By Florin Purluca
Back then we had to travel a lot. Because most
settlements were usually abandoned, we had to walk
long distances to find inhabited places. It wasn’t
like we needed their help, it’s just that old habits
usually become tainted with the aura of certain
rituals, and then the process of forgetting becomes
rather complicated. And me and Uncle Marin –
especially him – truly loved the company. For old
times’ sake. Or, to put it in a more simple way, we were just two
The people in such places hadn’t become fully
accustomed to those of our stature, even though more
than ten years had passed since the disaster. Thinking
about it, we probably looked quite strange to them in
our first encounter, slowly emerging from the crimson
shadows of the dusk, through the nothingness. As we
moved towards the heart of Brașov,
the dust became intoxicating. The wilderness was
eating the city, slowly, year after year. That’s
probably why people decided to escape from this place,
besides fear, of course. Since there was no clear
patch of earth left to farm, those who stayed behind
became used to eating out of a can.
Uncle Marin, a Valahian man in his fifties from a
region in Romania, next to Transylvania
– tall and strong – sensed what was going on
from a mile away. Uncle had a worn-out (once beautiful
fazan feathered) hat, eaten away by time,
something I had the distinct conviction didn’t suit
him at all. And he was wearing a white, red-striped
shirt with small green and blue flowers, that was two
sizes too big for him. As for me, a kid muffled up in
rags, with a pair of shoes model year one thousand
nine hundred, I had a small advantage. The difference
was that I was always saved by appearances: a poor
redneck kid, not more than ten years old. That always
drew some form of sympathy, in those dark days.
I guess it was a miracle that we managed to get
downtown without anyone shooting at us, especially at
night, when people are more paranoid and scared of the
dark and used torches made of clothes soaked in gas
and wrapped around stakes as a light source. Because
by all appearances, that small neighborhood was filled
with old people. And those old people were almost
always paranoid, and they would shoot you on the spot
if they still had the guns to do so. And those who had
guns would carry them everywhere. But Marin was being
careful. He told them we were just passing through, we
weren’t going to stay for more than one day – or maybe
two – enough to regain our strength and then we would
be gone. They agreed. Lowered their rifles to the
ground and left us to spend the night in some
dilapidated old house. Even so, we weren’t entirely
sure they hadn’t smelled us. It was hard to
believe they hadn’t, but maybe they were trying to
keep up appearances for various reasons, the primary
one being fear.
Even though they had good reasons to fear us, they
shouldn’t have. Because we weren’t that type of
freak. We were, somehow . . . different. And
that was especially because of Marin.
Uncle – who in fact wasn’t even related to me, but the
detail made our presence a little dramatic and
sometimes managed to smooth things over – had an
academic background in psychology. That helped him,
somehow, to discover his inner power and the resources
to face the hunger instinct. He also educated me the
same way. I admit it hadn’t been easy to make me
accept animal blood, but after an entire year of
torment, he’d succeeded. I was, as he used to brag
about it, his doctorate thesis in a messed-up world.
After we settled in the house we were about to sleep
in – it wasn’t really an apocalyptic torture since we
carried a small suitcase with us – we left towards
some building of that old and almost abandoned
neighborhood. It was a former bar that locals worked
hard to keep standing. At least that’s what it looked
like when we got there. An old man was cleaning the
tables, another one was sweeping the floors, and
another one was pouring beer into gnawed pint glasses.
And we also saw a dozen old men and women, waiting at
We entered, and everyone looked at us and frowned. We
headed toward the counter, walking close to each
other. The people who used it were careful enough to
put crucifixes and strings of garlic up on the walls.
But the garlic was a bit old, and its scent was almost
gone, so it didn’t help much now. We each chose a
chair to sit on. The chairs were high, and I needed
help to climb, which Marin gave me, as he always did.
He grabbed me, pulled me up and I settled in the
chair. I propped my elbows on the wooden counter and
didn’t make a peep. Marin handled the talking. I was
still new to the whole public relations thing.
Uncle looked closely at a foamy Caraiman pint –
even the old man passing as the bartender noticed his
look filled with desire – and then he lifted his
skinny, bony hand and greeted him.
“I’m Marin. The kid’s name is Rareș.”
“What the hell are you doing here?” asked the old man,
We heard a metallic click, somewhere in the back. Even
I could recognize that sound. Someone had loaded a
“We just want to chat for a few minutes. We’re bored
to death. That’s all.”
“Is that so?” asked the bartender. “What could you
motherfuckers possibly know about death?”
A wooden chair scraping against the floor echoed from
the back of the room. Marin’s psychology effect didn’t
seem to impact anyone. I was never fond of these
moments. They tended to create bigger, awful ones,
with blood all over the walls, misery that doesn’t do
anyone any favors.
“Hey, Ioane! Let’s take things slow, shall we? Maybe
they are decent people, not the type looking for
trouble. Right, boys?”
“Of course we’re not looking for trouble!” said Marin
with joy at discovering his ally, a woman with hair
the color of cotton puff, thin, long and loose,
shoulders drawn forward.
The bartender snarled, stifling all the nasty words he
was about to throw at us. He finished pouring the beer
and slammed the pint glass against the wooden counter.
Uncle kept on smiling at him and said, “I swear I’d
gladly give up immortality for a pint like that.”
The old man was looking daggers at him, malice still
floating in the air.
“No shit!” said the old man.
“It’s no joke, mister”, I intervened. “Uncle Marin
hadn’t had one of these since ages ago. And trust me,
he was pretty good at drinking them.”
From between the tables, you could hear people
snorting. Some forced contained smiles. And shortly
after, someone eased the pressure that was floating in
still got it,” said a woman, amused by the situation.
Marin pivoted in his chair, and so did I. I saw
everyone staring at us. Some had an obvious malice in
their eyes, some had indifference, but most watched us
with interest. We felt somehow like artists on a
stage, and they were the audience.
“I don’t know which one of you is Dănuț,
said Marin, but if I had the chance to ask him to a
pint duel, I would have. I just had the misfortune to
meet him a little too late.”
And Uncle was right. After the transformation, our
digestive systems didn’t decompose the food and drink
into harmless amino acids anymore. If we wanted to eat
or drink anything other than blood, we would endure
severe pain, like that of a woman giving birth. Well,
for me it was pure theory, as I had not tried that
even once. But he had impressed on me how painful it
was to eat normal food and drink normal liquids as a
vampire, instead of blood. He had had a few glasses of
bourbon, years before, shortly after the
transformation. It was an experience that made him go
through excruciating pain.
“I felt like I ingested a moderate dose of garlic,” he
explained. “A dose that didn’t kill me and didn’t let
me live either. And that was over the course of
He didn’t dare try that ever again.
As I watched the old men sitting at the tables, I
began to feel sorry for them. Some looked strong,
around sixty years old, and seemed like they could
face a few threats. Others, however, could barely walk
from old age. And because two of them were telling the
others out loud what was happening in the bar, I
assumed they were blind or almost deaf. How they
managed to survive until now and why you couldn’t see
any young men in the city were mystery that intrigued
us. Then, Marin took advantage of the moment and told
them he would’ve bought the gentlemen a round of beer
and some fine drinks for the ladies if money were
still in circulation.
We could’ve enjoyed our immortality, as all vampires
did. But Marin couldn’t escape the world he once lived
in. And me, I was six when I was bitten and could’ve
forgotten my past. But Marin ensured that I didn’t,
anyway. He drove me crazy with his nostalgic stories
about the world before vampires.
“Where are you headed?” asked the bartender.
“We want to go to Sighișoara,”
But the truth was we didn’t want to go anywhere. All
we did was sniff the air and find people. Go into
remote villages and, unlike others of the same race,
feed on their memories about the world that was about
to step into oblivion, but never feed on their blood.
For us, sheep and cows, or even rats and beasts, were
enough. And, anyway, there’s no significant difference
between animal and human blood. After a while, like
anything you get used to, it becomes normalized in an
Then Marin told them about the drama he had been
through, how he was transformed by my mother, how he
fought her to not bite me as well, but the damn woman
managed to transform us both. And in the end, because
of his inner will, told them in great detail how he
confronted the vampire mother and how he beheaded her
because of the curse she had brought upon us.
Everything was made up. Except for the part about
using his will.
Unlike him, after I was transformed, I had forgotten a
great deal about my human life. But he remembered
almost every detail of his previous life. He knew
things about his brothers, about his friends and
Dorina, his wife. He didn’t use to tell me much about
her, but when he did, he always had tears in his eyes
as he put his hand to his jacket pocket, which carried
a picture of her. I always asked myself what happened
with Dorina, but he always said that that was the only
detail he couldn’t remember anymore. He said that one
day we would go and find her. At first, I believed
him, but in time I understood that something else was
going on there – a mishap that Marin had buried deep
in his memory. I preferred to let him live in peace,
not to dig up painful memories.
At the end of Uncle’s false story, the old men fell
victim to sentimentality. Some old women began to wail
loudly. One of them took me in her arms, calling for
Neculai – probably a relative of hers who died – and
another caressed me for more than fifteen minutes.
“Poor baby,” the old lady kept repeating. But I looked
at them like a scared puppy.
And in this way, the respite offered by the old men
turned into an invitation to stay indefinitely, which
we took gladly. Although we knew we would leave that
place eventually. Maybe not in the following months,
but certainly in two or three years. Definitely no
later because in all that time, every last old man in
that place would be dead of old age. But hey, three
years can fly by as if they were weeks, even for
mortal man. We were more than happy we had someone to
talk to. And, if you got to know them a little better,
old mens’ paranoia starts to become amusing enough to
make you look past certain fixations.
By far the most punctual was Bogdan, a slightly
demented man in his eighties. He always carried two
oxygen tanks with him in a cart with hilarious wheels
that looked like it was some old dismembered wooden
box. The old man bragged about being the last man in
Valahia with chronic bronchitis. Despite all that, he
never quit smoking, and every time he smoked his cheap
cigars, he left a thick trail of smoke behind him,
like an old locomotive. Luckily, in his early days, he
was a pharmacist. He managed the dispensar’s
whole oxygen tank reserve and that allowed him to have
a large personal supply.
One day, I even saved his life with the help of Marin. As the old man was
a little confused from time to time, he forgot to
check his oxygen tanks. His asthma attacks caught us
in some heated discussions in the middle of the bar.
Ion, the bartender, kept saying that if the vampire
apocalypse would’ve happened fifteen years earlier, he
would’ve shown them.
have hurt to have some help from a young man,”
Ion frowned. We
knew he wouldn’t like the question, but we were very
curious about something that tormented us for days:
how did only the old people remain here, and above
all, where were the young ones?
insinuating that we don’t matter?”
The old man was
looking daggers at us. Marin lifted his hands in the
air like he was suddenly at gunpoint. Judging by
Uncle’s reaction, he was about to abandon the
discussion, but he continued: “We’re just saying.
Don’t get all worked-up.”
Ion softened suddenly, like
a piece of hard bread in a cup of tea. And I must
admit, he knew what he was talking about.
“Stop whining like a little
girl, and say what the hell you want to say!”
We stared at each other.
Uncle put his hands on the bar and began to tap it in
a rhythm. He wanted to seem discreet. And succeeded
quite well, if I think about it, like trying to sneak
a hippo through an overcrowded market.
“How come you’re the only
ones that remained?”
“You mean us, the
old-timers?” I heard Bogdan paraphrasing him with an
Marin shrugged defensive,
and you could see his sharp shoulders, like two spear
“Something like that,” he
“Because that’s how things
go, boys,” said Bogdan. “If you don’t make sacrifices
for something honorable, nature will sacrifice you
anyway, without asking for permission. Do you
The old man pushed Uncle,
shoving an arthritic finger in his chest. He shook his
head and started puffing a huge Carpați
cigar and contemplating. Ion snapped his fingers and
startled us both.
“They all left.
It's that simple,”
he explained. “You know it very well, the plague, or
whatever the hell it was that resurrected the vampire
curse again, broke out in some obscure, small village
in Deva. Then, found its way to Alba Iulia, Turda,
and Odorheiu Secuiesc, like a kitten pawing towards
the milk bowl. Then, it came here, to Brașov.
But the picturesque mountain district isn’t that
slouch, you know, as they say. I can’t tell you for
sure what the people in Alba, Mureș
or Turda did, but I can tell you for sure what the old
folks from Brașov
did. Because you’re afraid of water.” He was right,
after the transformation, water simply gave us the
creeps, we couldn’t even look at a half-full bucket.
“We asked everyone to run along Lake Noua, towards
Prahova. The lake worked like some kind of a natural
barrier and we were left waiting, the ones that didn’t
have children or relatives alive, for the invasion of
monsters that never came. Now you understand?”
Uncle smiled, and
vigorously shook his
head, as a sign that he understood quite clearly the
whole essence of the plan. Although, in theory and
probably unwittingly, because he told us we’re
monsters and insulted us, we didn’t feel offended. And
honestly, how could we have convinced him he was
“Even so,” simpered Ion,
unmoved by the whole situation, “why are you so afraid
of water? I can understand being afraid of the Holy
water. Apă popească, as they say… But regular
water? It makes no sense.”
We had no idea why, so we
couldn’t offer any explanation, so Marin simply said:
“Why are you afraid of the dark? Is not like the dark
itself hurts you, but what hides in it. We’re probably
talking about the same thing.”
The old man looked at us
for a few moments. He seemed somehow vexed. But I
probably imagined it because he immediately offered us
a big smile. Then, the conversation became relaxed,
and with Marin, we worked hard to convince him the
vampire hunt wasn’t like the movies, and you needed
more than young men and a bucket of water to bring
them down. Without having any minor attacks, to
predict the imminent seizure, Bogdan started to snort
like a stabbed pig. Uncle immediately knew what was
going on and left like a hurricane, overturning a few
tables in his way.
Bogdan’s wife, appeared from across the bar and
started to unhook the hoses from the juncture that
connected the cylinder with the inhaler. Because the
screws were tightened, she was struggling. I pulled
her to one side, grabbed the iron with my right hand
and turned with all my strength. The iron rasped a few
times, but it finally gave in. A few seconds later,
Marin returned with a new oxygen tank. I immediately
set it up, and after we all waited impatiently,
Bogdan’s breath began to sound normal.
A few minutes later, the whole bar was silent. I
wasn’t sure what impressed them the most: the fact
that we helped them or that we reacted so promptly? We
didn’t dare ask, and a few days later we forgot all
about it, and Bogdan began to joke on his account,
about how he was about to die. Then,
a few days after the incident, when he began to
suffer from occasional osteoarthritis pains, he would
curse us every chance he got. He kept saying we
should’ve let him die so he could escape the torment
of constant pain and suffering. But, after he calmed
down, he would apologize. Anyway, we weren’t offended.
Marin said every old man and woman there was suffering
from paranoia, even before vampires existed.
And I was happy I would never become one of them now.
And this way, two months passed without us noticing.
One of them died during the time we were there. His
name was Sandu, and everyone assumed he had had a
heart attack or something like that. We helped them
bury him on a quiet May night, where once stood an
apple orchard, but now all that were left was trees
with weirdly grown branches due to all the years it
was left unkempt. They also said some old prayers –
Tatăl Nostru and Crezul – and spiked his
chest with a rose wood stake. Just in case, they all
said to us.
After a while, Marin became very nervous. I could see
it in the way he looked into the distance. Not because
he was hungry. Because once every three or four days
we would harvest blood out of a box full of fat rats.
I kind of knew what was going on with him as I’ve seen
his moodiness many times before. He was very grumpy
and looked like an angry, growling coyote. He would
lose his temper over nothing, and even the old men
noticed. I was struggling to reassure everyone he
wouldn’t cause any trouble, but I was sometimes
worried he would do something stupid. The bloodlust
always puts you to the test.
Sometimes, close to dawn, when we were alone, and the
old-timers would snore like hell because of all those
sleepless nights, I would ask him what was wrong.
“I’m fine,” he kept repeating.
Once he told me life had become boring, but I didn’t
believe him. With Marin, nothing was boring. He loved
life, and most of all, he loved the memory of the
mortal life. And because of that, I was trying to
convince myself he would never hurt the old-timers,
although they didn’t feel this way. Poor them. They
didn’t speak of it, but you don’t need to be an expert
in psychology to know when someone looks worried.
Uncle’s moodiness lasted for almost a week, and then,
one hot night in July, I found him sitting in the
tall, yellowish grass, with his eyes fixed on the
horizon. I was with Lenuța
and Bogdan. I touched him on his right shoulder. He
was startled, and he smiled at us like a wolf
surprised at his next meal. Lenuța
was about to scream when she saw his big fangs, sharp
like knives and soaked in saliva.
“Marin, man, calm down” I said.
“They are coming, kid, they are coming!” he mumbled
and began to drool slightly.
Unlike me, who did not have the same power of
concentration, Uncle could sense our kind from twice
as far as I ever could. However, he wasn’t himself for
over a week, and that was the longest he ever sensed
the presence of vampires. He behaved like Count
Dracula himself was about to appear from a distance.
But if that were the case, I would’ve felt him too,
but I didn’t feel anything that night.
Eventually, after two days, I sensed them too: a
strange thrill, like when you’re alone in the house
and see a strange, slippery shadow behind the half-way
opened door. Every time he felt them before, we
would’ve run away. We avoided as much as possible any
encounter with other vampires. Because even if they
were like us, we were different just like dogs and
wolves are different.
“What are we going to do?” I asked Marin.
“I don’t know, kido. In one or two days it’ll be here
with his followers. It’s your call also.”
Truth was, we grew fond of the old, even if they were
paranoid. In almost three months, we’d had good times,
and they treated us like old friends. For me, it was a
pleasant feeling, but for Marin, it was heaven on
earth because he truly missed the old times.
If we left, the old wouldn’t be safe. If we waited for
the vampires, we wouldn’t know what to expect as we
never went through something similar before. But it
wasn’t like we didn’t have an idea about how things
would go. I wasn’t sure how many they were, but Marin
sensed they were four. Two against one wasn’t exactly
a fair fight for us, and we couldn’t ask for the
old-timers’ help, as their arthritic bones weren’t fit
The two days went by fast. In the end, without any
planning in advance – or at least that’s what I
thought – we were all gathered at the bar, waiting for
them. Uncle had decided we had been running from too
many fights and decided to stay. I agreed.
We were sitting at the center table, and the old
gathered four or five at the tables around us. In the
silence before the vampires’ arrival, you could hear
them checking and rechecking their rifles dozens of
times. Making sure they were loaded. I remembered what
Marin said: paranoia was the primary feeling of the
old, even before vampires. So no, their behavior
wasn’t weird at all. But if I think about it, maybe it
wasn’t just paranoia. Even we were terrified; I can’t
imagine what they felt. Since they had an idea about
what a pack of hungry vampires could do from movies or
books, could we have blamed them? And at that moment,
I realized Marin was the only vampire I knew since I
Uncle used to tell me that we, unlike
vampires, were self-taught. But nothing he had told me
could’ve anticipated Dorina’s dramatic entrance. If
anything was left of the woman’s beauty in the picture
Marin was holding in his chest pocket, it was the
color of her eyes. But even they looked like something
you wouldn’t want near you. At least that was my
opinion, but Marin didn’t feel this way, he made big
efforts to not yield to the temptation to embrace her.
I could see it from a mile away, and I believe
everyone could’ve seen it from his turmoil.
“Oh my God!” Even if my expression wasn’t
the most religious, since my allegiance to the night
Gods, the vampire’s woman drama nature sent chills
down my spine. A sharp cry mixed with the guttural
grunts of a beast. At that moment I understood – and I
was fully and irrevocably convinced –Uncle and I were
truly different. With no doubt, we weren’t
humans anymore, but still we were nothing like the
creatures that were swirling around the front door.
Dorina was very anxious, confessing her love for Marin
for anyone to hear. A great bloodlust was burning in
her eyes, and it was so obvious that even a
two-year-old would have seen it. The other three
vampires, some thirty-year-old guys, pricked their
senses and gravitated around the woman like undecided
satellites, waiting for the command.
Marin lifted his bony hand in the air, and the old
ones began to retreat, walking in reverse, step by
step, one after the other. It was clear they couldn’t
walk any faster, but the most important detail was the
fact they stayed calm and didn’t run away. We all had
our rifles pointing at the vampires. None were aimed
at me and Uncle this time. The only one who did not
take any steps was Bogdan. The old man propped his
back on the tanks and was struggling to look
threatening, moving the rifle’s barrel from one side
of the room to the other.
Dorina wasn’t so beastly as I initially assumed
because seeing our clear intention to protect the
humans, she stopped that grotesque dance of love.
“Don’t be an idiot, Marin,” she said. “You treat them
like they’re pets. When, in fact, they are just a
Then she passed her long and bluish tongue over the
irregular line of her pearly teeth.
“You’re not my Dorina anymore.”
Marin’s voice was a blend of pity and regret. And
maybe a little bit of fear. I couldn’t agree more.
Still, we were two against one. I wasn’t very
confident. However, we were ready, with our muscles
trembling from eagerness. Because I must admit, the
imminent danger awoke a state of irritation, which
until then was just in my head. The only time I felt
like I was losing control was the time I was feeding.
But I was distracted for a second, and after the first
bites, I could account for my behavior. Only at that
moment, it was about something else entirely. It was
about the scuffle I was about to have and nothing
Marin lowered his hand quickly, like giving a secret
signal. Somehow, I was surprised by his decision. I
knew he was too self-contained to believe in miracles.
I don’t know what he hoped at that moment for the old
ones to accomplish. But it had to be attempted.
Dorina’s heart didn’t have the resources to be
softened anymore. It would’ve been the same as asking
a wolf to eat salad. Marin’s self-control, I later
realized, was possible due to his intrapsychic state –
in his mortal life you could’ve driven a high-speed
truck towards the inner wall that was his morals and,
after the emotional impact, you still couldn’t budge
him one centimeter. And me, I was tamed mainly
because Marin discovered me immediately after I was
transformed. I never got the chance to taste human
blood, and that was probably why he chose taming.
The vampires’ eyes sparkled as they looked at the
old-timers, and there was no doubt that you could
never save their souls.
In the next second, rifles rumbled in unison, and the
room was filled with a white smoke, a pungent smell of
potassium nitrate. You could barely see anything. A
few moments of lethal silence and the rifles roared
for the second time. I narrowed my eyes so I could see
through the smoke curtain; the old-timers fleeing and
rushing through the back door. But the vampires
weren’t stupid enough to become easy targets. A
vampire can run several times faster than an athlete.
And, judging by the way they climbed the walls and
ceiling, none of the old-timers’ bullets hit them.
If I think about it, the things looked rather strange.
I was myself, a vampire. Even so, I was staring at
them, amazed by the way they ran backwards. I’ve never
tried such tricks, and I thought it was a damn useful
trick I needed to master. Again, I was looking at the
possibilities. Between them and us, there were
limitations strictly for intrapsychic reasons, not
physical. Still, it was a good enough reason that I
couldn’t imitate their performance. The answer was
simple: the main culprit was the madness caused by the
bloodlust. And with their inability to control
themselves, beastly reactions were unleashed.
One of Dorina’s henchmen saw me and jumped at me –
insane, imperturbable and incredibly fast. Until he
came close, I propped my feet on the ground, ready to
attack him. At the right moment, precisely calculated,
I hit with all my strength.
It’s quite discouraging to know you’re giving your
best shot and the result – in your opponent’s eyes –
looks like a mosquito flying towards him. The man
evaded my punch with humiliating ease. I leaned on
one side, following the descending momentum of my
failed punch. And was hit by his own. I felt my
stomach crunch like a wrecking ball
had hit it.
I could see Marin somewhere on my right, or it could
have been my left as I was tumbled in the air from the
blow. The other two male vampires jumped on him. I
could also see Bogdan struggling to load his rifle and
Dorina displayed a huge rictus – shiny, white, clean
fangs – and advanced slowly.
I passed through the brick walls like they were made
of cardboard. Through a diffused dust curtain, I
landed and saw Marin. He plunged in the air after me
and fell a stone’s throw away from where I was. I
stood still, watching him, hopeless. We were in big
trouble. They were about to kick our asses for the
indolence we showed.
Finally, I managed to move – I think my moment of
deadlock was more about my self-confidence than my
physical ineptitude – and I could see Bogdan through
hole in the wall I made when I was thrown out
into the street. He stood glued to his tanks and waved
something in the air. Something strange, which didn’t
look like a rifle at all. The way Dorina and the other
vampires cornered the old man wasn’t a good sign. I
felt an overwhelming pity for the poor man.
“Run!” screamed Marin.
I couldn’t move a muscle. It was the worst thing that
could happen to me in that moment, and the way Marin
made a run for it really took me by surprise. If he
had been near me, I would’ve berated him for his
behavior. But it wasn’t like that because he knew
something I didn’t.
At the beginning, there was a deafening blast followed
by a heavy wave of debris, pushed in every direction
over a ten-meter radius by the blow. Over ten thousand
small, sharp pieces of iron and concrete hit my back.
I was still following Marin, who was running rapidly.
In the distance, I saw the old-timers. They were
running like a bunch of old goats. I nearly burst into
laughter when Bogdan’s tanks blew up. I suddenly felt
a strong push, like a giant’s boot kicking me. It
threw me in the air, and, of course, I didn’t die. I
was at a safe distance. I only needed two hours to
heal, although the entire process hurt like hell.
Dorina and the three hooligans were toast. They had
ultra-fast regenerative powers just like us, but to
achieve that, they had to have something to
regenerate, something to work on, and in this case, it
was impossible. You can’t reconstruct vampires from a
pile of debris and organic matter. Even Mother Nature,
with all its mysteries, has its limitations.
Only later was I fully brought up to date. Those were
Bogdan’s last oxygen tanks. Even if the attack didn’t
happen, he knew he would die soon. And, given the
situation, he offered to sacrifice himself to save us
all. Marin knew about his plan, but decided to be
cautious. He thought the vampire female could’ve tried
to charm and manipulate me as she pleased. That made
me angry for a while. Like I wasn’t capable of
handling her, Marin insinuated. But after a day or two
of staying angry, I completely forgot my troubles. It
could’ve been worse.
As for Bogdan, what can I tell you? It looks like you
can be a hero and don’t need to be a vampire or have
superpowers to save the day. And if you happen to pass
through that God-forsaken neighborhood, in case Brașov
doesn’t perish under a pile of dust and nothingness,
well, you can’t miss the monument dedicated to Bogdan,
placed downtown. Two empty tanks, fixed in high metal
pipe holders. No name, no slogan. Heroes live forever
without such nonsense.