Cheyenne was not really sure how long it had been since she had last been home and as such decided that it was probably not a great idea to just barge into her parents home. She felt guilty about the fact that she had completely fallen out of touch with them after her initial encounter with Rebecca. She remembered her first moments as a vampire and the animalistic nature of her cravings and desires to sate a thirst that was unlike anything she had ever encountered while she had still been living. She could not be trusted around humans and it took her a long time to gain control over her bloodlust.
She hesitantly reached for the doorbell and depressed the buzzer then took a deep breath as she waited for her mother to answer the door. There was noise from inside the house which Cheyenne knew instinctively was her mother. She could hear a blanket rustle and the sound of a heartbeat that was very soft yet steady. She listened harder and was unable to locate a second heartbeat and she began to wonder why her father wasn’t home on Christmas Eve.
“May I help you?” Mary asked as she opened the door. She looked at Cheyenne for a moment before realization set in and she realized that it was her daughter finally returning home. “Cheyenne, is that really you?”
“Hi Mom,” Cheyenne said as she was careful not to let the emotions welling up inside of her get out of control. “I’m home.”
“I thought I would never see you again,” Mary said in a tear soaked voice. “Where have you been? Why haven’t you wrote or called or anything?”
“It’s a long story,” Cheyenne replied as her heart began to break at the sight of her mother’s tears. “If you let me come in, I’ll tell you all about it.”
“You look so pale, you absolutely must be frozen dear,” Mary said as she reached up with a tissue she had been keeping in her pocket and dabbed her eyes with it. “Come in and sit on the coach while I brew us some tea.”
“Where’s Dad?” Cheyenne asked as she kicked off her boots onto a floor mat that said ‘Welcome.’ She noticed that a sullen expression almost instantly crossed over her mother’s face and she feared the answer to her question.
“Your father passed on a few years ago dear,” Mary replied with a small quiver in her voice.
“No,” Cheyenne mumbled as her emotions threatened to overwhelm her. She quickly turned away from her mother as she felt her fangs beginning to descend into place. “Please, leave me alone for a moment.”
“You missed your own father’s funeral. You were not there when I needed you most,” Mary said almost coldly as she left the room and made her way towards the kitchen.
Cheyenne held herself and gently rocked as she stared at the Christmas tree that her mother had set up in the same spot she always had. The lights flickered on and off thanks to a flasher on the cord and the rhythmic flow of the lights helped her push her feelings back inside. For the first instant, she knew that Rebecca was right and coming home for Christmas was a mistake.
“The water will take five minutes to boil,” Mary said as she returned to her daughter. Cheyenne turned and faced her as her fangs had contracted back out of view.
“I’m sorry,” Cheyenne said as she looked at her feet.
“Good, you feel shame,” Mary stated. “We thought you were dead when you disappeared five years ago. The hospital said you never showed up and your place was deserted. The police looked for you. Did you know that?”
“Look Mom, something happened to me and I have been out of touch for a long time,” Cheyenne said as she tried to remember being an intern but the memories seemed so distant.
“What happened?” Mary asked with anger beginning to creep into her tone. “Your dear father never recovered from your disappearance. I believe it led to his death.”
“I’m so sorry,” Cheyenne said feeling her emotions beginning to spiral again.
“Tell me the truth dear and God help you if you lie to me.”
“I,” Cheyenne couldn’t believe it but she was going to tell her mother the truth, “was killed five years ago by a vampire.”
“Get out! If you can’t respect me enough to tell me the truth then…” Mary’s mouth fell open as she watched Cheyenne’s fangs descent and the deep green of her daughter’s eyes fade into a luminescent pale green color.
“I’m not lying,” Cheyenne said as she realized that she wanted to turn her mother into a vampire. She had lost her father and to lose her mother would be unbearable. She knew it was forbidden to make new vampires without permission but she didn’t care about the consequences.
“Our Father which art in Heaven,” Mary began as she slowly backed away from her daughter towards the kitchen.
“We can be together forever,” Cheyenne said as she began to advance on her mother. “It’ll be okay.”
“Hallowed be thy name,” Mary chanted in fear as the vampire closed the distance between them. She no longer saw Cheyenne as her daughter but rather a demon that had come to torment her.
“You will understand in a few minutes,” Cheyenne stated just before she grabbed her praying mother and sunk her fangs deeply into the woman’s neck. She swallowed her mother’s life and as the thick liquid ran down her throat she remembered every Christmas they had ever spent together. She remembered the magic of Santa and the joy of waking her parents to see what he had left her. She also remembered coming home from med school and the quiet evenings they all spent together drinking eggnog and singing Jingle Bells.
Cheyenne pulled herself free from her mother and gently picked her up and carried her to the coach where she gently set her down. She could hear a very faint heartbeat though it would not last long as she had taken too much blood to turn back. She raised her wrist to her mouth and bit deeply into it so that the blood began to well up. Before she could offer the blood to her mother, the front door to the house opened and the robed vampire walked in.
“Hello Cheyenne,” Shahlukah said with compassion in her tone.
“Please don’t stop me,” Cheyenne said as she glanced at Shahlukah briefly before returning her gaze to her mother.
“I will not stop you but I would have words before you turn her,” the older vampire said.
“She doesn’t have much time.”
“If you turn your mother she will hate you for it,” Shahlukah said as she took a few steps towards Cheyenne.
“I can’t let her die,” Cheyenne said defiantly. “You just don’t understand.”
“I have been around for over a thousand years. There is not much I don’t understand anymore. With that said, you need to learn how to let them go. You cannot allow yourself to be tied to a time or place if you plan to be around for a long time. If you turn your mother, what will stop you from turning the next person you love and then the next?”
“So I just let her die and live with the fact that I killed her?”
“Yes,” Shahlukah said as she closed the gap and laid a reassuring hand on Cheyenne’s shoulder.
“I can’t do that,” Cheyenne stated as she brought her wrist back to her mouth.
“There are two paths before you. The first path is turning your mother into a vampire and in the process you will lose everything and the agony will never dull. You will not last more than another hundred years if that. The other path is to let her die and yes it will hurt but you will get over it and you will be stronger for it. If you choose this, then I have a use for you.”
Cheyenne didn’t bite down on her wrist as she wondered if Shahlukah was right. Her mother had been terrified of her own daughter when she found out that she was a vampire and she just killed her. If she made her mother into a vampire, her mother would hate her for it. She would never see her husband, Cheyenne’s father, again and would blame her daughter for it. Cheyenne regretting for the second time not listening to Rebecca.
“I’m sorry Mom,” Cheyenne said as she waited for her heart to stop beating. “I should never be around people again.”
“When I am done with you Cheyenne, you will be an expert on people and a Guardian to my bloodline,” Shahlukah said with a hint of pride in her voice.
“I don’t know what that means but I want to do it. No, I need to do it.”
“One family’s catastrophe is this old vampire’s opportunity,” Shahlukah said as she walked away from Cheyenne to give her time to say goodbye to her mother.
The end (sort of)
Candace Note: The characters in this short story will be appearing in Polly Woggins and the Nanobot Nightmare and the story itself is a prequel to the events that transpire in that novel due to be released summer 2012. If you like the story and absolutely want more then feel free to read The Daughter of Man which is available now on most electronic formats and as a Trade Paperback via Amazon.