Luther Sterling's journal
Dear reader, I am not sure how you have come across my journal, but if you care to know my story, look no further than the following pages. For a while I tinkered with the idea of putting my personal information into writing, but I realized that if I do not, then the history that I am a part of will die with me.
This is page 1 of my book, the beginning. So I will start from the beginning by providing a few basic details about myself.
I was born Luther Adam Sterling to Adam and Selene Sterling in 1753 Scotland. I was raised in the countryside and I believe that the first forty or so years of my life were the happiest I have ever had. My parents owned a farm and traded crops for money. There were a few fruitless seasons, but for the most part, we lived comfortably. I worked during the day and attended school at night. My life was busy, but so wholesome. I enjoyed every bit of it, even the work (farm labor is much easier when two of the three people in your household are not human). I was raised as a Christian and attended Sunday school with my friends until I was old enough for the regular service. At this point, there was nothing unordinary about my life.
At the time, being a "supernatural" race such as myself was considerably less taboo. My mother herself was a vampire, so when I was born I was not a surprise to my parents. Most of my human friends knew of my nature, and I rarely felt threatened or unsafe in public. I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but in my town there was no tolerance for any discrimination. Most people knew that the Sterlings were vampires. None of my grandparents had an issue with my parents' marriage. It was just the way things were. I was in love with life.
Assuming you are a human reading this, allow me to pause to explain a bit about the difference between humans and vampires. Contrary to popular belief, we do indeed age. The aging process simply occurs at a much slower rate than that of a human. So by the time I was 20 years old, I was still considered grade school age, and did not appear to be a "teenager" until I was about 35. There is no specific age that marks a transition to adulthood, since the aging process is a bit different for each person. I considered myself an adult when I turned 65. If your eyebrow is raised at this point, I should mention that years do pass much more quickly when each one accounts for such a small percentage of your life.
The joy lasted a good while, but began declining as I became more and more familiar with grief and loss. Many of my school friends had passed on. My father died when he was about 50 in human years. I loved my mother, but I wish that she had explained to me the difference between the life spans of my father and I. I did not understand why he had to pass when she and I had so much time ahead of us. When she finally spoke with me about it, I became guilt-stricken. I stayed that way for a while. That feeling has never truly left me.
My happiness came to a halt in 1823 when my mother was murdered in town on her way to Sunday service. I had stayed home that day, having been horribly ill with what I now assume were seasonal allergies (which are especially rough when your house is surrounded by nature). I found out what had happened when Owen, the silversmith, came pounding on my door telling me I had to flee town. Being a shapeshifter himself (side note: think your modern "werewolf", but Owen in particular was part bear), he knew that we were both in danger, so we left together that night. I do not know what became of the house and farm I had grown up in so happily.
I will not document the rest of my life in great detail, as that is not important. I stayed with Owen for a few decades and he became like a father to me. I loved him and admired him greatly. We moved often, and I lived in a new country every 10 years. I moved to the United States as the Civil War was ending (side note: I was in the theater when President Lincoln was shot. That was the first and last play I ever attended.). Owen went missing while we were on the run in England. I simply turned around and he was gone. I never saw him again, and I know deep down that he was killed.
I've been hunted by dozens of people since then. Some of them are human supremacists, while others need me for "trap and release" research like the way you treat stray animals. I hope that I can stay here in Boston for some time, as all this traveling is catching up to me.
I met James Geary about a decade ago on a train to New Haven, Connecticut. He sat across from me and spent much of the ride staring at me and writing in a notebook that he concealed with his arm. I remember exactly how our conversation went during a stop somewhere in the middle of Connecticut:
"I'm going to get some water. Would you like some?" Geary had asked.
"No thanks," I said. I immediately was suspicious. He knew I didn't drink water.
"Are you sure?" he asked. "It's hot out there. Let me bring you a glass."
He came back a few minutes later with a cup of water for me. I stared out the window to distract myself and took a sip.
The taste was so horrific that I could not resist expressing it. I coughed and set the glass down, using my sleeve to wipe the rest of the disgusting liquid from my lips.
"Is something wrong?" Geary asked. The corner of his mouth started to go up.
"Not at all," I said, "It just went down the wrong way." I coughed again and patted my chest to make a point.
Geary leaned in. I can still hear his voice to this day.
"I know what you are, Luther Sterling. I'm going to get off at this rest stop and I'm not coming back to this train. If you choose to come with me, the rest of your life will be a whole lot easier. If you choose to stay here and continue running, well… you'll realize your mistake soon enough."
He got up and left. I stayed on the train. The second I got to New Haven, I bought a ticket to Boston and that's how I ended up here. I will probably go to New York next. I've grown to like Boston a lot, but I know that Geary is here and I cannot stay for long.
Geary has explained his motives to me many times, as he communicates with me via email (do not ask how he got a hold of my email address), but I feel as if something's missing. His last email to me read:
I know you have been sought by other people like me before. There is no other explanation for how often you change cities. I want to explain myself once more and make this as clear as possible: I do not think that you are evil, or trying to destroy humanity, or anything similar. I believe that supernatural beings are simply too dangerous for this society and this world, and their hazardous nature is out of their control. You cannot help being a threat to people, and I do not blame you for it, but that does not change what you are.
I always wanted to believe that supernatural beings—vampires in particular—were good for this world. My experiences with them kept that from happening. You and I both know that there are only a few of you left. Vampires, even more so than shapeshifters and spirits and firebirds and whatever else roams this wretched planet, disrupt the natural balance of the Earth's ecosystem. My research backs up this claim. Once I find you I can explain more about that.
Being the moral person that I am, I don't plan to do anything rash once you are in my custody. I am searching for ways to genetically change vampires and eliminate your need for blood. I could find a way to boost your body's natural production of blood cells and alter your thirst for something like, oh, I don't know, water. You'd be doing your people a great service by meeting with me at the Starbucks down the block from your apartment building tomorrow morning at 10.
Good day to you.
Transcript of a phone conversation between Luther Sterling and Keegan Stroud
October 31, 3:02 P.M.
Stroud? It's Luther.
"Huh. Hadn't heard from you for a few weeks so I figured you were dead. What can I do for you? And where the hell are you calling from?"
This is my cell phone. I always block the number. How long have you known me for?
"Just tell me what you need."
I… I made a really terrible mistake.
"The hell did you do?"
I... oh God. I drank. From him.
I told him everything. I'm leaving here in two days. He'll call when he's ready to come to you.
"He knows everything?"
Everything. Even my middle name. I gave him my journal.
"Doesn't change what you did. That's on you."
I feel badly, but it was the only way to prove—
"There's always another way, Luther. You're just an impulsive fuck."
Oh, I'm impulsive? How many packs did you smoke today?
"Two, so far. Aiming for three."
You're so lucky that it doesn't hurt you.
"I'm not lucky, I'm smart."
Whatever. I just wanted to let you know that Alex will need a cab in two days just before sunrise.
"Alex? You're on a nickname basis now?"
That isn't the point. Who are you sending to drive him?
"I'll send Zari."
What? Can Zari even drive?
"Of course he can. Come on, it'll be fun. It'll freak your boy out a little."
Just… fine, whatever. Thanks, I guess. Is Isla there?
"She's working. I'll tell her you called, if I feel like it."
You know the only reason she probably picked up a job was to get away from you, right?
"And that affects me how? Actually, don't answer that. I don't have time for this. I'll send the cab. Make sure he's waiting outside."
He will be. Thank you for your help, really. This should all be over soon. Hopefully my departure will take Geary's eyes off Alex. I don't know what Geary is fully capable of and because Alex is a human he may just want him dead.
"He'll be safe with us. I need to lay down and get rid of this headache. Goodbye."
"Oh, I almost forgot. Happy Halloween, you fanged freak."
I don't have fangs.
"You're still a freak. Take care of yourself."
Thanks, I guess. Bye.
Note written by Isla Woods for Azariah "Zari" DeLeon
October 31, 4:09 P.M.
Not sure where you are right now, but I want you to know what's going on. You could be standing behind me at the moment so maybe this is pointless, but it will be cathartic to put it in writing.
Keegan just got off the phone with Luther. He told Luther I was at work. I'm afraid that I will never get to talk to Luther again because he will be leaving New York in a few days. I don't know what to do, Zari. I don't want to lose him. I feel like we could have had something so great and all of it is ruined because of Geary and these other people who want us all dead. I need your advice. Please possess Keegan or something so that I can speak to you. You're the only light I have during these times and our friendship is precious to me. I don't want Luther to die, and I'm afraid for all of us.
Luther Sterling's journal
November 1, 3:46 A.M.
Alex knows what he needs to do tomorrow, so my work here in New York is officially done. Sometimes I wonder if any of this needed to happen in the first place, but then I remind myself that I am not the only one on Geary's radar.
I am starting to think that I may miss Alex a bit. He has been good to me in a way that no human ever has. He never hated me because of my nature. In fact, he hated me before he found out who I am. I commend him for that.
Tonight was a little, I suppose, "bittersweet". Alex invited Nola over and we had a discussion about what will happen in the coming days. My urge to drown Nola in a lake is now gone. I guess that has something to do with the fact that my origins are no longer a mystery to Alex.
She came over at about 9 looking a little too dressed-up for a visit to her boyfriend's 2-bedroom apartment. Her lipstick was electric purple and faded inwards to white. I cannot fathom how she got it to look that way. Makeup is wizardry.
We didn't do anything too wild. Alex ordered from the place he works and we ate over a few board games, to my request. I beat Alex twice at chess and once at backgammon. I made $30, which is nice considering I had nothing before.
I still have not figured out where I am going. If I was a man of my word, I would go to Charleston, but since I have spoken it aloud I do not want to go through with that. I've heard that New Hampshire is nice, but it is much too close to New York City. I should write a note to leave for Alex now, and then I will probably leave.
I will not lie—I'm worried about Geary. I pray that he doesn't do anything irrational and that he doesn't go after Alex or any of his friends. Geary may seem like a professional man but his mind has been slowly leaving him for years. I don't know how many accomplices he has. This could be a bad situation for Alex, Nola, and maybe even Keegan, but there is truthfully nothing I can do about it at this point.
I hope that I do not misplace this journal during the commute to wherever is next, mostly because I get bored without it. If I left it here it could also fall into the wrong hands, which wouldn't end well.
I'm going to say goodbye to Penny and then I'm leaving.
Until next time.
Note written by Luther Sterling for Alexander Rosewood
November 1, 4:01 A.M.
I am sorry that I could not stay another day to help you out. I would also say that I am sorry for entangling you in this whole mess, but at this point it isn't worth it. What's done is done. That being said, I would like to thank you for all you have done for me. Had it not been for you I wouldn't be sitting here writing this letter, so thank you. I am still not sure why you chose to help me, and I won't linger on the question any longer because I don't think you know the answer either.
Let me explain as much as I can so that you don't go asking absurd questions:
Keegan Stroud. He's the one who runs the hostel. In reality, it's less of a hostel and more of a safe haven. Everyone there is like me. Well, not exactly like me, but none of them are human. Do not, please, do not ask Keegan about his race or his past. Let me explain. After you finish this letter, please remember to dispose of it properly. I'll give you instructions at the end.
Keegan is part of a group known as firebirds. Think of that Phoenix thing that appears in human legend sometimes, except a little different. Firebirds are pretty much regular mortals, except if they die, they are reborn into a different body. The only way to kill one is to destroy it while it's in spirit form, which is far from an easy task. So basically, Keegan has seen and experienced a lot in his life. He isn't that old, at least not compared to me (I turn 264 in the middle of December), but he's been through quite a bit. And before you ask him, yes, he has been reborn, but only once. It is not an enjoyable experience. So don't mention it to him. Ever.
Isla is a nature nymph who has been my dear friend for many years. You will know her right away, as she is beautiful and her presence in the room is simply elegant. She is easygoing but can be a little patronizing to humans, so be patient with her. I don't think she would mind you asking about her nymph-ness, but I'll tell you a little bit about her anyway. Her spirit element is earth so she has some abilities related to nature. Like most nymphs, she is also artistic. She plays the harp. There is nothing grotesque or depressing about her as there is with me and Keegan, so you will probably find her to be a good friend.
There are a few other people, but the last one I will mention is Zari. He is coming to pick you up tomorrow. Zari is a night spirit. The only reason he has "powers" is because, like I said, he's a spirit. He doesn't have a body. You can talk to him but you're not going to hear anything back. Zari is pretty respectful of everyone but if he has something important to say he may temporarily possess you in order to say it. Since you're new he'll probably leave you alone. Keegan thought it would be funny to let you see the car for the first time tomorrow and think it's driverless, but I didn't think it was amusing so I spoiled the surprise. Sorry.
If you have any issues or need to vent, I'd go to Zari, if you can find him. He stays out of conflict and is good at lightening the mood. Which is sort of ironic, I suppose, since he is a spirit of darkness.
Anyway, I'm off now. Thank you again for everything. Be slow to trust anyone I haven't mentioned in this letter, and be vigilant. I will contact Keegan as soon as I can to start planning Geary's demise. The goal is to eliminate him before he eliminates me (and then the rest of the vampires).
Be ready tomorrow. Remember, you started this.
(P.S. Follow these instructions exactly. Take this note and cross out everything that is written. Don't skip this step, please, because I know you are thinking about doing that. Obliterate all the words as best as you can, especially the more sensitive information. Then burn the paper to ashes. Take the ashes and flush them down the toilet.)