And yet I still run.

I run, trying to outrun the memories, trying to outrun my pain, Gabby’s pain, Konrad’s overbearing presence. I don’t stop to wait and see if Gabby is going to join me. The sun is rising higher in the sky. My skin tingles, my eyes sting but I keep running. I flit from town to town, feeding a little from several people. I do just as Konrad instructed, leaving the victim alive. It was the least I could do with that memory still in my mind’s eye. Her eyes still haunt me. I’m surprised I remember it with such accuracy.

Her innocent, wide eyes gaze up at me in the summer light. It stings, being out in the light. I’m still learning. She smells so good. We’re in the garden at the back of our house. No one can see us. We’re alone. I walk towards her with my arms outstretched. She can’t tell the difference between my friendly “let’s-play” smile and my newer hungry smile. Red eyes don’t scare her. The next thing I know is her beautiful little form is limp in my arms, spattered in innocent blood. My daughter. My meal. I kiss her little forehead, my bloodied lips grazing her cold skin and lay her down on the grass.

I shudder, shaking tears out of my eyes. Red eyes. I remember her eyes after too, fixed, shocked, cold. Dead. She was only four. My daughter. I let out a scream into the dawn as I run across fields, still trying to run away from that memory, except I can never escape it, can I? Because it’s inside of me, in my head. It has been for over a century. And yet I still run. I will always run, I think. I stumble across a field of livestock and lay into them mercilessly. Konrad said nothing about killing animals.

The hunger is sated, but I feel tempted to sit among the carcasses and wait for an angry farmer to come and shoot me. Or to wait for the sun to rise and burn me. But I can’t. Living is my punishment for what I’ve done, so I must stay alive. I don’t deserve to die. I keep moving and I find Konrad’s presence easily enough – I didn’t stray too far from the bus. Following Konrad, I run to catch up with the red hunk of junk. Run to escape myself.

The End

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