The Pale Moonlight

The follow-up to the prelude 'In the Pale Moonlight'. Kevin starts to learn about his new life, and what it means to be a vampire.

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1. An Education

“Ah Louise…” Diodore had a strong French accent. He held in his left hand a large glass of white wine- with his right he had lit up a large, expensive-looking cigar. I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow. I’d never been a smoker and didn’t like the stuff- besides, I thought smoking was illegal in a club or bar.

Diodore obviously caught my look. “You must be our new… recruit, for lack of a better word.” His pale blue eyes locked onto me and I felt quite vulnerable, like he was looking into my soul. Diodore looked at his cigar. “An old vice, but when you are like us, it’s harmless. And as this is private property, we can do what we like in here, which is probably for the best.” His voice softened. “I heard that a wild one had attacked yet another innocent. I am sorry for what you have been through. We have such a problem at the moment with unruly beasts sullying our good name.”

“Kevin here is going to need some help adjusting to his new life.” Louise was looking at Diodore with what looked like eyes of desire- for some reason, although I’d known her for barely an hour, I felt a pang of jealousy.

“Of course, of course! We are a family here- we must look out for each other. There is much you need to learn, but we will all help teach you. It will not be easy, but you will find there is also much this life has to offer.”

“I’m sure there is… I just… I keep saying this, but I have no idea where to begin! What do I do if the urge for blood takes me? How do I cope with that?” It was the first question to pop into my head and I blurted it out rather quickly. I felt instantly embarrassed.

“A good question. It is not easy, especially when those first hunger pangs hit you. We have people who work in blood banks, who siphon off some of what gets donated. It’s unfortunate that we have to stoop to such measures, especially since I’m sure that blood is needed, but it is not our only recourse. Pig blood is a substitute- it’s unpleasant, but it stems our desire for human blood. We control a number of pig farms, so as to ensure a steady supply. You won’t find access to blood to be a problem.”

Well, that was a thorough answer. “Well, that’s good. What if I’m out and about and the urge takes me?”

Diodore took a sip of his wine as he considered his answer. “Simply put, that depends on you. How much self-control do you have? There are techniques we can teach you, ways of learning to control your urges, but ultimately, it comes down to you. How strong are you?”

I didn’t really know how to answer that.

“You’ll get there Kevin. It takes time, as it does for all of us.” Said Louise reassuringly.

“The key is to not panic. Remember who you are.” Diodore took another sip of wine. “To begin with you will have to be chaperoned. An older, wiser one of us will take you under their wing and be on hand to help you. Let them know the moment you feel the need for blood. Do not attempt to hide your urge.”

That sounded fair enough. I fought the urge to ask for Louise to be my escort.

“The moment you feel the desire for blood, your chaperone will provide you with some from the blood bag they will be carrying. If you don’t tell them, you’ll leave them no choice but to kill you, permanently.”

I considered that for a second. Then a new question popped into my head.

“How can we die?” I felt I should know. After all, what if another vampire bore a grudge against me for some reason, or something else should want me dead…

Diodore laughed a little. “My boy, a wooden stake through the heart will do it. Cutting off your head will end your day pretty quickly as well. Holy Water has no effect upon us, nor does the Cross. You will heal from most wounds pretty quickly but we experience pain as much as the next human, so don’t do anything too reckless.”

I nodded. All of a sudden I felt a little bit like a schoolboy, with the wise teacher giving me sage advice on the first day. If only it were that simple…

Diodore set his wine down on the table in front of him and tapped a little ash into the tray as his cigar gradually wound down.

“Listen… Kevin, was it? One final important rule- don’t go outside during the day. Sunlight is lethal to us. Fortunately, we have this- and a few other- luxurious locations to pass the time in.” He sat up, looking right at- and feeling like right through- me. “Trust yourself and your good nature, and you will get through this. We will all be here to help you.”

I nodded again. “Thank you. I think… I think I need a drink, or something.”

With a snap of his fingers Diodore had one of his little harem go running off to the bar.

“The finest imported Scottish whiskey, coming right up. I have no idea if you like it- personally I detest the stuff- but it certainly takes the edge off.” He gestured for me to sit down, and did likewise for Louise. She sat to Diodore’s right- there was no space to sit beside her, which irked me, far more than it should have. I slid into the comfy booth, and the girls crowded round once more.

The scantily clad women were from various backgrounds. White, black, Asian, Oriental- they were all well-represented here. They wore mini-skirts that might as well have been underwear, and their tops… well, they might as well have been bras for all I knew. They looked perfect- too perfect; probably the result of plastic enhancements and expensive procedures. I found their presence unnerving, despite their beauty- and the way they fawned over Diodore was a little creepy.

“You understand that there are rules beyond blood rules Kevin…” Began Diodore. He took a bigger sip of his wine and a long drag on his cigar. He billowed the smoke from his nose and I fought the urge to cough. I really hated those things.

“Simply put, the rules are all about secrecy. We mustn’t do anything that could expose us. That’s why we are so strict about letting newly… converted vampires out. If we are discovered we- and the others like us- will be mercilessly hunted down. There is no way humanity will share this world with us, no matter what rules and laws we impose upon ourselves. This is why you cannot see your family and friends again. Well…” Diodore titled his head, deep in thought. “It is not the only reason why you can’t, but it is perhaps the most important. They might, entirely by accident, reveal what you are, and then we are all doomed.”

My drink arrived. The amber liquid filled the small glass completely- not the way I was accustomed to taking whiskey but at this point I didn’t mind. I took a small swig right away and gasped at the intensity of the heat and flavour.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. “This is rocket fuel!”

Diodore laughed. “Ah my boy. We can afford the finest and we can afford to be generous with it. Savour it!”

That I did. I took another sip. This stuff was great. Still, Diodore’s earlier words were sinking in. I looked at my drink, swirling it around the glass for a moment, wondering what to say next.

“I’ll be like this forever.”

“Yes.” Came the reserved reply. I felt Diodore’s eyes on me. “And the people around you will grow old and eventually die. That is the thought you have in your mind yes?”

I didn’t trust myself to speak without cracking a little. I inclined my head a little.

“Kevin, this is the curse of our kind. Not the lack of sunlight, not the stigma of what we are- immortality is the true curse. Yes, it is a blessing in some ways, but how can it outweigh the pain of witnessing so much death? For all of us, this is the ultimate anguish. Trust me, I know.” In his eyes I saw that he knew, all too well. This man had been through a lot. I sipped my whiskey again.

“In the end, we have to make the best of it. Thanks to many years of life, we have experienced much and learned much. This is why we can enjoy the trappings of wealth.” Diodore gestured expansively with his hands. “All this is the result of our hard work- vampire work- we might as well suffer in decadence, hmm?”

What did he just say? That threw me a little.

“Wait, are the others not immortal too?” I asked.

“The werewolves you mean, or the other creatures you’ve seen walking around? No, only us. Others might have similar strength and speed as us but not our longevity. It is because of our immortality that we have built our little secret empire- it is owned by us, controlled by us. I’m pretty sure a lot of them are envious, but when they’ve spent hundreds of years slowly creating all this, then they can rule over it. Until then…” Diodore trailed off, leaning back and taking a long drag from his cigar.

“I see.” Actually I didn’t. I had no clue, but it felt like the right thing to say.

“No, you don’t.” Diodore’s eyes sparkled. “There is more politics to our arrangement than meets the eye. Werewolves traditionally do not like vampires. Witches and warlocks are not great lovers of us or of werewolves. Many of the different creatures you see walking about have historically been rivals at some point. There is a lot of jealousy to be mindful of around here.”

Louise spoke up for the first time in a while. “Just keep your head for a little while Kevin, and you’ll be fine.” Her voice was soothing.

“Exactly. Don’t do anything to rock the boat. We’ll all get by better that way.” Added Diodore.

I drank more of my whiskey. I needed it.

“I think… I need to be alone for a bit. I need to take this all in. Is there anywhere I can stay?”

“Of course.” Said Diodore, his voice full of sympathy. “There are spare rooms on the fourth floor. Louise, could you show him up?”

“Sure.” She replied.

Diodore offered me his hand and I shook it. “It is nice to meet you Kevin. This is a difficult moment and yet I believe you will come through it. I have confidence in you young man.”

“T-thank you, I appreciate that.” I really did. I felt this man was going to be important in my new life. He certainly appeared to know what he was talking about.

“Off you go. You know where to find me if you need me.” He gently ushered me away, and Louise met my eyes. Seeing those light-brown beauties made me feel better already.

“Come on.” She took my hand in hers. Why did it feel so electric?

 

She led me back to the lobby, where she collected a key from the desk. Together we headed to the lift.

“You’ll be alright Kevin.” Louise said quietly. The big lift had carpet (carpet, in a lift?!) of a dull blue colour, and stereotypical piano music was playing in the background, but I barely registered any of it.

“Yeah.” Everything was catching up with me. I felt exhausted.

The lift stopped. Like the rest of the block, the floor was opulent. Plush red carpet and ornate rugs with golden trim were everywhere. The doors of each room were carved out of strong mahogany wood. Even the handles were made out of gold. Yet I couldn’t appreciate any of it.

“Door 47. Your room Kevin.” Louise unlocked the door and switched on the light as we stepped inside.

The place was actually quite Spartan. Plain white walls, a simple single bed, a plain black wardrobe and chest of drawers for clothes. Boring white carpet. I looked at Louise, who smiled a little.

“I figured you wouldn’t want to be too overwhelmed on your first night here. You can change the décor any time you like, just let me know what you need.” Louise turned to leave; I grabbed her hand.

“Please, don’t go. I don’t think… I don’t… I changed my mind, I need a little company.”

Louise sighed and turned back to look at me.

“You’re feeling attracted to me aren’t you?” Her eyes were clear. “You don’t know why either.”

“Um, yeah. I just… I just feel better, when I look at you.”

“That’s because our blood has been mixed. Kevin…” Louise took my other hand in hers. “I was the one that found you in that alley, dying. I’m the one that turned you.”

My eyes widened.

You? You did this to me?” Part of me wanted to feel angry, yet for some reason I couldn’t muster up that emotion.

For the first time I saw vulnerability on Louise’s face.

“Kevin, when I bit you, I also dropped some blood from a cut on my hand into your wound. This helps seal the transformation- but it also creates a blood bond. What you’re feeling it’s… an infatuation. One that won’t last. It can be difficult whilst it’s there, but there’s no sense in giving in…” She stopped, but only because I kissed her.

Part of me knew it was a stupid thing to do, but part of me simply had to. I expected her to pull away, or slap me, or curse at me, but she didn’t. She held the kiss for a moment, and I felt her gasp.

For what felt like an eternity our lips were locked together, and I wrapped my arms around her waist, holding her close. I felt her gorgeous body press to mine and shivers of lust went up and down my spine. I just couldn’t tear myself away from her.

Louise kicked the door shut behind her, and, still kissing, and now shedding clothes (she was actually doing most of the shedding), we fell upon the bed.

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