Winter Solstice has now passed and soon the days will lengthen once again until the hours of daylight are longer than the hours of night time. Of course at the moment this seems and feels very far away. For one such as I the night time is both welcome and unwelcome. Long dark winter nights can make us long for the Sun and its warmth but for one such as I am, it means death.
It must seem strange to associate the light with death, but that is what my kind exist with- the reverse of the natural order. For it is true I have been made “unnatural” – in human terms at least; for there are animals that are solely nocturnal. So I am now a nocturnal being.
I once talked about the beauty of the night and moonlight to Victoria Winters but to my dismay she preferred the Sun and daylight. I had hoped at the time, her being somewhat of a whimsical romantic, that she might prefer the night and the soft light of the Moon.
My heart ached as she spoke enthusiastically about the daylight and the warmth of the Sun, for I could not share this feeling with her, despite yearning to be able to. So, I convinced myself that perhaps the Moon’s beauty was the greater one and hoped to convince the lovely young woman whose face was gently bathed in its light that moonlight was the most beautiful.
One thing I learned from our little talk was that both the Sun and the Moon have a beauty that is of their own- different of course, but equally beautiful. There are many mythologies about these two globes, which I will not go into here, but I will talk about what they mean to me personally.
The Sun brings light and warmth and life- all living things need light to thrive. But not for me. One such as I fears its rays touching me even for a second.
The Moon is not a harbinger of light but ebbs and flows, grows full and then turns into a mere sliver in the night sky and of course it creates the tides of the Sea.
Yet when it is full it lights up the sky like a lantern. I have good night vision so I can see quite well in the dark, but I have always been glad when the Moon is full when walking at night for it is a strange comfort to me, acting as a substitute for the Sun that would mean my destruction. The Moon becomes a companion to the vampire, for it is the only natural light that he can safely raise his face to. I expect that is why I have always been averse to electric lighting- for it is harsh and strong unlike candlelight which is soft and gentle on the eyes. As someone who grew up in the eighteenth century I have a special fondness for candles, although I am often regarded as eccentric for this.
Yet, I have learned not to fear the Sun any more, nor do I hate it, for I have many memories of enjoying its warmth on my face, spending long summer days on the Collinwood estate as a boy.
The memories are bitter sweet of course, but that part of my existence I don’t wish to forget. I even had some time in the twentieth century when I could walk in the daylight again, and it was a great joy to me, even though at the time I was not able to spend as much time savoring the experience as I wished to due to poor Chris Jennings suffering from his werewolf curse.
It was a strange irony to me that he hated and feared the night time when the Moon was full, as it meant he would lose his humanity for the night and transform into something inhuman, when here I was human again and able to walk in both sunlight and moonlight and enjoy both equally. I had not forgotten how this felt, and was always expecting that it would not last, and once again I would become the nocturnal creature I had been for almost two hundred years.
Chris never knew why I felt the compassion for him I did, but nevertheless he accepted that I did and wished to help him find a cure of his affliction. I have spoken before about Chris and my failure to help him, so I won’t go over it again, but I do wish to say that for him, the Moon only brought ugliness and never any beauty.
Many people associate the Moon and night time with romance- it has been in many a love song and poems. Even I tried to find the romance in the night; courting Josette and later Roxanne and as mentioned even Victoria, but it was all hopeless as for it would ultimately have meant they would needed to have become as I am, for my nights were long, and then would become short, always opposite to theirs- Sun and Moon, night and day- opposites and often in opposition.
Well, that is how I saw it, for how could I hope to exist in such a way all alone yet at the same time be in a state of opposition to my beloved? I did not want any of them to suffer my affliction and came to see in time, that the only way I could exist and love was to compromize. Into the old House one night walked a bold and capricious woman, with a very direct manner to which I took immediate offense (although I maintained a polite facade) who would help me see a light in the dark, give me hope.
Her name was Julia Hoffman.