I’m nothing if not a perfectionist, human flaw side of me I suppose, so I’ll start at the beginning of my story. A couple hundred years ago I was conceived, yes conceived, under not the most ideal or romantic of circumstances. Back then people didn’t know we were any different from them. It was easier to hide our existence, if we were careful.
My kind are usually created, but I was one of the few lucky ones, if you want to call it that. I have a mother and a father, not a creator. My mother was the seventeen-year old daughter of a British settler in America. My father’s coterie traveled with that group because they knew it was just a matter of time before there would be a war. Great Britain was not going to just give power away and the Revolutionary War became inevitable.
As a species, we are opportunists. We thrive on war, free and easy meals without the messy cover-up. Yes our meals are a little unorthodox, but we often paid for them like everyone else. It amazed me what some would do for a few coins or a trade of cloth or services. Of course, they got something more out of it as well. To be fed from is a feeling of nirvana for most, or so I’m told.
My father Rowan is a strong leader. But shortly after he arrived in America, he became obsessed with Elizabeth Gowan. She was young and beautiful and my father wanted to change her. The clan objected knowing the settlement was young and war was coming. There weren’t enough humans to cover tracks if Elizabeth disappeared, which was necessary at the beginning of a change. No human contact was allowed until you had control of the pull, the lust for what lures our kind. Not to mention, the secret of our existence could be exposed. They couldn’t take the risk.
Rowan’s feelings for Elizabeth grew each day. He watched her from afar, hidden from view. She quickly became a weakness for him.
His mud-colored eyes glossed over one day when I asked about my mother. “She moved like a graceful swan gliding across a rippling pond. You have her long dark hair and her clear blue eyes. That’s why I can’t stand to look at you,” he said.
Rowan and Elizabeth became friends. She would meet him and they would take long walks along the country side where no one could see them. He often helped her with the washing and gathering water by the creek, always staying out of sight of the other settlers. My mother had an adventurous spirit and loved the secrecy of their relationship.
One day, Rowan crouched behind a tree among the tall grass staring at Elizabeth while she washed clothes in a creek. The other settlers were back near their camp. She was alone again, expecting him to join her. That was the day he was going to ask her to leave her settlement to be with him.
“I repeated the words in my mind over and over as I studied her movements. Her delicate hands grasping the cloth and running it through the flowing water. The beautiful smile that I imagined came from remembering times we spent together. Her gorgeous waves tied up in a loose knot resting at the back of her neck, exposing the perfect porcelain skin below it. Those images are etched in my brain forever,” Rowan said one night while reminiscing about the last day he saw her with her eyes open. I’d never seen the muscles in his arm so tensed as he pushed some dark strands from his forehead.
He was sure she was going to agree to be with him forever. Elizabeth was in love too. Unfortunately it was not with Rowan. There was a man back in England that was to be on the next ship of settlers. She was waiting for him to join her and they were going to be married.
Rowan lost control. He attacked Elizabeth. I’ll spare you the details, but that was the day I was conceived. Rowan knew the moment it happened. He said he heard my heart beat echo in his ears, hence my name.
Elizabeth never regained consciousness from the attack. That was probably for the best because a human woman could never survive a pregnancy of this kind. Rowan used his gift of persuasion, otherwise known as threatening everyone, to get the coterie to agree to keep my mother alive until I was born. He refused to lose his love and his child. He’s probably not so thrilled with that decision right now.
The pregnancy lasted nine days. My birth was as violent as my conception. My father never spoke of it. I overheard other members of our group describe the bloody mess that was left behind. It was a great solution to the problem of Elizabeth’s disappearance. It looked as if an animal tore her apart. All they had to do was dump the body in the woods near the settlement.
That was how I came into this world. A child who was a perfect mix of a human mother and a villainous father. These two sides battle for control within me every day. I’m in this situation now because one of those sides finally won.