This story is for the Conversion Day Challenge. The usual disclaimers apply. The characters within this story are not mine they belong to Sony/Tristar and TPTB. I do not make any money by writing about them. I hope this story is received well. It is my first posting of fan fiction, so be gentle. I welcome all comments. Thank you for reading my story.
By Bluemousey - July 2004
To Be Remembered
I don't often think about it really. Unless of course someone brings it up in conversation, and let's face it not too many members of my community are that stupid. After all, I have been a vampire a lot longer than I was a mortal man. So much longer in fact, I often have trouble remembering what it was like to be a mortal man. To feel the sun on my face, watch white puffy clouds drift across the afternoon sky, to see a blue ocean or enjoy the taste and texture of food. How odd it would be for me to have to chew and then swallow a solid substance, or drink something other than blood. Watching those "Got Milk" commercials holds a morbid fascination for me, not because I wonder what milk would taste like, but because of its color. Such a white liquid, it almost makes me gag just to think about it. Still, there are moments when a veil of melancholy will shroud me, and I know what I must do to over come it or I will simply go mad trying to regain something that I lost more than a millennia ago.
The date of my conversion day, or if you like, the date I was brought across to immortality, was August 24th. The year was 79 AD. Not a momentous event, my birth to immortality, but the day and year is very important historically only because it was the day Pompeii, my home, was destroyed. Mount Vesuvius erupted that day and engulfed life as I knew it. Only a handful of its civilians survived. I was spared their fate, turned into what I am now, moments before the ash cloud hit. The rest of the poor bastards who could not get away were enveloped in ash and stone from the volcano. During the 19th century, scientific innovation excavated my home and the remains of its citizens. It is now a tourist attraction. You can see their pitiful remains if you wish. You see, the volcanic ash has forever memorialized their forms as they cowered on the ground, gasping their last breath. The modern world has made a macabre museum of my friends, neighbors and even the members of my own household. Some might find this horrifying, but after almost 2000 years of observing humanity, I merely find it ironic. And, if I think about it too long, I find I can even laugh about it.
So, on the date of my conversion I allow myself the extravagance to look back at what my life once was. After all, I never had the opportunity to go back to my old life. Never really had the chance to say goodbye to it. Unlike most vampires who often go back to tie up loose ends, say goodbye to love ones, or even seek revenge before moving on, my old life literally disappeared the day I crossed over. Think about it for a moment...all that you know now, your home, your possessions, everything that is familiar to you, gone, buried under mountains of ash and a cloud of gas. What would you do?
True, my first several hundred years as a vampire overwhelmed me. The new sites and sounds of different countries kept me entertained. There was so much to experience and to learn. I didn't really think about looking back. But after a while you long for something familiar in a world that is constantly changing when you do not. You can always seek out your own kind. They can be, though not often, a comfort. Still, every August I feel the shadows closing in and I know what I must do to over come these feelings.
I always like to stand outside and look at the building for a long while before I go in. As usual, I arrive right after the sunsets. This gives me the chance to visit for a few hours before the curator has to ask me to leave. I am always the last one to leave. So I pity the poor fellow who has the job of interrupting my solitary reverie so that they can lock the doors for the night. Not many know it, but I am well aware of how intimating I can be.
When I do enter the building I make the circuit, taking my time to look at each display, noting if there are any new items and then I take a seat on "my bench" where I will stay until I am asked to leave. The display before me will occupy my mind until the evening closes. It is not a coincidence that this bench is placed here for me to sit upon. It was purchased and placed here at my request for I am a substantial benefactor of this museum. You might even say it was my idea that gave birth to its design.
Tonight the museum is quite full. Tourism has been very active in Italy, even with the recent terrorist attacks, and the ancient inhabitants of Pompeii are a very popular attraction. By my design, the entire museum houses artifacts excavated from the Pompeian dig. Most of the time, no one bothers me as I sit and reflect on my favorite display. The other tourists walk around me, in safety of course, completely unaware of who or what is sitting before them. I find it rather amusing because it is not the display that warrants observation but the museum's benefactor.
This visit, however, is not without incident. A mother and her 6-year old son are standing behind me as she reads the inscription on the display to her son.
"It says this is the remains of a bust that was discovered in the main room of a large residence."
"What's a bust?" The little boy asks.
"A bust is a statue of a person's head and shoulders, Michael."
"What's the man's name?"
"They don't know, Mike. The inscription says "Unknown". All they found was the head the rest of the statue was destroyed. But it must have been a statue of someone important because only important people had their likeness made into a statue."
"Will they ever find out what his name was?"
"No, I don't think they ever will."
"That's sad, Mom."
"Yes, I agree, it is sad. Come on let's keep looking, ok."
I thought I would have my solitude back as the mother and child walked away to look at the next exhibit. However, I underestimated the curiosity of a six-year old. While the mother was occupied by an arrangement of fractured tableware, the little boy walked back to stand along side of me to view the display once more. Eventually, his attention drifted towards me. I cannot say how long it took him to make the connection.
"Hey, mister..." He was poking me in the arm with his little finger. "You look just like..."
I felt that I must nip this in the bud if I was ever going to have any part of this night to myself. So I turned to look him straight in the face. "Yes, little man?"
"You look...you look like..." He was pointing at the broken bust in the display.
I found I could not let an opportunity like this pass by. It's not often I get a chance to interact with children. So, I did what any pureblooded vampire would do, I let my eyes go yellow and hissed, "Piss off."
Children are so cute when they're scared into submission. A moment after he went screaming back to his mother, I noticed the presence of another of my kind. I was instantly alert, and then I relaxed as I recognized the intruder and heard his soft laugher as he approached me from behind.
"I would think you would have outgrown the urge to scare small children." Nicholas said warmly as he sat next to me.
"One is never too old to have a little fun. It's what keeps me young." I waited for him to explain his reason for being here. After several minutes passed in silence I finally asked, "Why are you here, Nicholas?"
"No reason, really. Just wanted to see if you would like some company."
"Indeed." I was too touched by his gentle concern to know what to say.
"There's a string quartet playing down the street. Mozart I think. Do you feel like going?" He asked me.
I took a glance at him from the corner of my eye. He was staring forward at my broken likeness. "Yes, Nicholas. I would like that very much."
He gave a slight nod of his head. "Are you finished here?"
"Yes, until next year anyway."
We both stood up together as I reached my hand inside my coat ready to finish my yearly ritual with just one more detail.
"Well, Ma'am, I don't see anyone here now." The museum guard said.
"He was just here." She gestured excitedly to the empty bench. "He was a middle-aged man, with cropped blond hair wearing a dark coat, and he purposely scared my son!"
"I can file a report if you like." The guard suggested.
"Mom, look. Do you think he left this?" The little boy pointed to a small cluster of Rosemary flowers that were now lying next to the broken bust.
The museum guard picked up the flowers as he looked at the woman. "Funny thing to leave in a museum."
"Remembrance." The woman mumbled.
"Excuse me, Ma'am?"
"Rosemary flowers, they mean remembrance."
"Maybe he just wanted the unknown man to be remembered by someone, Mom."
"You know what Mike, it sounds a little weird, but I think you're right."