I can’t remember the last time I saw a mirror in the wild.
The world is full of bathroom cabinets without doors, cars without wing mirror. They’ve all either been smashed by them or stolen by us.
In the early days, when we realised they had no reflection, people started panic buying them, stealing them wherever they could find them. Thinking that spotting them, recognising them, would somehow save them.
I saw people carrying mirrors from dressing tables, curved shoplifting mirrors, even a mirror ball once. I also saw people get killed for them. Not by vampires, this is by other humans you understand. Desperate, thinking it would give them an edge. Committing a monstrous act in order to better fight the monsters, the irony lost to them.
It didn’t matter. You didn’t need a mirror to tell them apart. The living were the ones barricading themselves in, or running, screaming, sobbing. Whereas the vampires walked. As if they had all the time in the world. A Sunday stroll as the world burned.
Some cities were hit worse than others in the first weeks. Whole districts gutted or flattened by bombs, often by panicking humans using their own weapons against areas they considered lost. But some areas are untouched, pristine. In some places you can almost pretend that nothing has happened, if you ignore the stench on the wind.
It’s how we view things that has changed. Every location pared down to logistics; how defensible is this street? What are the entry and exit routes? Is there any access to sewers? Who owns this building?
That’s an important one: who owns the building? Because if they own it, they can walk right in. Just a piece of paper. A legal convention standing between you and death.
They knew this, or course. The first thing they did when they took over the government was to pass a new law. Compulsory purchase orders on every building they had a record of.
Now a building they don’t own is an aberration. Perhaps we set it up as a safe house, for a time. And maybe they’ll even allow it, turn a blind eye for a week, a month. Maybe. Then they bar the doors and burn it to the ground. Or get the army, their army now, to blow it up. An example to others. To keep the herd in line.
Because they’re not stupid. We’re their food supply. They need to keep a certain percentage of us alive. And those people in turn need feeding. Which leads to the surreal situation of vampires suddenly becoming very interested in agriculture. Or at least, ensuring that the system in place continues to function. Farming is suddenly the safest occupation in the world. If you own a farm or have an agricultural degree you’re virtually untouchable. They need you. You’re making the food to feed their food.
I saw a man at a checkpoint yesterday. His papers were out of date, and he was pleading, imploring with the vampire behind the desk. He claimed he was training to be a farmer but it didn’t seem to make any difference. As they dragged him off he began to recite a list of crops he’d obviously been learning, he babbled it like a prayer, as if it would save him. A catechism that proved his worth.
It didn’t work.
Some people turn to religion. Most vampires at least flinch at crucifixes. Surely that means that God exists, that he’s coming back. Surely. Some are desperate to think so, praying to God to come down and smite the monsters. Others make new faiths, placing their hope in another saviour; The Church of the War Child, The House of Eve the Blessed, Witness to the Wolf Born Saviour. Different sects all spouting the same basic story: that the child born of two werewolves will one day rise up and save us all.
Some say that the vampires killed her long ago, and that we were all doomed the moment that happened. Others say that she will rise up one day and turn our oppressors to dust, probably arm in arm with Jesus, Vishnu and John Connor as she does so. I think that’s just as likely as anything else.
I don’t know why I keep this diary anymore. I used to imagine that I was writing to some future reader, some kindly historian that would pore over this account and attempt to piece together how it all happened, how humanity lost the war with the vampires.
I suppose it comforted me to think of it in that way, because I always pictured my historian living in a better world. A world where we somehow had risen up to overthrow them all, long before the historian was ever born. And he would read this account with a detached indifference, in the way that we read accounts of the Black Death.
Distant deaths, long ago, rendered emotionless by the buffer of time. A brutal world unimaginable to his pampered existence.
But I don’t think that anymore. I don’t think of any potential reader in a better world. I reject that for what it is: vain hope. Self-delusion, folly. We have lost. We will not rise up. There is no brighter tomorrow, not now, not ever.
My future historian, if he exists, views our deaths with indifference not because of the passage of time but because his skin is cold, his eyes are black pits and his heart is dead.