He infuriates me.
I should snap his spine with my fingers. Again I am reminded that I have sunk so low, that a mere human, not even a half-breed, dares to give me orders. The green one makes jokes about me, as if a god could exist only to amuse him.
I must turn away, before this face I wear betrays my thoughts.
From the balcony, I watch him greet two humans. I feel a twinge of recognition. This shell has some relationship to them. Carefully I sort through the bits of memory until I find their faces. Ah, they are her progenitors. Undoubtedly they will now add their grief to the miasma that surrounds me.
My form trembles as I fight the ridiculous urge to flee. This is unacceptable. I must find another solution. Perhaps this is the best opportunity to try my experiment?
I return to the lab (her lab). The memories are stronger here, surrounded by a familiar environment. I brace myself, and open my mind to those fragments of memory. I close my eyes and watch as they spark like stars in the night sky. I wrap them around myself and pull what little power I have left. My form shifts. There is some slight pain, but nothing I cannot endure, even in this weakened state.
I open my eyes, and move toward a glass cabinet. This will do. My form now matches the memories of the shell.
The progenitors (no, she would call them 'parents') are in Wesley’s office. I close my eyes briefly and allow the memories to float on the surface of my mind. I must be able to access them quickly. I am ready. I open the door and let the memories take over my actions.
Curious, the shell (Fred, Winnifred, Miss Burkle) speaks with such abandon. She does not stop to weigh her words. Instead they tumble from her mouth as soon as they are formed in her mind.
As I move past Wesley, I feel something new from him. It floats lighter than air, before it suddenly shatters like glass. I believe they call it ‘hope’. For one moment, he believed I was his Fred returned to him. This is proceeding well.
The shell’s memories guide me to take these humans (Mother, Father) back to the lab. My lab.
The memories give me understanding of these unfamiliar emotions that rise in my mind. She feels affection for her ‘family’. I can sense a need to please them and meet their expectations. There is pride in her accomplishments, but it must be stated with humility. I do not understand the rules for these interactions. I had no need of pride or humility, I was supreme, it was simple fact.
I speak of terminating anyone who is mean to the father. This pleases me, until I realize that to the shell, this is only a jest. She has no thirst for conquest and no enjoyment of her power. If my Qwa'ha Xahn had not died, I would kill him myself for trapping me in this form.
The mother asks Wesley about his relations with females. Ah, I have discovered another new emotion - embarrassment. The memories are quick to inform me what the mother is thinking. She wishes to mate her daughter to Wesley. This is wise of her, as he is a person of authority in this place. The shell, however, is quick to dissuade her from this course of action. I approve. Power is not worth taking if it must be shared.
Odd, the shell is not concerned with sharing her power. She is only concerned with the mother making decisions about Fred’s life. The mother holds no control over her that I can see, so why is this a concern?
I hear myself asking the father to make the mother stop her plans. Does the father have power over the mother? It does not seem to be so. Perhaps this a strategy to set one parent against the other, in order to divide and therefore reduce their perceived influence over me?
The mother speaks of keeping Wesley for herself. I feel a flash of anger. Wesley is mine. The shell, however, does not react to this threat. Apparently this is also a jest.
My face feels stretched. This ‘smiling’ is tiresome.
Wesley is angry with me. I pull away from the memories and answer him as myself.
His rage is enjoyable, if confusing. I am only applying what I learned from the vampire’s trick. Knowledge that will cause pain to these humans should be withheld when possible, especially if their pain does not suit your plans.
He is angry, but he does not attempt to stop me. His emotions are in turmoil. I can tell that he too has no wish to deal with the grief of the parents.
The mother berates me. I remind myself I must refrain from killing her. What does it matter if the office is empty of possessions?
‘Absotively’? Why does the shell use these incorrect words? The memories tell me she was intelligent, for a human. Perhaps this is an attempt to hide her true strength and confuse her enemies with the illusion of ignorance.
I am finding pleasure in this interaction. These humans have such strong, positive emotions for me (worship? no, they call it love). They want to please me, ensure that I am ‘happy’. Since I returned to this plane of existence, only my Qwa'ha Xahn has acted this way toward me. I have missed this.
My skin is softer in this form. The parents touch me often. The memories remind me that they do this to show their affection toward me. The sensations are interesting. In my kingdom, to touch me without permission would have meant immediate execution. I must examine these reactions further.
The mother senses something of my true self. Fortunately the father is quick to downplay her observations. Their sadness in departing from me is difficult enough to bear. They must not discover that I am not their beloved offspring.
I speak of loving these parents. I can feel the ghost of those emotions within me. Fred wished to protect these humans from her world.
Finally they depart, but wish to speak with me again in the future. This may be useful. As the doors of the transport close, the shell wiggles her hand. The mother wiggles hers in return, then they are gone. I search the memories for a meaning to this signal, but find none.
Again Wesley gives me orders. He was not pleased by my assumption of Fred’s persona. I do not answer. What answer would I give? I need his knowledge, but I will not be subject to him.
I return to Wesley’s office. He is sitting in the dark again. I believe the other vampire called it ‘brooding’. The shell is fearful of his temper. She is hesitant to approach him and modulates her words and attitude accordingly. I have observed that she uses wiles in place of brute strength to get what she wants.
I speak of love to him, his love of Fred and her love of him. I am using the memories to allow me to react as Fred would, but I am asking for my own purposes. I am curious to see what his reaction will be. Will he touch me and seek to please me, as the parents did? Will this be enough to bind him to me?
He rejects this form and speaks as if he has no feelings for me, but he lies. I can feel the heat from him. His emotions are a tangled net.
As he leaves the room, he tells me not to be her. But who else can I be? He has taken my power from me. The memories of Fred are all I have left. Her ability to live in this world, and to sway the humans around her is my only remaining power. I must go forward in this world, in this semblance of a human.
Very well, I will discontinue this form. For now.
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