What's in a Past?

How much does our past affect us?

Do we even know?

I do. I do because I don't have a past. Every single memory I have is crystal clear, clearer than any high definition. My first memories start sometime at the end of 1919 or maybe the beginning of '20. Those first few months are really the only hazy time in my memory, but they aren't hazy so much as they are jumbled together. Everything is still crystal clear.

What about before?

Everyone else has at least a vague idea of where they came from, their family, their life, their human life, but me. What do I have? Nothing. I don't have a birth certificate, a death certificate. Even if I did, what would those prove; they'd be nothing but meaningless pieces of paper with no context.

What good would they do me now?

Anyone who knew anything would be dead and gone by now, or their memory would be so fuzzy from age that it would be useless anyway. I've faced it before, and I face it again. I don't have a past, maybe that's why fate decided to throw me a curve ball and let me see the future.

And yet that doesn't help.

Because it still burns a hole through me.

What was I like?

Was I the same?

Where did I live?

Who were my family?

These are basic things that everyone, save an unlucky few, takes for granted. They know what their past was like, where they came from. They know it better than they know where they're going. And see, I'm just the opposite. I know where I'm going better than I know where I came from.

So instead of trying to run away from my past like so many do, both human and vampire; I run toward it. I surround myself in everything that I can find from my early years. Or what I think of as my early years. I don't even know how old I'm supposed to be. I assume I'm a teenager, but with my stature, I could in my twenties and never know it.

I rose slowly from where I'd been perched for the last few hours on the window sill, and crossed through the sparsely furnished room. I think that anyone who's ever known me, even in passing, would assume that my room was full of clothes and shopping bags, and more shopping bags, and more clothes. I guess in some way that's true; I do like to shop, I freely admit to that. But it's not about the fashion, or the material, or the cut, or the way it looks. It's all an attempt to truly find myself, and I can't do that from the inside out, I have to do it from the outside in. I have to try and reinvent myself and I do that with blouses, or pants, or skirts, or dresses, or shoes, or anything else in my closet.

It doesn't help.

It never has.

I strode over to my walk in closet, my shrine really, and pulled back the two double doors. A bare light bulb on a simple wire hung from the center, its pull chain rattling in the slight draft my presence caused. Along two of the walls were two long racks of clothes; but tonight, when the rest of my family is off hunting, they held absolutely no interest for me. I walked in, delicately pulling the chain as I went; I ran my hands over some of the clothes lining the other walls, feeling every thread, every stitch of them. What I was interested in was on the far wall, and occupied the majority of the cavernous closet. The single light bulb cast a harsh light across the closet, making me feel like I was in an old Film Noir interrogation room; it made me feel slightly better.

But not much.

In the far corner of the closet, where the light didn't reach around my shadow was an antique phonograph. Technically it was a Victrola, one of the old table top models, when it was popular it sold for a little over twenty dollars. I bought it at auction a few years ago for a little under three hundred; it was in poor shape when I got it and spent close to another grand to restore it. It was worth every penny, it was something that I'd have had has child, of that I was certain. After that I'd tracked down and bought every wax record I could find from the late 1890's through the early '20's. I hoped with every one that something deep inside my mind would jog and I'd remember something.

Anything.

I never did.

I ran my hands over the old cracked and faded record covers; I rarely played them, each playing degraded them just a bit more. But tonight I felt like I should. My fingers dragged slowly over each cover until I found the one I wanted. My fingers seemed to stop on their own, coming to rest on Memories by Harry McClaskey. Taking the record from its shelf, I carefully removed the wax disc from the protective tissue paper and set in the middle of the phonograph, and cranked the phonograph. I set the needle down in the groove, making sure not to let it scratch the fragile wax. The record cracked and popped for a moment before a softly haunting voice crackled from the speaker.

Round me at twilight come stealing

Shadows of days that are gone

Dreams of the old days revealing

Mem'ries of love's golden dawn

Memories, memories

Dreams of love so true

O'er the sea of memory

I'm drifting back to you

I'd never listened to this one before and regretted it immediately; cold painful tears began to well up in my eyes. The song was so bittersweet, and hit so close to home I couldn't help but turn it off. I took the record off and placed it back on the shelf. I blinked away the tears before they could burn me more. I didn't even know what it's like to cry. How's that for irony?

I left the Victrola to unwind, suddenly not the mood to play in the past. I clicked the light off as I walked through the doors again, closing them firmly behind me; leaving the rest of my collection for another time. The night had turned chilly as I returned to the window sill, letting my feet dangle the light mist. The faint sound of rustling leaves off in the forest worked their way into my ears.

My family was home.

I couldn't let them see me like this.

I was the cornerstone of the family. The bright charming pixie that is constantly happy. The one that's never had a bad day in her life.

The one with only a future.

The one without a past.

A/N: I've always been fascinated by Alice's lack of a past, so this was my way to attempt to start exploring that idea. The idea for the "artifacts" goes to AblatedCrayon. I hope you enjoyed. And whether you did or didn't, let me know what you think. Press that little review button and tell me.