Welcome to my weekly series – Vampire & Single.
If you remember last week, Sasha was struggling with her vampire life. Her landlord, Mr Smith, had questioned her on the nasty smell coming from her flat and her anxiety about turning into a killer was getting worse.
Hope for Sasha came in the form of a mysterious vampire chatroom where she met Henry. He claimed to be another real life vampire and suggested they meet. He never turned up and left her standing alone on a London street.
In a state of despair Sasha entered a rock club. With no emergency blood rations she found herself cornering a girl in the toilets.
Her smile disappears as I start to let out a deep growl. She turns around to face me, whilst gripping onto the basin. Her body is trembling. I can smell her fear.
The strange voice inside of me is getting louder. ‘Look for your light Sasha!’
For a moment I am distracted. Light? Why does it keep talking about a light?
“Please don’t hurt me.” The girl lets out a whimper and cowers against the grubby tiled wall. Her words echo throughout my head.
Fear flashes across her small brown eyes. “I have money if that’s what you want.” She fumbles with her diamond studded clutch bag. It falls out of her hands and drops to the floor, spewing its contents. She lets out a cry. “I beg you…please don’t hurt me.”
Hungrily I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand. Inside of me a battle wages. I don’t want to hurt her, but I am so damn thirsty. My mouth is desert dry and all I can think about is how wonderful her blood will taste.
“Look for your light Sasha!” shouts my inner voice.
Tears stream down the girl’s face as a dark shadow passes over me.
This is it. I stare at her pale quivering face. If I drink deeply, which I probably will do, as all my self-control will be lost, this girl will go through what I have endured. The pain, the suffering and the fear. She will become a monster too, like me.
My gut tightens. I never wanted to be a monster. Someone turned me into one without my permission. Is it right I now force other people to join my nightmare?
Something has awoken inside of me. The girl frantically shakes her head. “Oh God…your eyes….they’re burning….you are going to hurt me aren’t you?”
I must stay strong and fight against the darkness. “No!” I bark. The room is suddenly flooded with a blinding white light. I shield my eyes. Everything is bright. “What is going on?” I moan, trying to block out the great light.
Two toilet doors open and out walk two women, both clad in black leather dresses. “OMG – what the hell?” cries one.
The other starts to stammer. “There… is… light… coming out of her….chest!”
I can taste sick in my mouth as I slowly stare down at my chest. A powerful shaft of brilliant white light pours out of my chest. “Oh God..” I croak.
In a state of panic I bolt out of the toilets, bumping into a tall man, with silvery hair, dressed in a smart, blue suit.
“Sorry!” I mutter and crash out of the fire escape door. The cool night air stings my inflamed cheeks.
12.23 a.m. I am sprinting into the mouth of a dark and deserted car park.
I have to end my life. You are probably thinking I am overreacting but I have tried to accept this new vampire life. I am rubbish at it. I can’t bring myself to devour people and I have no idea what the light was coming from inside of me.
The car park has five floors. If I chuck myself off the top floor I will be dead in seconds. It will all be over. The world will be a safer place.
No more drinking blood, no more sneaking around, no more slobber, no more fangs, no more raw meat, no more vampire breath and no more Sasha Green.
My brain keeps feeding me BS about how vampires can only be killed with a stake through the heart.
It’s now reminding me of my newfound flying skill. I let out a sigh and continue with my plan.
12.26 a.m. An eerie silence has descended upon the world. It’s waiting for me to do what I promised. My toes are on the edge of the fifth floor wall. Below me is a sheer drop towards a line of orange street lights, a refuse skip and a trickle of party-goers.
It is now or never. I clench and unclench my fists. I can do this. One step forward and my never-ending nightmare will stop.
“What do you think you are doing?” asks a voice, coming from the shadows behind me.
I look round to see a man with white silvery hair walking towards me. He is the same man I collided with whilst trying to flee the rock club.
“Ending my life!” I say firmly, with balled fists.
“Do you think jumping off a building will end your vampire life?” he asks.
“What?” I shriek, turning to glare at him. No one knows I am a vampire, not even my own family or best friend. How does he know what I am?
My heart is pounding loudly.
“You heard me?” he replies, stuffing his hands into his suit trouser pockets and peering over the edge.
“I think it will!” I say, with an air of defiance.
“Go ahead – be my guest!” he says, pointing at the street down below.
“I am going to jump!” I say, quickly.
He holds out his arm. “Look Sasha I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you won’t die down there,” he says, coldly. “It is a waste of time. You do know that it takes a bit more to kill a vampire – don’t you? By jumping off this building the only thing you will do is draw attention to yourself.”
Anger is bubbling up inside of me. How dare he talk to me like that? “Who the hell are you and how do you know my name?” I growl.
“Henry,” says the man. My heart stops beating.
The world starts to spin. Without thinking I topple forward over the edge. A cold hand grabs my wrist and I am yanked up.
He lifts me over the wall and places me on the ground.
Tears of frustration stream down my face and pool onto the concrete floor. I look up to see him standing over me. His skin is smooth and his silver hair glows in the dim light of the car park. I notice it has an elegant quiff at the front.
There is a sharpness to his tailored blue suit. He looks like he has stepped out of a male model fashion shoot.
“I hate my life!” I sob, in between taking large gulps of air. “I hate being a vampire!”
“Sasha I am going to be honest with you. I have never seen such a poor attempt at being vampire. You are ruining our profession’s good name!” he says, looking sternly at me.
“I never…asked…to..be…a vampire!” I struggle, to say, through uncontrollable sobbing.
“None of us asked for this, it is something that happens and when it does you have to deal with it!”
I draw my knees up under my chin and turn myself into a ball. “I am so alone” I sob.
He crouches down beside me. “You need to pull yourself together.”
I let out a pathetic wail. “I don’t want to be me!”
Henry blows out the air from his cheeks. He rises and goes to look out across the city.
“Why didn’t you turn up and meet me earlier?” I sit up and find comfort in sucking the knees of my jeans.
Henry carries on scanning the horizon. “I needed to see that you were a real vampire so I have been watching you. It has not been a pretty sight. You came close to losing control in the bar of that rock club and then in the toilets…” He falters.
“You didn’t miss much,” I groan, recalling the embarrassing incident with the light.
“I was in the doorway of the toilet. I saw everything Sasha.”
Shame heats up my cheeks. “I’m struggling.”
“Yes I can see that. Now get up off that cold floor and come with me!” He walks briskly towards the exit.
“Why?'” I shout.
“I want to help you Sasha Green.”
We are stood on the pavement, outside the car park.
I am huddled in the protective shadows of a shop doorway, staring at the dirty floor.
This has to be the worst twenty-four hours of my life. I feel stupid and grotesque. My eyes are sore, my teeth chattering and my entire body is aching.
“Here take this!” orders Henry, handing me a soft pouch filled with blood. “It will make you feel better!”
“I don’t want it” I snap, batting it away. “It disgusts me. I hate everything about myself.”
He watches me slide down and hug my knees.
Henry stays silent for a moment and then he speaks. “Sasha I know you are not going to believe me but your new vampire life is a gift.”
“Huh – some gift!” I snap, wiping away a solitary tear.
“You’re now an advanced human. You don’t know it yet but you are able to do some extraordinary things. Believe me – you have been given a wonderful gift.”
“I am a monster and a freak!” I growl.
“No you are not!” he says firmly. “Now, do you want my help or not?”
I shrug my shoulders and turn to face the shop window.
“Fine!” he barks. “Suit yourself I have better things to do with my time than help a lost cause!”
I watch him stride confidently away.
Tears roll down my face as I rock gently against the doorway.
“I just want to die!” I moan, placing my head against my knees. Why did I allow him to talk me down from the fifth floor? Jumping would have been a better option.
I look up and see that the street is deserted. I am alone.
Henry’s face won’t shift from my mind as I close my eyes. He wanted to help me. Maybe I am being stubborn? Maybe he could offer me some guidance? I don’t have any other plan.
He’s gone. I have ruined everything.
Footsteps are approaching. I look up to see Henry returning. His face is taut and shadowy.
“Get up now Sasha!” he barks, making me jolt. “I came back because I know you are stronger than this!” I see him standing with hands on hips.
Reluctantly I haul myself up.
“Drink it!” he orders, handing me the red pouch.
I take it from him, unscrew the top and pour the red liquid into my mouth.
It glides gently down my throat, electrifying my tongue. A delicious warm sensation fills my cold gut. My eyes grow wide and I find myself stepping out of the darkness, to stand alongside Henry.
“Are you going to let me help you?” he asks.
I nod. “I need help.”
Two powerful car light beams sweep the road. A sleek silver car glides up to where we are stood.
“Give me the keys to your flat,” demands Henry holding out his hand.
“What? …No!” I snap. “I am not giving the keys to my flat to a stranger.”
“I will ask my people to go round and clean it.” Henry says, still with his hand outstretched.
“But I don’t want to….”
He interrupts me. “Your old landlord is, as I speak, having a sleepless night. He has just asked his semi-unconscious wife, Margaret, whether or not he should phone the authorities about you. There was another complaint about the smell from your flat yesterday afternoon.”
“How do you know all this?” I ask.
“We can read minds from miles away. Now give me your keys. By the time you return tonight it will be transformed.” he says, rapping on the window of the car.
I pass over my keys. The blacked out car window slides down. Henry passes them to a burly looking man. He nods and the car glides away.
“Now then let’s get you sorted.” Henry says, with a small smile.
1.06 a.m. We are walking past a row of shops on a deserted high street. Henry leads the way.
At a dentist’s window, lit up with photos of smiling women with perfect dazzling white teeth, he stops. I watch as he knocks on the door.
“Henry – it is the middle of the night,” I whisper. To my surprise it is opened by a young dental nurse. She gives us both a wide grin.
“The vampire world never sleeps Sasha,” explains Henry, as we enter a brightly lit dental treatment room, with a huge black chair taking centre stage.
A door opens on the opposite side of the room. In walks a grey haired man with a blue face mask and blue medical overalls.
Henry turns to me, his green eyes narrowing. “We need to fix your vampire breath. You need to have this treatment performed every month.”
“Eh..” I mumble.
“Your meat based diet has left your mouth in a state. It needs to be cleaned out. Trust me it will work.” The dentist nurse guides me towards the chair.
3.09 a.m. I stagger outside clutching my mouth. Henry follows.
“That was the worst ever dentist experience!” I gasp, trying to block out the painful agony of the cleaning procedure. At one point I had to be strapped to the chair and held down by four dental nurses. It felt like he was drilling into my gums.
“You have perfect breath and white teeth now, be grateful!” orders Henry, taking me by the elbow and guiding me down a back street.
We come to a hair salon. As he pushes open the door I see that a team of hairdressers are waiting for us.
“Here she is Kai!” cries Henry, pushing me gently towards everyone.
Hands grab me and push me over to a black leather chair, opposite a large gold framed mirror.
I don’t recognise the dishevelled, pale-faced girl staring back at me, her face partly hidden by long, greasy, limp hair. This is what all these months of struggle and suffering have done to me.
Kai, a male hairdresser with purple glowing eyes and a wild silver Mohican gives me a friendly smile.
“OMG girlfriend!” he exclaims, pointing to my hair and screwing up his face with disapproval. “Let me be your hero and rescue you from this hair nightmare!”
“Work your magic Kai!” shouts Henry, now sat on a leather chair opposite, frantically tapping something into his phone.
4.56 a.m. Words fail me. My new glossy brown hair is hanging down my back, transforming into soft bouncy curls at the ends. I have never seen it look so alive.
I stand up as Henry’s mouth falls open. He drops his phone in surprise and stares at me.
“Well?” I squeal, “what do you think?”
For a moment he is silent. “Well done Kai!” he says, turning back to his phone.
Before I can thank Kai Henry bundles me out of the door. I am led into a small boutique clothes shop, next to the hair salon.
Two tall elegant women, wearing matching black fitted dresses and giant red stilettos, welcome us inside.
Henry gestures for me to stand in front of a floor length mirror. My clothes look dirty, shapeless and old.
“Marie and Melanie this is my new friend Sasha. She is in desperate need of a new look!” he says, placing his cold hands on my shoulders and sending a fluttery feeling through my body.
Marie’s purple eyes scan my outfit. “Wow – she’s been in the human wilderness for some time.”
I can hear Melanie take a sharp intake of breath. “Please remove those hideous clothes Sasha, they are making my eyes hurt.”
6.20 a.m. I am stood admiring my new black designer trouser suit and crisp white silk shirt. On my feet are a pair of dazzling red stilettos.
Marie points to my heels. “Vampire women wear the best heels. Your feet will never ache or hurt. Wear them. Own your new vampire life girl!”
I give her a frightened look. “I have always struggled wearing high heels.”
Marie nods and plays with her long blonde hair. “Your vampire body is made to wear heels. Just try walking in them.”
To my amazement I can strut with ease. “Wow! They feel incredible.”
My eyes scan all the items of my new wardrobe, hung up by the door. I shake my head in bewilderment. “I have no money for all of this.”
Marie smiles. “Henry’s paid for it. This is what he does. He finds new vampires and helps them.”
She nods and struts over to the side of me. “Yes, but you must be special.”
I let out a nervous laugh. “Ha! I don’t think I am special.”
Marie’s plump red lips break into a wry smile. She reaches over and grabs a gold cigarette case. I watch as she slides out a long thin cigarette and places it in her mouth. With a flick of a gold lighter she lights her cigarette and takes a long drag.
After releasing a plume of purple smoke into the air she whispers, “he told us you were to have the best clothes and shoes.”
She leans in closer to me. “He’s been making calls about you outside. I hate to say this girl but you must be special.”
I screw up my face at her. “Henry does not regard me as special. He told me to pull myself together earlier and he struggles to look me in the eye.”
Marie laughs. “When Henry found me he bought me one cheap dress and couldn’t wait to leave. I think Melanie got less, she wasn’t happy when I told her about my dress.”
My eyebrows arch in surprise. “He found you both too?”
Marie grins. “He sure did. I was a mess and on the verge of being sectioned. Melanie was ready to eat her college tutor after he failed the essay she’d been working on for six months.”
I struggle to catch my breath. “Oh God I have been a total mess too. It’s so good to hear you talk like this!”
Marie sits down in a chair and crosses her long slender legs. She takes another long drag on her cigarette. I watch two jets of gold smoke leave her nostrils and form a perfect circle in the air. “Those vampire books and films let me down – big time! I thought it would have been like Twilight, you know….looking all hot in a pair of shades, sparkling in sunlight and cool shit like that.”
I let out a knowing laugh.
“Instead I was a greasy, tearful mess with these huge whopping fangs. Melanie was exactly the same. We both looked a right state.”
Tears prick my eyes. I never thought I would hear someone else talking about the struggle of turning into a vampire.
Marie hands me a tissue. “I bet you thought you were the only vampire – didn’t you?”
I nod and dab my eyes.
With the cigarette hanging off her lip and in a cloud of silver smoke Marie nimbly braids her blonde hair. “I often think about writing a book, you know telling the public about what it’s really like to become a vampire. Melanie tells me it wouldn’t sell – lol!”
I catch sight of Henry outside the shop, marching up and down with his phone firmly fixed to his ear.
“Why does he do this? Helping people like us?” I murmur, as Henry glances in my direction and almost immediately flicks his eyes to the floor.”
Marie blows out a stream of black smoke. “He gets to us before they do…”
I turn to her as her voice falters. “What? Who are they?”
Her pale face darkens. She stubs out her cigarette and smooths out her dress. “He’s not told you yet – has he?”
“Told me what?” My heart has started to gallop. Marie quickly averts her eyes to the floor.
Henry walks in clapping his hands. Behind him Melanie appears with a tray of hot steaks and tall green glasses filled with a familiar red liquid.
“Breakfast ladies!” says Henry, passing me and Marie a glass.
He turns to me and surveys my new transformed look. Something flickers across his emerald-green eyes and I notice the trace of a smile on his thin pink lips. As a blush starts to spread across my cheeks he turns away abruptly and stares at something on his phone.
Melanie raises her glass to me. “Welcome to our world Sasha!”
Marie links her arm through mine and leads me to back to the mirror. “Look at how amazing you look girl!”
I take no notice of my reflection. The only thing I focus on is Henry stood behind us, staring at me.
Squeal – there will be more from Sasha next week.
All previous parts are stored here.