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Hello there. My name is… well, honestly, I don’t remember. It’s been many, many years since anyone’s called me by it, and so I’ve simply forgotten. Not that it matters, I suppose. It is not my intention to make note of myself to everyone. I am not the subject of this excursion. This is just a little bit of advice I’ve decided to put to paper and release out into the world. Whoever finds this note may have their name as the author. It matters not to me.
Goodness, it is strange to actual write again. I haven’t done it in ages, so please excuse the poor handwriting. My fingers aren’t really designed for this purpose anymore, just as my body does not sit tremendously comfortably within this wooden chair. I will try to be as legible as I can. I want my message understood.
History has, throughout its recorded life, told many a tale of the strange and unusual. Ethereal spirits of those dearly departed, tentacled monsters that swallow entire vessels whole, mortal men that can shift between human and animal by the phases of the moon… I remember learning of such things in my youth, when novelties like books and education still interested me. Much of these stories are the workings of the imagination, the by-product of mortal fear, the explanation for the unknown when one cannot be found through fact. However, a small percentage of such notions do have some basis in reality. This is what I’ve been wanting to share with you, the finder of this etching.
I’m talking about vampires.
I have read countless tales of these bloodsucking beings, and I wish to be the first one to tell you that the human concept of the vampire is and always has been completely ludicrous. They went from being corpses found bloated and bleeding in their graves to pop stars with tiny fangs and desirable bodies. Some were spectral in nature, others more resembled the lycans or the walking dead, and a few were no more than snarling female heads. A million variations on a single concept – a life-eater – and not a single one of them is valid. You would think that, for a species with such a vivid and vast imagination, humanity would have at least come close to the truth about one of its most feared – and, in recent years, most beloved – monsters.
Well, maybe it is right in one respect.
Vampires do, in fact, drink blood. But they also eat meat as well. And all the other fluids a mortal body produces: water, spinal fluid, gastric acid, even urine and mucus. Generally, they consume every part of their kill right down to the bones. There is no preference or uncontrollable desire for one part of an animal’s anatomy. It is merely the sustenance needed to live, no different than what a bear or a bird of prey chooses for its meals. Though, I suppose you could say humans are a “preferred” source, seeing as they fulfill the calorie count of a vampire much more than other prey animals. A whole human can satiate a vampire for an entire month.
This is why there are no corpses found with the infamous twin pinpricks on the neck. And, that’s another thing – a vampire’s teeth. It is not simply two incisors in a mouth of perfect white bone. Vampires have little need for hygiene in general, let alone oral, so their mouths are cavernous breeding grounds for the foulest bacteria. While their bones are much stronger than a human’s, the teeth all tend to rot to brown, cavity-riddled points, which may have inspired the idea of a deadly kiss in the movies and books. However, anyone who is bitten by a vampire (and survives) will only gain a nasty bout of rabies or HIV rather than the gift of immortality.
Ah, yes, another thing the human theory of the vampire got… well, partially correct.
Vampires are by no means immortal – they are as susceptible to death as anything – but they can live remarkably long lives. Into the several hundred years, usually, though I believe the oldest was documented at about twelve hundred. I couldn’t tell you exactly why they have such hearty lifespans – perhaps it has to do with resilient immune systems or the fact that their primary organs (the brain and the heart) are much larger and suppler than a human’s. Biology was never my field of interest, and observation is the only reason I can make such vague hypotheses in the first place. Your guess is as good as mine, dear reader.
Despite their mortality, the most common cause of death to a vampire is natural causes – as in a bodily shutdown or an unavoidable accident. Very rarely are they killed in combat either with each other or with another mortal being.
This is something I tried very, very hard to explain to the young man who broke into my home a few days ago.
I haven’t had to deal with an intruder in a long time, but it is, as they say, like riding a bicycle. I managed to lock him down in my cellar before he could do any significant damage. It wasn’t too difficult as that was the first place he’d been going to when I happened upon him. I believe he thought I was sleeping down there. What nonsense. It’s cold and damp down in the cellar, not to mention filthy with garbage and leftover meals. I may not be the most health-conscious person in the world, but who in their right mind would sleep in such nasty conditions when they have a perfectly warm and cozy bedroom on the first floor?
Another quick note: despite what this poor soul would believe, vampires are not hurt by sunlight. Maybe they can get a little tan, and too much could give them skin cancer, but it will not burn them like a turkey dunked in a deep fryer. I will say, though, that they are nocturnally inclined. The only reason they will turn away from morning light streaming through a window is because they simply don’t want to get up until afternoon.
Being light on my feet, the man never saw me coming. A quick little shove and down he tumbled on the ten steps to the lightless bottom of the cellar. I had hoped he would break his neck and die right there, but he is a resilient one, barely scratched and already barreling back up as I was shutting the thick metal door. The silly man ranted and raved and threw his fists against the door all day, calling me every vulgar name in the book. He even threw in some Latin every now and then. Clearly a man of the cloth or at least trained by one.
While I debated what to do with my new houseguest, I took the opportunity to peruse his belongings, dropped carelessly at the entrance to my house. I couldn’t help but smirk as I rifled through his bag: wooden stakes, guns with silver bullets, rings of garlic, holy water, a crucifix wrapped in wild roses. Dear reader, none of these objects have any effect on a true vampire. They do not wilt at the sight of a cross or burst into flames upon entering a church. As religion is a manmade concept, so is the idea that so-called “holy objects” can harm them. In fact, many vampires are atheists, though it is not unheard of for one to retain the religious beliefs of his former days. It depends entirely on how much humanity remains within him.
As for the stakes, sure, they might do some damage if aimed correctly, but they are such unwieldy weapons, more likely to just scratch the skin rather than neatly poke through a ribcage and pierce the heart inside. The man would have been better off with his gun if he’d wanted to kill a vampire, though he needn’t use cheap, breakable silver for his bullets. Brass would do just fine, and that’s only if he could aim at and hit the proper organs. Though not supersonic, speed and agility are another of the vampire’s signature traits.
All of this and more I tried so hard to explain to the man in my cellar. He only continued to rave and to berate me, calling upon all manner of divine assistance to strike me and “my kind” dead. I tried to explicate that you couldn’t threaten an atheist with damnation, but, of course, he would hear none of it.
Perhaps he really did hear none of it. After all, my manner of speaking must have sounded quite different from what he was used to. My vocals cords had long since shrunken away, and the only vocalization I could produce was a kind of clicking noise with my tongue and teeth. To me, certain patterns of clicking represent words and sentences, but, to the man, they must have sounded like nothing more than animal noises. No doubt he imagined a bat or a burrowing beetle when he first heard my voice.
He wouldn’t be too far off in that respect. I use the clicking much in the same way that such animals do. Along with communication, it helps me to see. Echolocation, my dear reader. My sight left me along with my voice years ago, and so my only view of the world is through the vibrations of my clicks bouncing off of objects around me. It is like watching a colorful wave of sound move over contours in the darkness, revealing for moments at a time a world I can no longer see. It is surprisingly vivid, especially as hearing is my most powerful sense. I could even see through walls if I wanted to, learning the shape and layout of a room I’m not even in.
I can hear living beings, too. Not just from my clicks but from their own natural sounds, both quiet and audible. The man in my cellar, for instance. Right now, I can hear him sitting at the far end of the room, curled up in a corner, weeping so softly that the average ear would not even know he was down there. His heart is beating slowly, a stark contrast to the manic pace it had run on the first night, when the adrenaline had rushed hotly through his veins and made his skin burn bright red with sweat and heat. After three days without food, water, or access to a proper lavatory, his body has begun to tire. I can hear the minute pulses of his brain, the electrical sparks and jumps that represent words and emotions. I can hear them as clearly as if he was speaking directly to me.
He is no longer angry now. He’s scared. Terrified.
There are two thoughts in his head that pulse into my “vision” whenever I stop to listen to him. One is I’m going to die and the other is not so much words as a description, an image that is plastered across the surface of his mind and slowly imbuing him with a far worse emotion than mere fear – madness.
He sees a creature, tall, lanky, its knees bent, its back brushing against the ceiling of the ten-foot room. The skin clings to its body like a gray latex suit, outlining every oversized bone with astonishing precision. It’s more a skeleton than a full creature. One can even see the shape of the spine descending beneath the block of ribcage on the figure’s torso, the organs within writhing visible against the tight suit of skin. Its gender is made clear by its stark nakedness, the legs spread unapologetically wide, the breasts hanging from its bent chest like shriveled balloons. Its arms hang right to the floor, the backs of the enormous, spindly hands resting on the kitchen tile, the fingers curled up like dead tarantula legs and tipped with rotted brown claws. Beneath each arm is a translucent sleeve of flesh, deeply veined and elastic, connecting the impossibly long limbs to the sides of the creature like the wings of a bat all the way down to the ankles of its awkward legs.
The face is probably the most vivid part of the whole picture. Pressed perfectly flat, the nose nothing more than two holes in the middle of its pale, bald head, the shape more reminiscent of an alien than a human. The ears are large and mobile like pointed satellite dishes, turning independently to every minute sound they hear. In the places where eyes should be, the skin is smooth save for two tiny, puckered holes that are only micro-inches away from closing completely. The mouth is ghastly, stretching open from ear to ear with jaws filled with abhorrent teeth, jagged and decayed and positively dripping with disease. When it moves its vile jaws, a faint, sharp clicking sound can be heard, the same one I make when I am navigating a room.
In the man’s thoughts, I see a picture of me.
In the man’s thoughts, I see a vampire.
This is the purpose of my notes, dear reader. This is the reason I have taken on the task of operating this blasted pencil and scrawling these words in mostly legible cursive. I want to spread some light on all the lies you delude yourselves with. I want to warn you. Vampires are not to be looked upon with favor or admiration. They are to be feared. A vampire is not a brooding adolescent who gleams like crystal in the sun. It is not a rat-faced creeper who emerges from coffins and fears the sunrise. It is not something you want to run into the arms to and have carry you away into the silver moonlight.
If you ever ran into a real vampire – if you even saw one, glanced at it for a brief second – then you are already dead.
I write this now knowing full well that my message will go mostly unheeded. It will fall under the all-encompassing label of fiction as the stories of false vampires have. It will be interpreted no differently, maybe even disregarded entirely. I am well aware of this. But at least I can say I warned you. At least I can say that you knew when you broke into my home – or the home of any of “my kind” – exactly what you were getting yourself into. At least all the fault will lie with you and you alone as you are having your limbs torn off, your organs ripped out, and your blood slowly, painfully drained out of your withering, broken body.
So, my final message is for you to take caution, dear reader. Don’t go looking for trouble. If you spot something enormous and winged soaring over the trees, pretend you never saw it. If you hear clicking sounds coming from a dark alley, walk the other way. If you feel like you’d be better off fanged and bloodthirsty, look for help rather than a creature of the night. Don’t buy into the lies of Rice, Meyer, Stoker, and all the others. We are not all so eager to let you into the ranks of something you know nothing about. We do, however, welcome a free meal when it comes with stakes and garlic.
Speaking of which, if you’ll excuse me, there is a young man in my cellar who I’m just dying to have for dinner.
Credit To – MercuryCoatedVeins