First, my apologies for not updating last Sunday. It was Father’s Day and I spent some time with mine. He said to tell you all he says “hello.”
One of our staffers, Cole, asked this question the other day and I thought it was a good one. “What’s the hardest thing about being a vampire?” It isn’t what you think. As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t ask for this, I wasn’t BORN a vampire (if such a thing were even possible), and I will NEVER ‘make’ another one. So, what then?
My answer? Doing nothing.
Fair warning: this is going to go a little long.
Poor me, right? Incredible strength, bending people to my will, moving crazy fast, never getting sick, living forever? It’s not the checklist of supernatural benefits, it’s living with them. Maybe for someone without a conscience, being a bloodsucking immortal is all play and no work. For one trying to stay connected to humanity? It’s a daily struggle…well, nightly.
You can’t motivate people by forcing them to change how they think. If I mind-mess with someone and tell them to quit smoking, that doesn’t remove the addiction; it just tells them “you can’t smoke.” The need is still there, and the person won’t know or understand why. Does that make sense? It’s the way the brain is wired. Short-term memory loss isn’t so bad – I avoid it whenever I can – but I still worry about the long-term effects.
Strength and speed? I have to be SO careful. Vampires are quick to anger, and as predators, we hulk-out a bit: the madder we are, the stronger and more deadly we are. I can put my fist through a regular door without much effort and through a steel security door with only a little more. Those ultra-thin champagne flutes? Anything lighter than a pint glass or a tankard feels like it’s going to shatter in my grip.
My point is this: if I see something happening that I don’t like, I have to think twice about doing anything about it because it rarely ends well for the other person.
Not too long ago, a man who realized that I was a vampire attacked me…with a sawed-off shotgun. To the chest. Seriously. Yes, it hurt like hell, but I was the one who initiated contact and I did it with poor intentions. No, I wasn’t going to kill him or even sneak a drink; I just had some questions about his brother who I suspected to be another vampire. Not only was I right, but the man had been taught what to do about it.
The other thing I didn’t know was that a child was in the vehicle. No, not his daughter, but someone he would protect as if she was. I should have left as soon as I knew, but I didn’t. I thought if I could just subdue the man, I could question him and it that would be it. But he kept firing…and even though he couldn’t kill me like that, it still hurt and it was pissing me off – enduring it knowing full-well I didn’t have to.
Again, I should have run.
Instead, out came the fangs and talons; I was on him in a second. I eviscerated him. I didn’t even want his blood…I just wanted him to stop shooting me! He had been going for another weapon when I leapt, one that discharged and, to my horror, hit the little girl. In that moment, I had two people dying beside me – neither who deserved it – and the ability to possibly save only one. I let the man make the decision. Without a second thought, he sacrificed himself to let me save the girl. She lived, but no one should have had to die.
All I had to do was walk away. All I had to do was NOTHING…but I didn’t.
I have to live with that – forever – and I deserve that.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is not do a thing.
Keep each other safe.
@JanissConnelly on Twitter