It was well and good they were getting out and learning to socialize with humans, without arising suspicion, but both Michael and Gwen were intensely curious to meet others of their own kind. Thus it was, when she learned of a 'vampire convention' being held in a large city a few hours drive from them, Gwen insisted they make the trip. Ordinarily, she would not set in Phoenix proper for anything, as its traffic was wicked. But with her stronger senses, maybe she could navigate its mean streets more easily.|
She had to know. It wasn't that she didn't love humans, she did. It was difficult, always being on guard against her teeth showing, or letting her fast reflexs show. Michael, too, was longing to meet other bloodsuckers. The long miles past them, and the map correctly read, they parked the car and approached the hotel where the Vampire Convention was being held. Michael and Gwen were amazed at all the strangely dressed humans. They certainly had wild ideas about what vampires should look like. As they stood in line, waiting to enter the hotel's ballroom, they marvelled further. One young man had fake fangs so long he would do injury to himself were they real and he tried to use them.
And always the white face paint! Michael was pale, but not pure white! He felt rather out of place here, and the strange looks the partiers gave him confirmed that. The music was loud and booming. It was much too violent in its loud pulsing. It wasn't that he didn't like the music of the age. The type called 'new age' was pleasant enough, and he liked country and western. But this stuff of the throbbing pulse and clashing drums, he dispised. ''Move out of the way, nerd-boy!'' one haughty partier shouted to him, claiming Michael's space for dancing.''
He was shell-shocked, and Gwen wasn't doing much better herself. They left the ballroom and sat on one of the sofas in the hall. They had travelled THREE hours to Phoenix, in the hopes they'd meet one of their own kind, and apparently the trip had been useless.
They were pondering their next course of action, when Michael sensed someone like him. He wasn't sure how he knew, he could just feel her ''vibrations'', for lack of a better word. She was in distress. She dashed out of the ballroom, and stared at Michael and Gwen. ''That infernal music get to you, too?'' Michael grinned as he asked her. She had a thick mane of auburn hair and looked past middle aged, even a little ragged around the edges. He wondered at what human age had she been made. ''Vivian,'' he sensed, ''Her name is Vivian . . ,'' His quiet thoughts ceased when she became wild-eyed and began ranting, ''I have to tell you this! I have to put a stop to this! Those poor humans envy us so, they don't know the truth!''
''What's the matter?'' both Michael and Gwen asked in unison. ''They think it's so glamorous. All it is, is years and years of craving. Endless craving and lonliness . . .'' Vivian began to cry, and they were shocked to see blood-red tears drip down from her eyes. ''You're, you're crying BLOOD!'' Michael gasped, and admonished her, ''You must not be drinking enough water. You know how the urine of humans has a yellow color if they do not drink enough. Please, drink more water!'' Gwen handed her a large jug of water. ''WATER?'' Vivian looked dumbfounded. ''Water?'' She took the jug and put her mouth to it. She drank greedily and nearly emptied the jug. ''Water! My maker told me all I could drink was blood!'' A breathtaking change came over her. Vivian's distress ceased, and the lines on her face smoothed. She grew young before their eyes. ''We, like humans, are composed mostly of water. The magical blood cannot do its repair work properly if we don't replenish ourselves frequently with water,'' Gwen further explained.
''Water! To think my past 100 years might have not been quite so hard!'' she exclaimed. ''Water!''she again exclaimed, as she wandered off.
''Well, the trip has not been in vain, after all,'' Michael smiled. They at last knew they weren't the only bloodsuckers on the planet. ''Still, what of the old ones? I want to meet some OLD ones . . ,'' Gwen opined, still disappointed. ''Yes, how old is Giselle, by now, I wonder . . ,'' Michael wistfully wondered.
Just then, Michael heard a voice in his mind. ''Over here, Michael, look over here, by the bushes.'' He got up and looked outside. The spotlight illuminated bushed revealed nothing out of the ordinary, then the faint shadows of a man showed. ''There's one like us outside in the bushes,'' Michael whispered to Gwen, and tugged at her to follow him.
Once outside, it was still hard to see the man. Did their eyes suddenly clear? The form of a tall, thin but broad shouldered, bald, and very pale man at last was visible. ''I keep watch over the world for such 'conventions' as this one. They are always silly humans at play, but every once in a while, enough to make the effort worthwhile, a real vamp or two shows up, hoping to find others.'' His bald head reflected the light from the lamps around them. But his sparkling blue eyes were keen and intense.
''I hear the many questions in your minds. Yes, there are 'old ones'. Yes, these elders are aware of you. We've been watching you for some time, Michael. We're pleased with what we see. You have a rather stable outlook and make wise decisions.''
''Thank you,'' Michael interrupted. '' 'What of me?' you ask, Gwen? You are newly made. You have a nice start. Far too many of us come to think they are gods, and eventually they end up as so many scattered ashes,'' he said in a deep voice which reflected authority.
''Oh, no, not me. I'm just plain ol' me, with severe dietary restrictions, and I hope, a long life. No such pretensions, here, sir!'' Gwen hoped to assure him.
''Keep up the good work, then. We are always watching you. It is necessary, for aberrant bloodsuckers can only harm us. The cloak of secrecy is essential. To answer your question, Gwen, NO, a real vampire like the fictional Lestat would not be allowed to run amok. He wouldn't necessarily be put out for the sun's revenge, but we'd teach him some self-restraint, or else! Further, we have no insane 'Queen' to lead one such as him astray, as well. Our origins were not accidental. The ancient vessels were carefully chosen.
The roots of our earthly beginnings did happen about the same time as the Ricean conception, in Egypt. No chaotic evil spirits were involved, however. Travellers from another world stopped here and searched far and wide, looking for the wisest ones to bring aboard their, as it's called today in FICTION, their SHIP, in order that the living blood be entered into human hosts.
There are intelligent beings within each of us doing the preservation work. They cannot survive without the host body. But as we grow older, they grow in intelligence and abilities, thus our own powers grow. But that is only at the behest of these beings. Should we find ourselves in danger of being found by those who would mean us harm, they bring about, to use another science fiction term, a 'self-destruct sequence' in order that no evidence be found. There are those, for whatever reason, who chose to put themselves into danger by means which you've surely discovered by now, the sun or fire, and the same species-saving evidence removal is carried out.
It is always sad when that happens. Those within the ancient vessels know when it happens. A puff of light goes out in our web of life. But you wonder why there is not more of a sense of community! The necessity for secrecy makes this difficult. In time, you will come to know others. You met just such a one tonight. I must commend you on solving her little problem, by the way. Continue in your good works! I must be off now.'' he waved to them , as he smiled broadly, eyes twinkling.
With that, the elder seemed to vanish into thin air. ''I gather our work is done here, now. We can stop and get gas for the car and more water. We'll make it home before the hunger is strong,'' Michael decided. Each of them felt a quiet glow now they knew they were not the only ones. Gwen wondered, ''How old do you suppose Lucius (he gave me his name!) is?''
''I can't even imagine. At least a couple of thousand years, I suspect.''
''Well over four thousand years!'' they both simultaneously heard in their minds.