Epilogue

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Neria

March 15

This is the moment.

This is the moment right here.

This is the moment when it's absolutely amazing to be a vampire, to be mankind's true predator. Because this is the moment when it all makes sense, all the scavenging and the stalking and the fear and loathing and day sleeping and night stalking and fixing your hair without mirrors.

This is the moment when you make sense, when it all clicks.

Sure you haven't seen the sun in three long months.

Sure you spend your nights bouncing from meal to meal in a mad race to keep ahead of your hunger.

Sure you just spent the day shacked up with a corpse in a craphole apartment.

Sure you woke up starving when the sun set, aching, needy.

Sure you were so hungry you couldn't think!

It was like rage, that hunger, pounding your eyes and filling your brain with venomous steam. So you prowled back alleys and empty streets in search of some stray morsel to drain.

And now you've found her! Some chick in yoga pants on her way home from FIT24, the newest all-night gym (and a fertile hunting ground indeed). You've locked in on your prey, and you're ready to pounce.

You're ready to gauge.

The moment of the kill. This is it! The thrill of the hunt, bloodlust, circle of afterlife, all that jazz. It's your apex, your zenith, your moment of truth.

Your realization.

Your revelation.

Your salvation.

In this moment, when the fangs are out and your knees are pivots and your muscles are steel springs, you complete yourself. You complete the galaxy. The cosmic joke is finally on someone else for a change, and that's just fine. That's just grand! A real chuckle. This poor girl spent her evening dutifully slogging through pilates in a vain attempt to extend her life expectancy. And now here you are, a shadow in the night about to cut her down. You're about to reap the rewards of her hard labor, slurping up all that vitamin-rich, adrenaline-laced claret. You're about to fill your lifeless pores with her vitality, steal her precious pulse so that you can continue your infernal life.

You are going to kill.

In this dark alley, you will dine.

As this girl drools and thrashes, as she beats her neon pink shoes against the asphalt, as sheets of blood veil her lean muscles and tattoos, you will have your fill.

You will commune with your nature, feed the lust, own the night.

And when you're done, what will you do next? Will you melt immediately into shadows, or will you pause for just a moment and peer into the glass hemispheres of her eyes?

You will pause, of course—you always do—and you will peer into her eyes, but what do you hope to see in their black mirror? Your reflection, perhaps? Some ghostly glimmer of the face you can barely remember anymore? You know it won't be there, but you'll check anyway, because you always do; you always check. You always stop to check.

You fool.

It won't be there. It's never there. Never will be. Nevermore.

You're a vampire now, and when you look in the eyes of this dead siphon, you can't expect to find anything but a cheap imitation of the universe, a pool of knock-off starlight. There's nothing to see and you will see nothing. You will look through yourself into the great beyond. And that's okay. You're used to that by now. This is the life you chose. This is the experience you reaped.

So once you see those stars reflected, you'll rise and grab your phone and check for messages.

Time to hook something up. You've got a few hours 'til the hunger returns.

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