I slinked into the shadows once more, stealthily disappearing into an abandoned alleyway. The darkness was where I was safe, but what did I need saving from now? I was the one killing all the people in my town. I was the apex predator in this small little place, too small, if you asked me. Small towns always gossiped like women in the beauty salon, and I couldn’t keep secret for much longer.
I never intended to be this way, to crave their blood so intensely. I didn’t choose to be a monster; I was created to be this way.
I was not meant to be gentle and loving. I wasn’t supposed to change and accept humans as equals. I wasn’t supposed to love. I was supposed to feed and survive in secrecy. I had not been graced with the touch of mortality, no matter how much I wished it so. I simply was a permanent fixture in nature, much like stone, that erodes eventually, but no human had ever witnessed such a thing.
It was a life—if one could call it that—that I never wanted. It was my fault; I supposed I deserved this fate. I was stupid, childish, naïve, thrilled by the thought of being a hero. Turned out that night, I was the one that needed a hero. Too bad that no one cared enough to rescue me. That night, I died. The old Penelope Sarah Shaw died—the sweet girl who only ever wanted to do what was right. I was reborn, reborn with the curse of a lonely eternity, forever to walk the darkness in shame.
It’d been eight-hundred years since that night. There was no changing back—no humanity could ever be traced in me now, not when I was this old and had killed so many innocent humans.
I had run away from my family, ashamed of my urges during my transformation. I tried to resist, but as the humans said, resistance is futile. And indeed it was. I ended up killing three people that day. I only drank from one, his name was Erik Waters, a friend of the family. The other two were his best friends, James York and Scott Dolliver. And each, as a result of my lack of self-restraint, died too young.
I tried to be careful ever since, but sometimes the instincts took reign over my mind, and suddenly my morals, what was left of them anyway, had no say in whether or not I killed another person.
I left the only people I loved. I left the city I loved. I left everything behind because I was too much of a coward to own up to my mistakes and tell the truth. What did I know about monsters? I was only sixteen then. I didn’t know how to handle living a nightmare.
I still didn’t.
But I pushed on and attempted to be the best I could be. I abstained from human blood for a long time, nearly a century, and then one day, I just snapped. My resolve faded, and I attacked. It was a girl that time, her name was Alyssa Inez. She was in her late thirties, still too young to die. I knew I was weak then, and acknowledged it regretfully. In time, I had killed over a thousand people, just to sate my hunger.
It was a sickening thought, especially since I knew I was about to kill another.
His name was Arthur Jones, and he was about to become my next meal. I waited warily, sneaking silently on my feet, until I was close enough to hear his heart beating in his chest from the corner of the street. A harsh wind blew through the vacant street and Arthur pulled his jacket closer to him, blowing hot air into his purple hands to warm them up. He walked slowly along the snow path, careful to step in just the right place so he wouldn’t slip on any unrelenting invisible ice. Arthur made his way towards the corner, where I so patiently waited.
And I lunged for him. He didn’t have time to respond or react in any way, because my teeth had already pierced his neck. He struggled to breathe—gasping for cool air to soothe his frightened lungs. I was expecting him to speak, as so many of my victims pleaded for their life before I graciously stole it away and drank. So when he did speak, I had to hide my remorse.
“Please don’t do this!” he screamed loudly. I bit into his flesh more, a warning to stay quiet. “What are you?” he asked me, his heartbeat beginning to sputter irregularly. The metallic taste of his blood was delightfully warm on my tongue, yet my guilt scorched every taste bud, every inch of me as I mentally scolded myself for enjoying the death of Arthur Jones.
I answered him honestly. What did it matter? He would be dead before he had time to even understand what I’d said. I pulled away from his neck, the crimson staining my lips and fangs.
“I am a vampire, Arthur, and I am truly sorry that you have to die by my hand tonight.”
And I lowered myself back down to finish him off.
Arthur Jones, victim number 292,012, age twenty-nine. Last victim under the alias Aurora Lee Sylvera, another name, another story, another life to be forgotten by all but me.
Just like Penelope Sarah Shaw.