Eternity Together

by David Alan Perrey (24 Apr 1994)

{Author's note: This short story is based on the events that occurred in the Prelude for one of the characters in my Vampire: the Masquerade game.}

Her eyes opened. She half-closed them again, against the soft light of the lamp. It had been such a deep sleep, so much deeper than before. It was have to been the first of many nights with Gary.

Or rather, the first of many days. Remembrance flooded back into her mind. What has she become? Her eyes opened again, fully this time. She reached out for her love, but he wasn't there. "Gary?"

Peering around the room, she saw him. He turned to her, touched his finger to his lips. She saw a worried look in his usually untroubled face, his normally relaxed posture taut and tense. "What's wrong?" she whispered.

"Frea, when I tell you to get the hell out of here, will you do it? Will you run for your very life?" he said.

Frea was a nickname, the name of a goddess, he'd told her. They later found out they'd spelt it wrong, but it had stuck.

"Why? What's happening? Gary, I'm scared."

"I...think we might be in trouble," he said cautiously.

She leapt up, grabbing clothes as she did so. "What have you got me into, Gary?" she asked.

Her thoughts went back over the last few days. A week ago, she was a normal (well, normal-ish) well-adjusted woman, things were going okay. Nothing too weird. Now her life had been turned upside down. She was still having difficulties with...with Gary, but now that problem had been brought upon herself too.

Gary turned back to the window, his attention on the street below. The flat was a converted attic, above an antique shop, which had amused Gary when he found the place. Now he thought feverishly of a way to get out of here. Some movement below, no doubt about it. What were they waiting for? He began to wish he'd kept out of the whole stinking mess, like so many others of his kind.

"What is it, Gary?" hissed Frea, fear putting an edge into her voice. "Is it others? Others like us?"

"Yeah. We've got to get out of here and like now."

"Why though? What have you done?"

He crossed the room, over to her, and kissed her tenderly. "You, babe, that's what I've done," he said quietly. "So we could be together, but they won't quite see it that way."

"What...what will they do? Can they turn us back into humans again?"

"In a way," he said with a grim smile. "In a way..."

Human again. Frea remembered her last moments as a human. She still was shocked to find that Gary, her Gary, wasn't as human as she thought. He'd asked her to join him in immortality, so they could be together forever. He'd said he couldn't bear to leave her behind, couldn't bear to see her grow old and die, that he wanted to share everything he had with her. She'd said that she wanted those things too, but she was scared. He'd held her close, told her that there was nothing to be afraid of. That he'd take care of her. Then he'd muttered something about no-one will ever know, it'd be their secret. All right, she'd said, what do I have to do? Nothing, he said, just hold me. She'd laughed then, said that she'd do that with pleasure.

And then he'd bitten her. At first it hurt like hell, but within a few moments the whole experience had taken on a dream-like quality, everything so peaceful, so serene. And with each passing moment, her life-blood had been flowing out of her. Her heart, keenly aware of what was happening, had beat harder and harder, as if trying to expel the intruder, but in the end, it could fight no longer, and it slowed, and slowed, and then it stopped.

And she died.

Then a fire exploded within her. A thirst burst out of here like a volcano's eruption, and she sought blindly for an end to the pain, to the thirst. It fell on her like rain onto desert sands, they tasted like the sweetest things she'd ever tasted, no, much much better. It was simply the most incredible sensation of her short life. And then the cool life-giving rain stopped, the haze in her eyes cleared. At last she saw the source of the rain. Gary stood there, holding his forearm with his other hand. There was a strangely sad look in his eye. She touched her was covered in blood. She had been drinking blood. And as the revulsion swept over her, so did a great weariness, and she slumped down into a deep, deep sleep.

A car broke the spell. She looked around, Gary was no-where to be seen. She raced to the window. A long black car had pulled up outside. Out of it got a large man. He wore a hat and a long dark coat. He also wore an expression that was in equal part hatred and delight. A man, it seemed, that was about to even a score.

Gary appeared behind her. He carried a rope, slung over his shoulder, and Frea noticed a big heavy pistol shoved into his belt. He glanced out of the window and swore. "Might've guessed he wouldn't miss the show," he muttered, but turned away before any explanation could be offered.

He signalled for her to follow. A voice, deep and resonant, called up to the window:

"I knew that if I waited long enough you'd make a mistake, Young." it cackled with undisguised joy. "I'm going to enjoy watching you burn."

Gary ignored the words, as best he could, and ran across the room to the back of the house. He pulled open the curtains. A few lights. He looked back to Frea, his features grim and determined. "When I jump, I want you to follow. Don't worry about the fall, you'll be all right. I'd hoped to have a little more time, but still. When you land, I want you to run across the field like the Devil himself is after you. Because it might well be true."

Frea swallowed, fear glowed in her eyes, but she nodded. In a quiet voice she said "I'm ready. Just tell me we'll both make it."

"We'll make it. Get ready."

He stepped back a few paces, then ran at the window. It crashed and he flew into the night. Frea took a deep breath, then followed him. She landed a few seconds later, hard. Her breath left her, but she forced herself to rise, somehow the body raised itself. She was sure she'd broken something, but nonetheless up she got, and she set off at a run.

A hand reached out for her, she thrashed at it, pushed past by sheer momentum and determination. In a bound she leapt the wire fence between the garden and the fields that undulated into the distance.

But where was Gary? A shot rang out, to one side of her. She looked across, there he was, a few figures around him, whom he seemed to be dealing with with some efficiency. As she watched she was grabbed by a tall ugly man, his leering face grinning in mock humour as he grasped her. She flailed out but to little effect, he was incredibly strong. She struggled desperately, and she must have screamed, although she could not recall it later, because a moment later, a hole appeared in the man's fore-head, and he fell back clutching the wound. She definitely screamed then, and started to run, Gary plotting a parallel course. She looked back, where she could see about a dozen lights shining in the dark. Gary was then beside her. "Don't you stop now, not for anything." he said.

And run she did, blind to what was in front of her, blind to anything around her, but it slowly filtered through to her that Gary was not with her any more. She looked back, desperate. She could see Gary, he was in a crouch, firing his pistol toward their pursuers. Then he stood up, proud and defiant, and raised his hands. Long claws extended from his hands, and he howled with rage.

They came at him, three of them. He threw them off, one fell back screaming, as he slashed with the wicked -looking claws. But there was too many of them. He was overcome, and, almost with a sick kind of pleasure, the figures slowly and ritually tore Gary apart.

"Nooooo!" she cried. "Noooo, no." Despair filled her soul. But even in her agony, she knew there was nothing she could do. She turned, and fled into the night, and swore that she would carry his memory within her for all eternity.

| Tell me, what is happiness...?                             |
|    Happiness?  Happiness ... is to wake up, on a bright    |
| spring morning, after an exhausting first night spent with |
| a beautiful ... passionate ... multi-murderess.            |
|    Shit, is THAT all?                                      |
|           - Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons                  |
|                             |