Cecelia Dugaine, born 1727, woke up in a fancy hotel suite on Times Square with a splitting headache.

Where had Gaelan gotten to? He had been such an obvious, easy mark at the party. Nervous, gullible, unattractive, and giving off waves of type AB positive scent–the good stuff, rare and vintage. It had been easy as breathing to give him a whirlwind seduction, a quick whiff of persuasive pheromones, and then retire to a small room upstairs to feed. Cecelia remembered the expression on his face as she’d sunk her dripping fangs into his jugular, the last clear thing she could recall: not so much scared or pained as thrilled.

As she staggered upright and lurched toward the bathroom, Cecelia wondered at her puzzling lack of the Hunger, which should have returned after a day’s rest. Her movements lacked their usual fluid, deadly grace; upon entering the bathroom, she very nearly lost her balance and fell, something that hadn’t happened since she’d been turned in 1755 by the Comte de Vézelay.

Two things were visible in the mirror that shouldn’t have been there. The first was her reflection, which Cecelia hadn’t seen in centuries.

The second was a message scrawled in blood: WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF MORTALITY!

A card was propped on the countertop below; with trembling hands–her hands hadn’t trembled since the Hunger had almost consumed her in 1859!–Cecelia opened it and read.

Dear bloodsucking fiend,

I’ve passed on a rather unique condition to you, and your body has now cleansed itself of the bloodsucker virus for good. Don’t think of trying to get bitten again: your body now produces the same antibodies as mine. Get ready to enjoy all the fruits of humanity, from aging to vulnerability to old enemies with scores to settle.

Have a nice life.


Panicked, Cecelia threw the card down. She dashed to the balcony, throwing open the door and casting aside the curtains. The early morning sun shone gaily down upon her exposed skin, without so much as a tendril of smoke or a whisper of pain.

“No!” she cried, sinking to her knees in important rage.

“Hey nature child!” someone cried from the next balcony over. “Put on a shirt and get the hell over it!”