Beth looked at the stranger across from her. Broad shoulders draped in an overcoat. Hat covering his short hair (or perhaps mostly bald head?). His age was impossible to determine looking at him. He might have been in his forties or his sixties. The way he looked, something about it, reminded her of… someone? She couldn’t place him. What had he said his name was? Thomas?
The man was talking about someone else, someone she also didn’t know. But someone he was trying to warn her about. “I don’t know how to explain this to you, but let me try an analogy. You probably like to drink alcohol. Or maybe you like sex. But you don’t understand the alcoholic’s craving or the nymphomaniac’s desire.”
Beth had no idea where he going with this. Addiction? To blood? Was he trying to tell her that vampires were real? Maybe her first instinct, that he was just a crazy person, was right after all.
Thomas continued before she could leave. “Well, he’s addicted to life. Everyday he’s alive is another day off the wagon. There’s no twelve-step recovery program for life. And every moment leaves you wanting more. The only cure for this addiction is death. The advantage is, you don’t have any relapses.”
“So what? Nobody wants to die. I mean, sure, some people commit suicide, and there are people with death wishes. But everybody else wants to live, too. What makes him so special?” Beth was at the end of her patience with this.
“No. You’re right that most people like living. But that’s like you liking alcohol or sex. Most people don’t think about living all the time. Sure, they might worry about death from time to time. Maybe when they’ve had a close call, or someone close to them dies. But I’m talking obsession here. He is constantly thinking about life, his life, and how to prolong it. It consumes him. And it’s that obsession that sustains him. It has sustained him for a very long time.”
“How… how long?”
“At least several hundred years. And he is a dangerous man.”