Chris felt weak and tired. Apart from brief jaunts to the toilet, she had not bothered to get out of the bed for three days. She had not eaten anything during those days as well. So it had taken a significant effort for her to get out of the bed and make it to the shower. Thoughts raced though her mind as the warm water sprayed down on her. She picked up a bar of soap and began to wash herself clean.
A vampire. Could she really be one of these creatures now? Something that lurked in the shadows and shunned the light of day. Would she ever see another sun rise? The thought of drinking blood disgusted her. Would she be able to do that? Taking another's life so that she could live. Chris just couldn't see herself doing that. What would happen to her if she couldn't do it? Would she starve and waste away? Or was there something worse in store for her because she did not drink blood? It was no wonder that she had been so depressed of late. This was a lot to take in.
Chris turned off the shower and stepped out. She grabbed a fluffy towel and dried herself off and then wrapped herself in the towel and went back into the bedroom. She crossed over to a large wooden bureau and pulled open its doors. She pulled out her jeans and t-shirt. Somehow all her clothes had been cleaned. Later she looked at her reflection in a mirror. "Alright then," she said to her reflection. "Off we go into the night." Then a thought crossed her mind. Vampires weren't supposed to be able to see their reflection in a mirror. Obviously there were things to being a vampire that Chris still had to learn. With a shrug of her shoulders, Chris picked up her leather coat and left the room.
Bishop stood at the base of the staircase when Chris came upon him. He was dressed as he always was, topped off with his dark coat and an umbrella. He was also holding a cup out to her as she came down. "More Earl Grey Tea?" Chris asked taking the cup and looking at the dark steaming liquid inside.
"No." Bishop said. Chris instantly knew what the liquid was.
"Blood." she said. Bishop nodded his head.
"You have not eaten for days and your body needs the blood," he explained. Chris just looked at the blood. The coppery warm smell of the liquid rose up to her nose. Chris felt her stomach clench.
"I don't think I can do this." she said.
"Have you ever eaten meat?" Bishop asked.
Chris looked at him. "What?" she asked. What did eating meat have to do with drinking blood?
"Have you ever eaten meat?" Bishop asked again.
"Well, yeah," Chris said. "I've had burgers and things."
"Then you've had blood before," Bishop stated. "All meat carries a trace amount of blood within it. True, they drain most of it off. But a small amount remains."
"Yeah, but eating burgers is one thing. Drinking a cup full of blood is another." Chris said.
"Your body needs blood, Chris," Bishop explained. "I know its hard, even a little sickening. But you do need to do this."
Chris looked at the steaming blood again. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and brought the cup to her lips. The warm blood raced into her mouth. Chris expected to gag on the flavor. But she didn't. The blood tasted wonderful. Like a fine meal at an expensive restaurant, or a savory dessert. The blood was almost sweet, yet salty at the same time. Before Chris knew it the cup was empty. Chris just held the empty cup in her hands. She could feel the blood in her, moving about her body. A hunger she did not even knew she had was suddenly gone.
"What have I done?" Chris said. Her voice held a tremble of shock. Not so much because she had done this, but because she had enjoyed it so much. "What have I done?" Chris said again. She felt so different now. Like she had been part of some hideous crime. She felt ashamed of herself and wondered if she would ever feel quite normal again.
"You did what you had to," Bishop said taking the cup from her. "You had to feed." He put his arm out and gently caressed her shoulder. As one might a scared child.
"Did somebody " Chris stammered. She felt like she might start crying at any moment. "Did somebody have to die for this?" She asked at last, "Did someone die so I could feed?"
"No," Bishop said with a gentle chuckle, "it is not necessary to kill for blood. Some vampires have deals with local butchers for the blood of cattle."
"I can feed on cattle blood?" Chris said. For the first time in days she sounded hopeful. "It doesn't have to be a human?"
"No, you don't have to feed on humans," Bishop said. "There are those that do. But like I told you before: what you do with this gift is up to you."
"I still have a hard time looking at all this as a gift." Chris said.
"Perhaps in time you will. There are benefits to being a vampire," Bishop smiled at her. "Shall we go for a walk?" he said offering her his arm. Chris accepted it and they walked out of the house.
It was a cool evening in early October. Families had taken down the screens from their windows and put up the storm shutters. Others had broken out their autumn and winter gear. The Fall TV season had begun with many new shows hoping to attract the viewers, while other older shows premiered their new seasons. Halloween candy was now being sold in the local shops and jack-o-lanterns could be seen in the windows and an doorsteps of many houses. It was that time of year when everyone was settling in for the coming winter. The leaves had turned to the magnificent colors of reds, browns and gold. Many had fallen from nearby trees and were picked up and carried by gusts of wind. In the skies overhead, the moon could be seen through small breaks in the cloud cover. But Chris did not notice any of this. She was lost in what Bishop was telling her.
They walked along an empty sidewalk. This was the quiet side of the city. No major business or shops stayed open much after sun down. This was where families owned homes or rented apartments. He told Chris that this was the part of the city in which the vampires more or less held the reins of power. It was nicknamed 'Gothik territory.' Though Bishop explained that they spelled Gothik with a 'k.' Why that was, he didn't really know.
"How many territories are there?" Chris asked. She had become extremely interested in everything Bishop could tell her.
"Quite a few." Bishop replied.
"Are they all controlled by vampires?" she asked. After all now that she was one of these beings now, it may make things easier for her in the future.
"Oh no," Bishop said, "the suburbs and the out lying regions of the city are ruled by the Elven Kingdom. Elves like to stay close to nature and creatures they share a kindred with. Another region of the city is controlled by a powerful group of wizards. That region is known as the Enchanted Realm."
"And they all just get along with one another?"
"There have been conflicts from time to time, when one region tries to take over one of its neighbor's territories," Bishop explained. "But the Advocacy tend to keep the peace these days."
"Advocacy?" Chris questioned. "What's that?"
"The Advocacy is made up of representatives from each region," Bishop said. "It is like the United Nations in a way. Only instead of sitting around and complaining about one another the Advocacy tries to keep the peace and to keep our presence from being discovered by humanity."
"I thought normal people couldn't see any of the other races." Chris said. Perhaps there was more going on than Bishop had first led her to believe.
"That's true," Bishop admitted, "but if a whole bunch of Trolls decide to cut loose in down town Portland and kill everything in sight, someone is bound to notice something going on."
Chris chuckled, "This is so weird. One day it's like everything is normal. The next it's like I've stepped into a Harry Potter book."
"A who book?" Bishop asked, coming to a complete halt. He looked very surprised. For a moment Chris thought she may have said something to offend Bishop.
"Harry Potter." Chris said again, cautious about Bishop's response to what she was saying, "It's a series of children's book stories."
"Is it about a boy with glasses?" Bishop asked, "He goes to a magic school in England, or something like that?"
"Yes that's the one," Chris answered, "Have you read any of them?"
"No. But I think I met him once," Bishop said. He started to walk off again.
"Never knew anyone was writing books about him though. I had better start being more careful or someone is bound to start writing stories about me next."
Chris couldn't tell if Bishop was joking or if he was serious, "Wait a minute." she said to him, "Are you trying to tell me that-"
"Oh good. We're here." Bishop said, interrupting what Chris was saying. She looked up at what Bishop was gazing at.
"Looks like an old abandoned hospital or something." Chris said. She had never liked old buildings very much. They always had a creepy atmosphere.
"How very observant you are." Bishop commented. He stepped throughout a hole in a massive barbed wire gate. Reluctantly, Chris followed him through. She wasn't too wild about old decaying buildings.
"This used to be a mental hospital before it was shut down some years ago." Bishop commented. He pointed the tip of his umbrella at a sign. Chris read the words "Hoyt Mental Hospital," which were barely legible due to extreme rust. Then she looked at the main doors of the building.
"It's nailed shut." Chris commented. Large wooden boards had been hammered over the doors, blocking them closed. There was also a large "No Trespassing" sign in bold red print, pinned to the door.
"It is just to keep hooligans out." Bishop explained. He turned a knob on the door and pulled it open, wooden beams and all. "Do keep in mind, not everything is what it seems to look like." He came across like a teacher.
"I've been noticing that a lot lately." Chris deadpanned. Bishop just smiled at her and led the way in. The doors slammed shut once they both had gone in.
The Hoyt Mental Hospital or Hoyt's Asylum as it was better known, had been constructed in the late nineteen fifties. Its head and sole benefactor, Dr. Jacob Hoyt, had marketed the asylum as a place were the most advanced methods of psychiatric and medical care would be employed against the most severe cases of mental health illness. In other words, ruthless serial killers from all over the United States were to be shipped to Hoyt's Asylum where they could receive the care they needed, and with the hope that one day they could become model citizens and reintroduced into society.
Throughout the late fifties and early sixties Hoyt's Asylum dealt with hundreds if not thousands of patients from not only the United States, but from a number of nations around the globe. It dealt not only with criminal psychosis but also everyday common mental neuroses in less severe cases. Hoyt's Asylum was doing a bang up business in the field of mental health.
However in March of nineteen sixty-six, a series of allegations began to be leveled against Hoyt's Asylum. The Portland Times ran a story that Hoyt's Asylum was conducting unethical medical practices. But just what these unethical practices were they never said. Oh sure, there were rumors and such. But nothing with any concrete proof was revealed. All that people really knew was that the Dr. Hoyt and a number of his staff were brought up on charges and each given a life sentence in solitary confinement. Hoyt's Asylum was shut down soon after.
In the early seventies, a novel published by Thomas Massa titled 'The Hoyt Coven' told the story that Dr. Hoyt as well as several members of his staff had been involved in black witchcraft and Satanic worship in which they used several of the Hoyt patients as blood sacrifices in their dark rituals. But whether or not this was really the case no one ever said.
Hoyt's asylum remained abandoned from the late sixties to the present day. No one went near it believing the Asylum to be an evil place and haunted by ghost of those who died in Satanic ceremonies. The closest most ever come now (mostly children on a dare from other kids) is up to the barbed wire fence that surrounds the place. Here kids would throw a stone or brick and try and shatter what little glass is left in the windows, only to then run away like the devil himself was after them.
It was obvious that the Asylum had seen better days. There were the remnants of old equipment, as well as shattered glass that crunched underneath Bishop's and Chris' boots as they walked along. "Lovely place," Chris said dryly. She hoped they weren't going to be staying very long. She didn't like it here. "You come here often?" she asked.
"Not if I can help it." Bishop admitted. He was walking over to a wall with a series of coat hooks screwed into it, "Hang around here long enough, and you might run into some of the former residents."
Chris started walking over to where Bishop now stood. "I don't understand," she said. "Are some people still living here or something?"
"No, this place is haunted," Bishop explained. "Stick around long enough and you will see the ghosts of the former patents."
"This place gets better by the minute," Chris lamented. She wanted to get out of here more than ever. "Can we leave now? I'm not really in the mood to meet any ghosts tonight."
"Don't worry," Bishop said grabbing his umbrella by its center and swinging it up so its handles caught onto one of the coat hooks. "They don't come down to the hallway much." Bishop pulled down with the umbrella. The hook it was caught on shifted down a foot along the wall.
Suddenly there was a deep grinding noise that echoed around the hallway. Chris was amazed as a section of the wall swinging open. Light radiated out of the opening and flooded the floor. Bishop unhooked his umbrella from the coat hook. "Excellent," he said, looking at Chris. "Shall we go in?" he asked as he sauntered through the opening. With a roll of her eyes, Chris followed him though. The wall snapped shut behind them with a heavy slam.