• The Beginning: Creation

    His deep maroon eyes gazed deeply into mine. The man I once knew to be sweet and gentle was now cold and sinister. He had me pinned to the ground with no way of escape. He was stronger than ever before. How he came to be this way, I did not know. I did know, however, that this wasn’t him. At least, that’s what I believed.
    Karayan and I had met only a month before at a secluded spot by the ocean. It was an overcast day and the waves were pounding at the bottom of the cliff. It was my favorite type of weather, for reasons I’m not sure why, and Karayan happened to be strolling by when he saw me. I could feel the presence of someone else, the look searing in my skin. I turned around, startled by the presence of another being. There he stood in all of his pallor. He was pale, but that was expected on the coast of Maine. His auburn hair was perfectly set into short spikes accentuating his deep, chocolate brown eyes. Towering over me, he seemed to be another form of life. The human aspects were there, but the dull light of the day made him seem more monstrous than beautiful. The black clothing he wore didn’t help with my assessment at the time.
    “Hello,” I managed to utter politely, but the sense of fear wavered my voice. My heart fluttered with fear and awe.
    “Hello,” he simply replied, not affected by my shocked appearance.
    I attempted to collect myself before apologizing for my impolite reaction. “I’m sorry, I thought I was alone. You surprised me.”
    “’It may be little, it may be big, but surprises happen when you least expect it. Take what life gives you...delight in it and enjoy it.’” He mysteriously replied.
    “I quite agree. Please do sit down. I didn’t mean to react in such an uncivilized way.”
    “It wasn’t uncivilized at all. You were merely acting out of instinct.”
    “Thank you. I’m Abelina.”
    “Karayan,” he replied.
    “Are you from around here?” I asked, hoping to start a conversation and find out more about him.
    “I’m here on vacation from Chicago. What about you?”
    “I live here in town in the summers and for some vacations. During the school year I live in Bangor. I’d rather live here year round.”
    “I like the smell of the salt in the air. When the sun rises over the ocean it casts a beautiful glow into the waters and I like to get up early to watch it. Unlike the city there are many places that no one knows about or very few people know about. You can be alone and not worry that anyone will find you. There’s no one to watch you. There’s always fresh seafood and people have great stories of growing up here.”
    “You should make a living selling the ocean to people. When I first arrived here two days ago I wasn’t looking forward to anything about this place. The ocean is so big it makes me feel small. It could swallow you up and no one would ever find you. The way you put it makes it sound much more inviting.”
    “First time to the ocean?” I wondered.
    “No. I’ve seen it many times but it was only for a short stay. This time I’m here for a few weeks. My parents decided it was time to get away from the city for a while.”
    “Well, I’m glad I could help make this stay more enjoyable. If there’s anything else you need I’d be glad to help you out.”
    “In that case, what is there to do around here?”
    “Well, reading and writing by the ocean… or you can go to Acadia National Park and explore there... some fishermen do tours on their boats… swimming is a common pastime. There’s really not a huge list of things to do around here.”
    “I see. What do you do everyday?”
    “Exactly what I was doing when you arrived. Nothing, really… I write and read, swim occasionally.”
    “That’s more than I’ve been doing. Would you mind if I joined you here once in a while?”
    “Sure. I don’t want you to suffer during your stay here. I’ll show you around a little bit. I know of things that no tourist could ever find out.”
    “That would be wonderful.”
    * * *
    Pressed to the concrete floor, I pondered my means of escape. I could find none.
    “Who are you?” It was all I could manage to let ramble out of my mouth, repeatedly.
    He made no reply. His mouth was pressed thin, his face hard with seriousness. I could see him rolling through his plan of attack, wondering where to begin. He dipped his head down to the base of my throat.
    “What are you doing?” I screamed, tears streaming down my face like rapids. He lifted his face up again and smiled a satisfied grin. For the first time, I noticed his unusual teeth. His incisors were finely pointed and his teeth glowed a brilliant white. I trembled. How could I have missed his unusual smile? He seemed like a normal teenaged kid. I let out a gasp without thinking about it and my arms tried to pull themselves out of his iron grip. It was useless to try and fight him. There was no way for me to win. I had no choice but to succumb to his wishes. I relaxed physically, but mentally I was screaming to be back home, to be away from this monster I thought was my friend.
    He dipped his head back towards my neck and I felt a slight pressure that was similar to going to the doctors and getting a shot. I snapped my eyes shut and pressed my eyelids together. I gritted my teeth, hoping to suppress the look of pain. Karayan let go of my arms, his legs still straddling my body. With every pulse of my heart a burning flame traveled through my veins. Tears escaped my eyes. I could not hold them back. My eyes were still closed but I could feel him smiling as he watched me suffer the transformation from human to vampire.
    I didn’t know how long I had been on the floor. My body was stiff and my heart beat was rapidly declining. I opened my eyes to look at my surrounding. Karayan was nowhere to be found. The sun shone through the cracks in the barn wall. I noticed the grain in the wood, something that would be oblivious from this distance to a human. At that point, my heart had completely stopped and my breathing was merely a reflex. I wanted to move but I felt so stiff. I waited for a while before finally deciding I needed to sit up.
    My movements were smooth and without flaw. I felt surprisingly well. I held out my hand and analyzed its pallor, much like Karayan’s, and its perfectly proportioned fingers.
    So many times I had admired Karayan’s beauty, but never did I think it was because he was a vampire. They always say “Ignorance is Bliss.” What they don’t tell you is what happens when that ignorance fades away.
    “You’re awake,” Karayan spoke from behind me, his footsteps echoing as he approached. I stood and turned to face him.
    “How long have I been here?” I asked.
    “A couple of days,” he answered while slowly but casually walking around me, examining his work.
    “Why have you done this to me?”
    “I didn’t want to lose you and you seemed like you’d make a good vampire.” He shrugged as if my transformation was nothing special.
    “Why didn’t you tell me you were… are a vampire? Why didn’t you let me say goodbye to my parents? I still have a year of school left.”
    “First, I didn’t tell you because people tend to run from vampires, if you haven’t figured that out. Second, I don’t think your parents would be happy that a vampire was taking you away to make you a vampire. As for school, I am your teacher. You could go to school, but you look dramatically different and much more beautiful than you did before.”
    What was I to do? I didn’t want to be a vampire, of course. It was too late to go back now. Sulking certainly wasn’t going to help. The only thing I knew to do was to continue with Karayan and learn how to live in my new life.
    “What do we do now?” I asked him.
    “We dine.”
    I was taken back by these words, but I could feel the dryness that ached in my throat. It seemed so wrong. It was wrong. What was I suppose to do?
    After letting me think through my shock, he comforted me. “It’s okay. We’ll be going for animal blood, not human blood.”
    “We can do that?” I was surprised.
    “Blood is blood. Come, I’ll show you how to hunt.”
    Feeling a bit relieved, I followed. He led the way to the edge of the woods.
    “We’re going for a bid of a run. You won’t be tired but it may shock you how fast we can run. As long as you stay behind me, you’ll be fine.”
    I nodded and he darted off. I followed and soon we had picked up speed. The trees blurred by as we ran. Effortlessly we darted between trees. I had no idea how far we’d gone when we’d finally slowed but Karayan took my and hand and signaled me to be still. In the distance a bear was standing in the water. Nearby a doe stood, petrified by the sight of the bear.
    “You take the deer. I’ll take the bear,” he whispered in my ear. Like a flash of light he shot forward and took hold of the bear. I copied his movements with my prey. He sank his teeth hungrily into the angry bear. I watched him as he expertly drank while I held my deer. Thirst burned in my throat and I broke into the flesh of the deer, soothing the pain inside me.
    The corpse of the once living deer lay in my hands, empty of blood. I felt a deep sadness for the animal that overwhelmed me. Shocked by my actions, I dropped the deer and backed away. Karayan was finished with his bear and he came over to me.
    “What’s wrong?” He was concerned, which surprised me. I forgot how nice he could be.
    “I’m just in a bit of shock with myself. I’m sure I’ll get used to it,” I replied, trying to shake the feeling.
    “You will.”
    “How were you created?” I wondered randomly.
    “It was 1853. I was walking home from school and, without knowing it, I crossed the path of a vampire stalking his prey. This particular vampire was seeking to create more of its kind… our kind. I quickly became a victim. Completely random. I don’t remember anything about the one who changed me. I had a much harder time adjusting to who I had become than you are right now.”
    “What about your parents? You said you came here with your parents?”
    “I actually came with a couple of friends. They left a couple of weeks ago.”
    “What about my parents? Haven’t they sent someone out to look for me?”
    “Most likely.”
    “Can’t I go see them? At least so they know that I’m okay?”
    “Why don’t you look at yourself in a mirror first. You can stay with me.”
    “Why can’t I go get some of my clothes?” Questions were rapidly flying through my mind.
    “We’ll worry about clothes later. You’re going to need a whole new wardrobe. First things first, you need to look in a mirror and I expect you’ll have many more questions to ask me.”
    “Lead the way.” All of my questions… what did I need to know... what did I want to know? I’m a vampire. How hard can it be? I’d read a lot of books and was sure that knowledge would be of some sort of help.
    Within moments we were at the cottage he was renting for his stay. He unlocked the door and let me in. The cottage was quaint and rustic on the inside. The walls were a natural wood and the furniture looked antique.
    “The mirror is in the bathroom.” He pointed towards a door at the end of a short hallway. I nodded and slowly walked in. I stepped up to the mirror and almost screamed. That was not me. My normally brown hair color was now a sleek, jet black and my blue eyes had turned maroon, brown if I looked at them from just the right angle. My figure was more athletic, less plump and my muscles were defined. I looked more albino than slightly tanned. I was beautiful.
    “See what I mean?”
    “I have to see them. My family deserves to know.” I wasn’t about to give up. They meant more to me than anything.
    “They won’t accept the new you. It’s scary, knowing there’s another world that’s kept a secret. You and I don’t belong in the human world.”
    “I have to try. You’ve taken half of my dreams away from me. Don’t tear me away from my parents without giving them a final goodbye.”
    “I’m trying to protect you.”
    “So you turn me into a vampire! What a great protection program!”
    “Okay. So, it sounded better in my head. I’m sorry, but you will get used to it. I did and so has every other vampire.”
    “You had no right. You’ve taken me away from my family and friends. I can never have children. What about college and a career? All those experiences have gone out the window.”
    “College is still possible. We can talk about kids later. Visit your family if you must but I have to be nearby and there are things you need to know before you see them.”
    “Thank you!” Emotion flooded me and I gave him a gigantic hug.
    “You’re welcome. Let’s get you some proper clothes. You can visit tonight. It’ll be better that way. Plus I have to give you a few tips.”
    I agreed and we were on our way. I picked through racks of clothes for over and hour, only to find a couple shirts and pants. Back at the cottage, I wiped all the dirt off of myself and changed into a new outfit.
    “You look gorgeous… no… tempting.”
    “Thank you. Can we go now?” I whined.
    “Yes, we can go… after I give you those tips. First…” I groaned as he continued. “Stay away from mirrors. You can see your reflection but they can’t. Second, don’t talk about blood if you can help it.”
    “Got it. Let’s go,” I urged. He sighed and let me lead the way to my parent’s house. I walked up the steps alone and cautious. I knocked on the door and waited as I heard footsteps slowly approaching. The door lock clicked and the door opened. I stood face to face with my father.
    “Dad, can I come in?”
    “Abelina…? Is that you?”
    “Yes. It’s me. I’m fine. I just need to talk.”
    He stepped aside and I walked in. I continued to the living room where everyone was gathered. Everyone looked at me with their drooping, tearstained eyes with awe. I leaned against the doorpost.
    “I just want to tell you that I’m okay. I cannot stay with you anymore, but if you let me, I’ll come and visit.” I wondered what Karayan would think of me saying that.
    “What happened to you? We’ve been worried sick,” my mom cried.
    “I didn’t leave by choice or I would have said goodbye.”
    “You don’t even look the same,” Jeremy, my brother, commented.
    “I’m not the same. Look, I don’t know how to explain any of this and make it sound normal. I don’t think it’s possible to make it sound normal.”
    “I want an explanation regardless,” my mom begged.
    “I’m not human anymore. I met this guy and he turned me… he turned me into a…” I took a deep breath. “He turned me into a vampire. I never consented to it, but there’s no way to reverse it.”
    “Stop joking. What. Did. You. Do?” The ire in my dad was raging.
    “I didn’t do anything and I’m not joking. Look at me! Do I look like I’m joking?”
    My mom was sobbing uncontrollably. Jeremy was whispering “cool”. My dad left the room in fear and anger.
    “Why… no… how?” Jeremy asked, fascinated by this new concept.
    “How does it work… becoming a vampire?”
    “I don’t think I should tell you that.” I bit my lip, feeling the sharpness of my incisor teeth.
    “What did it feel like?”
    “I refuse to tell you such information. I know you’re older than me by like five minutes but there are some things that you can’t handle.”
    “How do I know for sure that you’re a vampire?”
    “Look at me! Look how pale I am, how skinny I’ve become, how bright and pointy my teeth are.”
    “Then why aren’t you thirsty for our blood?”
    I cringed at the thought. I felt a burning in my throat again but I pushed it to the back of my mind. My hands were in tight fists. “I can’t talk about that. Change the subject.”
    “Why?” he replied sassily.
    “Just change the subject. You don’t want to make a vampire mad!” I gritted my teeth, repressing a growl.
    “Will I see you again?” he asked, not bothered by the fact that my muscles were completely defined now.
    “Depends on whether you can keep this a secret. I can’t have all of you running around saying I’m a vampire.”
    “Like anyone would believe us,” he said with a half-hearted chuckle.
    I glared at him. How could he joke around at such serious moments? If my heart was still beating it would have been a rapid pulse. A mixture of relief and anger went through me. Would this be my last goodbye? What did my future hold for me besides eternal condemnation? What would happen between Karayan and me? Could I ever find it in myself to forgive him? What about my brother? My parents?
    “I love you. Don’t you ever forget that. I’ll try and visit sometimes. Take care of Mom and Dad. I’ll be watching you. Take care of yourself and if anyone asks about me, I’ve changed and most likely won’t return.” I flashed him a smile and effortlessly glided out the door.
    Karayan was leaning against a tree, waiting for me to say something. I walked over t him and leaned against the tree adjacent to him.
    “And the verdict is?”
    “I don’t know. My brother is the only one who’s not freaking out. I don’t know if I’ll visit again but I will keep an eye on them,” I sighed. Life had suddenly become more complicated than ever before.
    “They will be fine. You have much more to learn and we can’t spend all our time following them.”
    I was lost in a sea of mixed emotions. I was sad for having to leave my family, confused because I didn’t know what to do, and oddly I found myself falling in love with Karayan. I wanted it all to be a dream.
    “You’ve had a long day. Why don’t you get some sleep?”
    “We sleep?”
    “Of course. We still have some of our human genes in us. We can stay awake longer, but we still enjoy a good night’s… or day’s sleep.”
    I looked back to the house, realizing that I’d never sleep in my bed again. This house was no longer my home.
    “Let’s go,” I half whispered and took of for the cottage.
    Lying on the bed, I recalled memories from my human life. Many of them included Jeremy. As kids we stuck together like glue. We had a bond like nothing else. Now the bond was gone. I couldn’t fall asleep. For two days I had been unconscious. How could one sleep after that? I decided to get up but once I stood up, I realized I didn’t know what to do. This was the beginning of a long life.
    I wandered out of my room and found that Karayan was still awake in the living room. I sat next to him on the couch and watched him s he completed a word puzzle in minutes.
    “Couldn’t sleep?”
    “No. I keep thinking about my brother and all the times we had together. I wonder what the future holds for him along with what my future is going to be like.”
    “How come you never mentioned your brother to me?’
    “We’re twins and we’ve spent our entire life together. It’s always been an “us”. For once I wanted to be just Abelina.”
    There was a silence, an awkward silence. I leaned my head back against the cushions and stared at the ceiling.
    “I never meant to hurt you, you know. It gets lonely being a vampire.”
    “I know. I guess in some ways I’m luckier than you. I mean, I managed to see my family and say goodbye.”
    “Yeah, well, people are more accepting of mythical creatures now than they were in the 1800’s.”
    I felt sorry for him. He had no one to help him out when he was transformed and I had him. I was a vampire. That fact was still sinking in. Being a vampire meant my life had been dramatically altered. All of my plans had been erased.
    “What do you do all day? I’m bored out of my mind.”
    “Nothing. I stroll around towns, hunt, talk to people. You might want to consider continuing to write and read for an activity.”
    “I probably will have to since I’m not going to school anymore. I’ve become an instant adult frozen in a seventeen-year-old body. The only difference is that I don’t have a job and I don’t have any way of having a family.”
    Karayan put his puzzle down and turned to face me. “Let me explain this to you. Our hearts don’t beat, but we’re living. We’re dead but living dead. This makes it possible for us to lead a somewhat normal life. You can still have children. They will be vampires too and different rules apply to them. I think it would be best that you learn more about how we live before pursuing your dreams but they are still possible.”
    “Can we ever fully die?”
    “Yes, but it’s unlikely.”
    “How so?” I wondered.
    “How many people walk around with a pointed wooden stake and a pack of matches? Not very many.”
    “I get your point.”
    I thought back to the time we read a bunch of myths about vampires and werewolves.
    * * *
    “Can anyone tell me what a vampire is?” my teacher, Ms. Varnez, had asked the class.
    Being studious, I raised my hand. No one else could give the answer they knew she wanted. “A vampire is often referred to as “the living dead”. Vampires are believed to have been started in Europe. They come awake by night and suck the blood of innocent victims. It is said that they can be kept away by garlic and the Christian cross. Other beliefs are that they burn in the sun, shape-shift into bats, and sleep in coffins. Some myths say that vampires can only be killed if stabbed in the heart by a stake while others say that they had to be burned. Transylvania is most popular for its history in vampires but Italy also holds a fair amount of history.”
    “Good. You are correct. Over the years, vampires have been depicted in many ways. All of us have heard of Dracula, one of the most famous vampire stories. They have become a major part of the horror film’s industry. With so many stories we have dozens of opinions on the living dead. For class I want you all to study how these myths came to start and the transformation of the images of vampires and werewolves.”
    * * *
    I laughed to myself as I recalled those classes. How naïve I was then. How naïve humans are to the fairytales that surround them. We could be the reason for the human race’s impending doom.
    “Why are you laughing?”
    “I was just recalling one of my classes I took where we read vampire and werewolf myths.”
    “Ah. They tend to blow things way out of proportion.”
    “I can tell.”
    Our conversation had come to a stop once again. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Being a vampire seemed more complicated than being human. There was much more to worry about. A huge secret was placed on your shoulders and nothing could remove it. I worried about my family. With out me they would fall apart. With me they’d live in fear. I had to go see my brother.
    I stood and Karayan asked me where I was going.
    “Out,” I replied and left the cottage. I sprinted to my old house again and stood by the edge of the trees. Jeremy was outside on the porch gazing into the stars.
    “You’re up late.” His head turned to face me, straining to see me in the dark.
    “Hard to sleep when Mom and Dad fight and cry all the time.”
    “They’re fighting over me, aren’t they?”
    “Yeah. It’s not like it’s your fault though. You said you had no control over what happened and that you didn’t want to be this way.”
    “I didn’t say that I don’t like being a vampire. I did say I had no control over it. There are actually a few pluses to this life. Whatever I am, I’ll still be me. I’ll still be here for you to talk to.”
    “But you’re not normal. You can’t go outside and let people see you.”
    “Of course I can. I can lead a perfectly normal life.”
    “Except for when you need to eat or drink… or whatever it is you do. Not to mention you look completely different than you did before. You may talk the same but you don’t necessarily act the same.”
    I walked up onto the porch so he could see me and sat in the chair next to him. I took his hand in mine. His hands were significantly warmer than mine.
    “I will always be here for you. All you have to do is call me.” I took out a pen and wrote a number on his hand. “If you ever need me, call and I’ll be there as fast as I can. You can also call just to chat if you need to. Oh, and Daniella, keep her. She’s nice and you two are perfect together. Stay in school. Don’t do drugs… I sound like Mom now.”
    He laughed. “Yeah you do, but I know it’s because you care. What are you going to do?”
    “I am going to learn more about the new me and spend time with Karayan. I’ll visit you once in a while. School’s almost starting and you’ll be busy. I think I might do some traveling, take a few classes online or something, and try to get a job.”
    “Karayan… he’s the one who changed you, isn’t he?”
    “Yeah, and oddly enough, I think I’m falling in love with him. He’s actually really nice despite his mistake. I’ll let you meet him sometime.”
    “You mentioned Daniella… what do I tell her about you?”
    “For now, just tell her I’m trying something new. If you two get really serious and are engaged… I’ll come see you two and I’ll come to your wedding. If that were to happen, I think it would only be fair to let her know the truth.”
    “Thanks. I guess I should go inside before they wonder if I’ve disappeared…”
    “Take care of yourself and remember I’m only a little ways away.”
    “I will.” He got up and opened the door to the house. He gave me a smile before going inside.
    I sat for a moment and then wandered back towards the woods. I was slowly walking back to the cottage when out of nowhere Karayan appeared.
    “Don’t scare me like that,” I growled at him.
    “Sorry. I came looking for you and I found you. You can’t just be at his side every moment.”
    “Were you listening? I can’t believe you!”
    “I’m sorry. I can’t help it. I feel like you’re my responsibility now.”
    “How much did you hear?”
    “All of it.”
    “It was supposed to be a private conversation.”
    “It’s okay. Who do I have to tell? Besides, I got information out of that conversation that I didn’t get talking to you this afternoon.”
    “Like what?” I began to continue my walk to the cottage.
    “That you’re falling in love with me.” I stopped dead in my tracks. Somehow that comment had completely slipped my mind. Karayan walked up behind me and placed his hands on the upper parts of my arms.
    “It’s okay,” he assured me. “There’s nothing wrong with falling in love with someone.”
    If I was still human, I would have been blushing.
    “Say something. Please…” he begged.
    I didn’t know what to say. I was mad that he’d listened. I was glad my secret was out. I was confused because I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready for him to know. Karayan moved so he was standing in front of me, reading my expression.
    “I love you, you know. You’re not the only one with these feelings. I wouldn’t have changed you if I didn’t feel deeply about you.” He was desperate to get me to talk.
    “I didn’t want you to know yet and I certainly didn’t want you to find out through eavesdropping.”
    “I told you; I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?”
    “I don’t know,” I cried. He pulled me close to him. I rested my head against his chest. He kissed the top of my head, comforting me slightly. I enjoy being in his arms. I felt safe, somehow.
    “You want to know why I’m so confused?”
    “When I met you, I thought you were one of the best people I’ve ever met. Then I saw a side of you I never thought was possible and you frightened me. I didn’t know what to think of you and I still don’t. I love you, but I fear you.”
    “Don’t be afraid. I promise you won’t ever see that side of me again.”
    “Never?” He shook his head. “Never… I like that.”
    He lifted my chin up and kissed me. I melted in his arms as we stood in the middle of the forest kissing. Time meant nothing. We had an eternity together.”