REFLECTIONS OF A VAMPIRE
1. THE JOURNALIST
Jane Piper was simply the hottest property in print journalism. Though she did not exploit this proclaimed position greatly, it did afford her certain privileges and a certain respect.
Arriving for work at 5pm and having the run of the entire building may seem like small rewards for being the newspapers biggest draw, but Jane was not driven by ego. She did not require the biggest office or the best car or whatever and her bosses were happy not to provide them.
Jane was not the particularly sociable type, but she sometimes did like to wander the building while sipping on a coffee, it seemed to settle her mind, allow her time to gather her thoughts.
On this particular day, the sight of about a dozen young women gathered around the table in one of the conference rooms gave her some pause.
"Mike McCurran has been up here all bloody day, gawping. I keep trying to tell him if they aint illegal then they are sure out of his league"
The gruff tones of Chester Keenan were unmistakeable.
Inevitably the big man was dubbed Keenan the Barbarian by his colleagues, but he was more bark than bite.
"A couple of real hotties in there though" he added, almost wistfully.
"What gives?" Jane was neutral, straightforward.
"We are taking on a bunch of typists, and before you yell sexism, no guys applied" Chester explained.
"Only about six will be taken on, poor kids are awaiting the verdict"
All the time, Jane had been drawn to one particular girl. She was not dressed to impress as most were, and she wore a look of disinterest rather than anxiety. Yet Jane found it difficult not to be drawn back to the slight blonde with too many earrings and a scowl.
"Maybe I could use an assistant" Jane casually sipped on her coffee.
Chester raised an eyebrow.
"I hadnt pegged you as a dyke, but I guess that brunette would convert any woman"
The man looked apologetic, he prayed that Jane was in a good mood. Happily for him, she smiled.
"I have no doubt she could, but then how would I get any work done?"
The two exchanged a glance to let the uneasy moment pass.
Janes private life was not up for discussion.
"Ill leave the "hotties" to your fantasies, I meant the one doing the crossword, the one who looks like she is about to leave anyway"
"She was the worst of the lot, couldnt even pass the simplest typing"
"Does this fine newspaper not offer training?" Jane crumpled the polystyrene cup.
Though he had misgivings about her choice, Chester was aware that Jane rarely asked anything of management, and he knew that she knew it too. It would be an uncomfortable if brief meeting when he explained to the papers owner that Ms. Piper had crossed town to a rival because he refused to pay out for a lousy assistant.
An even more uncomfortable one with his wife would follow that meeting when he explained to her just how he managed to get himself fired.
"Her name is Candice Jones and she is all yours. Good luck"
Up close, the young girl looked as much scared as defiant, though the latter was clearly what she was aiming for. Her eyes however were even more beguiling. As they wandered the corridors towards Janes office, the journalist almost felt like taking the girl by the hand..
"Perhaps you could start by fetching us both a coffee?"
It seemed an innocent enough request at the time.
"No!" The word was spat out too loudly, but Candice chose to continue.
"I am not here to be your personal slave!" the youngster glowered.
If it had been her intention to get noticed, then Candice had succeeded beyond any expectation. Though Jane did have a private office, most of the room was open plan, and everyone
was now attentive to only one thing.
Chester Keenan had chosen to follow the women downstairs and he stood as aghast as anyone, shaking his head, his mouth agape.
Jane Piper was no ordinary journalist, no ordinary person. She recalled the fear in the girls eyes (as well as their allure) and to be spoken to in that manner was actually such a novelty she found it almost amusing.
"You are quite right, please forgive me. I have worked here for years, this is your first day. It is my job to make you feel welcome.
Go sit in my office and I will get the coffee"
While Keenan the Barbarian allowed his jaw to drop further, Jane smiled and attended to her catering task. The rest of the office resumed their work while memorising that exchange which would become newspaper mythology.
No one of course knew what was said in the privacy of Janes office, but for the next few weeks, the still sullen Candice turned up for work on time, and quietly attended her duties.
There would be only one further public incident to test Janes judgement.
Arriving late as was her habit, Jane walked in on a very public slanging match between Candice and Mike McCurran.
McCurran was a hard-bitten old school hack, he was part of the furniture, respected and very much senior to Jane.
Not known for his politeness, he and Candice were exchanging old-fashioned insults of the type which normally pre-cursored a bar room brawl.
"Candice! Shut up and go to my office, now!"
The shock of hearing Jane yelling took all aback. The young assistant scowled but meekly obeyed.
McCurran looked quietly satisfied.
Jane though turned her attention to the man.
In firm tones she said.
"Mike. If you ever speak like that again to my assistant, I will personally castrate you with a rusty knife"
She did not wait for a reply, instead she promptly followed Candice into the office and slammed shut the door.
The young assistant was visibly quivering.
Jane spoke softly.
"Did he harass you physically, sexually?" she asked.
"No" Candice replied meekly.
"If anyone gives you trouble, tell me" Jane continued.
Perhaps for the first time, Candice became tearful.
"It wasnt like that, it was a stupid argument" she said "do you want me to apologise to him?"
Jane studied the girl briefly.
"Only if he apologises first" she said with a grin.
Looking back, perhaps that had been the pivotal moment, the deal-clincher in their relationship. Over the next few years, Jane saw not only Candice mature physically, but slowly transform from that defiant, rebellious, late-teen that Chester had cautioned her against, into an invaluable assistant.
So good and more importantly trustworthy was Candice that Jane wondered how she could ever have functioned without her.
The respect was mutual, and Candice not only did any assignment given, she had never once asked for anything extra in return.
Perhaps it was that reflection of herself that Jane had spotted in those enchanting eyes many years ago.
Discussion of Janes private life had long been established as a taboo, but of course frustrating speculation did exist.
"Its annual pay rise time" Chester Keenan had summoned Jane upstairs. "How about 10%?"
"Fine" Jane replied.
"Jeez woman! Aint you going to negotiate? Im authorised to offer sixty! Dammit they would buy you a freakin island if you wanted."
Jane smiled "Ten is fine, Ill take twenty if it makes you feel better"
"Actually that is a good idea, makes me look like a real mean boss"
"What about Candice?" the journalist then asked.
"Shell probably get five" Chester shrugged. "Weve had a good year"
"How about Candice gets double or I walk?" Jane smiled.
"10%!! For an assistant?" Chester was bemused.
"I said double." Jane continued to smile. "Whatever you pay her now, double it. That was 100% when I was at school"
"Dont be ridiculous! What is it with you and that girl?"
Jane sighed heavily.
"I didnt peg you as the boring office gossip type. Just pay the girl what she deserves, what her work deserves"
Jane never wondered further about what increment her assistant received, she trusted Chester enough to know it would be healthy.
2. THE VAMPIRE
(CONTENTS OF TAPED INTERVIEW)
I can anticipate some of your questions simply because we all tend to have similar frames of reference, even similar ways of thinking.
I tell you that Im a vampire, it is unlikely you are going to begin by wondering where I buy my shoes?
You have briskly scanned the apartment, no doubt checking for mirrors
you have noted the lack of fangs when I smiled, and your gaze has wandered down to my cleavage where my silver cross nestles
Dont worry, the cleavage display is shameless flaunting on my part, and the choice of the crucifix deliberate. It was my intention to dispel the ludicrous folklore, the "Hollywood mythology" that seems to have almost defined a people who are every bit as diverse as other parts of society.
I am no typical vampire, you of course still think I am no vampire at all, your scepticism is as obvious as my plunge neckline
Yes, I appreciate that you are supposed to be interviewing me, but I feel it is important for me to explain certain things, lift the fog as it were so you can see what you wish from a clearer perspective. No?
The fangs will appear only as required, and that is beyond my control
at such times my reflection will disappear
but for the greater time I am fangless, and reflection-full?
I wont go near anyone who has eaten garlic, but that is just a personal quirk, the garlic thing must be the funniest one ever,
I can only wonder how that one came about
A hands up on the daylight thing, or rather sunlight. This does vary, but I know of no other vamp that really tolerates strong sunlight. I keep subdued lighting and do tend to the nocturnal.
Did I? I use the word vamp because I like it. Even for "normals" it is a great word. Real sexy! In general "vampires" is fine, some of my more militant cohorts may object, but some people can object about anything dont you think?
You are kidding right? A silver bullet is werewolves - who dont exist by the way. A wooden stake driven through the heart is likely to kill us, it would kill most people dont you think?
There are other ways in which we die, though I dont think I should divulge them right now, who knows what you have in mind?
To be serious, we do have a vastly different healing system and our longevity is very considerable compared to the "normals" but you are not going to be impolite and ask my age, are you?
Listen, I should have covered a lot of the stuff that I wanted to, how about I break open some wine? I can tell you are unsettled but you shouldnt be. Hey! Maybe I will allow you to start directing the conversation.
No, I never did. Have you? Actually I doubt many people have
weve all seen a few films but the book, no.
Right..I do take your point. Grains of truth, maybe more..whats bigger than a grain?
Anyway, yeah, obviously someone knew something, I was simply suggesting that the films at least give a very distorted view. Vamps and "normals" are probably more similar than different, in our every day lives, anyway.
Boy! That was a deep breath, is this going to be the killer question?
Hee Hee! Im sorry no, questions cannot harm us, but it was great to see you smile finally. And God! You are beautiful, not at all what I expected.
Whoa! Hold on, one at a time. I must pass on the God thing, lets just say vampires have as many beliefs as others, and mine I choose to keep personal. As for the other thing, well I dont think that I have to be a lesbian to find you attractive, you surely know you are a stunner, but I do have a girlfriend, in fact if you stick around you should meet her.
This neckline serves a dual purpose, you get to see the crucifix, and the boob display is for her!
Trust me, it is not the wine talking. In any world I would be a bit of a slut, it has nothing to do with being a vampire. Happily, my gal Kelly is a slut too - but we are only sluts for each other.
I flaunt, I flirt but Kelly is the only one who samples the goods.
God! We are getting into generalisations again. Hmmm..vampires dont need to have sex at all, you know, to procreate
.so I suppose homosexuality could be more common
I really dont know.
I stress that this is only my personal view, but I really dont care much for men in any way. I prefer the company of women, the conversation of women, the curves of women
What about you? OK, that was unfair, Im sorry.
Listen, Jane wasnt it? Stay for one more bottle of wine, meet Kelly,
you must have many more questions.
No, tomorrow isnt good for me, I really expected a one off interview
you know a lot of my cohorts would be horrified at the things I have revealed, Im kinda putting my neck on the line here..
Yes I know. But once this gets published our community is going to wonder, we read the papers too you know. Anonymity is all very well but there arent that many of us around here
Sorry. I didnt mean to sound annoyed. I was rather regretting agreeing to this earlier, but it has turned out to be fun, I will understand if you want to leave, but surely you can stay just a little longer
How do you become a vampire? Yeah, that really is the killer question
.oh listen, I think Kelly has arrived.
3. THE DILEMMA
Jane Piper was scanning the page but the words were almost redundant. From the very first sentence, that whole conversation, the sight of that room, Sylvies perfume came flooding back in a sensory overload that was almost overwhelming.
Jane was aware enough to notice that her assistant was still hovering and eager to speak.
"Spit it out Candice, you appear to be choking"
Candice returned the offered smile with a wrinkled grin of her own.
"I simply wanted to add my observations" the assistant feigned hurt.
"Not like you at all" Jane retorted feeling more comfortable that her mind was regaining its usual acuity. She and Candice enjoyed an enviable working relationship that was probably far closer than most friendships, though they rarely met outside of the office.
"I merely wanted to point out" Candice pouted "that though the clarity of the tape was remarkable, I could even hear the wine being poured, your voice was however inaudible. Obviously the woman was responding to your questions, but for some reason I never heard you speak once, hence the odd nature of the transcript"
"Probably I placed the microphone badly, rookie mistake" Jane responded perhaps too quickly.
"But who was she? When did you do this?" Candice had not finished her interrogation.
"Sylvie" Jane was reflective, "she is called Sylvie"
Candice had learned to read her employers mind, and she sensed unease, even turmoil. This was not entirely new, but somehow more intense. She was wary of further venture, but still very curious.
"Not really your usual style, what was it, a hoax?" Candice smiled in a way that conveyed sympathy, understanding.
"Please tell me when to shut up" she added.
Jane Piper suddenly felt physically sick. It was something she had grown unaccustomed to.
"Sorry, Candice. I must go home"
Arriving home unexpectedly early, Jane should not have been surprised.
Sylvie and Kelly were both dressed in combat fatigues and were entertaining each other.
"Dont you whores ever give up?" Jane screeched adding to her own headache.
"What is wrong love?" Kelly offered.
"I think she has the chill-thrills" Sylvie ventured.
"You pair disgust me. God I hate you!" was Janes initial response, and with that she stormed into her bedroom with a door-slam that registered on the Richter scale.
It must have been a full two hours before Jane emerged to find Sylvie and Kelly sharing a bottle of wine.
"Dont even bother with that one" Jane growled.
"Oh please!" Sylvie sounded unusually annoyed, "you know us better than that"
"Maybe she knows herself better, and that is the problem" Kelly stated before kissing Sylvie passionately.
"Im in love and I dont know what to do!!" Jane finally erupted.
The admission however was as much as she would proclaim.
Jane Piper walked out to a location undisclosed.
4. THE FIRST LETTER
Most divine Sylvie, Kelly.
You know that I do not hate you.
By any normal compass, my life is now eternal, at your behest.
I have seen that Vampirism is not the state of wretched, evil, torment as Hollywood portrays, but for you at least, it is super-human bliss.
Yet, for me it now is wretched. I love a normal a normal woman at that. Of course I have the ability to transform her into a vamp, but I fear not the charm to make her love me
as I love her.
Unrequited love is bad enough, eternal unrequited love would be a torture beyond my means. Evolution, nature or God wins again.
Every gain is at a cost.
5. THE SECOND LETTER
"Contained in everything I write, youre the love that shines the light.
Contained in everything I do, youre the light that guides me through."
I stole that from Jon Anderson, you will be too young to know of him, but I cannot put it better.
I believe that I loved you from that very first day I saw you, and that my feelings towards you have not diminished once, yet have grown many times over the years. We exchange thoughts, ideas without speaking, your glance melts my heart
In this ridiculous world, I am your boss, yet you are a hundredfold the person that I am, but in my ridiculous private world you are a single blip on a radar screen.
This wont make much sense, just know that I love you and that I would do in any world.
6. HEADLINE NEWS.
It is with deep regret that todays commentary must report on one of our own. Jane Piper, award winning journalist and valued colleague
is missing, presumed dead
. a Ms. Candice Jones, an employee of
this newspaper, is also believed to have perished in the accident. Though no bodies
have been recovered, a police spokesman simply said "no human being could
survive such a crash, let alone eight hours in the freezing ocean.
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