Have you ever died? Death isn’t always quick and painless, it’s slow and it can be messy. I know this…because that’s how I died, slow and torturous. I don’t remember why I died or my life before dying, but I remember feeling cold and something wet on my chest and stomach when I woke up. There was a hole through my breastplate, just inches from my heart; there was so much blood.
I had to stand much slower than I would without the gaping wound. Walking out of the shadows was painful, but making it to the lit street was nothing short of a relief.
“So, your still alive, huh?” a raspy male voice echoed from the shadows across the street.
I struggled to the closest street lamp and tried to focus my eyes on the shadows where the voice was. My eyes strained to make out a dark outline of a figure.
“What happened to me? Who are you,” I wheezed out; reminding myself of the bloody space in my chest. The pain raced through my body with such intensity that I feel limp, causing me to fall to my knees and gasp for my strength back.
“I wouldn’t get too excited if I were you,” his coarse voice floated through the darkness, “You were attacked, and close to death when I found you.” His figure slowly moves towards the street lamp across from where I was now knelt to the ground, “I brought you back; the police had already taken your attacker into custody, and I suspect he’ll be executed by tomorrow evening.”
I stared into the oil-powered light; his figure was slightly easier to make out. His face was covered by a large brim black hat; he also appeared to wear a long black trench coat.
“Why me? What have I ever done,” I began to well up in pain and sadness.
“My dear, I believe you were merely an opportunistic kill. But not to fear; thanks to me, you have a second chance.”
I was still in a lot of pain, my head began to hurt. When I glanced up the man was standing over me. His face was slightly easier to make out, but not by much; he was pale, with a profound jaw and cheekbones.
“You look faint, you need to feed,” he said helping me to my feet.
He helped me walk down the dark street; even though I knew nothing about this man, other than he “brought me back”. As the two of us slowly moved down the street, with my head hanging down, I was able to see the extent of my injury. My petite coat was no longer the slightly faded rose pink, but a dark damp red, the once under corset of “thick” whalebone was shattered and stained with my blood and bone.
“There, your first meal in a new life,” the man pointed to another man stumbling up the street towards us.
“What do you mean, ‘first meal’,” I asked him, concerned with the answer I may get.
“You just came back; you need to nourish your body. Plus, this will help your wound heal faster,” he said it so bluntly as if it’s natural for someone to have a large chasm in their chest, or to be died one moment and walking around the next.
The man coming towards us was obviously drunk, but something was different; he was still a decent distance away from us, but his pulse was ringing in my ears. My vision started to shift, everything started to look red. I felt my body tremble; something was wrong, what did this man do to me? My jaw began to shoot pain throughout my mouth like my teeth were being pulled out of my skull.
“The first time is always the most painful, but over time the change becomes easier with each feeding.” His words echoed through my mind as the pain grew. When the drunken man was standing before us, he’s stench of alcohol and blood began to fill my nose.
“Say, young miss, hic, why don’t ya ditsh your gentle, hic, man friend dere and, hic, show me to the, hic, nearest bub, huh?”
My head still hung down as he spoke, the scent was intoxicating. I began to get scared, and a thirst filled every inch of my body. I began to tremble; what was this? What is happening to me?
The drunk reached his sweaty hand out to me, “Come on now, hic, don’ be scared-” as soon as the last word escaped his mouth, my hand raced to his arm and grabbed it with such force that he jolted.
My gaze rose to meet his face, I could see the terror washing over him. He pulled his arm, trying to escape my grasp; he began to spit and curse at me, calling me “monster” and all other degrading names. But no amount of struggling seemed to help his cause, he continued to curse at me and at the man I was with. He begged him for help, but he only stood there with what seemed like a devil’s smile.
The man screamed in terror, as I did the unthinkable. My mouth on the front of his wrinkled neck, my teeth breaking his greasy skin, his blood flowed into my mouth. It tasted horrible, like stale wine or like taking a large drink of vinegar mixed in with street lamp oil; thick and hard to swallow. Its warmth poured over my tongue and down my throat like hot cider on an autumn evening at a country cottage.
After what felt like centuries, I pulled away from the limp body of my victim. As his body fell from my grasp and onto the cold street, his throat, ripped open from my teeth, became a geyser of scarlet against the blackened street.
“My, my, you nearly drain this man dry, haven’t you,” my so-called companion scoffed at me. He waltzed over to the drunk’s body, and nudged it with his foot, then looked over his shoulder back at me, “We’ll have to learn control when you feed, otherwise all your victims will end up like this poor bastard.”
I felt so disgusted with myself, have I become a monster like the dying man said? I looked down at my hands, blood-soaked, cold; fear took over me again as I tried to wipe the blood off of me. I touched my face in a panic; cold, wet, his blood was all over me. What have I done? I wanted to scream, but the sound couldn’t escape my throat.
My companion strolled over to my side, “Calm yourself. In time, this will be second-nature; like breathing,” he stroked my damp hair, “now then we may be together for some time, there are a few things for you to know…”