The first glimpses of a dream realized!
One hour before sunrise, everyone went into the house to sleep. It would not be the most comfortable conditions, but it was better than being dead. Before everyone went off to rest and recuperate, Jean-Claude asked Anjou to send bats to every vampire in Japan to come to Tokyo for an emergency meeting of the council. He wanted as many vampires to come and see the aftermath as he could, and to spread the message loud and clear. With that, Jean-Claude and his wife went to their room. His left eye socket was very sore, so he took some heavy aspirin and started to shift blood to that area to begin regrowing the eye. Yuriya began to fashion an eye patch for him until it did grow. After this, they collapsed into each other’s arms and slept soundly.
The next evening approached, and everyone awoke. The humans went for food, but Jean-Claude told them all to be back as soon as possible. While this was going on, a makeshift council table was being set up on the back porch, and the vampires began to arrive. Jean-Claude asked for everything to remain as it had been left before they all slept, and he began to prepare in his mind what he wanted to say. However, when the Clan started to return, they were being told to go home: this was not their business. Jean-Claude heard this and immediately went to the front, and said, “Um…just what do you think you’re doing?”
“I’m sorry, this is vampire business,” said the man up front.
“Excuse me!” said Jean-Claude, very frustrated, “You owe them quite a bit!”
“I am sorry,” he said, “but you know the rules…”
Jean-Claude put on his game face, picked him up with one hand, and put his saber to the throat of that man with the other, and said, growling, “The rules say, ‘no,’ but this saber, and my missing eye say, ‘yes!’ If you don’t want to join the fallen out there, you’d better let them pass, NOW!”
“When the new high chief hears about this…” but he was cut off by that very man, who said, “When he hears about this, he is going to be greatly angered by the kind of arrogance that cause this mess in the first place! I should have him take your head now! LET THEM PASS, IDIOT!”
With that, the humans made their way around the house to sit with the other non-council members on the hill, just below the porch. However, when the vampires saw this, they all seemed to crowd together, not mixing with the group. Soon, Maki arrived with Kenta and Fumio, and Maki brought her karaoke machine to act as an amplifier, because what Jean-Claude wanted to say he wanted all to hear. Jean-Claude came out, saw the seating, and shook his head. Yuriya gave him a quick squeeze, and said, “Patience, your turn to speak shall come soon.”
The new high chief of the council called the meeting to order, and said, “This is an emergency meeting, but I am curious as to why all you vampires are here?”
“I called them in,” said Jean-Claude, “Because I want every vampire in Japan to hear what I have to say.”
The high chief then said, “Okay, the chair recognizes Jean-Claude Makka,” and Jean-Claude took center stage. He took the microphone and began to speak: “What I have to say is very important, because what I need to deal with is being reflected at the way I see all of you seated here tonight. These humans tried to sit with you, but you shied away from them. You are probably wondering what they are doing here, and they are here because, without them, we would not be talking right now. They, for no other reason than that they actually care that you exist, they put their own lives on the line. I did not even expect some of them to live, but they fought the foe valiantly without the loss of a life. I look at this, and I ask, ‘Is this how you show your gratefulness?’
Many of you may not be aware of what I am, but I am something that, in the past, you would have killed as soon as you knew of its existence. I am a Dhampir, d’amphile, or however you want to say it. Indeed, they tried to kill me, and some of those that wanted me dead were amongst the enemy that we battled last night. I am the one that got away!”
There were mumblings and murmurings throughout the vampires, not sure what to make of this. Although the laws still called for his elimination to a certain extent, without him, would they have had a chance? He then continued, “However, because of my upbringing, I have no ability to hate in return for the hate of those that do not understand, or have isolated themselves from the world to the point where they refuse to change where change is needed. Some may think that no change is needed, and that could not be further from the truth. I am sorry, but there is only so long we can remain hidden in these advancing times. Besides this, there is the foolish notion that humans cannot change, and they would always hate us. Yet, because I have lived in the human world, as well as the vampire, I must ask, which of the two groups has refused to change? It seems to me that the only stubborn beings are the vampires. No, humans are not perfect, but can we say that we are? It is because of the advancing times, it was inevitable that unions that created me, my wife, and at least a couple of others that may be out there, were to happen. I know the history: things like this caused vampires to be exposed, and then the witch-hunts began. However, this is not the case anymore. Mankind now lives in a world where they are taught to think for themselves, and not as some king or dictator tells them to think. As a result, humans have gone through the work of making themselves educated. Mankind used to fear the world around them, because of ignorance. With ignorance, you shall always have fear. Yet, because of men like Descartes, Kant, Rousseau, Einstein, and other great thinkers, they have taught that fear ends with education. Tonight, sitting amongst us, are humans that have been educated, have had myths undone, fears expunged, and they have learned to accept us, love us, and yes, even be willing to bleed and die by our sides. This group—my family, my Clan—is proof that the two worlds can mix. We can overcome differences. It is only those that fear, that choose to remain ignorant, that bring the most harm to us, and to them, for they must suffer for our petty squabbles. I would like some of them to speak before I continue.”
With that, he turned the mike over to Kenta. He stepped up, and said, “I may be a human, but I know what it means to be on the run, and to be hunted. I know what it feels like to be hated for your very existence, and it hurts even more when it was your own flesh and blood! My mother, until recently, has always had to stay on the run, and on the move. We have always been poor, and we have had times where we wondered from where the next meal would come. Having a stable home was always foreign to me. All that changed when I met Karin—the one you call the pistis sophia. I found her once after she had had a massive nosebleed, and she lay there, half-conscious, blood everywhere, and helpless. The way some of you think about us humans, you would have thought that I would have just exposed her, or that I would not have even cared. She asked me to stay silent, so I took it upon myself to clean up the mess, clean her up, and get her home. A few days later, I found out the truth. Yet, even though I found out that she was a vampire, it did not frighten me, because I could see the fear in her eyes. Moreover, when she said that she might lose her home and everything over this, I explained to her that I could not do that to her. For anyone—ANYONE—to have to lose their home when they had done nothing wrong was cruel and evil. Besides, she was kind to me, and didn’t push me away as others had done. I could not hurt her! The Makkas went out on a limb and asked me to look after her in the daytime, exposing everything to me. However, they were surprised when I did not see them as monsters. In fact, I saw a loving family. They were a bit disjoined at the time, but they were something I wished I had had, and never did. How could I rob that from Karin? It was then I learned to love them, and all of you, because, besides a few living and feeding habits, you were no different from me. You laugh, you cry, have families, have individual points of view and opinions—in short, you may be vampires, but you are no less human than I. All Jean-Claude, Yuriya, and Karin have done for me is make me love you more. What’s more, I love Karin dearly, and no matter what anyone says, she and I will be husband and wife one day!”
There were even louder a murmuring amongst the crowd, and Henry was beginning to feel the father instinct growing. However, Calera came down on his head with a slipper, and said, “Quiet, Henry, you knew that was coming!”
After some laughter, Kenta then said, “I know that, because she is a blood giver, she may not have the same amount of life as you, and she may not have a full life as far as a human goes. We don’t know how long she has, but then again, who really knows how much time any of us has. The bottom line to that is, no matter what, we are going to enjoy what we have. Even if our children are dhampirs, it does not matter to us, because we shall love them as much as any parent loves a child. All we ask is to be left in peace, because that is what we shall do for you. The hate and misunderstanding has to stop!”
Fumio then wanted to speak, and she was then given the mike. She then said, “I have only recently found out about things, and I was a bit frightened. However, thanks to little Anjou and Karin, they took my fear away. I found that you are not monsters, and that you were some of the best friends I ever had. You even seemed to love me more than most humans would have. I have been tending to things in the day, because I feel it is the least of what I could do for all of you. There was danger, but, instead of leaving me exposed, you took me in. After having seen the danger, how could I ever repay you for your kindness? To see you together, I have to ask, why we should be apart: there is so much we could do for each other.”
Maki wanted a turn, and the council was surprised how much the humans wanted to speak, and how many of them were coming to the vampire’s defense. Maki then said, “I have been friends with Karin for years, and if I had not been told, I would never had known that vampires existed. Yet, because we had been friends for so long, when I did find out, I had to ask myself, ‘Why should I be scared now? If they had meant to hurt me, they would have done so by now.’
After I got to know more of you, I began to realize that there was much to love about you. Just as much as I could not turn away Karin, I could never turn you away. The only way I could say something about you is if one of you wronged me, and that would earn my ire, not because you were a vampire, but you were an individual that had wronged me. That would be no different from a human doing the same thing. In fact, I think you guys are pretty…what was the word, Jean-Claude…ah, yes—cool!”
Chiyuki wanted a shot at the mike, and there was some trepidation, due to her reputation. However, she said, “I would never want to see a human become as I, and put up with a millennium of what I have seen. However, the only ones I wanted vengeance from have been extracted. However, my fear is that there are those that would hate me still, despite. It would want to make me go into hiding again, despite all the kindness and help that Jean-Claude-san has shown. I found it amazing that he had already began to gather a posse that included humans and vampires as peers. That blew my mind! Yet, for the first time, I felt welcome with someone. I had to fight, because, now that I have that, I would rather die trying to keep it than to lose it. The Clan is all I have now, and I would rather be damned to Hell than to lose them!”
The Clan cheered and applauded that, and one of the boys in the audience said, “That’s the way to tell ‘em, Chiyuki! We love you!”
The chairman began to gavel things back into order, and asked if she had more to say. She then said, “The two worlds can have symbiosis. Furthermore, though I would not encourage this, I believe that, if human wishes to cross over, don’t you think that is a great compliment to us. Think about that for a moment: a human wants to give up everything in the life he or she knows, and wants to become one of us! Oddly enough, there are humans that do wish this! You would stop this. Talk about trusting vampires to do them well! That is exactly what I see here! It is a different world, and it is high time that some of you proverbially come and join us in the sunlight. Jean-Claude, I believe your Bible would say that the day is far spent, and that the night is at hand, and we should labor while we still have light, correct?”
He nodded at this, and then Elda wanted the floor. Once recognized, she said, “I used to be like you, and I followed the rules as much as one could. However, some of our rules have not outlived the times. Though we are powerful, I have come to learn that, being stubborn and stagnate only gains the battle we saw last night. Some thought the humans could not change, as I once did. However, I have had an education, thanks to the…thanks to Jean-Claude. The only being that has not changed is we, and that is only because of our arrogance in thinking ourselves superior to humans. Personally, I think the sterilization of the vampire is nature’s paybacks for us being as pompous as we have been. It is like nature said, ‘If you don’t want to change with me, I shall leave you behind, and cause you to disappear like the dinosaur.’
However, nature gave us my granddaughter to give us one last chance at mercy. If we are not greedy with her, and we are willing to join the world we have ignored, she can help us all, and still live a long, happy life. I now, at long last, understand what it was that James Marker saw in you humans. Now I share his vision, as well as the vision of my grandson. We must be one! To my granddaughter I say, have many great grandchildren. Whatever they end up being, I shall love them dearly, and I shall help them learn how to be in this world, and how to love most of all!”
The humans were now all on their feet applauding them, and now some of the younger vampires were starting to move over, mix with them, and applaud as well. Along with this came introductions and handshakes. However, Jean-Claude wanted the mike one more time, and asked for silence. Once things had settled down, he said, “Karin, do you want to say something before I finish my statement?”
She came up and then began to speak: “Everybody, you need to know something very important. Even before Jean-Claude came, if it were not for a human—Kenta—I would be dead right now. I once had a nosebleed so bad it almost killed me. If he had not been there to help, the vampire would have gone extinct. Every time we have brought a human into our world the right way, all I have seen is understanding and warmth. How can we say that they are evil? Just because some of their ancestors did us wrong, it does not mean that they had to be the same way. This can work. Everyone has kind of stolen my thunder, so there is not much more for me to say. I would say that, I have more of a chance at living long in these conditions than I had any other way. I want to help all of you, but I don’t want to be bled dry in a month, nor do I want to be in a situation where I lose it all, and I have no one anywhere to help me. This way, I always have friends, and there is little chance for danger. I have blood cycles once a month, and if it stays that way, I have a chance at life. If I am always facing unhappiness, you all stand a chance of losing me. Times have changed, and we must change.”
Jean-Claude came back and said, “Do you now get it? Is it sinking in? Be you human, vampire, undead, Dhampir, whatever you are, we are individual. As individuals, we must all understand that each and every one of us, no matter the labels we wear, are the sum total of every decision we have ever made. We are what we are, because we choose to be that way! There is no other way of looking at it. If we choose to fear, we are afraid. If we choose to be open, we shall have friends. We are as happy as we want to be, as sad as we want to be, as rich or poor as we want to be: we are the sum total of our choices. If we choose to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, we need to be prepared to suffer the consequences. I can tell you that we have seen some of those consequences, and they are not good at all! Most of all, the true meaning of the word ‘love’ has to be known to all. It is a verb—and action word—and without it, none of us stands a chance at happiness or survival, no matter who we are! Thus, what I propose is this: since we cannot yet come right out and expose ourselves as vampires, we can, person by person, slowly, carefully, and selectively bring the humans into our fold. We can start with this bunch. Furthermore, if there are any humans that wish to join the vampire, a screening process is needed, with a full education of what becoming a vampire entails, the risks involved, to see who would be fit for such a transformation. In other words, they would have to know the risks, and show that this is something that would benefit both that one and us. This way, we can survive. If a vampire and human wish to wed, this also should not be prevented, because this world would not reject it now. They must be made aware of the children they could have, and the risk they take by going that route. If they understand, and are still able to bear, it should be allowed, to prevent what it was that happened to me. It is either this, or we go the course we have been, and face our extinction, which is exactly the course we are following. It’s up to you!”
The headman called for a thirty-minute recess, and said that an open referendum would be presented to the vampires present on those proposals. He apologized to the humans for not having them vote, because the matter truly did involve the course that the vampires had to take, and it was nothing personal. The humans understood, and let it go. With that, the recess began.
In the interim, many of the young vampires were beginning to meet and kibitz with the humans present, and more and more of the vampires were coming over. As the time was passing, camaraderie was building and differences were melting away. Soon, it did not even seem that there was even a difference anymore. The only ones not coming over was a handful of vampires that just refused to get it, and stayed stubborn. Soon, the council came forth with ballots, and the voting began. By the time it was done and counted, 95% of the vampires approved all the proposals, and that was it. The chairman then said, “Thus it is done, on this day, the laws of the vampires are as such. For those that have not approved, this is the law of the land, like it or not. We shall not tolerate any interference from you or any other council outside of Japan against our actions. If actions are taken against any here—human, vampire, or otherwise—know now that it is an instant death sentence. We want peace, and we shall tolerate no further actions like those that we have seen these past two days. There will be eventual symbiosis, and we shall be the example for the rest of the world. Furthermore, this shall go forth to all the councils with this statement: we are not answerable to any council for our choices, and any act against us for this shall be considered an act of war, and it shall be treated as such. They must make their own choices; we have made ours. So let it be written, so let it be done!”
The gavel came down and there was much for rejoicing. There were about seven or eight who protested this, and they declared themselves separate. It was then declared that they then live separate; expect no aid from the council, unless they were willing to submit to the new laws. If not, they were to leave Japan immediately, or suffer the consequences for resistance. Moreover, they were told that they would now be watched very carefully, for if they even traveled one millimeter towards rebellion, they were as good as dead.
Once they left, they began to celebrate. Some of the vampires excused themselves to feed, while some of the humans volunteered their necks. This surprised some of them, because they would normally have to fight for this. However, some did feed, and it was a great feeling to know that they would not have to wipe their memories. They would be further delighted to find out that the humans had the vampires speaking to them while they were out, and giving them practical advice. When the vampires asked Kenta if this was normal, he not only said that this was the case, it was quite helpful, it helped to make Karin closer to him, and any fear that may have remained would now vanish. They had no idea just how much things could mesh, and were happy that things had turned out this way. After that, someone said, “Hey, fire up that karaoke machine! Let’s party!”
This was followed by a cheer by the humans, and the vampires soon joined in. Chiyuki used her incredible speed to get party snacks and drinks and make it a grand affair. After she returned, she was floored by what happened next. The council then said, “Because there may be more like yourself, we need a voice on the council for them, and who would be better to represent them than you?”
She had great reluctance to this, not sure if she should trust this at all. However, she had seen that there could be change, and things could be better for her. She then said, “Give me some time to think about it. I wish to see how things go. If things stick, I shall consider it!”
“The offer is there,” he said, “This group you call the Clan has taught us much. At the least, all I can say is thank you for dragging us into the real world, even though it was kicking and screaming!”
As the night progressed, the two couples—Kenta and Karin, Yuriya and Jean-Claude—contented themselves in watching the reverie. They were overwhelmed at what had been accomplished, and despite the wounded eye, Jean-Claude began to shed tears of joy. Yuriya said, “Honey, doesn’t that hurt?”
He just smiled, and said, “Right now, I don’t care!”
(Prepare for an epilogue)