From the Journal of Jonathan Weston, Vampire April 27th, 1877
Nearly a month had passed since my loss of love, life and humanity. My curse weighed especially heavily upon me that eve; I found myself on the precipice of despair.
There I was on a less allegorical promontory adjacent to the cemetery; the view might have delighted my senses once. But now, as I surveyed the sheer drop and inviting pines far below, I saw it only as a potential means of escape from the misery of my existence…
Would that I might fall, and enjoy the good fortune of a pine branch impaling my heart, and silencing my pain forever… And yet again, such a scheme could go awry so easily, and leave me trapped, yet as miserable as before.
As I pondered these things and recalled once again all that was lost to me, how humanity shunned and feared me, how the race to which I now belonged was inexplicably absent, I sang a verse I had heard of late which echoed the sorrow of my heart:
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high and life, worth living…
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving…
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder…
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame…
And still I dream she'll come to me,
That we will live the years together,
But there are dreams that cannot be,
And there are storms we cannot weather…
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living,
So different now from what it seemed...
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed...
It was then, as I was focusing on these words with my whole heart, that I met a woman, an extraordinary human, whom I deem was the kindest, sweetest soul I had ever encountered…and, methinks the bravest as well…
She was visiting a loved one’s grave. I little expected one to venture here at night under this full moon, I felt assured of my solitude. My senses for a time were dulled slightly by my sorrows and by the fact that I had not taken any animal’s blood for nearly a week. But as I finished my song, I knew I had been discovered. I heard her breathing and the soft crunch of her footsteps. I heard her heart beating, more calmly than I would have expected. I could smell that she was a woman, and my conflicting instincts to flee and to feed warred within me. Yet I stayed, and continued to face the beckoning drop.
Then I heard her voice, soft and tender as springtime,
“Sir, are you well? I heard you singing and felt I should risk imposing upon you to ask of your welfare…”
It was the first kind words I had heard since before the last full moon, and I was momentarily flummoxed. At last I turned, and looked up at her face. I felt I was beholding an angel, the kindness and light of her visage matched that of her voice. It quite arrested me, and I lost my capacity of speech.
She continued to search my face; I saw compassion as she traced the furrows of my tears with her eyes. Then I beheld the light of recognition in them, and yet, she lacked the fear I might have expected. Her compassion merely deepened.
“I see…you are a vampire, are you not?”
Once again I averted my eyes, as I often did when confronted by humankind. I feared I would lose control and take them to my will, and feed upon them. I preferred their distain and to be driven from their midst to giving in to my baser instincts. How much more should I protect this angel from myself?
She reached forth and barely brushed my neck at the place of my tattoo. I could hear the smile in her voice.
“Ah. I know this symbol. It is Love. Pray, tell me how you came to choose this mark?”
At last I found my words. I trusted this one, and I desperately needed one to call my friend. If it was not she, who else would suffice?
“Madam, it is my commitment to love humanity from whence I came, despite being cast out by the same.”
Again, I witnessed the care in her eyes. She smiled.
“Sir, may love return to you a hundredfold. May God bless your commitment and keep you on the path you endeavor to take for the sake of love. My name is Herlinde. I would count you as a friend, if I may.”
My eyes filled with tears.
“Nothing could please me more, fair Herlinde…I am Jonathan Weston, at your service…”
My new friend, my angel, sat down next to me, and kept my company in warm, wonderful silence as we looked out upon the valley far below, and watched the moon track across the sky. As the stars began to fade, she squeezed my hand.
“If I am not mistaken, you must go to shelter from the coming sun, Jonathan. Have you a refuge nearby?”
I smiled wistfully.
“Milady, alas, I am too far from my cave. But you have made my last day to be filled with joy. For that I am eternally grateful, and I will yet smile as the sun consumes my God forsaken flesh, because of you and your kindness.”
Herlinde wrinkled her brow.
“Nonsense, we shall have many more days of sweet companionship. I do not give up my friends so easily. I must insist you hurry with me to my nearby cottage; I will let you reside in my cellar. Come now.”
With that she pulled on my hand and led me to her home. She showed me the cellar and cleared an area for my bed.
“This is your home for as long as you like, Jonathan. On the morrow eve, we will have time to make it more suitable. But for now, enter and take your rest, until we meet again at dusk.”
Again, I was overcome by her kindness. I smiled at her with tears.
Herlinde embraced me and kissed my cheek tenderly. Then she touched my tattoo softly, saying,“You will have my love and friendship for as long as I live, Jonathan. I am here now…do not despair any longer…”
She closed the cellar door leaving me in the cool darkness. But the warmth and illumination of her smile and embrace stayed with me.