One month later, Santa Anna strolled with Isadora across his luxurious, sweeping hacienda in Veracruz.
Correction: Isadora strolled. Santa Anna clunked.
“Bah,” the general said. “What good is eternal life without a leg?”
The lady vampire scoffed. “Off the top of my head, I can think of a thousand dead men who would gladly trade a leg to be in your position.”
Santa Anna hobbled his way to a flower garden, where he sat down on a bench and adjusted the straps on his wooden prosthetic leg.
“Crafted by imbeciles!” the general shouted.
Isadora found a spot on the bench and sat quietly as her protege raged.
“How many times have I saved this country from ruin?!” the general barked. “And all I ask for is a fake leg that fits me properly!”
Santa Anna looked out at the green field that sprawled ahead of him, stretching all the way to the horizon. Peasant workers in rags toiled away under the hot sun, picking ripe vegetables and placing them into burlap sacks.
The general pulled out his pistol, closed his left eye and took aim at a random worker standing roughly eighty yards away. The trigger was pulled, the shot fired. The worker fell, his body disappearing into the greenery.
The remaining workers in the dead man’s vicinity stopped momentarily. They looked around and then upon realizing who had fired, went immediately back to work, praying that their brief pause had gone unnoticed.
“Why did I do that?” Santa Anna asked as he blew the smoke off the barrel of his gun.
“Because you wanted to,” Isadora replied.
“All my life, I have wanted to do many things,” Santa Anna said. “Terrible things.”
Isadora plucked a red rose from a nearby bush and admired it.
“Take what I want,” Santa Anna said. “Torture whoever mocks me. Murder whoever stands in my way. Fuck…”
Santa Anna looked at his companion and calmed down as he realized she was hanging on his every word.
“You stopped at the best part,” Isadora said as she pulled a petal off the rose.
The general finished his sentence. “…whoever I want.”
“What has been holding you back?” Isadora asked.
“I don’t know,” Santa Anna said. “Morality. Decency. Religion. Right and wrong.”
“All good guesses,” Isadora said as she rubbed the petal between her thumb and forefinger. “But all wrong.”
“You look at me as a cat does a mouse, woman,” Santa Anna said. “Tell me already.”
“It was your soul,” Santa Anna said.
The general holstered his weapon then leaned back. He looked up at the sky and attempted to lose himself while staring at all the fluffy white clouds.
“The greatest drawback of life, mi amor, is a soul,” Isadora explained. “A priest will tell you that it is the very essence of your being but if we’re being honest, it is little more than a nagging pest, a pathetic little worm that holds you back…”
Isadora leaned in close and nibbled on Santa Anna’s earlobe. “Whispering in your ear to be good when being bad is much more fun.”
The lady flicked the petal into the air. It danced about in the wind for a moment before falling to the ground.
“But now it is gone,” Isadora said. “And now you no longer have to worry about it standing between you and what you desire ever again, morality be damned.”
“I do not understand how I can still be here without my soul,” Santa Anna said.
“It may not seem like it but trust me,” Isadora said as she brushed her cold hand up against Santa Anna’s colder cheek. “You are most certainly dead and upon death, the soul and the body separate. Your soul travels to heaven or hell, depending on whether you were a good boy or a bad boy. Where do you think it went?”
“I’d rather not think about it,” Santa Anna replied.
Isadora laughed. “Perhaps that is best.”
“I’m dead,” Santa Anna said. “Yet here I am.”
“Your body carries on,” Isadora said. “Your mind continues to function. But when I drained you of blood, I killed you. When you fed on my blood, you were revived. A body drained off blood that is offered blood cannot resist and even death cannot prevent it from feeding.”
Santa Anna sat up and looked around the field.
“You will need to continue feeding forever to remain as you are,” Isadora said.
“Speaking of,” Santa Anna said. “I’m feeling peckish.”
The general stood up and limped into the field. Isadora followed.
“Who will you choose?” the lady vampire asked.
The general stopped and stared at a gray haired old man who was digging in the earth with a shovel. “Too old.”
“Not necessarily a problem,” Isadora said as she followed her love. “Like wine, blood ages well.”
“Yes,” Santa Anna said. “But he’s lived about as much life as he can and wouldn’t fear death, would he?”
“You are a natural, novio,” Isadora said.
The general stopped in front of a hideous man with a hunchback and a goiter on his noise.
“Ugh,” Santa Anna said as he walked away. “Wretched.”
“The package doesn’t always match the taste,” Isadora said.
“Yes,” Santa Anna said. “But I’d have to look at him while I’m eating…hello.”
A buxom senorita took a break from picking corn to dab her sweaty brow with a handkerchief. Her hair was dark and pulled back from her face with a red ribbon.
The general’s fangs popped out.
“Practice what I showed you,” Isadora said.
“But it would be so much better if she screams,” Santa Anna said.
“You must learn how to glamour,” Isadora said.
“Oh, alright,” Santa Anna said as he if were a naughty school boy caving in to his scolding mother’s demands. “Senorita.”
“Si?” the señorita replied as she turned around. As soon as she noticed the general’s fangs she shrieked. “Un monstruo!”
“Shh,” Santa Anna said as his eyes turned red. “There is nothing to fear.”
“No hay nada que temer,” the señorita repeated.
“You want to come to me,” Santa Anna said.
“Quiero ir a ustedes,” the senorita replied.
She did and as soon as she was close, Santa Anna dove his fangs into her neck and sucked. The señorita was quiet, peaceful. Her eyes closed and as she was drained she slowly, peacefully went to asleep until her body went limp in the general’s arms.
Santa Anna lifted his blood soaked mouth up from his meal and tossed the senorita’s carcass to the ground as if it were trash.
“I am invincible,” Santa Anna said.
“Close,” Isadora said. “But not quite. You’ll want to stay away from silver and guard your heart at all costs. A silver bullet or a wooden stake driven through your heart will be the end of you.”
The she-vamp reached her delicate fingers into Santa Anna’s shirt and pulled out a shiny golden medallion that was hanging from his neck from a chain.
“Above all else,” Isadora said. “Do not lose this and do not ever go outside in the daylight without this on.”
Santa Anna looked down at the golden circle. The design was simple, a mere pentagram. In the center, there was the face of a fearsome looking ram with long, pointy horns.
“A cheap bauble,” Santa Anna said.
Isadora slapped her man across the face, then pointed her finger at him. “You have no idea how difficult it was to talk father into giving this to you. Most vampires must slave away in his service for centuries before gaining his trust.”
Santa Anna reached out and ran his fingers over a similar medallion that hanged from Isadora’s neck.
“Would it be wrong to assume that this ‘father’ you speak of is actually the dev…”
Another slap. A finger pointed at Santa Anna’s face again.
“Do not ever use father’s real name,” Isadora said.
“And why is that?” Santa Anna asked.
“Because the greatest trick that father ever played is to convince mankind that he does not exist,” Isadora answered. “Throw his name around often enough and incompetent humans might start to wise up.”
“Incompetent?” Santa Anna asked.
“Humans are fools,” Isadora said. “They live short lives and barely have enough time to learn a thing. Alas, you haven’t lived long either mi amor but follow my counsel and you will rule Mexico.”
Isadora took Santa Anna’s harm and the vampires walked together toward an enormous, pristine white mansion.
“The people already call you the Napoleon of the West,” Isadora said.
“I’m not sure that is a compliment,” Santa Anna said.
“It is,” Isadora said. “He was a masterful warrior and between you and I…he was one of us.”
Santa Anna’s eyes widened. “But he had his waterloo.”
“Obey me and you never will,” Isadora said.
“There is a cost you’ve yet to mention, no doubt,” Santa Anna said.
“Of course,” Isadora said. “You’ll need to wake up father.”
“Wake him?” Santa Anna asked.
“Naturally,” Isadora said. “Mexico will be yours, Antonio, but the world will be father’s.”