My dear son,

When you read this, I will be no more. I do not expect this to move or shock you in any way, but, I suppose since I'm writing you this letter, this means a part of me does wish for it.

We have hardly talked in the last few years. Maybe it is normal for fathers and sons to grow apart like this after so many years. The more I think about it, the more I realise that I don't know you at all any more, and maybe I never even knew you. I don't know how to reach you. I don't know if you still resent me for having brought you into this life just as you turned 21, and leaving your mother behind. I see you live your life in your flamboyant, easygoing way, and I wonder, are you happy, my son? Or are you feeling like I do deep down? And if you do, how could I help you? The sad fact is, I don't think I can.

The world has lost its colour – and it has lost it a long time ago, I just didn't want to notice. Just now, I seduced Sarah, a pretty girl, an easy prey. She captured my imagination for a while. But somehow, all this still just feels like a reflection of feelings I had in the past, like being seen through a thick patch of mist, not like the real thing. She came to me so willingly, and when I tasted her blood, just for one moment, the old intensity of feeling was back. But that didn't help, it made it all worse in a way - it was like a glimpse of what could have been. And then she got away, together with that clumsy boy you fancied, and that senile old fool, and I can't even find it in me to feel much about that. Yes, I felt something like anger when it happened, but that feeling died down as quickly as a flame deprived of air. I can't even find it in me to care if I see her again or not. I totally lost interest in her as she turned into a vampire – this may sound arrogant coming from a vampire himself, but most vampires become intensely predictable and boring to be with – all they seem to be interested in is feeding, for all eternity. It's enough to do your head in!

For me, the moment the lust for blood is fulfilled, I lose interest. And this feeling of emptiness that remains becomes worse and worse every time.

I have decided to end it all. Here I am, with this gift of eternal life, and what have I made of it? Nothing at all. All the great things I wanted to achieve, see and do... what's left of it? I remember when I was younger, I always said that if I couldn't find anything in life to get excited about any more, I'd rather end it all than live a life of dreary desperation. I never have managed to live up to this claim before, but now I feel ready to leave this life, or what's left of it.

So tomorrow morning, I will see be out in the sun again. I hope that just before it scorches me, I will actually be able to see it before I sink into nothingness… Then by tonight, all that will be left of me is a small pile of ashes, and my life will be finished with.

My son, I wish you the best future a vampire can have… and that you find the sense in life that your father failed to find!

Your father,

Sebastian.

Herbert von Krolock was sitting in the castle's kitchen, which was spacious but empty apart from a single wooden table and chair in the middle of the room, and unused shelves and a stove that had been cold for centuries. The room was dark apart from a single candle lit on the table. He had read his fathers letter and now was staring into the flickering flame of the candle. Slowly and deliberately, he moved the letter above the candle and watched how the flames began to devour it, with the flames steadily growing and taking hold of the paper. Just before the flames could get hold of his hand and scorch his white, almost translucent vampiric skin, Herbert dropped the burning letter to fall on the table. The flames took hold of the wood straight away. Herbert's lips were pressed together so tightly that they almost disappeared as he looked at the fire, his pupils shrinking to the size of needle pins from the brightness of it. He turned round and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him, away from the blazing heat and into the reassuring velvety darkness of the night.