This chapter is non-explicit
“The greatest thrill is not to kill but to let live.” ― James Oliver Curwood
"God kills indiscriminately and so shall we. For no creatures under God are—as we are—none so like him as ourselves.” ― Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire
Willie was flying. It was as if he was changing his world, as opposed to his place in it. He watched his little world so quickly slipping away, then turned to see the town rushing up at him as he slowed near the tree tops.
Aha... he said to himself. We change time, and our place in it. He realized time had changed for him while he was flying. This was how Barnabas seemed to appear out of nowhere, but in a way that was more like something suddenly coming into his vision from just out of view.
For Willie, he had just left the house when he was touching down into the edge of the trees near the overlook. He sensed Barnabas somewhere behind him as he walked casually down the road to the beginning of the charming main street of Collinsport, stopping for a moment to survey the little dance of bustling life that appeared before him.
He does not speak of these things. Because much of it is almost beyond words, and constantly changing.
He turned to look in the window of the little bookshop. Barnabas was a little more than several steps behind him, yet somehow still invisible. Something else I will learn when he feels like telling me about it, Willie thought petulantly. He sensed Barnabas smiling at him. Barnabas knew that Willie was not looking at books. He was looking at his own reflection in the window. He was looking at a vampire; one that was getting ready to eat someone for the first time.
I don't look like a killer, he thought, rather admiring his reflection. He looked different from the last time he gazed at his reflection, right after Barnabas had made him. He seemed older, more manly. We change, he thought. I am beginning to have the subtle pale hardness in the appearance of my skin.
Willie turned and moved slowly down the street. He could smell the humans he passed, that he nodded at. He could sense much about them as he pictured pulling them aside, biting them, his teeth slipping into their flesh, into the river of sweetness below their skin.
He looked a little further ahead, sensing what those who came towards him had to tell him about their lives, the state of their bodies, the taste of their flesh, of their blood.
Willie instinctively slowed to gaze into another shop window, watching in the window, sensing those passing behind him in both directions, their voices a murmur over the murmur of their hearts, their blood pushing lightly in some, while surging through those who moved quickly.
How will I know, he thought again, idly.
He found himself behind her after she passed behind him, as she walked into the shop ahead of him. He slowed for a moment, then followed her into the apothecary.
She walked directly to the counter, and the man there greeted her, pulling a package from under the counter.
"One moment," she said, walking into the cosmetics section.
Willie could smell fresh baked bread, with the buttery aroma of croissants. He walked to the counter with his purchase, greeting the pharmacist as he punched the numbers into the old fashioned cash register, which opened with a pleasing ding sound. Willie took his change, shaking his head at the offer of a bag, seeing her approaching out of the corner of his eye. He slipped the item into his pocket, then walked to the front of the store, fitting the change into his wallet.
He could hear her bag crinkling as she walked towards him, and he turned, opening the door for her, returning her smile.
"Have we met?" he used his influence on her as he stood with her on the sidewalk. "My name is Willie. Willie Loomis."
"Evelyn York," she said, smiling as he reached to her, thrilled as she was drawn to him, responding to his influence as she offered him her hand. He bowed, and his lips above her hand were just shy of contact, but with feeling. His eyes did not leave hers. A Plantagenet, Willie thought as he released her pale hand with a subtle flourish. He pictured himself standing in a rose garden, reaching among the thorns, choosing a white rose, as he was now choosing her.
"I see you are friends with Mrs. Carter, at the bakery," he said, smiling at the protective way she clutched the cherished bag of croissants.
She smiled. "I love her croissants," she hugged the bag very lightly. "Full of butter. More on Sundays."
Willie turned and motioned to her, and they began to walk up the sidewalk together. He could feel her relaxing further into his influence, intrigued by him now, beginning to need him. He paced himself, greatly enjoying the seduction. He could feel the need for her blood rising in him, growing with each moment, a pressing combination of sexual arousal and hunger.
"Will you come for coffee?" she asked. "I would like to get to know you better. And we can share my croissants. Or I can make tea if you prefer."
"I would like that," Willie said simply, making his voice casual, with hidden feeling, like a human.
She turned at the corner to judge the approaching traffic, and he touched her lightly as they crossed the street.
Willie could feel his Barnabas, his dark lover near him, behind him and in him, in every detail of his own movement and senses, in the air that caressed him. He was warm from shared pleasure as Barnabas joined Willie inside in the thrill of seduction, as Willie was feeling in Barnabas a practiced anticipation, now added to his own. But Willie was not moving with excitement. He felt supremely calm, beyond calm. He was the movement of something greater, something in which he now played a part. Something dark moves through me because I am willing, he thought. It was all wordlessly new to him, a secret that opened like the dark and fragrant depths of a flower, popping slightly open in him, unfurling in the depths of his newly immortal heart.
Willie reached to Barnabas. Did you ever feel this special calm with me? There was no answer.
Why her? She is young, so beautiful. With a secret that makes her hard. But she responds to me so readily.
You will find it in her, Barnabas answered at last.
Willie felt something in her, and was beginning to understand. He sensed death in the depths of her. He was particularly attracted to those humans who had been intimate with death, had touched it in some way. He could follow that knowledge of death, this intimacy with it on the inward journey to their soul, where their death surrendered their life and soul to him.
They were climbing the sloping street, crossing First Street, approaching her house. She turned at the gate, her package making light crinkling sounds against her as she pulled her tinkling keys from her coat. Her skin was warm from the climb to her house, and Willie wanted to taste the liquid source of that warmth.
Why am I doing this, Willie could hear her thinking. I don't even care if the neighbors see us. Willie could sense no one near, no prying eyes.
Perhaps she is lonely, Willie thought. But then, so many humans are.
The lock turned and she was opening the door, welcoming him into her private world, still but for the clock on the mantle. She is not lonely. She prefers to be alone.
"Please make yourself at home," she said as she went straight through the front room into the kitchen. Soon the aroma of coffee filled the house as she moved about.
Willie was pleased by her decor. It was very homey, with Kentia palms, and crotchet doilies on the furniture, reminding him of a Victorian parlor. He looked about at the family photos she had arranged in ways that were expected. They were formal photos with a man who appeared to be her husband. No candid photos. No children.
She appeared with a tray of coffee service and croissants with butter and jam, setting it on a low table near the sofa. Willie descended onto the sofa as she gestured, settling in lightly, watching her as she poured his coffee and placed a croissant on a dish on his side of the antique table, arranging the silverware. "Milk? Sugar?" she asked.
"No, thank you," Willie answered. He did not move. He sat quite still, looking at her.
She was buttering a croissant, then placing it near the jam. She stopped for a moment, then looked up, returning his gaze.
"Oh," she said.
Willie simply looked at her, curious about her intuition.
"Oh," she said again, changing her position in her chair, coming to terms with his power over her. She had just noticed it, and resented it in him, threatening her hold over her domain, interrupting the ritual moment of her physical hunger.
Now she will begin to fear my power over her.
Willie stood slowly. "Evelyn," he said her name. He waited for her to settle back into the moment.
She was looking down at the floor, shaking slightly, trying to find herself. She rearranged herself again in the chair, but then she seemed to find her way, and looked up, standing with grace and feeling, looking fearlessly into his eyes.
Willie moved closer to her, bringing his face to hers, his eyes so close as he stopped near her, breathing in her breath, breathing it mingled with his own onto her very lightly, as she swayed subtly. He was ready to take her then, and reached to her, pulling her against him. He could feel the life in her, and had claimed it, had claimed her.
This. A very pleasing treasure of knowledge. Comforting. He found it in himself, all of it... what he was doing. He knew what to do with her. I know. I know.
"Why me?" She spoke at last.
"I don't know." His voice was unapologetic, with no feeling. He was feeling her flesh, the softness, the liquidity around the bones in her arms.
"It is because I am a murderess," she said without fear. Willie let her step back a little. He looked past her to the man in the photos. He seemed to know her secret, and Willie looked back at her with a new understanding.
"What have you done, Evelyn?" he asked. He could feel the simple need in her, the need to tell someone.
She had noticed his eyes on the photos of her victim. "He loved someone else." Her voice did not break. Her tone was calm, her words giving her pleasure.
"And you killed him." Willie waited. I will hear her confession before I take her.
"He was not honest. He thought he could keep it a secret because she lived in Bangor. He had business there often. But she was not far away from my world. Not far enough. I could have easily killed her as well, but I would have been discovered." Her decisions were easily justified. She was doing what anyone would have done. "He kept her a secret," she repeated, as though that could be the reason for murder.
"It was easy for you," Willie's tone remained one of casual observation.
"He could have told me. He could have admitted it when I asked. How could he expect me to just live with it? I put a stop to it."
Willie could hear it then. It was not bitterness. There was no sense of revenge. It was business like, her tone. She had taken care of an unacceptable situation.
"It was easy for you, Evelyn," he repeated.
"It wasn't hard," she agreed finally. "It has never been hard for me to get what I want from people, from situations..."
"You had nothing to give him," he interrupted her. Her eyes flashed then. She owed nothing to anyone in this world. Willie knew the word that described her, her kind. Sociopath.
She had paused then, remembering. She was deciding again that it was all obvious, that her actions were logical.
"What does it matter? He deserved it, and now I have everything, all the money, the house. It's easier."
She paused. She had had her moment; her chance to tell it all to someone. She was done with it. She was moving on.
"But now you are going to kill me. I know it in you, Willie Loomis. You are like me. You are a murderer as much as I am, more."
Willie felt their increasing intimacy. It was easy to tell her his tale, a few words to reconcile his story with hers. A dalliance.
"He was wasted, Evelyn. You threw him away when it pleased you. But, you won't be wasted now. Your life will live in me."
Willie pulled her closer again, squeezing her just enough to control her breath, pushing it out from her, then letting her lungs expand again as he breathed on her just a little more, watching her take it in, falling into it.
I will not give her more of my breath. Force will be required to touch her inside.
Willie was arching over her, his body flexing slightly with the readiness to strike, a new sensation and intensity. He held her tightly as he grasped the hair on the top of her head, pulling her back with it. She struggled then, but could not move in his grasp. Before he turned her head, he saw the satisfaction in her eyes, the defiant wickedness there. She savored who she was. She savored what her end would be.
Death is more intimate than life, he whispered inside, though Barnabas had withdrawn from him slightly, releasing all of the moment to him. Willie stopped for a moment to share in Barnabas' pleasure, somewhere near to him and his passion play.
He pulled her head back, gripping her, enjoying her stiffness, the ease with which he played with it, using it to place her just so, taking in the readiness of her body, her neck exposed.
"You are just like me," she gurgled forcefully as he found her neck with his mouth, sinking his teeth deep into her in one bite, bending her back severely as he pulled from her with immense satisfaction, his ache and hunger satisfied at last with an easy gush of blood that almost startled him.
It was so simple. It was beyond satisfying, and felt so natural. Willie's body and mind surged with the pleasure that his new means and sexuality gave him, rushing through him. The surging, jewel tone colors of immense pleasure danced at the edges of his vision, and he was glad.
Her soul. He had reached the end of her, where the center of her was opening to him, her purpose and essence. He sucked at this in her, taking the source of her life, the marrow of her being. He was pulling it into him with the last of her blood, and felt the tremendous relief it gave him, satisfying a need he had not known that he had, a complete sustenance that thrilled him as the claiming of life itself, suddenly rippling in the center of him as a vampire orgasm, rolling as waves through him as he remained tight against her.
Her blood slowed. He kept her there, felt his lips and teeth and his powerful sucking mouth as sexual organs that he flexed with his pleasure against her again and again with his long orgasm.
When he pulled his mouth from her, he stood panting with his arm at his side, holding her by her hair, her empty body bent towards the carpet.
Willie could hear anew her world around her, collapsing into her, into the absence of her. He heard someone calling to their children. He could smell someone's cooking, a roast with savory herbs, with potatoes and carrots, and a gravied broth on the stove. The chop chop of someone clipping a hedge. There was a distant sound, and he realized that it was above him, where the air moved more quickly, with more force.
His fingers opened, she slipped away from him. Her body fell with a softly muffled puh sound onto the carpet.
This is who I am. I will not regret it. Not now. Not ever.
I am a vampire.