He hid in the shadows, listening. His eyes, used to the gloom, darted furtively back and forth.
After all these years, is this where it ends?
He remembered the first time he was hunted. A father and son. Farmers he thought. He’d taken their daughter, their sister. He’d led her to him, tricked her, seduced her, changed her. They fled together, travelling at night, hiding like animals in caves. But still the hunters came.
He remembered the moment the stake entered her body, the agony he felt in his undead soul. He remembered her guttural scream seconds before her head hit the ground.
She was his first creation. There’d been others since, but her destruction pained him the most.
He’d spent his eternity skulking, feigning humanity, even falling in love, a long time ago. She was young, her cheeks pink like the blossoms of a tree, her skin warm like the kiss of forgotten sunshine. Beautiful. Human. He was first her suitor, then husband, then son, then grandson, when after sixty years she died in his arms. Leathery skin pressed against his permanent youth.
He vowed to live his endless existence causing no more harm. He picked his prey, the bad people, the evil, the dregs that no-one wanted, and no-one missed. He believed this was his debt to pay for all who had died on his lips.
But now the hunters came again, and they were no longer afraid.
As he disappeared up a rickety fire escape, fleeing across rooftops, he wondered if it would be so bad to die? Wasn’t 352 years on this earth enough? The only thing that kept him going his the dread of the unknown. What would become of him when his head was finally separated from his shoulders. Could a vampire not fear death too?
(c) Amy Hutton