Morand had almost finished his painting, a reflection of death and timelessness, when the paintbrush dropped from his hand and a strange feeling came over him.
A tingly feeling started creeping up his body as he started seeing stars. What is happening to me?, he thought, when he realized that if something was wrong, no one was home to help him. It wasn't necessarily pain he felt throughout his body, but nevertheless it was a cause for concern.
It's when he felt his feet lift off the ground that he realized something was terribly wrong.
The words were out of his mouth before he realized he'd thought them, "I'm dying," he said.
His only regret was that he was unable to say goodbye to his family. They would come home to find his grave lying coldly on the floor.
However, he didn't go to the afterlife a sad man. Yes, he'd had his fair share of tragedy and loneliness, but the love he felt for his family, his children and grandchildren, made him the happiest man in the world.
Morand's urn was placed in the study among his other trophies and accolades. He had lived to be 120 days old, far longer than anyone expected. The house didn't seem the same without him, hobbling about, helping the kids with their school work or standing at his easel working on the next great masterpiece painting.
Faith took the loss of her father especially hard. She stayed strong in front of her family, but at night when she was unable to sleep she would find herself standing in his room, unable to cope.
She was an orphan now. Her whole life she'd been without a mother, now she was without her father as well. Never did she think he'd live forever, but imagining of a day far off in the future when he'd be gone was so much easier than having it be now, in the present.
Now there were all the details to take care of.
Flora had been simply going through the motions the last few days. She, too, was hit hard by the loss of her grandfather. He had been the one she could talk to about anything when her mom was too busy with work and gardening or her dad was down in the basement, or mysteriously not down in the basement.
She was snapped back to reality by her brother's voice.
"You know that mom and dad are away for a few days, visiting with grandpa's family in Sunset Brook or Twin Valley or wherever it was he moved here from," Vincent told her the morning after their parents left.
She tried not to let her brother's attitude bring her down even further, "Yeah, what about it?" she responded.
"Well..." he started. "Why don't we have ourselves a little party?" he asked. "Let's invite some people over after school, have some music, some dancing, it would be just what grandpa would have wanted," he finished.
"That's a terrible idea," Julius said from the kitchen as he grabbed himself a bowl of cereal. "You want to honor grandpa's memory by defiling the house with a bunch of rowdy teenagers? Terrible."
"Are you kidding?" Vincent challenged, "I think it's exactly what grandpa would have wanted. Life is for the living, Jules!" his brother argued.
Julius concentrated on his bowl of cereal for a moment. "I just don't know," he finally replied, "I don't think mom and dad would be too happy about it."
"I'll handle Mom and Dad," Flora spoke up. "You guys won't have to worry about anything."
Julius's cereal got caught in his throat as he choked out, "What? You think this is a good idea?"
"While I don't think Vincent's motives were to throw a party specifically in remembrance of grandpa, I do think it's something that he would have liked. You know how he loved parties and dancing. I think he'd have had a lot of fun," she replied.
"Fine," Julius said. "Have your party, but I'm not getting in trouble."
Flora already had her invitation list made out, it only consisted of one name.
When they got home from school that afternoon, Flora was in for a bit of a shock.
"Vincent! What did you do?!" she asked her brother in disbelief.
Wondering how they were going to explain the new decor to their parents, Flora just shook her head.
"Just remember," Julius said, "I had nothing to do with this."
However, once the others arrived, it took all of two minutes for Julius to get into the idea. The music was pumping, the effects machines were effecting and everyone was having a great time.
Vincent was getting some quality face time in with Julianne Ash, one of the prettiest girls in school. He generally didn't have any trouble getting girls to talk to him, but for some reason she made him a bit nervous.
It wasn't until after he'd spent some time talking to her that he found out her father was a Vampire, which only intrigued him more.
"Why aren't you a Vampire, then?" he asked the girl.
She laughed at him, "Because you aren't born a Vampire, dolt. You have to be turned by one."
"You came!" squealed Flora as Drake walked into the house.
"Ta-da," he said, smiling at her.
She could barely contain her nerves as she talked to him, "I wasn't sure you'd come. I know you don't do anything school related, not that this is a school event, but you know..."
"I have been to so many proms and field trips I stopped counting, and then stopped attending," he said with a heavy sigh, "I am forced to go the school every day because it is required by law for someone my age. I wish my kind would be exempt, but then again, sometimes some good comes from it," he smiled at her.
The party raged on, everyone having an amazing time.
Flora and Drake were also having fun, as she rolled her eyes and pointed out her brother Julius's attempt at dancing.
To which he was completely oblivious of.
"I'm really glad you came," Flora said to the Vampire.
He smiled and nodded to her, "I am glad I came as well."
As she excused herself for a moment, Vincent jumped into action and asked to speak to the Vampire outside.
"I wanted to talk to you for a minute, if you don't mind," Vincent asked the man.
Drake looked at the boy for what seemed a very long time, "Alright," was his only response.
"I'm curious," Vincent started, "I know that you have to be turned into a Vampire, but how does something like that happen? How does one become immortal, like you?" he asked eagerly.
He could tell that the Vampire was put off by the question.
"Why do you ask me this?" Drake replied. "If you have any ideas or curiosities about what it is to live this curse, put them out of your head right now. I would not wish this life on my worst enemy," the Vampire replied coldly.
Vincent wasn't to be dissuaded though, "But you see, I don't think it would be a curse! Imagine all the incredible things you could do without the constraint of a mortal lifespan! Tell me, how does one become a Vampire?" he asked again, a tinge of desperation in his voice, when they were interrupted.
"I'm not sure what you guys are doing out here," Flora said as she turned to Drake, "but you've got to go. I just got a call from a neighbor who told me they're calling the police because of the noise. I don't want you to get in trouble."
Drake nodded, "Thank you," he said as he looked at Vincent, "remember what I said. It is not for you."
Everyone took off in different directions, luckily before the cops arrived. Since no law breaking was found, only a warning was issued...
...and a mess to clean up.
|Julius and his Donkey Ears|
|The Reaper was too menacing for this chapter, but I thought this picture was cool.|
|Even in death Morand wanted to sleep in his own bed.|
Title / Jim Thompson