Pity the Living, Not the Dead by TL Travis

England, 1821

The one thing my mother taught me that I have lived by for over two centuries was to never take what was not mine. Considering the fact that we were dirt poor, that was saying a lot. We never stole, not even to eat, even though my mother was nothing more than a lowly chambermaid and my father a tyrant, ruling his Manor with an iron fist and an abusive libido to match. He took what he wanted from the servants, which was how I came to be. The bastard son he never admitted to having nor had any use for. The only offspring he claimed were the three his picture-perfect wife bore, two sons and a daughter. The other dozen or so of us were treated as the servants they forced us to be, never allowed to address him at all, never allowed to eat at the same table his beloved family did. Servants were to walk with their heads down and not speak unless spoken to first.

There are many things in life I regret, but loving another man was not one of them. I was eighteen once, young and in love. Or so I had foolishly thought. My naive heart belonged to the clergyman’s only son, Jasper. Jasper and I would run through the wooded area near our township in rural England. Stolen kisses, secretive touches. Only I learned the hard way they were not as secretive as I blindly allowed myself to believe. When Jasper’s father found out, Jasper lied, told him I had forced myself upon him and he feared for his life. Later that night, I was taken from my bed and dragged out into those same woods where I had once found solace, the freedom to be myself, only to have that freedom revoked. Beaten within an inch of my life by an angry mob from our village and left for dead. My blood seeping into the ground, nourishing it as my body decayed, the visual of the end so clear to me.

“Leave him for the vultures,” Jasper’s father said as he spat on my motionless body, my pain so unbearable I weaved in and out of consciousness. Once the blows ceased, I lost the strength to fight, willing the gods to end it all. The group left, chuckling amongst themselves as they walked back to town. My eyes were bloodied and swollen, yet through the slits I still managed to pick another familiar face from the crowd. My father. I prayed for Death to come and take me, but she did not.

William, the vampire who changed me, happened upon me that night and whisked me away. Looking back now, I suppose the stench from the blood I’d lost was most likely what drew him to me, a vulture to a rotting carcass. I awoke the next evening in a strange bed far away from the only home I had ever known. My wounds were extensive, some of the scarring still visible while other injuries had disappeared with the transformation. I would not have survived the night had William not done what he did.

What William saw in me, or why he chose to gift me eternal life, I will never know. He turned me that very evening, stayed with me long enough to show me the ways of the nightwalker, then, after we consummated my rebirth, he vanished without a trace. That was my first time having sex, as a human or a vampire. I was quite smitten with William, and for the second time, thought that love was returned. His long, tousled blond locks, waving in the wind as we sailed sight unseen through the night, his tall, slender frame, rigid and demanding—there wasn’t any part of this exquisite man I wasn’t drawn to. I often wondered if it hadn’t been some sort of pity fuck, bestowing a parting gift, as he would see it, on his way out the door. William had plenty of opportunities to have sex with me prior to that, yet he never did. And trust me, it wasn’t for my lack of trying. My wayward dick always seemed to be pointing in his direction. Why he chose that night of all nights for it to happen was beyond me, and as much as I would like to forget about it, my mind never allowed it. I have not seen or heard from him since, nor have I sought him out. For all I know he’s dead. I suppose I should be thankful for the gift he bestowed upon me, but it did not come without its fair share of challenges.

One of which was suffocating in never-ending loneliness.

Not long after William abandoned me, I returned to the small village where I had grown up. It being late at night, the villagers had already tucked in. With my body nowhere to be found, my mother had been hung to pay for her son’s sins against God. From what I learned, my asshole father spearheaded that witch hunt. The first visit I paid that night was to dear old Dad. Redemption be thy name.

I located him in his study, a stein of mead sloshing around in hand. An unfamiliar chambermaid was on her way in, whom I easily diverted, only drinking enough of her blood to slide her into a deep, blissful slumber.

As I entered the room, my father fired off an order from where he sat facing the roaring floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. “What took you so long, woman? Get on your knees and service me, now!” he barked.

“There will be no more servicing of any kind. Not tonight. Not ever,” I said, startling him.

He bolted upright, readying himself for battle. “What’re, what’re…” His words slurred. Clearly, he had had more than enough to drink. The man wasn’t bright with a clear head, let alone an inebriated one. “You shamed God, you heathen!” he cursed.

“I shamed your god, did I? Yet your indiscretions and abusive behavior have not? Must be nice to live so high up in the clouds, able to make your own rules.” Before he even noticed I had moved, I was across the room, lurking behind him, whispering near his ear. “Tell me, how does it feel to be you?” He reached for the fire poker, haphazardly swinging it around, but I easily disarmed him.

“You’re no match for me, boy,” he said, lunging forward. I stepped aside as he passed me. He barely stopped himself before barreling headfirst into the flames. Pity. But then again, that would’ve ended my fun far too soon.

“Oh, I think you’ll find, Father,” the venomous tone with which I called him the one word he despised hearing me say, having beaten my ass many a times for doing so, was thick with the hatred it bore, “it’s the other way around. I’ve changed since you and your wayward followers beat me and left me for dead.”

“You’re no son of mine,” he groaned.

“Oh, how we both wish that were true, but unfortunately, your tainted blood runs through my veins. I was the son of a wonderful woman. One you used and cast aside, only to have her hung for something she played no part in. Should I award you the same death? No, I think not. It’s far too easy, and you deserve so much more.” I smiled, ensuring the true nature of the beast within presented itself as my eyeteeth elongated for show. “You don’t deserve to die so painlessly. I think I’ll start with draining every last drop of blood from your body before ripping you apart limb from limb, tossing your worthless remains into the fireplace you so adore.” The foolish man dove for the poker I still had in hand. Penetrating his jugular with it, I pierced his flesh into the stone wall. He made to scream but only managed to gurgle.

“You see, Daddy dearest,” I ran my finger through the blood trickling from the wound, his eyes glued to the digit as I slowly licked it clean, “I’m a vampire.”

I sank my fangs into his neck, drinking the tainted blood of the man who filled my soul with nothing but loathing. A man who would never hurt another again. I rejoiced in draining him, knowing his days of lording over others had come to an end. The crunching of bones and tearing of flesh filled the room as I carried out my threat. “Rot in hell, you vile excuse of a human. I shall see you there someday.” Without a second glance, I promptly set fire to the lavish dwelling for which I held no love. The shrill screams of its remaining inhabitants as they fled filled me with delight. Morbid? Yes, but it gave me closure in more than one way.

I worked my way through town, ending the lives and drinking my fill of the men whose faces as they beat me were still fresh in my mind. Killing them quickly, a luxury they failed to afford me, was the best I could offer, given what little time was left before daybreak. There was still one more I had my sights set on. His death would not be swift. He, too, needed to feel the pain I felt at his betrayal. Not only physically had he wounded me, but the emotional scars would forever remain. Jasper, I whispered into the night, I’m coming for you.

“Good evening, Jasper,” I said, spooking him as he entered the barn behind his farmhouse, a home he now shared with a wife and child. I had purposely selected this spot, causing as much of a ruckus as I could, knowing he would be the one sent out to see what the cause was.

“Who goes there?” He called out, pitchfork in hand, eyes scanning the dark with no avail.

I stepped from the shadows, facing the nemesis who once held the key to my once delicate but now blackened heart. “Elijah? It can’t be. I watched you die,” he said, slowly backing toward the door.

“No, you watched men beat me mercilessly, then leave me there to die for the lies you told,” I growled. The anger and rage simmering just beneath the surface would not be contained for long. “How could you do that to me?”

“I, I, I had no choice. They would’ve killed me too,” Jasper stuttered.

“You’ll lie no more.” I was on him before he could make it to the door.

“What, what are you? Demon? Sorcerer?” he questioned, eyes wide as the moon, body trembling with fear. Fear that fed my darkened soul.

“Something you’ll never be.” I sank my fangs into his neck, drinking heartily. I’d had more than my fill already that night, but Jasper was the cherry atop my revenge-filled dessert. Having killed the Alpha who’d wronged me when he planted his vile seed inside my mother against her will, and finished the night ending the life of the Omega who broke my heart, was it wrong of me to feel a sense of justice and satisfaction as the revenge I sought for so long came to an end?

“You will never hurt me again,” I roared.

Jasper’s body was found the next morning, the stake I drove through his heart firmly set into the wooden door.

I had drained the blood of every last body who had wronged my beautiful mother as well as me. If I served time in hell for their deaths, it would be a penance well worth the price.