I’ve been looking through my mail since I got home. It’s mostly bills, but I did get one interesting letter from someone who was already sent back. It’s unclear if this was simply a message to me, or if this was the refictionalization story which sent this character back. Possibly both.
To whom it may concern,
I suppose this is goodbye, though you’ve likely never met me. It is with no small amount of trepidation and hesitance that I write this letter, but also a kind of relief. I have grown weary: weary in the most terrible, crushing manner, and I find I must give words to my weariness.
I am old. Or rather, I was always old, and the world for a time refused to grow old with me. A hundred years could pass and I could still rise at sundown, don my finest cloak, and walk unperturbed through the night streets. My pleasures unchanging, reactive to the seemingly immutable world. The same prudishness permeated civilization for centuries, instilling my perversion with a grim, satisfying purpose. Just as I took pleasure from their blood, so too did I take pleasure from ravishing their bodies, feeling their wrists become limp, their legs give way as I gently lowered them to the ground to be found at morning’s first light. It was good. I was pleased. What matter that I had to skulk in shadows, to linger in the dark places of the earth? It was a thorn in my side that I enjoyed prickling against, letting it fill me with disgust, then ripping it away.
But that was a long time ago, before I came to this world, this modern world. Such openness, such freedom. It was my heaven made real. Women and men giving themselves over to the throes of passion, embracing the jouissance of tearing down the self-righteous masters of society. Rebellion, anarchy, the mask of sanity draped over everything and everyone. I fed, and I fed, and I fed, but though it sated my hunger, I soon longed for something more.
This world moves too quickly, too brightly. I am a creature of shadow and mist. Where I was a tyrant once feared, now I am now one of countless. Modesty is gone, and I have nothing to take pleasure in sullying. What is left to corrupt, to liberate, when all the world is free and open? My power is gone. I cannot shock, and without that, I have no pleasure. The people are dulled to my leavings. A woman found in the park, a man found leaning against a lonely streetlamp, these have become pedestrian. My name can still incite fear, but it is not the same fear that tears at their soul, that makes them fear for not just their lives, but their immortal souls. This is not my home, not my place. It never was, and I was a fool to think otherwise.
And with that, I find myself called to another place.
I’m leaving now, and I do not know if I shall ever return. The roles have reversed, the pendulum finally swung the other way. I am the old man tottering along in world that neither remembers me nor cares. I think I would like to go to sleep, a long sleep where I could feel the centuries roll by. Who knows if I’ll ever wake up? But then…yes, who can say? Maybe one day the pendulum shall swing again, and when that day gives way to night, you would do well to stay indoors.
-Count Vladimir Dragulia