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Oral History (Avenger's Friday the 13th Vignette)

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Friday, Feb 13th, 2008

 

I remember the first person I killed. It was early on, before I could control my impulses, when I was so damnably hungry that I was ready to chew my own lips bloody just to get at my own vital fluids. (That particular trick doesn't work, by the way. It's like trying to make a baby solo; the right parts just aren't there.) Claudia had gone out for a meeting with Melinda, leaving me alone in the apartment for like the third or fourth time. This was all about three years ago, now, I'd only been a vampire for about a week and a half.

 

She'd forgotten to feed me. No, I'd forgotten to ask for food. I was so besotted with her, so besotted with the joys of undead grace and power, that I assumed I could hold back that urge gnawing at the back of my mind. You ever have to go to the bathroom but put it off because you were busy doing something really fun? It was kind of like that. Except giving myself indigestion, I was putting off the taste of a stranger's blood pouring down my throat.

 

I can't even tell you what that's like. I really can't. You know, I tell myself that my objection to blood banks is ethical, that it's not right for someone who's already a predator to feed directly from the body of the community. And maybe that's true, but it doesn't change the fact that it's so _good_ coming straight from the flesh, a delicious, curling shot of sex and food and every single carnal appetite wrapped up into one irresistable package that just goes on and on.

 

Anyway. My murder. Maybe I'd have come through it all right if not for that burglar. The doors were locked and I hadn't figured out how to break into mist yet, so I'd have been stuck there chewing my lip and clawing at the walls until Claudia got back if that uppity little thug hadn't forced the lock. Claudia liked me that way; she liked me hungry, needy, dependent. I'd been that way when we met, you see, except back then it was for max and zombie powder instead of blood. She'd fixed that little addiction, yessir.

 

I'm changing the subject again? Yeah, yeah, I am. Anyway, the guy cracked the door open with a crowbar. Pretty simple stuff; I don't know it says that I hadn't thought to try that yet. I'll admit I'm not a hugely smart guy, and I wasn't as strong then as I am now. So he kicks open the door, sees me standing in the hallway with red eyes and fangs, and I see him, a walking eight pints of hot, pumping blood. God, he looked so surprised!

 

I grabbed him by the collar and hauled him inside, jacked him up against the wall and shoved my teeth into his neck. I hadn't figured out then how to make it feel good, so he'd have been screaming before I hit his windpipe. I don't really remember it very well; when you get that hungry, all you really think about is food. It was a good thing no one else lived on that floor, I tell you what! I finished tearing his throat out about the time Claudia came home, and I remember looking down at the dead guy at my feet and thinking...

 

_Nothing._ That's the thing. Oh, I was scared that I'd be found out, that Claudia would be angry with me or we'd have to move, but as for the man I'd just murdered? The throat I'd just torn out like a rabid, hungry dog? (OK, I did feel that: way too much flesh!) I felt _nothing_. Claudia had a lot to say; she screamed at me and beat me, like she did back then, and left me to clean up the mess while she called the disaster cleanup service the vampires own. After all, now she had a lot of work to do!

 

I'm not like that now. I tell myself that every time I go out at night. Killing is wrong; killing as a superhero is especially wrong. I can live as what I am and not kill, even if it would be fun, even if I could get away with it scot-free, even if I was sure nothing would come of it other than a hot, sensual meal of blood and death. And I believe it, too. I don't want to kill. I don't want to be a murderer!

 

But my world is soaked in blood. I have killed three humans and multiple vampires. I have used my fists, my teeth, my claws, and anything else I needed to get the job done. I can't think of a friend I have, outside of Avenger's friends, who hasn't killed right in front of me, or close by me, or to my knowledge. Sometimes it's casual, sometimes it's shocking, but they've all felt heart's blood on their fingers, or tasted it on their lips. When I see a pretty woman, I think of her thighs and neck as much as her breasts; when I see a tough, dangerous man I think about how easy it would be to bleed him out.

 

I live that way every night, and every day. I stop myself today, tonight, tomorrow. I have willpower I didn't have when I was younger; I can restrain my blood lusts. I don't need to kill when I'm hungry anymore. But, see, here's the thing. The sun doesn't burn me. Fire, blessed weapons, stakes, silver; they don't hurt me more than they'd hurt anyone else. It is entirely possible that I will live forever. I can save a thousand lives; I can break the gangs of Freedom beneath my fists, I can fight a demon, a monster, a terrorist, and do it all in time to get laid at the end of the night. I can do it all.

 

I will kill again. And again. Forever.

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