Allen huffed as he struggled to lift the old ford off of his brother?s flattened body. The strain caused the veins to bulge in his neck and face. He put all his strength and will into moving the two ton car. Not an inch. It would not budge one bit. His hundred ten pound frame simply could not move the car. The rear wheel spun slowly, morbidly to a stop. He knew his brother was dead but could not give up hope. As the darkness settled around them and the rain froze to the road and trees, Allen wondered how this could have happened. He sat down on the ice and faced Chad?s protruding head. That dark hair would never leave his memory. The only part of Chad that was not crushed was his head. Allen extended a shaking hand to touch Chad?s dark curls. The sobs began to rack his body and the sadness to swallow his heart. A single footfall behind him served as warning for the hand that gently came to rest on his thin shoulder. The thin pale fingers distorted through his tears, drawing the fingernails out into long sharp claws.

??????????? ?Not to worry, Allen. You will see him soon.? The soft voice rippled into his ears, barely audible above the sound of the rain spattering the underside of the car.

??????????? ?Help him, please?? Allen?s voice broke and trembled.

??????????? ?I cannot. He is beyond my help now. All I can do is to send you to be with him? The voice was soothing and gentle. It?s origin indiscernible. ?The choice is yours. Stay here and carry on, or join him now.? Allen?s mind froze as if the rain and wind had joined him to the ice storm. His thoughts would not come, just blankness. Slowly his mind thawed to the realization that this person was offering to kill him. Shock took over his mind and the image of his dead brother burned in his eyes. He saw his parents sitting at home eating dinner. They had no idea that their sons had been in an accident. Allen began to sob again. How would they ? could they ? deal with the deaths of both of their sons in one night! Would they blame Allen if he survived? Would it be better to have one son than none?

??????????? ?No? I want to live!? Allen?s feeble voice rose tightly from his throat.

??????????? ?You have chosen.? The quiet voice whispered. The lanky form straightened behind Allen, and then was gone. Allen waited for a sign of the presence of the voice but could detect nothing through the still violent sobs that choked him.




Bjorn lounged in the plush chair, his long golden locks draping peacefully over his broad shoulders and down his heavy chest, the feeling of a full belly overtaking him and sending him into a sleepy stupor. Heavy eyelids drooped over stark blue eyes that looked out the glassless window frame into the city. Silence reigned now in the vast brick and concrete building, filling the air as palpably as screams had just a half hour earlier. The smell of blood still hung in the air. Seven stories below, three bodies lay silently on dusty old concrete, blank eyes staring at nothing. Bjorn allowed his mind to leave the old cannery and walk the streets of the metropolis. He was not hunting this time, simply watching the hustle and bustle that never ceased. He wandered through the square and observed lovers holding hands, drunks stumbling from one bar to the next, teens exiting a concert, taxi?s roaming the streets in search of fares and snow slowly drifting into the slush that pervaded it all. This was his favorite part of the night. He could wander and watch without the drive to feed, hanging on the edge of sleep and waking. If only he could always have this without the need for blood. Bjorn drifted into the darkness of sleep where he was not haunted by dreams, but lived in them. He stepped into the salty wind of a sunny beach in the Hawaiian Islands. The sun bathed his body in it?s warmth as he listened to the waves washing onto the warm sand. Taking easy steps, he walked to the magical place where the water and sand met and mingled in the bright sun. These dreams were the closest he could ever get to that simple reality. His pale skin had been susceptible to the sunlight before becoming a vampire, now after three hundred years he could burn in just thirty minutes in the northern sun. Tropical sun would not show him any love or mercy, he was sure. He remembered what his friend had said two hundred fifty years ago.

?That sun burns you like frost burns plants. You are always going to have to wear long sleeves and pants and hats!? They both knew Bjorn looked funny in hats. That friend had died before Bjorn had been a vampire for seventy years. He tried not to dwell on the deaths of friends over the centuries, there were far too many. He turned his dreams back to escapes and peace in tropical paradises. His mind embraced the escape for as long as it could, leaving behind the violent reality of his existence. He had led this ?life? for more than three hundred years, and was comfortable with it. If he could go back and was given a choice, he would do it again.




Terri walked without purpose through the neighborhoods of the suburbs. The snow gently falling around her to settle lightly on the lawns and roofs, melting as it struck streets and sidewalks. It was peaceful in the ?burbs. The last nights of winter giving way to spring would bring an end to silent snowy nights like this, but would usher in the warmer nights filled with the smells of spring flowers and the chirps of crickets. Her mind wandered to the night not so long ago when the boy, Allen, made his choice to live rather than join his brother in death. She smiled at the thought that he would some day be content with his choice. She held her gloved hand out to catch some snowflakes. They melted slowly, moistening the leather. As she walked the dark snowy streets, she thought of all the loved ones that had passed before her. Her mother and father had died just weeks apart, her older brother had been killed in world war one, her younger sister had died of old age just after the Korean war, aunts and uncles, cousins. Really the only family members that still lived were her nephew and grand nephew. Terri hadn?t seen her nephew in a decade. A police cruiser drove slowly by, the officer behind the wheel watching her. In her minds eye she saw her nephew, now pushing sixty himself, and what he might look like. His hair may have gone snowy white by now, his wrinkles a little deeper, his frame a little more stooped. She decided to go see him. Not to visit, just to see. He was amazed last time they spoke that she was still so young looking. He was only sixteen then. All her visits since had been secret, just to see. She had even been there when his son was born. It had taken a week for her to recover from those tuberculosis lights. They had given her a good burn on her face. She chuckled as the cruiser went past and continued on it?s rounds. At least she didn?t have to worry about premature wrinkles.

Terri finished her walk and headed to the old barn just north of the city limits. It had been home for nearly a month now. She had thought about renting an apartment for awhile, but since she had very limited finances she decided against it. She could live in the barn until someone decided to snoop around there. Then she would have to find a new home again. Sometimes Terri got tired of the constant moving from place to place. Sometimes she thought she might leave New York, go to some mid west city like St. Louis or Kansas City. Terri always decided to stay. She had lived in New York for nearly forty years. As she reached the old barn she noticed that the doors were open. She hadn?t left them open and she was sure that the light breezes couldn?t have pushed them that far, they were open far enough for a grown man to enter without squeezing. It was nearing seven in the morning and the only reason it was still dark was that the clouds were hiding the sky. She stood still for a moment making a decision. She was still fifty yards from the barn and she had nothing in there as she wore all her possessions on herself. She should turn and leave now rather than face the human that was surely in there. Then she caught the scent in the breeze. It was a familiar scent of faint old death. There was another vampire in the barn. That changed the whole situation. Terri straightened her lean frame and headed for the open doors.




??????????? Bjorn awoke on alert. His body tensed and ready to spring into action as his nose delivered the faint scent of death to his brain. Another vampire was in his home, an intruder, uninvited and unwelcome. Bjorn concentrated for a moment and became invisible. He quietly rose from his plush chair and scanned the vast room. His eyes quickly settled on a figure sitting atop an old water furnace staring straight at him. The vampire was a tall male with long black hair held in a loose tail. His sharply featured face and trim goatee spoke of European blood, French or northern Spain perhaps. When he spoke, he spoke flat English with no accent.

?No need for hostility, Bjorn. I didn?t come here to fight. I came here to share information.? His full bass voice resounded in the enormous room.

?What if I don?t want to share information?? Bjorn?s heavy voice also echoed in the chamber. ?You know my name, but I am unaware of yours.? Bjorn allowed the invisibility to fade off. The lanky European dropped of the water furnace to the hard concrete floor with just a whisper of air moving over his clothes. With a flourishing bow he proclaimed.

?My name is Ivan Brihling, formerly of Belgium, pleased to make your acquaintance.? He straightened from the deep bow to find Bjorn just a few feet in front of him.

?You could have knocked.? Bjorn stated flatly as he looked at the Belgians eyes.

?I could have, but this is too important to risk not meeting you. Besides, I didn?t want to walk through your feeding room downstairs.? The Belgian walked around Bjorn looking at the unfurnished room. The only comfortable seat was Bjorn?s plush chair. ?I take it you don?t entertain visitors much??

?Never, and I didn?t intend to today either.? Bjorn shot a look out the window to the sunlit city. It had to be around noon. ?What is so important that you come at this time of day??

?No coffee or tea? No biscuits or cookies? You are not very hospitable are you?? Ivan?s eyebrows were raised in question of Bjorn?s manners.

?My patience is wearing thin, Belgian!? Bjorn?s normally fair skin was darkening around his face, giving it a bruised look and causing his bared teeth to stand out against the darkening background.

?Very well, I see you have no humor in your life. This matter involves a new breed of vampire hunters. They are here in New York and actively hunting and killing vampires.? Ivan attempted to gage the affect his news had on Bjorn, and as he suspected there was none.

?What do I care for vampire hunters? They have always been around and I have always avoided or defeated them.? Bjorn looked as unimpressed as he felt. ?Surely you are not so young as to let this bother you??

?Not at all, I have been around since the plague. Like you I have survived many encounters with vampire hunters. These men and women are different though. I suspect that they have knowledge about us and new technology to combat our abilities. Yesterday they killed one whom was nearly an ancient.? Ivan pivoted to face the bright window over the cityscape. ?If these were normal vampire hunters, I would never bother another vampire in his home, not one of your age anyways.?

?And you really believe this is a serious threat to us?? Bjorn?s concern was growing. If Ivan had been around since the plague then he was older than Bjorn, the Black Death was almost seven hundred years ago in the thirteen hundreds. Bjorn knew that after the plague vampire hunting was at its peak. The humans blamed vampires for the spread of the disease.

?I wouldn?t be here if I didn?t think it was serious. I saw the battle ground and I personally knew the one they destroyed. She was not a vampire to be trifled with. She was nine hundred sixty years old and very powerful. Not one of the hunters was killed.? Ivan looked truly concerned as he paced the room with hands clasped behind his back. ?I found an object that they left behind. It truly concerns me.? He stopped pacing and pulled a plastic bag from his inside coat pocket. Bjorn approached to see the item. His blue eyes narrowed as Ivan unfurled the bag, exposing what appeared to be a modified syringe with a heavy silver needle as the injector. Ivan opened the top of the plastic bag allowing some fumes to escape. Ivan jumped back, his nose burning and eyes tearing.

?What is that!?? His shout an exclamation as much as a question.

?Garlic, or to be more precise concentrated allicin.? Ivan re wrapped the five inch syringe in the bag and put it away. ?It appears to be a pressurized injector. The needle opens a valve on impact allowing the fluid to be pumped into your body. All that was left of Sharon was a pool of fluid and her bones.? Bjorn and Ivan locked eyes for a moment.

?This IS serious!? Bjorn turned again to the window. ?Perhaps it is time for me to return to the old world.?

?That may only prolong the inevitable. If they build more experience and get better at killing us? This may be the time to kill them rather than wait. They are not a threat I want to be looking over my shoulder for. I would like to form a temporary alliance to rid us of these hunters. I was hoping to gain your partnership.? Ivan stepped directly into Bjorn?s line of sight, staring into his eyes. ?What do you think, Bjorn??

?I will help. You are right. I don?t want to be watching over my shoulder for the rest of my eternity. We need to get them before they spread their knowledge and tools.? Bjorn?s eyes tipped down to look at the place in Ivan?s coat where the nasty syringe rested. ?We don?t need an outright war to form like the witch hunts.? Bjorn looked back to Ivan?s eyes. ?When do we do this??

?I would like to get at least five of us together before we even attempt to form a strategy. Do you know any other mature ones that might join us?? Ivan turned from Bjorn?s gaze to look at the gleaming city again.

?I might. I will talk with two this evening, before dark. Do you know of any others??

?No. You and Sharon are the only two mature ones that I knew how to find. I heard that Hectar is in Duluth, but I have no way of contacting him. Besides, this may be his doing.? Ivan?s mouth turned down at the corners as he thought of Hectar.

?I hope you don?t mean directly. Hectar may be eccentric, but I don?t see why he would want vampires to be exterminated. Most likely we are all descended of his blood in one way or another.? Bjorn wanted to dismiss the thought that Hectar may have anything to do with this situation.

?I don?t mean directly, but you know that he is sending his book out with young ones. It is very possible that these hunters have found a book and are using the information in it. He practically outlines how to destroy us in that damn thing!? Ivan pounded his fist as he ended his sentence. Bjorn knew that many vampires disliked Hectar because of his attitudes and sharp tongue. He guessed that at some point Ivan and Hectar must have met. Bjorn had never met Hectar but had heard of him many times when he met other vampires. Hectar had been around since somewhere around seven hundred fifty B. C. There were very few left that were as old as or older than Hectar.

?Do you want to meet here?? Bjorn looked very sincere in his offer.

?Would you clean up the mess downstairs? If so, then this place would be most suitable.? Ivan grinned at Bjorn?s discomfort about the bodies below.

?Of course. I will also get more chairs.? Bjorn offered a heavy browed scowl in reply to Ivan?s chastising grin.

?Very well, in the morning. Perhaps just after sunrise?? Ivan offered the time thinking Bjorn would be comfortable with it.

?Sounds good. Until then Ivan.?

?Until then.? Ivan replied as he turned for the doorway across the room. Bjorn walked to his chair and stood in front of it looking out the window. After he heard Ivan reach the next floor down, he sat. There would be no more rest for him today. He focused and sent his mind out to find these other two vampires. He was not certain about Terri?s age, just that she stayed outside the city in a barn. Abu was a different story though. He and Bjorn had crossed paths and tempers many times in the past few centuries.? Bjorn?s consciousness raced through the streets of New York. He was heading north for the suburbs. Knowing that the barn was just a few miles from the coast was enough for Bjorn to choose the streets to get there. Soon his mind was racing the edge of the city limits, looking for the barn. It wasn?t the barn that caught his attention, but the presence of another old vampire, someone strong. He slowed and followed the feeling. It took him to a barn?


New Friends


??????????? Terri stopped at the entrance of the barn. Something was wrong. Whoever was inside projected their presence in a powerful way. For just a moment she considered turning and walking away.

??????????? ?Come in here, child. I will not harm you.? The voice was male and heavily accented with what sounded like Chinese. Terri froze. A cold chill raced down her spine as she took a hesitant step inside. The voice called to her again.

??????????? ?I will not harm you, this is your home. I am only here to visit.? The small Chinese man was sitting cross legged on the floor in the middle of the open barn. He looked almost frail, but Terri know that was a mistaken impression, she could feel his power. She walked slowly towards him, forcing each step while her instincts screamed at her to run.

??????????? ?Sit, I made some tea for you.? The mans eyes focused on a tea pot and two tiny bowls sitting on the floor. Steam wafted up from the pot carrying a faint scent of white tea. He looked to be four foot ten or so and maybe one hundred pounds. His physical appearance of being in his mid to late twenties was normal even for the oldest vampires. He wore traditional Chinese clothes of peasant origin. Tan cloth bag-pants, rope and wood sandals, and a loose tan cloth shirt adorned his body. His black hair was waist length and held in a top knot. He extended his hand in a gesture to her to sit.

??????????? ?Have I done something wrong?? Terri found her small voice as she sat across the tea set from him.

??????????? ?Not at all. I am passing through and just stumbled upon your humble home. It reminds me of my origins in many ways, so I decided to stay and see you.? He poured the tea as he talked, then smiled up at her as he handed her one of the tiny bowls. Terri smiled back at him, still uncomfortable, and then bowed her head.

??????????? ?Thank you kind sir.? Her voice was a little stronger now. When she looked back to his face, he smiled and held his tea cup up to her then drew it back and drank. Terri repeated his gesture. The tea was warming and soothing to her body! She felt good after the first sip. All her fears of this man?s intentions left her, though her respect of his age and power did not diminish at all.

??????????? ?So you have traveled a long ways to get here?? Terri tried to draw him into the familiar pleasantries. It seemed not to bother him in the least as he answered her.

??????????? ?Not so far. Just from eastern China.? His grin widened into a smile at his own humor. Terri laughed lightly.

??????????? ?Only as far from here as there is, then!?

??????????? ?You are no longer afraid?? His grin settled to a gentle expression.

??????????? ?Not afraid, but very respectful.? Terri old the truth.

??????????? ?Your years do not do justice to your wisdom. Very courteous for one so young. I am impressed. Perhaps America is not as horrible as I had feared.?

??????????? ?I?m afraid it is, sir. In general America is very rude and abrasive by Chinese standards.? Terri decided that she wanted to be as friendly and helpful to this one as she possibly could.

??????????? ?Yes, so is China!? The old one cackled laughter. Terri joined him.

??????????? ?I apologize for my lack of hospitality, I have no food to offer you but you are welcome to stay as long as you like.? The laughter of the old one faded as Terri?s statement left her lips.

??????????? ?That is hospitality enough for me, child. Do not be ashamed. Many days I have had nothing to offer guests but a roof to sleep under. Today I bring the food and drink and you supply the roof.? The old one reached behind him and brought forth a small bag.? From it he drew a small loaf of bread and a smoked fish. He split both in half and handed half of each to Terri.

??????????? ?Other than food when was the last time you fed?? His question threw Terri and she had to pause before answering.

??????????? ?If I remember correctly it was eight days ago.? She hoped her memory was accurate.

??????????? ?Very good. You are not a glutton then, as there are plenty of people here to feed off.? He gazed into her eyes as he talked with her.

??????????? ?There are plenty, but I don?t take more than I need.? She was getting more comfortable, though she still did not know his name.

??????????? ?How many have you killed in your time?? His gaze stayed steady on Terri?s eyes.

??????????? ?Two. Both were dying and in pain. I don?t kill to feed.? Terri was afraid that this might anger him, but she did not mean it as an accusation in any way.

??????????? ?Very good. I am developing a respect for you child. My name is Lin Dao, and I am pleased to make your acquaintance.? He bowed his head slightly, but his eyes never left hers. ?Who was your maker??

??????????? ?One named Donavan. He died shortly after he made me.? She had never revealed her maker before and it felt kind of like giving up an old secret.

??????????? ?And when were you made?? He continued.

??????????? ?Nineteen fourteen. Just a few years before America entered the war.? She was beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable in this line of questions.

??????????? ?So you have been a vampire for just eighty five years. You have developed quite a bit for one so new. Do you sleep?? This question seemed strange to her. She had not slept since the end of world war two.

??????????? ?Not in fifty years or so. Is that bad??

??????????? ?No. It means you are more developed than you should be. Most have to sleep once a year or so until they reach one hundred years as a vampire. You must be very much attuned. How long did your transition last??

??????????? ?Transition? You mean when Donavan made me? I slept for two days and woke up as a vampire.?

??????????? ?Yes, very nice. If you can survive, you will be a very powerful one indeed!? Lin took another sip of tea and a bite of fish.

??????????? They talked for several hours until the sun reached its highest point in the sky, then they rested for awhile, each with their own thoughts to digest.


A New Breed


??????????? Shane mixed the unusual bacterium with a solution of blood and sugar in the petri dish. He put it in the incubator and watched in amazement as the colony visibly grew. He pulled the dish back out and swabbed some of the mixture onto a microscope slide. Gently covering the sample he slid it under the powerful scope. After a little adjusting he gasped in amazement. The bacterium had disappeared and the remaining blood cells had changed dramatically! This was a project five years in the works, and he had finally gotten it!

??????????? ?Calm Shane, calm now.? He whispered to himself. He turned and grabbed the phone. He dialed the number he had memorized for just this occasion. The woman?s voice came from the other end.

??????????? ?Yes??

??????????? ?I?ve got it. It?s finished. How much of it do you want me to make?? Shane was sweating now, excited and nervous.

??????????? ?Make enough for ten people and keep some to grow more if we need to. I?ll be there in the morning with the cash.? The phone clicked and the line went dead. Shane hung up the receiver and turned back to the incubator. He froze the failures and made ready more dishes for the success. When all was in order he had thirty dishes ready and began swabbing the original bacterium into them. Adding the growth solution, he placed them back in the incubator to grow. The bloodied dish he froze then bagged and tagged with ?result A? before putting it in the storage freezer. He locked down the lab and went home.

??????????? At six in the morning Shane was back in the lab. He got all the lights on and the two computers booted up, then he checked the growth plates. Success! All the dishes were full of the living bacterium! He began the quick process of suspending them in a saline solution and filling the ten I.V. bags. By seven he was finished and still had enough solution for one more bag. He made it and stuffed it in his back pack. He then sat at the computer and began typing his final report. At eight precisely a woman walked into the lab. She was tall at about five foot nine and her thin arms and legs were very well toned. She had pale skin and long, curly black hair. Her brown almond shaped eyes were defined in her pale skin.

??????????? ?Hello Shane. How are you?? She cocked a half smile as she looked at the scientist.

??????????? ?Fine ma?am. I?m fine. How are you?? Shane stood and looked at the woman in marvel. He had expected someone older and less attractive. This woman had the figure of a model.

??????????? ?Your news made everything wonderful, Shane! Here is what I promised. Five hundred thousand in cash and another two hundred fifty thousand in gold ingots. Now your day is fine too.? Her quick smile revealed elongated cuspids with very sharp points.

??????????? ?You are a v-v-v-v-?? Shane couldn?t get the word out.

??????????? ?Yes Shane. A vampire. What did you expect? A werewolf? Ha ha ha.? She laughed loudly exposing her teeth even more.

??????????? ?Are you going to kill me?? Shane was very nervous.

??????????? ?Never. You are far too valuable. I?ll keep you alive and happy so that I can continue to come to you with these riddles. You are marvelous!? She was very sincere.

??????????? ?I will attempt anything you bring me!? Shane was happy and much relieved.

??????????? ?My name is Lexi, and I believe you and I are going to have a long and healthy relationship. Now let?s get to business. Are there any flaws you have found in this serum?? Lexi became all business which further put Shane at ease. The leather case sitting at the desk was open enough for him to see the stacks of one hundred dollar bills.

??????????? ?Actually, yes there is one flaw I could not fix. The serum will not work on people with type B negative blood. It works with all others and all your other requirements have been met.? Shane smiled. He was proud of his work.

??????????? ?And how do I need to administer it?? Lexi was ready to try it on someone immediately.

??????????? ?It?s in I.V. bags. You just run it like a normal saline I.V.? Shane wanted to see it work as well. Lexi turned on her heel and walked to the lab door. There were two body guards outside and a young woman in her early twenties. She was about five foot two and a little heavy, around one hundred sixty pounds or so.

??????????? ?Come in here, Sarah. You get to be the first. What is your blood type?? Lexi walked Sarah into the lab and sat her down in one of the large leather recliners.

??????????? ?I think its AB positive.? Sarah had a rich voice, full of character. Lexi motioned for an I.V. stand and the bag Shane was holding. She opened a needle package and swabbed Sarah?s arm with the alcohol pad. Gently inserting the needle she then hung the bag and ran the line. Once the air had been bled from the line she hooked the line to the needle and opened the valve.

??????????? ?How long?? Lexi looked at Shane for the answer.

??????????? ?Total dispersal should take roughly fifteen minutes. After that it could be one to four hours depending on her metabolism.? Shane had already calculated the effective time for initiation of the infection.

??????????? ?Any idea how long until it?s complete?? Lexi continued to look at Shane.

??????????? ?Not sure. This is the first human test.? Shane got a little nervous at not having an answer.

??????????? ?Good answer Shane.? Lexi turned back to Sarah. ?Now my dear, it?s just a waiting game. You will provide the rest of the information. How do you feel??

??????????? ?A little light headed, it tingles going through my body.? Sarah?s tones were matter of fact. After ten minutes Sarah went to sleep with Lexi and Shane watching intently. The bag was empty in fifteen minutes and Lexi removed the needle and threw the whole set away. After an hour with no apparent changes, Lexi sat in the recliner beside Sarah?s. Still they waited for any signs of change in Sarah. At eleven thirty, just four hours after the first drops entered Sarah?s system, a noticeable change began to take place. Sarah?s body began to thin, rapidly. Fat melted off her arms and belly, her second and third chins shrank and then disappeared, her round belly flattened. In a period of thirty minutes Sarah lost about twenty pounds, leaving a heavily muscled little woman in the chair. Her body looked tone and fit. Even the extra skin where the fat had been was absorbed.

??????????? ?Should we start a nutrient I.V.?? Shane was concerned that the rapid loss of body fat would send the woman into shock.

??????????? ?Not yet, but you might get one ready just in case.? Lexi was not at all concerned but wanted Shane to have something to do so he would worry less. ?If this goes as I expect, she could be in the transition for as long as two weeks.? Shane began prepping a nutrient I.V. bag and got the tubing and needle set ready. No further weight loss was apparent, but after twelve thirty passed Shane was getting antsy.

??????????? ?Now?? He queried quietly.

??????????? ?No, not yet. She is fine. When one is made a vampire, there are no nutrient drips or food of any kind. If they can survive it so can she.? Lexi was still calm and patient. She knew from experience that this could last the whole two weeks.

??????????? ?What?s it like?? Shane whispered to Lexi.

??????????? ?The transition?? She turned her head to face him. Shane sat on the stool that usually stayed by the computer table. He was in front of the two occupied recliners holding his clipboard in his lap and scribbling notes occasionally.

??????????? ?No, being a vampire. What is it like?? Shane nervously asked.

??????????? ?What is it like to be a human? I can?t explain it to you. I was born a vampire so I have no real reference as to the differences.? Lexi stared into Shane?s eyes. Very few had asked her that question over the millennia. No one that had asked it had become a vampire.

??????????? ?You were born a vampire? I thought vampires were dead. I mean, undead. I think. I didn?t know they could have children.? As Shane spoke the words, he wondered if they sounded insulting.

??????????? ?Hmm. That shows what you know about us. No we are not dead. Once something is dead it is dead. A vampire is very much alive! It is true that most vampires are not fertile. Only one in twenty females are fertile and one in one hundred males are. But if two that are fertile get together, a vampire can be born.? Lexi smiled at Shane. Shane absorbed the words thoroughly. He was fascinated with the science of vampirism as well as the practical side.

??????????? ?I have a lot of questions. Would you mind?? Shane wanted to know but he did not want to irritate a vampire!

??????????? ?Everyone has questions. I suppose it will pass the time, but if she awakens, that is the end of the questions.? Even though she usually did not tolerate questions, Lexi did not mind the distraction now.

??????????? ?How long ago were you born?? Shane?s voice was steady though his heart was pounding in his chest.

??????????? ?I was born in the year one thousand twelve in the country of England. Is this going to be like a formal interview?? Lexi smiled her most disarming, relaxed smile.

??????????? ?No. I?m sorry, it?s just the way my mind works. I?ve been a scientist my whole life. Now, when did you realize you were a vampire?? Shane was ready to continue with the questions.

??????????? ?As soon as I could understand the difference between round and square. I was born this way. When does a human realize they are a human??

??????????? ?OK. How long did it take you to physically grow up??

??????????? ?Shane, there are more important questions. At sixteen I was pretty well grown.? Lexi was ready for better questions or a change of subject.



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