Eternal Kiss

New Year’s Eve was, truth be told, one of Kendra’s favorite nights of the year. She loved the crowds, the loopy, crazed excitement, the feeling of hopefulness—even though it so often turned into disappointment too quickly thereafter—the drinking, and most of all, the fireworks. There was something pure about thousands of people standing together watching sparkling multi-colored lights and explosions over the lake, something visceral about them counting those last ten seconds in anticipatory unison. She loved it all.

It almost made her feel bad to defile it.

New Year’s Eve was far better than the 4th of July, as far as the young vampire was concerned. Oh, it was a heck of a lot simpler to get what she wanted when people were wearing less—that was true—but come on: where was the fun in that? Kendra enjoyed the challenge of feeding when it was completely inconvenient to do so, and that’s what she got every December 31st. And every year she searched the crowds for the one person she would invite to join with her in immortality, the person she would offer the Eternal Kiss. There was almost always someone there, some man or woman who had reached the end of their rope and was thinking about ending it all but whose presence at this ancient ritual of new beginnings confirmed for Kendra the conflicts within them. These were usually the people she’d approach, and that didn’t really make her very well-loved in the community.

This year, she had been hauled in front of the Grand Vamp Council for creating Neville, but why shouldn’t she have? So he was a little bit of a nerd. So he was a lot suicidal when she met him. So he still lived with his mother at 45. These might have been red flags to someone else, but—as she argued to the GVC—they did not in and of themselves violate any rules. And Kendra, probably more than any other vampire, knew the rules. When you spend your life justthisclose to violating them, you need to know what they are. As to Neville, she had spoken with him at last year’s fireworks and discovered that he was suicidal because he was a 45-year-old nerd still living with his mother. When she offered him The Kiss, he grabbed it eagerly: he didn’t want to die, he just wanted to change his situation, and becoming a vampire certainly would do that.

Couldn’t make him less of a nerd, though. Still, even vampires need accountants.

He was here, off in the distance. That was one of the problems of creating someone who was less than ideal: you were sort of stuck with them. You always could sense where they were and, if you were not specifically tuning them out, you could sense what they were doing as if they were right next to you. Neville was hunting. No big deal there; lots of vamps hunted during the fireworks. Vampires and pickpockets: you make their jobs so much easier when your back is turned. And Neville was hunting the crowd as she had taught him: take a little bit from each person you select and quickly move on; leave a hypnotic charm on them so they wouldn’t ever even know you were there. If they saw the scars at all later, they’d think they were bitten by insects. Good boy, Neville! And the GVC thought he was—

OK, what’s this? She listened as he approached his next victim and could hardly believe it.

“Now, I hafve to approash verry quietly sho she doezhn’t hear me.”

He was talking out loud. And he was apparently drunk. One quick burst of vampiric speed and Kendra had covered the distance between them just as the blonde woman Neville was approaching was turning around. She intercepted him, put an arm around him, and said, “Oh there you are! I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” as they disappeared into the rest of the crowd.

When they were far enough out of earshot, she turned to him. “What on earth are you doing? Hunting drunk?”

He looked puzzled. “I shwear I hafvn’t had a shing to drink. Exshept blood of coursh.”

Kendra stopped for a moment, then palm-slapped her own forehead. “Of course! You’ve been feeding on the revelers all night, right?”


She shook her head. “I should have made sure you understood. This isn’t the same as 4th of July: there are a whole lot more drunks in this crowd.”

“Whachyou mean?”

“I mean I’m just guessing, but I’d say that the alcohol content of the blood you drank is way over the legal limit.”

Neville stood there processing. Then every cell in his body seemed to start shutting down at once. Kendra grabbed hold and propped him up. “Come on,” she said, “let’s get you home. Are you still living in that old place with your mom?”

“Yesh,” he said, and then fell silent as she speeded them both away from the harbor and out to a dark corner of Ravenswood, where Neville’s mom had bought a townhouse years earlier, a nice enough place despite the neighborhood. By the time they got there, he had regained most of his composure and felt embarrassed about what had happened.

“Oh God. I can’t even have a simple New Year’s Eve feast without causing all sorts of trouble.”

She smiled. “No harm done. And you seem to have recovered already. Don’t you just love being a vampire? Takes a human at least a day and a half to get rid of a drunken episode like that one."

“Still, it shouldn’t have happened. I was stupid.”

"There are tricks, Neville. You can’t be indiscriminate on nights like this. You have to observe the people first. Make sure you know what you’ll be getting.”

“I should have thought of that.”

“Probably. But you’ll learn. Right? Just like you’ve been practicing mind control?”

He beamed. “You’d be impressed with me,” he said. Then, remembering how she’d found him tonight: “Well, maybe not all the time.”

He looked at Kendra and suddenly couldn’t take the thought that she was merely indulging him. He needed to show her something, some evidence. And he knew precisely what.

“Seriously,” he said, “I really have been working on it. Come downstairs; I’ll show you.”

He didn’t give her a chance to say no, instead heading for the doorway to his basement and starting down the too-dimly-lit stairwell. “Got to get better light in here one of these days, but I guess it doesn’t much matter for us.”

Halfway down, Kendra stopped him. “Neville, you’re not holding a human captive down here, are you? Because you know that’s against all sorts of rules.”

Neville’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “What?! No! Not at all! Oh my— No! I would never— And my mother would kill me!”

“OK, Neville, calm down. I was just asking. So what is down here?”

“Just what I’ve been working on to practice my mind control.” He reached the bottom of the stairwell and flipped the light switch. “Do you know the saying, It’s like herding cats?

She nodded. “Sure. It’s an indication of just how impossible something is to accomplish.”

His smile was enormous. “Well, I’ve gone one better. I haven’t only herded them. I’ve coordinated them.”

They stepped into the large open room. In its center was a three-tier set of risers about six feet in length. Everywhere about the room, cats were lounging or moving about.

“Now watch this,” he told Kendra.

He walked over to a podium set up in front of the risers, picked up a baton, and tapped it twice on the podium. Instantly, every cat in the room moved toward the risers, quickly assembling in neat rows on the three levels.

“Oh my God,” Kendra said. “That is amazing!”

Neville looked at her, his smile now encompassing his entire face. “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

He tapped the podium four times, and the cats began mewing and meowing “Silent Night” on pitch and in rhythm, even hitting the highest notes (such as they are) on key. Then they started another verse, but this time multiple cats sounded at once, making chords.

“Holy shit!” Kendra was utterly blown away. After they’d finished their final verse, she said, “I’ve never seen anything like it. You’re doing that with mind control?

He shrugged. “Anyone can,” he said. “I think it’s just that no one has thought to try or taken the time to figure it out. I mean cats are a lot less complicated than humans, so it stood to reason that controlling their minds would be a heck of a lot easier. That’s why I decided to practice with them at first. But when I found I could control a bunch of them at a time…”

“You decided to start a choir?”

He laughed. “It just took a bit of time to set it all up. I recorded their voices, analyzed them for pitch and length of sound, and then I broke down ‘Silent Night’ into a simple algorithm that I could use to match the cats to the notes and then to create chords.”

Kendra laughed out loud. “Neville the Nerd strikes again!”

“I guess we don’t wander far from our roots.”

“Can they do anything else?”

“Funny you should ask. I’ve just finished teaching them ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ You know Pastor Jameson? At the Unitarian Church? He’s going to play a tape of them in the service the day after tomorrow. They are going to be a bona fide cat church choir!”

Kendra put her hand on his shoulder. “Neville, you never cease to amaze me. Now if I could just get you to stop making stupid mistakes…”

He blushed. “I know, I know.”

“Now I’m going back out there. There is still plenty of time to find my Eternal Kiss of the Year. But as for you…”

Go to bed. I’ve got you.”

They climbed the steps back to the front foyer and Kendra reached for the door. “Cat choir,” she said. “You drive me crazy, but you do keep surprising me.”

And she was gone.

Several minutes later, she let herself slow down as she mingled with the now slowly dissipating crowd at the waterfront. She wasn’t really thirsty anymore; she’d had plenty before dealing with Neville and his drunken foolishness. No, she only had one agenda now. She leaned back against a tree, listening to conversations both close by and farther away.

“—spend the day watching bowl games”

“—outdid themselves again; how does this display get better each year?”

“—go back to my place and”

“—think both the conservatives and the liberals need to”

So many vapid conversations. Kendra had all night to listen to them if she wanted, but she wasn’t actually sure she could take it. After half an hour of one insipid conversation after another, with no sign that anyone here was worth the Eternal Kiss, she thought she might as well pack it in. After all, she’d learned tonight that last year’s experiment had been a rousing success; maybe that was enough for one night. Besides, most years were like this: disappointing. Which is why Kendra only had created nine offspring in all of the time she’d been a vampire. She may flout the rules, but she wasn’t indiscriminate: a person had to be worthy.

It’s always when you are about to give up that you find what you didn’t even know you were looking for. Telepathy was critical to the skill of mind control for vampires: knowing the person’s thoughts made it easier to control them. By this point, many decades after being created, it was second-nature to Kendra. Even without trying, she suddenly read clearly the thoughts of a young woman waving goodbye to a few friends and starting to walk toward the el. At first, she was not sure why her mind was settling on this woman, who, from a quick mental inventory, did not at all fit her usual profile and in fact would thrill the GVC, but then she focused on the woman’s thoughts. And in the mind of this young woman she saw a single image clearly: a wet diaper.

Words flew by associated with the image: wet, clammy, cold, uncomfortable, chafing, clumping… Kendra had no doubt whatsoever that the diaper in question was worn by the young woman, not by someone she had charge over. And she also had no doubt that the woman wearing it needed it.

“Oh my!” she said softly as she sought the woman in the crowd, filtering through the thoughts of hundreds of other people until she landed on the face of the person she had overheard. The woman was indeed young—early twenties if Kendra were to guess, which would make her roughly the same age as Kendra was when she herself had been created, the age her immortal body still was. She watched the woman closely, examining her. She was a little taller than the petite Kendra, maybe 5’4 or so, with luxuriant brown hair flowing out from beneath a knit hat. Her white down parka framed her well against the crowd, letting Kendra watch from a distance without seeming overly interested. She wore maroon mittens that matched her hat and brown furry boots that rose above her jeans.

And, Kendra knew, that wet diaper that she would dearly love to change out of, if there were anywhere out here in Grant Park to do so. Allison. Her name was Allison; Kendra caught a flash of it in her thoughts. And Kendra’s world narrowed, for the moment, to just one other person, as she explored exactly who this Allison was who had so affected her.

24 years old. Med student. Only child. Lost her parents in an accident when she was 13 that left her incontinent. Independently wealthy because of insurance, inheritance, and a lawsuit against the other driver. Not at all my usual type. Loves cats. I should introduce you to Neville. You two would hit it off. Lives on her own near Second City in a loft. Flashes. Snippets of a life flying through the woman’s mind as she made her way to the train that would take her home. She pictured home again, and this time Kendra thought to clock the address.

Allison’s phone rang.

“Hey,” she said, walking as she talked. “Haven’t you had enough of me tonight?”

There was a short pause. “You’re kidding…No, I’m really beat. If I stayed out any later I think I’d fall asleep on the street and die of hypothermia…Yes, it’s a thing. I’m just going to head straight home, pour a glass of wine, pick up my book, and let Clarice curl up on me and purr to her heart’s content.”

Clarice. She’d named her cat Clarice, and Kendra caught unmistakable reference images of Jodie Foster as she thought of the calico. A young independent woman wanting to learn, acting on her own, discovering. Oh, she liked this Allison very much. And then of course there were the diapers: when was the last time she’d happened on anyone wearing them? And she’d never come across anyone like that who was also worthy of the Eternal Kiss, but this Allison seemed to be, in the traditional way, not in the Kendra way.

If she wants it. If she’d accept the tradeoffs (the darkness, the need for blood) for the payouts (all of that strength and speed, immortal youth, telepathy and other mind powers, perfect memory, instant cures for mostlong-term physical ailments), Kendra could show her something far beyond her limited human understanding. Vampire strength would not rebuild a damaged bladder—the diapers would remain—but in every other way Allison would become a kind of god.

As Allison descended into the subway station, Kendra made up her mind. With the kind of speed that made her only a blur to others on the street, she raced up Michigan, heading to North Avenue. It was only a few minutes’ run at high speed, and she was there, she knew, long before Allison’s train would be. She walked down Wells until she found the complex that housed Allison’s loft, and she waited.

She began to hear the young woman’s thoughts about fifteen minutes later, though it was clear she was still at least five minutes away. She knew how she was going to play this. If Allison was who she thought her to be, all she would need was a small nudge, not full out control. If not, then she’d just go home. Diapers or not, you don’t offer the Kiss to an unworthy person. All of her misfits had been worthy; she’d always made sure of that before she offered.

Her mind drifted back to Jasmine. Oh, Jasmine. Promiscuous and passionate, the girl had made up for low self-esteem by seemingly screwing her way through every guy in New Orleans by the time Kendra met her. She took them to bed as quickly as she could, sometimes without even a formal date first, and left them exhausted and drained. And Kendra did mean "left"; come morning, Jasmine was always simply gone. For all of that, though, she still could have been worthy of The Kiss (and, given that low confidence, Kendra was actually damn impressed by her actions) if it had not been for the fact that Kendra had dragged from her memories that she had often stolen money from these men before leaving. Promiscuity was one thing; criminality was something else altogether. Still, Kendra even today thought of the girl from time to time.

Allison’s thoughts interrupted her reverie; she was close. When Kendra saw the young woman coming, she began her play. First, she affected being extremely cold. It was indeed a quite chilly night, though of course vampires are immune to such things. She shivered and her teeth chattered and she actually allowed her skin to turn a bluish color as she huddled near one of the open decorative flames in the entryway. There was no way for Allison not to notice her, so it disappointed her tremendously when the young woman walked right on by, not even slowing down, her thoughts preoccupied with her own issues. Maybe she’s not who I thought. And then, just when she was raising her key to unlock the outer door and Kendra was giving up, a new thought entered the young woman’s mind: an image of the chilled woman she had almost ignored.

She turned her head and looked back, and Kendra sent her the smallest of thoughts: your loft is large and warm. By the time she had returned to where Kendra stood, the thought had blossomed into an invitation. “Excuse me, but you look so cold. Do you want to step inside for a little while and warm up?”

Kendra couldn’t help smiling. You should never invite strangers into your home, Allison. You never know what they might be. But Allison had passed the test, and Kendra had no intention of harming her. Together they walked into the building.

Inside the warm lobby, Allison said, “I’m Allison. I’m a med student. Are you OK? Why were you standing out there freezing?”

Kendra kept shivering—it seemed too early to stop—and said, with a soft smile, “Kendra. You can s-see I’m not d-dressed for the cold. I need to pay better attention to the weather.”

Allison nodded. “You poor thing! Where do you live?”

“Lincoln Park.”

“So not far from here?”

“No,” Kendra said, starting to drop her affected stutter. “I just needed to s-stop by those fires and try to warm myself for a bit.”

A smile came to Allison’s face. “I know: let me make you some coffee. That will warm you up.”

Kendra returned the smile. “That would be nice,” she said.

An elevator ride, two minutes, and a whirring Keurig later, Kendra was sipping a hot black mug of coffee. Another minute and Allison joined her and motioned her to sit at the table. Allison took a couple of sips and then said, “I hope you’ll excuse me for a moment. I’ve been out all evening at the fireworks and nature’s calling.”

Kendra smiled. “Take your time.”

Allison disappeared into the master bathroom to, Kendra knew, finally change out of that cold, clammy diaper. The wave of relief emanating from that area of the house a moment later was practically palpable. While she was sitting alone, she caught a movement out of the corner of her eyes: the small calico cat.

“Hey, Clarice,” she said. “Come here, Sweetheart.” A little mental nudge and the cat was on her lap. A couple of minutes later, Allison re-emerged, smelling faintly of baby powder, and sat down with Kendra.

“Oh my God, she’s never been that friendly before!”

Kendra smiled. “Just call me the cat whisperer.”

“Her name is Clarice. Like Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs. Because she’s so curious and independent, not that you can tell right now.”

The cat sat there purring and purring as Kendra let one hand drop down to pet it between the ears.

“That is amazing,” said Allison. “So, Kendra, tell me about yourself.”

She’s looking for a new friend, Kendra observed. She just might get one. “Well, I guess you could call me a sort of missionary, but don’t worry: you haven’t opened the door to a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon or anything like that.” Just a vampire.

Allison laughed, sipping her coffee. “So what, then?”

Kendra too took a long sip before continuing. “Well, you know how religions are always telling you that they have the right way to get to heaven?”

“Yeah. It drives me crazy. As if any of them knows.”

“Right. That’s exactly right: how can any of them know what is ultimately unknowable? All that is knowable is here on Earth, and we sadly take it for granted.”

Allison grew animated. “You’re so right! Especially right now in this country: we’re ignoring climate change, we’re systematically tearing down environmental protections that have been in place for decades, we’re throwing away the Endangered Species Act. It makes me so mad!”

“Me too,” said Kendra. “But I belong to a group of people who are actively trying to do something about it.”


“You can’t fight the system unless you’re a part of it. We’re trying to get inside. Then we can control what happens.”

Taking another sip, Allison shrugged. “You must not be very effective.”

Kendra laughed. She really liked this girl. “No. No we’re not, not yet. There aren’t enough of us and we need to remain in the shadows or we’d be persecuted. They don’t really understand us. But when the time comes that we can rise, believe me they will have a fight on their hands.”

Kendra and Allison both finished their coffee, and Allison brought the mugs into the kitchen. Clarice followed her, apparently looking for a snack. “So you’re a recruiter?”

Kendra nodded. “I am.”

“What does one need to do to join?” Allison asked, putting some cat treats in a small bowl for Clarice.

“Well, you need to pass a sort of test, part of which by the way you have already passed. And then you have to choose to join of your own free will.”

Allison re-entered the dining room and sat back down. “Wait—I’ve passed a test? When did that happen? And what’s this about choosing?”

Kendra smiled gently. “I’ll explain. But first: have you ever wondered what it would be like to have superpowers? Like you could run as fast as the Flash or lift as much as Supergirl or read minds like Professor X? Did you ever wish you were invulnerable?”

Allison rolled her eyes. “Of course. Didn’t everyone? But you’re not going to try to tell me that what you’re selling will make me a superhero. I mean it’s been fun, Kendra, but I swear I’ll bounce you out the door right now.”

“No, no,” said Kendra. “Not a superhero.” Then, before Allison could even give out a sigh of relief, she added, “but not entirely unlike one either.”

Allison shook her head sadly and pulled her hand out from under the table to reveal a stun gun. “Damn. I thought maybe I had made a new friend, but it turns out you’re just some cult wacko. I need you to leave.”

Kendra looked at the gun and smiled. She hadn’t been listening to the girl’s thoughts. “Damn, you’re impressive. That’s the second test.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“First you invited a stranger upstairs; now you’re showing that you are strong enough to take a stand by kicking me out. There is only one more test, and that is the choice itself.”

“You do realize you sound like a complete lunatic, don’t you?”

This elicited actual laughter from Kendra. “I usually do on these nights. OK. Give me five more minutes. If you still want me to leave then, I will, and you’ll never see me again. Fair?”

Allison thought for a moment, looked down at the stun gun she still held, and agreed.

Kendra tried to sound as sincere as possible. “Now I’ve given myself a deadline, so I need to ask you just to listen, OK?”


“First of all, I wasn’t kidding just now. I have all of those abilities I mentioned and more. And on top of that, I’m immortal. There is very little that can harm me. Your stun gun really wouldn’t do much good.”

“Oh come on!” said Allison.

“I’m serious. Bring me a knife.”

“As if.”

“Right. I guess you’re not ready to trust me with that. Well I’ll have to do this the hard way.”

She reached across with her right hand, and with one sharp nail, tore a long, deep cut in the flesh of her left arm. Allison jumped, shrieking.

“Just watch,” said Kendra, holding the arm steady. Both of them watched as the wound slowly sealed itself back up and then disappeared as if it had never been there.

“Holy shit!” said Allison, sitting down.

“Yeah,” said Kendra. “Now, see that remote control over on the table by the couch, near where Clarice is lying?”


In what seemed to Allison like no time at all, Kendra all but invisibly left the table, got the remote, returned, and held it out.

“Here it is.”

Allison looked shocked. “That can’t happen.”

“Yet it did,” Kendra said. “I told you: I have all of these abilities and so does everyone in my group. And so will you if you join us.”

“My God, YES!” Allison practically shouted.

“Wait,” said Kendra. “This is about informed consent. You don’t know everything about us yet.”

With that, Kendra sent Allison images of herself feeding earlier that same night as she moved from one person to another, never taking too much. But still…she could see revulsion in Allison’s eyes.


“You’d call us vampires, so that’s what we call ourselves. But we’re not really like the myths. We can’t change into bats or anything. We don’t drink to kill or to control, just to survive. We use mind control to make it acceptable for the people to help us out and we take far less from each than they’d give to a blood bank. Two or three a night, as you’ve seen, and we’re pretty full.”

“You’re a vampire.”

“Yeah. Try to stay with me here. There is almost nothing that can hurt us. We’re immune to diseases. Anything we already had heals. The stakes through the heart thing? Bunk. I mean it would probably hurt, but it would just heal. Pretty much the only thing that can kill us is sunlight, and with that we’d actually need to sort of camp out in it. I mean it doesn’t burn our flesh to ashes like on Buffy. It slowly puts us to sleep. And if there is too much exposure we just don’t wake up.”

“You’re a vampire.”

“You’re kind of stuck on that one, aren’t you? Here, look: see my canines? Sort of big, aren’t they?”

“You’re a vampire.”

Before Kendra could say anything else, Allison interrupted. “No, I just needed to say it out loud a few times to get my head around it. You’re a vampire, and you…want me to be one as well?”

“It’s called the Eternal Kiss. That is something the myths get right. You need to drink from my blood after I nearly drain you. There’s no danger: we can all feel when the heart starts slowing down, and it’s at that point that we pull back and allow you to drink. The combined act creates you as a vampire sired by me, which means we are forever connected. But you have to understand: technically you’ll be dead. That’s why you won’t age any more. Some bodily functions obviously still occur, but during the change your heart stops beating forever. It’s part of the tradeoff. And you’d be giving up daylight except for short spurts. You’d be giving up the company of many of your good friends for that of people you have not yet met. You’d be accepting a life based on the need to drink blood. We can eat and drink other things—and by the way they taste fantastic with our heightened senses—but only blood can keep us alive. And you’d be accepting a life lived in the shadows. You know your own reaction to my being a vampire; well that is everyone’s reaction, but multiply it by ten.”

Kendra caught a stray thought from Allison: I can finally get rid of my diapers!

“Allison?” she said. “That won’t happen.”

“I didn’t say anything,” Allison protested.

Kendra’s smile was sad. “Telepathy? Professor X? I’ve known about them all night. But I’m afraid that won’t change. The kind of bladder damage you have doesn’t heal even with vampiric powers. We can re-bond our bodies with a lost limb, even a head, but we can’t undo the damage caused to tissue while we were alive. It’s one reason we have to be careful who we choose for the Kiss: don’t want to create some vampire with eternal painful cancer or something.”

Allison’s face fell. “But…how can you be sure my bladder won’t heal?”

Kendra shook her head. “I suppose I could be wrong,” she said, “but all I know is it didn’t heal for me.”

There was silence for a moment in the room. Then Allison said, “You wear diapers.” It wasn’t a question; she knew the truth of it.

“Same as you: accident when I was little. I fell from a tree.”

“And you look about my age,” said Allison.

“Depends how you count it. I’m 24, yes. But I was born in 1943.”

“So you’ve been diapered for…”

“This is my 80th year.”

Allison looked despondent. “Doesn’t it get to you?

“Used to, back when they were cloth and I had to pin them on and use huge rubber pants over them. These days? It’s all so easy I hardly think about it. But I am honest enough to admit there is something missing in my life in not having anyone around who knows what I’m going through.”

“Is that why you chose me?”

Kendra shrugged. “It drew me to you, sure. But it would not have been enough if you hadn’t turned out to be…well…you.”

Allison sat silent. “Do I need to decide tonight?”

“I’m afraid so. The rules say that if you refuse I have to wipe all of this from your memory.”

“You can do that?”

“Professor X, remember? And as I said we need to keep to the shadows. Oh, I almost forgot a new perk! If you join us, I’ll show you a church choir made up of cats!”

Allison burst into laughter. “Now I know you’re kidding me.”

“Believe me I’d have said the same thing before tonight, but it’s true. Just another wild and crazy advantage of being one of the Undead. Now while you’re thinking, may I use your bathroom to change?”

“What? Oh! Of course!”

Kendra made short work of her diaper and returned to find Allison sitting on the couch sipping red wine. “I want to remember what it tastes like as a human,” she said.

“So you’re joining us?”

She nodded and downed the glass.

“Don’t worry about the wine. As I said, vampiric senses are all heightened. I think you’ll find you taste far more in wine than you ever have before. Most of the world’s greatest sommeliers are vampires.”

Allison looked up quizzically.

“It’s true,” said Kendra. “Now, stand up, OK? I don’t want to spill any blood accidentally on your sofa.”

Allison stood and moved slowly to Kendra’s side.

“Don’t be afraid,” the vampire said. “When I tell you to drink, drink until you can’t anymore. You won’t hurt me. After that, you’ll fall asleep. Your body will change while you’re sleeping. You’ll die as a human and and you’ll awaken as one of us. You’re certain you want this?”

Allison nodded.

Kendra smiled. “The Eternal Kiss, from me to you and back.”

She pulled Allison close and sank her teeth into the young woman’s neck, drawing in deeply as she felt them enter the jugular. She drank for several minutes until she felt Allison’s heart slowing down, then pulled herself back. Quickly, she took her nail and slit her arm again, this time offering it to Allison.

“Drink, Allison.”

Allison latched on like a newborn to her mother’s nipple and sucked for all she was worth. The blood was viscous, but not as much as she had feared, and she found she could take it in easily. Eventually the motion tired her, or she felt full, or something, and she stopped and slipped into a deep coma-like sleep.

Kendra pulled out her cellphone and opened an app: “GVC App.”

“Where is the registration of newbies section? Oh, here it is. A-l-l-i-s-o-n W-e-n-d-t. 2-4.”

She looked over to where the new vampire was sleeping through the change. “We’re going to have some good times together, Allison Wendt, 24. I know it. Welcome to my world.”

Re: Eternal Kiss

I have only one response to this:

Re: Eternal Kiss

All I can say is: challenge accepted. :cool:

Re: Eternal Kiss

:fearleading: :you_did_it:

This story automatically has one vote per the rules of the contest :smiley:

if you skipped to my reply to see what it says without reading, go back and read it!

Re: Eternal Kiss

One of the things that nudge me toward guessing that this one and Stranger on a Train were from the same author, was that the themes had some significant overlap. The idea of a “fresh start” is also one Kerry touched on in It Takes a Village. I’m not in any way saying that this and Strangers are the same, but I really liked this one whereas I honestly didn’t like Strangers too much (sorry.)

The perspective here is unique. Instead of seeing the story unfold from the perspective of the someone being offered a gift, we see the process of choosing who deserves it. You won an automatic vote from me as well for just how clever that cat thing was, but that sequence did more than shoehorn in something silly. I loved the way your world of vampires was presented. Such superpowers often end up creating Mary Sues, but in this, you ignored that. We got to see the result of her past creation, as well as explore the worries of the responsibility it entails.

You have a very detailed picture of what being a vampire means here, and this was a really fun glimpse into that.

Oh, and I need a vampire phone app, even though I’m not a vampire…

Re: Eternal Kiss

Thanks for the nice compliments. I guess fresh starts are part of my personal fantasy world. :wink:

When I publish the complete story of “Strangers,” read it again. I’ve changed it so much it is no longer the same story at all. You might like it better. :slight_smile: