“Drake,” she spoke his name as if to ask him a question.
“Yes Grace?” He replied taking a glance into her eyes in the hopes that she was still there. Hoping that she wasn’t saying his name as if she was trying to remember. When he saw that she was looking through her diaries still, he breathed out a sigh of relief.
“Have you ever… have you read any of these yet?” Grace hesitantly asked him, giving a nod to her journals as she did so.
“No… I haven’t Grace. Not yet any way. You told me not to until your lapses became more consistent, and I needed to use them to guide you back.”
She was looking up at him now, watching him answer her as stoically as he possibly could when discussing this particular subject. Completely unaware of the tumultuous thoughts that invaded his mind.
What he wanted to tell her was that he never desired this for her. He wanted to tell her that he didn’t know if he could be strong enough to guide her back to him. He couldn’t tell her that he was terrified every time her mind ran away from her, and he was left with the shadow of a woman he once swore to protect and cherish.
As Drake’s thoughts spiraled through his grief, Grace gently brought her hand to his face and brushed her fingers like feathers across his cheek. Her unexpected touch brought him back to the present, as his eyes snapped to her own arresting gaze.
In this moment she calmed the raging sea of his own mind, like she had done so many times before. And in this moment Drake was reminded that this would sustain him to do this all over again. He was willing to find her every day if he had to, and bring her back to him so that they could share these precious fleeting moments. They were supposed to share eternity together, and he knew that a couple seconds more with her would be far more bearable than never being with her again.
As he stared into her eyes, he vowed that he would do whatever it took to remind her of who she was, even if she was unable to remember him. He would never let her forget herself, until she herself decided no more. He’d do it for her, because she did it for him.
“Drake,” Grace softly spoke, darting her eyes back and forth as if searching for the words to follow with. “Do you remember when,” she paused, licked her semi-parched lips and continued, “when you set up the tree swing for me a gazillion summers ago?”
Drake grinned from the memory that she chose to discuss. He was half relieved that she was obviously trying to lighten the mood, and half amused because he did in fact remember that summer vividly. “Yes, Grace, I do remember doing that. And I do believe that summer was maybe about 100 years ago… give or take a few years. Possibly decades. But don’t quote me on that.”
She giggled and smiled back at him. “Ah yes, that sounds about right. If I remember correctly, you thought it was such a silly request at the time. But who was it that used that swing more than I did!?” Grace teased as she stuck her tongue out at him.
“Hey now, I did apologize and say it was a good idea. We needed a bit of silly during that time. Our life hasn’t always been… normal.” He replied to her playfulness by gently brushing her hair away from her face as he leaned in to press his forehead against hers. He loved staring into her eyes like this, even more so when they were so filled with joy and wonder. Joyous moments were few and far between them these days. “Those years were some of the fondest memories I’ve ever experienced. I just wish…” he trailed off. Now was not the time to talk about regrets.
She stared up into his eyes reassuringly as she reached for his hands and held him there. “Those were fond memories for me too.” She continued to smile, but her face no longer matched the feeling she was trying to convey. “I loved that swing. I loved that even though you thought it was a silly idea, you still did it.” Her voice started to waiver now, “For me. You did it for me, and in the end it brought us both joy. You did it because you knew I was afraid that I was beginning to forget what it was like to be a child. To be innocent and new.”
Grace’s eyes began to well up as the smile fell from her face. “Do you remember what I told you when I first asked for the swing?” Drake nodded in reply.
He remembered vividly how she had pleaded for him to plant a giant oak tree on top of an open hill, which was only a short distance from their mansion. He remembered how she had described seeing other young couples enjoying the summer swinging on a tree together, and how she missed feeling young and alive. To which Drake retorted that she was an immortal vampire so technically she was neither of those things, resulting in a playful slap on his arm from her followed by a soul piercing glare.
What finally got him to cave was when she dropped all pretense and humor. It was then that she told him how she was afraid she was disappearing. She was afraid that the person she used to be, was beginning to fade. He remembered the moment that broke him and caused him to immediately go out and get a tree to plant for her swing. It was the moment she told him that she was scared of her humanity slipping away, and it was the moment that he promised her he would never let that happen. He wouldn’t let her disappear.
“And what did I say to you Drake?” As he opened his mouth to respond, he noticed her eyes begin to glaze over, and her grip on his hands tightened as she frantically grasped to regain control of her mind. This was a battle they couldn’t possibly hope to win, but it was a battle they would face together. “D… Drake?” It was no longer a knowing question bent on an answer. The name had tasted unfamiliar on her lips.
She shook her head as if to clear away an invisible fog, but no matter how hard she seemed to try, the fog remained. All he could do was watch her lapse into a state of delirium as her memories slipped away.
Grace began rapidly shooting glances around her room in confusion at what she could see. “Whe…where am I?” Her eyes landed on his, questioning him as to how she came here. He tried to form the words to say that could ease her mind, but nothing came out. The only thing he could feel in this moment was rage that once again their time was cut short. He wanted to scream, and cry, and hold her close as he apologized to her over and over about how he was powerless to stop this. But this would not be the response she needed now, not here as she stared questioningly into his eyes, the eyes that she could no longer remember.
“Who are you?” She began to raise her voice, growing more agitated by the second. Grace’s hands began to slip away from his when she realized that she was holding him. “Do…do I know you?”
“Yes, you do Grace. I’m your…” he paused for a moment, trying to think of a persona for himself that she could take comfort in. Someone who wouldn’t frighten her with the idea of intimacy, but was still close enough to care for her. “I’m your brother. My name is Drake. Do you remember me Grace?” The words hurt as soon as they left his mouth, knowing that from now on he’d be reduced to a familial status during her lapses, and that as this disease progressed, he may never be able to call her his love again.
“N… no not really,” she slowly scooted herself away from him on her bed. When she looked down and saw what they were sitting on, she shot her eyes up to him puzzled.
“We’re in your room Grace, it’s night time now. I was just saying good night to you.” He quickly replied, hoping that his answers would give her some sense of stability. They did not.
“I don’t know who you are,” her voice was growing louder by the second as her expression hardened into panic. “Did you do something to me!?”
“No! No Grace, I’m telling the truth. You’re safe here, this is your safe space,” he cried out desperate to not have to use drastic measures again. He hated every time he was forced to sedate her.
She was having none of it. “What did you do to me!?” Grace was yelling now as she started to swing her arms at him. It took everything in him not to take the abuse. He would see it as some sort of redemption for what he did to her. For how he had made her a vampire in the first place. But he knew that he had to stop this before she eventually hurt herself.
Drake reached for the stock of ready to use sedatives he kept locked away in the top drawer of her desk. He had to act quickly in her confusion before the rage consumed her.
When she saw what he was going for, she lunged with brute force at his neck, but she was never fast enough. Drake was much older and therefore stronger than she. In a few deft movements he had grabbed a sedative, pinned her to his body, and injected her with it, holding her close to prevent further harm.
As she succumbed to the effects of the drug, she lazily glanced up at Drake, tears streaming down her face. When he looked back into her eyes, he could see her again. He could see his Grace, and with a moment of clarity she choked out, “I’m so scared Drake. I don’t want to… I don’t want to forget.” She began sobbing uncontrollably, and all he could do was hold her close to him as she drifted into a deep sleep. Her eyelids slowly fluttered shut as her body slumped into his. When he could tell that she was truly asleep, the composure that he had so carefully strained to maintain finally broke, and he wept.
Title: Grace Historia
Age Range: Teen-Adult
Word Count: currently working on the book. This is an exerpt that appears later in the story.
The story I'm writing is a unique take on immortality, the benefits and the curses that could befall someone of that nature.
Synopsis: Sarah Mavis is given the opportunity of a lifetime for her young and budding career as a New York Journalist. The events that follow show her how easily gifts can be turned into curses, which is something Drake Aldrich knows all too well.
I majored in psychology, but I've always loved to write. Unfortunately my life doesn't always permit me the time to do so, but I try to make do when I can. I have an odd style of writing, which I'm working on improving. Clearly my writing needs editing, and more tlc. I'm mostly doing this to see if my work has what it takes. Thank you for your time!