by Magus Andros
An encounter in the night
|”I am Dracula… And I bid you welcome to my home…”
I sit in the late-night movie show of the Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I am almost the only one. The movie itself is very artistic and well done, but something is still missing. Many times, over the years I have pondered if Mr. Stoker really had an inkling of the things he wrote about. I immerse myself to the movie again, just to be shaken out from my reverie by a teenage couple immersing themselves into each other’s mouths. I frown, and purse my lips, feeling annoyed. There is time and place for that behaviour, and if you want to do it in the movies, get seats from back of the auditorium, not in front. But teens are teens, as they always have been, let's not blame them for acting their age.
Towards the end of the movie, my attention becomes fixated to a woman, in her early thirties I’d say, who sits by herself on the first rows of the auditorium. I can see moisture on her cheeks, which lead me to suspect that she has been crying. She seems really to feel the movie, and this fact interests me so much that I decide to get acquainted with her after the movie.
And at last Annie Lennox’s voice fills the auditorium and the end credits fill the screen, scrolling from down upwards. She stands up, and I follow. I can see, when the lights come on, that she is dressed up modestly, but still has certain amount of class that comes with years of experience, and money. She is also very slender, some might say too thin, but extremely beautiful. Her whole being, as she walks out from the auditorium reminds me of the angel depictions of the old masters. This makes me more interested in her with every second passing, as I like to think myself as aesthetician. My fervent wish is that there is also beauty inside her brains, that her beauty is more than skin deep.
I catch up with her in the brightly lit lobby of the movie theatre.
“Miss…”, I start, quite clumsily.
I have never been excellent when it comes to talking to complete strangers. Not even with all the years of experience that I have had with the subject. But that single word is enough. She stops and turns around. I gaze into her brown eyes, and can see no suspicion, only unvoiced questions. And confidence.
“Yes? May I help you?”
“I am sorry to disturb you, Miss”, I start again, smiling, “But I couldn’t help but see how affected you were with the movie just now. I can truly appreciate that kind of reaction.”
She smiles, and that smile reaches her eyes.
“I have seen a lot, and the movie reminded me vividly about some of those things.”
Her voice is soft. Not sexy soft, but soft like she was reminiscing about something with some close friend or a relative. I must look surprised, as she continues:
“I spend my time with volunteer work with those living in poverty and on the streets. That means that I spend most of my time on the streets with them.”
A volunteer. Most likely with the Church. I can’t believe my luck. Quickly my gaze goes to her neck. I can’t see any crosses or any other religious symbols. I can’t even see a necklace hanging there.
“Are you with the Church, then?”
She shakes her head.
“No, I am there completely on my own accord. I don’t believe that I should be aiding the people in need with one hand, and at the same time preach to them about the importance of believing on something, just to make their life have meaning. I assist them as a human being and hope that my actions are enough to shed some light into their lives.”
Her words touch something in me. Usually the people I have met, especially those who help people on the streets, are devout believers. The same people who assist people and tell them that it’s their own sins and demons that brought them to the streets in the first place. But not her, not this woman.
“By the way, my name is Martin Beck.”
“Susan Ranch, it is good to meet you, Mr. Beck.”
Both of us smile. We continue to chat for a moment longer, before she needs to go. I offer to escort her back to her apartment, but cordially she declines. She tells me that the movie made a deeper impact on her than she thought and needs to give it a bit more thought before she is ready to bed.
This forces me to shadow her, instead of walking with her. As soon as she is out, I follow her, and blend into shadows better than any detective could. Some could say it’s almost supernatural. She, Susan, keeps on walking through the silent streets, using alleys as shortcuts, walking with confidence though the areas that the tourist guides tell to avoid after sundown. It seems to me that she isn’t afraid of the night, or anything that lurks in the abandoned alleyways, it’s like they belong to her. Maybe it is the confidence of her work shining through, or maybe it is an instinctive survival mechanism that everyone living in the Manhattan needs to have.
Finally, she enters a dimly lit lobby of an expensive looking apartment building, and before the door manages to close, I slip in behind her. Standing at a shadow of a marble column, I spy her greeting a young guard behind his table, and entering an elevator, that takes her to the 24th floor, which might have good views, but at the same time offers privacy and detachment from the mundane life at the street level.
I turn my attention to the young guard. He looks almost too young to be working, except perhaps of the wispy goatee. Currently he is concentrating on some comic book, whilst listening to music on one earphone. I let him see me, when I step out from an open elevator.
“Oh man, you almost gave me a fright”, he says, smiling.
“I didn’t hear the elevator arrive.”
“Well, one has to make sure to keep quiet during the night so that the sleepers won’t be awakened”, I reply, smiling.
I step up to his desk and strike a chat. Soon the topic turns to Susan, and the young guard tells me what he knows about her. She keeps mostly to herself, sometimes popping down for a chat.
“She is loaded”, he says, “but no one really knows where the money comes from. Perhaps it is an inheritance.”
The guard’s name is Peter, it is shown in the name tag that he wears. And he keeps staring at me.
“Peter, it is usually considered rude to stare at people.”
He blushes profusely and lowers his eyes to his hands.
“It is ok to look at the person whom you are talking to, Peter”, I continue, reaching to his chin with my hand and lifting it up.
“Looking at one another when talking makes me feel like the other person is interested, and listening to what I say”, I continue, smiling.
He is about to say something when I lean forward and kiss him on his young lips. I can feel his facial muscles tensing. I withdraw back to my side of the desk. His face betrays his emotions. There is fear, lust, horror, happiness, guilt, and pleasure. He stands up from his chair, keeping his eyes on mine. Slowly he comes out from behind his table, never breaking his gaze with mine. He is like hypnotised by my eyes. Maybe he is. I have been told that I have magnetic eyes. When he is in front of me, I grab his shirt, and pull him to me. I feel his body heat when I kiss him again. This time he doesn’t resist. Instead he puts his hand around my head and takes control. I feel like he is a young stallion in heat. I let my hands caress his back, and he moves his along my spine, making me shiver. A sensation that I haven’t felt in a long, long time.
He pulls out to draw a deep breath, and I waste no time. My mouth moves to his neck, planting small kisses everywhere they can. He sighs, and I know he is mine. At this moment he wouldn’t care if his mother walked in and saw him being kissed and caressed by another man. I can feel his carotid pulse against my lips, and my fangs lengthen. As his hands go underneath my belt, squeezing my buttocks, I bite him on his carotid artery. His knees buckle as he lets out a moan, and I can taste his blood in my mouth. Young blood always tastes better, in my opinion. It is richer and seems to have more life in it.
At the same time, the elevator doors open, and Susan steps out with a coffee cup. I know that she has seen what we were doing.
I lower Peter the guard back to his chair and turn back towards Susan. She has set the coffee on a small table next to the elevator. I watch her walking to Peter to examine the small wounds still visible on his neck. Without a word, she turns to me. Her eyes show compassion, and perhaps a bit of pity. But there is a bit of steel as well.
“I am so sorry…”, she says and points one of her hands towards me like the Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars. I can feel the air growing cooler, or maybe it is the air conditioning, but I can definitely see small sparks, like fireflies, playing about her outstretched hand.
“Susan, stop”, I say, mustering my own coercive powers, trying to influence her to quit whatever it is she is doing. And I realise that my powers have no effect on her. I can see horrified Peter looking at what is happening, and I feel bad. Another emotion I haven’t felt in a long, long time. I feel almost sad that he should see this.
I turn around and make a sprint towards the front door. As I grasp the handle, I feel pain on my side. Pain that feels like a thousand little suns were burning my skin. I stagger, and the door remains closed. I look at my side and see a huge, gaping, smoking wound. The wound is still smoking from the hit. I turn around, feeling my knees giving away. I want to see Susan, and Peter, one more time before it is the end. My eyes lock with Peter’s as my consciousness slowly drains away. With the horrific pain, I almost welcome the darkness that awaits me, even though I know it is the end of my existence.
Reaching home, I don’t feel overly tired. At least not yet. The movie, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, keeps on playing in my mind. I decide to make a cup, or two, of coffee. Whilst the coffee is brewing, my mind returns to the final scenes. Scenes that promise that in the end the good triumphs over the evil, and that sun rises tomorrow, thus making life a little bit better.
But it makes me feel a bit lonely. That feeling always creeps on me after a good, and emotional movie. I turn on a playlist of new age music, and soon the soothing sounds of Enya’s music fill up the apartment. I decide to take a cup to Peter, the new night guard who took over the job after Michael, the older guard retired just few months before. We used to have good chats with Michael, he was very experienced with life with its ups and downs. That made the discussions so good and fruitful. But those discussions cannot be duplicated with Peter, at least not yet. He is a nice young man but lacks the experience and the wisdom that comes with that experience.
At last the coffee is ready, and I pour it to a cup, leaving mine still to the pot. I head to the elevators, and smile. Many of the residents in the building don’t understand this kind of kindness, as a matter of fact they think I screw around with men of all ages around Manhattan, and with Peter. And with Michael. I don’t care what they think, and I don’t care to correct them. If I did, and if they’d believe me, they would just have to come up with something else to gossip about.
When my elevator reaches the ground floor and the doors open, I see something I didn’t expect. Peter, the night guard, is hugging another man. In fact, more than hugging. But what I notice as well is that the man is obviously drinking Peter’s blood. And it is the same nice man from the movie theatre (Mike? Matt? Martin!). I place Peter’s coffee carefully on a table whilst Martin lowers Peter back to his seat, almost gently. I look at him, not hating him, as he was only eating, and eating is a prerequisite to survival. But I pity him. Had he eaten somewhere else, and on someone else than Peter, I might not have stopped him, but now I must.
Instinctively I raise my shields against his powers and lift my hand towards him. Martin tries to affect me with his beauty and coercive powers, and for a brief second, I almost give in. Just before I do, however, he turns and dashes towards the door. As his hand grabs the handle, an electric arc is released through my outstretched hand. It hits Martin on his side, causing a gaping wound. A moment later he turns to face me, but his eyes look at Peter. He knows that his time on this Earth is almost up. He turns his eyes to me.
“Maybe there is God after all…”, he says.
I know what he means. I have been called an angel many times when I work in the streets. I force myself to action and just a moment later he bursts into flames that seem to come from inside him. He doesn’t scream, he doesn’t move. He just stands there, almost peacefully, and burns to ashes.
After Martin is no more, I look at Peter. He looks horrified, and why wouldn’t he? I have just electrocuted and torched a man he was kissing with just a moment earlier. If I am right, he has no idea that he was just bitten, except for the wet mess that is clearly visible on the front of his trousers. I walk to him, and he tries to back away from me.
“Peter, you don’t have to fear me. It wasn’t me who tried to kill you, but it was that man, that vampire.”
I calm him down, and for the longest time we talk about vampires, and what happened to him. Peter is very embarrassed that he came into his trousers, but I explain to him that I know exactly how it feels when a vampire bites.
“It is a perfect orgasm, and a total rollercoaster at the same time. You don’t want it to end, but it feels so good that you want it to stop as you can’t cope with the feelings.”
Peter nods, understanding it completely.
I stand up, ready to go back upstairs. I touch his neck softly, and Peter smiles.
“It feels warm, and it tickles.”
Smiling, I remove my hand. Bitemarks are no longer visible.
“I know. That is how it should feel. Good night, Peter.”
“Good night, Miss Susan.”
“Peter, you should wash your neck, as there are still some blood stains, and we don’t want people to start to talk.”
He nods, and heads to the washroom. I go to the elevator and wait there until he comes back.
I walk to the washroom. Miss Susan is a really nice lady, even though she can be a bit scary, I think to myself. I know that she cares about me a lot, and I don’t mind it at all. She is the only one who comes downstairs sometimes, with coffee, and always willing to chat for a while. But she must be caring for everyone, but it’s ok. It’s an admirable quality in these modern times when people are so self-centred, and they care only about themselves. In these modern times when I would be happy if I had someone to go home to and snuggle up in the bed after a day at work. And here I am, working on a nightshift and almost getting murdered by something so sinister as a vampire. Not even something as mundane as a robber. But a vampire. Which, until tonight, only existed in horror movies.
But now it makes sense how the coffee that Susan always brings, stays so hot in the cup, no matter how long they chat. I saw, with my own eyes, what she did to this guy. This guy who made me cum in my pants, and who made me want him more than I have ever wanted any man in my life.
But at the same time, she can do other things as well. Maybe it was what the old night guard, Michael, meant as a healing touch.
I clean the blood droplets from my neck, thanking all the gods that my white shirt hasn’t been stained. There is no marks visible on my skin, which means I don’t have to explain anything to my parents tomorrow. Not that they would believe a word of it. I’m not sure if I do.
Walking back to my station, I see Miss Susan standing at the elevators.
“Didn’t you go yet after all?”
She shakes her head.
“Just wanted to make sure that you come back before I go, Peter.”
She looks me directly into my eyes for the longest time. It feels a bit weird, and I feel a bit dizzy suddenly. She presses a button in the elevator and the doors close. I sit down, and the dizziness starts to abate. I wonder what that was about, maybe the night shifts are taking a toll on me.
It is always nice to see Miss Susan and it is very kind of her to bring coffee to me and have a chat. Like tonight. I look around the lobby and notice a pile of dirt near the front door. It makes me feel a bit strange for a moment, but it passes. I need to get a hoover and clean it away before morning, otherwise someone is bound to make it an issue, and I don’t need that.
Back in my apartment I switch the coffee maker off. I don’t feel like coffee anymore. Instead I walk to my bedroom and sit on my bed. A familiar feeling of accomplishment washes over me. Peter no longer remembers his encounter with a vampire, and he is safe for now unless something happens that will break his memories free. But until that happens he will only remember that we had coffee and a long chat about life. I also remember the children, I helped today, and their cheery faces.
But still I feel lonely, and powerlessness. That feeling is like a dark monster inside me, squeezing my insides, telling me that I haven’t done enough. And it comes out only at nights. That’s why I hate nights. I’m not afraid of the creatures that live in the night, but I hate the time before I can fall asleep. That time when I am alone with my thoughts.
I stand up, and walk to close the curtains, blocking the city out. They say that the righteous people sleep peacefully. Am I not righteous then, as falling asleep is very difficult for me, and my dreams are mostly nightmares? Am I not doing good work, when I see the people I help being killed at least twice a week in my nightmares? Are my actions, which I try to be good, evil? Do I do more harm? I stand there, with my hands on the curtains, for a moment, looking down to the sleeping Manhattan. And then I close the curtains and walk back to my bed in complete darkness.
I lay down and pull the duvet up, covering myself. This time, it takes only few moments before sleep overtakes me. I feel myself falling into darkness, where there is no nightmares. At least not this time. Maybe I managed to do something right today, after all…