The sweet, coppery tang of blood hit my tongue as I gazed up at my aggressor. A brown leather eyepatch covered one eye but the other was just lovely: verdant green like the Welsh hills. Hair the color of ginger ale framed her face beautifully; a face with the most agreeable smattering of freckles. Her mouth was a shiny oyster: slick and wet in the moonlight. Her nose was that of a Pre-Raphaelite painting: long and slender with flared nostrils. When she exhaled, I half-expected to see steam spit out of her, as though she were driven by a coal-fueled engine. Sweat snaking down her throat only gave further credence to the simile. My eyes worked their way down, lingering on her sculpted lines and fine details. Her tight bodice proffered the most exquisite cleavage, like choice cuts on a platter, and had she not been trying to kill me, I would have been head over heels in lust.
Speaking of heels, one of hers caught me right in the throat at that moment, threatening to put a painful end to my appraisal. Even the way she inflicted violence was elegant. I marveled at the straightness of her leg as she rained kick after kick upon my face. The subtle curve of her thigh was just visible under her skirts, like a leviathan beneath the ocean's surface. I looked upon my own lithe form and felt a wave of inadequacy. I cut a handsome enough figure in my dark trousers and frock coat, but I had none of the brutal beauty of the warrior goddess who had found me roaming the shadows. When she pulled my long, brown hair, it was love at first tug.
It has to be said that my kin, at this time, lay dead on the streets, from Oxford Street to Piccadilly. Crows picked at their corpses but soon took wing at their ill-favored taste. Their decomposition came swiftly. So much faster than that of a human. They faded from carcass to bone-heap to dust in a matter of hours; leaving only their clothing, and the wooden stakes used in their murder, behind.
1888 was the year when mankind unanimously voted for our genocide. And we answered, fully expecting to win the war. We hadn’t counted on your white-hot hatred. Our accusers cited all manner of horrors as the justification for our removal, including some that existed only in books and the tales told by dimwits. And now, in the mausoleum once called London, I witnessed the end of a once-proud race. A people defined not by the victimization of humanity, but the study and appreciation of it.
My kind has spent more time haunting your art galleries than your homes. We've read your books, seen your plays, watched you grow and evolve over the course of millennia. You’re so much more than just cattle or insects—things that could have easily secured a place at the top of life’s pyramid. I hope you can understand the appreciation my kind have for yours. We’ve spent so long thinking about you and mimicking the way you move, the way you speak, the way you live. We know more about the human condition than you do. Yet, rather than dip your cup into our vast pool of wisdom and collective insight, you seek to stamp us out.
I must admit, that of all the ways one could shuffle off this immortal coil, the method that now accosted me was the most appealing. The Venus-like creature that pummeled my body and stabbed at me with her pointed weaponry, brought such joy to the heart she wished to pierce. Her beauty. Her grace. Her unbridled viciousness. They all served to make my soul swell. I composed sonnets to her grace as she struck at my skull; odes to her skill as she attempted so often to disembowel me.
It was this fascination—this hypnotic quality—that gave me the advantage. Where my fellows had fallen foul of sneak attacks and foul cunning; I was filled with life-force anew. My beauteous assailant had intoxicated me with the stuff of youth and I soon felt like I was merely one or two hundred years old. Just a baby.
I found my limbs infused with a power they’d not known for an age. Electricity shot through my veins and my heart began to pump. What an odd feeling! This potent vigor afforded me the power to pin my Venus to the ground, look deep into her eye, and make her my thrall. Her consciousness fought back just as virulently as her physical body. We spent an eternity together in those moments. I loved her so intensely that the stone of her resolve was gradually chipped away. She loved me back and vowed to serve me for all time. I was happy to accept only the years that I needed.
Together we weaved through the streets, hiding when required, communicating wordlessly with the newfound powers of our intimate bond. The darkness was our path—the sewers and low places: our highway. I spirited her away to my lair where my ghouls and cohorts had put things in order. My chamber was readied: the casket hovering over the abyss, secured by pulley and rope and awaiting its descent. Awaiting peace. Awaiting darkness. Awaiting the confluence of time and opportunity.
I laid her down in the silken bedding of our new home and took position beside her, bringing only paper, quill, and ink. My beauty looked upon me with the same passion she'd inspired in me not an hour before. As the lid was nailed down, I was excited for the inevitable plunge. Dropped into the bowels of the Earth, we would await our excavation and the new world thereafter. Long would be our time together, huddled like twins in the womb until the time of our birth. The world would be changed then. The world would be ready. We would rebuild my race together.
I pierced her throat with my teeth and the sweet, coppery tang of blood hit my tongue as I looked on my new morsel. She would sustain me until the coming of the New World.