It seems that some of us never learn and are doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again. Some never learn with regard to money and fall for every conman they meet, others fall in love with the wrong person every time, but won’t hear of changing their ways, when friends tell them to stay clear of cheats and ruthless seducers.
Some people never think of the consequences of their actions and believe they will be forgiven, no matter what they do – their charm and winning smile allows them to get away with murder during their lifetime; in some case, quite literally, but in their afterlife they’ll have to face up to what they did.
Only when we are brought face to face with our demise do some of us realise we cannot go through life without leaving some mark, even if we believe ourselves to be a fairly unassuming nobody, who wouldn’t hurt a fly or invisible, because we are of no interest to society at large. Words can often cut more than we realise, hurt even more than an actual blow. Yet rarely do we go back and say sorry or try to make amends to relative strangers or those we do not deem that important to our happiness.
In Willow the Vampire’s adventures I love to play with the notion that humans rarely get a chance to put things right, while vampires do, since they have their eternal afterlife to seek redemption. Meeting a large number of ghosts in her next adventure, Willow will for the first time understand the value of being a vampire, of not being mortal.
Ghosts are troubled spirits. Some seek revenge for the wrongs done to them during their lives, others cannot find peace, because they did someone a wrong they never had the chance to put right. Others again had an unhappy life, sometimes because of their own making. There are those men and woman who only ever date the brainless, but pretty and never find true happiness as a result. Others like to subdue and conquer in their relationships and are only content when they can humiliate those they call their friends. There are bullies and sadists, eternal victims and martyrs and those who are too arrogant to care much about anything.
A vampire’s afterlife is quite different from that of a ghost. The Egyptians depicted their dead looking very much like they did in life. The Book of the Dead shows people wearing the same style of clothes, eating the same type of food and doing similar things to those they did in life. Some ghosts reappear as animals, mostly as birds, in some cultures, while vampires have the option how they want to return and can change their appearance almost at will – at least with some practice and with the help of ancient magic. Vampires will retain some of their human characteristics, some will even be enhanced, but on the whole they will turn into quite a different creature to the one they were when blood still pulsed through their veins.
While our bodies might be cremated or buried in some grave, many people believe our souls or spirits remain, either floating to some paradisiacal land called heaven or tumble straight into hell for our “sins”. Traditional Romanian folklore puts vampires far more into the same category as ghosts than modern fiction has done since Bram Stoker wrote his Dracula. Modern vampires spend their afterlife chasing teenage lovers, fighting for justice or simply battling against werewolves for the sheer fun of it.
I’d like to believe that someone, no matter what they were like in their first life, would use their afterlife to contemplate about the mistakes they made the first time round and try to put things right. The afterlife will last an awfully long time – a whole eternity in fact – so trying to atone for the things we did wrong and gaining redemption from those we wronged during our lifetime seems one of the few things truly worthwhile doing when we’re dead.
(animation source: heathersanimation.com)