I listened with wrapped attention as Aric spun his tale of his people’s history, his words weaving such a vivid tale I felt like I could see it happening.
“As his people clawed over one another to quench their thirst, they also partook of Januarius’ curse,” Aric said, looking sadly at me. “By dawn, every citizen of Larsa, be they man, woman or child was a monster just like their king.”
“So the Goddess Ereshkigal cursed an entire population in order to save them?” I asked, almost unable to believe that a goddess, even one of the underworld, would do that.
“Yeah,” Aric replied with a nod, his face showing fatigue, “to save his people, Januarius cursed them to an eternity of death.”
“But what about Christ,” I asked, trying to figure something out. “You said he was a vampire, but he preached from the mount, entered Jerusalem, walked on the sea, all in daylight.
“How could he have done that is he was one of you?” I demanded, not wanting to believe what he had said.
“Vampire’s aren’t vulnerable to sunlight the way humans think,” he chuckled, pushing himself further back on his bed, “we aren’t as powerful when the sun is out, but it doesn’t cause us to combust, it just makes us feel really tired.
“Speaking of which,” he yawned crawling under his sheets, “where did I leave off... Oh, yes, after the salvation of Larsa, King Januarius tried to keep his people together, but their need for blood was too strong. With no humans to feed from, they dispersed in all directions in search of prey.
"Over time, humans began to recognize the danger they represented," he said, yawning more and more, trying to finish his story before sleep claimed him. "They started spreading tales of demons and monsters that hunted in the night.
"Then came Christ, he was the great-great-great grandson of Januarius. And what you’ve read about his teachings are true, he preached love between not just between men, but between men and vampire.
"He wanted humans to understand that we meant no harm to them, that we could find a way to live in peace, but you humans wanted none of it.
"Instead of peace, they nailed him to a cross and let him die."
Unable to suppress another yawn, Aric shook his head.
"I need to rest," he said, yawning again, this time so widely his jaw popped.
"Of course," I said, yawning myself.
"But," I added quickly, before he could nod off, "if what you say is true about Christ, then vampire or human, his teachings of peace and love are still applicable."
"I guess," Aric mumbled, burrowing his head into his pillow. "Good night Liberty."
"Good night Aric," I replied, laying down on my own bed.
Unable to sleep I rolled to my back, staring up at the bars that loomed above me.
'If Christ was a vampire,' I thought, 'then what did that mean for me? For my soul, and for the souls of all humans?'