- 28 -
The days I spent turning were unquantifiable. In his book, Peter had once described the change as feeling “as if my gut had been cut open and filled with eels,” and that description is the most accurate I have ever heard.
Of course, that says nothing for the incredible agony my body went through as organs moved about and died. Everything inside me shifted and reconstructed itself to fit an entirely different way of being.
The turning was nothing short of a delirious blur. I was never asleep, but I was never truly awake. Everything felt vaguely like a nightmare, and it was nearly impossible to tell reality apart from everything else.
The pain and the hunger turned my mind to mush, and I had dreams of beetles and snakes eating my flesh. Nothing I saw when I closed my eyes was very pleasant.
The first truly coherent thing I can remember is waking from a dream where I had been on fire. Somehow, in my sleep, that had translated to me singing “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.
When I started to wake, I realized that my voice wasn’t the only sound in my ears. There was another one sounding amazingly perfect compared with the dry, crackled sound of my voice.
I opened my eyes, which screamed painfully at the dim light in the room, and I could barely see anything. Eventually, my vision would be better than that of an eagle, but then, I was nearly blind.
Faintly, I made out a silhouette. The details were still invisible, but the cockeyed hair was unmistakable. Even in my confused pain, delight went through me.
“Jack,” I whispered in a voice that sounded like dry firewood. “You’re really here?”
“Shhh.” Jack brushed the hair back from my forehead, and it hurt like hell, but I relished the touch because it was his. “Get some rest.”
“But…” I tried to sputter some kind of an argument, but my throat was burning from singing and speaking.
“I’m right here, and I’ll be right here until you really wake up. So you just rest until then, and we can talk about everything.”
Nothing had ever sounded as wonderful as the sound of his voice, and I wanted to keep him talking. Unfortunately, I was drowning in pain and exhaustion, and I succumbed to them both. But every time I awoke with any momentary clarity, he was by my side.
Eventually the thirst took over me, and I could hear the sound of his heart beat. Instead of finding that reassuring, it just made me even thirstier.
There was a point in the beginning where I was hungry and thirsty, for both blood and actual food, but my body was at a transition where it couldn’t digest either. I had to wait until I was completely through the change and thoroughly weakened by the process until I could eat.
A vampire’s thirst is unlike anything known to man. It’s more than an unquenchable thirst. It’s more than starving hunger. It’s more than a passionate lust. It’s all of those things combined and multiplied, and it’s none of them.
Everything inside me focused on getting one thing, and it blotted anything else out. My body felt wrong and diseased until I finally drank blood.
Jack gave me a bag of blood to drink from, and Mae and Ezra chaperoned on the sides of the room. I gulped it down greedily, but it felt nothing like when I drank Jack’s blood. Well, not nothing. It tasted wonderful, and it made me feel amazing and warm, but it was nothing as intense or amazing as Jack.
Like before, and like when Milo drank, the blood intoxicated me. I passed out almost immediately after downing the bag of blood, but I slept better than I had in days. It felt like the first time I had really gotten any rest, and for once, it was dreamless. Sometime later, I’d wake up from all this.
I opened my eyes to see the world as a vampire for the very first time.