Purple Rain

“We have to get out of here. Quickly. If Amy could find us, it means others won’t be far behind.” Summer said, as we all collected ourselves.

We tried to clean up our traces as best as we could. But given that everything was burnt to a crisp, I doubt anyone could pick up after us. Jimmy camouflaged us through the dark alleys around the bar, and we safely got back to our warehouse. Somehow, we all knew that this was only the beginning. The brothel ringleaders are not a forgive-and-forget kind. And what we did tonight would make it even harder for them to forget.

Rachel seemed obviously very upset at this whole incident tonight. She was still shaking when we got home. “Amy, she was one of my good friends at the brothel. When I first got there, she helped me so much. To see what they did to her and her little sister, it just broke my heart.” She confided.

We all sat in silence. What emotions were going through our head? Fear, confusion, shock, loss? It was hard to define. I didn’t venture out into my container-bedroom that night. Something told me that my family needed me at the moment, so I stayed in that little room with all of them, each of us curling up in our own little corner.

The deep sleep invaded my mind without mercy. It started as a blurry image, but then got clearer. I could feel myself walking alone in my dream. “Rain, can you hear me? Rain?” Somebody was calling me. A familiar voice. I saw a boy, about thirteen years old, his hair dyed many different colors. He was giggling with his friends. “Rain, focus!” the same voice again.

What is this? Who is that boy? As the boy came closer to view, his face hit me like a truck. It was my brother, Eugene! But this is not Eugene. He looks like Eugene, but he’s not. A couple of years older, and … and … not human. No, this can’t be. Eugene is living in the house with my parents. He can’t be a vampire! This is just a stupid dream. Wake up, Rain. Wake up!

The voice refused to let me go. It was vibrating through the sky, as if coming from a place far, far away, yet so close. The foggy image shifted, and I saw Eugene again, this time hanging by the edge of a building. There was another vampire trying to help him. But it was too late. My brother couldn’t hold on any longer, and he fell. His body hit the stake on the ground, and it impaled his heart like a rag doll. No!!! Eugene, no!!! Even in my dream, I tried to run over to save him. But before I could reach him, the image dissipated like ink in water. “Rain, you have to listen to me. Focus on my voice.”

“Who is this? Why are you doing this to me?” I tried to call out in my dream.

“I am you, Rain. I am you, twenty five years from now.” the voice became clearer, and here she was, staring right back at me, my own image!

The future me has purple bangs, hair shaved on the sides, and she was wearing lots of make-up. Her face bears a deep pain, deeper than I could ever recognize. Is this what I’ll become? Could I possibly get even more distraught and pain stricken than I am now? What kind of future heartbreak is awaiting me?

“This is way too messed-up, even for me. I am talking to my future self, in my own dream.” I said to her. “I must have hit my head on the pool table pretty hard tonight.”

“Rain, you are not dreaming. I’m just using your dream as a medium to communicate with you. And I need you to listen to me very carefully.” the other Rain told me.

“You’re telling me that somehow you found a way to communicate with your past self? Get outta here! You can’t even heal your friends. What the hell are you doing jumping through time like freaking Marty McFly???” I mocked her.

“In time, you will learn how to heal your friends, Rain. Hopefully before it’s too late.” Future me kept pressing on. I just frowned at her, not knowing what to say.

“Rain, you have to listen to me, and remember what I’m about to tell you. Save him, save the boy. That’s the only way to prevent the impending doom for us all.”

“What boy? Hey, where are you going? Come back!” I yelled out as the figure disappeared back into the fog.

My consciousness was yanked back to reality. I opened my eyes with a big gasp. Beads of sweat rolled down from my distressed forehead. I tried to shake that weird dream. But something about it shook me to the core. What if… what if it wasn’t a dream?! Eugene… Am I supposed to save him?

I could hear the others outside, all gathered around a bonfire. I guess no one wanted to go outside tonight, not after what happened with Amy. As much as I tried to, I could not bring myself out of bed. It was not until Jenn opened the door that I lazily got up.

“Rain, are you ok?” She asked with a concerned voice, worried that I was still hurt from last night.

“Yeah, I’m ok. Just need a minute that’s all.” I said.

Everyone has mostly healed after one sleep cycle, save for a couple of bruises here and there, but barely noticeable. I sat down between Rachel and Summer.

“Amy has always been nice to me. How many other girls could they possibly turn against us?” Rachel sounded alarmed.

“Come on, Rache. You know it’s not your fault. Don’t carry this on your conscience.” Summer tried to console her.

“We made a pretty big mess. And we did leave them behind. I mean, if I had tried harder, maybe I could have saved Amy and her sister.” Rachel was now on the verge of crying.

“No, you could not. Rache, you barely made it out alive. We had to fight and run for our lives, remember? I’m sorry if they got left behind. But each person needs to look out for their own survival. You can’t save everyone.”

“Still, I can’t help but blame myself. And I know they blame us too. We don’t know what happened after we escaped. We don’t know the kind of torture they had to go through. Whatever the ringleaders could not do to us, they took it out on the remaining girls.”

I listened to Rachel and Summer bantering, and all I could think about was Eugene.

“Say, guys, do vampires have premonition?” I tried to change the subject, seeing how heated the conversation was becoming.

Jenn gave me a puzzled look from across the circle. “What do you mean ‘premonition’?”

“I mean, I had a dream last night that I was talking to my future self. And I think… I think she was trying to warn me about something, something terrible in the future.”

Dead silence. Everyone looked at me as if I had just confessed my love for Hitler. Finally, Jimmy broke the tension. “Rain, what are you even talking about? Vampires don’t dream a lot. And they certainly do not talk to their future self.”

“Could it… could it be some sort of extra? Could vampires have two extras?” I asked, still trying to find an alternative explanation besides the fact that I must have gone crazy.

“Well, a vampire can, with enough practice, learn from their friends and develop a secondary extra, or even a third, fourth, and in some rare cases, fifth. But it takes years, if not decades of extreme concentration. You’re short of a month into your crossover, Rain. That’s impossible.” Jimmy let out a nervous laugh.

“Not entirely impossible…” Jennifer added.

“There have been rumors of a legendary vampire Mimic, a scripture phenomenon, a vampire God to walk the earth, and it’s supposed to happen in our generation.”

“Yeah but everyone knows it’s just crazy talk from a few vampire psychics that have gone bat shit insane.”

“What’s a vampire Mimic?” I asked.

“The legends vary. Some said he’s a dark angel, born out of love, shaped by pain and suffering, to bring death and destruction to us all. Some said he’s supposed to bring about the Vampire Dawn, the greatest realization in vampire history, to lead us to eternal salvation. He has the power to do everything, be anything, and for a vampire Mimic, no extra is too hard to learn. He absorbs them like a sponge, hence the name.” Jimmy scoffed. “But if you ask me, I’d say it’s just a boogeyman story mothers tell their kids to get them to sleep. Vampires have our fair share of fairy tales too.”

“So technically, a vampire Mimic can develop a second extra without even knowing? And even within a month of his or her crossover?” I pressed on.

“Yeah right, the first and only vampire we saved from the brothel turns out to be a vampire Mimic! How amazing is that?!” Jimmy said sarcastically.

“I mean, Rain has been a really quick learner. She got us all out of that hell hole using her extra.” Summer said above just a whisper.

“Come on, Summer. You’ve got to be kidding me!” Jimmy put his hands around his head. “Everyone knows the Vampire Mimic is just a myth. Even if it were true, and even if our Rain here happened to be a walking legend that has not come into existence in the last 600 years, where do you think she could have picked up the ability to travel through time?”

“In our world, anything is possible. All of our extras are quite inconceivable to humans. Your ability to camouflage and blend in with your environment, Rain’s extra to heal herself instantly, my own ability to emit sunlight from my body… How do you explain all of that rationally?” Summer defended her point.

“It’s one thing to have a few unique extras, but an entirely different freak show to absorb any and all extras without even trying.”

“There’s only one way to find out.” Rachel spoke up. “What if we were all to teach Rain our extras, to see if she can pick it up quickly enough? If she were truly a vampire Mimic, she would have absorbed all of ours by now. She just needs to know how to conjure them up and use them at will.”

“That sounds like an amazing idea. Let’s teach our new blood all of our extremely dangerous extras, and if she happens to be the only Mimic in existence since 600 years, she can use those extras to blow up our only sanctuary. And hey, while we’re at it, let me grab a few grenades and swallow them, you know, just for kicks.” Jimmy never bothers to tone down his sarcasm.

“That’s actually not a half-bad idea,” Jennifer agreed with Rachel. “You know in the next few weeks or even months, we will be running into a lot of foes from the brothel. The more we know about each other’s extra, the better we’ll be able to defend ourselves in an attack.”

“Alright, it’s settled then. Jennifer can start by teaching her extra to Rain. Summer and I were talking about scavenging around our warehouse for concrete and weapons to secure our gate even more. Jimmy, why don’t you come with us? We could really use your help since you know the area the most.” Rachel suggested.

“You guys, be careful, ok? Don’t venture too far out from the warehouse. You never know what’s out there.” I told them.

As the three of them walked out the front gate, Jenn turned to me and winked. “You’re ready for your first lesson, New Blood?”

I nodded, and she proceeded to explain: “My extra, every vampire’s extra, is tied to their personal experience, their pain, sufferings, dreams, and desires from way before their cross-over into darkness. Whatever emotional baggage in your human life does not simply get left behind; you carry them with you and they become a part of who you are as a vampire, what you can do. For example, my extra: I can sense other vampires’ abilities because I have always been a curious little girl since young age. I grew up in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska. My Mom and Dad owned a tiny convenience store, and we made do with what we had, never extravagant, but never wanting.”

“Sounds like a happy life to me.” I said.

“It was. And sometimes I miss it, you know?” Jenn’s eyes began to get misty.

“Somehow, I always knew deep down that I wasn’t destined for that life. It was too simple, too mundane for me. Sometimes I even feel guilty for feeling that way. Am I too privileged, too spoiled? I often ask myself. There I was not having to fight for my life to make ends meet, having a perfect little family with loving parents and a supportive best-friend sister. Yet, I threw it all away to come to the big windy city, to struggle on Broadway as an actress, and then end up being lured into darkness.”

“So you do regret it?” I asked.

“Not at all. I feel bad about making the choice sometimes, but I never regret it. If I had to do it all over again, I would still make the same choice. It’s who I am. And I can never deny it. I’ve learned to not judge my choices too harshly. As long as I am not hurting anyone, why should people judge me for just being myself? I listened to your story, Rain, and Summer’s story about how you guys struggled in life, how your father mistreated you, how Summer had to sell her body and soul to save her family, and all I could think about was: I am so much luckier than any of you. But does that mean I was happy? No. I guess humans have always wanted what they don’t have.”

“I don’t think you were spoiled for following your dreams, for wanting more out of your life, and not settling for the easy path.” I told her.

“Yeah I know. I need to stop feeling responsible for all the bad things in life. I can’t save everyone, you know? And just because somewhere out there, a lot of people are hurting and starving, that does not mean I have to stop living my life and give up on my dreams. It’s never a luxury to dream. And trust me; I paid dearly for my dreams. But it was worth it.”

“Thank you for opening your heart to me, Jenn. I never truly had a family before darkness, besides my brother Eugene. You guys really showed me what it meant to have a family.” My voice began to crack as the overwhelming emotions crammed my throat.

“Ok now, don’t go all Korean soap opera on me!” Jenn laughed.

I wiped my tears with a smile. “I don’t know what I would do or what I would become without you guys.”

“So now that you know more about me, I want you to concentrate on my extra.” Jennifer got serious with me again. “Think about who I am, my natural curiosity, my ambition, desire, dreams, and regrets, everything. Think about how they shaped who I am: how they gave me the ability to sense others’ extras, because I am thirsty for knowledge, for connection, for a bond with the world and the people around me.”

As Jenn’s words danced around in my head, she opened up herself to me. I started to see her, sense her being, her true self, and all of a sudden, something clicked. I started to be who she is! Once I locked into her nature, we became one, and I felt her ability rise to the surface of my skin. Even more amazingly, I began to use her ability to read her ability! It was like using a microscope to look at another microscope!

The feeling was fleeting, however. As soon as I got a good grasp on her ability, it disappeared. It was different somehow, like I could sense it, feel it, and understand it. But it was hard for me to… mimic it. It definitely helps me understand her extra more clearly and even more quickly. And if I tried hard enough and long enough, I could even learn to use it successfully, but not instantly. Jennifer seemed to understand what I am going through. She gave me a nod.

“So I take it you are not a Mimic then.” She winked.

“I guess not. Phew! At least, I won’t have to worry about bringing a Vampire Dawn to the whole species. I can’t imagine the burden on someone’s shoulders if they happened to be a Mimic. Poor thing!”

“You may not be a Mimic, Rain. But your extra is very special in its own way.” I raised my eyebrows.

“Not many vampires have the ability to heal. Most of our abilities are either defensive or offensive. Because the majority of human emotions are just that: attack or defend. Jimmy can camouflage because he wanted to hide who he is from the world, to blend in. Summer can attack with sunlight because of her traumatizing past. But it takes extreme compassion to develop a healing extra. And thanks to this extra, you can get in touch with your emotions and those of others more easily. You can get to the core of someone’s extra more easily and much quicker. That makes you a very fast learner, indeed. I can’t wait for you to master all of our extras in half the time that we did.”

“Thank you for the flattery hehe. But I hardly survived school.” I told her.

“Don’t underestimate yourself, Rain. Never tell Rachel I told you this, but it took her twice as long to even understand where my extra came from.” We both laughed.

“What’s so funny?” Rachel asked as the three of them came back into the warehouse. They obviously found a lot of materials to reinforce our base.

“Nothing that you would want to know hehe.” Jennifer said and winked at me.

I felt a sudden urge to put my lessons to good use. So I tried to remember what Jenn told me about her extra, and used it to feel Rachel’s extra as she walked past me. I could definitely feel her ability to “enhance”, as she has used it to support us many times. But where did it come from, deep down in her past and emotional history? That I couldn’t tell. I was afraid to reach further, partly because I was not good at it, and partly to respect her privacy. Rachel gave me a baffled look. Could she tell that I was trying to scan her ability just now? As our arms touched, I sensed something else, something stronger within her. Could her ability improve even more? Maybe she could ‘enhance her own enhancing ability’. Maybe I could help her heal and realize something about herself that would bring her closer to greatness. I think I like this new use of my healing ability! Yes, I do!

“Did you guys hear something?” Jimmy said out loud.

We all looked at him, unsure what he was trying to get at. Jimmy has always been more in touch with the surrounding environment than we are.

“I think I can sense another vampire’s presence in this warehouse.” He said, suspiciously.

Our hearts simultaneously stopped at once. Not two nights in a row! We are so screwed, I thought to myself.

The five of us stood in a defensive stance; back facing each other’s back and ready to strike out at whatever comes our way. Then came a meek voice from the dark space in front of us. “He…hello.”

A teen boy stepped out slowly. His blond hair came into view first. Then his baby blue eyes and ripe tomato-red lips. He has the mysterious air of a vampire, but the innocence of a human boy, recently crossed over into darkness.

I looked over at Summer. And she was speechless. Her shoulders were shaking uncontrollably, tears already falling down onto her shoes.

“Eric?” Summer said, just beyond a whisper. But we all heard it. And we all froze.

Summer’s younger brother is here. And he’s a vampire!

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