(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Christian was written by Jennifer Sharp.)
Christian quietly entered the safe house he had scoped out specifically for this meeting. He’d been watching it all day and not one human officer or soldier had been in the area for quite some time, so he relaxed ever so slightly as he looked around the small abandoned home. His mind wandered to the “guest” he had arriving. What did she really want? He couldn’t imagine this interview would lead anywhere good, but what did he have to lose? Sighing, he reflexively looked through the cabinets of the house. Everything still seemed to be here. He decided to busy himself with a search for tea and a kettle while he waited.
Kelly approached the abandoned house. Perfect setting for meeting a vampire, but it really didn’t bother her. She shrugged and knocked on the door only for it to groan open on its hinges. “Hello?” She called out–not really interested in entering without being welcome first. “Christian de Luca?”
Christian was at the door in a flash, slowly opening it and peeking out. “It’s, Kelly, am I correct?” He looked her over, his eyes shining bright in the sun. He stepped back a moment later and opened the door further. “Please. Come in.”
She smiled. “Yes, I’m Kelly. Fantastic to meet you.” She stepped into the house. “I know you’re a vampire, but I noticed you didn’t burn when the sun touched you just now. Does the sun not affect the vampires here? Or is it come kind of magic?” She asked sincerely curious as she glimpsed around this humble abode then back at him with a kind smile.
Christian shut the door behind her and chuckled at her question. Turning to face her, he crossed his arms and let her finish talking. “You’d be surprised how often we get asked that. As far as I can tell it’s never had an affect on us.” He paused, going to stand by the window, holding his hand out into a spot of sun. “I heard rumors of it before I was turned, then I was turned and I found it was a tactic the vampires themselves used. Tell the humans we can only come out at night. They’ll always feel safe in the sun.” He looked at her, a small smile on his face. “Genius, really.”
Kelly had to grin. “That is quite clever! I wonder who came up with that.” And she meandered a bit around the house to get a feel for it before turning back to him. “So, when did you become a vampire? How old were you?”
Christian had moved, while Kelly inspected the house, to sit in one of the dusty chairs set at a table. He watched her with calm eyes, nodding as she questioned him. “Ah, I was thirty-six. Had just recently turned so. It was 1498, Venice. I was traveling home when it happened.” He frowned a little as he recalled the night.
“I know some people choose for it to happen and seek it out, but was that the case for you?” Kelly raised her brows. She didn’t think he had sought it out–his frown told her this much, but she went to the table to sit across from him and observed him.
Christian sighed, shaking his head. “I was a very devout man. I believed in my lord and savior with all I had in me. I lived my life the way I was taught to live it. I had heard of these creatures, these damned creatures. I wanted no part in their world. However…” He paused, scratching at his chin. “I still felt they had humanity in them, maybe they could be saved? After all, did not my own bible say any who believed would be saved?” He chuckled. “Sorry, I’m rambling. No, I was attacked.”
Kelly took in all he had said, and she smiled when he apologized. “Rambling’s fine. No need to apologize! But anyway, that’s why you gave yourself the name Christian? What was your name before that?” She tilted her head to a side as she observed him.
He looked thoughtful for a moment, giving her an odd smile. “I had not even thought of it like that before.” He laughed then, loudly. “I have been around for many centuries and my self given name is just now making sense.” He laughed for a moment longer, quieting down. “I suppose you’re right. I suppose in some since, I wanted to always be reminded of where I came from. Who I once was. To never forget that side of me. How very… astute.”
Kelly chuckled. “We just started this interview. I wonder what else you’ll realize about yourself by the time we’re finished.” With a smile, she sat back in her chair. “But what was your name before your turning? And what did you do back then? Were you a painter? A preacher? Blacksmith? Or what?”
“I know! The rest will surely prove to be eyeopening I am sure.” He crossed his legs, getting more comfortable in his seat. “My name before was Nicolo. I was a spice merchant. I’d help a farmer harvest them, people would grind them down, and i’d hit the road to sell them. It wasn’t the most glamorous, but it kept food on the table and a roof over our heads.”
Kelly had to pause and then give him a curious look. “Okay, I just need to ask, aren’t vampire repealed by garlic? I can’t recall the exact myth, but…garlic is a spice, and you’re a vampire…just how exactly did that happen?”
He smiled at her then, chuckling again. “I was on my way home, I had a particularly good trip and sold most of my spices. What was left was wrapped up in a bag within a bag. The vampire was so feral, so hungry, I’m sure it wasn’t enough to have any repelling affect on him.” He gave a dark laugh, “Some might say luck was on his side that night.”
“Still, it’s very ironic.” Kelly shook her head with a smile but then took a deep breath and grew a bit more serious. “But still other than that, you were thirty-six, you said—were you married? Have your own family?” She furrowed her brows.
A dark look passed over his face as she asked her last question. “Yes. I was married with children when this happened to me.”
She softened her voice. “And then what happened?” She hated digging up painful memories, but it was important to understand him.
Christian turned his head to look at the window. “The vampire did not mean to leave me alive, as far as I can gather. He seemed to be going for the kill and was spooked when a group of travelers came out of a tavern on the road. He left me there, I turned. When I woke up I didn’t exactly remember who or where I was… Slowly it came back to me.. and I made my way back toward Venice. When I came home….I came home to a wife and children and mourning. I’d been gone much longer than I’d thought. She saw me… and I told her I had got lost, got sick, anything but the truth.” He sighed. “The truth never, ever stays hidden.”
“I’m sure she was shocked when she saw you,” Kelly said softly. “But the truth came out, didn’t it?” She watched his face, could tell this was hard for him, so she was trying to be gentle.
He closed his eyes, reflexively swallowing. “I tried so hard. I fed from animals in fields by our home. One day I was caught and they brought me to her. They told her I was evil and lying to her. That I had allowed myself to become this so that I could harm her and the children. It didn’t matter if she believed them or not, the fact was I was a monster. She couldn’t even look at me as she ordered them to take me from the house.”
“Oh that is just….heartbreaking. I’m sorry.” Kelly couldn’t imagine them taking him away like that would end well—especially for the people ordered to take him away, “And when they took you away, then what happened?”
Christian’s eyes opened and flashed a dark gold before returning to their normal blue. “Let’s just say I never made it to the destination. I ran, I ran for days until I reached my family in a town a few miles over. However, word had reached them of my death and they were not so quick to believe my lies. They saw me for what I was and they barricaded their doors.” He sighed again, rubbing a hand over his thigh.
“And I take it you’ve been on the move ever since until you found the family you’re working with?” Kelly furrowed her brows. However, she didn’t want to move to that topic just yet. She wanted to touch upon something else. “But before we discuss that, how many children did you have? What were their names? What were they like?”
Christian nodded at her initial question, relaxing and smiling when she asked about his children. “I had two. Giovanni and Marco. Both very energetic little boys with a thirst for adventure. Well, Marco liked to tell stories about adventure. He had quite the imagination. Giovanni, well, he was all about living out the adventures his brother would spin tales about.” He smiled wide, shaking his head as if remembering some distant memory.
“You’ve lived a long life. Did you ever keep tabs on them to see how they were doing and who they married and their children and such?” Kelly tilted her head to a side imagining having an individual walk up to this person in dire need and explain that he was his great-great-great-great grandfather and he was there to help then proceeds to completely eliminate the thought. That was an entertaining thought, but Kelly shook her head and focused on Christian once more.
“You know, I actually did not do that. Once I left I left for good. I left it all behind and tried my best to forgive them and forget them. It wasn’t until sometime in the 1600s I saw my wife again, only it wasn’t her. It was but wasn’t. I went to my friend… he told me of something like reincarnation. It’s them all over again, just new. But she rejected me. So I forgot again.” He sucked in a deep breath and exhaled it. “I must have been a glutton for punishment. She rejected me a couple times before I gave up completely in the late 1800s.”
“Ugh, I’m sorry. That sounds incredibly painful.” Kelly frowned as she shook her head, but then she locked eyes with Christian and furrowed her brows. “Do you miss being human?”
“It worked out in the end. Until this shit storm happened.” He smiled wide at her question. “You know, my initial reaction to that question is a resounding yes immediately followed up with a ‘wait, no!’ echoing after. I will say I miss food. It always smelled and looked so good…”
She gave him a curious look. “So you can’t even eat actual food? That’s…a bit discouraging.”
He waved his hand around as he made a small noise, “Eh, I wouldn’t say we can’t eat it. There is just no point. It sits in our stomachs and causes us to be sick. Some don’t care, they’ll just keep eating. I had that happen once and won’t go near it.”
Kelly chuckled. “But still, I mean, sure food isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but there is some really good food…and I’ll stop talking about it before I make you jealous that I can eat.” She flashed him a smirk. “Okay, so before we move on to more current day discussions, you mentioned being a Christian and your beliefs, but it all sounded in past tense. Would you saying your turning made you lose your faith? Or do you still have it?”
He tilted his head, smirking once more. “You know, no one has ever asked me that. I find faith beautiful. I will always find faith beautiful. However, I can no longer subscribe to those beliefs. My very way of living goes against the teachings I grew up with. I have to kill to live. There is no heaven for me. Only hell.”
“That’s quite unfortunately especially given your self-given name.” Kelly nodded at him but she understood and respected his stance. “Now though, I understand you came upon a family who was helping vampires or such? Could you explain to me all that and how you came across them? I’m not that well-informed about it.”
He seemed to relax the most as the topic switched to this. He leaned back comfortably in his chair and cross his arms again. “They didn’t start out that way. They’d had a friend or two be turned and had helped them out. I was in the area of Manchester they were in one day. God must be real because he smiled on me that day. I was walking near a large river when I heard a scream and a splash. A child had fallen from a rickety bridge up above me and plummeted into the water. I ended up saving that child. His parents could immediately tell what I was, and they told me they’d do anything to repay me. Including getting me papers. They were a very powerful family and I was shocked and confused at all the kindness being thrown my way.”
“And so you’ve been working with them ever since?” She raised her brows.
“More or less. At some point, I kind of kept their connections and went out on my own. They family couldn’t be expected to keep on forever. I fully took over after not long after 1950.” He paused for a moment. “Yes, I am fairly certain that’s about the time. The war was over.. so It was after that.”
“That’s right, you’ve been through quite a few wars. How does *that* work with you being a vampire. Do you enlist? Or do you just stay back?” Now Kelly was just curious of the logistics of vampires during wars.
“I myself? I do not get involved in the affairs of the power hungry. I will not fight and I urge my fellow vampires not to. This is their war, let them fight it.” He laughed a little, eyes shining. “I had a stray vampire I picked up in the mid 1800s. He’s stayed with me up to now. He actually fought in World War II. I hated every moment of it. I tried to remind him, Levi, you can die, you realise this, right?” He sighed, still smiling and shook his head. “That child. He always has and always will do as he wants.”
Kelly chuckled. “Okay you mentioned Levi, but I’ve also been given the names Olivia, Ewan—who are they to you?” She sat back to observe him as she cocked her head to a side.
A deeply fond smile spread over his face. “They’re my chosen family. Olivia and Ewan are mates. I took her in first, then later we found him. Most vampires I pick up leave after a time. Spread their wings, so to speak, and live life on their own. These three however. They stayed with me until they started their own lives, and even then, they called me all the time. I was like a father to them and they were very much like children to me.”
Kelly smiled when she heard this. “That’s wonderful. I’m glad you have a family of sorts. What are they like? Their personalities?”
Christian didn’t even hesitate to speak, sitting up a little more. “Olivia is a ball of fire. Questioning authority and speaking out for those in need since I met her. She challenges your way of thinking, always making you question or seek different answers than ones you’re told. Ewan.. he’s a quiet one. Reads a lot, thinks a lot. Can tell you how almost anything works. His brain is wired for all that. He helps tame Olivia from time to time.” Christian was becoming more animated as he spoke. ” Then Levi. Oh god, Levi. He’s short. Hilariously short, French, and easily offended. I love him so much. His story is a sad one, and so I relished in helping him and watching him grow into the vampire I knew he could be.”
“Sounds like a delightful little family you have there.” Kelly grinned at him, but then she had to furrow her brows. “But you’ve lived for a long time. Do you have any…like rival vampires? Or is the greatest threat right now humans?”
He shook his head, “Right now you’ve got both. Vampire who think we should beat down the humans and take the planet for our own, Humans that want us all dead. Of course, there are the ones in the middle that just want peace. It won’t happen right now. The humans are winning. We’re dying more and more everyday. I’m alone for the first time in so many years, and I’m not exactly sure how to handle it.”
Kelly frowned. “Where are Olivia, Ewan, and Levi?”
Christian frowned. “Olivia and Ewan have been killed. Last I heard from Levi he suspected he was being followed. I’ve not heard from him and I’m too scared to check the hospitals and jails. Even the vampire friendly ones.”
“I’m sorry about Olivia and Ewan.” Kelly sighed, and then she heard about Levi and gave Christian a small smile. “I’m tempted for you to give me his picture, so I can check places for you and report back to you, but unfortunately I won’t be sticking around here much longer. Only have a few more minutes. However…” she paused as she considered him then settled on her next question, “During the course of your long life, what would you say has been your biggest regret?”
He sat in quiet contemplation of her question for a few moments. “My biggest regret? I suppose, if I look deep down, my biggest regret would be every taking the job that turned me into this in the first place.”
“So, ultimately, you regret being a vampire?” She raised her brows.
“Maybe? I’m not sure I’m too willing to look into what that means. I’ve done a lot of good like this. But it has been hard, and long and lonely. What would I have been like had I been able to live out my life with my wife and children? To see my grandchildren.”
This made sense, so Kelly didn’t press it. Instead she touched upon another question. “And what is your greatest fear?”
“That I’ll die at the hands of what I once was, when I didn’t even ask to become what I am.”
“Interesting,” Kelly mused with a nod, and she knew her time was almost up, but she decided to end on a more lighter note, so she smiled at him. “And, this might be difficult because you’ve lived so long, but…what would you say has been your most favorite memory? Tell me about it.” She watched his face as she asked this.
Christian immediately smiled. “I don’t know if it’s my absolute favorite… but it’s what comes to mind. Levi had fallen in love with a human and stayed by his side until death. After the death, I didn’t see much of the childlike wonder Levi could sometimes possess. He became moody and cranky, angry. He asked me, however, if we could go watch the launch of the Titanic. Of course we went. It was such a beautiful day and Levi was smiling from ear to ear. Coming from Pre Revolutionary France, things like this were still so new and exciting to him. He waved at people and made me stay until we could literally no longer see the ship. He was exhilarated by the hype of the crowd. It seemed to be just what he needed. I enjoyed it just as much.”
Kelly knew her time was up, but she had one more question, “And what happened when you learned of the fate of the Titanic?”
“I was shocked, to be honest. Levi however felt he was more justified in his fear of boats.” Christian laughed a little.
Kelly chuckled when she heard this, but then she shook her head as she rose to her feet. “Well, Christian, unfortunately my time here has come to an end. I really appreciate your willingness to chat with me. It’s been an honor to meet you.”
He stood as she did, nodding. “It was my pleasure. Thank you so much for meeting with me. You’ve brought some light into my situation, I appreciate it.”
“It was my pleasure.” She smiled at him. “And I hope you the best in all your endeavors, and…I do hope Levi is out there somewhere, and that he’ll come back to you. I’d hate for you to be alone. You’re too nice a fellow to be all alone.” She smirked at him before heading for the door. “Take care, Christian!” And she left.
Jennifer Sharp’s story is untitled and has no release date set yet, but check back often for updates regarding this!