To Cassandra’s perceptions the sun was a baleful and venomous eye. A poisonous thing whose withering glare would soon begin devouring the ghostly brilliance of the auroral night sky.
But to Mara it was still the light of day which brought the world to glorious life. Banishing what was still to her the darkness of the night. But Mara saw the world through human eyes. Cassandra did not.
The two lounged on the sofa, gazing out of their apartment window as the inexorable cycle of day and night unfolded before them. Their hands were clasped together with interlaced fingers idly fidgeting and playing. Mara’s head rested in Cassie’s lap.
“You’re sure about this Mara…?”
“….his is what you truly want….?”
Cassie searched Mara’s expression for any indication of doubt or fear, for even the slightest trace of trepidation or insecurity.
“….this is forever.”
Mara squeezed Cassie’s hand and sat up to regard her with reassuring smile. She knew exactly what she was doing, even if she could not yet fully comprehend the gravity of changing species.
“Yes….” She replied simply.
The dawn was rapidly creeping toward the horizon, and already Cassie was beginning to feel discomfort. Her extreme sensitivity to sunlight, prompted the most appalling migraines and extreme nausea. To Cassie, the light of day was an unendurable torment, such that even the imminence of dawn prompted unease.
It had been decades since she had last seen the sun, and even then only the briefest glimpse. Daylight was to Cassie a distant memory, and the sun a relic of a past life. All but forgotten, and its absence unlamented.
But there was no tragedy in this. For those with the right kind of vision, the night held wonders which far eclipsed the brilliance of any dawn.
“Well….” Cassie announced.
“….I’m going to bed.”
“Come to me when you’re ready….” she stood up taking her wine glass with her.
“….but don’t rush, watch the sunrise.”
“Oh, but don’t forget the curtains.” Cassie added.
“I won’t.” Mara replied.
As she was walking away, Cassandra paused thoughtfully for a moment before returning to Mara. She leaned over from behind the sofa, put her arms around Mara’s shoulders and kissed her cheek vigorously, prompting a chuckle.
“You know I love you, don’t you?” She whispered.
“Yes’ I know….” Mara replied
“….I love you too.”
Mara lingered alone for a while as Cassie took herself off to bed. She watched the stars disappear one by one, as dawn overwhelmed the darkness. She sipped her wine and puffed at her vape, exhaling dense clouds of apple scented vapour.
She listened to Cassie pottering around in the bathroom, showering and brushing her teeth before climbing into bed.
Mara knew that this would be the last sunrise she would see ever again. And she felt not the slightest trace of reservation. This was what she wanted. This was all that she would ever want, from now until the end of the world.
To turn her back on the day and dwell forever in the night. To be with Cassie, together forever.
Mara first met Cassandra at a place called the Barracuda Bar just over a year ago. She smiled as she recalled how they had dance and laughed like that night. She remembered how gloriously free and wild she had felt in Cassie’s company.
Mara hadn’t let the complete blackness of Cassie’s eyes creep her out. She recalled thinking it over at the time, and deciding that she was okay with body mods. Eyeball tattooing was a thing people did now, she could deal with it.
It was only later that Cassie explained that it was no modification, that she explained who she was. And what she was.
It took some time for Mara absorb the reality of the situation at first. But it wasn’t resistance or even fear, not at all. It was just that it was so strange, adjusting to a world that contained people who were not human. Adjusting to a world where vampires actually existed.
It wasn’t so much a question of acceptance as it was acclimatization. But as her relationship with Cassie progressed, Mara quickly got used to this strange new world, and she discovered a simple truth. She was in love with Cassandra regardless of what she was, and she always would be.
Mara’s heart surged with emotion even now, as she recalled how quickly and profoundly she had fallen for Cassandra.
It had been the most astonishing and joyous time of her life, like some kind of weird fairy tale. Their passion for one another had been practically instantaneous. It had been love at first sight, the stuff of trashy romance novels. All the pieces of the puzzle had just fallen perfectly into place.
But this was not fiction, this was real. Cassie had opened Mara’s eyes to a world she could never have guessed existed. And it was all real, Cassie was real.
And now she could become like Cassie. She could become like them. The ‘others’.
The Breed as they referred to themselves. Soon Cassie would ‘turn’ her, and the magic would come true.
Mara would become part of that astonishing, hidden world.
From the moment they first came together Mara had felt complete, like the part of her that had always been missing was found. It was as if she were finally free, to be the person that she always felt she was meant to be.
Being with Cassie completed her. Being with Cassie fulfilled and complemented her, confirming the person she was and bringing into focus the person she could become. And in that time, they had become as one entity. Such that neither of them could countenance being parted from the other for even a single day. To be separate from Cassie now, was to Mara inconceivable.
Mara had quickly abandoned her job, turning her back on the light of day and choosing instead to dwell with Cassandra in the night. It was an awful job anyway, providing little more than money to sustain her existence.
Money in exchange for time with little or no fulfilment, amounted to nothing less than servitude. A form of salaried slavery. Mara had turned her back on that false mode of living, without the slightest reservation.
Cassie was completely independent and apparently, wealthy to the point where wealth didn’t mean anything. Cassandra lived in a nice place and had nice things, and so did Mara now. But opulence and luxury didn’t seem the least bit attractive to Cassie.
Being what she was seemed to open pathways of fulfilment for her, which rendered mundane wealth meaningless. Cassie appeared to have access to more sublime treasures than worldly trinkets. And Mara felt that it was she herself, who was the true treasure in Cassie’s life. That it was she who was most precious and valuable in her dark and eerie world.
The few friendships that Mara had cultivated since moving to the city, faded all too soon. And she had few living relatives back home, certainly none she cared to keep in contact with. Few people really missed Mara that much, and only a couple of people called to see if she was alright.
And nobody came looking for her.
At first Mara was a little disappointed at how quickly and easily, she had faded from the daylight world. How quickly she had been forgotten. But that soon passed. For Mara had discovered a wonderful secret world, a world glorious realm of mystery that offered so much more.
Mara felt no resentment, it wasn’t anyone’s fault that she was an outsider. The truth was that Mara had never really found a way to fit into the world. She had always been a little too odd or intense somehow, for people to feel comfortable with her. And friendships were usually difficult for her to establish in the first instance, and always short lived.
Mara had always been an outsider, even as a child she had been subtly different, somehow other. People looked at Mara and saw a freak, a creepy quiet girl who was far too clever for her own good.
But that was all in the past now. Now she had Cassandra, now she had a new life. She was loved more profoundly than she had known was possible, and she was in love even more steadfastly than that. She was fulfilled and for the first time in her life, Mara felt amongst her own kind.
At long last, Mara felt that she was almost complete.
Cassie’s circle of friends had embraced Mara warmly, they had helped her to assimilate into their tight knit community. They helped her transition from living in the light of day to thriving in the night.
Even though she was not yet one of them they had welcomed her, simply for who she was. And Mara quickly discovered that the true character of these entities, was nothing like the legends.
There was nothing sinister or evil about these people, if anything the facts of their existence served only to throw light on the cruel brutality of humanity. There were no vampire wars, no vampire nations with borders and boundaries. And even history seemed an irrelevant and alien concept to them.
And a people without a history, are a happy and free people indeed. Mara’s new life was everything now that she had ever wanted, and with Cassie she had everything that she would ever need.
Eternal life and everlasting love.
More than that though, Mara felt a tremendous confidence in the sincerity of Cassie’s affection. She placed no boundaries around her, and seemed to harbor no jealousy or oppressive possessiveness.
And Mara trusted Cassie’s love more than she trusted herself, she trusted the truth of Cassandra’s heart. Cassie was capable of exercising the most astonishing power. Mara had seen what she could do, she had witnessed the breadth and scope of her abilities.
Cassie could convince people to accept whatever ideas she chose to conceive, as absolute reality. Simply by the power of suggestion. She could divert people’s motivations and actions to suit whatever outcome she desired.
Cassie possessed the power live like a queen if that was what she wanted. There was no conceivable limit to the wealth she could build or the influence she could wield. But Cassie was not driven by greed or desire for power. And from what Mara had seen in others of Cassie’s kind, that was simply the way they were.
Theirs was a curious and beguiling identity. They walked the earth as lightly as shadows, leaving little evidence of their presence outside of their small communities. The breed were in fact strangely compassionate and gentle, nothing like the monsters they were portrayed as in lurid myth and irresponsible fiction.
They seemed somehow focused on deeper truths, intent on a more profound reality. And now Mara stood at the threshold of that other world.
Now it was time.
All that Mara wanted was to fully embrace those others, who had so warmly embraced her. She wanted, more than anything she had ever wanted, to be a part of their world. To be a part of Cassie’s world.
To finally be complete, to be made anew. To dwell forever in the glory of eternal night.
Mara rose from her seat and gazed out of the window, as the disc of the sun ascended the horizon. She smiled with tears in her eyes, as if taking one last look at an old friend before parting ways forever.
Mara whispered as she closed the heavy magenta curtains against the rising sun for the last time.
“….until the end of the world.”
Cassie climbed into the comfort of her bed, taking a sip of her wine before placing the glass on the table beside her. She lay bathed in the glowing light of flickering candles, within the sanctity of her canopy bed.
She would have preferred a bedroom entirely isolated from daylight, but she had fallen instantly in love with the view from her penthouse apartment. She loved to look out over Battery Park at night, with the city lights stretching away to the horizon.
And she felt safe enough, to rest easily. Between the heavy magenta window drapery, and the matching curtains of her four poster, Cassie was safe from the suns cruel stare.
Cassandra was tired, but also exhilarated and thoroughly happy and content. Her heart full to the brim with hope and anticipation. Filled with love for Mara, and excitement for the new beginning they would share.
They had talked it over all night long, just as they had so many times before. Mara had been building up to this moment, and Cassie had let her come at her own pace. Neither seducing nor discouraging.
Mara had to arrive at this point in her journey by herself, to take the decision of her own free will. This had to be what she wanted for herself, and for her own reasons. It was a momentous thing to be changed, indeed it was an evolution. To become one with ‘the breed’.
Cassie had searched Mara’s heart, for even the slightest trace of doubt or fear, they had even fought over it. But in the end, she had found only reasons to allow the turning.
There was no greed in Mara’s heart. No lust for power or irrational dreams of vampiric supremacy. There was only love, only passion and sincerity.
But this was about Cassie too, about the truth of her own desires. And as much as anything else, Cassie had been testing her own sincerity. The truth of her own heart.
The simple fact was that she had not felt this alive for a very long time, and she had not felt so profoundly in love for centuries. The past year had been the most wonderful year of her existence, and Cassie had lived for an extraordinarily long time. And in that time, she had known much of love and much of the desolate sorrow of a broken heart as well.
Cassie knew all too well the difference between love and fleeting enchantment. The difference between the kind of passion that burned fiercely for the briefest moment, and the kind of love that endured, that spanned ages and thrived across epochs.
And this was what she felt for her darling Mara. A fascination that would survive the weathering of time. A love that would smoulder through long ages, abiding in passion and devotion.
For the last year Cassie had exposed Mara to every aspect of the creature that she was. She had shown Mara everything. Every part of herself, every facet of her existence. And every revelation had been met with acceptance, with wonder, and with fond fascination and affection. There had been no disbelief or apprehension, Mara had given nothing short of unconditional love. Indeed it seemed that with every revelation, had come a deepening of her devotion.
As far as humans were concerned, Cassie was a vampire. A bloodsucker. A creature of ill fable, and the very stuff of horror, of legends that bred the most appalling prejudice and hatred. Prejudices that had come to run very deep within the hearts of humans over the millennia.
There was no truth to the clichés, there was no unholiness, no recoiling at crucifixes. No shapeshifting into bats, or flesh searing at the touch of holy water or sunlight. And there was no murder. No leaping upon the necks of hapless virgins and draining their blood until they were lifeless empty husks.
All these lies were the product of human fear and loathing, for anything that was other, for anything that was different. And a reflection too, of the monsters that lurk within the human heart.
Admittedly there were those among the breed who were given to excess, those who were a little too fond of their power. But these were few in number, and their habits in no way justified the terror associated with creatures of Cassie’s species.
But Mara had seemed to look past all the traditional, outrageously stereotyped clichés. She had only ever seen Cassie for what she was at the core of herself. She had only looked at her with tenderness.
The breed did not constantly lust ravenously for the blood of mortals. The taking was an occasional necessity, and it was only ever practiced with those among the humans who gave themselves willingly.
Those who had seen the truth behind the legends and in their fascination gave of themselves. Content to become devoted associates, followers who offered blood in exchange for the secret. Blood for truth.
Mara had seen all that there was to see, she had even watched Cassandra ‘feed’. And she had not recoiled in terror, she had accepted. And she had loved without fear or reservation. And when they had first kissed, when they had first made love, Mara was not surprised that Cassie’s flesh was warm. That it was not as cold and lifeless as the grave as the legends told. Such thoughts never seemed to even occur to her.
The time was close now, Cassie could feel the imminence of it. And her blood quickened as the moment approached.
And her heart thrilled at the prospect of turning Mara, of dedicating her existence to a shared future. To their future.
“Together forever….” she whispered softly to herself.
“….until the end of the world.”
Thank you for reading
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