The Time of the Dark Heat (fiction story)

in #writing8 years ago

Vampires are people, too. They are not undead. They were ordinary people who got vampire blood in their body and from that moment on, they continued to live without aging. That is, if they continued to drink the blood of a non-vampire of their species. Starvation in vampires shows as ordinary aging that eventually would lead to a vampire dying of old age. Their body rejects non-blood food, as well as blood from an organism not of their species. Vampires who used to be humans can only be nourished by human blood.

Being able to turn into a bat, not having a reflection in the mirror, an aversion to religious symbols and garlic are all folktales. Decapitation, burning alive, and sharp physical trauma to the heart whether from a wooden stake or not—these would kill vampires because they would kill anybody. The one thing that was true about vulnerabilities specific to vampires was that their bodies were overly sensitive to sunlight.

Vampire civilizations developed alongside ordinary humans. They tended to be fewer in number with respected and experienced elder vampires encouraging would-be blood-binders (vampires who turn humans into vampires) to have high standards of whom they turn. The eldest vampires who sustained their ambitions through the centuries or even through millennia were able to develop a sort of self-perpetuating culture and central government that could negotiate with other central governments. Younger vampires could ally and educate themselves to the elders, stay away and live quiet and solitary lives or form covens and families that rival one another. But anything that would compromise the sustainable vision of the elders would be corrected with gradually stronger suggestions that might end in the offending vampire’s death.

Then, something changed. Vampires began to discover that they could expose themselves to sunlight without harm for a period of time. At first it seemed to be random occurrences. Then the vampires figured out the secret.
Some non-vampire humans have a compound in their blood that, if ingested, allowed the vampire who feed off them to survive and even enjoy exposure to natural light. These non-vampire humans came to be known, colloquially, among vampires, as Quenchers. It became forbidden among vampires to turn Quenchers into vampires because blood from vampires is not nourishing for vampires to drink and vampires who had been Quenchers no longer had this immunity to sunlight, let alone the ability to carry it over. It became particularly discouraging to drink Quenchers dry, when it would be of a great advantage to vampire kind for these Quenchers to pass on this trait of their blood onto their children and have more Quenchers in the world.

The vampires bided their time and continued to conspire. When there were enough vampires to cooperate and enough recorded Quenchers to sustain them, they took over the human civilization. They collected Quenchers, imprisoning them and turning them into livestock and drank most other humans dry. Then, the vampires took the place of human beings. Industries continued to run but farms were no longer needed so that industry was abandoned— and the vampires hailed the Time of the Cold Sun.

This is the story of the tragic romance that almost robbed the vampires of this golden age.

Many threats had arisen to the secrecy of vampires. Their prey outnumbered them and seemed likely to consider vampires as evil, cannibalistic parasites. Often, a young vampire would struggle with an identity crisis and made the effort to tell the truth to humans with hope that he or she could be both honest about being a vampire and accepted in non-vampire society. Perhaps a vampire would become too proud of being a vampire and cause a massacre that humans could not ignore. Perhaps a vampire is cursed with a momentary carelessness. Perhaps a human is gifted with perspicacity. The list goes on. Sometimes, the elders would be alerted too late. Other times, the elders are simply unable to handle the situation wisely. All vampires are, after all, only human.

Tydus is an ordinary 18-year-old boy who had lived out some wild days of rebelling and happened to start dating an older woman. Much, much older—her name was Lily and she was a vampire. He’d begged her to make him the same way and she had obliged, but she underestimated human caprice. He and Lily broke up and Tydus spent the summer after his senior year trying to find himself again. When he hears that his human friends are going on a beach trip for the summer, he joins them on his own and only comes out at night. There, he meets Ruby who had such a crush on him at school and wants to lose her virginity to him before they start their new lives at the university. Tydus manages to drink her blood and then conflicted that he no longer has a future as a human, goes away to sunbathe when he knows that this would kill him. But it does not.

Completely flabbergasted, he returns to Ruby and suspects that his immunity to sunlight has something to do with her blood. When another vampire attacks Ruby, Tydus saves her and kills the other vampire, alerting Ruby to the existence of vampires.

When they return to their hometown, Tydus introduces Ruby to Lily. Lily bears no ill will towards Tydus, has gotten over the breakup (that she, Lily, instigated) during the summer and refuses to take any blame for turning Tydus into a vampire. She is able to explain that Ruby is a Quencher and that Ruby can seek amnesty with the vampire elders if she wants to retain consent for whom to give her blood to. The vampires do actually have quite a number of human allies.

As Ruby grows more interested and fascinated with the dark underworld, Tydus begins to see the beauty in being a vampire as well, especially among most proud vampire supremacists who insist that their time will come. However, he despairs that Ruby will grow old and be encouraged to have human children with somebody else or donate her eggs so that the vampires can be sure that there are more quenchers in the world. He fantasizes having a life with Ruby, feeding off her blood so that he can continue to live as a human, perhaps go to university and then get a steady job so they can buy a house together.

For all the gothic romance of vampire culture that Ruby enjoys, she gradually becomes uncomfortable with all the plans that the vampires, Tydus included, has for her as an individual—and, in her service as an ally to the vampire government, she finds out that the vampires have plans for Quenchers as collective people, and humankind, as slaves.

As Ruby would not allow a vampire takeover to happen, she threatens to break the silence and is arrested. Lily sneaks Tydus into Ruby’s cell. Ruby has been regularly bled to the point that she is exhausted. Tydus refuses to allow the elders to keep Ruby this way. He wonders who else he can tell about the elders’ plans that would believe him. Tydus turns Ruby into a vampire. Lily agrees to take Ruby’s place in her cell because she (Lily) had done so many wrong things to everything and everybody she lived for. Ruby persuades Lily that Lily has done the right thing and that Lily must help them spread word around about doing the right thing. Tydus fights through the underground prison to get some of Ruby’s blood back.

After Ruby is fully turned into a vampire, she and Tydus sun themselves to death in public, while Lily, who drank Ruby’s blood, records a video of them burning up before turning herself in to the human police.

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