A short story by Greg Dragon
I’m dying young, feeling my strong hands wither away. What can I say? The irony of my position has caused me to take a comical stance despite this grim reality. One hundred and thirty years inside of this body. Well, more like one hundred and nine if we were to separate my years with warm blood from those with cold. Cold is better by the way, just in case you were wondering.
No… was. It was better. That was until I chose ambition over my free and wonderful life as a vampire aristocrat south of the Mason Dixon line. One minute I’m in front of Annabelle D’Ambros—our beloved Queen—and the next I find myself here, inside of a box that will not open.
How long have I been asleep? I want to know. The black coldness of this tomb keeps more than the outside hidden from me. Did Annabelle put me here? I would have assumed that this punishment was a temporary one if my hands didn’t feel the way they did and my stomach didn’t burn as if a red hot lance was thrust up through my… Gods, I’m hungry, how could they do this to me?
There is no sound outside and the air feels thick, but I can’t tell if it is my mind causing the pressure or the lack of oxygen. My hands, crossed, lay motionless on my chest. They feel so wrinkled, yet Annabelle always commented on how strong they were.
I can’t move, weakened by the blood hunger and weighed down by chains of age. I’m fading again, consciousness slipping…. Why did I dare take my thoughts to Annabelle? She who has had her way with humanity for over a thousand years…. How long have I been here? Why is there no sound? My joints ache, I want to stretch my limbs, and shift my weight to stop the incessant itching in my back.
I lift my stiff hands to press them against the lid, but the surface feels cold, unlike wood. Is this not a coffin? Metal? No … silver. Silver saps the energy, it wards off lycanthropes, and as I feel along the inside edge I trace the raised, imperfect line of where the lid was welded shut.
There’s no denying it, I’m in a metal box, sealed inside a wall, or buried deep underground where no one will find me. I have no heart, or it would be racing. As a human I would have been hyperventilating, but the only reaction I can have to this is a deep, deep depression.
“Help me, please, someone has to be out there!”
Oh what a fate to be stuck here forever, unable to live, unable to die. Pity that I did not consider this hell when Annabelle offered to turn me. She was so different then, so lusty and full of life… The thought of being with her gives me a strange sense of peace. She smelled of roses and her hair was like black wool … so much of it, and so soft, and I can feel her cool, pallid flesh against me.
“Annabelle, why? Was it over a woman?”
When she turned me, all I thought about was a lifetime of lust, and of all the women of the world who would be accessible to me. To bed an exotic beauty, then drink her afterwards… to bed Annabelle… forever… I smile despite it all. If only I had thought it through, took her bite and passed on immortality.
My hands rub together and I feel my nails—long, awful talons that frighten me as I sort through how long I must have slept. The burning worsens, I decide to be strong and fix my situation. Pulling my elbows back as far as the space would allow, I slam the heels of my palms into the cover above me. I instantly regret it; the crack of bone and tear of sinew is deafening.
Rolling around and kicking my legs, I am surprised that I am able to summon this energy—still trapped with hope waning. For many moments I push and kick, even though the pain grows worse and worse. I cannot stay in here, what if I am truly buried, and there is no one close to hear me struggle? Will I go mad? Am I able to go back to sleep? Immortality is forever, and if I stay awake, I will have no one, no one but myself.
“Annabelle, please, have mercy, my love! ANNABELLE!”
I scream her name, I bawl her name, and I shove my broken wrists up into the metal, hoping that someone would hear me.
“I don’t deserve this, I am not wicked … I drain from humanity, but I have never killed, and the women that I bled all came of their free will. Of all the vampires on earth why me, why should I be the one made to suffer? THIS IS NOT RIGHT ANNABELLE!”
The pitch black space of silence, funk, and pressure, robs me of time, the most precious of resources. My energy lessens the more I fight to get out, and as time moves forward I think of ways to die. There aren’t a lot of options for the destruction of an immortal. If this was a wooden coffin, I could pull out a splinter to stake myself. If I was in a cell, I could wait for the sun, and let it roast me down to ash.
I could bite off my tongue if I was human, or stop my breath somehow. Why had I not considered this when you asked me Annabelle? Why hadn’t I weighed the pros and cons of your gift? All I saw was you, our bodies entwined, and having that feeling last forever.
Now I would trade everything for a chance to die, if escape or release was not in my future. To live forever in darkness, a weakened old husk, what could I have done to deserve this fate?
I lay still for hours, it could be days, but I’ve resolved to recall happier times when I wasn’t in this box. Annabelle D, on my arm at the ball, her full ruby lips a warning of what she was, but her beauty too captivating for the humans to understand. The electronic dance music goes mute, and the loud bass drops, I dip my love and taste those lips and her strong, ancient hands find my neck.
Eternity’s a long time to live, even with the memory of you. I close my eyes and will myself to sleep.
Maybe if I’m lucky I will never wake.