Fatigued, I couldn’t even lift my head. In the weeks, or maybe even months, that I’d been trapped here I’d grown accustomed to thirst and the constant gnawing pain of hunger. I’d come to enjoy the company of rats and other vermin and cling to the last rays of sunlight that filtered through the cracks in the stone, brightening my otherwise barren cell. As for my fate, I had surely accepted it. I’d come to terms with my passing and even welcomed the death mortality promised me. For there would never be an escape from this hell. No blinding white light at the end of a long tunnel, and no choir of cherubs singing pleasantly as old grim carried me home. There was no salvation for the soulless, for the heretics that questioned god and his church. For I was a sinner, so would I suffer an end befitting those who worshiped my heathen Lord. From the day the Catholic’s beat down my door and drug me kicking and screaming from the arms of my wife and children I’d been aware of my plight. The beatings, and the hopeless nights I’d spent resting my tired bones after days on the rack. I knew, as the priests knew; my time on earth was nearing an uneventful end.
“I remember being human.” The words sounded absurd to my ears, but after days of isolation they were beautiful still. Through the foggy haze of my mind I watched a man draw near the bars that stood firmly between myself and freedom. He was beautiful, there never had been, nor ever would be another man or woman who could match the boastful radiance of this creature. Could he be an illustrious angel? The being who would take me to the god I’d never bothered myself with learning? If only I believed, peace would be much simpler to obtain. “Every thought that came across my mind was filled with nothing but darkness. Self-loathing. Pain.” He continued to speak and I tried my hardest to focus on the lips that spoke softly to me. The man drew even closer, stuffing his hand through the bars as he reached for my broken form. The ruffled cuffs of his shirt were tattered and dirty. Had he been in this hell as long as I have? “Come. I can help you. Be not afraid of what I can offer you, child.” He beckoned me closer and like a lamb sent to slaughter I went, crawling across the filthy, earthen floor on my belly in my attempt to reach the creature of light. His eyes seemed to glow as I neared him, a nefarious color that should have given me pause. I was starving. Tired and suffering. What could he do to me that the children of god hadn’t? “That’s it…” He took my hand and exposed my wrist, pushing away the steel cuffs that held me shackled and revealing a pulsing vein that still held strong, even as it contradicted my fading heart beat. His lips parted, his eyes wild as I was sucked into a painful miasma of darkness and fear. My heart stilled, beating no longer. But it seemed my unnatural death didn’t put an end to my hunger…
The wall was damp with perspiration as I lay against it. I hadn’t moved in days, not even when poked, prodded, or even threatened by the guards. I hadn’t eaten. For the hunger that gnawed in my belly was no longer human. No longer did I crave bread and water, but instead something much more sinister that in all honesty, frightened me half to death. What was there left for me to do here? The kind stranger in the cell next to me had taken my flesh betwixt his teeth, biting me like an animal and feasting on my blood! It was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed. I’d heard tales of creatures who feasted on flesh and blood, but who would believe the ramblings of gossiping women or raving madmen wandering the streets of London late at night? Vampire, they were called. Had I come into contact with one of these creatures who only fools believed existed? Where the myths true? I didn’t want to believe it! My thoughts swirled with terror and disbelief inside a mind that had been fractured for so long. I wept, shedding tears that evaporated against my fevered skin before they reached my cheeks. What was I to do when part of me welcomed the change that had come? There was a deep, much darker side of me that wanted me to embrace the vampirism I’d suddenly contracted. The beatings and torture I’d received from the guards felt like gentle kisses upon my flesh. And no longer did I bleed, no longer did I bruise and no bone had been broken since this dark change; why shouldn’t I enjoy this beautiful gift I’d been given?! But no!! I could not afford to think this way! I was a monster! What would my wife think of me should I ever return to her? My beautiful daughters would look into my eyes and know instantly that I was the very creature their mother used to frighten them into good behavior. I, a walking corpse, was everything my family feared. How could I possibly hope to return to all that I love like…this?! My body, stiff from sitting still for so long, moved forward as I crawled towards his cell. His cell. The man who turned me into this monstrosity! I lifted my head to stare into his dark brown eyes, so obscure they appeared black, befitting the devil I knew he would.
“What have you done?” I asked, my voice breaking, hoarse from thirst. I watched his lips quirk into a grin that sent fear rushing through my foreign body. I knew then, at the sight of the monster’s smile that I would either embrace his gift or die. And there would be no beautiful stranger to bring me back from the final death.