The Mistress glared at the Professor as though she would kill him on the spot but instead she strode out the door. “Explain it to him!”
Adelaide, like the other two, to external appearances might be called ‘girl’ or ‘young lady’ but those would only be convenient labels. Like all convenient labels, they’d be inadequate at best and wholly inaccurate at worst. Suppose you’d taken the brain of a teenager and placed it into a succession of host bodies, each living a life of frustration, disappointment and hopeless futures. After years and decades and lifetimes of such gray existence, put that brain back into the original, perfectly preserved, body. Would it be a teenager anymore? Could it possibly be? There’d be no word in human tongues to truly describe her. Convenient labels would have to do.
“What just happened?” he asked.
“Firstly, despite appearances, between the three of us we have over three hundred years.”
“Not possible? It shouldn't have been. We’re vampires but we were all three abused by sadistic masters. Gwendolyn and I were turned while too young by the same beast. Beatrice was turned by a different monster, one even worse than ours. We can't grow older. We can't assume all the normal vampire powers. We're stuck between worlds. Did Mistress have time to explain about depression and such? Yes? So, then, you see how… messed up we are.”
The Professor started to reply but Adelaide waved her hand to show she was not done.
“Beatrice is the worst. She's had to be restrained from four attempts to kill herself. It wouldn't have worked... do you know about that already? Yeah. So... it didn't work but she bears scars. Inside and out. We thought she needed a distraction from her depression. We could all use some. The idea of working with a respected name, having a mentor to do real research with and such... to be of service to Mistress. To repay all that she’s done. It was helping, the expectation. We need someone like you. Mistress needs you. Beatrice needs you most of all.”
“But, you don't understand, I don’t want to go on living.”
“Neither do we sometimes, Professor. You have a choice. We don't. But maybe if you'd give it a chance, we could all enjoy life some more?”
Mistress stepped back into the room, having regained some control over her anger. “Enough begging. He has to decide but we will not grovel to him. Go help see to Beatrice. Do what you can to convince her it's not over... yet.”
After Adelaide departed, Mistress turned to him and said, “Now, Professor, here's how it is. I grant you your request to die under the fangs of one of my people. But you've heard the state we are in, especially these three of my problems. Your request will only be granted after you've had time to reconsider working with us. But know this...” Here her voice turned ice-cold. “If you refuse to even try helping, when you're taken, I'll see to it you will not have an easy exit. Now perhaps you understand how badly I want you to live for me. You'll sleep in here tonight. The door will be secured. You cannot leave. Someone will come for you and your decision in the morning.”
She left the room but at the door, she turned and looked at him and the ice was gone. “Now you've seen why they're my problems. I pity them. Can you not do so?” The door closed and the lock shot home.