3.20 - The Prodigal Son

3.20 - The Prodigal Son

“Are you sure you found this guy’s son? I don’t want to get here and upset him. He’s dying for fuck’s sake,” Destiny asks as she drives to Damien Harold’s home.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” not really.

“Then tell me where he is, we can go get him.”

“I’ll tell you afterwards,” I’m saved by her stopping at the home.

It’s a nice home, rather old but taken care of. This man is supposed to be near 200 years old. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s lived in this home most of his life. Outside there’s a few people sitting around passing cigarettes and beer amongst them. They’re human, or not quite human. I can’t put my finger on it until I lock eyes with one.

I first noticed it with Destiny one night, when you look into the eyes of a vampire it’s different than a human. If the light is just right, there’s a glow in their eyes, similar to cats. I did some research on my own, not that there’s a ton of legitimate research on Vampires. I call it eyeshine, the same thing that happens with nocturnal and deep-sea animals. There’s a special layer behind the eyes that reflect light allowing for better night vision. I’m not exactly eager to cut open a vampire’s eyes, but that’s what I think it is. Notes said Damien was a half vampire, I’m guessing they are too.

“Friends of Damien,” an old woman asked.

“Sort of. We were hired to find his son,” Destiny responds to her.

“I didn’t know he had a son,” the lady seemed surprised.

She patted the seat next to her motioning for Destiny to take a seat on the old couch. Everything inside the home seemed old. Lace doilies covered most of the surfaces, and pictures with Bible verses dotted the walls. If I hadn’t known better, I’d say the little old lady had been the only inhabitant of the home. Still there were signs a vampire lived here. An occasional small blood stain, not intentional, more like shaky hands.

We learn the lady had been his familiar for the better part of forty years. He was leaving her the home and the wealth he had accumulated for over a century. She had no need for it, as she didn’t expect to live much longer either. Why do old people always do that? Make jokes about dying and expect everyone to laugh with them as if it were the funniest thing ever. An older gentleman walked out of the room Damien had been resting in. He carried with him a set of keys he kept glancing down at. Some sort of keepsake or final quest Damien had sent him on perhaps. He said his goodbyes and left through the front door.

“Well, go ahead,” Kay, the old lady ushered me to his room. “Don’t make him wait.”

I closed the door behind me and took in the room. Dim lights, and the scent of medicine filled up the room. Furniture inside seemed even older than the home and even older was Damien, long limbs stretched across the bed. Gentle, almost dead. If it wasn’t for the slow shallow breaths, he took every few moments I would have thought he was dead. I could tell his skin was once my color but had faded to a paler color. His eyes had lost all color, they were open but the milky white couldn’t send back any images to the man. There was no eyeshine with this man, only nothingness.

“Come. Sit,” the man spoke not sure if anyone was there.

I took a seat next to his bed and really examined him. His nails had grown out into brittle claws, liver spots dotted his body. This was a vampire, a half vampire anyway, and he had lived 176 years, but here he was. On his deathbed and looking just as frail as any human on the verge of death. Death always scared me, and looking at it right now is putting me on the urge of a panic attack. The idea that there’s nothing when you die always bothered me, you just cease to exist. Then all memory of you fades with time, and eventually it’s as if you never existed, as if you were nothing. Looking into those empty eyes verified that fear for me, made it reality. Just an empty white void, waiting for me when I died.

“It’s about your son,” I start as he feels around the air.

“Ah, I knew you would come Paul,” he said finally grasping my hand.

His hand was cold to the touch. Destiny had been the only vampire I touched, but she had never been cold. It shocked me, and I wanted to pull my hand away, but I didn’t. I’m not sure why I’m letting him hold my hand. Maybe I’m just sure the brittle claws could still cut me if I moved too fast, so I just accepted it.

“I’m not Paul,” I told him.

“Yes, I know, you aren’t the Paul you were when you were a boy,” an easy smile slipped over his face.

“Right, different man,” I don’t know if that was a lie or not. I did say I was different than Paul.

“I never forgave myself for leaving you behind. But I’m glad you could forgive me,” the man drifted out of consciousness.

We didn’t speak much afterwards. He would wake up, say a few words about nothing. Favorite TV Shows, the time he met Eartha Kitt and the first movie he ever saw. I would tell him how nice it must have been, he’d agree and go back to sleep. Watching the clock, it had been an hour since he said anything, and his shallow breaths had stopped at some point without me noticing. I pulled my hand free of the dead man’s hand and made my way out of the room.

Outside only Destiny and Kay remained. The others had said their goodbyes and had things to do. His death reminding them of their own fragility as vampires still existed. We bid Kay a farewell and made our way out onto the porch.

“You didn’t find his son did you,” Destiny asked.

“I did, but he was dead. He died a long time ago in a car accident. Damien was driving the car, and I don’t think Paul got any of his father’s vampiric healing or whatever. He was only 30 and it made all the Black newspapers at the time because they were wealthy.”

“Then why were you in there so long?”

“He thought I was Paul, and wouldn’t let go of my hand.”

“You just stayed and talked to him like you were Paul,” she asked her face somewhere between disgust, rage and confusion.

“Yeah, I didn’t know what else to do,” I stare down at the ground, a little ashamed.

She punches me in the shoulder, “next time you’re going to do something stupid, tell me,” she kisses me on the cheek “That was sweet of you. Good job,” she heads to the car.

I just follow, lost in everything that happened today. I could probably just fly home and she only kissed me on the cheek. Does that count as a first kiss or does it have to be on the lips? Still, I can only think about Damien telling me how he had first kissed Eartha Kitt on the set of The Serpent Warriors. I wonder if he’s just floating in the great void, or if he truly did get to reunite with Paul.


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