Speed

I ran for an hour, maybe more. This time I took no pleasure in the act. All I knew was that I needed movement, I craved speed.

I stopped only when I reached a precipice. I had long before left the residential area and found myself back in the forest, only now I was in a bare outcropping removed of trees and of all other life. I was in the still before dawn, the quiet time when the world is still caught in the fringes of a dream. I stood facing the horizon, wondering why I couldn't remember any of my own dreams.

I could remember nothing that happened in the time before I woke up in the coffin below ground. Everything that came before that moment was murky, as though I was viewing it through a fog. I was only aware that something significant had taken place, both within and without me.

I sat on a rock and sank into a deep well of contemplation. I was much stronger and faster now, of that much I was sure. I knew I should feel tired after having run such a distance, but I wasn't even winded. I stretched my arms out before me. They were like pale marble. I felt the wind pick up around me and knew I should feel cold, but I felt no change in temperature. Something about my left wrist caught my attention. I brought it up to my face, suddenly caught in a stray thought, remembering.

I recalled the man, the night watchman. How his pulse had throbbed so temptingly at his throat and at his wrist. The raised blue vein pulsing with the fervor of his fear, the vibrancy of his life on display for me. My own wrist held no such pulse. I couldn't even see the vein.

"What am I?" I asked the dawn. As if in reply, the sun began its ascent over the horizon, painting the sky blood-red.

My breath caught in my throat, remembering the way I had hungered after the man's scent. Even now my mouth watered at the thought, the same strange chemical filling my mouth.

A word was dredged up from the deep well of memory. It climbed up the burning stair of my throat, pushed aside the hunger and escaped the sharp net of my teeth in a voiceless hush:

Vampire.

Was that what I was? A blood-drinker? Not dead but not alive, condemned to walk the earth for all eternity?

These words entered my mind without my completely comprehending them: dead, alive, earth, eternity. What did they mean anyways?

Before I could follow the thread of this thought, the sun broke through a bank of clouds, its rays landing on me like a warm blanket.

Something caught my eye and I looked down in amazement. My skin was no longer the smooth alabaster it had been before. Now it shone like a multifaceted diamond, spilling prisms of color onto the rocks around me.

Was this the skin of a blood-drinker? The skin of a predator? It was almost too much to take in.

A sudden movement in the thicket behind me snared my attention, and I whipped my head up. I made eye contact with a deer that stood in between two trees. Its deep brown eyes were wide as it stared at me, and I wondered what it made of me, this glittering white creature.

Its scent filled my nostrils next, an earthy, woodsy scent that may not have been as tempting as the man's, but was still tempting all the same. I knew I would have to feed soon -- this hunger was becoming a weakness deep in the core of me, and if I was to keep running, I would need my strength.

I remembered the blond man from my visions, his tawny eyes tender in my mind's eye. I remembered the others, too, their faces alight with pleasure at the sight of me. I had a family out there, waiting for me. My future lay open like a book, waiting for me to turn the page.

I jumped up from my rock in one smooth movement, landing with perfect precision on the deer's back. It was no effort to clasp its thrashing head in my hands and lift its neck to my mouth. No effort for my teeth to break the barrier of skin. I drank until I was fully satisfied and then I started running again.

The End

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