You’re the last vampire left. You’ve been alive since 2000bc. Tell us your life story and why is your kind almost extinct. – SimonArr
The page of the ancient tome crinkles as it turns over, and I carefully read the spidery handwriting as if my very gaze would make the paper crumble. It is my handwriting, I know this, but the man who wrote the words was not the same man I am today.
According to these pages, I have been alive for four thousand years. I remember very little of it, my mind so full of memories it aches to think. This is why the book is needed. To help me remember.
I wrote the first book while I was living in Rome as a guest of her emperor, Julius Caesar. He was aware of my ‘unique’ lifestyle, and I fascinated him. He fed me well, sating my curious appetite with slaves from all four corners of the world, and I repaid him with stories of my long, long life.
That was when I realized that my memories were fading. My gift, my curse, preserved the body, keeping me in the guise of a young man, but the mind that governed it was growing tired. Cracked, like an urn that could no longer hold the waters of memory. I lost much before I realized what was being forgotten; my early life, and the origin of my curse, are lost to me.
Over the centuries, I have added to the book, and copied its contents into new pages as the old ones crumbled to dust. History, as I remember it, and my place alongside it. Always on the edges, in the shadows, hiding from the blazing sun.
For so long, there was not even a word to describe what I was. In recent centuries, however, there has been one that rose to dominance in the human consciousness: vampire. The word fits me like a tailored suit. Immortal, fanged, bloodthirsty, nocturnal, all of these words are part of my soul. If I even have a soul. I do not know. Matters of theology are not to my interest.
The pages turn as I skim through history. This, my second most recent journal, was penned in the middle of the twentieth century, transcribed from a book that was three hundred years old at the time. Its contents have since been moved to a new home. A final home.
I do not intend to write another word.
Memories return slowly, locked in my mind and waiting for the key of paper and ink. The rising and falling of countless empires, like the centuries-long breath of civilization. Glories and horrors, humans and monsters that made even my toes curl.
Was I alone? I wondered. All through history, have I ever met another like myself? Would I have realized if I had? No. I am alone. The touch of my fangs does not create more of my kind, and my seed has never borne fruit. I am alone, watching as young men age to their graves before my very eyes.
I am so tired.
I turn the final page, and close the cracked leather cover. I close my eyes, as if that will hold the memories in my skull for just a bit longer. I stand, and my hands play over the keyboard of the machine that bears the final version of my condensed memories. Soon, machines that would bring tears to the eyes of Gutenberg will churn out countless copies of this book. It will be published as fiction, because nobody will believe it is the truth.
My final achievement.
I turn from the computer, and walk towards the great window on the eastern wall of my manor. It is covered by heavy blinds to hold back the sun, but I always knew this day would come. I take hold of the pull cord and draw them open, and stand before the window, waiting.
In the distance, there is a halo of light around the mountains that form the edge of the world. I have avoided the burning gaze of the sun for so long, but I will not hide any longer.
I am so tired.
The bright disk peeks over the mountain, swaddling the land in gold, and I begin to feel the pain as I burn. It is so sweet, so welcome. My eyes stay open, and I watch the sunrise with scalding hot tears streaming down my cheeks.
And then, I remember.
I am young, just a child, sitting in the fields and watching the sun rise over the eastern edge of the valley. A woman calls my name – my name, that which I had forgotten so long ago – and tells me to hurry back. The language she speaks is unknown to me, but I remember it, as if it had never been forgotten at all. I call back that I’ll be there in just a moment. The warm sunlight envelops me, bringing a smile to my lips, and the burning pain leaves me.
It is so warm.