Another entry taken from the vampire Robin’s journal.
The Journal of Michael O’Shane
October 12, 1982
At times when the world seems in tumult, I find myself revisiting the past. Demetrius claims this to be a fault of mine, but I can’t seem to resist it. Passing my century mark has caused me to wax nostalgic.
It is a story I haven’t written down, but no less important than any I have. My infrequent meetings with Matthew’s elder have brought to mind the relationships of the past and I realize why I’ve harbored so many reservations as far as ours is concerned. As many of my previous entries have asserted, my romantic entanglements have been littered with calamity. The last time Sabrina was a concern in one of them, I suffered a loss I am forced to be reminded of each time I walk among the halls of this coven.
After fleeing from California in the 1940s, we traveled progressively further East until we landed in Chicago for a time. I grew restless, though, in part because I knew Sabrina’s discussions with an immortal elder named Ian were turning darker than I would have preferred. She assented with a sigh to a change of scenery. At first, we wove our way to Baltimore, but then lodging arrangements were made with several immortals who lived further north, in the city of Boston. I journeyed ahead of her, in part to claim a few days with which to clear my mind.
I remember watching the countryside roll past while the train steamed from Baltimore to Boston. An evening travel with somber undertones, it found me in a pensive mood. Sabrina had not been herself in years. While I held out hope that she would come around again, each year passed with little more than a chasm growing between us. The years lapsed until 1950 found its way to us at last. One year into the new decade, I heard the sound of the inevitable approaching.
A choice laid in wait for me on the horizon, whether or not I cared to admit it. Would I remain beside Sabrina? We had been together since my turning; alone until she found a young, blonde-haired woman named Rose and made her vampire. I welcomed the newest addition with no small amount of resentment. Suddenly, my company was not good enough for the vampiress who gifted me death’s immortal kiss.
Still, I lingered. In part due to loyalty, but wistful romanticism remained part of it, too. While Sabrina sank deeper into abject apathy for anything other than her ambitions, I looked at her and thought of happier times. Waltzing through the streets of Paris after a fresh kill, warm blood coursing through our veins while we carried on like lovers. Alighting from the boat to Japan after having just traversed China. Arriving in the port of San Francisco…
I stopped myself. San Francisco. I know I speak of it so often, but those moments which define us often become ghosts haunting us as well. Sabrina told me she wanted to see the trolley cars, and dine from the servicemen headed for war in the Pacific. San Francisco was where she lost her spirit, though, and it had yet to return. This was becoming more than my heart could bear. What had started with our chance meeting in my Irish hometown seemed to be ending and I could not figure out on what note to say goodbye. My lover. No, former lover. I breathed a heavy sigh of emptiness as I realized seventy years with Sabrina was drawing to a close.
All the while, as the countryside flew past and the clack of the train on the tracks provided the background music for my reminiscing, I found myself wondering what might distract me from my sadness. As a vampire, the typical outlets sprang to mind. Blood. Sex. That in gratuitous amounts and without any remorse for taking either or both at the same time. The train pulled into the station and after a short walk, I found myself in one of the pubs adjacent to Harvard University.
After two brandies, I summoned enough confidence to begin surveying the prospects. The brightest minds of rich America surrounded me, affording me a passing glance before shifting their attention to other matters. I sipped from my third glass and glanced across each face, sizing them up for who would be my supper that late night. As the bartender issued the last call, I spied a young man sitting across the room and sobered at once. Memories came pouring through the floodgates.
There sat my reflection, in a pub near Harvard Square.
My mind drifted seventy years in the past, to when I was a young man frequenting an Irish tavern, my nose constantly buried in a book. The young gentleman I spied in the present glanced up when the bartender rang the bell, starting a feeding frenzy amongst the lot for one final drink. As his blue eyes intersected with mine, I swore I heard his thoughts echo across the space between us, sounding uncannily like my own had. Lonely and in search of adventure. Tired of the status quo, knowing there was something else out there waiting for him. I approached him before I could think the better of it.
He wore glasses much like I had and his gaze appeared older than his features suggested. Black hair short atop his head, he had a slim frame and a serious demeanor. I sat across from him and asked what he was reading, and if time had corridors I could peer through, I might be able to relate what novel held his fixation that night. I only remember he readily placed it aside so we could exchange the normal pleasantries.
I introduced myself as a linguist from Ireland and a recent pilgrim to the area. He said he was a teacher’s aide, an English major with a passion for nineteenth century literature. We found ourselves discussing the Brontë sisters, and had moved onto Arthur Conan Doyle by the time we were asked to move our conversation elsewhere. I watched the chill of the night air afflict him once we made our way outside and dared to suggest we might find a more private venue so we could continue our discussion.
The way he smiled bore a specific form of interest, something I had not dared hope to see as I knew men of my proclivity still kept hidden in human circles. A thrill shot through my veins and my eyes chanced a glance at his neck, toward the pulse I heard increase in tempo. When my gaze met his again, the vampire within warred against the lonely man enjoying the distraction of another learned mind. I had set out looking for little more than a conquest. This man was rapidly becoming anything but.
My lips curled in a grin at the intrigue I saw barely bridled in his eyes. “You haven’t told me your name yet,” I said, interrupting a brief lull in our chat.
“Timothy Saunders,” he said, far too quickly. It sprang from his mouth with nervous excitement. “And yours?”
“Michael O’Shane.” I punctuated the introduction with a bow, embellishing the gesture when it broadened the smile on his face. I laughed when he bowed at me in return, but sobered quickly and returned to our verbal dalliance. “I have to admit, it’s been some time since I’ve met somebody with quite the same tastes I enjoy.”
My grin turned devious with suggestion. His posture straightened as though he’d just become aware he might be slouching, but the entendre served its purpose enough to draw his body nearer to mine. When I placed a hand on his shoulder, he did nothing to shrug it off. Instead, he swallowed hard and drifted closer still. “You prefer Poe over Shelley?” he asked.
“On most occasions, yes.” With a squeeze, I managed to increase his pace until we reached the neighborhood where he took residence. We ascended one flight of stairs and paused by the door to his flat so he could rummage for his keys. I suppressed the urge to chuckle at the way he scurried inside and watched instead as he scrambled around the modest room for a bottle of Scotch and two small glasses. I shut the front door while he filled one and took it in hand as I settled into the seat beside him. His eyes found mine, apprehension laden in his gaze.
My smile turned subdued, in an effort to hide my fangs. We both lifted our glasses in a toast. “To Poe,” he said before bringing his drink to his lips and taking a sip.
“To Poe.” I followed in suit, and set my glass down on a small coffee table when he did. He leaned back against his couch and I stole a moment to let my eyes trace across his neck, focusing first on the veins which ran along his throat before examining the fine hairs standing on end at the nape. A shiver ran the length of his spine, which brought my gaze back to his in time to see his lids half-close and his mouth open to exhale his next breath.
Timothy swallowed hard and trembled again. “Are the Irish always so brazen about these matters?”
I raised an eyebrow at the inquiry, pivoting in my seat to face him. “About which matters?”
“I see the way you look at me. Like there isn’t a thing in the world that should stop you from kissing me in plain view of others.”
A soft chuckle drifted past my lips. I reached with one hand to brush my fingers across his cheek. “Sometimes, I forget how many limitations this world still possesses. I used to be so focused on them as well. I lost a friend and colleague too scared to admit his own… tastes… back in Ireland.” The next words lodged in my throat before being spoken. “I suppose you could say I was set free from all of that.”
A frown tugged at the corners of his lips even as his body tensed again. “What sets a person free from that sort of thing?”
“The sort of thing which frees most people from the inhibitions of the world.” My eyes scanned his neck once more. I felt the nip of hunger rise with much more fervor, perhaps enabled by the alcohol running fresh in my system. Timothy took another healthy swallow from his drink and set the glass down, freeing himself of my touch, but offering it a polite smile as he leaned forward. I drew breath only in the effort to clear my thoughts, but still, they were hopelessly muddled. I liked him. Perhaps even wanted to spend the night, and maybe the night following, to determine how much we might fancy each other.
We gravitated toward each other again. I made up for his nervousness by closing the gap between us, making a deliberate show of my teeth while preventing my fangs from descending. Still, the tips displayed prominently enough for Timothy to jump back before our lips met. He peered at me, eyes wide. “What in God’s name are those?” he asked.
A slow, mischievous grin played across my lips. “What are what, Mr. Saunders?”
“You have daggers.” He leaned despite himself. “Sharpest razors I have ever seen.” His eyes lifted to engage mine.
The presence of intrigue still in his gaze provoked a much stronger reaction in me. He didn’t rise to his feet or back away. He simply stared, waiting for an explanation. Lust overwhelmed me and not merely lust for his blood, although that was growing by leaps and bounds. “You mean my fangs?” I asked, my eyes closing partially, heavy-lidded with desire. “Have you never read Bram Stoker before?”
My lips found his skin, below his ear and just above his pulse point. He shivered. “What in God’s name are you talking about?”
“I assure you God has nothing to do with what I am talking about.” I placed another kiss further down. My fangs began to descend. “That is, if you believe vampires to be damned creatures. Personally, I don’t acknowledge the almighty.”
Timothy exhaled a shaky breath, one laden with anticipation. I raised an eyebrow and lifted from my lips’ exploration, allowing him to glance at me and see the truth for himself. Our eyes met for a brief, lingering moment before his departed to stare at my fangs. I held onto the smirk like the brazen fool I was. “Do you see something which interests you?” I asked. My fingertips found the collar of his shirt, tracing it down to his buttons.
He glanced back and forth from my eyes to my mouth and finally allowed himself to hold eye contact with me once more. “What do you mean to do with me?” he asked.
“To enjoy your company for the evening.”
“Are you going to… bite me?”
“The thought had occurred to me, though I promise not to hurt you.” Inching closer still, I barely left enough room for the air around us, sliding my hand up to his chin and pointing his face toward mine. I wrestled in the throes of lust, needing to claim his lips and shuddering from the amount of self-restraint being forced upon my will. “I certainly don’t intend to kill you. Or enslave you.”
“Just to bite me?” His breaths turned husky. I smelled the scent of attraction rising from him and could have groaned from the added strain. “I don’t… I never knew that…”
“No, we make it a point not to let humans know of our existence.” I kissed the corner of his mouth and smiled when his eyes began to shut. What he might have been thinking at the moment, I had no way of knowing. His body remained tense, but the rise and fall of his chest betrayed him. I nipped with my dull teeth down to his neck and paused, hovering over the thundering pulse rapidly drowning out the sound of my own sanity. “You’re curious,” I murmured.
“I think I’m drunk,” he whispered back. “I have to be if I’m envisioning vampires.”
“Ah, but what a nice fantasy isn’t it?” My lids closed and I sampled his skin with my lips. The tips of my fangs scored lightly into his flesh, but I focused my thrall on pleasure. Desire. Pain would be replaced by pleasure in this. “The touch of a man, that most forbidden of fruits, and the aura of the supernatural. Permit me to show you how real I am.”
When he gave a slight nod, I had enough impetus to unleash the monster within me. I took firm hold of the back of his head, and relaxed when I gently nudged him to crane his neck toward my mouth. A soft moan filled the room as I plunged my fangs into him and while I drank, his hands closed around my arms. His body pushed closer to me. I heard my name lilt past his lips in an aroused groan.
Grinning, I licked the wound closed and kissed him on the lips the moment my fangs slipped back into place. I never expected the sort of intensity with which he reacted, but in the space of mere moments, I had no thought of Sabrina and San Francisco. Instead, the mortal man I stripped and dominated kept me enchanted. He led me willingly into his bed and I took him with equal measures gentleness and ferocity. My spirit felt much lighter by the time we were finished, lying in his bedroom lost in afterglow together.
He kept me protected in his room that day. I rose in the evening to find him standing in his doorway studying me while I slept. Barely awake, and yet I accepted the kisses he met me with and while we tussled in his sheets, he asked me to stay with him however long I thought I would be in Boston. For the first time in twenty-four hours, I remembered I was to meet with Sabrina, but recollections of my melancholy train ride prompted my response. I nodded at him. Rose could tend to Sabrina from this point forth. I no longer had need for them.
What developed between Timothy and me, in the interim, became a peculiar co-existence between vampire and mortal. We spent long nights talking, and when he would drift to sleep, I would entertain myself reading through his books and taking strolls along the Charles River. Timothy willed himself to stay up later with each passing week and one night, he accompanied me for a hunt, playing the role of patsy without being asked to do such a thing. Later that night, when I asked why he did so, he laid his head on my chest and said, “Practice.”
“Timothy…” I breathed his name in a sigh, playing idly with his hair. “I’m not going to turn you.”
“So, you’ll let me grow old. Or do you plan on leaving me before that becomes an issue?”
“I haven’t thought any further than each night I rise with you.” I frowned when he failed to answer. “I don’t have any plans of going anywhere, I promise you that.”
He paused. “Then why won’t you turn me?”
“Because it never solves anything,” I said. “Believe me, I know from experience.”
It was the first time in a long while my thoughts returned to Sabrina. I opened my mouth to explain to him what happened between her and me, but stopped the words before they could be birthed. How did one explain a lifetime of love and loss to a mortal? How could I encapsulate the winds of change and moments of regret which had replaced the fascination we once held for each other? I kissed his head and shut my eyes, sensing his disappointment and wishing I had something better to offer him.
“I will think it over,” I finally allowed myself to say. “Enjoy your mortality with me for the time being. We can discuss eternity when we’re both prepared.”
“Very well, Michael,” he said, but even then, he sounded devastated. We held each other until he fell asleep and I failed to budge the rest of the night. The following evening, I forced him to stay home while I hunted, but returned to discover his front door ajar. The immediate sense of dread I felt flashed images of my maker through my mind. A memory surfaced through the haze which made my stomach turn.
It couldn’t be. Oh heavens, no.
She had said it to me once, a mere few years into my immortality when she traveled ahead to our next destination, leaving me behind. “I will send for you, Michael,” she had said. It was the first time she and I had ever failed to travel together.
“What if I get lost on my way?” I had asked. My attachment to her had more to do with my nervousness than my directional skills. Certainly, I had helped make travel arrangements with her long enough to know what I was doing. I simply couldn’t bear to be without her. “What will I do?”
She had turned toward me, moonlight playing off her face, giving her brown eyes a softer touch. “I will always find you, my handsome Irish gentleman. Don’t entertain those fears for one second longer.” While at the time, her words had settled me, in the present they unnerved me to the point of panic. I rushed into the flat and discovered, when I entered, that my worst fears had come to life.
Sabrina held Timothy tightly against her, his back flush with her chest as they stood near the doorway to his small kitchen. Her arms circled his torso, her fangs extended with a devious glint in her eyes when she caught sight of me. I spared a quick glance to Rose, seeing the blonde perched on Timothy’s couch, smiling viciously at me while tempting me to sneer at her. I looked back toward my maker – the woman I once loved with all my soul – and felt my stomach sink. “What have you done?” I asked.
Timothy managed a lazy grin, his gaze suggesting that she held him under her suggestion, and heavily at that. Sabrina peered at me across Timothy’s shoulder and laughed. “I’ve done nothing, dearheart,” she said, “Though I have to say you found an enchanting young man here. Did you get lost? I was expecting you weeks ago and you never showed up.”
Rose looked back to Sabrina and smirked. “Must have been too busy to find us,” she said.
“That’s what I was thinking. He should’ve told us if he wanted a pet of his own.”
“He is no pet,” I snarled through gritted teeth. “Damnú ort. Sabrina, you will not harm a hair on his head.”
“It’s alright, Michael,” Timothy interrupted. His sanguine smile only grew, in what I took as recognition of my voice. It caused my heart to break from the mere sight of it. “Michael, she wants to turn me. She says she’ll do it for you so you don’t have to.”
“As if that was my problem with turning you vampire. I would’ve made you immortal weeks ago.” Tears welled in my eyes. “Timothy, I beg of you to stop. Fight her influence over you. I promise you this will do nothing for you. It does not solve anything. Let’s wait and make sure it is what’s best.”
Timothy relaxed against Sabrina. “But it is.” The look in his eyes caused me to frown. He was already lost to me. “It’s what I want. I’ll be like you and we can all be together forever.”
“He’s made the agreement already,” Sabrina added. Her smile faded, her gaze telling me all I had need of knowing about her true motives. I was being punished, and scolded to take my punishment regardless of how I felt. Arguing the point would be futile. And I could not bring myself to making good on any number of threats I felt tempted to stack onto the mounting pile. She held the trump card if she had already convinced Timothy to be hers and the symbiotic communion of mortal and vampire had progressed forward without me.
Now, I would only be forced to watch.
I settled into a seat with shaky knees before they could collapse under my weight and placed my head in my hands to ignore the gasp escaping Timothy’s mouth when Sabrina bit into him. The moan which followed nearly caused me to break into tears as I reminded me of every time I’d bitten into him up until that point. I clenched my eyes shut when I heard Sabrina whisper, “Drink, dear Timothy,” and finally left the room, to mourn in private for what had just been taken from me. Mercifully, both she and Rose left me alone.
As could be predicted, when the fledgling vampire rose some days later, the young intellect I had shared a bed with didn’t care as much for me as he did his new-found immortality. I trained him and slept with him, pretending I didn’t see Sabrina mocking me with her gaze every time our eyes met, and could not find my footing with my lover from that point forth. The days passed until some night, months later, when Timothy smiled at me from the doorway of our room, in a house procured by my maker to accommodate the four of us. “Michael, let’s go feed,” he said. “Down near the pub once more, for old time’s sake.”
My eyes lifted to engage his and his smile dissolved into a frown. I saw him slide his arms through the sleeves of his jacket and remembered the first night I had taught him that lesson – how I had to blend in with the human populace. How I would give the illusion that weather affected me the same way it had him. I felt a stirring in my heart for that mortal man and failed to answer his request as a result.
Slowly, Timothy succumbed to a frown. “What’s the matter, lover?” he asked.
Lover. I wanted to say my lover had died in the arms of my maker back at his flat in Cambridge. “Never mind me, Timothy,” I said, shaking off my melancholy long enough to summon as agreeable of a smile as possible. “I think I need a night alone.”
He raised an eyebrow. “If you insist. I’ll be back before dawn.”
“Before dawn,” I repeated, maintaining the amiable expression long enough for him to depart. The moment the door shut, however, my shoulders slumped and my grin faltered altogether. I sat in the same position for a while until I realized the silence surrounding me contained the message that it was time.
I stood and found my suitcase. Packing it full of whatever I could fit inside, I closed it shut and found a pen and paper to leave Timothy a letter. Sabrina eyed me with intrigue when I left my room and didn’t have the chance to speak one word before I informed her I would not be returning. “This time, don’t bother trying to find me,” I said. “Your Irish gentleman doesn’t need you to hold his hand any longer.”
Whether or not the verbal slap contained as harsh of a sting as I intended, it must have been enough to indicate my mind wouldn’t be changed. Sabrina stiffened her posture, informing me if this is what I wanted, then so be it. I did not see fit to acknowledge her words with a proper response. I only told her to enjoy her new nest and found myself sitting in the train station within an hour’s time, relieved when she failed to show up to drag me back again.
I held my composure long enough to board the train bound for New York City. As I watched the countryside pass me by again, however, I saw the moon shine down upon the trees and finally shed the tears I had been holding in for weeks and months and years. Closing the chapter to one life came at a price, but by the time I reached another city, changing trains to Pittsburgh also changed my disposition. The pain became a dull ache over time.
But the next time I ventured into a pub, I still looked for the studious young man, seated at a table in the back while reading a book.
I suppose this is immortal life. To love and lose and love anew. And yes, I think I might love Demetrius, though the rift forming between our covens makes it difficult for me to hold out hope to ever truly be lovers with him. I suppose I will know for certain when I have finally lost myself in another soul, but for now, I see myself returned to Sabrina and know this will remain the way of things. She will call for me and I will come. And watch my heart be broken anew.
Gra. Corp dicheile