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 Revolution.
I tried not to get involved, but I just happened to have been in Concord at the time of thebloodiest 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 later, 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 through 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 from 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, had Paul Revere 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.
I took a closer look. It was my son. I had followed Robert to that orphanage and delivered presents to him until he was thirteen, when 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 who 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 Revolution 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 to 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. By stepping away from the safety of my own tree, I was opening myself up to 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, no!”
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 Robert. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t turn him as to keep him with me for eternity... but I would see to it that his mortal life were more comfortable than it was and didn’t end as a result of my own doing.