July 20th, 2019 (Saturday)
I sigh, and throw the covers off of my second-hand bed. My body is slick with sweat, and it feels like I can’t breathe. I once read that the best cure for insomnia is to get out of bed and physically go somewhere else. (Easier said than done.) I stumble to the bathroom, turn on the sink, and splash my face with cold water. Glancing in the mirror, I see that one blue vein has popped out of my forehead a bit, but otherwise I don’t look too bad. I jog down the stairs, open the fridge, and select a carton of black cherry ice cream.
I only mean to eat a little, but it turns out I am ravenous. In the space of about fifteen minutes, I polish off the black cherry ice cream, a peanut butter sandwich, and the leftover chicken from the diner.
Hunger satisfied, I stretch out on the couch in the basement and try to go to sleep. While I slumber, I have strange dreams of a woman (who looks a little like my elderly neighbor) fiddling with the bolts on the basement windows, and rattling the panes of glass. I wake with a start, and realize that no one is there. Only my cat, Randall, sitting atop the t.v. and peering at me with disapproval.
July 21st, 2019 (Monday)
Work was weird today. Hardly any customers were in, except for Roy. After I delivered his regular cup of coffee, (and a piece of homemade apple pie) he explained to me, that, if I wore a short skirt, I would get bigger tips. I don’t know if it was the heat, or the lack of sleep, (or the fact that Roy is a douche bag) but I felt a white hot, intense fury. In that moment, I pictured myself grabbing Roy by the shirt collar and throwing him against the stone fireplace. (A fireplace that Roy insists on sitting by, even in summer.)
Luckily, my manager (Lucy) heard what Roy said, and she “accidentally” spilled an ice cold glass of lemonade into his lap. Oops. I guess it’s true what they say: Revenge is a dish (or a drink) best served cold.
At the end of the night, as I was counting my tips, I thanked Lucy for having my back. She laughed and told me that it was no problem. “In the end,” she said, “I think he’ll get what’s coming to him.”
“Karma’s a bitch,” I say in response.
Lucy smiled. “Isn’t it?” she says.
July 23rd, 2019 (Wednesday morning)
I couldn’t sleep again last night. Randall kept yowling, (a thing that he does very well) and I couldn’t rest. Eventually I fell asleep, but I awoke at three am with an extremely dry throat. Jogging down the stairs to get some water from the fridge, I tripped over Randall. Limping, I made my way to the fridge and opened the door. After guzzling a gallon of fruit punch, (don’t judge me, it’s cheap) I crawled back into bed. I must have been exhausted because I fell into a period of deep slumber, and woke up rested. I went looking for Randall, (to give him his breakfast) and opened the back door. I nearly tripped over him again, on the porch, and saw that he was napping.
“Randall,” I said. “Move buddy.” I gently touched his fur, and that's when I noticed he was cold. Blood had congealed around a small wound in his neck.
July 24th, 2019 (Wednesday afternoon)
The first thing I did was to call my mom, sobbing. (My mom is the best person to talk to in a crisis.)
“Randall is dead,” I said, smoothing his whiskers with my fingers.
“Oh honey,” she said. “Are you sure?”
I glanced at Randall, and saw that flies had begun to buzz around his body. Poor little guy, I thought.
“Mina, are you there?” said Mom.
“Yes,” I said, and tried to think of a coherent sentence. “He’s gone. I don’t know what to do. Should I call the vet?” I couldn’t imagine driving Randall’s corpse to the vet, to be buried in the nearest pet cemetery. (Just way too many creepy Stephen King vibes, in that kind of situation.)
“No, I don’t think you should call the vet,” said mom. “Make yourself a nice cup of hot chocolate and sit tight. I’ll be right over.”
“Okay,” I said, feeling like I was ten years old instead of nineteen.
Mom and I bundled Randall into his favorite cat bed, and buried him near his favorite patch of grass. (the one that he enjoyed munching on, and then vomiting back up) We silently walked to our local fast food joint for hot fudge sundaes. What can I say? Sometimes cheap junk food fixes everything, at least for a little while.
July 25th, 2019 (Thursday)
I feel awful (like I had been flattened by a steam roller) but go to work anyway. It must be the protestant work ethic thing, passed down by generations of Pennsylvanians.
“What’s wrong?” said Lucy.
“Is it that obvious?” I said, trying to rearrange the expression on my face into something that resembles a smile.
“You just look a little sad, that’s all,” said Lucy.
“My cat died,” I blurted out. Awkward.
“Do you want a hug?” she said. Lucy always knew the right thing to say to me, and I used to swear that she could read my mind.
I nodded, and Lucy pulled me in for a big hug. I felt her breath on the back of my neck. For all intents and purposes, she seemed to be inhaling the scent of my hair. Okay, well that’s odd, I thought.
“Were you just inhaling the scent of my hair?” I said.
Lucy grinned, sheepishly. “Your hair smells wonderful today,” she said. “What shampoo do you use?”
“Umm…banana shampoo,” I said. Smooth.
Lucy smiled again, and it was then that I noticed the unnatural gleam of her teeth, as if she were a wolf in human form.
Before I could ask her if she’d had a recent dental appointment, a table of five came in. And, before I could say anything, Lucy had greeted the family and pulled a small pile of menus from the kitchen. As I grabbed an order pad, I shrugged to myself. So Lucy likes the smell of my hair, I thought. No big deal. People do eccentric things sometimes.
At the end of the night, as I was stacking dishes, I noticed that I hadn’t seen Roy in a couple of days.
“Have you seen Roy come in, lately?” I asked.
Lucy frowned as she polished a wine glass with a dish towel. “No, why do you ask?”
“No reason,” I said. “Do you think he’s sick?” I must admit that I would have liked to see Roy with a bad cold or the flu.
Lucy took a bottle of red wine from the cupboard, and poured some into a glass. “God, I hope so,” she said. “Don’t you?”
I nodded, and finished counting my tips. “Well, I’m off,” I said, waving. “Have a good night.”
“Mina,” said Lucy.
“Yes?” I said, hoping that she would bring up the hair thing, so that I wouldn’t have to.
“Would you like to come to a party I’m having at the diner tomorrow? It’s in the evening.”
I pause, trying to figure out what to say. Finally, I decide that honesty is the best policy. Umm…I don’t mean to offend you, but I’m not gay,” I say.
Lucy laughs so hard that she starts to cough, and I pat her on the back.
“I’m okay,” she says, “but that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in about a century."
“Oh.” I say. (As you can probably guess by now, I’m not a brilliant conversationalist.)
Lucy sighs, and wipes tears from her eyes. “God, I needed that.”
“Right,” I say, thinking that my boss must not get out much.
“You’re so charming,” she says, “and you must come. Everyone will love you.”
In that instant, I couldn’t keep my curiosity from getting the better of me. “What kind of party is it?” I say, "and what people?"
“Come and see,” is all she says.
July 26th, 2019 (Friday morning)
Last night, as you may have guessed, I didn’t sleep well. When I did sleep, I dreamt that Randall was alive and licking my face. (Gross!) Then, my cat’s face transmogrified into Lucy’s.
Lucy was drinking something from a silver goblet, and a drop of red liquid from the cup trickled slowly down the corner of her mouth.
She grinned, and her teeth and lips were stained crimson. When I woke up, I dashed to the mirror in the bathroom, and flipped on the lights. There, at the bottom of my neck, were two red nodules. Calm down, I thought. They’re just pimples.
I was clearly hallucinating from a lack of sleep.
July 26th, 2019 (Friday evening)
I’m writing this entry in the middle of the night. I’m not having trouble sleeping, but I am relieved that I won’t need to worry about sleep (or a lack of shut-eye) ever again. Randall is meowing for food, but he can wait.
I’m guessing that you have all sorts of questions about why Randall is alive and well, so I’ll back up and start with the party. Curiosity got the better of me, and I also wanted to know if my instincts were correct.
(If I was wrong, then I definitely needed to seek help from a medical professional. Either way, I wanted to know the truth.)
The diner's front door was open, and I was greeted by the ticking of the clock on the wall. I heard what sounded like purring, and then I saw a black cat (that looked an awfully lot like Randall) streak across the dining room, and then down the basement steps.
Quietly, I crept down the stairs. In the darkness, I spied Randall’s twin (staring at me with big green eyes) in Lucy’s lap.
Automatically, my fingers slid to the two nodules on my neck.
“Hello, Mina,” said Lucy.
“What the fuck?” I said. “Is that really Randall?”
“Yes,” said Lucy, scratching him behind the ears.
“How did he…” I began. I tried again. “Did you…” Finally, I just said, “I've got to know. Are you a vampire?
“Oh for Heaven’s sake,” said Lucy, rolling her eyes. “Of course I’m am. I thought I was quite obvious, drinking blood straight from the glass, but you still couldn’t figure it out. Next question."
“You’re not going to drain all of my blood and kill me, are you?” I asked.
“Oh Mina, of course not,” she said, stroking beneath Randall’s chin. “I wasn’t sure how to tell you, but you’re a vampire already.”
Before I could process this information, two things happened: First, I heard a high-pitched scream. Next, large black spots began to float in front of my eyes, making my vision swim. Before I lost consciousness, I remember saying: “Is fainting a normal vampire thing?”
July 27th, 2019 (early Saturday morning, at 3 am)
I woke up when I felt a raspy tongue licking my face. (It was Randall’s, and it was digusting.)
I saw Mina hovering above me. “Good, you’re up,” she said, smoothing back the hair from my head. “You haven’t had any blood in a while. It is crucial that you feed now.”
“I already had blood?” I said. “Does it taste like old pennies?”
Mina sighed. “I fed you my blood on Thursday night,” she said.
“You did?” I said.
Mina rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t matter. Just eat.”
The basement light was on, and I looked at my surroundings, as if seeing them for the first time. Roy lay on the cracked linoleum, bound and gagged at my feet.
At this moment, I wish I could tell you that I didn’t feed. Roy didn't deserve to be killed, as far as I know.
However, the fact remains that I did (quite literally) drain the life out of him. And, if you are curious about the taste of blood, I can tell you that it's rich in texture, and is the best thing I’ve ever eaten or drunk. (Putting aside hot fudge sundaes and fruit punch.)
The thing that I am unable to tell you is how I feel about taking a life. (Lucy tells me that vampires can do many things, but they are incapable of feeling human emotion.) This diary is a record of the last week of my life, (the things I thought and felt) before I became a monster.
I want to remember the things that made me human, before I forget.