I am walking down a hallway in an unknown high school. It’s between classes and the corridor is crowded with chattering students, most of whom ignore me. I’m amused as I watch them, remembering what the comfortably small universe that these youngsters inhabit.
Almost casually, I follow a lone male student into a less populated part of campus and attack him. He is young, and not nearly as strong as I am. I easily break his neck and drink his blood, carelessly dumping him into a custodian’s closet, next to the body of another student I had killed earlier that day.
I am a vampire, and I’m very hungry. Despite that, my heart is light and my conscience clear. I don’t remember feeling quite so happy as I am when I’m on the hunt. I know my excessive hunger is because I’m relatively young – although I can’t remember how long I’ve been a vampire, or even what kind of life I had before becoming one. I’ll just have to keep feeding, almost constantly, until the hunger wanes.
As I’m strolling through the school, a handsome man who is watching me catches my attention. He’s in his thirties, with shoulder length, dark brown hair, brown eyes and swarthy skin. I start talking to him, more because he’s attractive than because he might make a good meal – although that has crossed my mind.
The conversation quickly progresses from small talk to flirtation, as we both seem interested in going somewhere more private. But as we talk, I think I recognize the knowing, slightly predatory, smile upon his face, as a mirror of my own. It’s the expression I wear when I’m thinking ‘you haven’t a clue what you’re about to get into, you stupid lump’. Inside my mind, a small alarm goes off.
I’m not frightened, or even worried. I just start paying more attention to my companion than I would to a potential meal.
With the change in the attitude between us, I decide to take a risk and make a misleadingly flippant remark, something like “Perhaps had better not take me up on my offer. I tend to eat men for breakfast.”
“Oh really?” he says, moving closer to me. “I was going to say the same thing.”
If he were anyone else, I would just assume he was being flirty, but that little alarm is still chiming.
I drop my smile and my tone becomes serious. “I meant that literally,” I warn him, speaking quietly into his ear. “I don’t think you quite understand the situation.” I want him to know what I am, but I don’t want to tell him outright. Despite the sudden somber turn, part of me is enjoying the encounter. It’s just like the hunt, but on a more intelligent level than I had anticipated for the day. Will I tell him or walk away? I’m not sure.
The man hasn’t stepped away from me, nor has his expression wavered. “I understand perfectly.” His voice is soft and low, and I’m thoroughly distracted by thoughts of sex and blood. “I’m a vampire.” He whispers.
I laugh, an honest laugh of relief and amusement. “You too?” I chuckle. He smiles and nods and I realize that he knew what I was the moment he saw me. He had let me try to chat him up, just for his own amusement.
“You mean we’ve been trying to lure each other into some dark corner to…” I can’t continue for giggling. The man is laughing quietly, too. “Oh, that would have been interesting.” I grin.
“Yes, it would have,” he nods. “Want to try it sometime?”
My giggling dissolves as I realize he’s dead serious, and I’m back to being intrigued, again. What he’s suggesting is a mutual feeding, something that is very intimate between vampires – albeit bloody and feral - and the closest thing they’d have to sex. Looking this handsome vampire up and down, I believe that it would a very enjoyable thing indeed.
I nod my agreement, and belatedly remember that we’re in the middle of a crowded environment. “We’ll have to catch up with each other, later.” I comment.
The other vampire nods. “Later, certainly. Besides, you’ve still got to get the edge off your appetite.”
I twist my features into a mock-frown. “Is it that obvious?”
The man nods again. “But only to me. I remember what it was like to be young and hungry all the time.”
I shrug. It’s been inconvenient, but not drastically so. “How long did it last for you?” I ask him. I’ve heard that the voracious appetite could last for years, and that might become annoying.
He grins. “I’ll tell you later.”
I smile at that. I really want to spend some private time with this man. “Alright,” I concede. We chat a little more, and arrange for a time to meet, later that day.
We separate and I prowl through the halls and come to the cafeteria. It is lunchtime. Smiling to myself, I glance at the crowd of students, thinking of my next meal. The pickings are so good; I’m deliberately overfeeding as in insurance against going hungry tomorrow. Such heartlessness doesn’t strike me as odd in the least.
Just as I’m striking up a conversation with a pretty girl – long blonde hair, cheerleader looks – four students burst into the cafeteria and start hurling homemade Molotov cocktails into the crowd. I’m irritated by this disruption in my routine, and outraged than these youngsters could think of endangering their peers like this. It’s all right for me to kill them, I’m a predator, but these children are thugs – or so runs my thinking.
The fact that the assailants are hurling firebombs – fire being one of the very few things that can hurt me – is also irritating. I do nothing to stop the situation, but I take a good look at the boys – for they are all boys – before shoving my way out of the cafeteria.
With luck, I think, the authorities will blame the bodies I left on them. Everything has a silver lining, after all…
It is some time later, dark but warm, on the same day. I am walking through a small town, down what is obviously Main Street decked out for a city fair. The vampire I had encountered earlier meets me at the corner. His expression is still that knowing smile he wore earlier, and I suspect that he is a well-satisfied being, just as I am. At this particular moment, with the prospect of a very pleasant evening ahead, I’m feeling very smug.
We walk down the street together, observing the townsfolk who have turned out for the fair. It’s a period event – a town fair set after the nigh-mythological State Fairs of the late 19th century. Women are wearing long dresses and bonnets; the men are in frock coats and starched shirts. It’s much like a Renaissance Faire, with recreations, craft booths and acting troupes all doing a roaring trade.
My companion makes a comment about how the original period was much dirtier and far less entertaining. I admit that I’m not that old and I feel a little uncomfortable to be with someone who – I am beginning to suspect – is big news in the vampire community. There are very few of us, as the population is strictly controlled by our own ranks, and to meet a vampire more than a century old is a big deal to a greenie like me.
Again, we have to separate because we want to feed, and my companion tells me to meet him in another town at midnight. I readily agree.
Now I’m prowling the crowd, looking for dinner, although I’m not as hungry as I was in the morning. I go into one of several town buildings that are being used for the fair. A woman accosts me and asks me to look after her young daughter for a few minutes while she (the mother) goes to the restroom. I agree, and take the little girl aside to a less crowded hallway to await her mother’s return. I don’t even consider feeding from the girl, as this place is crowded, and the mother had seen my face.
We are waiting in a hallway, next to a large storage room. The room has a broad roll-up door, large enough to drive a small truck through, and I can see – because the door is up – that the room is filled with several heavy lab tables and boxes are piled on every surface. As I notice the two back doors leading from the storage room to who knows where, the little girl is amusing herself with a nearby payphone – pressing the buttons, jangling the coin return slot.
Suddenly, the two doors at the rear of the storage room burst open, and five or six boys – around eighteen or nineteen years old – pour through them. They are all carrying weapons of some kind, ranging from baseball bats to zip guns, and they obviously have mayhem on their mind.
Thinking of the little girl, first, I shove her towards her mother – who is just returning – and tell them to get the hell out of there. Then I start wondering how I’m going to slow down these kids long enough for the fair-goers to get out of the vicinity. I might be a blood-drinking vampire, but it seems I have very little tolerance for hooliganism.
I recognize two of the thugs as being part of the group that was throwing firebombs in the high school cafeteria earlier that day, and that cranks my temper up another notch. Looking around, I realize that I can’t block the door by myself, and there are too many opponents for me to brawl with them. Part of my mind greedily calculates how much fresh blood there is to be had from fit young men, but I ignore it.
The young men in question finally notice me, and start catcalling and making lewd suggestions.
“Go right ahead, boys.” I tell them. “Piss me off and see where it gets you.” Of course, this earns another chorus of profanity from the approaching group.
I’m trying to think of some cunning, complete plan that will stop these boys dead in their tracks, and I’m coming up with nothing, when one of them shoots me. I don’t like getting shot, it ruins my clothes and it’s hard to explain why I’m still standing afterwards – as I am now. The boys don’t seem too startled by the fact that I’m not hurt – so much for scaring them away, I think – but their advance does slow somewhat.
Out of stylish ideas, I reach for the nearest lab table and hurl it at them. It crashes into two of them, and knocks them off their feet. Another table goes crashing into the path of a third, but those were the only two tables within my reach, and now my options are even slimmer than before.
I’m cranky, I’m hungry, and I really need to make an impression on these callow boys, make them run, if possible. So I grab the nearest one, who is only a few feet away, and sink my teeth into him, draining him dry in a matter of seconds.
That makes the thugs pause for a moment and regard me warily. I give them my best blood-and-fangs grin. “You’re lucky I’m still in a good mood.” I tell them. “But you,” I point to one of the two who had been in the high school, “are in trouble. I don’t like fire at all…” I start advancing on that one, and he backs off. The group is starting to fragment, and they seem to be losing interest in their original plans.
Just then, the police show up and we all – thugs and myself – scatter out the back door. Fortunately, I have certain advantages, and I quickly disappear in the shadows – but not before I’ve snapped the neck of one of the fire-tossing kids.
Some time later, I find myself at the waterfront. It’s a city park, well kept and pretty, even at night. The broad green lawns are deserted, and lead right down to the quiet shore. I’m looking across a body of water – I think it’s a river or a small bay – at the far shore, where I can see a skyline somewhat like Manhattan’s, but it’s not that city. It’s an unknown town, but it’s where I am to meet the other vampire.
I’m late and vexed at my own tardiness. I can either get a cab over one of the bridges into town, but that will take too long, and I’m not sure if I can afford it. So I reluctantly decide that I’m going to have to fly over there, by turning into a bat.
I don’t like changing shape. I’m never quite convinced I’ve done it properly, and I still feel like a person as I flap through the sky. I’m also quite certain I stink at flying, and must look like I’m clawing through the air, rather than flying.
I have to psyche myself up to change form for a few minutes and, as usual, I still don’t feel like a bat, once I’m done. I’m sure that if I could see my reflection, I’d see some bizarre human-bat hybrid. Still, if that was the case, I would have been on the cover of the Enquirer, years ago, so maybe I’m not as bad at it as I think. I’m in a hurry and I launch myself across the water.
Within half a mile, I’m exhausted. Undead strength be damned, I had forgotten how tough it was to fly. It makes use of muscles that vampires tend to ignore. I vaguely remember being told that it can take years of practice for a vampire to become an accomplished flier. Drat. Certain that I can’t make it to my destination; I wearily flap back towards the shore, return to my human form and sulkily wonder why I can’t change into a wolf, instead. Apparently changing into a wolf is even trickier than changing into a bat.
Resigned to using mundane methods, I hail a cab to make it to my appointment in the city.