You always hear these stories about people who believe their baby is the reincarnation of a recently passed loved one. Or maybe a celebrated figure like the Dalai Lama or a Nobel Prize winner. But nobody ever discusses the frightening possibility that their precious newborn might be the spiritual descendant of a serial killer or mass murderer. It just isn’t the polite thing to consider, much less talk about. However Makayla is almost certain that the little monster that clawed its way out of her womb three weeks ago was definitely a psychopath in another lifetime.
There are, in fact, many items of evidence in her favor.
Though toothless, the baby grinds its gums on her raw nipples, like some thirsty nightstalker trying to elicit more than just milk from her battle-weary breasts. It has, on half a dozen occasions, succeeded. Even worse, when she cried out in pain during those incidents, the child seemed amused, and she could swear the little sadist had laughed at her in those moments. She was finally forced to stop breast-feeding, but she fears this will only add fuel to her progeny’s wickedness in years to come. Fears of traumatizing the beast notwithstanding, she has considered changing the kid’s name from Adrian to Nosferatu.
Then there are the eyes. If the eyes are the window to the soul, she feels like she is peaking into a house of unspeakable horrors. They are steely gray and radiate evil intentions, like you are some lesser animal and the little predator is determining the most entertaining way to hunt you. Makayla looks into them and imagines a future jury sentencing the grown monster to death, based on nothing more than those terrifying eyes.
Yet the most grotesque evidence is something nobody else would ever believe. It is a thing which can only be realized through the telepathic connection between mother and child. She can feel its thoughts – grimy and primal, aggressive and hateful. The unspoken messages Makayla intercepts from Adrian’s mind are so dark and ugly that she realizes how far ahead of his age he is in cruelty. He is a prodigy of evil, working at a level of contempt for life never before seen in a demon so small.
Despite all of this, she loves him. He is her baby, and though he has all the makings of a legendary villain, he is still fragile and vulnerable. The little nightmare needs her, and this gives her a sense of duty, despite her fear and revulsion. It is her hope that she can love the devil right out of him, but she becomes less hopeful of this as days pass. Showering the infant with love and affection is the right thing to do, but the overwhelming sense that he is destined for depravity leeches any gratification she had hoped to feel for being a good mother.
“Wait, your mom really wrote this?” Maryza asks incredulously.
“Yeah, just a few days before my dad caught her trying to drown me. He found it hidden under the mattress in my crib a few weeks after she had been in the psychiatric hospital.” Adrian answers.
“Dude, no wonder you’re so fucked up!”
“Right? But that’s why you love me.”
An awkward silence hangs between them. She likes the boy, but she isn’t sure she loves him. Not yet, at least. She could see herself loving him eventually. He is charming, handsome and sweet. At the same time there is something unsettling about him, and Maryza considers the thing his own mother wrote about Adrian’s eyes. They are beautiful, but also extremely haunting.
“I think the creepiest part of the whole thing is how she writes it in the third person.” she finally breeches the quietude.
“My dad says that she wanted to be a writer. I guess she used to write all of these short stories, and they were pretty good. But her imagination eventually got the best of her,” Adrian says, sounding sad and forlorn.
“Does she still write? Do they let psychiatric patients write?”
“To be honest, I have no idea. I don’t know anything about her, now or then, except what people have told me. The doctor’s say it’s best if I only visit twice a year, and when I do she just sits quietly looking scared and anxious as I tell her about school and whatever else is going on in my life. She never tells me anything about herself, just nods and occasionally gives a one word response.”
“Doesn’t she even tell you that she loves you?” Maryza asked, shocked by these strange revelations. They had been going out for two-and-a-half months, and this was the first time he told her anything about his home life and upbringing. She wonders if the mystery was part of his appeal, and if he would now seem more ordinary, or if sharing his secrets would make them closer.
“Yeah. She does. Just before I leave. She gives me a hug, squirming like I might bite, and then tells me that. Then I go out to the car while dad spends some time alone with her. Well, not alone. She is never alone. There is always someone watching.”
“How does it feel?” she asks, pausing to consider how to put this gently. “I mean, you know, to know that your mom tried to kill you when you were a baby?”
“Well the thing is, I was always told she was sick. Even before I knew what she did, I knew she was sick. I knew that she didn’t want to be sick and wouldn’t be if she could choose, but I knew. So when I found out, I kinda felt sorry for her. Like how messed up would it be to have to live with that? Plus I am still here, so everything turned out okay.” Adrian pauses and appears introspective. “Well mostly okay.”
Adrian snaps his finger and the girl sitting next to him on his bed loses consciousness, just like that. He leans over her and admires her beautiful honey-colored skin before puncturing it with his fangs to draw out her hot, delicious blood; then laps enthusiastically, drinking a full pint of the glorious teenage ambrosia before restraining himself.
The problem with most teenage vampires is that they cannot stop. They cannot control the urge and end up draining their victims – ultimately resulting in getting caught and staked. But not Adrian. It was like he was born for this. Like he was gifted at conception with the innate knowledge of how to be his best bloodsucking self.
After taking a few minutes after to clean up he dabbles a drop of his own blood on the girl’s wound, and it heals instantly. He uses the same mental force of will that drove his mother to attempt to murder him in front of his father, so he could get her and her suspicions out of the picture long before they ever became a problem, to make Maryza forget the missing time. She picks the conversation back up as if nothing ever happened.
“Do you ever worry that she was right about you? That you could someday become, like, a serial killer or something?”