The Dark Night
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
- Hamlet, Wm. Shakespeare
It started as it often did. Lydia was driving. North, towards the
canyon. The sun was setting and she was brushing the tears out of her
eyes, her mascara smearing. Why was he such an ass? He was always so
difficult at times like these. Fine! It didn’t matter anymore! He
was leaving to go to New York. He was getting out of Tuscon and
leaving it and everything in it behind. Even her. “Aagh” She
screamed as she dashed her hands against the steering wheel in
frustration and anger.
She continued driving until she finally reached the parking lot. She
stopped the car and grabbed her ipod. It would be a nice evening for
a walk, and she enjoyed being away from people at times. She pulled
her small crocheted purse over her shoulder and checked that she had
her keys. Though her sight was blurry with tears, Lydia still had
enough sense to not be locked out of her car. She started up the
trail as the last memories and wisps of the day were vanishing into
the night. The stars, already well on their way out, shimmered in the
sky. She wandered through the narrow canyon, climbing over rocks and
roots, cursing his name. What an ass! Couldn’t he see all that he
would miss? The southwest had a way of sinking into your bones, and
palate, making it hard for most people to leave. Even she, the native
New Englander/Quebequoise writer, had grown accustomed to the area.
Why would he want to leave? Especially after they had been together
so long. Though she was young, three and a half years was still a
She deeply inhaled the pinyon and juniper smells of the desert. She
was calming down a little now. She resolved to talk to him tomorrow.
That would still give her enough time to convince Vincent that they
could work things out. Deep in thought she heard a sound and stopped
dead in her tracks. The adrenaline coursing through her body focused
her senses and she hardly moved as she stared off in the direction of
the juniper tree that hid the sound. “It is probably just a
javelina,” she thought. She slowly moved her hand to her bag. Had
she remembered her pocket knife? No. Damn. She sighed and reminded
herself not to get too worked up, she knew this place well and of
course, she had her cell phone.
She walked a little further, though not feeling as comfortable,
decided that this indeed would be her last bend in the trail, then she
would turn back around and head back to the safe city lights. Lydia
never made it back. The dream always sped up and became incoherent
and full of impressions at this point. She felt the panic of the
moment return. Her sense of dread and helplessness as she was pressed
onto the dirt, cactus spines embedding in her skin. What was this
thing? She scratched, scrapped, screamed and felt like she was
fighting a statue, cool as the desert night. She screamed as she was
bitten, fighting with everything she could. She tried to continue
screaming, but a cold hand covered her mouth, muffling her last
sounds. Then darkness, pain…..cold….and lots and lots blood. This
next part was extremely nebulous…and the few images she had were
She had vague impressions of stumbling through the desert woodland.
A deep bestial hunger burned within her. She had to get to the
hospital, had to get help. Something terrible had happened, but what?
The next things she remembered were hands. White, cold, strong hands
gripping her wrists. She screamed again, a terrible sound, and
fought. She even tried with all her strength to bite the beautiful
blonde woman. The woman, impassive, just held her as she kicked and
screamed. Eventually the lack of emotion from this other creature
calmed her, at least when Lydia realized the futility of the
situation. She was in Tuscon now, in an alley, somewhere. She must
have ran here. This had to be miles away. She was sticky and
drenched with warm blood and she was certain that it wasn’t all hers.
The hunger she felt initially, gone, but how?
“Come,” said Carrie, “You need a shower.”
Lydia woke up in bed, her bloody sweat staining the sheets, again.
She wiped her hand over her wet face. She hated that dream. She
hated all of her dreams and they always made her feel terrible. They
made it hard to get going and out of bed; made it hard to avoid the
sunlight. She was always grateful that Carrie had found her and
brought her out of her frenzied state. When she asked Carrie about
it, Carrie just remarked things like, “I found you.” or “You were
“Yes, but did someone send you? Do you know who my sire is? Do you
know who my sire was? How had I fed? On whom? On what?”
“I found you.”
As she was showering she decided that this was the last time, maybe
knowing more about her past would help the dreams stop. Maybe
understanding her vampiric beginnings would help her concentrate on
her future instead of causing her to continue to dwell in the dark
past. She decided that it was time to ask Asielka. She had wanted to
for so very long now.
After she hung up her cell phone, she sighed. She was grateful that
Asielka had agreed to talk with her. Lydia realized how busy elders
were, or at least how apathetic towards the troubles of neonates, they
were. She felt relieved, though tense as she entered the gorgeous
hall and admired the ever changing art on the walls.
Asielka invited her to sit down, chatted for a bit about Nick. Small
talk, really. Lydia felt distracted and tried to focus on the things
the excruciatingly beautiful woman talked about. Something about a
symphony, or perhaps a new exhibit in Phoenix? She marveled again at
her beauty, willed herself not to get entranced. Not to examine the
most perfect woman she could imagine. Asielka must have noticed her
distraction, “Something troubles you?”
Lydia’s eyes lit up and she focused intently on Asielka. “A couple of
things, really.” “First, a trivial matter. I am concerned about my
relationship with Stefan. He seems so distant and unwilling to
acknowledge or respect me. I know that I am not a strong Kindred and
likely to be judged as unimportant to many, but forever is potentially
a long time. I, suppose I just hoped that Stefan would extend to me
the niceties of our society, expecially after…” she trailed off and
starting again, “Ultimately, I would have expected better from a
“And secondly?” asked Asielka, focusing on the neonate in an intent gaze.
Lydia felt her confidence and resolve melt away when she made direct
eye contact. She smiled quickly, awkwardly, “You know,” she laughed
softly, looking away, “they say that confidence is the feeling you
have before you fully assess the situation.”
Lydia paused, gathered her resolve, and continued. “My Elder, I have
terrible nightmares. They plague me non-stop, everynight. They often
involve my Embrace. Asielka, I’m coming to you tonight because I must
know more about my sire, and in turn, more about myself. Please,”
she felt her voice waver slightly, “I must know who my sire is.
Please, Asielka, what do you know?”
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