I just cannot believe my luck. Here it is, Christmas Eve, and the guilt from last year is eating me alive. I keep re-reading what I wrote last year about how I was forced to kill my good friend, George Bucher, and how my former life was ruined by his brother Thomas, and that has eased the pain some. But not enough.
I, Nick Dasher, formerly Rudy Kringle, formerly Arthur Tennyson, am once again guilty of murder... and something much worse. Let me start at the beginning, last Christmas Eve, around an hour past midnight, in the area where I had lived as Mr. Kringle.
When I went to the Bucher house to avenge my “death” and dishonor, I discovered that Thomas no longer lived there. I looked through some old letters belonging to his parents and found his new address. He was living in an apartment with his fiancée. I took the address and hoped that the woman he was living with would either be asleep or not home. But as the song goes, if it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.
Thomas lived on the third floor, so, after making sure no one was around, I floated up and tried to open one of the windows. I could see through the windows that the apartment was dark, which meant that they were most likely asleep. That was in my favor. However, all of the windows were all locked.
So I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and vaporized. It’s not as difficult as one might think, transforming into a mist. You simply relax and let your molecules spread out. In fact, a vampire has to be careful when at a party where alcohol and drugs are present, or else he might become relaxed enough to vaporize before the very eyes of his friends. That’s how easy it is. Then again, if a vampire were to vaporize in the presence of mortal friends on drugs, they would probably just assume that they were hallucinating. But I digress.
Once in mist form, I drifted through the grates of the venting system on the roof. From there, I floated through the shafts until I found Bucher’s room. I entered his room and reorganized myself again, coming together into a solid form.
I walked through the apartment, my reflexes at their sharpest. I didn’t know if Thomas was up for a late-night snack or a trip to the bathroom, so I was wary. I didn’t want him to see me and scream, waking up his girlfriend. I slowly made my way into the bedroom, only to find that no one was there. Apparently they were out at a Christmas party or something. Perhaps visiting relatives. I’m a very busy man on Christmas Eve, I have a schedule to keep. But I looked at my watch and decided I had an hour to kill before I had to be in the Central time zone. I had already made all of my East Coast deliveries, so I could
I walked around the apartment, glancing at the things Thomas Bucher owned. Modern things that I both marveled at and detested. In the kitchen there was a toaster oven, a Salad Shooter, a twelve-piece knife set, and a new microwave. I still used iron skillets and a hatchet. In the living room there was a stereo system with a CD player, a thirty-two inch television, and a DVD player. I still use a phonograph, which is playing a Louis Prima record as I write this, and a projector.
I looked into an oak curio cabinet with glass doors. There were pictures of Thomas as a boy, his parents, and one of George. That one made me sad. I missed my friend, even though at the end he had himself called me a monster and wished me dead. Remembering the late nights I spent joking with him, I cast my eyes down, and that’s when my heart stopped.
There was a picture of Thomas Bucher with his arms around a girl with bright brown eyes and dark hair. She was pretty in a plain way, much as the pretty girls during the Puritan days had been. In fact, this girl was from the Puritan days. It was the same girl that Arthur Tennyson had been married to, the girl I had been married to, Marie, my Marie.
I was in a state of shock. How could Fate be so cruel as to bring Marie back into my life as the future bride of my intended prey? I hoped and prayed that she would not be with him when he returned. Of course, one reason why vampires are called the damned is that our prayers are never answered.
I looked at my watch and saw that it was a quarter to two. I had fifteen minutes before I had to be on my way. But what if Thomas and Marie walked in some time before then? Would I be able to kill them both? I knew there was no way I’d be able to kill her. I loved her too much. But now, in this life, she most likely wouldn’t know who I was. She loved Thomas now, and I had vowed to kill him.
But could I do it now, knowing that I would be taking away from Marie the man she loved, the same way that vampire had taken me away from her over two hundred and fifty years ago? I looked back at the picture of George and decided that I’d have to. Thomas had taken something very special away from me, and despite the effect it would have on the girl who had once been Marie, I knew he had to pay for it.
As if summoned by my watch, the doorknob jingled as a key entered its lock. I dispersed again, hiding in the very air. Once the door was closed behind Thomas and his fiancée I waited for the light switch to be flicked on before materializing again.
Thomas froze and turned white. His fiancée looked at me. Her hair flowed over her shoulders and her dark eyebrows converged. She wore a red sweater with a Christmas tree knitted on it, and matched it with green slacks. She was radiant. But now she stared at me and said, “Who are you? How did you get in here?”
I stepped toward her, Thomas completely forgotten. He shrank back as I neared them. I looked her straight in the eyes.“Marie,” I
“I don’t know who you are or how you got here, but you’ve got the wrong girl, my name’s Jodie, not Marie.”
I stepped closer and touched her chin with my right hand. She tried to jerk away, but I steadied her head with my hand and looked even deeper into her eyes. I whispered again, “Marie.”
She narrowed her eyes, as if confused. Her voice a shaky whisper, she asked, “Is your name Arthur?”
My face lit up and I grinned feverishly.“Yes! You remember me!”
Thomas put an arm between Marie/Jodie and me and pulled her back. “He’s lying!” he shouted. “His name’s Rudy Kringle, he killed my brother! He’s a vampire!”
Her mouth dropped open in surprise. I frowned at Thomas, and then turned back to her. “Come with me, Marie,” I said.
Looking from me back to Marie/Jodie, Thomas must have sensed an opportunity to save his own worthless life. He grabbed her by the shoulders, ignoring her shout of, “Hey!” and thrust her in my direction.
“Yes!” Bucher said, “Take her and leave me alone! You can have her, just don’t hurt me!”
I looked at her as she shuddered in my arms, trying to escape my grip, then I thought long and hard. I could have had Marie when I rose out of Arthur Tennyson’s grave... but I didn’t want her to face life with a vampire, or life as one. I released her. “Go,” I said lowly.“You don’t want to see this.”
Thomas bolted toward the door, but before he could open it I was there, holding it shut with my right arm. I grabbed him around the neck and hoisted him into the air with my left, then threw him across the room. He landed in the middle of his entertainment system, smashing the television, DVD player, and stereo.
I opened the door and once more said, “Go.”
Marie/Jodie looked at her fiancé, then looked back at me.
I sighed. “He was going to feed you to me. Forget about him, you’re better off. Run!”
She started to cry. “I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve dreamed about you all my life... but I love him.”
Now I felt like crying. “He’s not worth your love. And neither am I. I won’t be able to restrain myself much longer, Marie, if you don’t want to be bitten by a vampire, you’d better run. Now!” I flashed my fangs as if to tack on an exclamation point.
Sobbing, she turned and ran. I walked to the window and watched her run to a black Mercedes, get in, and speed off. Once again, Marie was out of my life. I had worried about whether or not I’d be able to kill Thomas with her there, and now she was out of the equation.
I turned back to him. He was writhing in a heap. “Oh... I think my back’s broken. You bastard!”
I sighed. “I was always sorry for your brother, but you really shouldn’t have killed Rudy Kringle. What’s more, you shouldn’t have tried to use your fiancée to barter with me. You’re disgusting.” Not wanting to bloody myself up with several more deliveries ahead of me, I reached down and twisted his head with a crack.
I then opened the window and jumped out of Thomas Bucher’s apartment, not knowing where the woman called Jodie was headed as she drove off.
So this is not only a confession to killing George Bucher’s brother, it’s further proof that Arthur Tennyson is long dead, never to be exhumed. I’m Nick Dasher now, and by letting Marie go I finished nailing that Puritan’s coffin shut. And if you’ll excuse me, it’s bedtime for the people on American bases in Japan, so it’s time for Santa to start his rounds. Merry Christmas.
I put my pen down last night, but I’m not finished. There’s so much about the past that was awakened inside of me that I simply must document. When I saw that girl, the girl called Jodie, the girl that had once been Marie, it made me think of the first time I saw her, on the ship on the Atlantic Ocean, on our way to Massachusetts. She was wearing a thick white wool dress that totally obscured her feet. Her dark hair, which tickled the fingers like fresh pine straw, was tied back and put up in a bonnet. As was everything else on the ship, her dress was dirty. I didn’t mind, though. It seemed to attract me, the fact that her appearance wasn’t completely pure.
Yes, I truly loved Marie, more than life itself. I nearly died of grief when she was killed. I told you that I had to watch them die, Marie and Robert both. I couldn’t possibly have been more vague. But I didn’t tell you how they died. Both of them died for something that was my fault. I’ll start with Marie.
It was 1751, five years after my death and two years after I took on the persona of Santa Claus. Marie was now married to Jacob Futterman, a man I had called my friend. He treated Robert as if he were his own son, which I was both happy for and sad about. I mentioned earlier that Robert never knew me as his father. That was both vague and deceiving. He knew me later in his life, but as a friend, not a parent. I’ll get to that later.
Four years after marrying my Marie, Jacob Futterman began hanging out in pubs more often, drinking more and more alcohol every time he went in. He was a large man, thick through the chest and shoulders as a result of how well he chopped wood. He had stringy brown hair, a low brow, and a bulbous red nose. Because of his size, he thought he could get away with doing just about anything that crossed his mind. Including beating his wife. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
You’re probably wondering the size difference between myself and Jacob. He was five feet and eleven inches, which at the time, made him a giant. I’m estimating his weight to be about two hundred and fifty pounds. I am five feet and five inches, and weigh approximately one hundred and forty pounds. But you see, to a vampire, lifting someone who outweighs you by more than a hundred pounds is not only easy, it can be done with one hand. In fact, it can be done with the left hand if you are right-handed. Which I am.
It was one night in October when I came out of my cave in the forest to pay a visit to my widow and our child. I didn’t elaborate on how I spent my years prior to becoming Nicholas of Myra, but they were not pleasant. I fed on deer and wolves, which heightened my senses a bit. In the movies vampires are able to transform into wolves. I suppose I could do that if I wanted to, but seeing how I gained wolf-like reflexes from their blood, I don’t really need to.
I visited Marie’s home with Jacob and peered through the window. Another perk of being a vampire is that you can cloak yourself in invisibility if you don’t want to be seen. That’s what I usually do on Christmas Eve. But on this particular night, it helped me spy on the love of my life. I had told her in life that I would always be there for her, and I made good on my promise. Jacob was drunken and randy on this night. He had always showed my wife respect when I was her husband, but on this night he was doing the exact opposite. He was practically raping her. Of course, in those days there was no such thing as spousal rape. It was a wife’s duty to be her husband’s come-bucket. Rape or no rape, he was violating her. And it infuriated me.
You’re probably wondering why I didn’t burst through the window and kill him. From my perspective at the time, it would be much too damaging for Marie to bare, seeing her “dead” husband murder her new man. So I waited. I stood there, watching him
rape my soul mate, and waited.
The next day, I didn’t sleep. I sat in the shadows of my cave, watching. It was a hole in the side of a hill, draped with leaves and pine straw, virtually invisible to the eyes of those whose senses are not as sharp as mine. On many a morning I was awakened by the sounds of hunters and lumberjacks bounding outside of my little cubbyhole, and on this morning I waited for one lumberjack in particular to show his face.
Sure enough, just as the sun was peaking over the trees in the eastern horizon, the big brown boots of Jacob Futterman trudged past my cave. He had an axe on his shoulder and didn’t realize that he was a lamb being led to slaughter.
I flew out of my cave and speared him, hitting him so hard that I believe I heard his hip crack. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay out of my cave for long, or else I’d start to weaken in the sunlight, and I knew that it wouldn’t be long before others began coming into the forest. I did, however, want to take the time to let him see my face. I stared him right in the eye.
His eyes grew to the size of saucers as his jaw dropped. “Arthur! No, this cannot be!”
“Oh, but it is,” I said, allowing my eyes to turn yellow as I bared my fangs. I grabbed him by the forehead and exposed his neck, which I ripped into violently.
You must be wondering why I killed him in this manner as opposed to breaking his neck, as I did to Thomas Bucher. I did this because Thomas was a minor pest, a disturbance I wanted to be rid of quickly. Jacob had not only violated my wife, but he’d betrayed me. I could not stand for that. And having been bitten by a vampire, I know how painful it is. I wanted him to feel that pain.
Another question that usually arises from the topic of a vampire bite is how can the biter prevent the bitten from coming back as a vampire? Simple, really, if you know how the body’s physiology works. Blood still flowed from my neck when I was dropped in the forest. The“virus,” for lack of a better word, that was in the saliva on my wound flowed through my veins shortly before my heartbeat stopped, thus turning me. If you bite someone and want to make sure they don’t come back, you bleed them dry. It takes a little longer (which is one reason why I didn’t bite Thomas, I was on a tight schedule), but it’s worth it if you don’t want more vampires running around. The last thing I wanted was for Futterman to wake up in a coffin, then go banging on the door of his wife as to get revenge for me, her dead husband, killing him. So I waited until the wound on his neck was dry before I went back into my cave. With Jacob dead, I thought all of Marie’s problems were over. But I was wrong. They were just beginning.
Marie Cook-Tennyson-Futterman was thirty years old when she attended the funeral of her second husband, the man that five-year-old Robert thought was his father. I shuddered whenever I heard the boy’s name: Robert Futterman. Both Marie and I knew deep in our hearts that the boy really was and always would be Robert Tennyson.
I mentioned that Jacob liked hanging out in the pubs, but I didn’t mention his best friend and drinking buddy, Erik Potter. Potter was rail-thin and firy-haired. One could tell by how he walked at Jacob’s funeral that he had drunk more than his share that day. I had never really liked Erik Potter, but we knew each other as we were both hunters. I think he may have even been one of my pallbearers. Whether he was or not, he was still familiar with the way I had died. And now Jacob Futterman, his best friend, had died in the same fashion. He used his drunken mind to put two and two together and came up with the wrong answer.
In the middle of the Lord’s prayer, Potter jumped up and pointed at Marie. “Both husbands had their throats torn out within five years! It must be she behind this treachery! She’s... She’s a witch!”
In documented history, the Salem witch trials of 1692 were the last executions of those believed to be witches. However, they were not the last. At least one “witch” execution took place between then and 1751. I know. I was there. At least, I was close enough to hear the commotion. I didn’t actually see it happening. If I had, I’d probably never be able to sleep. Just the sounds from it were enough to shatter my mind.
Potter: “Open the casket! Let the witch lie to rest with her victim!”
Marie screamed in terror, “No!”
Robert also screamed as his mother was jerked from his grip. “Mommy!”
Those sounds haunt my sleep, the sound of Marie’s shouting muffled as the casket closed, then the pounding of the hammers as it was nailed shut.
I wanted to fly from my cave, punish all of the people of our town and save Marie, and take her and Robert from that place... but I couldn’t. I was already weak from being in the sun the previous day when I killed Futterman, and the sun was in the middle of the sky at this time, it would quickly vanquish me before I could rescue my beloved. So all I could do was sit in my cave and listen to the sounds of her faraway screams... and the sounds of the shovels throwing dirt on top of the coffin.
I had to wait until the sun was gone and all the passersby were gone. I had to dig through Futterman’s grave to save her. I kept telling myself that Marie was a strong girl, that she’d be able to breathe shallowly enough to last at least one full night before suffocating. I was certain that by the time I could claw through the earth, she’d still be waiting, alive and well.
Midnight came. One policeman stood guard at the cemetery to make sure that nothing strange happened after the burying of the “witch.” I drained him dry in ten minutes. I could have snapped his neck, and I should have, but I didn’t for two reasons. If Marie wasdead and another victim was found killed in the same manner as her husbands... Well, I think you can see where I’m going with this. Also, I had been weakened by the sun and needed blood to strengthen me. I hadn’t fed since killing Jacob. So once he was dead and I was sure that no one else was around, I used my hands to throw the dirt aside and get to Futterman’s pine box.
I was frantic when I finally exposed the wood. I flung the door of the casket open... only to find two corpses. Marie looked like she was sleeping, but I knew better. I took her hand and held it against my face. No blood coursed through these veins. Whether she died of fright or of suffocation is something I’ve never figured out, but that really doesn’t matter when you get down to the bare bones of it. She was dead. And that was it.
Last year I wrote that vampires are capable of secreting all the natural body fluids that a human can. Including tears. As I closed the casket and proceeded to cover it up, many tears cascaded down my face. If I hadn’t killed Futterman, this never would have happened! But... he had violated her. He’d deserved to die. And for my crime she was punished. I hated myself. But most of all, I hated the townspeople that had buried her. I was still filling the grave when I planned my revenge, which had already been set into motion with the killing of the policeman. I went back to my cave, covered in dirt, and waited for the morning. Once again, I listened. I listened to them talk about the Futterman boy, Robert, and how he was now in the nearest orphanage. I listened to speculation as to how the witch had used her dead husbands. But most of all, I listened to the people find the policeman I’d killed and speculate. He was killed in the same manner as Jacob Futterman, and as Arthur Tennyson five years before! It has to be the witch, she escaped the casket!
I listened as they exhumed Jacob’s coffin... and found that “the witch” was stone dead. So who was the real villain?
The next night, I fed on Erik Potter’s only daughter, a girl of thirteen years. I know I said I never kill children, but she was an exception as she was an extension of the monster, Erik Potter. And the ends justify the means. I bled her dry so that she wouldn’t return.
I went back to my cave, slept for a few hours, then awoke to listen some more. Potter claimed the Futterman widow was the witch and now his daughter has been claimed by this monster! I smiled as I heard this.
One night, about a week after killing Potter’s girl, I sneaked into what had been Marie and Robert’s home and borrowed Jacob’s money and some of his clothes. They were much too big for me, but they were better than the filthy suit I’d been wearing in the cave since my funeral. Anyhow, I needed some clean clothes in order to enact this plan of mine. And I hoped that nobody would recognize me as Arthur Tennyson. The mind’s eye tends to get fuzzy after not seeing someone for five years.
Once well-dressed, I made my way into the pub, where sat Erik Potter, drinking to excess. He was already drunk when I entered, which was in my favor. Even if he did recognize me, his senses were dulled by alcohol, so he couldn’t be sure. I told him I was new in town and asked about any empty houses. He told me about the Futterman home, where the witch lived.
“Witch?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “She killed her two husbands. You favor her first in a way.”
I smiled thinly. “How did she kill them?”
“Their throats were torn out.”
I smiled more widely. “Sounds more like the work of a vampire than a witch! Was it known for certain that she was responsible for her husbands’ deaths?”
He frowned. “We dug her up after a policeman was killed in the same way. She was dead, so I suppose that proved that it wasn’t really her.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Well, since she was innocent, I suppose it must be a heavy weight on the conscience of whomever it was that accused her of being a witch.”
Potter snorted. “I could’ve sworn it was her, but then...” He paused to wipe his eyes. “My daughter, Elizabeth... She was killed in the same way.”
I gasped. “How horrible! When was this?”
“About eight days ago,” he replied.
He shrugged. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” I said, thinking that he, just as Jacob had been two weeks before, was now a lamb being led to slaughter. “Let me buy you a drink so that we can drink to her life and memory.”
Potter thanked me and allowed me to buy him a drink. And another. And another. Andnother. Before long, he was unconscious, which is exactly what I wanted.
I cloaked myself when the bartender turned his back. He had been paid, so he didn’t mind that I’d seemed to have left hurriedly. I put an arm around Erik Potter and hoisted him in a standing position. Impersonating him to the best of my abilities, which is another talent vampires possess, I said to the barkeep, “Good night,” and carried my scrawny intended victim out of the bar.
Had there been any people out on the streets that night, they would have thought it odd that a man could travel while his feet dragged behind him on the ground. Fortunately, he didn’t live far from the bar. I used his keys to enter his home, then I dragged him to the bedroom. There lay his wife, Victoria. I smiled at the foolish Erik Potter, then bent down to feed.
The next morning, from my cave, I tuned my ears in on the sound of the townspeople. It seemed that Victoria Potter had been murdered, in the same fashion as her daughter, the policeman, Jacob Futterman, and Arthur Tennyson! And sleeping soundly beside her was her drunken husband Erik, who, amazingly, had blood on his lips; her blood.
He was tossed into the street by some of his former friends. I threw my voice into their hearing distance, “He’s the witch! He killed them all!”
I then grinned and heard him say,“No! It’s not true! I don’t know what happened!”
A woman screamed, “Kill the witch!” I recognized her voice as that of Anne Partridge, a friend of my wife. If it was true that Potter was the witch, Marie had been killed unjustly, and by Potter’s doing! Of course her friends would want her death avenged!
As the sun began to set, I stepped out of my cave to watch. Erik Potter was tied to the nearest tree, and then a bundle of leaves was swept around his feet. And then a torch touched the leaves. Potter screamed as the flames engulfed him and, even though I was in tears at the sight of my revenge for my wife’s life, I could not help but laugh. I still felt responsible for her death, but seeing the man who directly called for her death die at the flame helped. Did I say I knew of one witch execution after 1692? Excuse me, there were two.
Now, let me focus on Robert. After the death of Erik Potter, I decided that it would probably be a good idea to become human again. I used the rest of Jacob’s money (except what he and Marie had set aside for Robert) to rent a room in a nearby town so that I could get a job. I’d been through Holland, Germany, and the Netherlands the previous year, so I knew their customs. An elf named Black Peter supposedly helped St. Nicholas during his journey to deliver presents. So I became Peter Black.
I was Peter Black from 1752 until 1775. Nobody seemed to notice that Peter Black didn’t age over a period of twenty-two years. I kept to myself. So why did I change in 1775? Because something major happened in my life that affected everyone in the country: The American Revolutionary War.
I tried not to get involved, but I just happened to have been in Concord at the time of the bloodiest battle that century. And trust me, when a vampire describes something as “bloodiest,” you’d better believe it was pretty damn bloody. The only war that was worse in terms of gore was the Vietnam War, in which I “died” as Washington Diedrich. I fought in almost every major American War there ever was, and lost a life in all of them except World War II, in which the United States was very victorious and fortunate. But no war affected me as much as the first. That bloody battle wasn’t until after, though. At first, I was in Lexington. I saw the troops arriving and heard all the commotion. In fact, you may find this hard to believe, but I almost made breakfast out of Paul Revere.
In a lot of historical accounts, it’s debated as to what Revere shouted as he galloped throughout the countryside warning the minutemen of the British forces’ approach: “The Redcoats are coming!” or “To arms!” Well, I was there. He said both, but he changed his call after someone intervened.
I had a prostitute in a dark alley, about to feed on her. Just as I was about to bite, I heard that idiot shout,“The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming!”
The girl was immediately brought out of the trance I had her in, shrieking, “Oh my God, my father is off to battle! I must warn him!” So she ran off, leaving me without a meal. Naturally, I was upset. So I did what anyone who didn’t know at the time that history was being made would do. I decided to kill the messenger.
I flew after him until we were in a dark area, then I descended upon him, tackling him and taking him off of his horse. I grabbed him by the throat and hissed, flashing yellow eyes and fangs,“You just cost me my breakfast, boy! Perhaps I should take it out of your throat instead!”
I covered his mouth and moved my hand from his neck, then opened my hand to bite, but a window above us opened and an old man in a Republic uniform stuck his head out and shouted, “What’s going on out there? Have the Redcoats made any advancement?”
Revere squirmed out of my grip and shouted the only two words that could come to his mind, “To arms!” I think he was trying to tell the man to shoot me, but it didn’t come out that way.
I let him go and called back to the officer, “The Redcoats are coming. He said so. Didn’t you, boy?”
Revere repeated, “To arms!”
The officer gripped his gun and said,“Mount your steed, be off to warn the others. Quickly now!”
I practically threw Revere onto his horse as he piped out, “To arms! To arms! To arms!”
There’s nothing in the history books about Paul Revere being attacked by a vampire, I don’t know if it’s because he was too afraid to tell his superiors, or if he did tell them and they thought him mad. Of course, if Paul Revere had said that he’d been attacked by a vampire, school may be taught in an entirely different way. They’d focus more on vampires in history than on actual history itself. After all, vampires are such interesting creatures, if I do say so myself.
Once Revere was gone, I looked around and saw the minutemen approaching. One of them looked very familiar. He looked like a male version of Marie. About thirty years old. Then I did the math in my head. No! It couldn’t be!
I took a closer look. It was. I had followed Robert to that orphanage and delivered presents to him until he was thirteen, then he stopped believing in Santa. I hated to do it, but I knew I had to let him go at that age. But seeing him now, seventeen years later, was such a shock!
I ran up to him and looked him in the face, my eyes bright. He wore his shoddy uniform and gave me a strange look.“Do I know you?” he asked.
I was grinning so widely my face hurt. “Yes! Your name is Robert Tennyson, is that correct?” I caught the mistake seconds after I made it.
He gave me another weird look and said,“My name is Robert, but my last name is Futterman. How do you know me?”
I had to think up some lame excuse.“I was in the Bancton Orphanage. I am Peter Black, do you remember me?”
Robert looked up, thinking, trying to remember anyone by that name at the orphanage. He shrugged. “I ran away from that place when I was sixteen, my last two years there are but a haze in my memory, so I’m sorry if I don’t remember you.”
“That is fine,” I said, still grinning, “I remember you.”
He shrugged again. “Very well. Are you in the military?”
I shook my head.
He smirked. “If you live here, you had better get your hands on a gun. Word from the Boston Common is that the British are on their way.”
I bitterly mumbled, “Yes, I heard someone yelling about that earlier.”
“That would be Paul Revere. He’s a good man.”
“I’m sure he is,” I said, wondering how my son would take the news that I’d just tried to eat that so-called good man. “I’ve got a gun upstairs, do you mind if I join you on the battlefield?” I had a feeling something might happen to him if I weren’t there watching over him. In fact... hell, I won’t ruin the story by jumping the gun. I guess that’s a pun, but you won’t get it until after you read what I’m about to reveal.
My rifle in hand, I joined Robert and his crowd of minutemen. Having seen my son grow up, I knew the types of things he would want to talk about, so we engaged in casual conversation. I asked him all kinds of personal questions that he didn’t mind answering, such as how many girlfriends he had courted and if he had any children. He told me he was engaged to a woman that reminded him of his mother. I tried to probe him for more, but he wouldn’t say anything else. I suppose watching his mother buried alive traumatized him. I don’t blame him.
To make a long story short, by the time we reached the British troops, Robert and I were friends. I wanted badly to tell him who I was and what had happened to me, but it was ludicrous. Physically, we were the same age, he’d never believe I was his father!
We reached the battleground and everything was tense. I looked across the fields at the British soldiers. I remembered when I was in the old country and relied on these same men to protect me and my parents. It’s funny when you outlive several generations like that, and the friend becomes the enemy. The same thing happened during the Civil War. I was sympathetic to the South, because I had seen the first American Revolutionary War and understood that it was basically a repeat, only this time with slavery in the balance. I was neutral on slavery, seeing how I am a slave of my own eternity. But I’m rambling.
As I’ve said several times before, vampires’ senses are so much stronger than those of mortals. We can smell certain emotions or feel the body giving out excitement. There was a lot of electricity on the battlefield that night. One man in particular didn’t like the way my son looked. I could feel his body heat, I could smell his sweat. He was paranoid, hell bent on the idea that Robert Futterman, born Robert Tennyson, was going to be the first Revolutionary to fire a shot, and that if he didn’t take action, all hell would break loose. But there was no way I was going to let that happened. So I did it.
The Revolutionary War. Battle of Lexington. “The Shot Heard ’Round The World.” The single gunshot fired from an unknown rifle that signaled the slaughter of 8 American soldiers. Yes. I did it, to save my son. I know my story is starting to sound corny and far-fetched to the point of being a whopper, but hey, at least I didn’t come over on the Mayflower. Still, you’re probably thinking I’m the Forrest Gump of vampires seeing how I’m Santa Claus, lost a wife to latter-day witch trials, had a run-in with Paul Revere, and fired that fabled shot at Lexington. But don’t worry. I’ve never met any presidents, so that’s as close to fame as I’ve ever gotten.
Robert and I fled the battle scene, unable to believe what had just happened. He then told me that Paul Revere and Samuel Adams had moved on to Concord and that we were to join them, with a stronger force than what had been at Lexington. Again feeling the need to protect him, I went with him. I wish I hadn’t.
Knowing the etiquette of British military maneuvers, we decided to get the best of them by hiding behind trees and walls to fire upon them as they marched by. I looked over to the tree behind which Robert had been standing and saw behind him to his left a Redcoat aiming at him. Instead of simply warning him to watch out, I stepped back and fired my own rifle, taking my son’s would-be assassin down. I wasn’t thinking, though. By stepping away from the safety of my own tree, I was opening myself up to the British gunfire.
A bullet hit me in the side and took me by total surprise. I fell over, and when he saw this, Robert looked at me with horror and said, “Peter! No!”
I knew that bullet would have no effect on me, but my son, my friend, had no idea. He then did the same thing that I had done. He left the safety of his tree to shoot the Redcoat that had shot me. I knew what was about to happen. The exact same thing that had happened to me. Terrified, I looked up at him and screamed, “Robert, don’t!”
But it was too late. His chest spouted blood as the bullet entered. He landed right
next to me.
I crawled over to him and wrapped my arms around him. “Damn it, Robert, why did you do that?”
He spat up some blood, then looked up at me. “You’re my friend. I knew you’d do it for me.”
“I’m more than just your friend, Robert. Do you know that?”
He laughed hysterically. “I felt it from the first time I saw you. I don’t know who you are, but I knew you’d be special to me.”
I sighed. “Just think of me as your guardian angel.”
“So I shall.”
Weeping, I said to him, “There is just one thing I need to hear. Tell me you love me.”
“I do,” he said. “I love you. Father.” He stopped. And he thought about what he had said, wondering why he’d said it. But before he could say anything else, he was dead.
Still weeping, I stood up. Another bullet hit me, but I was ready this time. In fact, several bullets hit me, but I hardly took notice. They had murdered my son, and I was angry enough to withstand a cannon blast.
History books say that while the Revolutionaries only lost between 80 and 90 men, the British troops were cut down by 20 percent. I have to say that I contributed heavily to the British body count. When the battle was done, I lay down to rest. My bullet-ridden body was added to the accosted American soldiers and dumped into a ditch. For the second time in my life, I woke up in a grave. I knew that Peter Black was now dead. So I left New England for the South, and changed my name to Julian Nies, from the Scandinavian Julenisse.
So now you know what happened to Marie and Robert. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t turn them as to keep them with me for eternity... but I would see to it that their mortal lives were more comfortable than they were and that they
didn’t end as a result of my own doing.