Nick: You’re pathological, is what. I’ve been here 10 minutes and you won’t say a word til I do. Is this to be a turnaround then? I’ll answer them all before you do the askin?
Adam: I don’t find that to be a terribly bad idea. But you’d only be doing it to hear more of your own voice.
N: Spose I would be but it’s better than the alternative present. Go on then already.
A: Well, I’d like to begin by explaining that I will, with all certainty, not be asking you to change me into a vampire. Just to dispel that as a similarity to that damned novel, right now.
N: We could have also had a nice night without that on all our minds, but you’ve bollocksed that up now, too.
A: Yes, well, it isn’t a bad place to start. Will you tell me how one becomes a vampire?
N: Why? So all them Jacks running about go and try it out themselves and we’re left with a stoop-ful of puppies? I think not.
A: As if refusing to die means they’d refuse, also, to leave Gray House.
N: Yeah, alright.
A: It’s not so bad, you’ve said. Other times, you’ve said it was the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do...
N: Well, it’s hard to take a permanent stance on something such as that, innit? How it goes is that I die, usually old or painfully or alone without you lot, and once dead I refuse my ticket to moving on, wherever that bloody Dominican intends me to go. And so being a poor sport as he is, I’m made to fight to be reborn and keep my long memory.
A: What’s the difference between a ghost and a vampire, if the both are simply refusing not to leave when it’s their time?
N: I’ve said, I get reborn, don’t I? I get a new shiny shell for my old soul. Them ghosts get rid of their meat and that. Become masses of dust and vapor. Not to mention, they’re going about rattling chains and breaking mirrors instead of having a normal conversation. I very much doubt they smoke cigarettes, as well.
A: Yes, fair enough. Those answers are pretty plain. But what about unfinished business. You’ve got that in common with ghosts, isn’t that right? Or else why remember? Why refuse NOT to forget?
N: I ain’t never met a man with finished business, so I can’t say about that for certain. I spose ghosts have it unfinished as well, but so do the living. As to why I remember, I’ve covered all the plain fears with noble causes. I don’t want to, and I’ve found lovely ways for you to ignore that it’s just that I’m stubborn.
A: Yes. You’ve said it was to keep our memories for us so that we may find one another again, life after life. I understand you’re saying it’s purely that you don’t enjoy forgetting, but you
N: Well, they’re mine, aren’t they? Fuck all the cleaning of a soul of it’s this or that. It’s my lives and all I’ve done. If dying is forgetting all that, I’ll have no part, thanks.
A: Utterly, crystalline clear. And I agree with you. You know, I’ve attempted the fight, myself. Only once, but I did find the self-righteousness with which to try. I do understand your point. These memories, dear brother, are yours. They’re ours, and I will say I have no idea where they go, when we’re not in possession of them.
N: I’ll tell you - it’s that Dominican, he farms them right back out. Disgraceful.
A: I’ve also heard rumor of him farming them to the angels, specifically, for their… charity work.
N: Well, that ain’t so bad, actually. At least it’s for a good cause.
A: Tell me something you’ve never told me before about being a vampire. Tell me how you know which of you is which, when you’re fighting yourself for your memory at the Crossroads.
N: You don’t start easy, do you?
A: Why bother? I’ve been in your head about this long before tonight.
N: Truth is, there is no difference whatever.
A: Fascinating. You can’t mean no difference between all people and the self they fight at the Roads.
N: If I go on, there’s to be no living with you.
A: Then, by all means…
N: The truth is, it’s not who wins. It’s what you can reconcile about yourself in the fight.
A: I see.
N: Fuck your see.
A: How, absolutely, perfect is that? You. Nicholas. Reconciling this and that within yourself, just like your brother.
N: It’s not like I don’t know how!
A: No, no, of course not.
N: You just have your go. Take the piss, see if I care.
A: It’s a lovely thing, despite your distaste for the process. I can understand just how that might work. For myself, obviously, it did not.
N: Because you’re a giant ponce.
A: Yes. Yes, I am.
N: Got two hits in and began to weep for your pretty nose, I spect.
A: And naturally, you have no care for your own face, as evidenced by it’s wreckage.
A: Another more intimate question, please. This… diet of yours. Why do you think it was ashes and blood which you were forced to crave, as a creature of the night?
N: Read that as “dick,” I swear.
A: We may speak on that, if you like.
N: Ashes and blood are where memories live. It’s the food of the memories, not of mine. To keep them alive past their expiry date.
A: Fascinating. I don’t know why I never asked these things, before. Unless it was our fate the answers should be revealed, now. And only now. Speaking of fate. Do you believe you were always meant to be a vampire?
N: Yes, as I was always afraid to die and forget. It’s all God’s plan, at that point.
A: To that, do you imagine there might be more… afflictions which could spring from a person’s will to do or not do something as vital as die?
N: You’re talking about how when blokes don’t fuck and end up killing all them people, is that right?
A: More or less, yes.
N: Spose killing a lot of people is a kind of affliction, yeah. Better than that, though, is how when you don’t fuck and other things begin to happen like them hallucinations. Bit like when you won’t sleep or make yourself cum, right? You get wired up all the wrong ways, and you only do it for fun.
A: Yes, but do you suppose if I was to do it in a more permanent sense, I might invent my own superpower, as you’ve done with yours?
N: If you just refused to sleep? Yeah, I spose it would have to.
A: I’d like to try it, I think. Perhaps I was always meant to be whatever I will turn into without sleep considering how I hate it so.
N: Well, it’s what happened with Joely, if you want evidence, yeah?\
A: Go on.
N: He refused the worst of his nightmares and became that fellow with the hat.
A: Is that what happened? I don’t recall that being part of becoming the Lonely Soul.
N: Well, it’s going to a place beyond them, is how I’d say, but I’d have to ask Zo to say again.
A: Sometimes, late at night, I can feel when you get afraid to sleep, yourself, as close to death as it is. A metallic taste forms in the back of your mouth, a taste much like… nikel, or earth.
N: I think sometimes dying and forgetting as I’m meant to will simply be the same as being unable to find my way through that mess of dreams.
A: That it could catch up with you, as it were.
N: Yeah. And just be me floating round high school reunions with people I never seen and unable to find the toilets.
A: Naturally. And naked, of course.
N: Or only without trousers. Everything right and straight but no trousers.
A: Yes. Of course. The first time you realized you didn’t have to die, what did you think immortality would be like?
N: I thought perhaps it would be like coming home after having been away a long while. Yeah, I spose that’s close to it.
A: You’ve answered my next, before I was able to ask it. For the folks at home, I was asking him if he was right about that. He was, nearly, as you can see.
N: I knew that was next, but I had been waiting because I was wrong at first.
A: What was it like at first?
N: I think I spent my second go on earth crying, mostly. The first life is easy, but your second is hardest, pets. Because I could not… I could not stand the wonder and heartbreak I visited on you all by telling you who you were to me. And being able to prove it. It was beautiful but… it’s also fulfilling some terrible need of man. We wish for it with all of the one life we have, and having it granted I think I have not ever felt again so like God himself.
N: The third, I mostly drank.
A: I hate when you do that. You make my heart begin to break, and then you throw a joke at it, as if it’ll complete the task, or possibly fix it, I can never tell.
N: Which does it feel like, my darling?
A: This time, I think you’ve fixed it.
N: Then it’s all as it should be and just as pretty as it was before.
A: I still hate it, mind you.
N: You’ve made me feel quite warm.
A: You enjoy bringing us all back home. And you slough off the responsibility by calling it out as just a mask for your selfishness. You are ever so complicated, Nicholas, no matter how simple you would want us all to believe.
N: Oh, fuck off.
A: Well, this vampire business is a good game. I’d love to join you in it, but do you know, I don’t think I ever could.
N: Why not? You’re as brutal as any of us.
A: I love forgetting. Not only that, I don’t think I’d like any kind of existence wherein you didn’t bring me my memories the way you do.
N: All at once, down your throat.
A: With an ice pick, if available.
N: You say that now but once your Ev goes running to the woods, you sing different tunes. Fairly begged me for the secret before, you have.
A: And I will again. Do you know why?
N: No, say.
A: Because I’ve forgotten that it won’t do me any good.
N: You’re a riot.
A: And yourself.
N: Do you think I ought to write greeting cards?
A: Oh, I’d thought you wrote them all already. Hallmark was your idea, wasn’t it?
N: And the Girl Scouts.
A: Bless your heart.
N: You sound just like Bethany when you say that.
A: I did catch the phrase from her.
N: Have you got more questions or are we simply stalling til the power goes out?\
A: Just one more.
N: Go on then.
A: This question has several subsequent parts which cannot be asked or answered at this time, however, I’d like my asking it to have an impact of your wallowing in self-doubt, and overwhelming existential dread, for the foreseeable future. Which came first- the vampire or the elephant?
N: I didn’t think you were going to make it to the end of that before I died again.
N: And the same to you. It was surely the elephant.
N: Surely, as I am basing that on instinct and religious idolatry. Is that good enough for you to be sure?
A: Of course. I think it’s worth it to find the lines between the two species, and I wonder if
N: You and your lines, when what you mean is pinpricks. Needle-marks.
A: Shall we?
N: If you must. If you are to be fed by your debauchery.
A: Yes, we shall.