The Heart of a Vampire

By April Marion Lucas

On a clear, sunny summer day in 1891, in a small town, a couple decided to take a day off from any business they had. The woman had deep blue eyes and long, straight black hair that shone in both the sunlight and moonlight. The man had brown eyes, and black hair that came down to his chin line. He was around the age of 30, and that day was when she was turned 30. Their day out was to celebrate her birthday. They had a picnic lunch, where the man gave her a silver ring that formed a heart on the top that encircled an oval-shaped ruby. Afterwards, they sat together next to a large rock at the top of the hill outside of town to watch the sunset. However, their perfect day was about to take a turn for the worst.

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"I'm telling you, Anna, I could have sworn I saw something in the alley, looking at us," the man said as he closed the door behind him as they were walking back inside their house. Outside, the stars had started appearing in the sky.

"I'm sure it was nothing, Hector. It was probably just a cat," the woman replied, turning around to him.

Hector hesitated, and then said, "You're probably right. Maybe I'm just imagining things, since we had such a perfect day today."

"And it was indeed perfect. It was the most wonderful day a man could give a woman on her birthday," Anna replied, walking toward him. He wrapped his arms around her. She held up one hand and looked at the ring on her middle finger.

"It's beautiful, Hector. I don't know how to thank you enough for it."

"Yes, it's beautiful, but not as beautiful as you. Once again, happy birthday, my love," Hector whispered to her.

Suddenly, they hear the door crash open. They turn around to see three men at their doorway. The one in front had pale skin, and black hair brushed to the back of his head. On the top left side of his black coat was a silver "D." Behind him was a man with somewhat pale skin and brownish blonde hair combed back loosely. The man in the back wore a black cape, and his face was concealed by a hood. One by one, they started walking inside the small house. The second man came up the left side of the first man, and the third man came up the right. The three men stopped. The first man smirked as he looked straight at Hector.

"You must be Hector. I've heard much about you from my…associates. I've been looking forward to meeting you," the man sneered.

"I wish I could say the same. Who are you, stranger?" Hector asked. He was confused about these men, and his gut was telling him that these men could be dangerous, but he decided to keep his manners in the hopes of avoiding provoking them into doing something bad.

"Oh, where are my manners tonight? Of course, introductions must come first." the man replied. Hector was sure he heard an almost hidden poisonous tone to the man's voice, as if he secretly had a dark agenda to fulfill, but has reluctantly been forced to show manners first.

"My name is Damien." Gesturing to the second man with brownish blonde hair with his left arm, he said, "This is my associate Ivan. He's essentially my right-hand man, sort of speak." Lowering his left arm back down, and raising his right arm, gesturing to the hooded man at his right, he said, "And this is Derek, my newest associate." The two men bowed their heads briefly.

"Pleasure to meet you all," Hector replied, bowing his own head, but not taking his eyes off Damien. Despite the manners, Hector still didn't quite trust these men, especially Damien. The other two seemed to be under his leadership, almost seemingly to a point of soldiers standing by their general.

"As you all ready know, my name is Hector," he told them, while partially unwrapping his embrace over Anna, until he was standing beside her with one arm around her. "And this is my Anna. May I ask what the purpose of this…visit is?" Hector asked, making sure to withhold saying "intrusion."

Hector then noticed that Damien was looking straight at Anna, with an unnerving look in his eyes. Damien closed his eyes, tilted his head up some, and took in a deep breath through his nose. He tilted his head back down, and then slowly turned around so his back faced Hector and Anna. Then he spoke.

"We're here to induct you into our company, Hector. We are not complete without one more member, and we figure you are just the one we've been looking for."

Hector's bad feeling only got worse from this.

"What are you people, really?" he asked suspiciously.

"Quick to get to the point, I see," Damien chuckled darkly. He slowly turned around to face them again. As he did, the other two displayed huge evil grins on their faces, and Damien was displaying the same when he turned around. Derek's hood was concealing the upper half of his face, but the eyes of Damien and Ivan suddenly had a tint of amber to them. In all three grins were fangs where the top canines normally are.

"Vampires," Hector murmured, as Anna quietly gasped.

"Yes, and we'd like you to join us, Hector," Damien asserted, taking a few steps towards Hector and Anna.

"I'm sorry, Damien, but I'm going to have to turn down your proposition," Hector replied.

Damien raised an eyebrow. "Really? Are you sure about that? I can make you immortal; you will never die," Damien insisted, while giving a smirk.

"I'm sure. My answer is no."

Damien looked at Hector for a moment, and then sighed, "I thought you were going to say that." He then gave a wicked smile, and snapped his right fingers.

The three vampires all stepped toward Hector and Anna as one. Hector, still with one arm around Anna, walked her and himself backward, until he felt the far wall on his back. The vampires were still walking towards them, with Ivan and Derek now pulling out farther ahead on either side of Damien. Hector knew then that they were surrounding them so they couldn't escape. When the vampires were close enough that Hector and Anna were surrounded, Damien suddenly grabbed Anna by an arm, quickly pulling her away from Hector.

Hector tried reacting just as quickly to keep her there safely beside him, but as he started moving forward to get Anna back, Ivan and Derek caught each of his arms behind him, preventing him from moving anywhere. Hector looked up and saw Damien immobilizing Anna by standing behind her, where he was apparently locking her arms in place with pain from forcing her arm to twist behind her. Damien then grasped Anna's head with his free hand at her jaw, tilting her head at an arch so her neck was exposed. Damien slowly leaned his head down toward her neck, opening his mouth wide so his fangs fully showed. Seeing this, Hector was terrified for Anna.

"NO! Don't do it! Please!" Hector shouted.

Damien paused, and smiled wickedly again. He raised his head and faced Hector.

"Join us, or she dies!" Damien snarled.

Hector clenched his teeth. He knew Damien would actually do it if he didn't join them. He knew he had to make a sacrifice to have Anna spared.

"Fine, Damien. You win. I'll do it," he said resignedly. He felt Ivan and Derek release his arms as he lowered his head down in a defeated gesture. He heard footsteps come around behind him and from the left, walking forward, at the same time as another sound of footsteps that were coming closer to him from the front. He felt Damien grab his shoulder with one hand, and the side of his face with the other. Damien forcefully leaned Hector's head to one side at an arch, in a similar way he did to Anna. Hector then felt the fangs sink forcefully into his neck. Hector tried flinching out of reaction, but Damien's hands kept his head and shoulder down. Amidst the pain of what felt like two sharp narrow knives stabbing into his flesh, Hector could also feel a sucking feeling at that spot, and he began to feel increasingly weaker.

Just when Hector started to feel like he wasn't going to have enough strength left to remain standing, he felt the fangs slide out of his neck. Then he felt Damien's hands release him, and he heard footsteps back away from him. Hector, not feeling strong enough to stand anymore, let himself collapse onto his knees. He looked up and saw that Anna was now being restrained by Derek. He looked behind him, and saw that Ivan was still standing there, no doubt waiting for his next duty. Hector turned back around to face Damien, who was staring at Anna intently.

"Something still doesn't seem right. Unfortunately, Hector, we don't believe in having female partners…" he started, talking to Hector while still looking at Anna. "And we should upkeep our philosophies, shouldn't we?"

"What are you say-" Hector started to ask, but before he could finish his question as to what Damien meant, Derek quickly released Anna, just in time for Damien to lunge himself at her and immediately sank his fangs into her neck where he was going to do so before. Anna gave out a cry of pain.

"NOOOO!" Hector shouted, and tried to get up, but once again, he felt Ivan restrain him. Hector noticed that since he was weaker, Ivan could restrain him just as easily as he and Derek did before Hector was drained of a lot of his strength. Hector realized he was forced to watch with terror the scene before him as Damien continued draining her. When she was starting to go limp, Damien followed her collapse down to the floor, keeping her neck in his mouth with one hand while the other arm went under one of her arms, which was trying to grasp his arm, and slightly held up her back at that shoulder. Halfway down to the floor, Damien was forced to start kneeling with one leg to keep himself erect, while Anna lost her balance on her feet, and was forced to let her legs give out and slide outwards to prepare for a laying position. When Anna's legs were starting to touch the floor, Damien released his embrace, and he briefly allowed his arms to slide her body to the rest of the floor.

Hector tried once again to get up, and was both surprised and relieved to feel that Ivan was letting him this time. As soon as Ivan's grip was gone, Hector stood up halfway, with his knees still caved, and clumsily sprinted the short distance to Anna's limp figure. When he was close, he saw Damien step aside, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Damien give an evil smile. Hector let himself collapse onto his knees again beside Anna. She was pale and just barely alive.

"Anna, no, it can't be," Hector whispered worryingly.

"Hector, listen to me," Anna whispered back in a hoarse, weak voice, "No matter what they want you to become, I know you have the strength to resist it. Your inner strength is stronger than any urges that I assume you'll feel, but you can endure them. With the special strength I see in you, you can master those urges."

"Anna, no…" Hector started, horrified for her.

"Here," Anna whispered, as she started to take off her ring. "Take this on your journey, my love. May it be a symbol for what I've said. Let it represent your inner strength, which will see you through struggle. I believe in you." She dropped the ring into his hand, then her eyes closed, and Hector heard a deep exhale from her. He felt her body lose all the strength it had left, and with that, she was lifeless.

Hector clenched the hand that had the ring in it.

"Anna…no..." Hector breathed in a whisper. Then he shot his head up to look at Damien.

"How could you?! You monster!" he shouted.

Damien only glared back and smirked. "Realize, Hector, that now you are a monster as well, just like the rest of us," he sneered.

"I will never become what you are."

"Oh, yes you will. You are a vampire now. You must kill to survive, and you will go bad from the thirst for blood."

"That will never happen," Hector said half to himself. He knew what Damien was saying was a true route he could easily fall into. He decided that he would have to try all the harder to stay off that route, for Anna.

"I swear to myself and to Anna that will never happen."

"We'll see about that," Damien scoffed. He turned toward Derek, who nodded, then went over and opened the door. Derek poked his head out the doorway, mumbled something, and then came back in. Another hooded figure came into the house, leading a brunette woman in front of him. She was wearing a dress of a working class townswoman; hers had a white torso shirt piece, a faded black bodice around her middle, and a brown skirt. She was blindfolded, and her hands were bound behind her back. The new hooded figure had one hand grasping her upper arm, and the other hand was holding her hand bindings. Once just inside the house, Derek closed the door most of the way, and the new figure switched his hands over to her shoulders, and pushed down, gesturing for her to get down. The woman followed the gesture, and dropped down onto her knees. Hector figured the new figure didn't need to muzzle her or worry about defiance if he had threatened to kill her when he captured her. He could also see that she was trying to find out what was going on, but was forced to deal with the fact she couldn't see.

"What is this, Damien?" Hector asked.

"This is our other member, Marcus," Damien replied. The new hooded figure briefly nodded his head. "

"As for the woman, she's your…initiation, Hector," Damien said with a dark smile.

"You actually expect me to do that? After being forced to see it happen to Anna?" Hector asked angrily.

"I don't expect you to do it willingly, Hector. I expect you to do it out of sheer urge, which you can't hold back, which you can't control."

Hector had had enough. He still felt like a human, and as such he felt he still had complete control over himself, at least for now, anyway.

"Oh, yeah? Watch me," Hector scoffed. He stood up, much to his surprise how fast he had recovered the strength to do so, then started marching toward the door. Derek and Marcus stood aside, and Hector didn't hear any footsteps behind him from either Damien or Ivan. Dismissing the temptation to wonder why, Hector stepped out the door, and down the steps, while hearing some slow footsteps coming from inside. When he was barely off the steps, he heard Damien's voice behind him:

"You can't run from the thirst, Hector. Soon now you will have the irresistible urge to attack for the sake of satisfying that urge. You will give into it, and even your strength will fail like the other three."

Hector dropped his head and closed his eyes, trying to ignore Damien's taunt, but Hector let it in anyway, yet he hoped it wasn't true, although he knew he could fall down that path of darkness if he couldn't find a way to control himself. He opened his eyes again as he suddenly remembered he was still clutching Anna's ring. He opened his hand and looked at it, remembering Anna's dying words to him. He had to find a way. He raised his head back up, and kept walking away.

After walking some distance, maybe two or three hundred feet, Hector heard a scream, a woman screaming in agony, and it sounded like it came from back from the direction of his house. Hector paused his walking. He thought if there was one thing he learned tonight, it was that in his current state, he was powerless against Damien and his followers. Though a little worried if that scream was from the woman they captured for him, he sighed, feeling helpless, and continued walking. He had to get out of town. He could change at any moment, and he didn't want anyone around him when he did.

Unfortunately, he didn't get his wish. Though it was night by that time, there was still a few other pedestrians walking the streets when he begun to feel strange. He felt strong toothaches in each of his top canines, and in a matter of seconds he could feel two pointy fangs protrude from his upper lip and touching his bottom lip. His eyes also ached, but he didn't know what that meant. He then felt a horrible change in his mind. He felt as though he was gradually losing his civil state of mind, and it was becoming more animalistic, more instinctual. At the same time, he felt a slowly growing hunger, and an instinct to satisfy it. Still walking through the town, he glanced at the other pedestrians as he went, but now his newly growing animalistic instincts were giving him increasingly strong urges to spontaneously attack them and drain them of what he craved, what his new instincts were telling him would satisfy his new strange hunger.

Hector knew what was happening to him, and he didn't want to give in to the hunger and the instincts. He knew he had to get out of town as soon as possible, for he didn't know how long he could ignore the hunger, and he didn't want anyone around for when he eventually lost control.

About an hour later, he sat on the large rock on top of the hill outside of town. The town sat in the valley of the hill, on his right side. To his left was a forest of deciduous and evergreen trees. He heard a mourning dove coo, and the occasional owl hoot, but his focus was on the little silver ring lying in the palm of his hand.

Can I really do it, Anna?, he thought to himself as he stared at the ring, Can I really control my blood-thirst?

Just then he heard footsteps coming up the hill. One set was light, and the others were heavy, and multiple. Closing his hand with the ring in it, he turned his head to the right, and saw someone coming straight for him, and they had two brown and white horses with them. Hector recognized the person as the woman whom Marcus, under Damien's orders, captured. Seeing her free puzzled Hector, but there was a bit of worry for her and himself, as he felt very hungry by this time- he hadn't fed yet. He felt his instincts pull harder on him, and an animalistic urge started to quickly grow.

"You," he mumbled. "What are you doing here?"

"Hector?" she asked inquiringly, as if she was testing out his name, and his reaction would confirm whether or not that was his name. She slowed her walk, and stopped about six feet away from him. He could now see a small pouch she was wearing on a thin strap around her torso. "You are Hector, correct?"

"Yes. I see you know who I am, but do you not know what I am? If you knew what I was, you would be very foolish to try to find me."

"My name is Cassidy. Well, Cassandra, but I prefer to be called Cassidy by my friends, and yes, I have some idea of what you are."

"Then why have you come to find me, Cassidy, if you had some idea of what I am?" Hector asked, with a bit of frustration in his voice. His hunger was growing more powerful by the minute. Why would this woman willingly approach him if she knew about the potential danger?

"They may have blinded me, but they didn't cover my ears," she hinted with a smile, and giving him a wink. Then her face changed to a more serious yet sympathetic expression.

"From what I heard, you were forced into becoming what you are, and they even went as far as taking away your old life by taking away your love."

Hector's heart started aching, and he closed his eyes as it all came flooding back to him again. First this woman foolishly approaches a vampire, and now she makes him remember the tragedy of Anna's death that occurred only a little over an hour ago? Hector's eyes started stinging as he thought of Anna, and he felt something stir in the bottoms of his eyes.

"I'm here to thank you for sparing my life when they were ordering you to kill me," she told him in a sympathetic voice.

Hector looked up at her. She was smiling at him softly. So that's why she approached him, she must have thought she would be safe. Hector looked down again.

"Of course I did. I hadn't transformed yet. I still had a civil side…unlike now," he grumbled.

"You still do have a civil side, Hector, or else you would have attacked me by now. To prove my thanks, I've brought you these two horses for your journey. I got them from a merchant farmer that owed me, but that's another story. One is to travel with, and the other is for when you eventually can't resist your hungry urge anymore," she continued.

Hector raised his head up in sudden thought. He still doubted the amount of goodness left in him, but she may have been onto something with the horses. Let the thirst build up until he couldn't take it anymore, then he would feed on a large animal to satisfy his thirst long enough for him to start taking control of it. He could see it now. If he were to do that, he would need to tie the travel horse up somewhere, and then take the other out of all sight…

"Also, I wanted to give you this," she added. Hector snapped out of his thoughts and looked over at her. She was rummaging in the pouch with her fingers. She pulled out what appeared to be a few pieces of parchment paper folded up. She held out her hand to give the paper to him. Knowing she wouldn't want to bring herself or the horses closer to him right now, without being entirely sure how well he could control himself still, Hector stood up, put the ring in one of his shirt pockets, and walked over to her, now noticing that his eyes weren't aching anymore from when he was walking here, but the stinging had all but stopped.

"What is this?" he asked her, taking the paper from her hand. Hector could feel that his hunger had grown a little more since he walked closer to her.

"Pages from my journal, about what I overheard after you walked out. I want you to keep it. It's another way I wanted to thank you."

Hector felt a slight decline in his hunger just as he was suddenly curious to find out what she knew. He looked at her with an inquiring look.

"What did you hear?" he asked her.

"I heard someone, I think his name is Damien, say that they're gonna keep an eye on you to see how well you survive on your own, because you were taking longer to turn than the rest. They are concerned that this means you are stronger than they thought."

"They probably see it as a threat if I have the strength to rebel against conforming to their ways. They also probably believe that if I have that kind of strength and freethinking, I can get back at them for what they've done to me," Hector thought out loud, closing his eyes briefly.

"I believe it, too," she replied shyly.

Hector looked at her again, and felt his hunger decline a little more. Although he still thought she was foolish to seek out a vampire with a growing hunger, he found that he appreciated her kindness. The thought of being cared about, and caring in return declined his hunger a little more. He smiled slightly, tucked the journal paper into his other shirt pocket, and took a few steps the rest of the way to her, opening his arms. She in turn stretched out her arms while stepping toward him. Hector wrapped his arms around her middle and leaned his head over her left shoulder and closing his eyes, while she wrapped her arms around his shoulders, and rested her hands on the back of his shoulders. The embrace of their hug gave Hector- in addition to a happiness that comes from knowing someone cares about you and has faith in you- a strange feeling of possessing the power to protect people. He felt the sting again in his eyes, which quickly changed to wateriness, and he felt a teardrop escape an eye and slide down his cheek, and off his chin.

"Thank you," he whispered. He opened his eyes again, and found himself unable to resist looking at her shoulder, then neck. For that moment, all sense and logic seemed to be gone from the world. His eyes ached a tiny bit.

"There's something else, too, Hector," Cassidy started. Hector snapped back into being aware of his surroundings as his curiosity was rekindled. He lifted his head up to look her in the face.

"After they talked about you, Damien said something about discovering a power, and he tested it on me. That was the most painful experience I've ever had in my life. It felt like I was being electrocuted on the inside. He said that he was going to mold it for his own purposes of manipulation," she said.

Hector's eyes started to ache noticeably bad now. He felt a kind of anger towards Damien. He let his eyes wonder, and an instinct made him to look straight at Cassidy's neck again. All logic and sense seemed gone again, and the concepts of control and civilized were suddenly blurry to him as he stared at her neck. His hunger rapidly grew again, as did a strong urge to satisfy that hunger, and he knew his new instinct would act out how to do that.

"So…tempting…" he murmured to himself. He saw Cassidy shift her eyes to look at his. She seemed to have recognized the potential danger, for her eyes widened a little, and she took her arms off of him, but it was too late for her...Hector shifted his own arms to lay his hands around her shoulders to hold her in place, and raised his upper lip to uncover his fangs. He felt like he was ready to strike any second.

To Hector's surprise, Cassidy didn't try to pull away and run for her life, but instead placed her hands on each side of his head, with her thumbs touching his cheeks. His animalistic feelings declined some upon her touch.

"Listen to me, Hector," she told him firmly. He still stared at her neck, but his hunger and instincts were subsided enough where he was mildly interested in what she was telling him.

"Look into my eyes," she beckoned. Hector let his eyes, the aching of which was starting to slightly subside, wonder over to her own olive green irises. His hunger subsided a little bit more.

"Listen, Hector, you and I both know you don't really want to attack me. You have the inner strength to control your blood-thirst. I believe that, and I know Anna believed it too," she beseeched him.

Hector felt his hunger subside more, and his eyes stopped aching at the mention of Anna's name. Hector closed his upper lip back down over his fangs, and, taking his hands off Cassidy, turned around and walked some steps back toward the rock, letting himself fill up with grief over Anna, and shame for what he almost did.

"You should leave now, before I can't restrain myself anymore," he grumbled.

"Indeed, but don't forget what I've said, and the good parts about tonight will not have been wasted," she replied sweetly. Hector heard her footsteps turn around, and then her voice came.

"Take care, my friend."

Hector heard her footsteps continue back towards town, and they slowly became fainter and fainter until he could no longer hear them. Hector turned around and walked over to the horses. He stopped at the side of one of them, put his foot in the saddle stirrup at that side, and lifted himself onto the saddle, putting his other foot in the other stirrup. He leaned over to grab the reign for the other horse, and tied the reign to the stump of his saddle. He grabbed the reigns of the horse he was on, and slightly cracked it to direct the horse to start walking forward.

While the horse started walking, with the other walking beside it, Hector reached into his shirt pockets with a free hand and pulled out the ring and folded up journal pages, and stared down on them. One came from someone who was the source of his strength until tonight, and the other came from someone who wasn't afraid to show compassion and kindness to a vampire.

With these symbols of inner strength and compassion and kindness, he thought as he stared at them, I will always have reasons to overcome the blood-thirst to the point when I have mastered absolute self-control. I must not let Anna or Cassidy down.

Determined to keep his vow to never become a dark vampire that lives to kill humans, whether for survival or sheer sport, Hector put the ring and journal pages back into his shirt pocket so he will have his symbols handy to remind him of his vow. As the horses walked on into the forest, Hector found himself randomly wondering where that tear he shed had gone. He concluded that it must have fallen onto Cassidy, and speaking of eyes, he also noticed that now his didn't ache in the least.

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In the following years, Hector used his symbols to remind him of his vow to help him control his blood-thirst. He eventually settled in an abandoned house in another town hundreds of miles away from his home town. Damien and his followers kept their promise and made regular visits to check on how well he's surviving on his own, as well as trying to break his spirits back down to try to make him recognize Damien as the leader of the five of them. However, it was on one such visit that Hector learned about why exactly he was chosen as the fifth. Each of the five "vampire lords" had their own individual taste bud type that went with their inner personality. The one deemed the weakest to the first four was the last one to be claimed, and Hector was chosen to take it on. Since then, Hector has recognized the power of his taste bud type to be the key to his self-control mastery, and his symbols were his willpower to use it to keep his moral conscience. Over time, after learning self-control, he met a young newly-turned werewolf, and they've been friends since. They say Hector taught the young werewolf how to master self-control. They also say that to this day, Hector lives in the abandoned house, recently rumored to be haunted or cursed, with his werewolf friend and his own clan of vampires, turned from people curious enough to enter his house. Whatever may be true, once you enter said abandoned house, you never come out the same.

Epilogue

Victoria, a woman about thirty with black hair, closed the old journal that had become a family heirloom since her great-grandmother Cassandra's time. No wonder about great-grandma Cassandra's reputation for having a few screws loose, Victoria thought. She honestly believed vampires exist? And what's this nonsense about vampire eyes changing color to reddish orange amber when they get upset or become tempted to attack someone? And whoever heard of being electrocuted without coming into contact with anything electric?

Despite this, Victoria had always wondered what was on the missing pages that had been torn out of the journal, from the vampire entry way back in 1891. She all of a sudden wanted to suspect those missing pages might be able to tell her something about the abandoned house rumored to be haunted, but Victoria concluded that there was only one way to find out.

First version completed about 10:11 pm, Tuesday, September 1, 2009.