Nightly Ritual – By David Lee Jones
She walked through the street unaware of my presence for I was but a ghost flitting through the darkness that was urgently longing to reveal it’s gloomy secrets from beyond the sodium light of the halogen street lamps. Though my moves were silent and deft, I would playfully shuffle a stone or perceptively move a branch ever so often to darken her soul with an urgent fear of self preservation.
As her pace quickened, and her heart raced, I reveled in the dark images that ran through her panicked mind. Excitedly I fed on their colorful richness trying to fill the dark void within my black soul. The spark within her spirit seemed to awaken something deep within my being I had lost touch with in a life long forgotten. I so desperately grasped at the scarcely remembered sensation but it was too fleeting even for my heightened perceptiveness.
She rounded a corner and I cut through a long unattended “L” shaped courtyard thick with overgrown ivy and prickly weeds. My dark gift afforded me such stealth I managed to overtake a black mangy alley cat without the creature noticing my approach. As my slender pale fingers curled around the surprised animal’s neck, talon like fingernails ripped into the pungent smelling hide bleeding life away in one swift move breaking skin and bone simultaneously. An exquisite warm stickiness ran in heavenly rivulets over the cold flesh of my hands and arms, but I could only allow a moment’s indulgence for my real prey lay just a few feet beyond on the other side of a rusted iron gate.
I peered around the rough aged brick wall and up into a beautifulness I had stalked now for weeks. I had come to know every contour of her face from the sprig of auburn hair that playfully jutted out over her wrinkle free forehead to the elegant curve of her lovely neck that fell away milky below her slender slightly cleft chin.
My carnivore eyesight saw the artery pulsing beneath the thin soft flesh with the excited pace of her racing heart and my body tensed as she fumbled with the keys to the heavy wooden door before her. She longed for the desperate refuge from the fear that was beginning to boil away just under her skin flushing her cheeks and forehead. Her breath was coming in heavy uneven gulps as her frightened fingers refused to locate the appropriate key.
Suddenly the haunting long lost feeling energized my aching soul as I grappled with the incarnate urge to feed on the sweet blood coursing through those tender veins just over a foot away from my watering fangs. Over eons of practice my hunting skills were keen and this moment of attack culminating in the frenzied need to satiate my never-ending hunger would be over in the blink of an eye. The moment came upon me and muscles were coiled ready to spring as the air about me was electric with anticipation.
Then, as had happened every night since I began stalking her, the faintly familiar feeling disarmed me. As she passed beyond into the safety beyond the threshold, my whole body felt strained and spent and I would suddenly collapse in exhaustion.
I then would dexterously climb the tree outside her bedroom window and watch over her under the moonlight as she comfortably slept on the other side of the glass convinced she was free from harm. I would linger dangerously close to dawn endangering my own existence thirstily drinking in the sights, smells and emotions of her dreams. My soul yearned to understand the alien sensations emanating from her slumbering soul.
The chase continued on almost every night for years and the odd sensation always stayed my hand at the point of attack. When dusk came I risked hunting while the sky was still a blazing flame so later in the evening my hunger would not impede the sensations I felt from her hapless stalked soul. I felt no remorse or guilt, for I was unable.
As is the nature with my kind we move through ages and countless generations unchanged and primal, as the human world evolves around us. The Mystique slowly seeps from each age leaving us as it’s only tenants, moving unnoticed about humankind who is too distracted with it’s daily petty concerns and the lofty ambitions of ever evolving brains. We have faded into folklore and legend and are only remembered through romantic tales every few generations or so by your kind.
Thus, the inevitable day came when her soul and the chase lost it’s fascination to me just as the human world lost it’s own enchantment with my kind. As I crouched within the alleyway looking up into a face that once awed me with it’s beauty, I saw years of age had passed by me unnoticed. The sprig of auburn hair had turned gray and thin and the forehead was no longer soft with it’s healthy glowing skin. My eyes moved over her face with unsuspected indifference until I focused upon her once smooth and milky neck. Now the wrinkled skin there became transparent and the artery underneath glowed with a red glow triggering the carnal impulse to pounce without inhibition.
Sharp fangs pierced her neck and hot sweet blood funneled into my eagerly gulping mouth. Within that moment our souls connected and our hearts synced with one another beating as one. Memories eons old came rushing back and in that instant before her heart stopped beating, I realized what the alien sensation that kept me from feeding on her was.
My fascination for her beauty had given away to love upon seeing her soul. The primeval monster I had become could not fathom this feeling. A tear slid down my flushed cheek as her warm blood flowed rapidly cooling through facial corpuscles. Her lifeless eyes stared up into mine as the tear slid off my chin and splashed onto her cold cheek, her blood within my veins suddenly becoming as cold as my soul.
That night the last ember of my soul that was human burned out with the fading light within her eyes. Now I have become the beast I was born into this world to be. Killing without remorse or discrimination. I am the monster of fairy tales and the fear within nightmares. I am the dark soul that slides through the shadows unheard and unseen, striking when least expected.
I am vampire.