A short story by Nick Varnau
“The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.”
I’m escorted, rather politely, into a chair in a small compact room with two chairs, a table, and a recording device. They’ve barely given me enough time to wash the blood off of my face and chest, and I can still taste the copper tang of it in my mouth. I let it linger there, such a good taste.
A bald man, looks to be in his fifties, with thick-rimmed glasses that look like the bottom of beer bottles that magnify his eyes so I can see every bloodshot vein in perfect detail, sits across from me, his assistance standing by the door, as if I’m going to escape.
To my right, there is a one-way mirror, where no doubt another group of doctors, detectives, and “sane” people are watching my every move, ready to give me the death penalty. That’s fine by me. A little electricity or lethal injection never hurt me before. They’d have to cut off my head to really get rid of me.
Dr. Bald, that’s what I’ve decided to call him until I learn his name, puts on a professional smile, as if he’s not judging me by the fact that I just killed three people. I respect that.
“So, Mr. Viktor Ducat,” he says in a very friendly voice, “I’m Dr. Reasoner.” So much for Dr. Bald. “I’m here to ask you a few questions, see if you can give me a few answers, just to get a good idea of how we might be able to help you.”
I smiled back at him. He was trying not to be condescending, but still failing to say what was really on everyone’s minds: that I’m insane. However, having lived for three centuries, I have plenty of patience. I smiled and nodded and said, “Please begin, Dr. Reasoner.”
The doctor smiled and turned on the recorder and then took a drink of water.
“Mr. Ducat,” he started. I raised a hand to stop him.
“Dr. Reasoner, as we may be here for a while, please call me Viktor.”
The doctor smiled and said, “Ok Viktor. Could you tell me what year this is?”
“Why yes,” I said, “It’s 1995.”
“Very good,” said Dr. Reasoner. “And what year were you born?” he asked me, looking over some files.
“I was born in 1672, February 5 in
“Hmmm,” said Reasoner, “alright. You don’t speak with an accent.”
“I moved to England in 1721, then to Virginia in 1786, served in the War of 1812, then later fought for the North in the Civil War, then had a home in Kentucky during the two World Wars, then moved out here to New Hampshire in 1957 and have lived here ever since.”
“I see,” said the doctor. “So you’ve been a busy man.”
“Indeed I have,” I said.
“Where do you live, Viktor?”
“I own a chateau near
The doctor nodded and scribbled down some more notes. “I see.”
“Doctor, I get the feeling you are having trouble believing what I’m saying.”
He folded his hands and sighed, searching for the right words to say.
“Mr. Ducat, I find it hard to swallow that you are a 323-year-old man who has fought two historic wars and now resides in New Hampshire where he lives a healthy, happy life.”
“Then you’re not going to like what I have to tell you next,” I said.
The doctor leaned forward. “And what is that?”
“I’m a vampire, Dr. Reasoner, a nightstalker that lives off of the blood of humans or other living creatures.”
“Now at least we’re getting somewhere,” he said.
“I’m glad you believe me.”
“Don’t be so sure, Viktor. Tell me, how long have you been a vampire?”
I thought for a moment. When you have 300 years of memories, you tend to forget some things. However I remembered.
“It was my wedding night. I was 23. My bride was a beautiful girl named Cate. She and I had our whole lives ahead. Until she bit my neck, and forced me to drink from her vein. I was transformed into a hideous beast, and forced to live a life that sacrificed all my humanity. A life where I thirsted for blood and hungered for darkness. I became a demon.”
“I see,” said the good doctor. “So then, how did you come to know Anna McFearson?”
Now he was cutting right to the chase. “She was a young girl. About 21, I think. She had seen me at a club I went to. We had got to talking. This is how I usually prey on my victims. Normally, it goes unnoticed, but with Ann I felt a sense of vivacious energy. I wanted to be in her world, to know her better.
“She invited me home, to meet her parents. But by then the craving was too much. I felt thirsty, and was getting weak. I made it through introductions with the parents and made my way upstairs, to be alone with Anna. She had just removed her shirt when I kissed her neck, then bit down hard, drawing the familiar taste of blood.
“I drank her dry, and by the time I was finished, she was long gone. I then felt a feeling of sadness. Anna, this beautiful creature who had trusted me, was now dead, another victim of my horrible condition. I went out of the room, the blood stained on my chin and clothes. I walked downstairs and was shocked to see her mother coming up.
“She screamed, so I bit her too. Then the father came up and tried to pry me away from her, so I released her and bit him in the neck as well. Soon the two of them were writing in pain, so I took one of their wooden chairs in the living room and began to beat the mother with it. Eventually I heard her neck snap. I turned toward the father, who had gotten on the phone to 9-11. I saw him struggling to get the words out to get the police over, but the bite in his neck was too deep, and blood was clogging the airway.
“I watched him die a painful, frightening death. In all of this, all I could think was how fresh the blood tasted, how warm it was in my mouth, and how much I had longed for it.”
The doctor stared at me with wide eyes, although that was the only hint of shock on his face. I looked down into my lap and noticed my left hand rubbing my knee while my right hand massaged my crotch. I stopped immediately and put both hands on the table. Such an act is rude in front of strangers.
I looked at the doctor, then at his assistants, then back at the doctor.
“You cannot give me the death penalty,” I said. “You would be denying my species a right to live.”
Dr. Reasoner held up a document.
“Do you know what this is?” he asked me.
“It’s a birth certificate.” I said.
“Yes,” said the good doctor. “It’s for Victor Decker, born 1972. It’s got baby’s foot and hand prints, and they match yours exactly.”
“I don’t know what you’re getting at,” I said.
“You’re not a vampire,” said Dr. Reasoner. “You just killed three innocent people because of a psychotic case that would cause you to think such.”
“I am a vampire. I know I am.”
“I know you do,” said the doctor. “And I know another thing. Look in the mirror.”
I looked in the mirror. Sitting across from Dr. Reasoner, looking right at me, was a young man with a shaved head, broken nose, and large blue eyes. I raised a hand and felt my head. Smooth. I felt my nose. There was a bone sticking out that had been broken before.
It was like a deaf person hearing for the first time, only it was then that I remembered something: I had looked in the mirror just yesterday in the bathroom of my apartment. Not only that, but I also remembered watching the sun go down while enjoying a beer on the patio. And I remembered something else… a medicine bottle… something for psychosis… but the bottle was empty, and needed to be refilled…
I looked back at the doctor and laughed. It’s all I could do was laugh. And when I got done laughing, I cried. I had never felt so alone before. Not in 300 years.
About the Author
Nick Varnau is the writer of works such as
“Celebrity,” “At The Bottom of Everything,” and
“Return.” He has also created and written the “Amazon Jihad” series (with Shaun
O’Donnell), the “Suburban Ninjas” series, and the new spiritual sci-fi series,
“Promised Land.” In addition to fiction, he has also worked as a journalist for