I finally decided to grab the bull by the horns (or should that be bite the bull by the neck?) and give the old bat-brains a whirl. I guess TS2 Nightlife and TS3 Late Night have pre-programmed my brain to think that a city is a good place for vampires to hang out. I mean, it makes sense right? You get to hang out late at night in clubs and bars and there are so many people it’s practically an all you can eat!
So I created Amadeus Rose. He’s a newly created vampire so he’s still learning the ropes. As a human he was a bit of a geek to be honest: kind of skinny and more interested in shutting himself into his bedroom and listening to old rock music (you know… if there was a rock music radio station in TS4). I guess he felt like he never really fit in at school because he’d arrived in San Myshuno as a kid, a refugee from Transimvania, and he’d never fully lost the accent.
He’d lived with his aunt in her tiny (but well maintained) apartment throughout his teenage years. She often looked at him with a wistful expression, sighing and hoping he was a ‘late bloomer’ (whatever that means). She had been a nurse, and often worked the night shift for extra money, and slept nearly all day. She’d never had much time to spend with him and he’d learned to take care of himself: he knew his way around that kitchen better than she did!
Then one day she didn’t come home from work. They told him it was a violent patient who had attacked her. A mentally unstable guy with some kind of paranoid hallucinations. He got away. And they couldn’t find his aunt’s body. She’d last been seen stumbling from the hospital in the direction of the suspension bridge…
Amadeus became even more withdrawn and afraid of the outside world. He spent all his time in the apartment and absorbed himself in music. The small inheritance his aunt had left him had been just enough to buy a few instruments and keep on top of the rent. He told the social workers he was fine. He was technically an adult now so they left him alone.
He played more music.
He lost interest in food.
The money started to run out…
It was at this point that his life changed.
First came the hunger again. But this was a different kind of hunger. A burning, aching hunger that seemed to come from his heart instead of his stomach. A hunger that normal food couldn’t satisfy.
Then he became stronger. At first he thought it was because he was becoming a man. His shoulders seemed wider, his muscles more pronounced.
Finally he got sick. If he went out in the day he felt like his skin was on fire! He looked in the mirror and his face was gaunt, his eyes dark and sunken. He was starving but he couldn’t keep anything down.
In a panic he searched through his aunt’s things for her notebook: it would surely have a number for her doctor in her list of contacts. His fingers brushed the pressed leather spine, but when he pulled the book free from the suitcase it was not her notebook but her journal.
Was it wrong to read it? He felt like it was but he couldn’t help but turn the thick yellowing pages. This was no ordinary diary. The first line addressed him directly:
‘Dearest Amadeus, if you are reading this then I am gone. There are many things I must tell you…‘
And then he discovered what he was.
The fangs were tricky. They would extend at any moment and he had little control over them. The mere thought of anything remotely exciting would have them shooting into his bottom lip or his tongue and he tasted his own blood more than anything else in those early days.
‘There are others like us. There are those that can help. But you MUST learn the basics first. You cannot meet them if you are unprepared.‘
Disguising what he had become was easy. Sure, he looked a little pale, but if he disguised his eyes with a pair of dark glasses he blended in with any other resident of the city who was suffering from one too many late nights.
The hardest part was the hunger. At first he was tortured by the thought of hurting anyone and bore the pain in his chest for a long time. But the journal warned him of the danger of leaving it too long:
‘You are young and can fight the hunger for a while. But it will get stronger and harder to bear. Eventually it will take over and you will lose control. You CANNOT let that happen.‘
Better to take a sip here, and a sip there. Gently so that people don’t even notice. No more harm than a love bite. Little and often. That was the way. Still Amadeus felt guilty. But he buried his emotions into his music, playing them over and over to free himself.
Over time he learned to control the symptoms. He could make himself look human again, lean, a little bit weedy, like he wouldn’t hurt a fly. But he needed to attract his food and he found that shifting into his stronger, darker form made him more confident. It was easier to seduce people that way. He had a string of girlfriends, they didn’t seem to mind their rock star boyfriend dating other women, and it was practical to have a number of food sources so as not to take too much from any one girl.
Many men would have loved to trade places with him, but Amadeus wasn’t happy. This wasn’t the way he wanted to live his life, an unwilling slave of the hunger. He dreamed of a normal human life, finding his soulmate, and maybe even having kids (as if he could even dream of having kids and risk passing on his curse!). The constant feeling of gnawing guilty was almost as painful as the hunger and he would go for days without feeding, swapping one pain for another, until it became too dangerous and he would call one of the girls to try to quench his unquenchable thirst.
One day he saw HER. Just a glimpse, a flash of red in the corner of his eye. He paused, the violin string suspended in mid-note, and moved closer to the thin sliver of light between the curtain and the wall. There she was again. Her hair blazing in the mid-day sun. He followed her, his black eye almost blinded by the glare, as she walked through the street below him and vanished from his gaze.
It felt like an eternity for the sun to set that evening. For the first time in his life Amadeus was eager to get down to street level. So eager that he descended too early and his skin crackled in the last few remnants of sunset. He looked around for the girl, but she could not be found. Who was she? And where could she be?