I got a surprise when I got home.
“Heather? Why is there a man chained to the shower in the bathroom?”
“He followed me home, Master.”
My name is Soon. It wasn’t a name I’d have chosen, to be honest. In fact, I’m of the humble opinion that it’s a bloody stupid name to give a creature of the night. Which is what I am, in fact. My name is Soon, and I’m a vampire. Christ, I sound like something out of ‘Vampires Anonymous’. The name was given to me by my Sire, who has since passed away from this moral realm. Again. She was executed for biting me and turning me into a vampire (Which was very – aha – kinde of her. Sorry, vampire joke. It’s funny if you’re dead) without the expressed permission of those more important than her. She does have a name, but I won’t speak it. I don’t remember much about my life before my death, but I do remember having a thing about not speaking the name of the dead aloud. Thus my renaming, and the unnaming of my redead sire.
Currently, I’m carving a niche for myself in the realms of LA as one of the few who will deal both with the Anarch – who dislike the organised tiers of vampires – and the Camarilla – who are the organised tiers of vampires, and have the somewhat arrogant belief that so is every other Kindred (or Vampire, to you) including, and here’s the bit that really pisses the other side off – the Anarchs. I can see both sides’ point, and the point of the Sabbat (Who prefer – ironically – Anarchy) (And I’d deal with them too, if they weren’t so hell-bent on using my dead hide as wallpaper). I have, at this point, had something of a capital N Night involving Beckett – a historian/werewolf/smug-arsehole; the possible End Of All Things and an explosion that would have killed me were I not already ahead of the game on that score, and have come home to find Heather and this instance of humanity in my apartment.
Oh, Heather, Right.
Heather is a ghoul. She accidentally came between a man with a shotgun and where he wanted to be sometime a couple of nights ago, and ended up dying in a room in a hospital. I was passing though on my way to find some blood and found her. To be honest, she looked pretty grim. There was something I could do, though…
Vampire blood is sovereign specific to humans. It cures everything from a sore throat to the more mild forms of death, and will have you up and running within an hour or two. Not only does it cure you, but you get some of our strength and ability to resist things like gunshots. It’s rich, tasty and comes on tap from your friendly neighbourhood vampire.
On the downside, you become a willing slave of the kindred whose blood you drink, willing – and determined – to do anything in your now considerable power to make your master or mistress’ life a more pleasurable one. In my case, this means someone who can do things while it’s daylight, mostly. I don’t need a ghoul, and really find the happy-dog-good-dog attitude faintly embarrassing. But she would die if I kicked her out – not that she’d go – because she needs to drink from me every so often and will do forever. Which means its a constant reminder of what you’ve done. And then when they try to please you…
“He followed me home, Master”
Which is somewhat easy to believe. Heather is somebody I would have considered cute while I was alive – the dead don’t feel such things without strong medication – and doesn’t look like she could – for example – kick you clean over a high wall. The idea of this brick-shit-house of a man following her down the dark alley where we make our home is not one I find surprising.
“And I thought you might be hungry”
And this puts me into something of a quandary. I can’t kill innocents. That is, I can, obviously. It’s not as if it’s harder to pierce the neck of an innocent and drain the sweet wine from their veins than someone who is trying to kill you, to the contrary most of the time. This is a moral thing. I don’t want to get into the habit of draining the guiltless, because that’s one step on the journey to losing all trace of humanity. There are vampires who lose the civilised edge, who roam the streets slicing, dicing and feeding on whomsoever gets in the way. I know. I’ve been sent – by both sides – to kill them. They are beasts, and they are hunted like them.
On the other, and possibly more relevant hand, I probably can’t let him go. He’ll call the police, and at the very least Heather will be locked away and will die (as I can’t feed her in prison. What would I do? Send her a cake with a bag of blood inside?), and at the most I’ll have to kill some policemen. In both cases, mortals will be wandering around telling people how they saw people who were talking about sucking blood, chained them to a radiator, whatever. This is the Masquerade, the diplomatic fiction that vampires don’t exist, which persists so that vampires can exist without being hunted down by the 100,000 people each that the mortals outnumber us by. Letting him go would break the masquerade, killing him would break me.
I know I should talk to Heather for putting me in this spot, but you can’t really chastise a ghoul without shattering their fragile little existence, so I don’t. But what do I do? I can’t let him go.
Of course, the fact that he was planning to mug, possibly rape and murder, Heather doesn’t spell him out as an innocent, but the possibility remains that today was the first day he got back from work, maybe as an investment banker, and said “Dash it all, this stable income is far to much for me, I long for a more perilous career! I know, I shall become a mugger!”. He could be an innocent.
Fuck it. I drain him. I’m an undead monster, after all.