clothes on the toilet. I hope they fit.” The voice trailed out of the bathroom.
I tried to stand. My muscles ached. Gripping the edge of the tub, I moaned as I pushed myself up. My legs didn’t want to cooperate; they shook as they tried to support my weight. It was as if I was learning to stand for the first time.
I felt weak and a little dizzy. I leaned against the wall, using it as a crutch to help me to balance while I removed what remained of my shredded and bloodstained clothes. I shuddered, seeing more of the wounds that covered my body.
I remembered the two men. Flashes of memory showed me images of the struggle: the man on my stomach laughing, the knife waving in front of my face, teeth biting me, a stranger drinking my blood.
 Each bruise I saw invoked a terrible memory. I turned the shower handle to hot and let the water run down my back. The warmth soothed my sore skin. I rested my head against the wall and tried to rationalize what had happened. I blamed myself for walking alone. I knew better. I should have asked someone to walk with me or drive me. I cursed myself for relying on a stupid keychain of pepper spray as my protection.
Some of the events that flashed in my memory were so bizarre I could hardly believe they had happened. I saw myself lying on the ground, drinking blood from a strange man’s arm. 
What was his name? Was I really drinking blood? Why was I even alive? Did that man save me?
The thought of blood caused an ache in the pit of my stomach.
I pinched myself a few times.
Maybe this was all just a really bad dream and I just needed to wake up.
None of it made sense
Maybe someone had slipped something into my coffee at the café. I hadn’t really been drinking blood, had I?
My mind wouldn’t stop focusing on the blood I had drunk. A sweet, sticky taste crept up from the back of my throat. I gulped at the water pouring down from the showerhead, trying to smother the flavor. My stomach retched as I swallowed, causing me to sputter and spit the water to the ground. I tried to ignore the nagging ache in the pit of my stomach. I needed answers first. I needed to know why I was here and where here was. I needed to know what the hell had happened to me.
I finished rinsing, turned off the water, and slid open the shower curtain. The light seemed brighter in the rest of this room. I squinted, letting my eyes adjust a little. The rest of the bathroom was small and narrow. Nothing more than a simple toilet, shower, mirror, and vanity sink. The only real color in the room came from the red towels hanging on the towel bar and the bath mat on the floor.
I grabbed one towel and wrapped it around myself and then noticed the clothes left on the toilet seat. They appeared to be new and for a brief moment, I wondered where he had gotten them.
“I guess this will have to do,” I mumbled as I pulled on a simple green spaghetti strap tank top. I slid my legs into a pair of blue jeans and pulled them up. Fastening the button, I felt a small pinch in my back. I reached around, touched a hard scab, and winced, remembering the pain of the knife that had been stabbed into my back.
How was I even alive? I certainly shouldn’t have been after the ordeal I’d been through.
I checked myself out in the mirror. Most of my wounds were already healing. Bruises that weren’t covered by clothing had started turning yellow. The cuts on my back and face had scabbed over too. I noticed something on my neck. Brushing away the wet strands of my red hair, I saw a half ring of small bruises and two very deep looking holes.
Lysander, I thought, suddenly remembering the stranger’s name.
My memory flashed again. I remembered the pinch as his teeth sunk into my neck. I shuddered again as a chill danced down my spine.
What…who was this Lysander? He couldn’t be a…No. That’s silly; they aren’t real.
I gave the rest of my body a quick onceover in the mirror and suddenly I stopped in shock.
“My eyes,” I gasped. “Oh, my God!”
I couldn’t believe it.
How is this possible? Those are not my eyes.
All the color had disappeared. Large gray eyes stared back at me from the mirror. They were pale and cloudy with hints of blue, no longer the emerald green they used to be. These were the same eyes I looked into when I got my first glimpse of Lysander.
Wondering what else had changed, I surveyed the rest of my face: ears, hair, lips, all seemed the same. Thinking of the bite on my neck, I opened my mouth. Gone was the five thousand dollar, perfectly straight, smile —that had taken me four years to pay off. My eyeteeth appeared to have grown larger, crowding the surrounding ones. The new, slightly larger, canine like teeth poked down below the others, reminding me of fangs— the kind vampires from Hollywood movies were famous for. I playfully licked at them, noting how much sharper they felt as they scraped across the surface of my tongue.
“This can’t be possible.”
It was time to find this Lysander guy and get some answers.
***
I stepped out of the bathroom into a small, dark hallway, noting doors to my left and right. Peering through an arched opening in the wall in front of me, I saw light and dancing shadows.
Maybe I should look for Lysander there.
I limped slowly through the archway, my muscles aching with each step.
The living room was cavernous, with vaulted ceilings. Though only two small lamps provided light, the room appeared as bright as if it were daylight inside. I squinted, allowing my eyes some time to adjust as I searched for Lysander. The small lamps, on top of side tables, cast their glow on a U-shaped sitting space. A large, overstuffed black leather couch sat against a wall, flanked by two smaller matching loveseats.
Lysander sat on the couch, looking down at a book in his hands. He appeared not to notice me slowly making my way toward him.
I stopped long enough to get a good look at him. His skin was flawless, smooth as porcelain and just as pale, showing no signs of wrinkles or imperfections. He had a slightly pointed nose that hung over a pair of thin lips and his wide masculine jaw tapered down to a perfect crescent chin. 
I might have thought him a statue for the still and rigid way he sat on the couch. His broad shoulders hunched as he looked down, obviously engrossed in the book in his hands.
A glass coffee table sat in front of him, littered with papers and an antique looking book.
I quickly scanned the rest of the room, wondering if anyone else was here with us. I was barely ready to speak with Lysander, and the prospect of more people like him sent a shiver of fright down my spine.
The opposite wall housed a large set of bookshelves with a library’s worth of old looking books. A television was mounted to the wall between the bookshelves. Its light mingled with the glow of the table lamps, creating dancing images on the bare white walls. There was a stark, minimalist theme to the décor in this room. There was no warm, homey, lived-in feel. That, and the fact I didn’t see another person, gave me a small measure of comfort, confirming that we were alone.
Time to get some answers.
I steeled my courage and took a step forward. My ankle sagged. I let out a whimper as I lost balance and caught myself against the wall.
Lysander looked up. Wavy dark hair framed his oval face in a messy yet purposeful way. His dark hair emphasized the almost transparent nature of his eyes and forced me to look directly at them.
They were so beautiful.
I could get lost looking into those deep, swirling pools of gray. Small hints of blue sparkled at me like stars in the twilight sky. I was entranced. We stared silently at one another for a moment before he stood up.
“Good to see you up and moving,” he said in a smooth, velvety voice. He was at my side in a blurred flash, moving quicker than I’d ever seen anyone move before. I stifled a small gasp as Lysander enveloped me in his strong arms and helped me to stand.
I suddenly felt the brush of butterfly wings buzzing deep within my stomach. Heat flushed my face. I looked down, not wanting to meet his gaze again.
“I have no doubt you are a little confused. Here, let me help you.” He supported my weight, helping me walk.
 “Where am I?” I asked meekly.
My muscles gave out and I collapsed onto the soft leather of his couch.
“This is my home, Alyssa.”
“And… who… what are you?”
My memory flashed to the darkness and the sound of his voice commanding me to drink. I shuddered for a second as a wave of fear struck me.
“Do not worry, Alyssa. I will not hurt you.” He breathed a heavy sigh, taking a seat next to me. “I’ve done enough to you already.”
My hand moved instinctively to my neck. I touched the crusted scabs of two small puncture wounds. I recalled the small pinch of teeth and the pressure of his mouth against my neck.
“What exactly have you done to me?”
“I must apologize for what has happened this evening. You would have died if I had not turned you.”
“Turned? What have you turned me into?” I asked, my voice finding a small measure of strength.
“Well.” Lysander paused and took a slow, deep breath. “To put it simply—” He reached up and pinched the bridge of his nose. His eyebrows pulled together and small creases formed in between them.
I waited anxiously for what would come next.
“You are a vampire.”
“A what?” I shrieked.
“You are a vampire, Alyssa,” he said slowly. “An immortal.”
“No! That’s not possible.” I shook my head in disbelief. “Vampires aren’t real. They’re fiction; nothing but stories and myths.”
One of his dark eyebrows rose slightly. He cocked his head to the side. He smirked as his eyes trailed down from my face. “Did you not notice the mark on your neck? Do you not remember drinking my blood?” His fangs showed as he spoke: pure white, sharp little daggers, just a slight bit longer than the rest of his teeth. His voice carried that same arrogance I remembered from when he talked with my attackers.
My mouth hung open. No, this isn’t possible.
Things were still fuzzy in my head, but I did remember the blood, the liquid fire, I had been forced to drink. I’d hoped it had just been some drug induced dream.
Oh, my God, it was true. I drank his blood. “I’m…a … vampire?”
“Yes.” He smiled. “Our kind are very real. And now, Alyssa, you are one of us.”
I slumped backwards into the cushions of the couch. His words hit me like a punch to the gut. I stared wide-eyed at the distant wall. This was like some terrible nightmare. I didn’t want to believe what he was telling me, but I knew he was right. There was no other way to explain what had happened to me. No amount of hallucinogenic drugs could have explained how I had survived the attack, why I had these markings, or the sharpness of my own new set of fangs.
“Does that mean I’m… undead?”
“You are immortal,” Lysander said with a casual wave of his hand. “Undead is a silly term mortals use to explain the supernatural things they cannot possibly understand. You are no more dead than you were when you woke up this morning. You are just, for lack of a better word, changed.”
Lysander gave me another toothy grin. His fangs were frightening to look at. The memory of him biting me played over and over in my mind like a video stuck on repeat.
“But you drank my blood.” My hand shot back up to cover the wound on my neck.
“Only enough to allow the transformation.”
He reached out, grabbed my hand, and pulled it from my neck.
“Don’t touch me.” I flinched, annoyed and afraid at his sudden gesture. I tried to pull my hand out of his grip, but he was so much stronger than I was. He pushed my hand to my chest, forcing me to feel the erratic thumping of my heart.
“You see,” he said calmly. “Your heart still beats.”
I let out a breath I didn’t realize I had been holding. “But…how?” I relaxed my hand relaxed under his grip.
“Unlike some of your other organs, your heart is still necessary to keep blood flowing through your body.” Lysander let go of me. “For now, while your body is in transition, it will beat in an accelerated rhythm, but it will eventually slow itself to a more normal pace.”
I was speechless. My mind raced, recalling books and movies, everything I knew about vampire mythology. Bats, stakes, and garlic immediately popped into my mind.
 “I must mention that your generation’s ideas of vampires are a bit off.” Lysander spoke with a hint of amusement in his voice. “Many of the popular books and movies about our kind are no more real than children’s fairytales.”
Is he reading my mind? I wondered how he seemed to say just the right thing as I was thinking it. “So, none of the stories are true?”
“Most of the new stories you are probably familiar with are filled with complete nonsense.”
“What about the old ones, like Dracula?”
Lysander sighed. His shoulders slumped. “Dracula is not what I would consider an old story, but yes, a few are based on some truth, however little it may be. There is much that is added to make us seem easier to deal with.” His lip curled into a crooked grin. “Mortals like to think they can hurt us. It helps them sleep at night.”
“So, you’re not afraid of crosses, then?”
Lysander shook his head. “Crosses and other holy relics are nothing more than symbols and decorations. I hardly see why an ornamental cross would stop me from doing anything. Furthermore, I think it’s time for the Christians to come up with a better symbol. One that is a little less… gloomy.”
I chuckled. “Okay, what about garlic?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “What about it?”
“Isn’t garlic bad for vampires?”
“No.” He shook his head. “Why would it be? We don’t eat, so how would it harm us?”
I nodded. “Okay… umm… stakes?”
His head tilted to the side as the corner of his lip rose up into a teasing grin. “You can try to stab me with a piece of wood, but I doubt it will do much more than aggravate me. We heal quite fast. Perhaps a blade would work better.”
I shuddered, seeing his teeth again as he spoke. Is that how I look now?
“So, knives and swords are bad?”
“Yes. It is much harder to regenerate a severed limb. And if we are separated from our heads, it would be safe to say we would cease to exist.”
I smiled, noting the sarcasm in Lysander’s voice. I could tell he’d had this conversation before. He seemed to be enjoying my round of silly questions.
“Holy water?” I blurted out.
Lysander let out a hearty laugh. “No, you won’t melt into a pile of goo. You can throw most of that nonsense out of the window, Alyssa.”
I giggled, realizing how silly it sounded: melting into a pile of goo after being splashed with water. Maybe this won’t be so bad.
“You see, we immortals are not as ridiculous as Hollywood likes to portray us. Though one thing is true… we do survive off the blood of the living.”
The smile faded from my face. Blood; of course. That was the one true thing in all the myths.
Lysander sat quietly as if waiting for me to do or say something. After a moment of silence, the casual smile disappeared from his lips.
He had to know this revelation would be a shock to me, but I couldn’t read his now expressionless face. The silence in the room quickly turned awkward. I guessed that he was waiting for me to respond or acknowledge my understanding or acceptance of what he’d just told me.
But how do you respond to someone who tells you that you will now survive on blood? For that matter, how the hell was I going to survive on blood?
Am I going to have to bite someone? No! There’s just no way I can do that.
I sat there half dazed. As the thought of blood entered my mind, my stomach ached. Pangs of hunger nagged at me. I tried my best to ignore them. According to Lysander, hunger now meant blood; and if that was the case, I didn’t want any.
 “How, why… ” I didn’t have the ability at that moment to articulate all the thoughts swimming through my head. Words spilled out of their own accord, faster than I could form sentences. “I just… blood… no.”
“It’s a lot to take in, especially since you were thrown into this,” Lysander said in his soothing, velvety voice. “It is not a common practice to turn someone who is completely oblivious to our kind. Please understand, I had to do this. You would have died if I hadn’t turned you.”
How am I going to drink someone’s blood? I can’t do it. No! I won’t do it. That’s disgusting.
Shock from this revelation tied my tongue.
“We can go into more detail about all of this after you have had a little time to accept it. There is more to know.”
More? There’s more? What else, do I have to eat brains, too? I don’t think I can handle any more.
I sat, wringing my hands as I tried to ignore the ache building in my stomach. Was it hunger? Thirst, perhaps?
Lysander’s brow furrowed as he watched me. I wondered if he understood what I was thinking or how I was feeling.
“Immortality, you might be happy to know,” he said softly, “does have a few pleasant benefits. You should already notice that your wounds are healing quite nicely. By tomorrow evening you will have completely healed, leaving almost no trace of tonight’s… unfortunate events.”
I took a deep breath, attempting to calm my nerves, and then nodded at Lysander, thankful for the change in subject. I didn’t want to hear anything more about blood.
“As you get stronger, your body will regenerate itself faster.”
I gave him a halfhearted smile.
 “Also, you will no longer age. Your body is now essentially frozen in time. The way you look today is the way you will continue to look forever.”
That, I had to admit, was a pleasant revelation; to be twenty-five forever, to never have to worry about wrinkles or gray hairs. I could enjoy the idea that I would stay young forever. At least there were some perks to this.
Lysander returned my smile.
“However,” he continued, almost cautiously, “the transformation causes you to lose the natural pigment in your skin. Without the melanin to protect you from ultraviolet light, you will sunburn … almost instantly.”
I looked down at my hands. They did seem to be lighter. Blue veins showed more prominently under my pale skin.
“The same goes for your eyes. They too, are also going to be extremely sensitive to light. Even with sunglasses, the sun’s light will be quite blinding.”
Great, another truth to the old myths; real vampires aren’t allowed out in the daylight. It saddened me to think I would never be able to go outside during the day again. I had not even been given a proper chance to say goodbye to sunlight.
Guess that means tanning booths are out, too.
I wondered how hard it would be to live a nocturnal life. It seemed that now I would have no choice.
Lost in my depressed thoughts, I was vaguely aware that Lysander was still talking. “We are creatures of the night, so to speak, and you will get used to this lifestyle soon enough.”
His mention of being a creature definitely caught my attention.
“Does that mean we have to sleep in coffins?”
“Not unless you want to.” I detected a bit of sarcasm in his voice.
He sat back into the couch; a slight smirk turned the corner of his mouth up. “They are quite confining and uncomfortable. Personally, I prefer a large bed. But, if you wish, we can find you one.”
“What about the sunlight?” I asked. “Doesn’t a coffin protect us from it?”
Lysander shook his head. “We sunburn easily, but we do not burst into flames, Alyssa,” he scoffed. “Proper window coverings are enough to keep us protected during the day. Sunlight is a danger and not particularly pleasant, but not immediately deadly.”
 I was silent, taking in all this new information. I desperately tried to remember the last sunrise I had seen, so I could burn the beautiful hues of orange and pink into my memory.
Why did this have to happen to me? This sucks. No more daylight. I’ll never feel the warmth of the desert sun again!
Lysander’s eyes locked on me. I felt an odd warmth radiating from him. The strange sensation broke me from my thoughts of daylight.
Did he enjoy being a vampire? Did he ever have problems with this lifestyle?
He broke the silence. “You’re undoubtedly very weak and in quite a bit of pain at the moment. I promise this will not last too long. It may take a day or so for your mortal body to completely change. Blood will help this.”
I winced at the mention of blood.
“You will need blood regularly,” Lysander said.
“Please, no.” I waved my hands in front of my face. “I don’t want to talk about this. I can’t.”
“I’m sorry, but it is unavoidable. The living energy it provides is what keeps your immortal body functioning properly. You will have to have blood … and soon.”
I looked away, turning from Lysander to the bookshelf, letting my eyes blur out of focus. I did not want to deal with this reality. My mind teeter tottered between fear and confusion. I ran my tongue over my newly sharpened teeth. 
How am I going to live off blood? Does he really expect me to bite someone?
 I wanted all of this to be a dream. Lysander’s words reverberated in my head. Your body will need blood regularly.
How could I be this thing? I couldn’t do this. Why the hell did this happen to me?
 I realized I’d been sitting silent for a while. I turned back toward Lysander, meeting his hypnotic blue gray eyes. His stare questioned me, as if looking for some sign of acceptance. I wanted to speak, to say something profound, but all I could come up with was, “Why me?”
“Fate, perhaps,” Lysander said with a casual wave of his hand. “Those two men were meant to be my victims.”
A pained look crossed his face, his brow furrowed as if the mention of those men caused him some unknown suffering. “Regrettably, they attacked you first, and I couldn’t allow you to die by their hands.”
I nodded to myself as he spoke and again ran my tongue back and forth across my teeth, enjoying the new feeling of the sharp, pointed ones. I tried to grasp everything he’d explained to me. It all sounded crazy, but this was reality now.
“You’ll do best not to bring much attention to those,” Lysander said catching me lick the tip of one of my teeth.
I snapped out of my daze. “Sorry, I just can’t help it, it’s all so… so… ” I was at a loss for words. How could I describe how I felt about all of this? It was new and frightening.
 He shot me a stern look. “I know this is very different for you, but you will have to learn to be discreet about your new self. The world is not that accepting of us, and we must be vigilant for fear of discovery.”
“But who would we need to fear? Didn’t you just tell me we are immortal?”
He lowered his head and pinched the bridge of his nose before letting out an impatient sigh. “Immortality does not mean invincibility, Alyssa.” Annoyance tainted his voice. “Ours is a life of secrecy. The better we blend in and the less attention we draw to ourselves, the better. There are people out there who hunt us.”
“What do you mean, like actual vampire hunters?”
Lysander glanced up at the ceiling as if looking for guidance. “Yes. There are hunters out there, Alyssa. They call themselves the Acta Sanctorum—the Saints. Their church promotes the hysteria that all supernatural beings, and anyone else who might be considered different, are unnatural. They see us as nothing more than monsters. They use fear to allow them free rein to kill whomever they please, to rid the world of what they deem evil.”
“Wait, so you mean there are more than just vampires out there? What else is unnatural? Werewolves, wizards, witches?”
“Yes, there are many other supernatural beings in our world. But…” His face became serious, as if contemplating something important. “Not all of us are evil, and sometimes the hunter should be destroyed rather than its prey.”
This was way too much to handle. I didn’t want to hear anymore. I was overwhelmed. Vampires, werewolves, religious crusaders… there were too many new things to process. I tried to get up, but my muscles protested, refusing to move more than an inch. I sank back down into the couch cushions.
“Alyssa, let us try to concentrate on one thing at a time, for now. I know this is all new for you. Just try to focus on vampires, our kind, now. The Acta Sanctorum hunts—”
“Maybe we should be put down,” I snapped. My hand balled into a fist at my side.
“What?”
“Sounds to me like the Acting Sanctum people—”
Lysander’s eyes narrowed. “The Acta Sanctorum,” he said slowly, enunciating each word.
“Whatever. It sounds to me like they are trying to be the good guys. They hunt down murderers.”
“Being a vampire does not make you a murderer.”
“But didn’t you just tell me we have to kill and drink blood to survive? Doesn’t that make us evil?” I was freaking out. The words came out before I could stop myself.
Lysander sighed and shook his head. “It must be nice to live in such a simple world, where everything is black and white.” There was a menacing growl to his voice. He stood up and paced the length of the room, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
“Yes, we do survive on blood, as most people survive eating cattle, chickens, pigs, and other animals. Those animals are slaughtered for human consumption, but I don’t see you so quick to shame that carnivorous act.”
He threw a stern look at me and instantly, I felt ashamed. I knew I should have chosen my words better. Scared or not, I shouldn’t have insulted Lysander or his lifestyle. After all, he did save me, even if by doing so he condemned me in the process.
Lysander sucked in a breath before speaking again. “Being an immortal does not make you evil. You are what you are. You must survive on blood. You cannot eat food or drink anything except blood from now on. Remember this: it is how and when you feed that makes you a monster, or just another being trying to survive in this world.”
“I didn’t mean to say… ” I tried to interrupt, but I stopped myself. Annoyance showed on Lysander’s face. He glared at me coldly. I winced, remembering what he had done to my attackers. I didn’t want to further incite his anger.
After a long pause, he spoke again, his voice monotonic and controlled. “Being immortal does not deny you any of the same basic needs as anyone else. We need shelter to keep us from the elements, clothing to cover us, and food to keep our bodies running. The only difference is our food. We must drink blood.”
I nodded. There was nothing I could say to him at that moment.
“You are going to have to throw out many of your beliefs about what is right and wrong, or you won’t survive the infancy of your vampirism.”
I never wanted this vampirism.
I slouched into the couch cushions, pondering this for a moment. Lysander sat down next to me; his eyes locked with mine. It was obvious he wanted some acknowledgement from me that I understood and accepted everything he’d told me. I just didn’t know what to say.
As far as I was concerned, killing was evil, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that human beings were now in the same category as a cheeseburger. I was repulsed by the thought of drinking blood, especially from a living being.
How was I going to survive this infancy, as Lysander put it? If I didn’t kill, I wouldn’t live; but if I did kill, I would deserve the Acta Sanctorum coming and destroying me like a rabid dog.
I couldn’t avoid Lysander’s quiet stare any longer. “I’m sorry.” It was the only thing I could think to say at the moment.
His expression softened. I could tell Lysander understood, at least on some level, what I was feeling.
“Becoming a vampire is easy,” he said calmly. “Living with the condition, that is the hard part. It’s your choice if you wish to survive now. I saved you from mortal death; now, it is up to you to live with this knowledge of what you are.”
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