Chapter 1 - A New Millennium


She opened the door herself: she’d let her receptionist leave hours ago, before it had gone dark in the middle of the midwinter afternoon, she was alone in the office.

“Are you the one who called?” she asked.

“Yes, indeed… I am, as you say, the one who called. It is very good of you to see me at such short notice,” the tall, pale stranger gave her a thin smile; “especially tonight; there cannot be many people working tonight.”

“Tonight’s nothing special,” she shrugged, “it’s just a number, an arbitrary concept; it has no real significance. Please come in, anyway, I’ll take you through to the consulting room,” she led the way and he followed. She indicated one of the armchairs by the fire, “Do sit down.”

As she sat opposite, she studied his features. He was a mature man, but not old, anywhere between forty and sixty was as close as she could guess. He gazed back at her with an intensity that made her slightly uncomfortable. It wasn’t sexual, it was something else, but she found it disturbing nonetheless.

“I have always felt the numbers humanity uses to measure their passing years have a certain romantic appeal… they interest me a great deal,” he said.

“Yes, well… for a thousand pounds, I’m quite willing to sacrifice any romantic appeal about so-called millennium night. Cash in advance, I think you said?”

“Indeed, yes, of course… here,” the stranger handed over a bundle of notes. “I think you will find it is all there, but you are welcome to count it if you wish.”

“No, it’s alright, I’ll take your word for it.”

Taking the money, she stood up and walked across to her desk. Sighing as she placed it next to the phone, she still couldn’t decide whether she was going to put it through the books or not. She’d been struggling to make ends meet since John had left, having to fight hard to keep the practice going: which was why, when a mysterious, unknown caller had offered her ten times her usual fee, she’d had to accept.

Turning back to face the stranger again, she returned to her seat, “So, how can I help you, Mister…?”

“Just call me Mister Smith… then I might not have to kill you afterwards,” he gave his thin smile again, as if to reassure her he was joking, although somewhere in the back of her mind, a part of her feared he might be serious.

“Right, er… well, er… OK, Mister Smith, what can I do for you?”

“My problem is a little difficult to explain. But, essentially, it arises because I am a vampire.”

She nodded, starting to take notes, “You think you’re a vampire?”

“No, my dear, I do not think I am a vampire; I am a vampire.”

She laughed, “Alright, we must be at some sort of cross-purposes here. You obviously don’t mean a blood-sucking, undead, turns into a bat, type vampire, you’re talking about something else?”

“I do not, and have never, turned into a bat. What a preposterous idea. And I am very much alive, not ‘undead’, as you call it. Between Stoker and Hollywood, you have been fed a great many ridiculous notions about us. It is simply that my metabolism works in a different way to you humans.”

“We humans?”

“Yes. I used to be human, then I was converted. Since then, I have been a vampire.”

“I see,” she smiled, “so you do suck blood then?”

“Yes. But I have no problem with crosses or garlic, and I cannot fly through the air or transform myself into an animal.”

“What about sunlight?”

“My eyes are extremely sensitive, bright sunlight can be rather painful for me, but I will not burn up as if I were in a furnace.”

“How old are you?”

He sighed, “I am five hundred and sixty-three years old and I have been a vampire for most of that time. Look, I am not here to explain the truth about vampires, I need your help.”

“I’m not sure I can help you, Mister Smith. I think you need psychiatric treatment. I would recommend you…”

“Would you like me to prove it?”

“Prove what?”

“Prove I am a vampire.”

“Er… er…” she felt a chill rising inside her. He stood up and the chill turned her veins to ice. Her mind was screaming at her to get up and run, but she was frozen with fear as the stranger crossed the room to her desk. He picked up her letter opener and stabbed himself in the neck, plunging the blade deep into his flesh.

“No,” she screamed. Finding she was finally able to move again, she jumped up and ran to him. He pulled the letter opener out of his neck and handed it to her. As the gaping hole he’d made in his throat gradually sealed itself up, she looked down at the blade: there was no blood. She looked up again and stared at his neck: there was no blood.

“My God, my God, you’re… you’re… Christ, it’s fucking true!” She started backing away.

He smiled and nodded, “Yes, it is true. And, while I cannot fly, I am quite strong, and I can run much faster than you. So, I suggest you just sit down and start doing what I have paid you to do. Counsel me.”

She collapsed into her chair, putting a shaking hand to her mouth as she gazed up at him, “W-w-what are you going to do to me?”

“That rather depends on you. But first, I must insist we proceed with the session. You have been well paid and, up to now, you have done nothing but waste my time.”

“W-w-well, y-y-you have plenty of it, don’t you?”

He laughed, “Your sense of humour is returning.” He sat opposite her and clasped his hands in front of him, “Now, shall I tell you why I am here?”

“Y-y-yes, p-please do,” she picked up her pen and notepad.



“Yes, I have to kill to feed, or rather, when I feed, it kills. And, lately… well, lately I have been feeling some remorse, some guilt about my victims. And it is getting worse; I need you to help me find a way to overcome it.”

“Is that, er… er, is it unusual… for a vampire, I mean?”

“It is unheard of for a mature, experienced vampire like myself.”

“I see… and, er… er, you say it’s only lately, you didn’t feel any guilt before?”

“Perhaps the first few times after I was converted, but not for centuries after that, not until around fifty years ago.”

“Fifty years: that’s what you mean by lately?”

“I was born in 1436, fifty years is nothing.”

“No, I… I suppose not. Can you think of anything that happened fifty years ago that may have brought about this change?”

“Not really, no,” he shrugged.

“Well, do you remember the first time you felt remorse?”

“Hmmm, let me think,” he closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. For a moment, she thought about trying to make a run for it.

“Do not even think about it,” he said.

“Are you psychic, can you read my thoughts?”

“No,” he chuckled softly, “but people always try to run if they think I am not looking.”

“Right, yeah… OK,” she nodded. She was still terrified, but she was feeling a bit calmer now. He hadn’t said he would kill her so, maybe, if she could help him, he would let her go. She had to hope so.

Opening his eyes, he shook his head, “It was not a single moment, it was a feeling that built up over many years. It is like I woke up one night and realised I had been feeling guilty for some time. I imagined it would go away, but it has continued to grow. It is really becoming unbearable now.”

“Well, why don’t you just stop?”

“Stop? What do you mean?”

“Stop killing people.”

“I cannot do that, I need to feed, I would die if I stopped.”

“Have you ever tried?”

“Of course not. I do not think you understand. I do not kill for sport or entertainment, I do not do it for a thrill, for monetary gain, or some kind of vengeance. I leave those evils to you humans. I only kill because I have to, I do it to survive.”

“OK, I see. Right, well, er… I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but… you’ve just summed up why you shouldn’t feel guilty. You’re just like a… er, like a lion, or a shark, you kill only to feed, so you can live.”

“Do you not think I have told myself that every time I feel the remorse darkening my mind?”

“Well, er… er, maybe you needed to hear it from someone else?”

“Foolish human. Do you truly think if I were to suck the blood from your body and leave you to die that I should not feel any remorse because I do it only to survive?”

“Well, er… er, um… um, speaking objectively… which is a little difficult when you put it like that… er, yes, I… I don’t think you should feel any remorse. But please don’t suck my blood, I… I need it.”

“Yes, but as you have so rightly pointed out, my dear… so do I.”

He moved so fast, she never had chance to react, not even to scream. Before she knew it, he’d sunk his teeth deep into her neck. Hollywood had got one thing right: they were long and sharp.

It didn’t hurt, but she could feel herself emptying, draining away. She was scared, scared of the darkness about to engulf her, scared of facing eternity… or nothing at all.


She woke lying on the floor. Everything ached, every bone, every muscle. But she was alive.

She stumbled to her feet. There was a patch of dried blood on the carpet. Putting her hand to her neck, she felt the bite marks and the congealed blood on her skin next to them. Looking around, she saw the stranger had gone, but there was a note lying on her desk, next to the money. She hobbled over and picked it up.

I owe you my thanks. You were right, hearing it from someone else was exactly what I needed. I realised just in time, before I drained you completely. Perhaps we will meet again but, for now, I will leave you to enjoy your new millennium.

Yours truly,


Smiling, she put down the note and limped across to the window. She could see through the curtains it was daylight outside, a bright, sunny morning: she must have slept a long time.

Grabbing the curtains, she pulled them open, allowing the light to flood into the room. She staggered back, her hand covering her eyes. “Jesus, that hurts,” she exclaimed.