Chapter 1:

Waking up

After 400 years I finally met you


Monsters, undead, witches and other beings that are usually found in legends and fairy tales as part of a collective imagination, in fact exist. They live among humans, sometimes eat the same food, read the same books, go to the same schools or even work in the same places. There are even cases of humans marrying these beings and living peaceful lives, but mostly their existence is still a secret for the majority of the human race.Bookmark here

Tick, tock, tick tockBookmark here

The sound echoes around the room while the second hand moves around the dial of an old wooden clock that rests in the wall. Small particles of dust can be seen playing around a small column of orange sunlight that starts to fade slowly.Bookmark here

Ding, dong, ding, dongBookmark here

The silence disappears and is replaced with the metallic tune that comes out of the clock, then the small door located over the dial opens and a small bird, also made of wood, shows its gray face and yellow beak.Bookmark here

Cuckoo!, cuckoo!Bookmark here

Surely the small animal has seen better days, but the melody and movement hasn’t changed since the day it was created. All these sounds wake up the old lady that was sleeping on a black queen size bed that has four columns and extend a pink mosquito net around it.Bookmark here

“Uh?… what?” The confused lady grabs her head, she feels like everything is spinning. She opens her eyes and everything seems blurry for a couple of seconds. Then some steps running at full speed over a wooden floor can be heard approaching.Bookmark here

BANG!Bookmark here

The door fully opens, the cuckoo clock stops its noise, at the entrance of the room now stands a woman of around 25 years old wearing a white long sleeve nightgown that extends to her ankles, her straight black hair reaches the hip and has yet to be brushed. Her red eyes are filled with surprise and sadness, finally her voice appears and bursts into tears.Bookmark here

“Ha… Hana!!!” She runs to the bed, kneels and hugs the old lady while pressing her head against the blankets “You are finally awake, I have missed you so much!”Bookmark here

“Oh girl, please don’t cry. You know how difficult it is to remove blood stains” Hana, the old lady, says while patting the woman’s head. She raises her face to let their eyes meet and the tears are visible but these aren’t made of the usual liquid that comes from any human, instead her tears are scarlet red “Oh, Valentine. You have always been such a crybaby, what’s all that about missing me? Did you have a daymare?”Bookmark here

“No” Valentine cleans her tears with her nightgown, staining the blood all over the white fabric “It’s just that you have been asleep for seven decades now”Bookmark here

“Wh… what?”Bookmark here

While staying in bed, Hana takes a look around the room and even if is somehow familiar because her books, clock and bed are there… There are many different things like the light bulb, the floor, the paint on the walls, the curtains.Bookmark here

“I know it’s hard to process. I’m sorry, you just woke up and I tell you this” Valentine grabs Hana’s hand “Take your time, I’ll be here, I’m going to explain everything”Bookmark here

Hana’s heart is pounding really fast, her head starts spinning again. Even if Valentine is talking, she is not hearing. Her eyes move across her friend’s nightgown and then reach her own dark skinned hand, goosebumps appear all over the body when she realizes that her hand is filled with wrinkles and spots all over them, there are even some veins that can be seen with the naked eye. Moving her hands without recognizing them, her head moves right to left trying to connect the dots. And then Hana decides to touch her own face, the goosebumps continue as she feels how the smoothness of her skin has disappeared and was replaced with the same texture of her hands.Bookmark here

“WHAT’S GOING ON!!!!??” Her scream is so loud that it makes the dogs of nearby houses start howling.Bookmark here

They talked a little bit and hugged, Valentine helped Hana to get up and walk around the house with some effort since her legs were trembling with each step she took.Bookmark here

“I’ll be right back, you just wait here while I make you some food” Valentine says and leaves the house for a couple of minutes.Bookmark here

Almost an hour has passed, it’s around 8 pm and they are located in the dining room. While Hana sits on a chair in front of a rectangular brown table big enough for a family of four members, she is taking slow sips of a relaxing warm tea served in a small white cup decorated with bat silhouettes. Meanwhile Valentine doesn’t stop moving from one side to another, she has been preparing a chicken porridge and been speaking alone from Hana’s perspective, she is now wearing some jeans and a puffy black blouse.Bookmark here

“Really? Yes, if you come here on your way home I can give you the dress” Valentine says while serving the porridge in a bowl from the same collection as the teacup that Hana is holding “Sorry to bother you with it, you know that I’ll go personally but right now I have a friend in need of my help at home, and that’s my priority… No, darling, you won't bother. Besides, it takes just like a minute to complete our transaction… Ok, see you soon Misato, love you, kisses, bye” Valentine places the bowl on Hana's side of the table and then sits at the other side to be one in front of the other, but her side doesn’t have cups, plates or even silverware.Bookmark here

“Your power has increased, I’m really surprised by how easy you use ethereal communication” Hana says while finishing her tea.Bookmark here

“What? Oh! I’m only using hands-free” Valentine takes out the earphones and places them on the table, then takes a flip phone from her pocket and places it beside them “It’s what’s used nowadays, well, kinda. Mine’s a little behind but is mainly because I have a problem with the smartphone’s touchscreen” Bookmark here

“Touch screen? Smart Phone? Can a phone be smart now? Has our phone become smart?” Hana points in the direction of a table decorated with some plastic flowers that also has a white rotary dial phone.Bookmark here

“Heh, that old thing? I still have it for decorative purposes but it is almost useless now” Valentine looks at the white phone with melancholy, a smile appears in her lips revealing two sharp fangs, then grabs the flip model on the table “This is the new version. Well, there are newer ones, but it’s basically a phone and you can have it with you all day and wherever you go”Bookmark here

“That little thing? Wow, that’s fab!!” Bookmark here

“And we are going to have a talk about your outdated vocabulary. I’ll try to explain everything later. For now please recover your strength first”Bookmark here

Hana realizes the existence of the scent of the delicious dish in front of her, the mouth gets watery, she grabs the spoon and inserts it in the porridge and then eats the content. The warm mushy texture moves around the mouth, the flavor of the chicken is strong but yet not too much, she chews slowly trying to taste everything. Somehow it feels as if she has never eaten something in her life before that magical moment.Bookmark here

“Is it good?” Valentine has both elbows on the table and both hands touching each side of her face, she is just bending forward a little bit fascinated by the sight of her friend eating.Bookmark here

“Yes, it actually is. Every bit of it is delicious, were you always good at cooking? My memories are still a little fuzzy”Bookmark here

“Hahaha, nope. I’ve learned almost all by myself. I cook everyday even if I can’t eat the dishes I make. It was all for this day, when you finally returned, I knew you would be weak and hungry so I had to be there to take care of you just as you did for me centuries ago. I got really serious with my cooking skills since two months ago”Bookmark here

“Any particular reason for that?”Bookmark here

“Yes, your cuckoo clock started moving again. I was so ecstatic, I just knew that it had to meant something, it was just as you said seventy years ago before you fell into the long sleep”Bookmark here

“I did? I’m trying to remember how everything happened but I’m not able to do it. There are many memories of our time together but nothing related to my long sleep. Won’t you fill in the details?”Bookmark here

“Maybe it’s better that way, don’t you think? A clean start, just you and me again” Valentine’s eyes move from one side to another unable to establish visual contact.Bookmark here

“Valentine, please”Bookmark here

“No! I don’t want to talk about it, ok? I don’t want to see you suffering again. If you remember on your own, then there’s nothing I can do..” Valentine expresses with anger but then pauses for a moment and calms down “But I won’t force those memories to come back, please, the curse has lifted, can’t that be enough for the all powerful witch Hana?” Bookmark here

“All right, all right, I trust you. But stop those puppy eyes already, I swear you use your vampiric powers to increase their effectiveness” Bookmark here

“Guilty as charged”Bookmark here

Hana keeps eating until finishing three bowls of porridge, leaves the spoon in the empty bowl and then asks “Aren’t you going to eat anything?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’m waiting a delivery”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“You see, hunting has become rather… complicated in this era, I had to adapt in order to survive”Bookmark here

Ding, DongBookmark here

“And there she is! I’ll be right back!” Filled with excitement, Valentine gets up and grabs a black bag that was hanging in the wall and Hana hadn’t noticed until that moment then walks to the entrance.Bookmark here

There is a chatter for a moment but Hana isn’t able to fully understand what are they talking about, only that one high pitch voice is talking with Valentine so maybe is a woman the one who came. After hearing a goodbye the Vampire is back at the dining room holding a clear bag filled with dark red liquid.Bookmark here

“Oh, it’s still warm” Valentine says rubbing her face against the bag “I was going to save it for later but I think I’ll have it right now” after that phrase, she just bits the upper part and starts drinking like a bag of juice with a straw “Delicious! Misato’s blood is the best!”Bookmark here

“What have you done to convince humans to give you blood without killing them?”Bookmark here

“It’s a funny story, but the quick version of it is that now I’m a seamstress. Remember those cute dresses that I loved when we lived in England in the XIX Century? Turns out that they have become quite popular with a group of people and I’m now somewhat of an important figure between them. Aomori Misato is the name of the girl that just came, she’s one of my most important clients”Bookmark here

“Don’t they find it odd to be charged with blood?”Bookmark here

“Well, the vampire secret is out for some of my clients so they have the privilege to be charged with blood since my dresses are expensive. The others use money, that’s how I pay the bills, keeping this house hasn’t been an easy task you know”Bookmark here

“I’m glad to hear that. You seem really gay with your new life”Bookmark here

Valentine coughs loudly “Right! Cough, I mean yes Cough, maybe we will start with your language update right now”Bookmark here

They spent all the night talking about many things, and walking around the house, Valentine showed her small rat farm in the basement “When I can’t get human blood, these are a good substitute, and I just throw what’s left to the neighbor’s cats so everything is used” she imitates the motion of a basketball player throwing the ball. Bookmark here

In the living room Hana noticed something different “where’s my boob tube?” she asked, pointing to a black box with a bit of spherical glass. “Haha!, just call them TV. Black and white was super outdated so I got this one around the nineties, but it’s again outdated for today’s standards” Valentine replied.Bookmark here

Morning arrived and it was time for the vampire to sleep.Bookmark here

“Sorry, tonight we can go out and I’ll show you around. Please don’t go out without me, you’ll freak out with all the moder changes and knowing you, the price of a single apple will make you scream”Bookmark here

“Ok ok, whatever you say” Even if Hana was being honest, she got bored around noon, and decided to sneak out for a little bit.Bookmark here

The Little old lady is curious about the changes in her city, and since she wasn’t able to sleep then her plan is to explore alone just a couple of streets and come back before Valentine wakes up. Hana doesn’t change her clothes so she is outside walking slowly while wearing her pink nightgown, obviously causing the stares of many people passing by.Bookmark here

“Wow there are many tall buildings now” She says while looking up all the time, turns to the left at a corner and doesn’t realize that she is entering a commercial area.Bookmark here

There is an avalanche of people walking, many of them see the old lady so try their best to evade her, except for a tall guy with dyed blond hair wearing a leather jacket who just collides directly with Hana making her fall to the ground.Bookmark here

“Watch it, old hag!” Says the man brushing the jacket with a hand like it was now somehow dirty, and then continues walking.Bookmark here

“Ouch, how rude” Hana frowns and keeps looking at the person as he leaves.Bookmark here

“Excuse me madam, are you alright?” A soft deep voice comes from the other side. And when Hana turns to give an answer, her eyes meet with a young man with short black hair offering his hand to help her get up, he is using a black earring with a cross in his left ear, wearing casual looking clothes, his pearly white face has some makeup and lip gloss giving him an androgenous look.Bookmark here

“Th… thanks” Hana stutters as their hands touch.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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