How clearly can you see me
Eureka, California was a fairly slow conservative town in 1950. Quaint and plodding, it was just the kind of place to raise a family. By the time Damienne reached high school in 1965, she knew from the bottom of her heart a family was NOT what she wanted.
Bright and creative, Damienne felt stifled in the small town. She enjoyed writing, theater, and art and hoped to work as a set designer in New York some day. When she told her parents of her dream, they smiled and told her it was silly. "Why don't you just find a nice husband like a sensible girl?" was her mother's response. In spite of them, Damienne concentrated on her grades and entered Berkely in 1968, right after graduation. The freedom was like a drug to her! While her classes were much harder than she expected, the club scene drew her in like nothing else ever had. It wasn't the people, but the music that captivated her. This recent music had soul and vigor and she found herself completely lost to it. She found the connection to her soul in its embrace. She often would look out after a good tune to see people staring at her with blank hungry looks; sometimes applause would follow. This pleased her but mattered little. She would do her thing whether they liked it or not.
It was at one of these clubs that she met her husband. He arrived on a motorcycle and watched her for a while. After riding on the back of his Harley, she was in love with the wind. He promised to show her the world and she gave him her freedom as a wedding gift. Slowly, things changed. She had quit school to be in the wind with him, but after a while he stopped taking her on his rides. He spent more and more time away with his buddies while she was locked in a cage of poverty and loneliness. They had bought a house, but he always had the money. Her weekly allowance barely put gas in her car and dinner on the table. He drank the rest. His friends treated her like a piece of meat, leering at her and making endless sexual remarks which he only laughed at. Often he would come home drunk, wake her up to get his pleasure and then pass out. He didn't notice the tears that seeped out of the corners of her eyes and she knew he wouldn't care if he did. She couldn't afford to leave him and didn't want to dance for a living. That would have turned her only remaining joy into a chore.
One night while he was out with his friends she escaped to a club. He had just gotten paid and given her some money. That night she met Jon. She drank till the pain softened then found herself alone on the dance floor. When the song was over, she caught him staring at her even as he pulled his gaze away. Something in his eyes intrigued her and she chose another song, watching to see if he would hear the desperate question in her motion.
He had watched her, captivated. He saw her face, her eyes reflecting the lights, the lust, and the hate for the men that were all she had left. She showed him her soul and he saw himself in her--jaded, lonely, disillusioned with life, yet still reaching, wanting, hoping. He saw her need for freedom, kin to his own. Their eyes locked and she smiled. He held her eyes. Question and answer, desire and regret mingled there. Their minds met even as their eyes did, and in that brief eternity the loneliness was gone.
When the music ended, he got up, his drink untouched, and left. She stood there for a moment dazed and warm in the afterglow of that moment. She ignored the stares and whistles as she followed him out the door. He was waiting, his pale face turned down in thought. As he heard her approach his look stopped her. The hunger in his eyes wrenched her heart as he spoke. "Don't come any closer or I might not let you leave." She searched his face and felt confused. "I'd rather die than leave." she replied. She glanced at his bike. "Take me for a ride?" she asked.
They rode through the night for hours basking in each others presence. It was the first time either had been truly happy for a long time. As dawn approached, he took his leave. They agreed to meet again the following night.
No one was there when Damienne returned. She looked around at this house that had never been a home. 'I'm busting out' she thought at her prison as she waited for her husband to come home. He finally arrived, stinking of Jack Daniels. He passed out before Jon thundered up on his Hog. He looked very serious as she came out to meet him. "I'm ready" she said. "Are you?" he asked distractedly. "I wonder." When he looked at her again she nearly fainted with fear. She forced herself to stand and meet his eyes. "I'm not like you Damienne. If you come with me you will have to become what I am or you will not be safe." His grim, sad smile bared his fangs. "I couldn't stand to hurt you, but I can't force this on you. Do you want to give up the pleasures and pain of mortal life for an endless death with me?" She turned away so she wouldn't hurt him with her doubt. When she turned back to him, her face was calm. "I can't live like this anymore Jon. I'm rotting in this stinking life. You know it; I saw you feel it. Give me your freedom." A glimmer of sadness passed through his eyes as his cold arms wrapped around her. The firy pain of her death scorched away the sorrows of her life and she willingly let them go. As she sank into the freedom of the void she felt herself fill with a new hunger, stronger than any craving she had ever felt. Freedom and love were nothing as she felt the burning in her throat, through her body. She realized she held Jon's arm in a desperate grip and his other arm holding her was all that kept her upright. He wrenched his wrist away from her mouth and out of her hands. "Oh God" was all she said.
The following nights were a blur. Together they had roused her husband and put him into her car. She drove to a dangerous piece of road and got him behind the wheel. She drank his blood for strength and revenge. Jon stopped her before the well was dry. "You need to leave some for it to look like an accident." They put the car in gear and watched it roll over the edge of the ravine. She sold the house and bought a Harley of her own. It had taken about 6 weeks and Jon had taught her how to ride. They wandered the country together and he taught her what it was to be Kindred. She revelled in her new freedom and Jon's total understanding of her nature. She met his maker and some others of their kind. It always amazed her that she had never noticed them before.
One night as they were riding through a town, her life changed again. The road was clear, the light green. The air smelled crisp with autumn wind moving in. The sudden headlights and crash of metal took her by surprise. She laid her bike down and watched in horror as Jon's bike went under the car. The explosion illuminated his writhing body as it was consumed by the flames. Her voice had nothing human in it as she screamed, running toward the wreck. The blast of heat scorched her as she was forced to stop, filled with terror of the hungry flames. She wanted to throw herself on them but could not. Consumed by sorrow, pain and hunger, she retrieved her bike and was forced to leave. Mercifully it started up in spite of the scratches. She remembered little of the next few weeks, but she read about the bodies found in the towns behind her.
It had been years since then. She never stayed in one place for long. She haunted the biker hangouts, watched for loners like herself, and still found solitude and expression in music. She went out of her way to stop oppression in her path and that of others if she could. She avoided clan politics as much as possible, trying to remain neutral with the Kindred who crossed her path. The biker hangouts provided easy prey while her looks and personality allowed her to make a few friends here and there. As winter closed in, she headed for the less frozen open roads of Texas.
-Sonja Torres 1997