Suggested Audio Jukebox:
 Massive Attack “Teardrop (Instrumental)”
 Morcheeba “Blood Like Lemonade”
Nice jugular, mind if I bite it? Forgive me, I’m jumping the gun aren’t I? Please take a seat, make yourself comfortable, and I shall keep my hands to myself for the time being. It’s just that I get all overcome each time I can smell that delicious life essence of yours and I’m so dreadfully thirsty right now. Had I known about the hunger in advance of pledging my eternal allegiance to this particular cause, then I may not have been quite so quick to offer up my bulging arteries. However, the allure was just too great to pass up, especially since both knees began to give out on me. Sooner or later it is inevitable that we will grow old and, one by one, our faculties will vacate us. Indeed, a number of mine were already on the way out, when a rather delightful young Fräulein made me an offer that I was in no position whatsoever to refuse. Of course, she didn’t just blurt it out during our initial introduction, and there seemed nothing untoward about letting nature run its course. We hit it off instantly and, within minutes, felt completely at ease in one another’s company. I knew there was something special about her but couldn’t put my finger on what exactly. So I followed my gut and allowed things to blossom further.
And they did. There was something about her gaze that seduced my very bones, a warmth that I had never before discerned, and a longing which was fully reciprocated. I began to pine for her embrace instantaneously and it took all the strength in my possession just to draw things out for a solitary moment further than was absolutely necessary. She could have bitten me right there and then and I would have been powerless to resist but instead she just continued to stare deep into my soul and I did likewise. Suddenly the years rolled back, centuries even, and I basked in the timeless glow of a soul that had evidently been on many adventures long before I had commenced my own. I knew precious little about her other than her first name, Raven, and that felt inconsequential as her eyes told their tale in a manner that required absolutely no vocalizing. I’d never felt so vulnerable, yet relaxed in the very same moment. My veins ached, yearned for her taste, and would willingly free up whatever she desired for the all important quench. Yet I still knew not how this was destined to play out and that just excited me all the more.
In no time, we were completely alone, and the whole world around us ground to an unforeseen halt as I plummeted headlong into a trance under her sole sovereignty. I’d always been incredibly body conscious but that wasn’t applicable here. Here I laid myself bare without so much as a moment’s hesitation and felt surprisingly at ease doing so. Needless to say, she did the very same, and I discerned only a single thing – fierce beauty. Every last one of my stinging fibers screamed her name and I became hopelessly entangled in her imperceivable gossamer as she pulled me in a little closer. Eventually our foreheads touched and the energy surge was too tremendous to ever hope of placing into words. It was only a matter of time before that first kiss and my lips parted in surrender most willing as her very lifeforce danced around them invitingly. Just as it seemed that neither of us could endure another second, she gently mouthed the words “My birth name is Raven Marie Daugherty” and I instantly imagined our burial plots side by side. Indeed, we would hold hands beneath the top soil and not let go when our mortal shells commenced their dissolution.
I had a thousand questions racing about in my mind but felt the need to pose not a solitary one of them. Instead I fell deeper and deeper under her spell, totally incapable of moving the muscles which had been pulsating just a few moments earlier. She didn’t keep me waiting immobilized for long and the kiss was every bit as exquisite as I had dared to dream. Our tongues became entwined and jostled each other playfully as our taste buds began to ignite in fiery unison on the sidelines. My airways were opened wide yet still I felt breathless, only not in a way that encouraged panic. It felt almost as though she was drawing out every last one of my sorrows and ailments, and doing so knowingly. Any worry or doubt had subsided and I was ready to hand myself over completely, cradle myself into the palms of her hands to do with me whatever she wished. Suddenly I was free to exhale as she pulled away, although only as far as was required to hone in on another area entirely and begin her descent. My head was tilted as far back as it could possibly go, jugular vein exposed invitingly, and positively double-daring her to puncture it and take her fill.
Then she did, first nuzzling my throat, feeling my pulse in her lips and dragging her teeth across my exposed skin until goosebumps emerged, then nibbling and swiftly graduating to the critical bite. Both eyes rolled into the back of my head as the sweetest pain ever felt washed over me like an apologetic wave. Each drop of blood I donated was greeted with a silent pardon, as though she knew full well of the curse that I could only see as a blessing. This continued for as long as it took for Raven to have left her interminable mark and I began to feel “the change” before her incisors had even retracted. With that, she ghosted back into the shadows, offering a parting kiss with her eyes as she did. Naturally I felt bemusement, desperation, and a yearning which soon be all too familiar. But there was also an overwhelming sense of calm and another of acceptance. Moreover, the backs on my calves no longer ached, my sinuses were clear, and each of my senses felt heightened in the extreme. I’d been a blood donor before and had never before had so much to replenish, but felt more alive than I’d ever felt previously and any light-headedness was solely on account of these once forbidden pleasures. Chances were, I would never again see Raven, stand in her court, bask in her delectable rays. But I would happily spend the remainder of eternity searching for her.
The first few days were harsh if I’m honest and the transition was far from pain-free. Those primary pangs grew steadily worse as I could only focus on my desire to feed and had no way of quenching the unthinkable thirst I had developed since our telling rendezvous. Ending a life is something I had never before entertained but it no longer felt so mean-spirited an endeavor. Basically it boiled down to supply and demand, or at least, this how I rationalized it as I prepared to slink into the same shadows that had stolen her away and locate myself a fresh subscriber. My first night on the town proved fruitless and ended up an exercise in intense frustration as I returned to my sanctuary empty-handed, having not enforced a solitary cull. There was certainly no shortage of designated donors and I seemed to have the pick of all manner of waifs and strays but felt reluctant to let my veil of virtue slip. Up until then I had led a reasonably charmed existence and managed to evade tyranny for the most part. Now that would have to change as the craving was just too global to ignore and, the weakness, far more excruciating than anything I had ever felt as a mortal. Knowing that there was no escape from this pain made the decision all the more effortless and there was no way I was about to let another opportunity pass. Not now.
Second time around everything was planned meticulously, like that very first seduction way back in my teens. This could be no simple smash and grab, I owed another the same courtesy of spiritual introduction, and would go about this persuasion in a dignified manner. The young lady I selected was in her mid-thirties but still hadn’t ever been truly kissed. The scent of her virginity was intoxicating the very moment she slid between my sights and the sadness in her eyes most revealing. As far as I was concerned, this was a gift, and the affliction side of things felt nothing at all when pitched against the immortality it came bundled with. If she had lived for thirty-five years without finding true contentment, then it felt like an act of kindness on my part, one to cure her mortal blindness. A fresh set of eyes, an eternity of second glances, and the ability to remain stationary while the whole world span breathlessly around her. How could that be anything less than a favor I was granting? Of course they’d be down sides and numerous valleys running through the peaks, but there has to be a degree of pain before we can truly welcome joy. She witnessed the rose unfurl before I revealed the thorns and shared that same tanked appreciation as I drew first on her already compromised will.
After endorsing her most fundamental whimsy, the thirst became too much to bear, and I departed her cherry red lips with the same cruel-to-be-kind intention as my own eternal life tutor. As an appetizer, I tugged at the malleable pelt of her throat and suckled on the sharp flavor of her uncontrollable desire. It was then that her vein appeared to open almost of its own accord and my incisor sank ever so delicately beneath the surface to reclaim its deep red resources. It took less than a heartbeat for the relief to rush over me and less than another for my donor to feel likewise. The worst had passed now and the feed proved to be greatly rewarding for both parties. As she dug her finger nails down my back and hooked them in at my lower spine, it was only with the purpose of driving me deeper. I accepted the challenge and carried on purging her lifeforce until such point as her grip began to slacken. It was then that the grim realization dawned. In granting her eternal life, I had banished her from any kind of continuation, bled her dry until there was nothing left with which to consolidate. It’s bad enough feeling positively wretched but considerably worse when you have an indefinite period to suffer those pangs of culpability.
Regardless of an experience that had ended up far more bitter than sweet, I was resigned to the necessity for further feedings, and not about to refuse myself the most basic of privileges on account of one misdemeanor. I found myself increasingly less fussy after that night and selected and siphoned each suitor with none of the care and consideration I had exhibited previously. It became almost work to me, just a means to an end although, by doing so, I was robbing others’ ends of their means. The choice wasn’t fated with being in their hands and perhaps I was a little frivolous with my new-found strength, but they seemed more than content to leave that decision in my hands. Granted, the seduction was way beyond their control, but free will wasn’t surrendered until that opening kiss and that made them accomplices to my bi-nightly crimes. Hanging back in the dark recesses hasn’t always been as joyful as it is downright necessary, but I have softened to their constant embrace, and know that there can and will be no other way.
The truth is, I glance from shadow to shadow with only one true objective – that being to lounge once again beneath the Raven’s glow. It is she who ensnared me, while releasing me from my rudimentary trappings, popped the cork and guzzled my mortality from within like the fine chardonnay that it was. For that I will love her forever and that is precisely how long I have to sign, seal and deliver my affection. Who would have thought that, by taking something away that had felt so precious, she was awarding me innermost gratification? It was a gift that had an eternity to keep on giving. And I shall honor this resplendent bird of prey by doing just that.