“The courage never to submit or yield.”
John Milton, Paradise Lost
The first time I saw him it felt like a blow to the gut.
I was in northern Virginia at the time, doing a sort of routine business trip of sorts. I had some packages to deliver and people to meet, and so I was there.
It was night-time, and in those days it was a lot easier to feed, believe me. Most of the people I fed on were scumbag lowlifes and exploiters of women and things like that. I was in Richmond at the time for a quick stay-over because I had some business to attend to; but I hadn’t fed in a month by this time and my hunger was getting pretty severe.
So I left my lodgings in search for food. I headed to the market street, hoping to find someone lingering in a doorway that I could feast on.
When I arrived though, the only person on the street I could see was a dirty teen-aged street urchin, reaching desperately into the rotting wooden crates and bins to find something edible to eat. Even through my hunger my heart seemed to break for him.
But I pushed him from my mind. I was not going to feast on this young man – I was going to need to find someone else. Fortunately, a few streets over, I found a suitable partaker, as we called them in those days, to fulfill my hunger. The minute I was finished, though, my mind went straight back to that street urchin.
I cautiously made my way back down that market street to see if I could spot him. Sure enough, he was gnawing on a shriveled apple core and muttering to himself in some dirty, shit-layered ally. Though I didn’t really pay much attention to his appearance when I had first seen him, now it was like the wind was knocked out of me.
Fearful pale blue eyes, framed by dark brown hair looked up a me. His thin, pink lips were chapped and his small, button nose was dry with mucous. He was dirty, with streaks of dirt across his face, yet those things didn’t diminish his youthful beauty at all. My breath started to get faster and my heart raced because then, in that alley, I had the sudden realization that I liked this boy.
Acting quickly, I strode over to him. Looking back, he must have been dumbfounded that a well-dressed states-manly like figure had any interest in him. But I think he was assured at the time because I still retained MY youth, looking 17.
I advanced toward him and he scrambled back against the wall, in fear. I crouched down to his level and looked him in the eyes.
Then, I spoke those fateful words.
“This is no place for a person of your beauty,” I said, reaching my hand out unconsciously, trying to touch his face. He quickly moved his head away from my touch. I put my hand down and started at him. “You don’t have to live like this, you know. Do you have parents?” The boy shook his head. “Any next of kin? Anyone?” The boy looked down and shook his head again. I sighed in sorrow and then continued. “I’m Lucius. Let me help you. Please? You needn’t live like this, scrounging for food. Let me help you?”
His pale eyes searched my face, and for a moment, it felt like an eternity. But my eyes held nothing malicious, for I was already falling for him at this point. Finally, he reached a decision.
A smile erupted onto my face, and I held out my hand to take his. This time, he took hold of it, and I helped him up, the apple core he was eating falling, dejected, to the ground. I led him cautiously into the street and then back to my lodgings on Spartacus, my horse. Since it was only midnight, I checked out of my lodging house and mounted my horse, with him holding onto me, and we rode non-stop till nearly dawn to get back to my house in Maryland.
Once there, we dismounted and I had my servant put Spartacus away. We entered, the boy obviously enamored by the grandeur of the house, and I immediately had him bathed and fitted for new clothing.
I was waiting for him near the fire I had started in the fireplace while he was getting his bath. Once returned, he spoke to me for the first time.
I stared into the flames of the fire, my hands behind my back, when he appeared next to me and spoke.
“Why did you do this for me? There are many other boys out there that need just as much,” he waved his arms, gesticulating to his surroundings, “attention as I. Why me?”
Pausing to calculate my response, I turned my head to look straight into those pretty pale blue eyes. Nearly above a whisper, I said, “Because I think you’re special.” I saw him look back at me, his features softening, and I saw him search my face.
I leaned in, gently resting my forehead on his, and then planted a sweet, lingering kiss on his lips. Separating with a slight smack, he looked lightly surprised, but not stricken. I smiled.
“That’s why I’ve done all this for you,” I whispered.
“Silas,” he responded. I knitted my brow in confusion.
“My name. I never told you it; it’s Silas. Silas Brookes.” He looked down, shuffling his feet. “I was gonna ditch you earlier on, but when I figured out what was going to happen, I stopped myself. I stayed. Because you seemed honest. Plus,” he giggled, “that kiss kinda sealed the deal.”
I smiled, almost manically.
“I do have a question, though,” Silas said, looking at me. I cocked my head. “How do you have this house, and all these resources at 17? I assume you’re my age, because you certainly look it.” I felt my stomach drop, because I knew he was going to ask questions, and I wasn’t too sure I was up to answering them.
I led him to my sofa and sat us down, taking a breath before I explained.
“I was born in 1700 to two extremely rich parents here in Maryland.” His mouth opened to speak his surprise but I shushed him. “In May of 1717, I…stumbled upon something I shouldn’t have. It was horrible; someone was getting murdered. The murderer then turned on me…b-but something went wrong. He had these…teeth. Fangs. He attacked me, yet I wasn’t killed. He…made me one of them.”
Silas’ eyes were wide and he turned pale. Nearly throwing himself to the other side of the couch, he squeaked, “A vampire?! You just did this to eat me!”
My laughing caught him off guard. “No, no, it’s nothing like that, Silas. I was just explaining. I woke up nearly a month later in an abandoned shack; sheltered from the sun. Yet my attacker was no-where to be found.
“I’m not gonna lie: the fest few years were tough because I had to figure everything out on my own. As the years passed, I found a way to make money, which, in part, was the reason I found you in the first place.”
Eyes still wide, he relaxed a bit and scooted closer to me again. “Can I see your fangs?” He asked, obviously now intrigued.
I sighed and dropped my fangs down from my gums. He moved his face closer to get a better look. Craning his head to inspect my mouth, he said, “Wow, that’s interesting! It must be wonderful to be like you. Don’t you live forever or something?”
I smiled. “Yes. That’s…that’s why I brought you here.” I looked down, suddenly feeling vulnerable. “I like you. I wanted to…change you. To be like me.” I looked up with an almost childish anticipation. “Then we can be together forever!”
His silence nearly crushed my childish excitement. I knew that there was no way that someone I had met just 5 short hours ago would throw himself to my mercy. Put his eternal life in his hands. I was a fool.
But I was surprised when he inched closer to me, his breath warm on my face, and leaned in to carefully put his lips over mine. He slipped some tongue in my mouth, and then pulled away to look in the face of a very stunned Lucius.
My breathing still heavy, I responded, “Huh?”
“I said yes. I like you too, and you saved me. Please; I wanna be like you. I…I want to be with you. It’ll be much better than the life I was ‘living,’ anyway.”
It was nearly dawn, so I had to act quickly. Gleefully taking him by the hand, I led him upstairs to my chamber and disrobed him. He lay back on my bed watching me put things away and get ready for his transformation.
I finally got onto the bed, and pressed myself on top of him. Looking into his eyes, and putting a hand to the side of his face, I said, “Your welcome to back out now. Once this happens, there’s no way out. Are you sure?”
“Yes, yes, I’m sure, Lucius. Please. Any things better than what I came from. You’re better than anything I’ve ever known. So yes. I’m sure.”
I stroked the side of his face gently, a leaned in for a kiss, which he freely gave. It was a wild chance in a million that he was gay, but I didn’t question that. I felt that I would jinx it that way.
Once our lips parted, I whispered, “Are you ready?” He nodded.
Hearing the screams were the worst part.
The science behind vampiric transformations are quiet complex, though I had studied it for a long time.
The venom, called (though not technically accurate) polymeric acid, is a highly modified version of human saliva containing lamiatoxins that are designed to be impregnated into another ‘victim.’ Once the ‘prey’ introduces their fangs into the victim’s jugular, the injection of the lamiatoxins quickly spread throughout the body, with certain paralytic agents shutting now unnecessary bodily functions. For the first week, these toxins go to work, effectively shutting down all functions of the body, very systematically.
In the second week, various acidic compounds found in the venom take advantage of the now defunct immune system to invade the cells and bind to chromosomes. Using the chromosomes as a catalyst, they again bind to the telomeres on the end of the chromosomes, almost immediately repairing them to the best of their ability, which is no more than a day or two of ‘wear and tear.’ Now that these compounds have attached themselves to the end of the telomeres, they continue to repair the telomeres once they get past the point of when they were bonded.
In the third week, new enamel is formed on the canines and they become quite sharp, with ducts forming to the saliva ducts in order to produce venom themselves. Muscles are formed and the teeth are now able to retract and extend at will. The body now starts slowly to function again, though stays eerily in a death-like state. The immune system and the bowel tracts, etc, never come back ‘online’ so to speak, because there is no reason to. That’s why vampires can’t eat solid food: there’s nowhere for it to go.
In week four, give or take, the body makes minor corrections and prepares the body to wake. Newbloods are usually sore and disoriented when waking up; this is because of deteriorated muscle tissue and lack of oxygen in the brain during transition. It’s imperative during this phase that one doesn’t jostle the body more than necessary, because they are quite literally a new born. A new vampire.
At the time of turning Silas, though, these things weren’t known yet. All we really understood was that the venom entered the bloodstream and shut down the body somehow. We just had to wait for the childe to wake up and worry about the science later.
It’s almost funny, looking after a newblood in transition. It’s almost like being a parent of some sort; I had to remember to turn Silas sometimes and move him so he wouldn’t get rashes or bedsores. Or if I wasn’t able to do it, I made one of my servants do it instead.
The house sometimes felt like a prison; my bedroom had no windows and neither did the one that Silas was in. Since we were only awake during the night, there was not necessarily any reason to black the windows. I tried to clean the place up a bit, and cleaned up my study, and then I set out to make it perfect for when my childe awoke.
I received his clothes order about 2 days before he awoke, and made sure they were made with the finest materials. I ordered a frock with lime-green lining, three buff-colored waistcoats, a black waistcoat, and 4 collared shirts; 2 with wrist-frills and 2 without. I figured if he needed anything else I would let him decide what he would want to wear. I also invested in a tutor; I felt that he should learn all he can about the world since he had never had a formal education.
I was sitting in the armchair next to his bed when he first groaned out, moving around by himself a little. I slammed my book shut and was at his side at an instant, watching him flutter his eyes open. He lazily looked around, and then focused back onto my face.
“Lucius? Wha-what happened? Where am I?”
I pulled the sweat-soaked sheets off of him, and sat down on the bed. I said, softly, “You’re in bed right now. You’ve been asleep for nearly a month.”
“A month?! How? What happened?” He struggled to sit up, but I gently pressed his shoulders down to the mattress.
“No, no, don’t get up, you need to rest,” I said softly, in a caring manner. “Don’t you remember? You’re like me now.”
A spark of recognition came to his face. Silent for a second, he said, “That means I’m with you forever, now?” A dreamy look washed over his features.
I nodded. “Yes, of course.”
“Good,” he responded. “I’m getting sleepy, again…” He fell asleep in the middle of his sentence and I took that time to caress the side of his face. Looking at him fondly, it was almost surreal how I had found him and how he had been so willing to just…go along with what I said. I just worried I had made a mistake by turning him so quickly after meeting him.
With the help of my servants, I lifted him up and gave a him a bath, personally, and then dressed him in a sleeping gown. I laid him back in a freshly-made bed, so he would wake up without all the nasty sweat.
A little while later downstairs, I had just sat back down to read, when I heard someone come down the stairs. Without looking up, I assumed it was Allison, my chamber maid, so I said, “Allison, please clean Silas’ bedchamber. It needs sweeping.”
“Well, I can clean if you want, but I’m still recovering,” Silas said. I looked quickly up and smiled widely seeing that he was up and well enough to get down the stairs. His skin was still pretty pale, but that would turn back to normal in time. I hastily got up and rushed over to him, enveloping him in a hug.
“Oh, I’m so glad you’re okay,” I said. Silas smirked.
“Of course I’m okay. I can’t extend my fangs yet, though, which is a bit disappointing.” He made a teasing pouty face.
I laughed. “Well, you’re going to have to wait a bit for that. About a month or so.”
I led him to the table and sat him across from me, taking his hand. “There’s much you need to learn about this life,” I said. “It’s not always fun and games. Actually, it’s never fun and games.” I stroked his hand. “I don’t know how you could trust me. I pluck you out of the street, kiss you, and then turn you into a vampire.” I laughed without mirth. “What’s there to trust?”
His pale blue eyes grew large, and then grew stern. “Don’t ever think that, Lucius. I chose to go with you. The minute I looked in your eyes, there on the street all those days ago, I trusted you. You seemed honest, and kind. And cute. I wanted to become like you, if that meant spending forever with you.”
I was silent while I stroked his hand with my thumb. I turned my head away. “The moment I saw you in the street that day…it w-was like love at first sight.” I snorted. “Nonetheless, whether I fell in love with you or not that day, I had no right to just take you. None.”
“No. You didn’t take me, Lucius. I chose to go, alright? I chose. Do you understand?”
I nodded, subdued. “You’ll come to hate me, I know it.”
I heard him get up and stand over me, and taking his hands out of mine, he gently lifted my face up so I could see his. His pale blue eyes, stern yet loving, looked down at me. Pierced me. “No. I will never hate you. Never.” He kissed the top of my head, and then quite abruptly changed the subject.
“Did you get clothes for me?” He said, looking down and gesturing to his sleeping gown. I smiled.
“Of course,” I said, getting up, gesturing at him to follow. Leading him back into his bedchamber, I opened his large amour and took the clothes I bought for him out. His eyes widened.
“These…these must’ve cost a fortune,” he said, carefully handling one of the articles of clothing. “I’ve never had anything so…nice.”
“Put them on.” He took off his nightgown and dressed in his collared shirt, waistcoat, and frock, along with his knee-britches and socks. He tied his longish, brown hair back into a ponytail with the ribbon I gave him. He looked so dashing.
“Wow…” I breathed, taking a look at him. “You…you look fantastic.”
He looked at me bashfully. “Thanks.”
I stepped closer to him and pulled him closer to me. Looking in his eyes, I said, “But you always looked good. Even in the street. I don’t think anything could have covered your beauty.”
We kissed again, and after we parted, Silas breathlessly said, “I…I think I love you.”
I smiled. “I know. I love you too.”
We kissed again.
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