I sat up, looking around the darkness. I appeared to be in a cellar, a small room dug in the ground. The walls were packed dirt lined with shelves, and an old staircase led out of it. The doors at the top were shut, leaving me trapped in total blackness, but I could see clearly.
A thirst grew inside me, and it was unlike any thirst I’d ever felt before. It was like a hunger, only deeper. Like it came from the very heart of me, and every part of my body needed to feed.
“Hello? Ezra?” I called out for him.
I moved towards the stairs, and I tripped over my own feet. I’d meant to take only one step, but it happened with a strange ease.
“Ezra?” I repeated and got to my feet again. Somehow, I knew he was nearby. I sensed it, but even that small distance felt too great. “Ezra!”
The doors at the top of the stairs opened. Before I saw him, I could smell him – the same tangy smell I remembered from drinking his blood, only stronger and mixed with something heady, like sandalwood.
I heard a gently thudding, and I realized with some dismay that was his heartbeat. I could hear it, and stranger still, the sound of it made my mouth water.
I stepped back as he came down the stairs, but not because I was frightened of him. I was frightened of myself, of what I might do to him, and I could never live with myself if I hurt him.
“What’s happening to me?” I asked with a tremor in my voice. I reached out, touching the wall to steady myself. “What am I becoming?”
“It’s already happened,” Ezra said. “You’ve already became what you are.”
“And what is that?”
“What?” I gasped. It seemed unreal, but I believed him as soon as he said it. I trusted him far more than I trusted myself. “I’m a demon?”
“No, nothing like that,” he said with a small smile. “We’ll discuss it more later. But now, I see the thirst is getting to you. You must feed before it grows too strong.”
“Feed?” I echoed.
“Yes.” He turned and began walking up the stairs. “Come with me. It’s time you learn the proper way to be a vampire.”
May 23, 1852
There aren’t words fit to describe her. I still can’t believe in my own eyes. I’m writing as fast as the ink will allow me, but it’s not fast enough. Ever since I first saw her, I feel as though I’m going to burst.
Something has taken hold of me, something too large for my body to carry, and I must release it or perish.
I’ve never been one for hyperbole, so please believe this isn’t grandeur. As soon as I saw her, I was in love, horribly, deeply, irrevocably in love. It was as if my purpose in life suddenly became clear, as if every moment before this one only happened so I could see her, be near her, love her.
Nothing in life has ever made as much sense as this.
I want to run to the hillsides, climb to the rooftops, singing her name over and over. Elise, Elise, my love, my true, Elise.
All this time I’ve been here, travelling with Ezra, and we hadn’t seen her. We must’ve gone over every bit of countryside in all of Ireland, but somehow, we missed her. As if she’d been hiding, a treasure tucked away like a pot of gold.
The guilt I’ve felt these past two years has finally disappeared, like a weight from shoulders. For nothing about me can be as horrible as I’ve imagined, as I’ve feared. No creature such as Elise would ever speak to me if I was a monster.
I want to write down exactly how I found her, precisely as it happened, so I can remember this day forever, in perfect clarity. Even if tomorrow she leaves, I could survive forever on this one meeting, on this one beautiful, perfect day. So I cannot forget. I will not.
Ezra and I have been staying in the countryside, preferring the small villages to the cities. The rural areas have been hit the worst by the famine, and that is why we came here in the first place. Ezra had gotten word of the devastation in Ireland, of all the people dying of starvation.
After some debate, Ezra decided we should come here. We would be doing the people a favor, helping to ease the suffering.
Things were even worse than we’d expected. Children so small and frail with bellies round and distended. Fields filled with rotting, stinking potatoes. Bodies piled along the side of the road. Flies in swarms, the only things thriving in this kind of climate.
Well… perhaps not the only thing.
Initially, I was against the idea. It was the opposite that everything Ezra had ever taught me. Taking a human’s life is beyond my capacity. But when I saw how these people were dying, the slow agonizing death that starvation is, I understood that there were far worse things in life than death by vampyre.
Ezra chose carefully, looking for people he was certain wouldn’t survive and whose absence would benefit those around them. Like a family of five that only had enough to feed two.
Many humans called him the Angel of Death, and they were grateful when he’d finally come for them. To humans, Ezra did look much like an angel. He was beautiful in a way that I’d only imagined the seraphim could be. Calm and comfort seemed to flow from him, and he held his victims in his arms, giving them peace for the first time in so long.
Still, the guilt ate at me. I truly believed we were helping these people, ending their anguish in the only way we knew how, but death is not an easy burden to bear. Even a welcomed death.