For a long time, I couldn’t pin what exactly was wrong with my life.
As far as I could tell, I had no problems that would it seem like anything less than ordinary. I really had no complaints.
Yet something was wrong. Something was off. As best I could, despite this nagging feeling that bore down in the back of my mind and distracted me in everything I did, I tried to carry on just as if I was like everyone else.
But I knew I wasn’t. That’s what bothered me. I knew I wasn’t.
I just couldn’t say how. Ask anyone I knew, and they’d say I wasn’t all that different. And yet I knew that I was. The problem is, unless you can prove it, the world will always tell you that you’re not important, not significant. You don’t stand out in a crowd.
Then again, lots of people do their best work in the shadows. They don’t want to be known, and they take great pains to keep it that way. I didn’t think I was some kind of secret agent. I think it would have been hard to forget something like that. But clearly I had forgotten something, or had been induced to forget something…important.
I was incomplete, and I didn’t know how.
The more I tried to remember, the more things didn’t add up. Memories, I had memories, and I seemed to be able to remember my life, but it was all in bits and snatches. It wasn’t long before I started to wonder why, how I could remember my life, but it suddenly didn’t seem real, as if something was missing.
I did some investigating, reacquainting with old friends, well past the family I knew would be able to corroborate all the things that didn’t really matter, all the formative things, the stuff you do before you truly become yourself, all the things built on the foundation. There were periods that still could not be accounted for.
There were also faces I couldn’t put a name to, and there wasn’t anyone who could help. I began hitting a lot of dead-ends, people who would stop answering my questions. It was undeniable that they recognized me, but they refused to say how. I am not a threatening type, but I could swear they were frightened of me. People I barely knew, they didn’t want anything to do with me. I’m not that kind of person. Anyone I get close to, it’s because I want them in my life at that point.
Who would I have met, and under what circumstances, that would have altered this code? How did I know them? I realized these people, I couldn’t answer these questions. I couldn’t remember how I knew them, only that I had. I had no connections, no more than when I had started the search.
So I dug deeper. I realized the only way to solve this was to stop going after the familiar faces themselves and instead start investigating their lives, not mine. Only by association, only by deduction, could I figure this out.
I learned some startling things. The more I learned, the more I was shocked to have ever known these people. Their interests, their business, was like nothing I had ever thought to be interested in. Depraved, unnatural things. I don’t want to get into it, even now.
But the implicating were undeniable. Things I had only thought of as fiction became a reality. I was no closer to my missing pieces, but the shape of things was forming.
Finally, I hit what appeared to be the last piece of a puzzle, a grave, unmarked, worn by at least ten years worth of rot. What was inside had decomposed even more. The decision to dig up the body was beside the point. I knew what I had to do.
By this point, I had made some connections, and in that way, I identified the corpse. The name meant nothing to me.
Then I looked into its own story, and found myself stooped in further occult matters. The man, whose name I can still not and will not utter, even type, it was claimed that he had been a vampire.
His story led to the grave, and the individual responsible for that was famous enough, even though the rest of the world hardly gave them any credit. They will not be identified here, either, by gender or name. I don’t want others to suffer as I have.
I wish I had never started asking questions. I think that’s the end result of any quest.
I discovered in this process that I had been tangled in the web of the vampire. I had become a vampire myself. It was in the death of the original that I became a man again, and lost all memories of my time as the undead.
I don’t want to remember, but in the process of uncovering the truth of my life, I think I had uncovered the memories. They haunt me, they lurk around corners. I look at a park bench, and I see the color red. All visions, and they come frequently, are covered in blood.
I don’t want to know more, and yet I fear I am not at the end, but the beginning.
And I fear, I didn’t learn that I had once been a vampire, but that I one still.
The past is ever the present, the specter of the future.
I am bound by time.