I didn't show up to work the next day. I ignored all phone calls. They were all from Mrs. Elderberry, anyway, and I didn't want to speak with her -- I didn't want to be dissuaded in my decision.

As I was about to pack my things, I had a vision in which I saw her speaking to the police, trying to convince them to let her into my apartment. I watched as the cops refused initially and then agreed to let her in. I watched as Mrs. Elderby looked at my things, everything seemingly untouched, as if I would return at any moment. I saw her run a hand across my kitchen table, her eyes awash with unshed tears. Saw her face shut down when the kindly officer told her there'd been a rash of disappearances lately, how it may be connected to a series of murders over in the next county. Did I have any next of kin? No? Well, they'd be in touch.

This vision gave me a hollow feeling inside. It was as if I was already gone.

I decided not to pack, choosing to let my apartment remain the way I'd seen it in the vision. Untouched. There was nothing here I was tied to anyways. None of it held any significance for me: none of the clothes, the books, or the records. They were all trappings anyway, props to help me blend into something I was not.

Every time I closed my eyes, I could see a pair of blood-red eyes. His voice came back into my head, unbidden but there all the same...

You are clearly one of my own kind, and yet you walk among humans, live and work among them without feeding on them. You hunt deer and elk to sustain yourself, but surely that is a paltry substitute. And your eyes are golden.

I stood in front of my full-length mirror and stared into my eyes. They gazed back at me, their golden depths seemingly endless.

I thought about the last ten years of my existence. I remembered the vision I'd had all those years ago, the one that had defined my existence as a "humane" vampire. The blood-red eyes were replaced with a pair of tawny eyes that belonged to a man I had yet to meet. A man I felt sure would come mean something very special to me. I felt the undeniable truth in this and knew it would give me the strength to keep going.

I only had 16 years left to go.




One week later, I stood on a mountain top somewhere in northern Alaska. I held a crumpled newspaper in my hand, just two days old. The headline was written in big, bold type: THE MURDERER STRIKES AGAIN. The article, which took up most of the front page, included a picture of the most recent victim, an older woman wearing tortoise-shell glasses. The grainy black-and-white photo did not do her blazing red hair justice.

The article spared none of the gory details, describing how she'd been found entirely drained of blood. There were no marks on her body and so far the police did not have any lead.

I shook with a rage I could not control. It was a rage commingled with grief and it made my eyes burn, but I could not cry. My eyes burned, but the tears would not fall.

The fierce Alaska wind tried its best to knock me down, but I could not be moved.


The End

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