I am working furiously on “The 12th Demon” and there are vampires. Then, today’s prompt for storypraxis intrigued me so I wrote this short, short story that captures some of the flavor of the characters in “The 12th Demon”. I hope you like it!
the end of the night
“Why haven’t you ever asked to drink my blood?”
Sebastian glanced at our reflection, rather my reflection in the train window. “We are friends, Jon. I’ve never looked upon you as dinner.”
I pulled his cloak up around his shoulders. He was slumping in the train seat, his cloak rumpled, his hair askew and his features haggard. Gone were the imperious, powerful facial expressions of the vampire I had known for months now. “You look terrible, you know.”
Sebastian shrugged. “I’ve looked worse. You should have seen me during the Crusades. Kill or be killed. Drink or die. Blood everywhere. I was an unholy mess.”
I glanced at my watch. Ten minutes. “Why are you doing this?”
Sebastian turned away from the utter darkness outside the train window and his burgundy eyes were moist. He blinked and patted my hand. “It is time. There is always a time to cease; to pause; to exhale.”
“You don’t inhale.” I said.
Sebastian smiled and his fangs were visible. I glanced around at the other passengers on the train, all still and ensconced in their private worlds. Who would he have eaten? Which mortal would he have claimed?
“I could give you just a little.” I held up my wrist.
Sebastian pushed it gently away. “Do not tempt me, Jon. You are the reason I have chosen to die, you know.”
I felt my heart quicken. “Me?”
“Yes, you. Pulling me into your world of arcane investigations. Proving to me that their are monsters worse than I in this world. Showing me that the future of mankind is hopeful and you will prevail in time over the creatures of night and blood and death like me.” He turned back to the window. “How long now?”
“I never chose this lifestyle, Jon. It was thrust upon me. But, I chose every victim over the centuries. Some reluctantly. Some with glee. You have given me Choice again. I don’t have to be this way anymore.” He sat upright in his seat and turned so that his gaze was fully on me. His eyes glowed with his power. “Do you think there is a place for me in heaven? Or, will I live forever, again, with the damned in hell?”
I swallowed under the intensity of his gaze. “I cannot answer that, Sebastian. I refuse to believe you have no soul. I refuse to believe that God’s forgiveness would be denied even you. I have to believe that even Judas could have claimed forgiveness.”
He nodded and released me from his gaze. I relaxed. Never would I feel those eyes on me again. I glanced at my watch. “One minute.”
Sebastian adjusted his cloak and his ascot. He ran a hand through his dark hair and like magic, it was straight and full. He was suddenly himself, his powerful vampire mastery filling the air with electricity. “So, it is morning in France?”
“Yes, we will be out of the Chunnel any moment now.”
Sebastian reached over and turned up his palm. “I have prayed to your God, Jon. I seek His forgiveness. We shall see if He will take me in this new morning at the end of the night. Tell Lydia she has chosen a good man in you. Will you hold my hand?”
I took his cold, frigid hand in mine and he turned his gaze fully on me. Light glimmered out the window for a second and with a lurch, the train passed out of the tunnel into the countryside of France. Sunlight gushed in through the window and fell upon Sebastian’s shoulders. He closed his eyes and waited.
Nothing happened. No fire. No ash. No explosion of flesh. His cheeks flared with crimson and his hand suddenly grew warm in mine. I gasped and released it. He opened his eyes. They were bright blue. His mouth fell open and my eyes grew wide. His fangs were gone. He turned and looked out the window and the morning sun fell full on his face. He looked through his own reflection and smiled.