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Life is weird, then again, so is death. Take me, for instance. I went to sleep with a dagger in my heart, buried beneath consecrated ground, centuries ago. At the time, I had come to the logical conclusion that it was going to be permanent. That’s the way things work, generally speaking. Churches don’t get up and walk away from their foundations, after all. Although, apparently, every once in a blue moon, some idiot with deranged Victorian sensibilities establishes a lunatic asylum in an old, abandoned abbey. Add in the usual over-lobotomized idiot with a shovel eventually being used as free labor to build a root cellar in the basement and, well, suddenly it’s a Coming Out Party.

The most beautiful thing about a giant who’s had holes repeatedly drilled into his head is that you don’t have to do much at all to compel the poor bastard. Butchers in lab coats, those smug bastards carrying their titles and prestige in much the same way the Inquisitors did in my day, have already laid the groundwork. To put it in human terms, when you find the eggs already scrambled, all that’s left to add are a few seasonings and your garnish of choice. Of course, my garnish was a fair amount of bottled-up rage, and the more I saw of the conditions in the place, the more it grew. And I hadn’t even met Constance yet.

Poor Constance, now, she was something quite broken and special, indeed. Her husband, the doctors, and the staff—men hadn’t been particularly kind to her. I’d like to think I made up for some of that, then again, I’m not really one either. Such a frail, little thing yet so brave and she asked me to dance. I had always loved dancing; I couldn’t resist. I took her in these long, cold arms, and I held her, my leaf in a hurricane, and we danced. I watched those eyes light up and even heard her laugh—such a rusty yet beautiful sound—before she died.

There was as much irony as horror in our situation; I assure you. Why? Because I had volunteered to retire from the world, after what I had seen of the Inquisition. It had seemed to me that humankind, using the guise of decrees and religion, and fancy words like heresy to further specific agendas had become a greater monster than I, a vampire, had ever thought to be.

On the bright side, Constance showed me I might have been wrong—or, as your kind are so fond of saying, perhaps I just needed to sleep on it for a while.

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