“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Hitoshi came to slowly. As his eyes gradually adjusted to the darkness, the room came into view. There were no windows, no lights, and no furniture. The only source of light was a small assortment of candles a few feet from his head. The air was dank and musty, but not altogether unpleasant. A scent like mold and dusty books.
The young man inhaled, and something peculiar occurred to him. His sinuses were clear, the itching in his throat was gone, and he felt…strong. He pulled himself to his feet, inching toward the door. The memories slowly started to flood back to him – the dark-eyed stranger, his sister’s desperate cries, and the fuzzy memories of blood and death and life. He didn’t know what happened, but he knew that he was somehow changed from the sick, frail boy he was before.
Hitoshi hesitantly opened the door. He was afraid, he realized. He was afraid, yet his pulse wasn’t racing, he wasn’t sweating, he wasn’t hyperventalating. It was a hollow feeling at the pit of his stomach, and it made him want to throw up. Was this Hell?
“Ah, good, you’re awake,” a smooth, deep voice mused, his voice tinged with an accent – Scottish, perhaps, or Irish. Hitoshi wasn’t sure. A pale man with disheveled red hair slid a worn tome back onto a wooden shelf. The only furniture in the room was the shelf and a set of red velveteen chairs so worn that the stuffing was poking out the sides. The only lights in the room were candles, as in his room.
The man carefully approached him, as if he were a wild rabbit or a deer. He smiled, reaching toward Hitoshi’s face. Hitoshi nimbly twisted out of his reach.
“Who the hell are you?” Hitoshi spat. “What do you want with me?”
“My name is Seanán,” he explained. “And you’re here because it was your sister’s wish.” He grinned, baring his glittering white teeth. “You’re one of us, now. You’re one of the Kindred.”
“Why?” he demanded, backing away from this monster. “Why would you do this to me? Why did you kill her?”
“Why, you ask?” He chuckled to himself, moving toward Hitoshi. “Your sister’s only wish was to keep you alive. I couldn’t refuse.” He sighed wistfully, running a hand through his hair. “It’s a shame, really, to waste her like that. I had hoped to take her instead, but I suppose you’ll do as well. You know, you do look almost identical to her, in the right light…” Seanán reached for Hitoshi’s face, dragging his fingers down the side of the young man’s neck.
“Don’t touch me, you creep!” Hitoshi hissed, smacking his hand away. He bolted down the hall, searching for a way out. His captor followed after him casually, chuckling to himself.
Hitoshi grabbed the front door, throwing it open and stumbling out. The shock of the morning light brought him to his knees, shielding his eyes behind his arm. He just needed a moment to adjust, just a few seconds… His skin grew hot, like he had been thrown in a fire, and he let out a piercing shriek. He had never felt pain like this before, and he knew that if he stayed like this much longer, it would kill him.
But life, even this miserable shell of a life, wasn’t something that Hitoshi was willing to let go of easily. He clawed his way back into the house, pulling the door closed behind him.
“Until the sun sets, you’re not going anywhere,” Seanán mused. “That is, unless you want to die.”
“What am I?” Hitoshi asked, struggling to his feet. He knew – of course he knew, how many things burned in the sunlight and drank blood? – but he needed to hear it himself.
“You’re a vampire,” Seanán explained. “More specifically, you’re a Mekhet.” He smirked.
“Mekhet?” Hitoshi echoed.
“Your clan,” Seanán replied. “They’re your family now. We’re like you, Hitoshi. When night falls, I’ll introduce you to my coterie. There are two other Mekhet, a Nosferatu, and two Ventrue. I think you’ll like them.”
Hitoshi looked at him with deep, gray eyes, bracing himself against the wall. All of this…it was too much for him. He wanted out. He wanted away. He wanted to see his uncle again. And more than anything, he wanted his sister back.
“I bet you’re wondering about your family,” Seanán said. “I checked on your uncle while you were asleep. I added some lacerations to your sister’s body. They think she was killed by a wild animal. They’ve reported you missing, but they’re going to declare you dead within a few days. If you like, I can arrange for you to see your family one last time. You can’t talk to them, of course, but you can see them.” He placed a hand on Hitoshi’s shoulder.
Hitoshi brushed him away, turning toward the floor and letting his black hair fall in front of his face.
“I can tell this is all a bit much for you.” Seanán looked at him sympathetically. “It’s always hard at first. Why don’t you get some sleep?”
The young man nodded, walking silently toward the room he woke up in. The other man watched him curiously.
“You’re a strong one, I’ll give you that,” Seanán thought aloud. “Who knows, you might turn out to be a better decision than I gave you credit for.”
Hitoshi closed the door to the tiny room, watching the candles flicker. He shuddered at the flame, remembering the feeling of the sun on his new skin. He leaned toward them, blowing out the candles before curling up on the hard wooden floor and staring into the darkness.