Once upon a time there was a small boy called Raul…

It was so very, very long ago. I was just a child. What you would call now the Inca Empire was my home.  My Father was a State Official and ordered road building and the carvings at the great temple. I was Sixteen years old when I wandered out into the eastern woods, I wanted to see the Lake. It started to get dark and I realised I was lost. I was so tired, I just wanted to sleep but a noise from above frightened me. It was a woman, as she drifted through the trees she became a Raven, then when she touched to the ground she became a she-wolf. When she saw me she moved faster than a shadow and pinned me against a tree.

“What are you?” She barked into my face.

“I am Raul… I am a boy.” I started crying, I know that I shouldn’t, the warriors at the games competed to have their death honored by the Gods. But I was just a boy.

All trace of the wolf was gone and I could smell her musk and feel the heat of her skin. “Little Raul, I have a treat for you.” So very long ago.

It is now 1793, Louis the XVI has been executed. I managed to smuggle myself aboard to a ship bound for London. I try not to change my form but I though another rat would go unnoticed. In my human shape I am still just a Sixteen year old boy and there are few sailors who pass up the chance of a bedmate, even if it meant exchanging clothes or food or good drinking water. Those that tried to take advantage of me became my food stock and were thrown over board, When we arrived in London I took to my paws and ran as far as I could from that damned ship.

1851. The world has changed more and more. There are now engines that are fueled by steam. I have manged to employ a man Called Gardener to act as my Father in social situations. I first met him in the market where he tried to pick my pocket, though small I am very strong. I broke his wrist with great ease and regular payment and ample amounts of whiskey seem to keep him happy. I am almost at peace with myself. I sleep in a bed, we rent rooms in a well known location and are accepted, apart from the odd raised eyebrow at my dark skin. Deep in his cups, I once tried to tell Gardener what I am, although there is no word for what I am. But that I will never age and must from time to time eat living blood, yet he was too drunk to hear what I was saying. He does not know it but he is dying. The leaf he smokes has made some black sickness in his lungs which will kill him before the year ends. I will end him before then.

It is 1921, Grace. An ex-prostitute is my ‘Mother’ now. We are at Wimbledon watching Tilden play Norton. I can’t say that I much care for tennis but Grace seems to like it and I like her to be happy. The English have a dog like resilience.  That terrible war scarred them all but everyone just carries on as best they can. I feed less and less now. I do not seem to need the blood anymore. As I hold Grace’s hand and we cheer the results I realise that I must be almost 380 years old. I don’t know if it was the bright sun, the feeling of the crowd or Grace’s warm hand in my cold dead one. I wanted to, needed to feed, the desire in my was a giddy, drunken sickness. Once in 1908 I was brought to the house of a wealthy and titled Gentleman, who had me bathed and dressed in fresh clothes. I don’t have to imagine what he intended to do to me but when alone in his chambers, I became a Jaguar and ate his heart out through his chest. I swallow down my thirst and squeeze Grace’s hand. It has been six months since I fed. I do not harm the innocent. It is my own law and unbreakable, sadly their are too many people, men that would take advantage of a, well what looks like a sixteen year old boy. I knew that within minutes I could find food if I wished, Grace was laughing and waving her ticket and seemed so full of joy. I ignored my base appetite and joined her in the cheering. That was one of the happiest days of my very, very long life.

1986 – I have just watched the news the a nuclear reactor has been destroyed. I cannot help but cry. Some unpronounceable city in Russia is now a no-Go zone and will be for thousands upon thousands of years, I will still be here when it is safe for man to return there. The stars can burn out of the sky and I will still be here, the oceans and mountains swept away and I will still endure. I am not proud of the life I have lived. I tried never to hurt the innocent but I am a haemovore. I did not chose this life, it was forced upon me. My new Guardian, Richard is a Dealer at the stock exchange, I paid off his debts as long as he tells people he is my ‘Uncle’. He has been passed out for many hours. Coke and champagne are his two greatest vices but I am cold and lonely so I settle down beside him and put his arm over my chest. We both sleep for fourteen hours, the longest I think I have ever slept in my preternatural life.

2015 – For a short time in the late 90’s I hustled off the streets, killing those that needed  it. I woke at 5am one day knowing that I was among the last one of my kind. I grabbed whatever would fit into my rucksack and ran. I was never taught any rules about us, the one that made me was gone long before I ever woke up. As far as I know, not one of us has ever turned someone so young before. I don’t have the ability to do it. I tried and failed. When I knew Gardener was dying I tried then and he bled out. Richard, my sweet kind, silly Richard. I tried to turn him but he has a fatal heart attack. Perhaps I lack the skill, the strength to do it. I have always been able to sense others like me but they always kept their distance. Perhaps they wanted company as much as I preferred solitude. I never tried to seek them out, they were like distant music carried on the wind. Now there is almost nothing, like white noise. Perhaps this was the gods’ plan all along, that we are a mutation of the perfect order and should be eradicated. I have, in the last near on 500 years been shot, stabbed, hung, burned and beaten. I always heal. How are they, my kind dying? I like churches and crucifixes and holy water do nothing to me. I love garlic. I have a silver ring that I took from a German rapist in 1982 that I have worn for the last thirty-three years. How are we dying? Can I die? I have been a twelve year old boy for four hundred and eighty odd years. I have killed thousands upon thousands of people. Do I deserve to die? Am I truly a monster?

That’s when I felt it, a foreign, alien mind behind my eyes. The door to my apartment blew back off it hinges and there stood a tall black man with a light in his eyes. “Raul?” I nodded, already I could feel my nails growing and my teeth lengthening in my mouth. “I have no time to fight you boy, come with me now!”

2017 – We have lived in Canada now for nearly two years. Saebow my new Guardian is even older then me. He was turned in Egypt, centuries ago. He is kind and patient and likes to laugh. He shares my belief that we should only kill the dangerous ones. The Vatican issued sealed orders to a secret sect called The Brotherhood, who killed almost all of us. Saebow has had dealings with them before. In Egypt we were worshiped as gods. Anubis, not a Jackal but a wolf was thought to be the very first of us. He decided the guilt of men and killed the unworthy. The Brotherhood calls us ‘Vampires’. As if there were such a thing! For the first time in a very long time it is a pleasure to sleep in someones arms who means you no ill will. I have not been a human for a very long time but I did not die that day, I still want my home, my pleasure, the comfort of others. Saebow means me no malice and welcomes me into his bed, he behaves with tact and dignity. Finally I can sleep and dream of distant music on the wind.

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