Just Another Vampire Story #8

"A Certain Love For Life"

Edgar felt the blackness of death slip from him the same instant that the sun began to dip beneath the horizon, his senses slowly awakening. A plethora of sensations began stimulating his synapse, conveying more information to him than a human could possibly hope to assimilate, and he knew that things were not right.

Beyond the confines of his coffin, he could sense a room that was not his, and this was a cause for some concern.

Reaching out, Edgar sought the familiar essence of one of his many thralls, an energy that he should have easily been able to detect from half way around the world, and he grew more alarmed to find that he could connect with none of them.

Twenty thralls, five of them nearly as old as he was, and he could find not a trace of a single one of them.

Alarm was bordering on panic as Edgar thought of the implications of this. Someone had gone to extraordinary lengths to obtain him, and that could not bode well under any circumstances.

He quickly dismissed the notion of it being the work of a hunter. Hunters were more legendary than vampires, and even if there were some linage of them left, he had no delusions that they would try to capture him alive.

The only scenario that he could imagine was that another vampire was making a move for his position within the Court of their King, despite how lowly it was, but that would also not seem to be the truth as he did not sense any other of his kind.

He did, however, sense a number of humans, and as he focused on their beings, he realized that they were drawing nearer his location.

Fuming that mere mortals would dare to kill his entourage and whisk his coffin to some location unknown, Edgar flung open the lid and leapt out, his movements graceful and with speed.

His eyes narrowed as he took in his surroundings, somewhat surprised to find himself, and his coffin, in the center of a vast chamber that was nearly blindingly white. Easily fifty feet wide and long, the room was covered with hard, gleaming tiles of plastic that seemed to reflect and enhance the glaring light of the halogen lamps spanning the ceiling, nearly fifty above him.

A cube.

A chuckle nearly broke from him as he noted dozens of video cameras, all high up on the walls, secure in the knowledge that they would do the mortals no good.

Staring in the direction that he sensed the humans to be, Edgar realized that there was a door set into the wall, nearly indiscernible amongst the tiles, and moved towards it, intent on confronting his kidnappers as they entered.

He did not make it that far.

The first tile that he stepped on, beyond where is coffin sat, sent a charge of electricity through him that caused him to leap back, the intensity of his pain alerting him that it had to have been at least a thousand volts, if not more.

Edgar abandoned the notion that these were mere mortals that had captured him.

Examining the floor more closely, he noted that the four tiles that he, and his coffin, currently occupied were glowing ever so slightly less than the other tiles. Indeed, his tiny island was the only area not filled with the possibly deadly energy, and it fueled his anger even more.

Edgar calculated his odds in escaping the chamber, and he decided that they were not good at all. He could easily reach the door in two bounds, possibly even one, but then he would be facing the conundrum of passing beyond the door.

With no handle visible, Edgar doubted that it was made simply of wood, and it would take him some time to break it down if it were heavily reinforced.

There was a slight hissing sound, and the door retracted into the wall, giving Edgar the thought of leaping immediately to it. He instead held his ground as men began stepping into the room, armed with MP5s, dressed in expensive black suits, and wearing thick, rubber boots.

Edgar gave pause to the thought because he could sense that none of the men were afraid of him. He could hear their hearts beating normally, even the smell of their sweat conveying that they were calm, and it gave him reason to be concerned.

In addition to their bodily smells, he could also scent out the fresh oil of the guns, indicating that they were well maintained, and that the weapons contained no ordinary ammunition.

The silver of the bullets within the chambers and magazines of the weapons was a pungent odor to him, and it caused Edgar to regard these men as predators that knew their quarry very well.

A whirring sound emitted from the open doorway, and Edgar stared in disbelieving wonder as a motorized wheelchair entered the chamber, bearing an occupant that was extremely old and fragile.

Realizing that the eleven men at the far side of the room, five on either side of the door and the man in the wheelchair, were the only humans within any distance, Edgar once again thought of leaping for the opening, confident that he could be through it before any one of the humans could react.

Apparently the man in the wheelchair understood what Edgar was thinking as he said, "If I were you, I'd use those magnificent eyes of yours to study the room a little closer."

Edgar's brow furrowed in bewilderment.

The old man started to explain further, but he broke into a fit of coughing that told Edgar that he was not much longer for this world. The vampire could sense death creeping up on the man; could hear it in the struggle his lungs made to take in breath; could hear it in the tiresome beating of his heart; could feel its black grasp trying even now to encase him.

"Show him," the old man finally said, motioning to one of his men.

The man reached into the jacket of his suit, revealing that he was wearing a weapons harness that held many extra clips for his weapon, and he pulled one of the heavy magazines out.

Watching with curiosity, Edgar was bewildered as the man tossed the magazine in his direction, heaving it with all of his strength. He could not understand the action, certain that they knew that he was already aware of the floor being electrified, but it became surprisingly clear a moment later.

The magazine sailed through the air and seemed to come to a sudden stop, splitting neatly apart into many pieces that fell to the floor, causing sparks to burst from where they landed.

What sort of trickery is this?

Focusing on the area where the piece of metal had abruptly broken apart, Edgar gaped as he saw that the entire room was crisscrossed with microfilaments. The ultra-thin wires were sharper than anything he had ever seen, and Edgar was thankful that he had not made that brazen leap for the door.

"It would seem that we have an understanding," said the old man.

"I understand only that I am a prisoner," responded Edgar, glaring at he old man.

"No, that's not true," he said, pushing on the control stick of his chair, moving forward to the boundary of the microfilaments. "You're a guest. A very special one."

"It has been my experience that guests are usually invited," countered Edgar, his tone hostile.

"Somehow I doubt that you would have come to my house for tea, Mister Vidia."

Edgar's eyes widened at the use of his proper name.

"I see that that got your attention," mused the old man, chuckling until it threatened to turn into another bout of coughing. "Yes, I know who you are. Or, more rightly, who you used to be."

Edgar continued to glare at him.

"I have a deal that I want to make with you, Mister Vidia. Actually, a favor that I want to ask."

"Which would be?"

"I want you to make me a vampire."

Edgar laughed.

"I'm serious."

"I have no doubt that you are," said Edgar.

"I haven't lived this long, amassed my fortune, built my empire, just to lose it all to death. Not when there are creatures such as yourself."

"This is not an easy thing that you ask, and certainly it is without justification. Simply because you do not wish to die is not reason enough."

"It's reason enough for me. But, if that's not good enough for you, then how about your life? Would you make me a vampire to save your own life?"

"Then it is not a favor that you seek, but an act of extortion."

The old man smiled.

"Very well. Since it seems that I have no choice."

The old man started bouncing with glee, but quit as he started coughing again, his body racked with pain, blood and spittle spraying from his mouth.

"Are you sure that you have enough time left?" asked Edgar, his tone amused.

Still coughing, his breaths coming in deep rasps, the old man waved an arm, and the men vacated the chamber, the door hissing shut behind them. Almost instantly, the microfilament netting began retracting into the ceiling, and the old man drove his wheelchair on towards Edgar.

He was obviously in great pain, his body all but succumbing to the death that was trying to claim him, and it took everything that he had to maneuver his wheelchair onto the safe tiles that the vampire occupied.

"Now," groaned the old man through clenched teeth. "Do it now."

"Your men will allow me to pass?"

"Yes," cried the old man, his every breath burning with agony.

Edgar leaned down and bit into the old man's neck, drinking in the warm liquid, inwardly grimacing at its pungent taste. He would have never chosen such a victim, the old man's body riddled with disease and cancer, but he had little choice in the matter, and it would do him no harm.

Blackness threatened to overcome the man, his body feeling as if it were on fire, and he barely registered that Edgar was now holding his wrist before him, a vein split open to bare his own blood.

With his other hand, Edgar nudged the old man's mouth to his wrist.

The old man lapped at the blood offered him, and his world shrank away into a blackness that left him feeling at peace.

The old man awoke in his own bed, his senses seeming to fill him with more sensory data that he would have ever imagined. Every image, every sound, every feeling, every scent was sharper, clearer than he would have thought possible, and he relished in the sensations.

Then the pain came.

He felt it in every microscopic bit of his being, intensified beyond what he had felt before, and he screamed out in agony.

Even though his mind was filled with the pain, he was still fully alert, aware of everything around him, and it was nearly maddening.

Edgar was suddenly standing next to his bed, smiling down at him.

"What…what…" the man tried to get out, but he was unable, barely able to think beyond the pain that tearing through every part of his being.

"Perhaps I should have explained that your physical body remains as it was when you were turned," said Edgar, still smiling. "Eventually, after some time has passed, and you've adapted to what you've become, you will be able to master your physically self."

The man thrashed about in agony, Edgar's words barely making their way through his torment.

"One day soon, just a tick-tock on our clock, you'll be able to weld your flesh as you wish."

"How…how…"

"How long?" asked Edgar, finishing the question that the old man could not. "With practice, and patience, hmmm, perhaps a hundred years."

The old man gaped at Edgar in horror.

"Perhaps a bit longer," added Edgar, parting from the room faster than the man could follow.