My name is David. I've gone by plenty of other names through the years but David was the first and it's the one I keep returning to.
Have I mentioned yet that I'm a vampire?
Well, I am and before I go any further there are a few misconceptions about my kind that I'd like to clear up. We do not fly. We can not turn into fog, rats, bats or bears. (Oh, my!) On the other hand, we are immortal and we do drink blood.
I prefer human blood (O positive) but I know a French vampire who really enjoys the taste of cat's blood. It took years for me to realize all the hacking and gagging was the result of his feline diet and not his accent. To each their own, I suppose. Where was I?
Ah... sunlight. Sunlight does not kill us but it does render us weak and pretty much helpless. Not that it's all that great for you humans. Ever hear of melanoma?
Anyway, a stake through the heart will kill a vampire but only because wood is poison to us. It wouldn't even have to be through the heart, I bet. A big stick thrust into any part of the vampire anatomy should do the trick. I got a sliver in my big toe once and cried like a baby.
By the way, babies are great snacks. Think: Twinkies. If only you could individually wrap and package them in convenient 24ct boxes.... ahem... garlic. Garlic does not kill, poison or disable us in any way. Garlic and blood just don't mix. Same with onions. Let's see... have I forgotten anything?
Oh, yeah. Silver bullets are for werewolves, not vampires. A rolled up newspaper and a leash works just as well for those mutts anyway. (Heh heh, bad dog!) Now, if that's it for Vampire Basics 101, I'll get on with my story.
I was born just over two centuries ago. The when and where aren't important. This story isn't about the beginning – it's about the end. I only mention my age for the sake of comparison. A two hundred year old vampire is basically a blood sucking teenager. Young vampires are arrogant, uncivilized, uncontrollable, horny beasts.
It didn't help that I was only eighteen when I was turned. I guess you could say I've always been an arrogant, uncivilized, uncontrollable, horny beast. Anyway, the point here is this: when you're stuck in a state of eternal puberty, you're bound to screw up somewhere.
Understand where I'm going with this?
This whole mess started about a week ago in a Chicago nightclub called Ravenous. It's the kind of place where no one checks ID – which is good because I'm pretty sure mine expired a hundred years or so before they were invented. Sure, I could get a fake license but why? I don't drive. I can jog faster than any car.
Besides, influencing those bitches at the DMV gives me a headache.
Anyway, I was enjoying a cold Blood Light with a little guy who use to be pharaoh of Egypt when this girl came in. There are always dozens of girls in Ravenous but this one was different. Most of the girls who wander into Ravenous are either gothies or pets. Or both. Usually both.
Pets, by the way, are people who hang around begging to be sucked. Very handy. Kind of like a Happy Meal to go. But this girl didn't look like either. She was wearing khaki, for godssake!
No, I don't believe in God. I know Jesus, though. He thinks he's funny. I think that if I hear one more "How many crucifixes does it take?" joke I'll jam a stick though his eye. But, anyway, the girl...
In a sea of black leather and mesh she stood out like a third nipple. I wouldn't exactly call her centerfold material. Actually, I wouldn't call her. Period. Yeah, yeah, I know – "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Well, let me tell you, this beholder's eye is a hundred times sharper than a human's. That means every ugly person appears a hundred times uglier. Every mole, every wrinkle, every pimple, every defect multiplied a hundred times. I shudder just to think of it!
Don't get me wrong, she wasn't that ugly... okay, yeah, she was. She was paper thin and completely flat chested. Her hair was a mousy brown, thin and straight. Her face was plain, her lips thin, and her eyes a brown color that reminded me of dung. Utterly drab. I've seen mannequins that turned me on more.
Not that I'm into mannequins or anything. I'm a vampire, not a paraphiliac.
The girl stopped just inside the door and looked around. "Maybe she's lost?" Ray said helpfully in response to my "What the hell?"
I should mention that Ray isn't his real name. That's just what he's going by this decade. I guess he finally realized the whole "I am the morning and evening star" thing wasn't helping him get laid.
I know what you're thinking: how? How does a man who's been dead for hundreds of years... you know. There's a biological explanation, I'm sure, but it's lengthy and boring. Want a quickie? Explanation, that is. (You really need to get your mind out of the gutter, you know.) In five words or less? It's. All. In. The. Blood.
Ah, realization slowly dawns... Anyway, that's all beside the point. I should get back to the girl. (She certainly didn't get my blood pumping.)
She stared directly at Ray and me for a minute or so, looked around the room again, then started elbowing her way through the dark masses. You know, that was probably a good time to run. If it weren't for my morbid sense of curiosity I could be enjoying a Bloody Mary (or Fred, or Bob) right now instead of...
Well, you'll see.
You know how people stop to watch accident survivors trying to escape from a burning car? Same thing. I was dying of curiosity. (Sorry. Couldn't help myself.) Well, curiosity killed more than the cat. So, I watched.
No, I'm not into voyeurism. Does have it's appeal, though, doesn't it?
Anyway, half way across the dance floor (more like a grope floor, really) a tall, skinny boy stepped directly into her path. He had a bright red mohawk and a tattoo of a dragon spreading its wings across his chest. The boy, Kris, was one of Ray's pets. He was also into pain. Very into pain. What is it they say? "Sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me." Kris's mantra.
Ray and I grinned each other. "I bet you she cries." he said. I looked between Kris, with his tattoos and piercings, and The Gap Girl. Most of the dancers were doing the same.
"Naw," I said. "I bet she runs away."
She just stood there with her head cocked to one side and her hands on her hips, listening to Kris talk. It wasn't until he reached out to touch her that she reacted. Instead of flinching or trying to get away or anything a normal girl would do, she grabbed his arm and rammed her knee into his groin. He gave a startled yelp and sank to the floor. She just shrugged and kept walking.
We were still staring open mouthed at Kris (laying on the floor with a huge grin on his face; told you he was into pain) when the girl reached our table. I turned toward her when she said "Hi." and winced. Ugly is even worse close up.
When Ray turned toward her, he was glaring. I guess he was rather attached to that particular slab of meat. The pet, of course, not his... oh, forget it.
"Well?" he asked in a growl. He was pissed. Just so you know, vampires are the jealous sort. But, then, would you enjoying sharing a nice juicy steak with complete strangers?
Didn't think so.
There was an awkward moment of silence while the girl shifted from foot to foot. I watched as a girl with creamsicle hair and combat boots dragged Kris off the dance floor. He was staring at Ugly Girl with adoration.
She finally spoke when Ray cleared his throat.
"You guys are vampires, right?"
If it was psychically possible to swallow your tongue (and those guys in KISS don't count), I would have. As it was, I was lucky not to get a bruise on my chin when my jaw hit the floor. (Oh, don't be so literal.)
Ray just snorted. "Well, this has been exciting. Really." he said. "But, if you'll excuse me, I have an appointment with Moses."
Then, he got up and left. Can you believe he just got up and left me there with that crazy bitch? Heartless fiend. He was lucky I didn't have anything sharp and pointy to throw at him.
You know, it's tough being a vampire. Either the enemy stabs you in the heart or your friends stab you in the back.
The girl and I were left staring at each other.
"You are vampires!" she said, sounding excited.
I just raised my eyebrows at her and crossed my arms. "What makes you say that?" I asked as innocently as I knew how. (Well, I am a vampire. How innocent do you think you'd sound after a few hundred years of sucking on people?) She nodded to the half empty pitcher Ray and I had been sharing. The liquid inside was thick and red.
"I doubt that's Michelob." she said. Damn. Couldn't argue there.
"Besides," she added, "I'm a psychic." Double damn.
I hate psychics. They're so bloody omniscient. Luckily for me, they can't read vampires. Unfortunately for me, we can't use mind control on them, either. Needless to say, vampires and psychics don't get along much.
Ugly and psychic. This girl wasn't winning any points.
"So, Miss Cleo," I said, smiling at my own clever joke. "What the hell do you want?"
The smile didn't last long. Only until she smiled back and said "I want you to make me a vampire."
Her? Over my dead... er... well, you know what I mean. I didn't want to be near her for even a minute longer – so she could just forget about eternity. And that's exactly what I told her.
She actually looked hurt at that. Those big puppy dog eyes might have worked on a pretty girl. Not on her.
"You mean you won't turn me into a vampire?" she asked in a small voice. Uh... duh.
I sighed. For a psychic, she wasn't very quick to catch on.
"Listen, how can I explain this so you'll understand?" I said. "You're ugly. Not like twisted, deformed, mutated ugly or anything. Just ugly enough that I wouldn't want to have to look at you for the rest of time."
She stared at me, her eyes narrowing. Whoa. Ugly Girl became Scary Pissed Off Girl in about three seconds flat. Ugly was one thing but pissed off... she might as well have sprouted scales and claws.
"How dare you!" she exclaimed. Then, she did the funniest thing I have ever seen in my long life: she stomped her foot. She actually stomped her foot! I had never seen anyone stomp their foot before. It was quite an experience. I nearly applauded and asked for an encore.
"I am not ugly!" she shouted. The dancers stopped to stare. (There's never really dancing in Ravenous; just a bunch of people standing around watching the latest show.)
"I'm plain." As if I wasn't trying hard enough not to laugh. Just plain!
Sure... and I just like to nibble...
"And the difference is?" I asked with a sneer.
Let me give you a piece of advice: If you want to become a vampire, first, don't be ugly. Second, practice your sneer. The sneer was invented for fangs, you know. It's a vampire trademark.
Anyway, she tossed her stringy hair over one shoulder and said "Plain you can dress up. Ugly there's no hope for."
I started to ask her just what hope she thought she had when she turned on her heel and marched out of the club. It was beautiful – and just a little frightening. Little Miss Abercrombie just stared the gothies down and they jumped out of her way. She would have made a great stormtrooper.
So, I was left staring after her, wondering if I’d been verbally bitch slapped by an ugly psychic. The dancers stared at me for a moment (probably thinking the same thing) and went back to their writhing, er, dancing.
That was last week. If it hadn’t been for Ray laughing at me every time he saw me after that, I would have completely forgotten about the whole frightening incident. (Bloody savage. Wasn’t laughing when I stabbed him with a toothpick, though, was he?) Then earlier today – tonight, whatever – all hell broke loose.
I was sitting at the usual table in Ravenous, sipping a Mike‘s Hard Blood – by myself this time. Ray was still a little sore (heh) about the whole toothpick thing. Anyway, I was doing what I do best: nothing. I wasn’t surprised when the girl came up and sat next to me. I am irresistible, after all. And she wasn’t bad looking herself.
She was a skinny little thing with black hair, blue eyes, and a Godzilla-sized rack. (''Oh no! There goes Tokyo!'') The dress she had on can only be described as Marilyn Manson’s version of a prom dress. Physiological explanations aside, I was turned on. Hey, she was hot – and she was flirting shamelessly with me.
I really can’t remember a word she said… not like I was really listening, just nodding politely and staring at her monstrous breasts. I was giving serious thought to mauling her right there when she suggested that we go someplace a little more quiet. Like I was gonna argue. I let her take my hand and lead me outside.
My mouth was watering by the time she lead me into the alley. If I had been a gentleman which, let’s face it, I’m not, I would have at least waited until I got her back to my place before I revealed my… fangs. Instead, I backed her up against the wall in a position that would have made any porno star proud. She let her head fall back and I went in for the kill (little vampire joke there. It’s okay if you don’t laugh.) …and the most remarkable thing happened.
Somebody fucking staked me.
From behind, no less. Ever had a wooden stake rammed through your heart? No, I suppose not. Well, let me tell you: it fucking hurts. The pain from the wound itself was bad enough. (As a vampire all your senses are multiplied a hundred times – even pain.) The poison from the stake just topped it off. It was like having a river of glass shards flowing through my blood.
I stared down at the end of the stake sticking out of my chest and did what any good vampire in my position would do: I collapsed in a pool of my own blood.
Writhing in agony and trying to see past the red clouding my vision, I looked up at my assassin.
Why? Why? What did I ever do to him? Well, there was that one time… but I swear he wanted it. Then, a girl walked up and slid her arm around his waist. It wasn’t just any girl, though, it was Ugly Girl. What...
Ah. Everything started to make sense. Except...
''Oh,'' she said, looking all smug. ''I forgot to introduce myself before. I’m Adryan.'' She offered me her hand then dropped it with a giggle. Evil bitch.
''Anyway, you know my new friend, Kris?'' (I told you he was into pain.)
I answered her with a snarl.
''Oh,'' she added. ''This is my twin sister, Blaise.''
I rolled my head from side to side in utter disbelief. ''Roll'' really isn’t the right word – more like ''thump.''
No. They couldn’t be twins. Just look at those boobs! Blaise just smiled and waved her fingers at me. Yeah… there it was: that evil smile.
Adryan knelt beside me and grabbed the stake. If I could have spoken I would have offered her anything, even immortality, if she would just take the bloody thing out. But, no, of course she didn’t take it out. She gave it an angry twist and leaned close to my ear.
''I told you that you can dress plain up.'' I tried to lunge for her throat but missed terribly. She just laughed as she pulled away. That’s when I saw them. Fangs. Talk about adding insult to injury. Someone actually turned her. But who? Kris couldn’t have; he was only a pet. I turned my head to look at him (thump). He grinned at me. Fangs. Just what the hell was going on?
''David, David.'' a familiar voice said. ''You should really be careful who you piss off.''
A fourth figure walked up and put his arm around Kris.
All this, over just one toothpick? That whole first born thing suddenly made so much more sense.
''Adryan approached me with her little plan and I just couldn’t refuse.''
I bet. He’s probably into pain too, sick bastard.
''We’ll just leave you to… you know.'' Adryan said cheerfully and they walked away and left me dying in the street.
Now I’m laying here, hoping someone will come out of Ravenous and save me – but I don’t think that’s very likely. It’s pretty much a handle-your-own-problems kind of place. Besides, I don’t think it would do any good to remove the stake now, the poison’s spread too far. I can feel it eating me alive from inside.
What happens to vampires when they die? I don’t think anyone really knows. I wish I didn’t have to find out. Kind of makes me wish I’d asked Jesus who his father really was. I keep thinking about stupid little things like that. Especially the dumb things that I’ve done. One, not surprisingly, sticks out in my mind. But it’s getting harder to focus on coherent thoughts. (Not that I ever did well with that, anyway.)
Before I go (to where or what, I don’t know), let me pass on one more bit of advice.
Remember: Plain you can dress up. Ugly there’s no hope for.