I woke to find Drake, Samantha, Maggie and Sarah hovering over my bed.
“What happened?” I asked. The room was fuzzy and I wasn’t sure where I was.
Everyone glanced at Drake; there was a look of concern on Maggie’s face. With a nod, they exited the room.
“What happened?” I repeated a bit more frenzied. “Where am I? Why can I not see? What’s going on?” I tried sitting up.
“Calm down, Zoe. You’re gonna be fine…,” Drake replied. “You’re in your room right now.” He sighed. “And there’s more.”
I felt my heart fall to my stomach…wait…what’s wrong with me…my heart. “Drake my heart! I can’t feel my heartbeat!”
“Zoe, Zoe, relax, that’s what I need to tell you.” He moved closer to me looking at me with grief stricken eyes. “You’re dead,” he said somberly.
I stared at him with a look of utter disbelief. “I’m what?!” I exclaimed standing up.
“Well the more accurate term is ‘undead’. I turned you. Zoe, I had to. I couldn’t let…,” his words trailed off. “I couldn’t lose you, I can’t live without you.”
“Live!? Drake, you aren’t alive! And apparently neither am I?! What do you mean you had to turn me? I’m a vampire!?” I asked. “You killed me? Why? Why did you kill me?”
“I didn’t kill you Zoe, I saved you.”
“Why? Why did you do this?”
“Because I didn’t fight this hard to walk away; there was no way everything we’d been through together, everything your family fought for and everything the Syndicate fought to protect was ending like that.”
“How did this happen?”
“You’ll get those memories back in time. You’ll understand, Zoe. Do you at least remember the last thing you said to me? Zoe?”
“No. I don’t remember anything. I just know my head feels as if it’s going to split in two!”
There was sadness in his eyes that I couldn’t understand. “What did I say?” I asked.
“It’s nothing,” he said with a sigh. “I just couldn’t let it be the last time I ever heard your voice. I guess my actions were purely selfish. I wasn’t thinking about the life I was giving you. The hunger, the desire to feed, the unchecked emotions…it is a kind of torment that I regret placing on you, but I’ll help you through everything as much as possible.”
I sat back on my bed and Drake joined me. There was so much going through my head. I was trying to understand; trying to make sense of everything that was happening. So I’m dead? No, I’m undead. I’m a vampire. A vampire witch…does that even work?
“I’m sure it works just fine,” Drake said. “I know you have a lot of questions and I will answer all of them, I promise. Is there anything I can get for you?”
I sat brooding and running my tongue across the new teeth in my gums. “Ow!”
“What?” Drake asked.
“I bit my tongue,” I replied. “I’m hungry. No, I don’t think that’s the right word for it. I’m ravenous! Something smells so…intoxicating!”
I jumped from the bed and ran down to the kitchen to raid the fridge. Drake was close behind me.
“You’re not going to find what you want in there,” he said.
“Then where is it? I smell something so…sweet.” “Follow your nose,” Drake said. I followed the scent and stopped short of Samantha standing near the dining room table.
No! I thought. “No!” I screamed. “Why did you do this, Drake? You made me want to rip out my best friends’ throat and have her for lunch!” I started up the stairs and was back in my bedroom before I could blink.
“Zoe, there is a lot that I will need to teach you. I know you have to be in pain right now over what has happened and I understand. But this had to be done. I didn’t know how else to save you!”
“Is it reversible? Can I be my old self again? What am I saying! Of course it’s not! I’m dead! There is no coming back from this.” I started crying and Drake came over to comfort me.
“My skin is cold, my mouth hurts, my eyes are burning and I have the urge to hunt for people! This is a curse I wouldn’t have wished on even my worst enemy.”
I went and slumped on the bed. Drake came and joined me. He placed his arm around me and tried to make me feel better. We sat on the bed for a while and he just held me. My stomach started rumbling louder.
“Come on,” he said.
“Where are we going?”
“You need to feed, Zoe. Otherwise you’ll wither away and become frail and weak.”
“I don’t want to feed, Drake! Just leave me alone,” I said rolling over and laying my head down.
“Zoe, you need to do this. I need you to stay strong for me. Please,” he begged.
“You’re asking me to go out and kill someone,” Drake! “I can’t begin to tell you the moral conflict that is causing for me! I will not feed!”
“Fine. Here,” he said cutting his arm and offering me his wrist. “Feed from me for now. You won’t get the nutrients you exactly need, but you won’t become a shriveled up old corpse either.”
The smell of his blood was so inviting. I grabbed at him and quickly began feeding. The taste was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. His blood was sweet yet with a tang; not warm but not exactly cold. It was quickly satisfying and yet I wanted more. I craved it.
“That’s enough,” he said pulling away. He smiled at me. His eyes could still melt me when he gave me that look. “You’ve made a mess of yourself.”
I turned and walked to the bathroom and glanced in the mirror. There was blood smeared around my lips. I washed up and returned to the bedroom.
“I don’t know if I can do this,” Drake. “I can’t feed on people the rest of my…for eternity!”
“There are other ways now, Zoe. We can survive this together.”
He held me tight and I closed my eyes I just wanted to go back to a day ago.
“How do you make the voices stop?”
“The voices? Oh the thoughts. The trick to that is to concentrate on the person you actually care to hear. Let’s try it. Focus on me; try to hear my voice only in your head and tune everything and everyone else out. Ok?”
I nodded. I closed my eyes and did as Drake said. I listened for his voice in the sea of echoing chatter. I could hear police radios blocks away, car horns four streets over, a teenager playing excruciatingly loud punk rock on his or her headsets, a man placing an order for a fish and chips dinner, a woman yelling at her children to clean their room. Then finally there it was! I love you, Zoe. Drake’s words came through clearer; drowning out all of the other noises in my head I love you, Zoe.
I opened my eyes, “I love you too, Drake,” I said. His eyes lit up. He slipped his arms around me and kissed me. Even without the warmth of the blood that once filled my veins, I could feel the passion and the heat in his embrace.
I felt alive again. His kisses were soft and sweet. His hands playfully teased the small of my back as I stroked my fingers through his hair. His arms gripped me tighter and it only fueled my obsession, my desire to be with him. I didn’t want him to let me go. I wanted to stay wrapped in his arms forever; slipping into some fantasy where there was only the two of us, happy and in love.
My mind wandered to the first time we made love. My body burned in ecstasy at just the thought of how his tender touch caressed my flesh. The sheer delight of his hands all over me sent me into a frenzy. He lifted me up as he had done before and carried me to the bed.
Every inch of my body tingled for him. Within seconds we were unclothed. He pressed against me, kissing every part of me. My fingers danced around the lines in his rippling physique.
He pulled me down under the covers with him. I wrapped my legs around his back, entangling us in a heated and sensuous lock. We made love; fittingly enough since it was the first time I’d ever said those words to him.
His body moved on mine as expert as before. I shivered in excitement as we reached the height of intimacy together.
He gazed longingly into my eyes as we came up for ‘air’ and kissed the back of my hand as he held it.
I crawled into his arms, feeling his chest under my head.
“If I would have known I’d be rewarded like that for those words, I would have told you sooner,” I said to him.
He kissed my hand and looked me deep in my eyes. “You did,” he replied. “Those were the last words you said to me.”
Now I understood why he gave me such a pained expression earlier when I told him I didn’t remember. The first time I told him I loved him and I couldn’t recall. Everything made sense. He sired me because he finally heard what he wanted from me, and that’s why he couldn’t ‘live’ without me.
“Shh,” he interrupted. “It’s ok beautiful. I completely understand. The emotions of everything you’d gone through, the five stages of grief, the heightened senses, it sends your nervous system into overdrive. But as I said before, you’ll get your memories back in time. Unlike me, you didn’t get to decide whether you wanted this or not. You had no idea what to expect.”
There it is again. That gentle, loving and nurturing nature of the man I’d fallen for. He pressed closer into me and kissed me once more.
We pulled away from each and lay in silence. “A heartbeat is a funny thing, Drake. You don’t notice it really when you’re alive, but I miss it now that it’s gone. I feel kinda empty. Like something’s not complete inside of me.”
“I know what you mean. While your heart is still there, it’s not working as it used to.”
“Zoe,” he said standing up and walking to my side of the bed. “I don’t want you to hate me for what I did to you. I hope you understand the reason behind it.” I stood and walked over to him.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and ran my fingers through his hair. “Of course I understand, Drake. You didn’t like the idea of facing eternal life without me. In a way it’s really sweet.”
“I feel incredibly lucky to have a guy like you in my life…or afterlife. But there is also a part of me that wonders why if you hate having to live as you do, you would give me the same pain if you loved me as deeply as you say.”
Drake looked me in my eyes. “I have no words to describe how much I feel for you, Zoe. I am sorry to curse you with the hunger. But I don’t regret the idea of having you in my life forever.”