The month passed into late October, and the first snows of the coming season had already fallen. They were now in that odd transition period between shows, the odd spring-cleaning time that occurs only four weeks out of the year. Exactly one month before, Sierra had first sought out Peter for his aid. Over the last month he had aided her twelve times, and the next time would be the most favorable opportunity for him to make the change.
Coming down from the storage loft where she had been sorting props, Sierra looked around at the nearly vacant workshop. "Where'd everyone go?" she asked Peter, the only living thing in sight.
"Home," he replied as he went back to stacking new lumber in the wood rack. "Why?"
"Just wondering. I need to talk to you," she replied, smiling at him. He smiled back sheepishly and slid the two-by-four he had in his hands onto its shelf. Without speaking, he fished his keys from his pocket and led the way up into the light booth once more. He shut and locked the door and closed the accordion-style covers on the windows. Then, turning to Sierra, he began to take off his shirt.
"You're welcome to do that, if you want, but I actually need to talk to you right now," she said with a sparkle of mischief in her eyes as she took a seat on the couch.
"Oh, right," he replied as he pulled his shirt back down. He took a seat next to her with a curious look on his face. She reached over and took his hand, and the words that she had rehearsed so many times, the traditional lines, fled her memory. For one stiff moment, they sat in silence until she simply began to speak. "Peter… you've helped me twelve times now and there's something I'm supposed to tell you after the twelfth time."
The words slowly began to come back to her. "As the tradition states… after aiding someone of my kind twelve times, you have the opportunity to become a member of my people upon the thirteenth occasion that I take your blood. It is your choice whether or not you do this, but if you choose to, you will become one of us. You will receive our strength, senses, power, and eternal life, or at least until something extinguishes it, and you would never age. You will also, however, obtain our thirst, our need for blood, and our sensitivities. As you probably know, as well, you will most likely eventually be hunted like the rest of my kind by religious zealots. They see our way of life as… well… damned, and, who knows, maybe it is. No one really knows if vampires go to heaven too. I'll give you a few days to think about if, and when you've made your decision, let me know."
"So, how exactly does one become a vampire?"
"The most commonly known way is for someone to have their blood completely drained by a vampire. Then the vampire's fangs naturally eject a chemical that will reanimate the body. This is where vampires get their monstrous reputation. The vampires that occur through this become more of… zombies. But that's not what I'd do to you. The more accepted way among our kind is for a human to drink a vampire's blood. We can't really explain why, but for some reason, humans get a thirst for blood slightly after having their own blood taken, most just don't know it. The vampire takes some blood from the human, and then cuts themselves, usually on their arm. The human then drinks the blood. Vampirism is transmitted like a virus through the exchange of the blood, and soon after the human begins to change."
"Is that how you became a vampire?"
"No… I had no choice in it. I was born this way. Well… not really this way, but I was born with this in me. No one really knows what triggers it, but every child that is born a vampire lives a normal life until some time usually after they turn sixteen, and then the vampirism activates, and the child changes. That's what happened to me, that night that I passed out. That was the start of my change."
"God… there's so much I have to think about."
"Don't rush yourself, though I must say that Halloween would be a perfect night to change."
"That's next week already. This whole change thing… where would it happen?"
"There's a room for it at the safe house where they took me to change."
"How would I tell my parents…? I mean, I can't just walk up to them and say 'Hey, I'm going to go become a vampire, see you tomorrow.'"
"Ask them to come with you. They can see you before and after. They can even watch the exchange of the blood, if you really want them to. There's a separate room with a window that they can watch through. That would probably be up to them."
"We'd send one of our agents over there to get them that night. Ultimately, it's your decision. It's your body, your life."
"I'll think about it, and I'll tell you probably tomorrow. Do you need anything else?"
"No, we've got to save that thirteenth time for you to change if you want to."
"Right," He got up and opened the door. Pausing to look at her for a moment, an odd look came over his face. Just as quickly as it had come, it was gone, and he turned and slowly walked down the hall, a distant look on his face.
The next day, as Sierra entered the workshop, Linette looked up from the pile of screws she was sorting. "Peter's looking for you," she said with a poorly-hidden look of disgust on her face. "He's out on stage."
"Thanks," Sierra replied, and walked through the workshop and out into the wing of the stage. She saw Peter standing by the sound board, seemingly studying it, and she snuck up behind him. He looked up just as she drew near, and she suddenly found herself engulfed in a powerful embrace.
"I'll do it," he whispered in her ear, and he released her, holding her at arm's length, smiling. She decided not to ask for his reasons at the moment; she just nodded and smiled back, her mind racing with everything she had to do in the next week to get him ready for what he just accepted.