________Lost Souls_______
Pulse
.

by Alex Severin

I caught the scent in the air as I stood there, eyes closed, inhaling deeply, savouring.  Where was it coming from?  It tantalised me; so sensuous; it made me giddy as it filled up my lungs, made me want it.  It was enticing, appetizing to me; to others just exposed viscera.
 
I opened the heavy wooden door to the storage area under my loft; I stopped then stepped back in shock as I saw a dead girl lying there, a single surgical red gash up the middle of her naked torso breaking the achingly alabaster-pale of her skin.  I gazed at her almost with a feeling of love and with a morbid fascination and with sheer horror as she returned my gaze, beseeching me, Why? she asked me silently, Why?  I shook my head as if to tell her I didn't know, as if she would see my response.  Her almost black irises reflected my image like dark glass.
 
I crouched beside her body and touched her naked skin; still warmth there.  The sight of her pained me then, such youth and beauty, mercilessly slain; the thought of the crime repulsed me.  I thought then of her lover, of how they would never again bury their face in her thick mass of raven curls, never again feel the soft, perfect white globes of her breasts in the palm of their hand, never again would their tongues entwine and taste the musk of each others skin there.  Grief welled up in my eyes, not really for her then, but for the ones who would mourn her, for the bereaved, the grieving.  I knew she had been loved, one so exquisite must have been loved. 
 
Then: a delicious knot of tension reached up from my loins and pulled at the pit of my stomach when I saw all the blood.
 
The dark red pool spread out all around her like a glistening, wet halo; it gleamed and shone with a black hue in the moonlight that filtered through the open door behind me.
 
I felt something stir, deep inside me, something inherited, I have always been sure, something ancient, something dark.  I kneeled beside her and ran my fingertips over the surface of her spill; still warm.  My bloodlust chewed at me like a great hungry beast, relentless, unwilling to set me free from its clutches.  I was in its thrall and I knew that I could not resist it.  I knew that I would not resist it.
 
Before I could protest, before I could even consciously decide what to do, my fingers were in my mouth and my eyes closed, as I tasted her blood.  I lowered my face to the floor and lay on my belly; I inhaled the scent deeply; sharp copper - brim full of the chemicals she'd pumped furiously around her body in the final struggle for her life.
 
I lapped at the red ambrosia feeling the rough surface of the floor beneath, on my tongue. My breath quickened as heat and desire spread into each nerve and muscle, every fibre in my body.  I was captivated by the scent, the taste and the texture of the thick elixir as it oozed, warmly, down my throat.  My desire gnawed at me - drink......drink......drink deep......deeper......it seemed to whisper, seductively in my ear through the darkness.
 
I felt the heat of her blood seeping into my veins.  A pulsing began in my groin and I felt myself hard against the ragged, cold stone floor; I raised myself up onto my elbows and moved rhythmically back and forth, back and forth over the surface.  My desire rose, climbed higher and higher, went deeper and deeper.  I had my hands in her blood now, smearing it over my face and my neck, licking and sucking it, letting it drip of my fingertips onto my tongue and down my throat.  I was gasping now, moaning in ecstasy as if in bliss with a skilful, eager, adventurous lover.
 
I rolled over onto my back and lay panting and as I spent my seed I felt as if I had been ravaged and abused and discarded.  But I realised that this feeling was just the guilt setting in, taking root, digging in the jagged claws that our worst memories have - lest we forget.  The inside of my head and behind my eyes burned.  I couldn't bear to think of what I had just done even as the last vestige of my climax still lingered, even as my sated smile still danced across my sanguine mouth.
 
But a delicious thought formed in my mind and I whispered it to the eerie moonbeams that shone down on me'But to drink from a living vein.'  My words echoed in my head, reverberated of the inside of my skull, back and forth, louder and louder each time and then I knew that I would not be able to live without this feeling, I would not want to live without this feeling.  And to have somebody, anybody, man or woman it doesn't matter, to share these moments with.
 
The thought would not leave me as I pondered still, on sharing this exquisiteness with another vibrant, pulsing being.  I closed my eyes and fell asleep with hot tears burning their way down my face; shame and guilt and despair and the thought of my own isolation too much for me to endure in my fragile state.
 
I woke up some time later.  In that few moments before full consciousness invades the brain and banishes all remnants of sleep and innocence, anyone can be forgetful of even the most hideous of memories.  Of course, then it hit me like a bucket of cold water, drenching me all the way through to my blackened soul, shocking me awake to that familiar sensation - morning after revelation.
 
I was afraid to turn around incase the summer was warm enough for her to have started rotting overnight.  But something was wrong.  I realised I was in my bed.  I bolted up, naked, and threw myself down the stairs, barely able to keep my balance and burst through he door and into the storage area under the loft.  Nothing.  Not a trace.  Not a sign.  Empty.
 
Confusion filled my senses and my temples throbbed noisily.  What the fuck was going on?  Surely I couldnt have been so affected and confused by a dream.  My stomach twisted and turned inside me as if it were trying to wrench itself free from my body; I gagged and heaved and flew back up the stairs, burst into the bathroom and spilled my guts into the toilet.  The vomit was thin, watery and bloody; the sight of it shocked me, I thought I was dying, haemorrhaging or something.  But no, the last night had been real and there had been a dead girl and I had drank her blood and came harder than I ever had before, as her corpse lay cooling next to me, as her blood lay congealing under me, on my skin,  inside me.  And there was somebody else there.  Somebody who cleaned me and the warehouse, got rid of the body and put me to bed.  Somebody else there.
 
My face burned with shame, shame that somebody had seen me doing what I did, somebody had seen me lapping up the blood of the dead girl that lay beside me.  Then I flinched at myself for thinking of my own embarrassment at maybe being watched before feeling shame at my defiling of the dead. 
 
I was beside myself when the horror came that maybe whoever did the clean-up was, of course, the killer.  Then paranoiac thoughts flooded my conscience; thoughts of being filmed or photographed, thoughts that I would be blackmailed.  A chill ran up and down my spine, icy fingers poked holes into the riot of hot, grey matter inside my head, my legs buckled under me and I landed in a heap on the cold white ceramic tiles on the bathroom floor.  I wept uncontrollably, pouring out my cowardice, my self-possession, trying to rid myself of the wretchedness I felt.
 
But then I remembered the pleasure.  How I'd felt lapping up her warm, sweet-copper flow, I remembered how it felt sliding down my throat, soothing the madness that the sight of it had brought forth from somewhere deep inside me.  I remembered it caressing my insides, banishing the chill of the loneliness that had gnawed at me for what seemed like forever, reviving me, loving me, making me feel warmth again, making me feel whole again.
 
I sat on the edge of my bed for what felt like hours but was probably minutes.  I was tormented, filled with loathing and disgust but that damned memory of the pleasure would not subside.  I tried so hard to banish it, to pluck it out of me, exorcise myself of that so sweet remembrance, but I could not, it would not let me let go of it.  Again I tasted wet salt on my lips as yielded to my shame.
 
A loud knock on my door wrenched me back to reality.  I composed myself as best I could, threw on a robe and opened the door.
And there he was; I knew it was him before he opened his mouth, I saw it in his eyes; something dark lived there, something bad, something exciting, something cruel and primal, but also the fiercest love and the most terrifying passion.  And that excitement inside me rose to a crescendo again like the swell of a weeping violin; my blood crushed through my heart and hammered in my ears, throbbed in my aching veins as the knowing silence between us thickened and the tension in the air mounted.  He looked deep into my eyes with his strange irises - black and screaming violet all at once.  Did he see the same things lurking in my eyes as I did in his? 
 
He stepped over the thresh-hold and walked slowly past me, making sure that his hand brushed lightly against mine as he passed by and sat down in a big chair in my living room.  'That was quite a performance last night, my friend.'  He gave me the slowest smile, those irresistible eyes sparkling, filled with the fading moonlight filtering through the window.
 
'I've been waiting for so long.  I heard your cries.  I heard you call out to me so many times.  So often I wanted to rush to you, steal you away, take you in my arms and free you of your loneliness, all of your pain, soothe away the hurt and the fear and the despair I know that you suffer.  But you must understand that I had to be sure.  Even though I ached for you, even though each night grew longer and longer as your cries became louder and louder, I had to make absolutely certain that you were a suitable companion.  The last time I chose a paramour to share eternity with I made such a dreadful mistake.'
 
I stood gaping at him, slack-jawed, looking as if I were depriving a village somewhere of its idiot.  I was enchanted!  I felt giddy and happy and light-headed.  I knew this was absolute insanity.  But I believed, even though any rational mind would have shied away from his madness, this absolute folly, I believed, I believed totally; I did not question him for a second.  Something other than rational thought was telling me to trust my first instinct, to trust in him wholly and I would at last be set free.
 
'You are an exceptional beauty.  You remind me of the delicious young fops that bejewelled the affairs at the chateaux in Paris.  Ah, but that was so, so long ago.  More than two centuries ago.  But I must say how the Marquis would have adored you, dearest.He smiled at me, a true smile, a beautful smile, a smile that I believed. 
 
I was afraid to ask whom he meant by 'the Marquis,' but whom else could he have meant?  I knew too well of whom he spoke.  Volumes of his works of fiction and his correspondences lay on my bookshelves, my most frequent bed time reading.  Could he really be speaking of the Marquis?  Those thrilling tendrils of excitement were creeping up my insides again.  I remembered how I had felt the first time I read The 120 Days of Sodom.  I remembered how I had gasped aloud at the shocking words and more than once thrown the book across the room in outrage, in disgust.  But I always picked it up again.
 
'The Marquis?'  I asked, as innocently as I could.  He smiled at me, a knowing smile and glanced at my bookshelves, 'Why, Donatien Alphonse Francois Comte et Marquis de Sade.  Whom else, dearest?' 
 
I stood in the middle of my room, slack-jawed; this was insanity.  He was talking about a man who was born in 1740 as if he knew him!  But still I believed and still I did not question him and instead I let my tongue run away with me. 
 
'You knew him; the Marquis de Sade?  What do you mean he would have liked me?  He wasnt......uh......?'  He threw me that disarming smile again, 'Indeed, that is true but the Grand Seigneur loved to look upon all things of beauty, regardless of their gender.He didn't take his eyes off me as I paced the room back and forth, my mind spinning, willing myself not to believe what he was telling me.  'And he was not averse to a little...experimentation.'
 
I was sure that I had lost my mind and was locked in the deepest, darkest recesses of it, quite incurably mad.  In the last few hours I had drank the blood of a dead woman who had been slain for me by an immortal vampire who had been great friends with the Marquis de Sade!  And what was worse still, was that I believed him.
 
I could see that questioning him would be futile, he would not be questioned; he would not be drawn into justifying himself.  He did not care whether or not I or anybody else believed what he said because he knew that time would tell the greater story.
 
I frantically searched for something to say just so that he wouldn't look at me that way in silence.  I did not think I could resist him if I didn't fill my mind with something to focus on so I said 'The sun is coming up.'  He giggled playfully, 'What is it?  Do you wish me to turn to dust?  Or maybe explode into a thousand pieces?  No, no, my darling, I shant do either of those things.  I am sorry to disappoint you.'  He looked a little weary and I wondered how many times over the centuries he'd had explained that one.
 
He explained to me that I should forget all that I had learned from books and films about vampirism.  He told me that they did sleep by day and hunt by night because the acuteness of their sight made it difficult to see in the daytime and could be painful but the sun was in no way dangerous.  Also the very nature of the vampire was suited to a nocturnal existence; like the owl and the bat, they came alive at night to hunt, to feed.   
 
So, I had it all wrong; there was no fear of crosses or garlic or holy water or churches or hawthorn stakes - one clean blow through the heart.  Nothing could kill a vampire except burning or beheading. All the folklore I had devoured over the years was no more than the superstitious, lunatic ramblings of the uneducated and the unsophisticated.  For some reason I felt a little cheated.  But none of this was important now.  What was important was how this man, no, this vampire, came to know of my bloodlust. 
 
I sat down on my bed to ask the question and took a deep breath.  He gave me the broadest smile, his lips parted, fangs making painful indents on his moist, ruddy lower lip.  'I was drawn to you.  Your mind reached out to me.  I am not the only one who heard you, you know?  Many of my kind did.  But I got here first.  Finders keepers, as it were.'  He could see my confusion and explained without me having to ask. 
 
He went on to tell me that they were sensitive, psychic, empathic.  They felt the pain and the pleasure, the joy and the sorrow of people around them.  And especially the isolation and the yearning of somebody like me.  He likened it to tuning in a radio - and the quality of the sound depended on the strength or the weakness of the signal; the more acute the desolation, the clearer the psychic signal. 
 
He had felt that I yearned to live as he did, that I needed somebody who would understand how I felt and would explain my nature to me, listen to me when I needed to pour out my feelings, just be with somebody who was my kin.
 
I began to feel like I had no choice in this situation, no control over my own destiny.  But surely this was my destiny.  This was meant to be.  The inevitability of it all made me angry and a flash of red-hot rage burned my face. 
 
But then I realised that I wanted it, what he came to give me I wanted fiercely, I needed it, craved it.  I wanted to feel his passion for me, the prick of his teeth in my flesh.  And I wanted him.  I knew he could feel my want.
 
He crossed the room to me so slowly and fluidly that I couldn't detect any movement in his limbs.  He took my hands and pulled me gently to my feet.  'Shiloh,' he whispered in my ear, 'Tell me how much you want it.'  The touch of his warm breath on my neck sent a shiver down my spine.  My throat was tight, my mouth dry; I forced the words from my mouth, 'More than words can say.' I told him.
 
I felt the chill from his lips, even though they were not yet touching the skin on my neck.  What was going to happen to me?  Was he just some madman bent on ripping out my throat?  Or was he my saviour, about to deliver me with his eternal kiss?  At this point I could not know.  But I had to take that chance.  Either way, dead or undead, I would be free.
 
The first waves of pain as his teeth pierced my skin were unbearable.  I was frozen in agony, rigid with suffering, unable even to cry out.  But as he began to suck, the most exquisite pleasure overwhelmed me.  I wished that those moments would go on, would last until beyond the end of time.  He held me so close to him, so close, held me like he loved me, held me so tight that he seemed to be inside me, caressing each and every fibre of my being, filling me with his dark wonder. 
 
The act itself was beyond anything I had ever imagined in my wildest and most erotic vampire dreams.  I had spent the first twenty-one years of my life alone and unwanted, isolated from the rest of the world, afraid that someone would, one day, expose me and my peculiarity.  But now, now I was loved and cherished and I would be adored through all time, loved until the end of the world. 
 
He drew away; I felt every nerve ending cry out for more as he slid his fangs from my throat, the mixture of the pleasure and the pain exited me, aroused me.  But it was not the same arousal as sex, it was something above and beyond all realms of the flesh; it was as if he had drank of my soul, supped on my very spirit, my essence, and I desperately wanted to feel it from the other side.
 
I slumped onto my bed, weakened beyond all fatigue I had ever felt.  I was very close to death but those delicious sensations lingered on and made me gasp even in my semiconscious state, bridging the gap between and end of all days and an eternity of night. 
 
I felt something wet on my lips and instinctively flicked my tongue over it; I tasted that familiar strange brew.  I opened my eyes; he had bitten into his own wrist and let the blood run down the inside of his palm, drip off his fingertips and into my mouth.  I looked into his eyes and pulled his wrist to my lips and drank from his vein.  His blood revived me, empowered me.  He moaned as I drank and lay beside me, all the time looking deep into my eyes. It was a moment of pure, pristine sensuality.
And I knew, right then I knew.  I could see in the depth of his eyes all the ages he had seen and all the miles that he had travelled.  I saw the truth.  I saw the whole truth.  All that he had told me was confirmed by the way the he looked at me and in the depth of his stare.
 
I fell asleep in his arms; he cradled me like a treasured child, stroking my hair, holding on, savouring the closeness, the intimacy and the blood fuelled heat of our bodies pressed close together.
 
I woke a short time later.  It wasn't quite light yet but the darkness had faded to a watery grey.  I stood up and stretched then fell to my knees as hideous pain sliced through my gut.  My cries awoke my companion who scooped me up effortlessly and took me to the bathroom, sat me down in front of the toilet.
'Don't worry, my darling, it's just the blood.  It's a purgative to most humans.  You will be quite ill, I'm afraid, but only for a short time.'  I kneeled on the hard white floor, every inch of my body was alive with agonies equal to the previous pleasures I had experienced.  I heaved and wretched, my innards cramping and spasming, twisting and turning.  All the time he stood by my side telling me it would be all right, that it was just my system rebelling against the vampire virus invading it, trying to change it, make me knew.
 
After only a few minutes I stood up and wiped my bloody mouth, splashed cold water on my sweat-slickened face.  He smiled at me, knowing that my changing was complete.  I was new.  He told me that the struggle in my body was now at an end; my human nature had died and my vampire nature had been born.
 
We talked late into the morning.  He told me all about his life before he was changed.  He was the son of a Scottish mother, Catherine Mary Stewart, a  relative on the Scots side of Bonnie Prince Charlies family.  His father was Jean - Louis, Marquis de Beauviosin.  They lived in a grand Chateau in Paris.  He was born in the year 1621; he was his father's only surviving son.  The couple had seven daughters of which three had survived and lost four sons.  Naturally, he was the apple of the Marquis de Beauvoisins eye.   Both his parents were dead of dropsy by the time he was seventeen and so he became the new Marquis de Beauvoisin.  He took it upon himself, as the head of the family now, to make sure that all his sisters were married off to suitable husbands and would be cared for.
 
Once his family duties were done he sank into a terrible depression.  There were no pills or potions for that particular malady then and so sought solaces in the dens of iniquity that Paris was famous for.  He consorted with whores and gamblers, drank himself into stupors, caused fights, fought duels and killed time after time over the pettiest of quarrels.
 
But there came a time when even the company of whores and killers could not lift the heaviness in his heart.  He cried out for something more, his loneliness so profound that he sought out the company of devils and demons and dabbled in ancient rites of black magic, attempted many conjurations, but all in vain.  He cried out to the forces of darkness to come for him and take him to hell where he felt he belonged.  The demons of hell did not hear him.  But a vampire did, a vampire heard him loud and clear, just as he had heard me. 
 
But the one who made him was not the be the loving and benevolent mentor that I know.  He was evil, the old style of evil, wretched and unredeemable and made Jean-Louis out of spite and out of hatred, and to teach the foolish human he should beware of what he wished for.
He imparted no knowledge to him about his new condition and of course, fell pray to all the old superstitions and nonsense from religious zealots he used to hear preaching in churches and in the pages of old battered books that lay mouldering on the shelves of his library. 
 
It took him one hundred and fifty years to realise that he would not turn to dust in the sunlight, that he would not burn and frazzle at the touch of a crucifix or a dousing of holy water or a bulb of garlic.  It took him almost two human lifetimes to realize that he would not melt into a bloody slush if somebody drove a stake through his heart. He laughed heartily without a trace of the bitterness he must surely have felt at one time.  It always made him wonder where on earth these ridiculous superstitions came from.
 
We slept until dark and both woke up at the same moment.  'Good evening!' he said to me, full of joy and kissed me on the forehead like a mother would kiss her beloved son.  'You will remember this night for all eternity - the first time you feed.'  A sudden panic gripped me as I realised that I would have to kill a human being.  He heard my thought and told me that I did not have to kill, that if I could bare it I could drink from animals or I could drink the menstrual flow of women.  I wasn't sure which one alarmed me more! 
 
But I realised that I did not really fear killing, it was just a ghost of human feeling that was left in me and would eventually leave, but may return now and again just like a remembered dream from long ago. 
 
Jean-Louis liked to use fetish clubs; they were safe and the food was willing.  If you only drank a little from several people each individual would suffer no lasting effects, a little fatigue for a few days, perhaps.  They would not be brought over to the darkness. 
And there was no need for discretion here either; the more elaborate your story, the more willing victims you could procure.  They thought that we were role-players like so many others there.  There were thousands of them in clubs all around the country and wherever we chose to go we would be safe.
 
But, now and then, that ancient hunger would demand a kill.  It had happened to Jean-Louis the night that he killed the girl for me.  It was irresistible, a force that even the will of the vampire could not conquer.  It must be appeased, its thirst slaked, like a sacrifice to an archaic God.
 
As we arrived at The Blood Bank, a club just off Sunset, I felt the thrill of anticipation coursing through me like an arc of electricity, up through the soles of my feet and right up to the top of my head, down my arms, into my fingers, with such a force I looked down and expected to see sparks dripping off my fingertips and collect in vibrant pools on the floor. 
 
The place was wall to wall with Goths; all of them were beautiful to me with their white faces and black clothes and black hair.  But they were all looking at us.  It was as if they sensed the presence of the real thing.  A few of the more brave among them approached us and without saying a word lead us into a back room where they allowed us to feed on them.
 
I don't think that my words are adequate enough to describe such a feeling as feeding on a live human.  I was surprised that I didn't have to suck hard; the blood rushes from the vein into your mouth.  You can even feel it pulsing if you drink from a large vein or artery; your own heart synchronises with the heart of your donor.  You can feel the life force ebb as you drink deeper and harder, feel the heart slow as you empty it.  The nightly feeding is divine but the kill is the sweetest agony; the pleasure is almost unbearable, almost too much, almost.  I still feel pangs of guilt before and after my occasional kills, even now after more than a decade as a vampire. 
 
Jean-Louis always tells me that I am still an infant in vampire years.  Of course, he is right, even though in mortal years I would be approaching middle age, I am still a very young vampire.  He is constantly at my side and I know that he will never leave me and I will never leave him.  He loves me and I shall always love him, cherish him for cherishing me and be forever grateful to him for bestowing on me the gift of darkness. 
 
I will be young and beautiful until the end of time, I shall be desired until the world ceases to turn and I shall live, live forever and never die.  Thank you, Jean-Louis, my dearest, for my eternity.
 
But this was just the very beginning of my story, this was only the moments of my birth and I have so much more to tell you, reader, so much more to tell you.

Alex Severin 1998

To find out more about Alex Severin read our interview with her here

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