Much To Learn:
A Short Vampire Tale

© Joan Ann Lansberry

Young Vashan had only ever known the comfort of his rural home. Within its secure confines, all needs and comforts were supplied.

His mother and her consort were extraordinarily beautiful. They were so unlike the dark visages he'd seen on their TV and computer screens, with their pale delicacy that belied their true strength. Eliza and Jerrard both possessed raven hair, and glittery eyes, along with a sensuous demeanor.

His youthful mother possessed a languid graceful elegance. She would not need her elaborate jewelry and dress to achieve this, but it did not hurt. Jerrard appeared a man in his prime, in his early 40's. A restrained strength embued all his understated movements and he easily commanded respect.

Vashan adored them. He knew that Eliza and Jerrard were powerful. But they understood their strength, and never abused young Vashan through misuse.

All of his life, Vashan had been waiting, waiting for the culmination of perfection which would come to him when at last Eliza and Jerrard agreed he'd reached sufficient maturity.

They affectionately coaxed him to be patient. When only sixteen, Vashan began to beg for the mysteries to be revealed to him. This amused Eliza, and she'd smile at him, letting her fully developed teeth show for a moment.

Then she'd stroke Vashan's long dark hair and purr, ''Only a little while longer, my sweet! Really, you must begin now to learn patience!''

Vashan tried to be patient. He observed their shiny fingernails and wondered why his looked dull by comparison. When he learned the application of clear nail polish would give them more of a glass-like appearance, he never was without this addition.

He was proud of his pale skin, however. His nearly matched his mother's in delicacy. But he was too aware of the delicacy of constitution that accompanied his own frame. He often caught colds, and sneezed and dribbled. What magic made his elders invulnerable?

He'd seen them at beginning of nightfall, visiting their animal farm, taking turns with putting their mouths to the animals. Vashan was a short thing, even with his mother's thighs, when he begged to do likewise.

How both Eliza and Jerrard laughed when he made his plaintive request. No, he had to consume those offerings in the refrigerator: cheese, bananas, bread and milk. These items were chosen for him because of the nutritive value and simplicity of preparation.

Still, Vashan felt himself to be still a baby yet, not consuming the mysterious 'adult' food.

Much had been kept from his understanding, and he had no idea how much. His elders deemed it necessary for his and their protection.

His mother had been allowed her perfection just after Vashan was born. The mammalian properties no longer needed, Jerrard imparted to her the mysteries, and thus Vashan had never known her to be any different.

Vashan had never known the touch of another human. He did not know why his body felt warm to the touch, while his mother's and Jerrard's felt consistently cool. To him, his mother's kisses were sweet, and he never minded her icy finger tips.

Vashan's study of the world at large came entirely through those luminescent screens. Computer aided home schooling educated him in literature, mathemathics, science and history.

He found himself to be a slow learner, and he had to re-read his texts many times before the meaning would gel. Yet he stubbornly kept at his studies until understanding could be achieved.

All such knowledge was filtered through the question of how did this apply to him, yet imperfect and unfinished, and how would this change after his attainment.

He understood his vulnerability in his current state and did not question his guardian's attempts to keep him sheltered.

At the coming of his twentieth birthday, Vashan felt an infusion of energetic frustration. He'd heard twenty one would be the magical year.

But the morning of his twentyth birthday, his mother smiled at him, whispering in his ear he would not have to wait any longer.

Unbeknownst to Vashan, his mother also had been enduring some impatience. She felt too keenly his mortal vulnerability and wanted him safely transformed as soon as possible.

Jerrard agreed, and that evening, the process was first explained. Jerrard and his mother would take turns siphoning the mortal blood from him. Once that was completely removed, Jerrard, the elder and more powerful, would deposit his living embryonic blood beings within Vashan's circulatory system. The blood beings would work the rest of the transformation.

Vashan was so excited they were merciful and attempted to be calm through out the process. He let himself drift away peacefully, as he felt himself grow lighter with the draining. He trusted Eliza and Jerrard, knowing they had his best interests in mind.

Returning to consciousness, he endured the tremors patiently. He shook all over and thrashed wildly as the pain mounted within him. Finally, it eased, and his mother led him to a large cow for his first adult meal. (They had established a cow farm in order to avoid feeding from humans. The same cows treated best possible under the conditions would then feed both humans and vampires.)

Vashan drank and drank, overwhelmed with satisfaction. He let his mother lead him back into their gently lit cozy home, where he fell asleep on his bed.

When he awoke from that sleep, Vashan smiled victoriously. He patted his cool skin, now more luminescent than it had been, and felt of his fully developed teeth. His mother, too, felt triumph, and hugged him lovingly.

She'd been a young girl when she became pregnant. The man responsible abandoned her, and the mysterious Jerrard saved her from distress. She adored the strangely thrilling man, and was delighted to be under his care.

His lengthy eye teeth did not scare her, nor did his cool caresses. His passion was hot, and that's all that mattered. After Vashan was born, she submitted without question to his magical administrations.

She did not mind that only after the last of her tremors and a good blood meal, was her son brought to her. Eliza was merely a happy woman in love, and bore his marks proudly.

She had been as worried as any mortal mother for the fate of her vulnerable son as he grew up, but now that her son was safe from human frailty, her joy was complete.

Vashan's joy was complete, as well. For a few days, he'd known such pride and exhilaration.

But then another mysterious change came over him. Still profoundly pleased with his physical state, this change was purely mental.

He addressed his concerns to the rather authoratative Jerrard, ''Am I not an adult now, complete in my perfection? Must I forever be kept here like a vulnerable baby? I want to explore this world I've never seen!''

One evening, Jerrard had had enough. He gathered Vashan up, and tossed him into their car. ''So you want to 'see the world', you do? Well, then, we'll do just that! I'll drop you off at the bus station, give you some money, and let you at the world!''

Vashan was shocked, for Jerrard sounded so angry as he said this. He hadn't even given him time to feed!

Jerrard deposited him at the bus station with only some twenties and a blanket. He smiled wide eyed and coarsely as he left, ''I hope you have an interesting time!''

Jerrard's car had not rolled out of the parking lot when hunger began to gnaw at Vashan. He didn't know what to do. He read the signs high above him, choices of possible destinations: San Diego, Phoenix, Houston, they were all just vague abstractions to him.

So he just sat on a chair and clutched his blanket. He did not know what to do about his hunger. Those greasy, smelly strangers who came and went smelled vaguely like food. By three o'clock the following day, Vashan called home, ''I haven't thought this out properly. Please come and take me home. I'm hungry!''

Jerrard laughed and told him he would be there after sunset, with the car.

Some resolution to his despair attained, Vashan sat down on the molded plastic seat and covered himself with the blanket.

He'd hoped to 'zone out' until Jerrard's arrival, but a dusty, as well as oily, smelling spare man in a worn black suit approached him, ''Are you a runaway? I have the answer for which you seek!''

Vashan replied that he wasn't a 'runaway', but the man began his speech anyway. He held before him a black leather covered book, which matched his suit in state of wear.

''Jesus Christ has all the answers!'' the man began excitely.

Vashan looked at the thin man, ''Who is he?''

The man, triumphant to have a listener, announced, ''Jesus is the Saviour of the world. His blood can save you!''

Vashan began to get really interested at this point. Blood sounded quite good, just now. ''What's so special about his blood, and why is he willing to give it to me?''

Grant Worley introduced himself and began to speak in detail, ''Jesus shed his precious blood to save your soul!''

Vashan balked, ''Wait, this man SHED his blood, that means it's OLD and DEAD! What use is that? And it is not my soul, but my body that needs the saving!''

Worley shook his head at the worldly youngster, ''No! You don't understand! That blood, shed once, does all, saves all, if you just believe!'' Vashan's voice grew louder, ''This is DEAD blood, very dead blood. What good can it do me?''

Worley grew frustrated. Never had a prospect presented such bizarre questions before. ''It's metaphysical blood now. It lives through faith!''

Vashan exclaimed, ''Through faith! Metaphysical blood is useless to me! I need some real, flesh and blood evidence!''

Worley was losing his patience, ''Faith is necessary. You must believe!''

Vashan was becoming more consternated and hungry than ever before. ''FAITH will not feed my belly. I'm sorry, you are just not making any sense. I appreciate this man's offer of his blood, but imaginary cures are no cure at all.''

Just then, Vashan noticed Jerrard entering the station. Vashan got up and addressed the thin, worn man, ''Just here, now comes my salvation. My father has come to take me home and to food. This is not imaginary. This is real. I wish you luck with the imagination, though.''

Worley just stared stupified as the pale young man followed the equally pale older man home. ''At least the boy has a home to go to,'' he thought as he scratched his head again about his lack of religious understanding.

Once in the car, and on the way home, Vashan told Jerrard of the strange things he'd experienced during his brief sojourn in the 'world at large'. ''A man spoke to me of shed, dead blood, now imaginary, that will 'save me' if I but believe in its power! Can you imagine such a thing? Make-believe blood?''

Jerrard laughed and acknowledged, ''You have much to learn about the world. It will take the centuries to learn most of it. I am quite long lived, being 'a child of the Millennia' as they say, and I do not understand it all yet. Be patient, my son. Many more marvels await you!''

(© Joan Lansberry, March 2003)
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