The Gift

Prompt Day # 49: Your premise for a story or a poem: A vampire suddenly sees himself in the mirror for the very first time. And it scares him. Because…

The Gift

I have walked this earth for over 600 years. I have had my share of loves and with that, profound loss. None of it changed me, the monster that I am or my instinctual drive to feed, to survive. When I met Kelly, things changed. If I believed I had a soul, hers would be mine’s mate. I was drawn to her immediately. One look from her and I knew I would have her.

I have never bitten a woman I fell in love with. That isn’t love; condemning them to a fate worse than death is selfish and while I am a killer, I still have feelings. Kelly’s soul is as bright and kind as mine is dark and cruel. She is a hematologist/oncologist. She studies blood in order to prolong life; I take it and destroy life. We are opposites in many ways, but like magnets, I am drawn to her. She knows what I am; she has even studied my blood in order to perhaps help “cure” me. You see, I could not bear the thought of watching her grow old and die as I stayed young and vital.

She has a theory that the life-sustaining properties are strongest in human blood only. She believes as I do now that should I feed only on animal blood, I will begin to age and eventually die. I wanted to grow old with her. So, at her urging, I stopped feeding on humans. I began feeding on cows, deer, horses; any large animals I could find, they satiated me in volume at least. Nothing tastes like human blood, so thick and creamy, like a fine French sauce. Animal blood is thinner with a more wild, musky flavor. But for Kelly, I would do anything. I began to notice my reaction time slowing, my superhuman speed and agility began to slow and decline. Kelly believed it was a sign her hypothesis was correct. This went on for some years. We settled down together and lived as husband and wife. She worked days and I slept. At night, we would go for drives or hikes so I could feed. She would sleep in the car, or sometimes after a particularly rough day, she would stay home altogether.

When Kelly turned fifty, I began feeding on goats, pigs, large dogs, or sheep. At this point, my movements and agility were equivalent to a human. At least a finely tuned, athletic one, but still, there was certainly a difference. I began to have trouble sleeping during the day. I found myself more irritable and always had a slight gnawing hunger that I could not seem to satisfy. Many days, I would lie in my coffin waiting for dusk, planning to tell Kelly that this was not working, that rather than aging, I felt like I was diseased, I was aching for human blood, and I needed some, just enough to help me sleep. But then I would see her beautiful face, the lines around her eyes and mouth more prominent now, and I knew we were doing the right thing.

Today is Kelly’s birthday. She is fifty-five and still just as beautiful as the day I met her. For the last two years, I have been feeding on cats and rats mostly. I sleep more at night and the late afternoon light is less bothersome to me. Today, as I was hanging decorations for a private birthday party, for the first time since I became a vampire, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I was horrified. I have aged considerably. My eyes are sunken and the veins under my translucent skin are black and form an ugly web across my face. My hair has thinned and lost its sheen. My lips; my lovely red lips have lost their color. I look like a walking corpse. Why has Kelly not told me this? Why has she kept this from me? I am dying. It is clear to see. I am dying and I am miserable. This is not aging, this is suicide. What have I…no, what have we done to me? She is a doctor! She must see what is happening. I have never feared death, perhaps because it was never a reality. Now it is so close. Now death is the vampire, sucking the life out of me. I do not want to die but I do not want to continue to live like this.

Kelly will be home soon. I have a very special birthday present for her. She was right about her theory, her cure for vampirism. But she must already know that. That is not a worthy birthday gift. I will surprise her though. Tonight, I will give her the gift of immortality.