To Fear the Dawn: Chapter 33
Lucas became a teenager after sunset on his birthday. As a precaution, he didn’t want to age during the day, and once he grew, it became apparent it was a precaution well-taken.
His beautiful green eyes burned a fiery red in his skull, his teeth grew even longer and sharper, and he could no longer see his reflection in the mirror.
He was a vampire.
Charity involuntarily cried out at the sight of him, but she had told herself she was going to stay calm, no matter what happened. Vidcund put his arm around her tightly to steady her, and they all gazed at the teenage vampire in front of them, who was standing in place, feeling his arms and chest with a quizzical expression on his face.
“I don’t feel much different,” he said finally.
Charity let out a huge sigh. She hadn’t even realized she’d been holding her breath until that moment. She shared relieved glances with her husband and brothers-in-law, and the four of them began to walk closer to Lucas, to check him over.
Just then, Pascal’s new baby, a girl named Sophie, started to cry, waking her cousins Grace and Gavin, who began to wail in unison. Charity turned, waving a hand dismissively at Pascal. “I’ll tend to her when I see to the twins. You just take a look at my son.”
Vidcund and his two brothers crowded around Lucas while Charity left to tend to the younger children.
“Luke,” Vidcund said breathlessly, “are you sure you feel okay? Any... um... unusual hunger?” He was almost afraid to ask what he was really thinking; even though it was what they all were wondering... did Luke have the thirst for human blood?
“I’m serious, Dad,” Lucas insisted to Vidcund, “I don’t feel any different, and no I don’t want to drink blood! Yes, I know that’s what you meant, and even thinking about it makes me want to barf! I’m hungry right now, but I could go for a pizza. You know… just normal stuff.”
“Well, that’s good!” Vidcund said, encouraged. “That’s very good!”
“What do you think will happen in the sunlight now?” Pascal asked Lucas next. “Do you think that will be any different?”
“I don’t know...” Lucas said, thinking. “Without the sun out right now, it’s hard to say. But you know, something tells me it wouldn’t be a good idea to try to get a tan.”
“Really?” Vidcund asked, concerned. “What makes you say that?”
“I don’t know, exactly,” the teenager replied, shrugging. “I just have this feeling that it would bother me.”
“Do you think it would kill you?” Lazlo asked bluntly.
“N...no...” Lucas stammered thoughtfully. “Not right away, at least. Not instantly...” He rubbed his forehead and his carmine eyes closed wearily. “It’s so hard to say.”
“It’s okay, Lucas,” Vidcund said, hugging his stepson. “We’ll just take it one step at a time.” He sighed. “I just wish we had a way to test it out!”
“You know,” Pascal said, “I have that Gro-lamp in the conservatory. It has the same spectrum as normal sunlight, but not as strong. I wonder if that would give us any indication?”
“Let’s try it!” Vidcund said. “It’s not powerful enough to kill him, but we could see if there’s any reaction so we can know something before sunrise tomorrow.”
Pascal led the way to the conservatory and walked over to the sunlamp. Before he switched it on, he turned to Lucas and smiled bracingly. “Ready?”
“Yep.” Lucas replied. “Go for it.”
Pascal turned on the sunlamp and shone it on his step-nephew.
Lucas flinched painfully, and Lazlo jumped to unplug the lamp. However, Lucas shook his head. “No, Uncle Laz... hang on...” A slight smoky vapor was rising off Lucas’ skin, but he was able to stand upright and take a deep breath.
“Well?” Vidcund asked.
“Definitely not a good idea,” Lucas panted. “It’s really hot... but I know that if I was in the shade, or inside a building, it wouldn’t be as bad. Like, going to school would be okay, for instance, but I’d need to get under deep cover as soon as I got home.”
“Under deep cover?” Pascal asked. “You mean... like a...”
“Coffin. Yeah.” Lucas replied. “Just like my father.”
“Do you think he’ll be okay when the dawn comes?” Charity asked her husband as they prepared for bed later that night.
“I’m almost one hundred percent sure,” Vidcund replied. “He’ll be extremely sensitive to the sun for the rest of his life, though. By that I mean; if he stays in direct sunlight for more than a few hours, then it will kill him.”
Charity gasped, horrified.
“He won’t, though, Charity.” Vidcund reassured her. “When he’s indoors, such as when he’s at school, or work, or even if he just comes out around the house for a short time, he’ll be just fine. He’ll tire easily and will have to be careful, but he’ll be okay.”
They lay down on their bed and Vidcund kissed his wife gently. “Of course, when he gets home from school, he’ll need to rest until sunset, but then he can come out and do whatever he wants. The main thing is, he has no desire to kill, Charity! No need, physiological or otherwise, to consume blood! None whatsoever!”
“Oh, that’s fantastic!,” Charity agreed, putting her arms around her husband and kissing him properly.
“Oh, one more thing...” Vidcund said, wanting to tell Charity before he forgot himself in her embrace. “I’m taking Lucas to the lab with me after sunset tomorrow so I can... um...” he broke off as Charity continued kissing him.
“Why?” Charity asked quickly, not stopping what she was doing in the least.
“You know, to run some more... tests... on him since he...oh God… changed. Charity stop!” he panted, laughing. “I need to know what you think about that!”
Charity smiled. “You know that’s fine with me.”
“Good.” Vidcund said, grinning. “Now, where were you?”
“Damn it all, anyway!” Lazlo cried, slamming the phone down. “I’ve had enough, I swear I have!”
“What’s the problem?” Charity asked, coming from Gavin and Grace’s room where she had just put them down to sleep for the night along with Sophie. “You’re going to wake the babies.”
“Sorry, Charity,” Lazlo said contritely. “God, it’s just... women!” he concluded in an exasperated voice.
“What happened this time?” Charity asked, trying not to smile, although she had some idea already.
As it turned out, Vidcund hadn’t been wrong when he had jokingly thought Lazlo’s girlfriend’s name was both Nina and Dina. The truth was, Lazlo had been secretly dating two sisters he had met Downtown, Nina and Dina Calliente, who were from a place rather far away called Pleasantview. Lazlo had hoped the geographical distance between them would protect him from them finding out he was seeing both of them, but of course, it was only a matter of time before it was all discovered.
Lazlo sighed. “I think I’m going to stay away from chicks I meet in bars. I’m gonna find someone more mature. Maybe someone down at the lab... You know,” he said thoughtfully. “It’s too bad I already set Nerv up with that one girl... Allegra. She really is cute...”
“Yes, but they’re getting married now, aren’t they?” Charity asked, stifling a giggle. Lazlo’s antics never failed to amuse her.
“Yeah. Well, she’s only knocked up with their third kid now, I think...” Lazlo replied, grinning now, himself. “it’s about time he made an honest woman out of her.”
“MOM!” Lucas’ voice cried from the front room, making both Charity and Lazlo jump. “MOM COME QUICK!”
“Oh, no... what’s happened?!” Charity gasped, and she flew down the hall toward the front room, Lazlo at her heels. Pascal, who had been writing a novel about the wonders of alien abduction on the computer in his bedroom, crashed out of the door and followed.
Lucas and Vidcund were back from the lab, standing just inside the front door. Charity looked from one to the other of them, trying to see what the problem was. “Lucas,” she said finally, “Why did you...?”
“Watch this!” Lucas interrupted in a wicked voice, and, to Charity’s horror, he quickly pulled Vidcund close to him, bending his stepfather over and biting him sharply on the neck.
Charity screamed. Pascal and Lazlo rushed forward to pull Lucas off their brother, but Lucas released Vidcund quickly and Charity gasped, watching his actions closely. She remembered this! She remembered doing this! To three young boys! Lucas wasn’t killing Vidcund, he was Turning him!
The expression on Luke’s face was unreadable. Oh no, he really is a Grand Vampire. Charity thought miserably. He has the ability to Turn... but why, Lucas... why? Don’t you know what it will do to him?
Vidcund suddenly laughed, and pulled out a bottle of Vamprocillin-D from his lab coat pocket, uncorked it, and drank it down, coughing a little. Instantly, he was human again.
“Nasty stuff,” he muttered. “I really do need to work on that injectable form.” Then he looked up and saw his wife and brothers were all glaring at him. “Didn’t you like our little show?” he asked innocently. Lucas dissolved into laughter, holding his stomach with his hands, shaking with mirth.
“That wasn’t funny at all, Vidcund!” Charity scolded. “What exactly was the point of all that?”
“Don’t be mad at him, Mom,” Luke chuckled. “It was my idea to do it that way. See, Dad and I figured out at the lab tonight that I have the ability to Turn humans into vampires, just like my biological father did. And, since the virus strand is the same, we figured out the Vamprocillin-D cures the vampires I create, too.
It doesn’t work on me, but I’m not surprised there.” he shrugged. “Anyway, I can Turn humans into vampires.”
“The big difference with Lucas though,” Vidcund continued, “is that the vampires he creates are just like him. No desire for blood! No instant death in the sunlight, although they will be very sensitive like he is and will need to take extreme care. Oh, and another thing... they’re not infertile! Well, at least Lucas isn’t, and we can only assume...”
Lucas looked away, embarrassed. “Jeez, Dad! Did you have to bring that up?”
“Sorry, Luke,” Vidcund said kindly. “The point is, the vampires that Luke creates are not killers! They have to lead a different lifestyle, true, and they look somewhat different, but underneath it all, they still retain their human traits. Plus, being a vampire means their aging is slowed, they never run out of energy at night... many positive changes as well!”
“Not only that,” Lucas said excitedly, having apparently gotten over his embarrassment, “we think they all might be able to Turn other vampires, too!
Dad thinks I give that ability to the vampires I make just like my biological father did to you, Mom. Only I can’t pick and choose who I give it to. We just think all the vampires I will create will be that way.”
Charity, Pascal, and Lazlo looked at each other, stunned, trying to take in all this new information, while Vidcund stood with his arms crossed, smiling broadly.
“Keep in mind,” Vidcund reminded them, “With the Vamprocillin-D at our disposal, it’s easy as anything to be cured, should someone decide they want to be fully human again. It’s a new species of vampire we’re dealing with now! One that no longer feeds on the blood of the living! One that can co-exist in harmony with humans! One that can procreate as a normal being, never again having to live a life of solitude.”
Charity walked over to her son and wordlessly hugged him. Truly, he had inherited the best attributes of both his parents; his father’s formidable abilities tempered with his mother’s humanity.
“You know,” Vidcund said slowly, with a far-off, fervent look in his eyes, “with how simple it is to cure this new form of vampirism and the fact there’s no blood or killing involved, it’s feasible that anyone could become a vampire now, just for the experience of it!”
Pascal and Lazlo’s expressions changed upon hearing that information, and they looked at each other with a blazing interest crawling across their faces.
Getting taken by aliens was one thing... but to actually be a vampire? To experience that life without the bloodlust and killing, yet receiving all of the benefits? To feel the power of a creature of the night without having to fear the dawn?
“Oh, Vidcund, don’t be ridiculous,” Charity said in an exasperated voice. “Who would actually want to do that?”
Thank you for reading!