Howdy, all! I know it's not technically Valentine's day yet (unless you live across the pond perhaps) but as I'm chained to a desk all day long, Monday through Friday, there is no way for me to make the 2 pm deadline tomorrow. So, I'm posting my contribution now. If you haven't read my last post (for shame on you!) or if you're just tripping onto my little portion of the blogosphere by mere chance (you poor, unfortunate soul) Jolie over at Precious Monsters (click that Vampire Bites Blog Hop button on the right of my page!) has been gracious enough to host a Valentine's Day blog hop. The rules? Post anything vampiric. Opinion piece, comments on vamp movies, whatever. I have written a story for the occasion. It's not that I'm that big into vampires (or Valentine's for that matter) but I do like to write. I came up with an idea and ran with it. I truly hope you enjoy it! If not, it's short and there won't be many minutes of your life that you'll be begging to have back by the end. =) For the few of you who follow me, thanks in advance for reading! For any of you happening upon my blog as a result of hopping around the blog hop, I hope you enjoy the story and find something of value here should you click around a bit.
So, without any further ado, here's the story. Happy reading and hopping!
Was, Am, Want to Be
I pulled my cab around the back of the old firehouse. Parking was a little harder to come by than I’d anticipated, but I found a spot quickly enough. Judging by the number of cars, it was going to be a packed house tonight. It didn’t help matters any that I was nearly twenty minutes late.
My fare had been hell bent on getting to a club on Delaware Avenue as quickly as possible. Usually not a problem, but there was some kind of Valentine’s Day shindig at one of the dance clubs being sponsored by a local radio station which made traffic a bitch. Of course, my fare and I took a few minutes to have a little drink together. Not one of my finer moments, but what can I say? I’m weak. But that’s also why I was here. I needed all the help I could get.
Rain poured down in sheets and by the time I made my way into the firehouse, I was soaking wet. My denim jacket was three shades deeper than normal and my white sneakers looked a depressing shade of gray.
As I made my way down into the basement, I could hear the muffled sounds of someone speaking. I double checked my watch. Yep, twenty minutes late.
Aiden was gonna be pissed.
I opened the double doors that led into the auditorium as quietly as I could. Seemed like they’d been oiled lately; not a squeak. Score one for me.
About a dozen people sat in wooden folding chairs, the kind that you find at church functions. Some were familiar faces, some were new to me. I’d only been coming here for a month or so, but you could tell between the hard cases and the fly-by-nighters. The woman standing at the wooden podium at the front was a regular. She was speaking softly, to the point where I almost couldn’t hear her. Don’t let the soft spoken voice fool you though. I’d seen her speak before and she had a quiet ferocity about her. When she spoke, you could tell that she was going to lick this thing.
As for me? The jury was still out.
My wet sneakers made tiny squeaking sounds as I tried to sneak my way into the back row. You’d think someone like me would be fleeter of foot. A few people looked in my direction but at least Aiden wasn’t one of them.
I found a seat all the way in the back, just like in high school, and sat down.
Just when I thought I’d gotten in scot-free, Aiden turned around and looked directly at me. He wasn’t pleased.
Built like a fireplug, Aiden was a Philly Detective and a damn good one. He was also as tough as nails. Everything a newbie could want in a sponsor.
I waved lamely at him.
His scowl deepened.
He walked over to me.
“Nice of you to join us, Jake,” he said, sitting down next to me. “You’re only, what, a half hour late this time?”
“Twenty two minutes by my watch,” I said, just as quietly. “Sorry, I had a fare that wanted a ride all the way to Del Ave to go clubbing…”
“Stow it,” he said. A man of few words, when Aiden said something, you listened.
He looked at me more intently. “What the hell. Is that what I think it is?” he asked, pointing at my face.
“What? Do I have a booger or something?” I wiped at my face. Looking at my hand, I saw the angry streak of color left behind. Red. I almost laughed. Red! I used to like lots of red things. Johnny Walker Red, Killain’s Irish Red…life’s not without its little ironies.
“You know you’re supposed to call me if you get the urge. That’s what sponsors are for,” he scolded, shaking his bald head.
“You going up there tonight?” He nodded at the podium.
“You think I should?” Public speaking wasn’t my bag. I was happier being a spectator.
“Up to you. But you should work the program. I ain’t gonna force you, but I think it would do you some good. Especially since…” he said, gesturing to my face.
“Maybe you’re right,” I sighed.
Scattered applause broke up our little tete-a-tete. The quiet, determined woman who’d been speaking was finished.
Aiden patted me on the shoulder. I made my way up to the front and situated myself behind the podium.
God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed...
Changed…interesting choice of words.
...courage to change the things which should be changed...
Not much I could do to about what I’d become, but I didn’t have to let it rule me either.
“…my name is Jake and I’m a….”
...and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."
I know who I was. I know what I am. I know who I want to be.
“…My name is Jake and I’m a vampire.”
Scattered replies of ‘Hi Jake’ filled the small auditorium.
“It’s been…it’s been about an hour since I’ve last fed on a human.”
There. I’d finally said it. I bowed my head and closed my eyes. A strange combination of relief at admitting my nature - what I’d done - and guilt for the very same reasons coursed through my body like a sluggish current. Everyone at the meeting knew what I was but I’d finally acknowledged it, out loud. That’s always the first step, isn’t it? Admitting the problem?
“One hour at a time...” said someone.
“One day at a time…” said another.
“One step at a time…” chimed in yet another.
I may be a vampire. I may have an awful thirst for human blood, even though I can live off of just about anything mammalian. But those things don’t define me. I won’t let them.
I may be a vampire, but I don’t have to be a monster.