The Journal of Michael O’Shane
March 2, 1988
I wonder at the men who sit on death row, what they think about on the eve of their execution. I presume their lives become a whirlwind of events – those sorts of things one does when they have affairs to bring to order before what becomes an eternal sabbatical. Death is sobering. Seeing death can’t help but affect even the most hardened killer. It is the tie which binds us all, mortal and immortal alike.
It is the tie which binds me to the events about to unfold.
When the Delaware Valley Covens execute Sabrina, they will put to death a two hundred twenty-three year old vampiress. They will end a woman who once bore an indomitable spirit; a spirit which once inspired me as no other before it crushed me beneath its weight. I have readied myself to be declared this coven’s master, but in order to unseat Sabrina, I must confess the greatest of my crimes. And my lips have never testified that I knew what my mistress turned while I held her latest conquest in my arms.
I have sheltered him under my wing. I have taught him what it means to be a vampire, against every fabric of my being which has screamed otherwise. I have loved Flynn when I should have loathed him into ash and bid his curse be gone. In sheltering the assassin, however, I have allowed an atrocity to continue which should have never come to pass.
I have watched the elders fall; the underlings of so many covens perish by Sabrina’s capricious hand. I knew all along her youngest immortal child would be just as much a mistake as her oldest had been, speaking it to her when I gave Flynn his name. She, in turn, mocked me by making it the most infamous name in all of Philadelphia. I will accept my final laugh as her verdict is rendered by the six remaining covens of this area. Then I will plead my contrition to Matthew Pritchard and pray The Fates be merciful to me.
Regardless of how merciful Master Matthew is to me, this will still mark the end of an era. One hundred and six years. As Thomas Alva Edison invented the light bulb, I bore my neck to Sabrina and by the blood of her wrist became what I am today. Sometimes, I wish I could go back in time and relive those moments once more; kiss her lips again when her tongue told me no lies and the reserved love she had for me remained a thing of hope, not a thing of despair. I wish I could lie beside her again and imagine our next destination; dream of the next century as though we’d still be together through it. It’s taken all my power not to go to her tonight and make love to her one last time.
Instead, I sit at my desk, seeing the city of Philadelphia illuminated before me in what I can only describe as a dizzying array of fluorescent light. There are times I miss the oil lamps and the horse-drawn carriages which preceded the motorized vehicles the humans drive around on their way from one meaningless stop to the next. I wonder if they see the sands of time erode the world around them the same way a vampire does. I wonder if they know the same travails we do in their much more finite lives. I wonder.
In so many ways, I have forgotten.
It comes to me again when I least expect it. The scent wafting from a bakery will remind me of the shop where I bought scones nearly every morning. The smell of cigars and pipe tobacco takes me back to the pubs of Kilkenny and I can hear the music playing if I stop and close my eyes. The sight of a university reminds me of the colleges in Dublin and sometimes, I can feel the salt air on my face and recall what the shores of Galway with the sun shimmering off the ocean’s surface.
Thinking on my human days leads me back to my immortal ones, though, and I have not known many without her present. Her – the siren who beckoned me into immortality with her red hair and penetrating brown eyes. Excluding my years spent as a human, I have known her for one hundred and six years and, of those, spent ninety-two by her side. Within the bounds of such an era, I have loved and lost; seen the world and relished sights and sounds from many different cultures. I learned to speak seven languages. I developed a passing knowledge of two others and taught myself how to read both Latin and Ancient Greek. The strains of Tchaikovsky have been played for me by hands almost as masterful as the composer himself. Men and women have warmed my bed, sometimes both in the same night. And I have savored what it means to be a vampire. All with her.
And now, the chapter closes as I do what I should have done five years ago, when she lined my immortal brother in her sights and claimed he would be hers. Rather than holding back the scared, blood-drenched human and watching him be made into a vampire, I should have fled to Matthew’s coven and warned him of what she meant to do. Maybe Demetrius was right when he told me I played a dangerous game which has cost the lives of ‘innocent’ immortals. Since I bear the burden of those sins, I will accept whatever punishment befalls me when I testify against Sabrina tomorrow night.
It might very well mean my death.
The past few weeks have been spent trying to figure out what brought us down this current path. One cannot help it; with the death of something familiar comes the unexpected, and the unexpected causes us to cling to the familiar. Better the devil you know than the one that you don’t. But I cannot trace this current path without winding back even further, to a time before my human mother even held me at her breast and sang lullabies to me in Irish.
If I somebody asked me write the story of my maker, this is how it would begin:
Once, there was a woman named Mary Ravensdale, born in Dublin, Ireland in the year of our Lord Seventeen Hundred Twenty-Seven. She had been left at a nunnery and fled for London when still a lass of sixteen years old. The stage took her in as its ward and made her an actress, until an Earl came upon her and was smitten by the fiery redhead such that he made her his courtesan. He provided her with a home on his estate. She served him well until she went from beloved to property within fifteen years. Through it all, though, her shoulders never slumped, her temperament shaken by nothing. That is, not until the last year of her human life.
It seems all of our stories culminate as such. Some tragedy or chance encounter leads us into the arms of immortality and lulls us into the death slumber of transformation. So few of us know the hour of our final death, however, and it is only because Sabrina languishes in ignorance that I see the need to reflect for her. For both of us.
Memento Mori, my sweet Mary. I have left you for another lover and his name is fate.
Curious to read more?
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