I suppose it’s an understandable mistake but I’m still offended at their lack of basic knowledge. True, the peasants find me in an undead cavern, covered in blood and carrying a corpse but that doesn’t prove I’m a vampire. I could be an innocent victim. After all, the liquid substance dripping from my mouth is the result of a bitten lip. And the blood staining my flesh comes not from Alexis’ dead body but from the shallow slashes across my arm.
The ones I used to summon the demons.
So I’m not an innocent victim.
But that doesn’t make me an undead monster. I’m still alive— though from the talk around me that state could be temporary—with the ability to breathe and eat and lift my face to the sun without burning. None of which I’ll be able to do if I’m a vampire.
Don’t they know anything?
It bothers me, this lack of spiritual understanding. I’ve paid Adam’s price for the knowledge of good and evil and ignorance disturbs me. To tell the truth—something I do far more often than is good for me—it breaks my heart to see these peasants ignore facts that could damn them. Surely, in a world where holy water heals the sick and burns the ungodly, they could learn discernment. Unlike me they don’t need to end up in the abyss.
But if these peasants are going to chain up vampires they do need some lessons in magical metallurgy. It’s silver for monsters, cold iron for the fey, and crosses for the damned. The silver fetters they place on me—do they think I’m a werewolf as well?—can be shattered with a thought. It’s only the crosses carved into the metal by some more discerning priest that makes them unbreakable. Makes them damned uncomfortable too, till I manage to shift the links away from naked flesh. Damned being the operative word, though I’m grateful they’ve only marked one side of the chain.
And I’m used to pain.
It had been Dad’s favourite teaching method. Pain and blood—mine, others, he didn’t care as long as I did what he wanted—and the screams that never ended. Not until I agreed to learn sorcery. It’s over three hundred years now but I still remember the first time I dragged a knife across my flesh to summon hell. Blood dripping slowly as demons came to feed; green and gold and crimson with my blood; claws and teeth ripping at my skin. It wasn’t as painful as what had come before but it damned me nonetheless. Damned me as surely as pointed fangs and a need for blood damn the undead.
Crosses burn the damned.
This proves very popular with the peasants.
Follow this link to read 'A Good Man' in the anthology 'Something in the Blood', a collection of short vampire stories including previously unpublished work by D.M. Cornish (author of 'Monster Blood Tattoo').
© Catch Tilly, 2019