“Nope. Nuh-uh. No way. I’m not going to tell Mr. Nice. You tell him,” says Dr. Kleen from his office, unaware that the door is ajar. I can hear the damned fool all the way in the waiting room even with my human ears.
Yes, that is correct. Human ears. I am an ancient deadly vampire, now trapped in a human shell. Bleh! I loathe being so weak and slow moving with all these squishy warm parts.
But perhaps I have gotten ahead of myself due to my rather unpleasant, rapidly evolving medical situation. Allow me to make proper introductions.
My name is Nicephorus, better known in the vampire world as Mr. Nice. My cruelty, strength, and outrageous behavior are the things of legends. The mere mention of my name sends the deadliest creatures running for the hills. At least, it used to.
The conversation inside the royal vampire physician’s office continues, and I hold my breath to listen.
“You, sir, are the head of the rehumanization project. You will deliver the news, or I will call the king and have you punished.” And that would be Michael Vanderhorst speaking to Dr. Kleen. Vanderhorst is my vampire caretaker. We have a very long history, he and I, none of it pleasant. I plan to murder him soon.
As for this “rehumanization” project, I am certain you are wondering what this is. A fair question. I will get to the answer in a moment, after I ascertain what is happening.
It cannot be good news. I have spent three weeks here in Cincinnati at vampire headquarters, being poked and prodded in the basement lab. They assured me they would find a solution for my predicament, but it appears they have failed. I should have known not to trust the bastards. Especially Vanderhorst.
I mentally double down on my plan to pluck out his innards for what he has done, a plan I will keep concealed until the right moment. At present, I need him, and he must believe I am a different person. A changed man.
Of course, a leopard cannot change its spots. Even if I could, I would not wish to. I like being evil. I revel in the destruction of my foes because I understand one very important fact: The world is made up of two types of creatures, and only two. Those who hunt, and those who are eaten.
I do not know about you, my friends, but I prefer a full belly.
I stand and walk to the office door, leaning my ear toward the crack so I do not miss a single word of the conversation.
“Nice and I have a unique relationship,” Vanderhorst says. “He doesn’t seem to trust me, which is why he needs to hear the news from a neutral party.”
“You want me,” says Kleen, “to tell the meanest vampire ever to walk the earth that we can’t help him?”
Can’t help me? My gut feels heavy and tight all of a sudden. I place a hand atop my black T-shirt, over the ache, and continue eavesdropping.
Vanderhorst groans. “He can’t hurt you. You’ve seen the bloodwork for yourself. He’s no longer a vampire. And we all know he can’t remember who he was. No one who’s been given the cure can! To them, their vampire lives never happened. Hell, Nice thinks he’s a five-year-old kid!”
What fools they are to believe that their little vampirism cure would erase my memories. Unlike the other patients, I remember everything! No silly cure could wipe away who I was born to be. Rotten. Bloodthirsty. Powerful. Mr. Nice!
And for the record, I do not have the mind of a small child. I simply allow them to believe that because I do not want to reveal I am unchanged on the inside—all part of my master plan. World domination!
It is also worth noting I have the body of a spectacularly fit twenty-five-year-old male of the modern age. The vitamin supplements, protein shakes, and copious amounts of nutritious meals—lean meats, salads, fresh fruits—have proven successful. My new and improved physique is also part of my master plan.
What was not part of it is that I have only been human for five years. Yes, infant body to grown-man body in five years.
You would be correct about that. It is the very reason I am here at vampire headquarters being treated like a lab rat. It is the mystery Vanderhorst is discussing with the royal physician. Why am I aging so fast?
Obviously, we do not know, but we do understand what triggered it: Five years ago, Michael Vanderhorst discovered the cure for vampirism, and I, an ancient vampire, took the first dose.
All right. I stole the first dose.
All right, all right. Technically I stole the first fifty doses. I had my reasons. Unfortunately, I was unaware that the vial I drank was meant to be given one drop at a time to one vampire at a time.
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