Nothing

His elongated limbs are bent at sharp angles. It's grotesque almost, the unnatural way he's perched on the mansion's roof in the middle of the black night. Inhuman. He was human once. But no longer. He can't die. Not by natural means.

This idea once intrigued him, fascinated him to the point that he spent the last part of his human life bringing about his own immortality. Eventually, he came to view his unending life as the most exquisite form of torture. Now, however, his condition is neither a blessing nor a curse to him. It's merely a fact. It's nothing.

Nothing is anything to him anymore.

Everything meant something to him when he was mortal. He was a man of great passion—for his country, his people, his religion. It was this passion that spurred him on to accomplish what others were too frightened, too conciliatory, to do themselves. It was what drove him to inflict punishments of the most extreme cruelty on whomever he deemed his enemy, lest anyone doubt him wholly committed to his cause.

Another kind of passion burned within him. This was a smoldering affection for the pure-hearted woman who readily wrapped her warmth around him whenever he returned from the battlefield to her bed. It was her prayers that spurred his victories and carried him through his losses, even after the tragedy that took her from him. He remembers the pain of losing her. The disbelief, and then the ache of emptiness.

He remembers it, but he doesn't feel it. Not anymore.

He felt plenty after his conversion to the undead. But it was different. By the time he stepped from the grave, his human concerns had fallen away. He arose drunk with the success of his radical scheme. He didn't need his religion anymore; he'd transcended the most basic of its teachings. Likewise, he no longer had any desire to fight the battles of man; he'd proven himself above their law.

His new passions burned hot and furious in a haze of hubris and indulgence. And oh, he felt it all. The fluttering thrill as each victim came under his control, elation when he allowed them just enough awareness to become wracked with terror. Deep satisfaction when he finally reclaimed the family castle as his own. And he felt each and every ministration of the ethereal beauties he chose to keep as his brides.

The excitement of his new existence began to dull after a time, but his emotions had by no means been snuffed. They simply changed, and he became consumed with boredom, which led to desire: the desire to expand his influence into the western world. Luring the unsuspecting solicitor into his lair to set the plan in motion had been the most interesting thing to happen to him in a very long time.

Some would impose another emotion on him during those days: romantic intentions toward the solicitor's wife. They couldn't be more wrong. The driving force behind his attentions to this woman was vengeance, retaliation on the men who sought to outwit him. It was amusing to him to watch her libido awaken under his touch, something her placid husband had apparently been unable to accomplish, but in truth, it was her pretty friend who had made a fool of him.

She gave out an aura that drew him in, that drew all men in, and despite the risks, he needed to possess her. She was to be his queen and stand next to him above all others. He's often wondered if he intentionally dropped the warnings that tipped her lovers off, purposely left behind a calling card so they would know that she was his; they couldn't have her. In the end, neither could he.

It appears he can no longer have anything.

Nothing that matters.

Because nothing matters.

Not anymore.

He emerged from the experiments with the good doctor a true monster. He'd been tweaked, enhanced, and twisted—every inch of him redesigned to serve his new master. A machine more than anything.

It shouldn't have mattered to him that he could no longer feel emotions, and it wouldn't have, if he hadn't caught tastes of them while he carried out his duties. The lifeblood he drank and splattered embodied not only what he needed to replenish his strength, but the essence of his victims: their memories, their knowledge, their ardor, rage, joy, and anguish. So sweet after the months of deadened nothing. So decadent. But so fleeting too, inevitably ebbing away and leaving him numb once again.

With each kill the rush became more extreme. Absorbing souls as his familiars prolonged and intensified the sensation, and he eventually became able to siphon a whisper, a hint, by simply evoking strong reactions in those around him. So his theatrics and lunacy increased. His third master became rightfully frightened of losing control and put him away. All alone with no one else's sentiments to borrow.

Those years spent comatose in the dungeon are the closest reflection of what he truly is.

Nothing.

The girl roused him from this state with her fear and her determination and her blood. He serves her now, and she serves him with fury that is too easily provoked and inexperience that leads to much welcome bloodshed.

But even still, the sensations are fleeting.

When he came upon his fledgling, he tingled with the dregs of a ghoul slaughter and sensed the treasure trove of emotion in the trembling girl before him. He read her rich history of pain, her deep capacity for affection. He felt enough to know that he wanted to keep this, always. Making her like him hadn't been logical. He risked expelling from her the very thing he wished to harness. But that didn't happen. He watches her stoically in his natural state and sees that she is yet ruled more so by her sentiments than her reason.

Is her anomaly a flaw in the doctor's experiments? Or is he the anomaly?

His master delivers feast after feast. But the fervor eventually recedes, slips away, taking everything pleasant and horrible with it. He finds himself wishing it would continue sinking, slip its hooks into him and pull him lower, deeper, into a dark depression. But it stops, it always does, leaving him on a dry and dusty plateau. Of nothingness.

He can't even yearn for what he doesn't have. He simply knows it isn't there, knows he's spent a century trying to hold on to it.

And failed.