Sam Neill's character, Charles Bromley, has certainly caught my attention. Big time. The movie just didn't do him justice. So here's my attempt at getting to the bare bones of the Big Cheese of Bromley Marks and answering the question of "what was with the Daddy's Little Girl" syndrome. Enjoy!
It was said that when the vampires first appeared, the humans would be the ones to suffer. They were right. It didn't take long before vampires became the dominate race on the planet.
Vampires are everywhere.
You could not outrun them. You could not hide from them, at least not for long. They would find you. They always did.
But no one said that they could not be fooled.
Even the most esteemed of vampires can be led to believe a lie.
Date: March 12, 2015
The Outbreak: 6 Years On
Location: Vermont, New England
The customized Lexus sedan had no issues navigating the sharp twists and turns of the winding two-lane road that snaked through the dense forest that was claimed as the private property of Bromley Marks Pharmaceuticals. Only those with the highest standing within the company ever had the privilege of venturing onto the grand estate that was an isolated oasis of peace, tranquility, and blood sport. It was a place untouched by the grime and clutter of the city. To Charles Bromley, this little slice of heaven was his personal home away from home.
Chopin's Nocturne played softly over the muted speakers as the steady thrum of the windshield wipers kept time. Like most things in Vermont, the rain was as common as the heavy fog that seemed to cling to every undisturbed corner. The heavy cloud formations hung low in the sky, blocking out the sun completely and casting a ghostly grey shadow over the rolling hillsides.
Perfect mid-day driving weather.
Seeing how the weather was working in his favor Charles allowed himself the rare luxury of driving during the day unaided by the day-time automated shielding that all of the company cars were equipped with. There was nothing like daytime driving, especially when one could actually fully enjoy it. Such a rarity was not to be missed.
With his foot firmly placed on the accelerator, Charles allowed himself to smile as the speedometer climbed higher than the state speed limit allowed. The state-of-the-art V10 engine purred quietly under the hood of the sleek black four-door as fat heavy raindrops lashed at the car's highly polished surface, desperate to find a hold as he raced toward his destination. It had been a good while since he last made his way up to the Lodge. Being stuck in a skyscraper of weeks on end had certainly taken its toll on the vampire that was considered to be one of the most influential and important figures in society.
Charles needed a break. A break from his work. A break from the city. A break from all the memories.
A small sigh escaped him as he raised the volume a fraction above the tolerable level. With his keen sense of hearing it was difficult to enjoy the classics as he used to, back before the world had evolved to what it was.
Still, it was Chopin.
Easing back into the leather upholstery, Charles Bromley allowed his mind to wander as his hands instinctively guided the Lexus around the dips and curves in the road. Six years was barely a blip on an immortal's scale of time and yet it felt as if an age had passed since he last cruised the countryside with the great Masters of Music. Alison had always commented on his "old fashion tastes" but even she admitted from time to time that the long-time-dead guys knew how to create a decent tune. The debates that they had shared on the long drives they had taken together were still fresh in his mind. His daughter was one of the few people who knew how to string him along before using his own argument against him. She was always a step ahead of her old man, no matter how hard he had tried to reason with her "new school" logic. Maybe that was the reason why he couldn't get through to her when he had tried in vain to get her to see things as he saw them. Maybe he just couldn't relate. Maybe that was why he had lost her.
Was she still alive? Hiding in some hole in some isolated by-the-wayside ghost town? Fearing the coming of night each and every day, thinking that maybe that night would be her last? Did she think of him? Did she miss him?
Or was she…
"Shit!" Charles swore through his teeth as his natural reflexes moved faster than his mind. The car slid to a jarring halt as his right foot slammed on the brake pedal. He was flung forward before he could brace himself. The seatbelt kept him from being jettisoned through the windshield and had he been breathing, the pressure would have knocked the air right out of his lungs.
Out of pure habit Charles inhaled deeply as he regained his composure. Something had snapped him out of his reverie and that something was standing in the middle of the road.
Frowning deeply Charles eyed the figure that was blocking his way. In the rain he could make out the unmistakable outline of a human form. Whether or not the figure was human remained to be seen but what human in their right mind would expose themselves to the elements wearing…a white full-length nightgown?
"What in the world?" He muttered to himself as he quickly placed the car in park and undid his seatbelt.
"Warning. Daylight hours still in effect."
"Oh shut up." Charles growled as he opened the door while the automated computer calmly reminded him of what he already knew. In this weather he could stand out in the rain and do the Charleston and he wouldn't even get the faintest hint of a tan.
"Excuse me!" He called out as he stepped out of his car and turned to face the individual. If the person heard him they didn't show it. The figure stood stock still in the pouring rain, staring off at some random point as if completely dazed and incoherent. Something about this didn't feel right.
Eyeing the surrounding trees on both sides, Charles did a quick sweep of the area with all of his senses engaged. In this weather it would be nearly impossible to smell out any humans waiting to ambush him but his hearing would have picked up on the panicked pitter-patter of a beating heart had anyone been lying in wait. All he heard was the steady hum of the car's engine and what sounded like the hammering of a dying heartbeat.
That was when the figure collapsed.
Ignoring the rain that quickly did its best to drench him as fast as possible Charles slammed the door shut and made his way over to the fallen individual. He took his time though. He had an idea of what was going on but he was still one to take precaution as his first method of action. A vampire could never been too careful. Especially out here in the middle of nowhere.
Taking care to study the situation from every angle, he carefully made his approach. As he came closer he realized what he was seeing. A girl, roughly around his daughter's age, was dying. Not dying. Being reborn. The left side of her nightdress was soaked in blood that seeped from twin puncture wounds in her neck. Her bare arms and legs were already deathly pale and if he hadn't know any better he would have believed that she already dead.
But dead things didn't fight to stay alive.
"Easy now. It'll be over soon." Charles murmured quietly as he carefully lowered himself to the ground, making sure to keep about an arm's length between himself and the girl. A newly turned vampire was unpredictable at best and the last thing he needed was to worsen the condition of his suit.
The girl curled into herself as her muscles contracted and he couldn't help but note her vain attempt to fight off the inevitable. It would hurt less if she relaxed and accepted the change but humans were a very stubborn breed.
"Don't fight it. Just let it happen." His words fell on deaf ears as the girl whimpered in pain. Her joints were beginning to lock and soon her heart would stop beating all together. The feeling of vigor mortis was an unsettling one but thankfully it never lasted more than a few moments or so. Soon she would be a welcomed member of a race far superior than any that had existed before and life as she knew it would never be the same again.
Dying was a good thing.
Yet the girl didn't seem to think so.
Moving with a speed that startled him, the girl lashed out and grabbed his left arm in an iron grip. She pulled herself upward and for the first time he could make out her profile under the dark curtain of wet hair that clung her to neck and shoulders. Her small features and fragile complexion reminded him of an early twentieth-century flapper but her eyes were what held his interest. Such innocent eyes. The eyes of a child in a young woman's body. The eyes of a daughter. Alison.
"D-d-don't…leave…" Her words came out in a faint whisper but he still managed to make them out. She never blinked as she locked her gaze with his.
"I…" Charles stammered as he was drawn in by the pull of her eyes. The iridescent baby blue colour was too vivid to be considered normal by human standards but they matched his golden gaze with a will stronger than her shivering frame seemed to hold.
Her grip on his arm tightened.
It was the look that did it. Those piercing eyes, filled with such uncertainty, seemed to look right through him and see him for what he really was. For the first time in his immortal life Charles felt something pull deep within in. As if his heart had started to beat again for a split second. It was a twinge of sympathy.
"Hold on." He didn't think of what he was doing. He just reacted to an impulse that he thought had died along with his human side. Taking her hand firmly in his he gently pried her fingers off his arm and shrugged out of his suit jacket. It was soaked through but it was better than nothing. Wrapping it around the girl's quaking body Charles tucked her into the garment and easily picked her up off the ground as if she weighed little more than air.
Super strength, another perk of being one of the undead.
"Immortality is a miracle. You are blessed." He said as he carried her over to the waiting Lexus. The only response he got was a half-choked sob as her body bucked violently in his arms before going totally limp. Well, the worst was over. As he reached for the door handle something totally unexpected happened.
The girl retched the contents of her stomach all over him.
He should have seen that one coming.