The wind whistled through the night, blowing up dust and leaves into her face as she walked along the empty streets. She didn’t feel the cold; her sole focus was on her destination; 1557 Sorcerer’s Lane. She’d gotten the note with the address at her photography studio earlier that afternoon, and laughed at the address; Merlin always had a taste for irony.
Reaching her destination she looked up at the building. She lightly pushed open the front door, and it fell backwards at her touch. It was a former shipping warehouse, on the outside it was practically falling down.
“Hello?” Her voice echoed through the empty room. The moonlight lit her way, streaming through cracks between the boarded up windows; she could see perfectly in spite of it. Her boots made a crunching noise as she crossed the floor. She refused to imagine what she might be stepping on. She paused to get her bearings and called again:
“Hello?!” She was beginning to have doubts some as to whether she had the right building or not.
“My lady, how lovely to see you again,” A man’s voice said. He took her arm and gently guided her through a set of doors and up a flight of stairs. They stopped to get their bearings, and allow her eyes to adjust to the lighted stairway. Neither said a word until they stood outside a second floor room. He turned to her;
“Welcome to my lab Lady Guinevere.” She nodded her acknowledgement of the formal title; nobody called her that except for him. She stood a moment surveying the room; four lab tables were set up with all the paraphernalia; test-tubes of varying size formed a multicoloured rainbow of chemicals and next to them Bunsen burners, and solid pots. Scientists busied themselves working mixing together chemicals.
He led her down a centre aisle to a rear office, and shut the door. He leaned against his desk while she sat in the desk chair.
“I can watch the goings-on, not listen to them. This office is perfectly secure as is the lab. I’ve cast a spell on the workers so they will speak of nothing they see or do here. Your true identity is safe my Lady.” She stood and embraced him;
“It is good to see you again Merlin.”
“And you my lady.” He agreed.
“Ah, it’s just Guinevere now. Or Guen for short; I’m by no means a Queen these days. I work as a photographer for a living.”
“And I teach for a living... if you can believe that."
“I can. You were always a good teacher to the apprentices; to me. You taught me to control my hunger; and my other abilities.”
Merlin was glad of the segue and took the opportunity smiling as he began speaking his excitement overtaking his tone;
“I think I have the answer to your prayers my lady. I have found a formula that will successfully mask the symptoms associated with vampirism.” She eyed him speculatively; he had made such promises before; but they were always a disappointment. They never worked for longer than a few days, and the symptoms always returned worse than before.
Merlin walked behind his desk, taking a key from his pocket opened the drawer. He pulled out a pill bottle; it appeared innocuous; tinted yellow with a white cap like any other found in a drug store. Guinevere swivelled around to face him, watching with some awe as Merlin poured one single pill out into his hand. She gingerly reached out to touch it; it had a hard white surface smooth and somewhat cool to the touch. He let her pick it up; and she did flipping it around in her thoughtfully.
“I tested it on myself using parts of your blood infused into my blood stream. I have been taking the pill on a daily basis for the last month. So far the vampirism has not returned, and I don’t expect it to.” He paused letting it sink in.
“My senses have returned to normal, and the thirst has disappeared. I do not know if it will also reverse the immortality but my hypothesis is that it will at least begin a slow aging process.
Guinevere blinked in disbelief at what he told her. The hunger was always the worst part about being a vampire for her; the thought she needed to take another life was something she found repulsive. She had found ways to cope with it; hunting wild game, ordering meat cooked rare. Meditation was also a big help as well.
“Think my lady Guinevere, of the quality of life you would enjoy; you could move away from the isolation that infects your race. You could enjoy the taste of food again; this invention chocolate is a sweet confection I believe you would enjoy. You could have a somewhat normal life.”
“If I were to say yes, what would our next steps be?”
“There would be no next steps. I have already made a supply of the medicine. You would take it with you today, and begin your course.” She stood up ready to receive the pill bottle; it was heavier.
“There is two years worth of supply in there. I will find you before this supply runs out.” She put the bottle in her purse, and he guided her out of the lab. They embraced again at the top of the stairs.
All of Guinevere’s gratitude showed on her face as she smiled: “Thank you Merlin.”
“You are most welcome my Lady.”
So what do you think? Suggestions on improvements are welcome.