I passed for human most of the time, unless I wanted them to truly see me. I may have had an old-fashioned way of speaking, although I certainly tried to keep up with each era and learn the different new terms. But people just carried their bodies differently a hundred years ago. Watch old news reels and you will see what I mean. I was turned in 1893 and things were just very different then. I will admit there were times over the years it amused me to show my true self just to see the fear in their eyes. I was past all that now, since Jadis had entered my life. Imagine falling in love, finally, after 100 years of travelling the earth by oneself. It was ten years since I had turned her, and I still marveled at the curve of her tender little ears, the way she held her wrists just so, the line between her eyes that appeared when she frowned.
I knew she loved me too. After all, most of us tend to be solitary creatures…emphasis on CREATURE. But she chose to stay with me, and gladly too. She proclaimed that being turned was the best thing that had ever happened to her and she was going to take this gift I had given her and embrace it fiercely…as well as embracing me too. But she did have one condition. That I give up my human feasts…and turn to other sources, like animals. She laughed and said that we were our own version of Vegetarians and wasn’t that fabulous. She had a tender heart, a touching reminder of her humanity.
And so, we traveled here and there together, finally settling down for a while in Portland Oregon, because we liked the weather and the quirky nature of the town. There was plenty of food in the countryside on the outskirts of the city, so we didn’t have to go far for our feasting, and there was plenty of food of another kind in the funky little bars and food truck courts and open mike readings and naked bike ride events. We found that we loved acquiring quirky characters of one kind or another, each with an interesting story to tell. We were always thirsty for the next one to explore…that nattily dressed gentleman over there with the carefully waxed mustache, that oldish woman over yonder with blowsy casbah pants and a purple streak in her hair….or that rather pompish looking banker type who had chosen polka dot socks. Instead of sucking their blood, we sucked their stories out of them and were all the more satiated from it. And if we liked them and liked their story….ah, well we gave them a little gift. One of us…whomever we thought might be more welcome…would give a little kiss at the end of the story. And the story-teller would leave feeling strangely invigorated and yes, sexy too. We knew what a gift that was. And the ones who were boring, or worse, arrogant and full of hot air, well, we pricked their bubble a little bit. A gentle nibble on their ear ( not a bite!!!) would give them nightmares for three nights or so. It was only fair.
One evening not long ago we were in one of our favorite little haunts, a little bar called the Candlelight in the southeast part of town. We had become friends with the bartender Mike and there was a never ending parade of characters wandering through. It was just our kind of place. I was sitting at the bar chatting with Mike while Jadis was on the dance floor singing a karaoke song….. Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar. She stopped singing and I turned to look at her and felt a blow to my head and I fell off the stool to the floor. There was scrabbling over me and I saw legs going up and over the bar. I jumped up quickly and saw a man screaming at Mike and trying to lunge past Mike to his other bartender Jill, who was crying and hiding behind him.
“Come here BITCH,” the man bellowed…..”I’m a gonna getcha!” He pulled out a knife.
“Henry!” Jadis yelled, and tossed me a pool stick. In a flash, I had tapped the knife out of his hand with the stick, knocking him backwards and down, and I jumped over the bar. I held the bar stick over him, like a stake. I’d vowed a decade earlier that I’d never kill another human being, but at that moment, it seemed impossible that I’d fulfill that promise. There were other other hands now on the pool stick. Mikes and Jadis.
“Good job, man,” Mike said. “You can let go now. I got it from here.”
I let go of the pool stick, reluctantly. It would have felt so good to slam it through his rib cage into his worthless heart. Jadis grabbed my hand and placed it on her bosom. Her heart was racing. She grinned and I grinned right back.
“You sure do know how to show a girl a good time,” she drawled.