I am a Vampire. We notice everything and forget nothing. We drink the blood of the living to remain immortal. We prefer the night and avoid the sun. We are strong, fast, and very hard to destroy — not to mention the retractable fangs and talons.
It’s easy to accept that all evil stems from beings perceived as different from ourselves.
The Vampires I know were made, not born. We are not a race. Some sought it, some accepted it, and some had it inflicted upon them. It can’t be undone, but we can choose what we do with it.
I will not be evil. I have vowed to protect against those who embrace destruction and champion those who cannot protect themselves.
Vampires are not evil by nature, but we are survivors. We have a strong will to exist… the same as all creatures upon this Earth.
Those who easily take can also choose to ask, but we cannot exist by ourselves.
We are symbiotic, you and I — all of us.
Can you understand that? Everyone wants to live.
Please stop hurting one another.
We’re better than that.
Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
Confession time: sometimes you want to see someone bleed… just to watch the life drain out of them. Drop by drop, spilling onto the ground and wasted away. You want to see the look in their eyes of fear turn to panic, struggle to acceptance, knowing not a single taste will graze your lips as your prey dies without mercy.
It isn’t pretty and it isn’t nice.
I prefer willing donors — not because I feel less guilty about it (I don’t) but because it’s the right thing to do… in my mind.
Vampires need a connection to humanity, a reflection of our lost mortality. Without it, it’s too easy to lose touch, become withdrawn, and turn into what naysayers are always afraid we are: mindless predators. But even those aren’t as bad as what I see.
When the powerful exert themselves over the powerless merely because they can, I become attentive. They’re not taking from you because they can; they enjoy the take, reveling in your loss, feeding into their own power with the supreme confidence there’s nothing you can do about they can do to you.
I hate myself for daydreaming about my taloned hands around their throat, enjoying their pointless struggling viewed through my empty eyes, and smiling at their raspy protests choked short before forming discernible words.
I take solace in one fact: time destroys all things… unless you’re a Vampire.
We get to watch you fall. You will fall. It will be miserable for you.
Comeuppances for the deserved. Bodies floating by in the stream of existence.
Until then, I hope those assholes see us in their nightmares chasing them unto the ends of the earth.
Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
It seems many of you are obsessed with Kate Beckinsale, specifically her Vampire character Selene from the action-horror film series Underworld. She’s a Death Dealer who fights in a war against Lycans (read: werewolves) but usually ends up fighting everyone — and for good reason: she’s been lied to for six centuries about who she is, never mind the pettiness between the factions and having to choose her allies carefully to protect herself and those she cares about.
Can I relate? Oh Lord yes. While I don’t have werewolves to deal with (thank God for small favors), it turns out Vampires are neither a freak of nature nor an accident in my circles. Our original creators, the Blood Workers, made us with purpose… and we’ve all been at odds ever since.
So, in relating to dear Selene…
Secrecy. Similar to Underworld, the other Vampires I deal with accept we don’t trust one another. Because Blood Workers have various individual powers they can choose to pass on or withhold, the skill set of individual Vampires can vary. Even exposure to a power can help one of my kind to develop it if given enough time, so if you’re going to destroy a fellow Vampire using “a cool new ability,” do it quickly before your opponent figures out how to use it against you. Selene is a master strategist at this; the longer we survive, the better we become.
Paranoia. It isn’t entirely our fault we freak one another out: we were made not to trust one another — even instinctively hate each other — so we would keep to our creator and trust them in all things. When the first makers were destroyed, Vampires fended for themselves due to the restrictions placed upon them. We were created to be the tribal figurehead: the warrior chieftain that others would look up to while heeding the advice of their “spiritual guide.” Paranoia may seem extreme until you realize everyone is out to get you, so we both understand this.
Protector. Of everything Selene does or can do, this is the one I relate to the most: she cares, often to the point of putting herself in personal danger to save someone else. Gaining her trust isn’t easy — she’s been screwed over too many times — but once earned, Selene will go the distance. I like to think of myself that way, but cross either of us and you should probably run.
Memory. Blood transference of memory — a part of a victim’s soul itself — is something which still gives me the willies. In Underworld, Vampires can’t keep secrets from one another because they can taste their memories through blood; in my experience, immortal blood is useless to another immortal (which is why we have to stay close to mortals), so the transference only works between Vampire and human. This feeds into the aforementioned secrecy and paranoia because we can still deceive one another, but keeping the memories of victims separated from your own is a chore, and cheating those boundaries doesn’t make it any easier.
Brooding. After six centuries: really, Selene? I did the everything-is-dark thing for a while, but after a year and a half I just couldn’t. It wasn’t me and was never me. Since purging my sire’s willfulness from my head, his memories often merge into my own and I catch myself being more sarcastic than I used to be, but the whole silent brooding over the city at night? I can’t do it, especially here in the country where the tallest structure is a water tower (cue the “Animaniacs” theme song). But hey, I can scare the living hell out of people by popping out of the shadows at them; it’s become a bit of a game for me now.
Smart, beautiful, deadly and dedicated, I’d like to think if Selene were real, we could be friends. And those blue eyes when she vamps out? Total girl crush.
And yeah, I’ll see the new movie when it comes out. How’s that for meta: a Vampire who likes Vampire movies?
Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe.
I’m still seeing swoons online over becoming immortal. “Please turn me.” “I want to be one of you!” “Vampires are SO cool — be my maker!” “I want to BE somebody!” And the one that floors me: “You’re so lucky that happened to you!”
All I hear is, “I wish I were handicapped so I could get better parking.”
Seriously: it’s the same damn thing — and you’re ASKING for it.
So here it is: my magnum opus. All further inquiries into being turned, remade, transformed, or whatever wonders you’ve imagined will now and in the future be referred to this post/document — I’ve been stewing over it for seven years and it’s time I unloaded. Feel free to skip all of this if you want to keep deluding yourself about becoming a creature of darkness and putting yourself in harm’s way that can’t be undone.
“Getting Lucky”: My Big Mistake
I turned left. That’s it — doomed in an instant. As I’ve done dozens of times before and a hundred times since, I crossed the Butchers Road bridge over the Little Kanawha River before turning onto Route 5. A right turn would take me in the direction of my Gramma’s old farmhouse; a left turn would head toward Glenville. I remember being a little hungry and a bit impatient, figuring I could nab a quick six-inch turkey sub in town and scarf it down it on the way back.
The laziest bloodsucking bastard imaginable was already eying my little red Kia Soul from inside his stolen black Cadillac Escalade. If I’d have gone home to Gramma’s, I would have known he was following me. Once you leave the main road, only locals bother with the backwater twists and turns you have to take get anywhere — and we all have guns (welcome to West Virginia) since our nearest neighbors may be five miles away, never mind any possibility of the sheriff’s patrol getting there faster than a pizza delivery. To coin a phrase: city folks just don’t get it.
I turned left and the bastard followed. I often park farthest away from where I’m going because I like to walk, and he’d cleverly positioned himself between where I stopped and my favorite local sandwich shop. I left the safety of my vehicle, assumed the (admittedly) handsome man in the pretty SUV was lost and in need of directions — and I awoke naked in a shallow grave covered in dirt. One glance and a few words — that’s all — and I was his toy. No seduction, no sweeping me off my feet, no promises of a better life; he stole me away and took everything from me.
Okay, here’s where Joss Whedon suggests I should lighten the dire mood: How does a lady Vampire flirt? She bats her eyes. Funny, right? Yes? No. Moving along…
Myth #1: It Can’t Be As Bad As All That
Vampirism changes you physically. A thimbleful of your once-favorite beverage or a lick off of a medium-rare steak fillet are yours to enjoy without incurring ill effects, but none of that compares to your craving for the sweet taste and aroma of warm, living blood — and you’ll want more than you need. “That’s okay, I’ll just go to a local blood bank and make a withdraw.” Nope, nope, and nope. You can’t freeze it or store it, and anything drawn that’s over an hour old is repellent.
You need warm living bodies to feed yourself (read: HUMAN only… no rats for you, Louis) and you need them readily. If you don’t satisfy that need, you’ll feel and look the part of a monster as your body betrays you and your mind devolves; you won’t be able to stop yourself if you slip too far away until that need is fully met. You’re going to want to connect with your old life — relatives, friends, co-workers — and they’ll be the first people you’ll want to sample. Oh, and children? Witches may hate them but Vampires LOVE them; that’s the blood you’ll want the most.
What would you get if your doctor became a Vampire? More blood tests than ever. Never trust “Dr. Acula.”
Myth #2: I’ll Still Be Me, Only Better
Sure, you get everything a supernatural predator needs: blackened eyes to see in low-light conditions, fangs and talons for ripping through flesh, strength and speed to catch and subdue your prey. If your victims can see and hear you, their minds become yours for as long as you like — but if you drink from them too heavily, their minds and memories stay with you… forever. A good rule of thumb is if you drain enough to kill them (whether you do or not) you risk a piece of their souls embedding itself within yours, starting with your maker (you can’t opt out of that one).
They judge and distract you, and your mind’s eye sees them in anything reflective: mirrors, chrome, even still water. If those sound like things you’ve heard Vampires avoid, now you know why. If you give into their taunts and interact with them — we call it daydreaming — it leaves you vulnerable; it makes it difficult to distinguish memory from reality, especially if you’re in dangerous territory. Remember how Vampires on “Buffy” lost their souls after they turned? It can feel a little like that, and sometimes you’re not sure where you end and they begin… a bit like going mad.
Here’s another riddle. What’s it like to be kissed by a Vampire? It’s a pain in the neck.
Myth #3: No Honor Among the Un-Dead
Oh, and then there’s every other Vampire on the planet instinctively wanting to destroy you. None of this “nesting” thing like rats or bats; if you lock two Vampires in a box for an evening, only one is coming back out. It isn’t as easy as the movies and television show to make a Vampire, either, so it isn’t done on a whim and you’re technically creating a competitor and/or possibly your own self-destruction.
We can even sense when we’re pushing up against another immortal’s territory, but not enough to pinpoint where they are exactly or how many there are. We believe it’s meant to warn us away from each other, but many take it as a sign of “getting ready to rumble.” Sure, you can keep human friends, but will they want to keep you? Maintaining a so-called masquerade is nothing short of exhausting — especially knowing you can kill pretty much anyone and be done with it.
Who does Dracula get emails from? His fang club.
Myth #4: Nothing Can Stop You
The good news: you don’t have to sleep in a coffin. The bad news: you don’t sleep at all… or dream ever again, for that matter. You’re always conscious and always aware — unless you’re daydreaming, which is just as distracting as it sounds. It isn’t unusual for Vampires to be seen talking to themselves, because they’re actually not (see Myth #2). But when the sun is up between dawn and dusk and its light can touch the earth, within the earth is the only place a Vampire can hide. Being up, active, and not below ground in at least a shallow grave feels like becoming the walking dead. Your heart stops, your breath ceases, and everything feels horribly wrong… but when you’re down in the dirt, it’s all comfortably numb. If you don’t plan for this at the end of every night, it won’t go well for you.
At night, our physical bodies simulate life, retaining youth (unless we choose otherwise) and are hard to ignore. To quote a recent mockumentary: “We are the bait — but we’re also the trap.” People around us feel a fascination toward us, almost celebrity-like, an attraction they won’t understand, even to the point of empathizing our heightened emotion (read: if I’m sad, you’re sad). It’s difficult trusting anyone around us because we can’t always tell sincerity from influence. A Vampire becomes the center of attention but they can feel more alone than ever — never mind all the ways you can be subdued or destroyed (which I won’t go into details about here, mortal).
How do Vampires get around on Halloween night? Using blood vessels.
Maybe It’s Already Too Late
So, to recap: living human blood only; multiple personality syndrome; other Vampires want to destroy you; no sleeping or dreaming and you feel truly alone. Glamorous, right? Everything you wanted and more? Better than the way you have it now? Offing yourself is easy — just throw yourself at another Vampire and let paranoia take its course.
Having said all this, if you have been turned against your will or have found yourself unable to endure eternity, reach out to me; ask me anything. Modern technology and social media have created the perfect venue for immortals to interact in the human world like never before, all in a virtual place where we don’t need to fear one another.
Oh, and you can thank Timothy for telling me this one: Where do Vampires learn to suck blood? Law school.
As if asking to be turned, bitten, or unmade wasn’t enough, now I’m seeing folks tell others to ignore my warnings because I’m not talking about “real” vampires. Identify all you wish, but when I say “Vampires” (capital-V) I’m talking about the dangerous supernatural kind who’ll kill you when starved, not the misunderstood hemoglobin-deficient very-much-alive guys, a few of which who’ve decided at some point that “vampire” or “vampyre” meant them exclusively and that all other uses — including the origin of the word — are insults directed at them. Quite the contrary; I WISH the supernatural kind only existed in books and movies, but I can assure you no one talking about truly dangerous (read: Un-Dead) Vampires are referring to you: the kind I prefer.
Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable. ~ Janiss
This is a conversation I’ve had many times over — or some variation thereof. I’m not cruel but I’m not foolish. This is necessary…more often than I’d like.
Yes, it hurts. Believe me, I know. Keeping as still as possible is the best thing you can do right now.
Ironic, isn’t it? A piece of wood sticking out of your chest isn’t killing you, but it’s causing so much pain you probably wish it would.
I’ll also apologize for all the motion. We’ve taken precautions, but being inside a moving vehicle makes it more difficult.
Of course, the best idea is I could remove that stake…but there would be conditions.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been staked before or even how long you’ve been a vampire, but from the way you were being treated by your sire, we guessed it wasn’t voluntary. Those kinds of relationships rarely end well, so we interceded. You watched us destroy your maker, but we both know what stays in our heads. Yes, I still have a little of mine, too.
Besides that, the other thing you’ll have to worry about is yourself.
I’m sorry the choice to become an immortal was made for you. You think you have two options: embrace the monster or allow yourself to be destroyed. From the way you’re looking at me, I’m guessing you don’t want to hurt anyone, but I want you to realize that the pain you’re in is diminishing your thirst. Did you notice?
I’m offering a third choice: you can choose to live with this, so to speak. I’ve learned to cope, but I couldn’t have done it without help. It will require trust and constant vigilance because any slip will not only affect your victim but anyone else whose trust you’ve earned. The blood you crave must be fresh, and it has to be both alive and human. There are no shortcuts here, so consider carefully what it is that will be expected of you.
You’ll be safe under my protection while you’re learning, but once that ends, you’ll have to leave. The place we’re going now can’t support more than two vampires for very long, but you have something you can offer those you befriend, not the least of which is your protection. As a guardian, you’ll be able to survive, but if you can’t do this, myself or someone else will destroy you. Do you understand?
A pair of handcuffs are binding your wrists. You won’t be able to escape them while the stake remains in, but if I remove it, I’m going to ask that you keep them on. If you try to break out, I’ll replace the stake and be very disappointed you’ve decided not to participate in our program. You’re locked into the back of this vehicle with me, so I promise you won’t be able to cause anyone else any harm.
So. Enough threats.
Would you like me to remove the stake, provided you promise to remain bound? Your thirst will return quickly. I don’t know how long it’s been since you last fed — you may be aware we can’t feed one another — plus it will be a while before we’ll be someplace I can provide for you. Or we can leave the stake in and I’ll talk to you if you’d like; I’ll understand completely if you’re afraid you can’t trust yourself to do as I’ve asked.