The Vicar's Son
This is a narrative by Carlisle in his early years after becoming a vampire but still living in London. He is telling the story to someone in the corner of a pub, someone who is likely too drunk to remember the story the next day. Carlisle's early days were marked by loneliness and this would be an attempt at companionship after coming to terms with what he had become. AN: The Characters are not mine, they belong to the lovely and brilliant Stephanie Meyers who inspired me to write this.
1. Chapter 1
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I didn't always live like this, on the edges of society slaughtering wild animals to sustain myself. Not so long ago I was the son of a vicar. We lived in a well appointed house in London. My father was highly respected in our community. Not merely because he was a man of the cloth, mind you. His brand of piety fit well with the times in which we lived. In his zeal to uphold God's law he persecuted Catholics, witches, werewolves and vampires.
The need to eliminate such evils as witches, werewolves and vampire was always apparent to me. But even as a child I never understood the danger presented by Catholics. The violence and carnage that existed between two people sworn to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was unimaginable. Many of the things they do to each other would make our unsaved brethren cringe.
With age I even began to question my father's persecution of witches. Most of the women burned at the stake were kindly old crones who helped the poor with their own brand of healing arts or pretty maids who had gotten into trouble with men from respected families. Very few practitioners of Satan's arts were ever found and I often wondered if they really existed at all.
Werewolves and vampires were a different story altogether. You couldn't deny that people would go missing at night, only to have their bodies found days later ravaged beyond recognition or drained of all their blood. The few eyewitness reports were terrifying. These monsters obviously had to be eliminated. Finding and catching real monsters was difficult though and the people's cries for results led to the killing of many of our city's urchins and dispossessed. I know now that our methods wouldn't have worked on real vampires anyway. They are exceedingly difficult to kill and the rumors of how to eliminate them are myths invented to make the populace feel that they had some control.
How do I know this you ask? Let me tell you my story.
By the time I came of age my father was an old man. Not in years so much as in body. A life dedicated to chasing evil takes its toll on the human frame. Father Cullen wanted me to take over his raids on vampires and witches so that he could spend more time preaching. I agreed to do this not because I shared in his zeal, but because I believed that by going after only the truly evil I could spare innocents from my father's indiscriminate punishments.
I was a disappointment to the vicar. My executions were so rare that he believed I was not putting effort into my work. The truth is, there are very few beasts living in London and they are difficult to capture. I would not slay my Christian brethren or even heathens and pagans who did no one any harm. I studied patterns of evil deeds and learned a great deal. In my first three years I had executed fewer than a dozen individuals but I can attest to the fact that each one was truly guilty of the crimes I brought them in on.
I had been wrong about the existence of witches. It turned out that some practiced the most vile forms of magic unleashing great evil on the world. Many of these practitioners were men. The masses wouldn't accept the burning of a man as a witch and so I had to use another term, sorcerer. In truth it was all the same but people had been taught to see unfortunate women on the edges of society as witches and I could not do my job if I did not placate their prejudices.
Vampires were the most difficult to deal with. They are strong as oxen and swift as deer. They can hear when people are coming after them and choose to run or stay to fight as they wish. They are always vigilant, not sleeping in coffins through the day as the legends say and they are not harmed by the sun. No bindings forged by man can hold them and so capture was out of the question. I was able to trap 2 or 3 in a building once and blow it up with gunpowder. I will never know if I killed the vampires but 5 good men perished in that explosion. My father led a great funeral service and they were honored as martyrs.
Over time the people came to respect me more than my father. They saw that I was slow to act out of wisdom rather than fear or laziness. I was studying theology and law, preparing to take my father's place on the alter when he retired. Though he was not pleased with my methods he recognized both my devotion to our God and my influence over his flock and had indicated that he would retire once I found a nice girl to marry.
There were many who would have me but none were as kind or gentle as Catherine Woodbury. I had made up my mind to ask her father for her hand but everything changed that very week.
You might say that my life ended.
I had finally discovered where a large group of vampires were living. Everyone knows that many poor beggars live in the larger tunnels off of the sewer systems. Fewer people know about the smaller tunnels that open into caverns if you travel far enough along them. These are the darkest, meanest parts of the city and those who travel down them do not live to tell the tale. It was down these tunnels that the vampires lived.
Through my research I discovered the entrance to one of these tunnels, it was just off of one of the more well used thoroughfares. The plan was for several members of our congregation to surround the entrance at dusk holding pitchforks, hatchets and torches. When a vampire left the tunnels, we would descend upon it and do whatever it took to kill it.
I did not know this at the time, but this was a foolish plan. A strong vampire can kill many men before they could react and a vampire weak with hunger could run away without a problem. Even if we had managed to catch a vampire we may not have been able to destroy it with our methods.
We did not have to wait long before one emerged. His skin appeared paper thin and powdery though I knew it would be rock hard. He called out in Latin to the others that we were waiting in ambush. I realized that he must have been ancient. We were lucky that he chose to run away.
I led the chase against the vampire. I was young and very fast. Perhaps he was very thirsty because rather than continuing to flee, he turned on me. I felt myself being swept up in his strong arms and his teeth cut through the skin of my chest. In his desperation, he did not even get the prominent arteries along my throat. His teeth were so sharp that they hardly hurt as they pierced my skin and muscle.
My compatriots were not far behind. As they caught up with us the vampire dropped me and killed three of my friends and neighbors before fleeing. I was certain that with fresh blood in his body he would have no trouble escaping and I prayed that God would spare the lives of the rest of the men I had brought with me.
I had been infected by the monster. I knew that if I went home my father would insist on burning my body to prevent further infection from occurring. It was out of self-preservation that I managed to hide myself in a root cellar amongst rotting potatoes. My body burned with the poison of the vampires bite but I kept myself silent waiting to be taken up by the Lord or purged of the poison that ran through my body.
Several days past before I realized what had happened. As the pain receded from my limbs and then from my body I felt strong. I also felt thirst greater than I had ever imagined. It was then that I realized what I had become.
I could not bare the thought of killing others to keep myself alive and so I abstained. As the days and nights wore on I became weaker and weaker. I hid myself in the woods staying as far away from people as I could lest I give in to the all-consuming thirst. I hoped that if I waited long enough I would die. I should have returned to my father as soon as I was infected so that he could protect our city from what I had become.
The thirst had become so unbearable that I feared I would give in to it. I was not dying as I had hoped I would. If starvation wouldn’t kill me than I was going to have to try something more active. I attempted suicide many times. It went against everything I had been brought up to believe. Suicide was unforgivable and would prevent me from entering heaven. But surely it was better to kill myself than to allow the evil I had become to exist in the world.
I found great cliffs and threw myself from them. I was not even slightly injured. I tried to drown myself and found that breathing wasn’t necessary for me. I even tried tearing myself to pieces. It wasn’t easy as my body had become hard as stone. I managed to do it in a mill. I was appalled to learn that my body parts would reunited after being torn asunder.
I was weak and on the verge of giving in. My greatest fear was that nothing would be able to stop me from committing the murders I feared. I was at my lowest point having failed entirely from saving the world from myself when the heard of deer ran past. Without even thinking I grabbed one and fed on its blood.
I felt better, as if I could resist a while longer. It was at that moment that I realized I did not have to be a murderous monster. I could survive without killing humans. I had eaten venison before at my father’s own table, had I not? The Bible itself condoned the eating of meat from animals. Maybe I did have a chance for salvation. Maybe I did not have to be an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.
From that moment on I have survived as you see me now. Like others of my kind I live in the meanest of conditions. I come out seldom and only at night so as not to arouse the suspicions of the populace.
I was once a man of intellect. I studied law and theology. My interests lay in the salvation of people, body and soul. Through some twist of fate I was given great gifts. My senses are sharper than those of any human. I can hear and see things from far away. I can work with my hands more swiftly and nimbly than any human. My strength rivals teams of oxen. My body has no need for sleep so I can use my gifts without tiring.
But what I am keeps me from entering the world of humans. I cannot use my gifts to better the world. What is the point of being able to make the lives of men better if I cannot participate in their daily activities?
I am leaving England tonight. I am hoping that I can find a life on the continent because there is nothing left for me here. You probably won’t remember me tomorrow and that is as it should bexas it should bex but I couldn’t bring myself to leave without telling anyone my story. England has always been my home and it is with a heavy heart that I leave it.
I cannot stay. I must go for my own survival.