the wake of this relief

Shivering, longing for more

Insanity at its peak

Love me to my death


Lost are the days of spring

You sighed and let me in

Keep the beast inside

Shackled within my hide


From "The Leper Affinity" by Opeth

Lyrics by Mikael Akerfeldt




Chapter Ten

Death and Rebirth


Please forgive me if I digress from my narration for a few moments; but there is something that I have wanted to write of for some time now. Even Charlotte — who knows me perhaps better than anyone — has no knowledge of what I am about to tell you. It is not that I have no wish to tell her — indeed I long to — and perhaps one day soon I shall; but only when the time is right, when we are far from the madness of this place and can finally be at peace with one another.

On more than one occasion while recording the events chronicled here, I have stated my own hatred for what I am and all that my cursed existence entails. So the question that begs to be answered is: If I find myself so loathsome, then why did I become a vampire at all? The most obvious, and truthful, answer is that I had no say in the matter; and if you would grant me your indulgence for a few moments, I will relate how I came to be as I am.

Unlike the legends and stories that many are familiar with, simply feeding on a human will not make them a vampire. Even were I to completely drain a mortal and leave them hovering on the brink of death, without the exchange of blood between the two us, they would become nothing more than a mindless zombie — a creature whose sole purpose is to appease the burning hunger that drives them relentlessly. These creatures are like us only in that they need blood to survive and that they cannot bare the touch of the sun. They can also turn the mortals that they feed on into creature like themselves. Unlike vampires however, they are not immortal and can be killed with most conventional weapons.

Only the very strong among vampire kind have the power to bring a mortal over and make them one with the night. The amount of blood needed for the exchange is not very great, but the loss of the power imbued in that blood can be debilitating and possibly even fatal. The physical and mental strength of the chosen human must also be taken into consideration; for the change itself can be quite painful and the overwhelming frenzy of bloodlust is sometimes enough to drive a newly changed vampire to seek their own death rather than endure the pain of the never-ending hunger. It is because of my own horrifying experience of that time that I have never exchanged blood with another and made them into one of us.

Those first few months of my immortal existence were perhaps the hardest and most trying that I have experienced and I would not wish that kind of horror on anyone. Even now, after all this time, I still feel a physical revulsion at the things that I did during that time of madness — how I reveled and bathed in the blood of humans, how I stalked and tortured them so that I could feed off their pain and suffering. I am ashamed of the things that I did during that time, and I will not disclose them here for the pain from the memory is too great. But have no fear, Charlotte will never hear of these things from me — for they would shock her to the core and I have no doubt that she would indeed despise me and leave me if she were to learn of them. That part of my life is in the past and it will remain buried there.

I will say that I never sought immortality; that I never wished to become a vampire — although apparently there are those that do. Ignorant fools in my opinion — for they have no idea of what it is that they wish for. If they only knew of the pain, the loneliness, and the hunger that my kind must endure — yes, if they only knew what our lives were truly like, I don't believe they would be so eager to embrace the darkness.

Yet at one time, I was a man — a mortal man like any other. A man with dreams and hopes, and yes, even desires — all of which were taken from me in the dark of the night by a creature out of legend and nightmares.

My memories of that time are not as clear as they once were, but I will try as best I can to tell you of my life before. I was the eldest child of a man of some wealth and power. My father owned a considerable amount of land and we had a great house on the edge of a lush green forest. As the eldest son, I had a smaller house of my own on my father's property. I had not yet taken a wife and so lived alone with just a few servants. Although I cannot remember much of that time, I like to think that I was happy and content — my future a bright thing that I looked forward to. But who could have guessed that one night's carelessness would cost me not only that possible future, but my very life — as I knew it then — as well.


She came to me in the night, the moonlight on her pale skin like molten silver. Like the proverbial village idiot, I had gone to bed with my windows opened to the cool night air — there had not been a vampire sighting in our lands for almost a decade; and like so many others, I had become complacent and careless.

I was pulled from my slumber by a soft, cool caress on my cheek — so fleeting was the touch, that at first I mistook it as nothing more than a gentle breeze. But after a few moments, the touch came again. As I struggled closer to consciousness, I could hear a voice — a woman's voice — that sang to me in a gentle, yet almost seductive way. As my eyelids fluttered open, I slowly focused on the vision that leaned over my bed and my eyes widened as I beheld such unearthly beauty that I was sure I must still be asleep and dreaming. Never had I seen any woman — except for my beloved Charlotte — that could fire my soul with nothing but her beauty.

Her hair was long and dark — almost black — and her skin was pale and translucent looking. The gown she wore was white, but of a fabric so sheer and light that I could clearly see the outline of her body as she stood framed in moonlight — so voluptuous and promising. But it was her eyes that caught and held me — for they were a dark ruby red, like the wine that had been served with dinner earlier that evening; and there was a fire in their endless depths that commanded me to obey her words and her will.

As the woman finished her song, she smiled down at me — and that was when I knew true fear for the first time in my life. For although her smile was warm and inviting, the elongated canine teeth told me a completely different story and I could hear my own heartbeat as it quickened in fear. Her dark gaze froze my voice and limbs — she held me in the thrall of her power and I could do nothing to defend myself.

"Ah, awake at last my sweet," the woman stroked her hand down my cheek once more and leaned closer to me. "Such a pretty one you are." She gave me another smile as her hand traveled farther down until she reached the middle of my chest. "But have you remained true, my sweet one?" She laughed as her fingers tweaked my nipple through the fabric of my nightshirt. "As innocent as a babe — how perfect you are." She laughed again, "But don't worry about that my dear little pet, together you and I will walk down that sacred path; and there we will discover such pleasures that you cannot begin to imagine." Her hands caressed my chest as a shiver ran down my spine.

"Yes . . . I know dear one. It feels good doesn't it?" She pinched my other nipple and an involuntary cry sounded in my throat. "I can make it even better, my sweet. Would you like me to make it better?" She bent her head down further and closed her mouth over my tingling bud, her saliva molding the thin fabric of my nightshirt over the hardening crest while a groan escaped from my throat.

My breath hissed between my teeth as she bit into my tender flesh. This time however, the groan that I heard came from her, "Ah . . . so sweet and pure — such a treasure you are." As she lifted her face from my chest, I could see the crimson that stained her full lips.

She smiled at me as she licked my blood from her mouth. "Yes my handsome one, I think you'll do quite nicely." She laughed again, but there was no warmth in her voice. I could feel my body trembling in fear, but I was unable to move my limbs or speak. Pulling the bedclothes down, she climbed up on the bed next to me, her hands stroking across my body. With a sly smile, she hiked her dress up above her knees and straddled herself across me. I felt the blood burning in my face as her cold naked flesh settled over me.

Leaning down, she kissed me — her tongue pushing its way into my mouth hungrily as her fingers tangled in my hair. I felt as if I couldn't breathe as she sucked on my tongue. As she held my mouth captive, her hands smoothed down my face until she once again reached my chest and where she then set about tearing at my nightshirt while her fingernails raked at my skin. As the remnants of my tattered nightclothes fell away, she released my mouth and let her tongue trail across my jaw and down my throat. I could hear her murmuring as she licked and kissed her way down my neck. How ashamed I felt — for I could feel my own painful arousal and I knew that she was aware of it also.

I tried to speak, to cry out; but all that came out of my throat was a groan — a groan of need. The woman lifted her head and looked into my eyes, "Patience my dear one, patience. You and I have the rest of the night ahead of us . . . it will be all the sweeter for a little wanting — a little anticipation." She laughed again, her voice husky with her own desire. She once again lowered her mouth to my chest and continued her moist attentions to my sensitive flesh while her hands sought out other, more intimate, targets.

Tears fell freely from my eyes — more than once during that long night — as the woman's lips and hands traveled across my body; as she bit me and then licked and sucked at my welling blood; and as she rode me relentlessly until I could do no more than tremble and cry out in pain instead of pleasure.

As the twilight slowly gave way to the dawn of a new day, my dark seductress drained away the last vestiges of my mortality and left me lifeless, but not quite dead. As my vision started to fog, the last thing that my mortal eyes saw was the blood — the blood that dripped from her wrist as she forced it against my lips.

"Do you want to die, my pet — or do you want to live?" She whispered in my ear. "I have chosen you my sweet — you should be flattered." I could feel the wetness of her blood on my lips. "Drink my sweet one . . . drink and live."

I slowly parted my lips and stuck out my tongue, lapping at her wrist. "Yes . . . that's it . . . drink the life, my pet . . .drink . . ." Her voice was husky and I heard her moan as my mouth fastened on her wrist. I sucked at her dark, bitter blood like a man dying of thirst.

As her blood trickled down my throat, I began to feel a burning in my veins — as if what was left of my own blood was boiling underneath my skin. I bit down from the pain and heard her cry out as she pulled her bloody wrist away from my mouth. I groaned and feebly reached towards her, wanting to once again have the taste of her blood on my tongue; but she pushed away from me, pressing her other hand against the bleeding wound in her wrist. She gave me a cold, almost predatory smile. "So greedy, my pet . . . yes, I knew you would be the one."

As I lay there on the bloody sheets of my bed, I could feel a coldness creeping over my naked flesh and I shuddered from it. I also became aware of an aching need — a gnawing in my stomach that burned with its own painful fire. "W-W-What have . . . w-what h-have y-you d-done to m-m-me?" I barely gasped out, my voice the barest of whispers.

"I have done you a great honor, my sweet boy — I have saved you from mortal death." She laughed, and I trembled at the sound. "I have chosen you my dear one — chosen you to become one of us, the blessed and the cursed — the children of the night, the nosferatu . . . a vampire." The cry that rose in my throat at her final words was the last sound I heard before I slipped away into unconsciousness.


There are many things about my mortal life that I cannot remember — for it was so long ago. But that night — that night I have never been able to forget. I don't believe that any of my kind ever forgets the last moments of their humanity and their rebirth into the darkness.

It was many, many years later before I learned just who had taken me that night and changed my life forever. She called herself Mariah — and she was a princess among vampire kind — the half-sister of the vampire king himself. She left me lying in that blood-stained bed cold, naked and ill-used just as the dawn crested over the horizon; and still to this day, I have yet to see her again.

Yet always I have wondered, why me? Why did she choose me? From her actions and words, I knew that she had desired me in a physical, carnal sense. The way that she had used me to satisfy her own burning lust was more than proof enough of that. But why did she give me her blood — why did she decide that I was the one that she would give immortality to?

Once I thought that I would drive myself mad with such questions, but I have since learned that sometimes it is better not to know. What was done is done and I cannot reverse time and undo it. Whatever her reasons, I have accepted my fate and tried to make the best that I could of it. Because of Mariah (and perhaps my own foolishness), I became something that I hated and feared; and yet, if it wasn't for the immortality that she granted me, I never would have met Charlotte and found the love that I thought had been denied me forever. And so I am torn; were I to ever see the dark and beautiful Mariah again, would I kill her or thank her — I do not know.

So why have I confided this story here — within these pages? I'm not sure myself; perhaps because I just needed someone to know that this was not the kind of life that I had wanted — that I never asked to become a creature of the darkness — that all the death and horror that I caused in my long existence was not by my own choice. But still I will take full responsibility for it — I am man enough to do that; and although I was taken against my will, still it was my choice to kill in order to survive. I won't say that I relished it — but I will openly admit that on occasion I did find a certain pleasure in it. Hate and despise me if you must, I care not. I did not want to die and so I did what I had to in order to survive; and I will continue to do so.

Perhaps I have also related this here because I want someone to know that is not the kind of life that I want for Charlotte either. I love her too much to condemn her to the kind of fate that had been forced upon me. Perhaps such knowledge will give her family some peace once we have gone — to know that I will not take her humanity from her and that I will spare her from the eternal darkness that is my life. I can only hope so.

Chapter 11
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