by Lynda Licina  

GWF iso GF. Race & age unimportant. Lover of the night with no earthly bonds seeking kindred spirits of similar background to establish a lineage of our own. I love dark...dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes...mysterious. Living and loving by the illumination of the full moon. A great mind, excellent health and creative spirit. Are you listening? I crave what you can give. I am Anais.  NL Voice 8267.  

 So I neglected to mention that I'm a vampire and my girlfriend will become 'flavor of the month', --or should I say year? The girl will find out soon enough.  The ad appears almost annually, those damn mortals don't live forever. The blood I give them keeps their faces lovely and young but does nothing to slow their biological clock. Quite the opposite, it speeds up the internal ticking to the extreme.  

Yes, the personals method is deceiving but screening my cuisine is the best way to ensure they fit certain specifications. It's necessary that extraneous relatives are not part of the feast, I'm not into dessert.... or messy cleanups

 I was part of a family once, at least biologically. Mother, father and assorted siblings. (Sounds like giblets doesn't it?) Foster homes became my life at the age of two according to the few facts my adoptive parents offered before they selfishly took all further knowledge to their graves. I had nothing to do with that trip.

 I've tried unsuccessfully to locate my biological mother. If I had found her I'd have only spit my hate upon her for denying me a normal childhood.  As a developing sociopath, I knew it was best to remain unattached. The streets became my family, the members changed from city to city. Life left a bad taste in my mouth. And no dinner mint can wash it away.

 I met the woman who changed my life forever at twenty one. An alcohol influenced liaison climaxed in the sharing of the elixir that transformed the little girl into the femme fatale and a new reality... Immortality.  After that, would I even consider searching for my family? To lose them again as I watch them die?  I remain forever twenty-one, a sanguinary parasite seeking only perpetual and untainted nourishment. No smorgasbord of partners for me, pure blood free of disease and drugs is essential. I can become severely ill though I cannot die. At least not from the usual mortal maladies.  

I telephone the service for messages.  
Three responses... not bad.

 BEEP..."Hi, Anaïs, cool name, I'm Amber. Your ad was intriguing, and I'm  into you. I'm 5'7", 125 lbs., dark hair, eyes and complexion, like my name.  I'm into performing art and night, like you. No drugs, I'm healthy and  unoccupied, digging someone to hang with. Been solo since 16 when my  adoptive mothers' life license expired. Her second husband evicted me  'cause I refused to put out. No idea where his private parts are hangin'  these days. Anyway, call me back girl, I'd dig meeting you.  984-7545.  Ciao."

 "CIAO? Did she know?"

 BEEP..."Hi. My name is Mark. (a guy always calls.) I think we know ...  

 BEEP..."Hi. I don't usually answer personals but...   My name is Annie. I'm  older than most people who respond to these ads, 47, but you said age was  unimportant. I don't look my age. I have no one in the world and loneliness is  hell. My health is fair, I've had a few heart problems in the past, but I'm okay  now. I'm olive-skinned with brown eyes and dark brown hair with a little grey.   I love nights, mornings, afternoons, whatever. My day and evening numbers  are the same, 421-4089. I work temp jobs. Hope you call, you sound nice.  Bye."

Two excellent prospects. Based on the Ciao, I decide to ring Annie.

# # #

 She arrives at my loft exactly at 8:00 pm, punctual. She is as she described herself, I'd have guessed her age at 35, very pretty in a non-descript way. I see sadness in her eyes when they meet my gaze.  

Dinner is delivered.  I push food around on my plate.  "Not hungry, nervous," I explain.   Wine and conversation flows. She's easy to talk to, she smells delicious.  Annie's inspiration died young, when her babies were taken away. Authorities cited 'child endangerment' but the reality was bad luck and extreme poverty.  

We kiss, awakening years of buried passion. The hunger is potent, lovemaking is spontaneous. As Annie orgasms, I christen her with canine penetration, her taste, divine. (Oh, they never remember the piercing, just the ecstasy.) Night evolves into morning, morning turns into months.  Annie is so unlike the soft-focus mortals I usually take from, I think I'm in love with my food!

 Three months into happy oblivion, she is taken from me. Heart embolism it's termed; clotted blood. Again happiness eludes me. Why must I say goodbye so often?  With no one to claim her lifeless body, she'll stay with me forever. In my 'family room'.  I drag her coffin up the stairs to the room. As long as I am earthbound, my lovers will remain exactly as they were when we said goodbyes. The vital fluid of life I have exchanged with them lingers in their veins and preserves the beauty. I lay Annie upon the satin and seal her coffin with glass etched in lillies, to frame her lovely face for eternity.  

"Annie, meet your sisters. This is Candace, Elaine, Deborah, and over here, Evelyn, Crystal and Pamela. Girls, Annie, be good to her."

# # #  

GWF iso GF. Race & age unimportant. Lover of the night with no earthly bonds seeking kindred spirits of similar background to establish a lineage of our own. I love dark...dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes...mysterious. Living and loving by the illumination of the full moon. A great mind, excellent health and creative spirit. Are you listening? I crave what you can give. I am Anais.  Reply box 8267.

Two replies.

 BEEP.... I called you awhile back, guess you haven't met your dream girl  yet. Well, here I am honey, it's Amber. 984-7545. Call me damn it!

 BEEP.... "Hey, it's me, Mark. You never returned my last...  

# # #

 I open the door when she arrives. I'm looking in a fucking mirror! Amber's my spitting image with attitude to match, so cool... cold... like dry ice.  Her tragic (trivial) story unfolds. She wants pity but I have none to give. My vampiric defenses are piqued but soon the hunger takes control. Instinctively I grasp chestnut hair forcing her head back, and kiss her brutally masking the fact that I've bitten, I've tasted. Bitter..... but I'll get used to it.

 Amber is controlling, she moves in and takes over. Wants this, demands that. I provide her with everything, but she's never satisfied. Eventually I give up placating her and return the contempt.  It's a torturous game, who will break first? The score is even.... until she discovers my family room.

 I can't let her go now, as much as I'd love to. Like an ill-tempered pet I must restrain Amber, she's my prisoner, nothing more. One evening as I unbind her, she pulls out a crudely sharpened wooden stake. Scraping the point against my throat, she draws a thin trickle, precious fluid.  "Oh, is that for me? Where's the popsicle?" I ask. "Sorry sweetie, game over, I win!"

  I rip through her jugular with unmerciful bloodthirst. Holding her inanimate body, I gaze into unseeing eyes and feed. But her blood no longer satisfies me. Like Chinese food, I'm hungry again within minutes.  Amber wasn't well-behaved in life, but she was virtuous in death. I ready her place in the room.

# # #

GWF iso GF. Race & age unimportant.  Oh, you know the rest.....

 When I call to retrieve my responses, Mark has called continuously using up my allotted mailbox time.... Fuck!  He's pleading.  "Please talk to me. Your past, I know things. Please call, 878-0741, I have to talk ...."

 I ring him. The relief in his voice is disconcerting. I extend an invitation for "conversation only", at my place. He arrives and I'm relieved to see that he's doesn't fit the psychopath profile. Dark, rugged features with sincere brown eyes. I shake his hand, it's somehow intimate.  "Okay, talk."  He does... words spill out so rapidly I'm sure he's speaking a foreign language.  "I think we're... no, I KNOW we are.... related. I'm adopted. Like you.

Researched endlessly. The past. Single mom, sister, you, me. I'm the oldest. You and the other girl - were twins, well...still are. Foster homes... before we could remember. Father? Maybe dead. I know who they are now, mother and sister I mean. Tried contacting them with no luck, they've just kind of vanished. Still looking though. Won't give up...."

 I sit on my feet, enthralled, and interrupt "How did you find me?"  

"I saw you about eight years ago, in a bar. I just had a feeling who you were. The name proved it, Anaïs isn't common. I tried to follow you, lost you, found you, lost you, what a rollercoaster. I wanted to be one hundred percent sure before I approached. Then you completely disappeared about six years ago, but I kept searching. Fortunately, we live in the same city, I saw your ad in NIGHTLINES a year ago, the name thing again.  I called your box number, you never called back. Couldn't find a listing for you in the phone book and when your ad wasn't running, your box number wasn't active. Recently I saw it again, I called, but as before, no response ..."  

I explain,  "I deleted your calls, you're a guy, I wasn't interested."  

"Finally you called. I can't wait to tell you what I know, to have my sister again."  We talk into the night. I've spent a lifetime denying it but I would have given anything for the chance to meet my mother. I want to know everything.... I have a brother!  It's late. The hunger rises. I hear his words but my body is oblivious. An appetizer can't hurt, I think. He won't remember. As a blood relative, the taste of his nectar will be infinitely sweeter. I am so hungry...  Take his wrist, pierce the rough skin, the warm flow is pure honey.  

A flood of visions, I see the past. Two girls wear identical outfits, ME...and MY TWIN! Innocent children being taken. A mother in hysterics.  "Don't take my babies...they are in no danger, I have to work, babysitters cost money, I have none. I work to feed them. They're my babies. Please... don't take them.....pleeeease."  I see everything with crystal clarity. She was a devoted mom. We were her life, her reason for being. I feel my hate for her being replaced by an instant, deep love. Her face is distorted by tears but I see something familiar in the features.  

Mark interrupts this visionary reunion with his shrieks.  "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME? ARE YOU CRAZY? GET AWAY FROM ME YOU FREAK!"  ....... I overestimated the trance-hold I had on him.  

"Calm down, I won't hurt you." I sense my reassurance is not being accepted. "Mark, let me explain about me...everything. It sounds incredible but I'm a vampire. Transformed about the time you said I disappeared. You didn't see me anymore because I couldn't tolerate the sunlight. I live in the shadows of the night now. Yeah... we're real, and I need blood. I only feed, I never take more than is required, I'm not a killer. My lovers are my donors... Easier than take out!" I laugh in attempt to alleviate his fear and revulsion. "I want to help you find the rest of our family. But I still need to survive. In the meantime, if I could take a small amount from you now and then.....?" 

Mark makes me promise I won't hurt him. (GUYS!) Why he trusts me I'll never know, but he agrees.... and I feed.  

"What eventually happens to the people you drink from? Do they die? Do they turn into vampires too?"  

"My lovers, as with all mortals, eventually die. But they age internally at a more accelerated rate than usual as I feed upon their life essence. I'm partly responsible--for their premature death, I mean, so I take care of them. Come with me, I'll show you."  

As we climb the stairs I mention, "I saw this in a movie once." (I'm not sure he gets the reference.)  We arrive at the door, which I unlock to reveal a sight he is not ready for.

"My God! Eight coffins?! You've killed eight girls for your survival?"  

"NO! No.... I've assured eight women infinite peace. I've used them for my survival but they're not immortal. I provide them sanctuary and sit with them every night. They're content to remain here and I'll take care of them forever. That's my promise. Forever."  

Mark steps into the room, over-cautiously, looking down into each coffin as we talk.  "Beautiful girls, and so young."

 "I have taste," I respond.  "Sadly my latest two loves met with premature ends. I would have loved Annie forever, (at least her forever) but she had serious medical problems and died just a few months after we met.  Died of 'natural causes' as they say. Amber, however, was too much like me, beautiful but impudent. Never satisfied with the lavish life I provided for her. She was a terror. She tried to kill me, so what could I do? I had to destroy her, it's simple survival."

 Mark begins to run from coffin to coffin, scanning the faces of my former loves.  The girls smile serenely up at him through the embellished glass. He screams, the scream of nightmares.  "MOTHER!  AND AMBER! Oh God!" My brother turns on me with a fierceness, a killing look in his eyes. I can smell his blood, hot blood. Food.

"You're a demon, you ARE a killer! You've taken them from me. Forever! Fuck you. I hate you!"  His words sear my skin as the sunrise would.  I recoil "NO! NO! I didn't know. I should have seen it in the blood vision...but  they DIDN'T KNOW! I would never have... never... "  

He rips a glass lid from its delicate hinges and raises it over his head.  "Is it true how they kill monsters like you? Can I slice right through your dead heart?"  He moves forward to carry out his vengeance.  What can I do?  Get him first, it's the game. It's always the game.  I  scream, "I'm sorry...Mark, I'm sorry", and hurl my body weight at him.  I always win the game.  "Mark, don't hate me, I love you."  I slash his throat to shreds with razorlike fingernails, press my mouth to his neck and drink in his memories,  his dreams, his nightmares. I feed until his pulse ceases.  "I love you Mark." I lie down beside him and sleep, as daylight breaks over the city.

# # #

In the evening, I drag the new coffin upstairs. Mahogany for someone special. I lay the remains gently on the cream colored satin, trying to convince myself he looks at peace. I slide him into place between mother, and the sister who mirrors the image of his killer. The one he loved. The lid is placed and I kiss the cold hard glass.  Downstairs I pour a goblet of wine, and locate my camera.  Returning upstairs, I sit and chat with my family. How fabulous it is to finally be reunited. I toast my guests, "Na Zdorovye" and drink.  Framing three coffins in the camera viewfinder, I engage the self-timer. I cross the room and take my place among mom, Amber and Mark.  The shutter releases, the flash illuminates the endless night. I have my souvenir photo, 'Family Reunion 1998', together again.

# # #

GWF iso GF. Race & age unimportant. Lover of the night with no earthly bonds seeking kindred spirits of similar background to establish a lineage of our own. I love dark...dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes...mysterious. Living and loving by the illumination of the full moon.

A great mind, excellent health and creative spirit.

Are you listening? I crave what you can give.

I am Anais.

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