At first I thought he was a dream. The man who rescued me, the young, scruffy, lovely man that drove me back to what he thought was my home. He stared into my eyes. Behind his head there was only light, as if he was an angel coming to my rescue. I tried to reach up to him but my arm felt stiff. I could barely move at all.
“Hey, man,” he said. “Don’t try to move. It looks like you had a nasty fall out there. Can you even hear me?”
I looked around. I lay on a couch in what appeared to be a living room. Other cheap-looking furniture lined the walls as well as a small television set and a stereo system. From the latter came the sound of punk rock, which filled the room. I could see another young man sitting on a nearby chair staring at a laptop screen. He didn’t seem to take much notice of me, instead bopping his head to the music.
“Robby, turn that down, will you?” my hero said. “He might not like this music. Besides, I’m sure he had a splitting headache.”
Robby reluctantly lifted his arm to turn the volume down on the stereo.
“It’s quite all right,” I said. “I don’t mind.” I really didn’t. If I was to have a headache from my fall it either slipped away during the time that I was out, or I wasn’t to feel such pain anymore. I could already feel my body healing to almost it’s normal state. I couldn’t let them know that.
“Man, you took a pretty nasty spill out there. You must have fallen into that large pothole in the alley next to the house. It’s weird, though. I don’t remember that being there. It’s funny, judging by the way the hole surrounded you it almost looked like you fell from the roof.” He laughed at his own remark. I laughed along with him. Apparently I hadn’t retained any potential injuries that I received in the landing. For this I was quite grateful, as it only looked like I tripped in the dark and knocked myself from a low fall. I could brush this off easily while keeping my cover. Convincing them that I didn’t need to go to the emergency room would be relatively easy.
“Of course, I don’t know how long you have been there after you landed. I only just a few minutes ago went out for a smoke. You could have easily survived a fall from the roof if you’re a vampire, and you’re healing from your injuries.
“We saw the fangs, dude,” Robby said.
“Well, that doesn’t mean I’m a vampire,” I said.
“Of course not. You could have been a poseur vampire.”
“A poseur vampire?”
“You know,” my hero said, “One of those guys that files his teeth down to look like fangs, wears pale make-up, that sort of thing. I don’t mean Goths, that’s totally different. These are guys like us that are in the know but become so obsessed with the subject they start to think that they are the subject. It’s sad, they’re usually the first victims of vampire attacks. Anyway, we checked your pulse. It had the syncopated rhythms of somebody who just fed but is going to need to feed on blood soon. I guess about an hour or so.”
I was speechless, and afraid. How could these mortals know so much, yet I was still in the dark, so to speak? Furthermore, would they know how to kill me? I must have made my concerns clear in my expression.
“Don’t panic,” he continued. “We have no plans to hurt you. We’ve never had the chance to actually study a vampire up close unless he was already dead. We can get a lot from remains but only so much, especially as vampires have a tendency to collapse into ash a few hours after death. My name’s Ian, by the way.”
Ian—not exactly a name that I would have hoped for, but I suppose it suited him. I would have wanted something more romantic-sounding but it was hardly my choice. “I have no idea what my name is,” I said.
“Really? You must have lost some memory in the fall, then.”
“No, I mean I don’t remember it from when I was a normal human. I only awoke… or rather, re-awoke a few hours ago. I have only scant images of my past. And I haven’t decided on my vampire name, yet.”
“A vampire name? I didn’t even know there was such a thing.”
“It is, apparently. I only just learned it from myself form another vampire.” I cringed at my indiscretion. But what did I have to lose by revealing anything at this point?
“Another vampire? Two active vampires in my neighborhood, in one night? This is amazing.” He jumped to his feet and pumped both fists in the air. I looked over to Robby, who merely rolled his eyes before concentrating on whatever was captivating him so much on his laptop. But Ian’s enthusiasm invigorated me. I sat up, enthralled with his energy. Even if I wasn’t lusting after him I still would have found his youth enjoyable. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched him. He looked at my fangs and quickly grabbed a vial off a nearby shelf.
“Oh, I nearly forgot,” he said. “You’ll want to drink this. It’s blood we cloned at school. It should be enough to hold you over until sunrise. It’s a lot better than hunting people. At least, when you’re around us, anyway. No, wait, it’s better than killing anybody at all. Sorry, I’m so caught up with vampires I’m not sure what’s right or wrong sometimes. I mean, why is it okay for us to eat cows? And what are we to you but a lesser being? Whatever. It protects Robby and me, anyway, so that’s all I should focus on. So here, have some blood. At least, I’m pretty sure it’s blood. I really should clean up my work space here. It’s either blood or a virility-enhancing serum. But that should be harmless to you, anyway. It certainly won’t do you any good now, would it?”
I took the vial from him, still smiling at his energy. “Don’t be so sure,” as I brought it to my lips. I drank the entire vial in one swig. It wasn’t nearly as good as the blood I drank from the man by the water earlier, but it was definitely blood nonetheless. “It’s blood. It’s a little thin, though.”
“Well, we’re still perfecting it. Just think of it as Diet Blood, I guess.” He laughed again at his own joke. I laughed with him.
“Jesus Christ, Ian,” Robbie said. “Don’t be such a tool.”
“Hey, man, how often do I capture a real, live vampire?”
“Capture?” I said, raising an eyebrow. Even the most minute movements felt awkward as I was still healing, but I was able to move much more freely by this point.
“No, bad word choice. Not captured. I mean, yeah, I dragged you in here without asking, but you can leave at any time. But we’d really, really appreciate that you don’t. I mean, we know you guys are out there, and we want to study you. You, personally, are a rare find. Not only are you alive, but you’re knew. We can learn about your world as you learn it. Please? I don’t have much to offer you, other than the Diet Blood.”
“So it’s really Diet Blood now,” Robby said. “You’re really going through with that name?”
“Where do we begin?” I said.