“The Orderly” – Vampire Verisimilitude

The orderly opened his eyes; I waited patiently for the reality of his dire situation to set in.

2016OrderlyHandsHis eyes darted around in panic, finding himself in a hospital bed rather than tending one. I watched his shoulder lurch as he attempted to use his hand, but I had already told him he couldn’t use his arms or legs; he’d simply forgotten — also my doing. Did you know screaming sounds a lot like someone gasping for breath when they can only whisper? That was when I stood up from my comfortable chair. He recognized the illusion I had planted into his mind.

“Ms. Johnson?” he whispered. I could have heard him were I on the opposite side of the assisted-care facility, but I was playing a part: the kind, gentle, and elderly Vivian Johnson who had come to stay a week before.

I leaned in close, feigning confusion. “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

“Help me!” he said, sounding a bit horrified.

“No, no. You said something else before that…”

“Please!” he gasped again, but his inability to achieve any actual volume only terrified him more.

Good; I had his attention.

I took his chin into my hand and forcefully turned his head toward me. “It feels different when you’re on this end, doesn’t it? Helpless and entirely dependent upon someone else. You can’t walk around, you can’t lift anything, and that bed is your entire world.”

“How…how did I get here? How did I get like this?”

“Tsk, tsk. You’re asking the wrong question.”

The terror in his eyes turned to confusion. I glanced down at his uniform, reminding myself to use the name on his badge.

“Tucker, do you think you’ve treated your patients with the dignity and respect they deserve?”

A slow realization set in as his features softened and reflected genuine guilt…or at the very least the acknowledgment he’d earned his predicament. He wasn’t a complete idiot.

“I’ve been watching you, Tucker. You’re cruel and thoughtless. You’re too rough with your patients, you don’t listen to them, and they hear you when you dismiss them under your breath. The only thing that gives you any pleasure is seeing the fear in the eyes of your charges when they realize it’s you being sent to assist them. Do you enjoy that kind of power, having trained everyone to be afraid of you?”

Confusion played across his face. With luck, maybe he realized there was no excuse for his actions.

“Well, I don’t have the kind of time you’ve had to earn that fear, so I’ll skip ahead if that’s all right.”

I let Tucker watch my transformation. In his mind, Vivian opened her mouth to show him her piercing fangs, looked upon him with blackened eyes, and snatched up his arm with taloned fingers. As his heart raced and his skin oozed sweat, I ran my mouth close over his arm, even letting one fang rake his flesh ever so slightly. The entire bed vibrated with his trembling.

I wouldn’t have bit him, of course. I imagined his blood tasted like hate and raw sewage.

“Am I dead?” Tucker asked. “Is this Hell? Did I die?”

I couldn’t resist a toothy grin. “Is that what you want, what you think you deserve? I can grant your wish…”

“No!” He didn’t blink; he didn’t even breathe.

I casually released his arm and placed it next to him. “No? Then what do you deserve for your sins?”

Oh — he wasn’t going to cry, was he?

I pulled in the fangs and talons and allowed my eyes to become normal. “How about we consider this a preview, hmm? A taste of things to come, when you’ve reached your golden years and things begin to break down — ”

“I’ll do better,” he pleaded. “Just fix this!”

“That won’t do, Tucker,” I explained. “You’re going to quit. You’re going to find another profession where you can’t intimidate people who have to depend upon you. I want you to think hard about the way you’ve treated others and how you’d like to be treated.” I leaned in close, lowering my volume to a whisper. “Because I will be watching you for the rest of your life. If you return to your old ways, I’ll know, and while I may not come to you immediately, rest assured I will…and you’ll wish you were only bedridden after what I’ll do to you.”

Tucker nodded, still looking afraid.

I looked him dead in the eyes. “You can move your arms and legs again, Tucker, and your voice is no longer restricted to a whisper. After you leave this room, you will be able to see me as I am and see the real Vivian Johnson again.” While the thrall was in place, he wouldn’t remember I had given him any commands. I released him and said, “You can go now.”

He tested his arms; his hands worked. He cleared his throat and spoke in a normal tone. “Thank you…”

Still appearing as Vivian, my eyes blackened and my voice deepened. “Don’t thank me — get the hell out of my bed!

Tucker scrambled like a caught cockroach to get out of the room.

Vivian couldn’t help but laugh. “Thank you,” she said after he was gone, “for putting the fear of you in him.”

“People like him should never be hired to work in places like this, but limited resources and finding good folks to help take care of others isn’t easy.”

“Or a good vampire?” she added.

“What I did just now wasn’t exactly good…”

Vivian touched my arm. “I know Cedarcrest Sanctum doesn’t have the resources to monitor every assisted-living facility in West Virginia, but this thing we did, dropping me off and looking around a bit? We should keep doing that.”

I smiled. “It’s still risky. Something could happen to you.”

“Not ghouled on your blood, it won’t. So…where to next?”


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An Immortal Embrace – Vampire Verisimilitude

Time for a confession: I’m a hugger.

2016KeepCalmHugVampireNo, it’s not mind-altering or earth-shattering, but there it is. A firm handshake simply isn’t a full-body catch-and-release embrace. Hugs are more intimate and more empathetic; they offer trust and earn trust in return. There’s even brain chemistry science behind it, such as in this 2011 TED talk by Paul Zak.

The speaker mentions that some people are not affected by this, that perhaps something in them may be wired differently. People who have been abused or those otherwise mentally preoccupied may show no response to it; people who are closed with their bodies may have understandable trust issues. “Why would they want to hug?” “Why wouldn’t they want to hug?” Some argue that everyone wants to hug an attractive person, but even that’s no guarantee of acceptance.

But do we NEED it? Is there such thing as “touch deprivation?” Can it be harmful not to touch?

Ask yourself this: have you ever been consumed with the desire to touch? A person so hypnotically beautiful they don’t seem real? Someone so sorrowful and out of sorts you’re compelled to wrap them up safe from the world?

One of our staffers told me this joke: “What does oxygen and sex have in common? They both seem more important when you’re not getting any.” Cute and all, but there’s a nugget of truth there. Like Rogue from The X-Men (I used to love that cartoon), there’s a yearning for what others take for granted — to touch — coupled with the danger of doing so to themselves and to others. No one enjoys being turned away because others are afraid of them, even when it’s justified.

The worst part is feeling rejected.

My mother once told me “Never refuse a hug from a child.” She said there were all kinds of psychological reasons why children need ready acceptance in their formative years. Yet somehow, as adults, we’re taught to mistrust a touch, to suspect any caress intentional or accidental, that it is unacceptable behavior unless in the dark behind closed doors between consenting adults. There’s nothing sexual about a hug, but it’s still intimate contact: a physical connection.

So imagine being a Vampire, one who is especially enticed by the blood of children and prefers not to think of mortals as cattle to be bled. Imagine being afraid of holding another intelligent and loving being knowing how dangerous you can be.

Now imagine the elation when that offer is accepted, trusted, and embraced fully — two people connecting and intertwined for a tiny arm-wrapped eternity.

Have you hugged a Vampire today?

If not, just hug someone…and remember to keep your fangs retracted when you smile.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

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Debunking Dr. Karl – Vampire Verisimilitude

Dear, Dr. Karl — may I call you that?

An article was brought to my attention earlier this week that both amused and gnawed at me: How long would it take a vampire to drain you of blood?

It’s not a bad read, but, well…hmm. It appears you’re omitting details to fit your revelations rather than follow logic to reach a fair conclusion. I won’t call these facts — that would require more evidence than I’m willing to provide — but I thought you might be interested in a more authoritative opinion.

First off: Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, Sherlock Holmes, and Dracula appear frequently as characters because they’re in the public domain and free to use. Just an FYI.

PerfectPintIt’s true that a victim won’t fall immediately unconscious, but you’re neglecting the amount of blood a vampire needs to survive and how frequently they need it. Single pints (standard units of blood) are donated all the time at the Red Cross with few ever passing out; would it surprise you to know that a Vampire can subsist on as little as this each night? Sure, they may be a bit irritable and need much more if they’re healing from a grievous wound, but it’s enough. Ideally, three pints are more than adequate — three meals a night, if you prefer — and no one needs to die. If a Vampire chooses to feed once and get on with their evening, a victim could still survive this even if they pass out (and they certainly would).

As far as the time needed to “drain” the victim? Let’s substitute in the words “feed upon” and not squeeze out victims like tubes of toothpaste. It’s hilarious to assume Vampires rely only upon arterial pressure when they can SUCK YOUR BLOOD. Easy in-home experiment! Fill a pint glass with ice first and then add your favorite liquid candy (read: soda pop) to the brim, then see which way you can drink all of the liquid faster: pouring it down or sucking it out through a straw. Get it? Good…moving on.

2016IanInYourEye600Playing down the romantic angle for a moment, Vampires can mesmerize their victims. You knew that, right? What may look like willing submission doesn’t have to be, but a smart Vampire will find willing donors they can come back to. Bodies stacking up can be a problem, and anyone who watches “Forensic Files” knows how hard it is to disappear bodies in many places. Why bother? It’s not laziness, it’s efficiency.

“Being set on the pathway of becoming a Vampire” just because they were bitten? This is probably the biggest assumption and fallacy of these so-called exposés. If that were true, we’d be up to our armpits in bloodsucking undead by now. No, turning is an intentional thing, and it isn’t guaranteed, either. Like an elected procedure where the human body is being subjected to a massive trauma or change, things can go south in a hurry and all you’ll have left is a corpse to dispose of (see above).

WorldOfDarknessHaving shot down the “zombie theory” that being bitten turns a victim every time, this also kills the grade-school penny-doubling math-calc that wipes out the human race in thirty-four months. To be fair, Daybreakers was a fun movie about exactly that scenario (all except for the hilarious “cure” part), but the other factor missing is Vampires actively destroying one another competing for that blood bank. Did you think being turned made you instant friends? Nope, because Vampire are alpha predators, not pack-loving werewolves. In the same way killing off your food supply is bad for business, allowing other Vampires to roam your fiefdom is a signal to all that you’re either foolish or vulnerable.

In those films where all the monsters come out together, which one is usually in charge? Top answer: the Vampire.

That’s because Vampires are smart…VERY smart.

Remember that the next time you reveal “big lies about the bite” as far as Vampires are concerned.

They’ll be watching…and so will I.

Love your show!

~ Janiss

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Call Your Mom – Vampire Verisimilitude

If you’re lucky enough to have a mom you can call, do it.

BuffyTheMasterShareNone of our residents have parents still living, and while many hold out hope that their sons or daughters might call, this usually isn’t the case. We’ll be doing something for all of them later this evening — as we do every year.

I’m talking to our staffers and supporters: CALL YOUR MOM.

Yes, you. It’s important, all right?

I’m also among the fortunate. The few Vampires I do associate with lost their mothers decades or even centuries ago. There’s a real fear among Vampires of what they might do to known relatives and especially their parents, possibly even a new Vampire’s first kill; I know what I’m talking about. Fortunately, Vampires and humans alike can use a modern invention called “the telephone” to wish moms everywhere a safe and death-free holiday.

I know there are exceptions, but this is for everyone without an excuse who keeps putting off those calls.

Pick up your phone. Press the digits. Say hello. Share.

Ask them how they are. Listen; don’t talk. Answer their questions if they ask.

You only owe them your life. Some of us never get that chance.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I’ll call tonight — I promise.

You, too, Juliette.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

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Small Town Mentality – Vampire Verisimilitude

We here at Cedarcrest Sanctum enjoy the benefits of a small community. Between residents and staff, we’re a hundred strong, and we all work together. It’s home to many of us, but at its heart, Cedarcrest still has to run like a business, the same as any household. When things aren’t working, it stands out; you can’t really hide issues like that in a crowd when there isn’t one.

GlenvilleStreetsideOur town of Glenville, West Virginia, is small — a little over 1,500 people — but unlike much of The Mountain State, the population is increasing. Glenville State College has expanded, like the Waco Center that opened a few years back providing a field house for the college and the county — so named for the significant donations made by Waco Oil & Gas founders Ike and Sue Morris (names that are hard to avoid in these parts). My grandparents enjoyed the weekly publications of The Glenville Democrat, a local newspaper that’s still here with one foot firmly planted in our digital world. And for those who remember, you no longer have to drive thirty or more miles into Weston or out to Flatwoods to get a McDonald’s cheeseburger anymore.

There are bad things, too, of course. Whispers of corruption for personal gain, crimes going unpunished, and the reputation that too much of West Virginia has become a safe haven for drug traffickers and a new source of addicts. With substance abuse also comes related crimes, some against the elderly to squeeze whatever money can be found for that next fix. With a local police force you can count on one hand and budget shortfalls toward law enforcement and investigation, I can only imagine how pointless it must feel at times. “It’s just Glenville,” all the larger and more important cities say.

What many of you have asked is why Cedarcrest isn’t doing something about it.

Here’s the truth: we can’t.

We just can’t.

What we do here requires maintaining a low profile. While I hesitate to use the word “outsider,” too many wouldn’t understand what we do here at Cedarcrest; even I questioned it when I was told what was really happening here. Vampires? Really? Keeping aging retirees alive in return for feeding their host? Never mind using special abilities or even donations to influence the community. We get to vote…like everyone else. The townsfolk can meet and talk and influence. What Cedarcrest can and is able to do is assess and combat threats that the local police (with noted exceptions) aren’t able to handle, the consequences of being here and taking responsibility for our presence.

I want those outside forces focused on me, not those around us.

So it’s as simple as that; Cedarcrest must leave Glenville to its own devices. Not because we hate it or we’re cruel but because wounds have to heal from the inside out. If I go to a council member or a constable and make them change their policies or direct resources in a particular direction, we’ll have to keep doing it, and I have no desire to run a small town like an immortal dictator. What’s next? Building a castle on the hilltop overlooking the cemetery? Brigades of peasants armed with torches and pitchforks to root out evildoers and drag them out to funeral pyres?

Okay, that last idea has merit, but we all have to follow the rules!

I understand the idea; all this power and money should be able to do more…but it can’t. It takes people willing to take back what’s theirs, campaign for the common good, and willing to listen as well as talk. It takes integrity to refuse controlled substances, ensure our friends and family refuse them as well, and eliminate the market.

I see more here than just sixty retirees. I see years of experience and strong wills, ties to the community and hopes for the future. It’s easy to point fingers and shake our heads about the way things used to be, but the phones work and you can call someone. You can send a text or post online. You can reach out and encourage others to help one another. We need to get the conversation going and make it okay for those who need help to keep their pride when they ask for it.

Decide what you want and make sure everyone knows it.

Glenville is your town, too.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

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Role-playing Tips – Vampire Verisimilitude

Isn’t the number of Vampires on social media amazing?

BuffyTheMasterSometimes they use names like Dracula, Lestat, Carmilla, or some other literary undead character. They may further claim they are old or even ancient…you know, however far back their social media settings will allow them to go. The bad part, however, is some folks argue and/or DEMAND that other users treat them as the real deal — even if the other users aren’t role-playing. My favorites are the ones trying to be mysterious using cryptic phases like “you don’t know me” or “pray we never meet.”

It’s enough to make an actual Vampire laugh their ass off.

Hey, it’s cool if you’re role-playing. The best part of social media is being able to show the world only the side you want it to see, but let’s think things through logically.

What kind of Vampire are you? How long have you been a Vampire? What do you hope to gain online by revealing your presence to the world?

If you’re unsure, you’re in luck: I have a few suggestions.

Tip #1 – Take yourself less seriously. A real Vampire won’t mind if you don’t believe them; anonymity is your friend. Any creature that secretly preys upon the living or has a need that can only be satisfied by drinking blood isn’t exactly a safe individual to be around, and you never know who’s monitoring public communications. Whether you’re a Vampire or not, making threats online is not only a bad idea but is highly traceable; no one likes local law enforcement paying a visit to their crypt, okay?

Tip #2 – Try being less infamous. Claiming to be Lestat de Lioncourt, Count Dracula, or Countess Bathory is even more ridiculous. It’s like all the people who confess under hypnosis they were Joan of Arc in a previous lifetime. “There can be only one,” as Clancy Brown’s Kurgan might say. No one wants to be Dracula’s piss boy, but just take it down a few notes. “The Vampire in my village was destroyed, but no one knew she’d visited me first already.” Ooh, sounds like a cool story; tell me more! And why can’t you be a younger Vampire? How have the last five years been since you were turned? What were the best and worst parts so far?

Tip #3 – Dare to be vulnerable. This goes back to reasons for being on social media: you’re untouchable. “FEAR ME; I AM VAMPIRE!” doesn’t exactly scream authenticity, okay? But talking about the years gone by, the loved ones you’ve lost, or the wonders of modern invention, these are things all mortals can relate to that immortals suffer. I’m not encouraging whining, crying, or whatever “emo” is; just show a little honesty and relate to how others deal with it. Does being an immortal give you a sense of childlike wonder through the ages or crush you with painful memories?

As the Master commands: “Share!”

Disclaimer: I am not in any way suggesting that the information provided on this page came from an actual Vampire…but I’m not saying it didn’t, either.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

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Never At Night – Immortal Mentor

Denton was twelve when he almost died and was well on his way to becoming a vampire…but I intervened. I had no idea what I was doing, but it made sense at the time: get enough human blood into his little body and hope the transformation would reverse itself. What I didn’t know was that it was too late; the transformation had set in, but the infusion had halted it. As near as our specialists at Cedarcrest could tell, Denton had become a permanent ghoul — for better or worse.

Timothy and I had taken precautions to ensure Denton got placed with his surviving foster-sister Becca into a good home. Offering significant financial support kept us in the loop with visitations to ensure our funding was going to the children, but Denton had grown distant with his caregivers; we hadn’t had the chance to talk frankly about ourselves to each other. At Hector’s insistence, we managed to convince the state to allow me a further role similar to a Big Sister, as long as both the foster parents Mr. and Mrs. Brunty agreed to it along with Denton.

Cedar Creek State Park, about seven miles outside of Glenville, was closed in the early evening, but I cashed in a favor and received special permission to use the location for a nighttime nature walk. My first thought had been something physical like a karate class — vampires and ghouls sometimes need to work out aggression — but Denton wasn’t interested. He had agreed to talk, and I was happy to oblige him.

We arrived at one of the covered picnic shelters where the grounds were best illuminated for the nighttime. Denton had answered my initial questions with one-word answers, but at least he answered. The opinion of our staff psychiatrist, Emily, was that I was too much of a child myself to be of any real use, but she mostly was concerned with the way Denton saw me: as one of the vampires who hurt him. I told her he didn’t think that — he knows I’m the one who saved him — but it made me worry.

Her only real advice: “Let him do most of the talking, Janiss, and listen well.”

“Have you been out here before?” I asked him.

He shrugged and sipped his bottled water.

I pointed out a bench away from the car as a chorus of reptiles and insects sang for us. “We could sit there for a while.”

Denton nodded and we both sat. It was cool clear night and the sky was full of stars.

“Do you like astronomy?”

He chuckled. “You have no idea what to say to me, do you?”

So much for being the clever adult. “Did you want to ask me something instead?”

“Does it hurt being a vampire?”

The question surprised me; it was a good question, even if I wasn’t entirely sure what he was asking. “You mean physical pain?”

“Yeah.”

“Not usually, and not if I take care of myself.” I was suspicious of the reasoning behind the question. “Are you in any pain?”

“Me? No. I just wondered since you’re supposed to be dead and all.”

Good point. “Well, I have to sleep in the ground. If I’m up after sunrise, it isn’t pleasant. It’s like being dead and still able to feel everything.”

“But not right now?”

“Never at night.”

He looked me up and down. “You look like you’re breathing.”

“I have a heartbeat, too.”

Denton turned his nose up at me. “Prove it.”

I smiled at the little smart-ass and pulled back the sleeve of my top to bare my wrist. “Check for a pulse.”

He did, but he wasn’t impressed. “You’re not much of a monster. How do I know you’re not faking?”

“Why would I lie to you about that?”

“Everyone lies to me.”

That was the truth. I imagined Denton was feeling unsure about himself because his only exposure to another vampire was the one who tried to turn him. Just like the night I woke up buried in Gramma’s cellar when I wasn’t sure of anything, Denton had never actually seen me for what I was. I could show him, but that was also a risk; would he see me as the person who saved him — and who happened to be a vampire — or just another monster?

“If I show you,” I said, “you have to promise not to scream and run away.” I made it sound as childish as I could.

His expression was a mix of curiosity and worry. “I promise.”

I felt my fingertips and gums split open as talons and fangs pushed through, and the night brightened as my pupils widened into the whites of my eyes. “Do you believe me now?”

His fascination outweighed his fright, but I could tell he was being cautious. “Do you want to drink my blood right now?”

“Are you afraid I might? Out here with no one around?” I wouldn’t have, but of course I wanted to. He didn’t need to know that.

“Nash did,” he said in a whisper. He sounded worried.

“I’m not him –”

“But you could be.”

“No, I can’t be,” I assured him. “You’re under my protection. I’ll never let anything hurt you.”

“You can’t be around all the time –”

I’ll never hurt you,” I clarified, allowing my human features to return.

“Are you fast and strong, too?”

“When I need to be. What about you?”

He didn’t seem to have expected I would ask that. “Yeah, but it scares Becca.”

“What part?”

“She says I run too fast, like freakishly fast. I had her time me. It’s one mile exactly to the neighbor’s house and back, so I pushed myself. I can do it in four minutes.”

It sounded quick. “Maybe you should go out for track. Do you like running?”

Denton looked incredulously at me. “You don’t even get what I just said! That’s ten seconds slower than Olympic runners; I looked it up. And I’m hungry — like, all the time.”

“It’s your metabolism,” I explained, hoping to ease his fears. “When people drink a few drops of my blood, they can do the same things you can for a few days –”

“So I’m going to start wanting blood, too?”

“No…you shouldn’t. You’re still alive.”

“What if I die?” he asked. “Will I be like you? Will I have to kill people?”

“I don’t…we don’t have to kill people.” It was getting hard to look at him knowing how horrified my facial expression probably was.

“But will I kill people? If I die in my sleep, will I wake up and kill the Bruntys or Becca?” Denton looked furious at me, and I had no good answer for him other than to be entirely honest.

“We don’t know. I’m sorry, but we don’t.”

His expression reverted back to the same passive nothingness I saw when I first picked him, the total disconnection. “Take me home.”

I almost told him that we still had a few hours, but I knew the visit was over.

Shit.

To be continued…


Full disclosure: this didn’t just happen. I thought I’d document the progress I made with Denton over the last few years as a series of blog entries. It’s mostly for myself, but also…well, you’ll see. Thank you for reading and feel free to comment below.

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A Third Choice – Vampire Verisimilitude

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.

ThirdChoiceCover-smallOf 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.

What do you want to do?

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Original publication: https://cedarcrestsanctum.com/a-third-choice/

Dracula’s Bucket Brigade – Vampire Verisimilitude

Have you ever thought about a Vampire having to deal with something completely mundane?

I had to laugh at this.

FromTheDeskOfJanissSignatureWe have alarms at Cedarcrest Sanctum for various reasons, not the least of which is a trespasser on the property. With the safety of our residents being paramount, we monitor for several possible emergencies, but imagine my surprise when a flooding alarm went off. As someone who sleeps deep in a hole in the ground, flooding is not high on my list of favorite things. Fortunately, the flooding was traced to a pipe that had broken due to a freeze, but we had to carry equipment down into a sub-basement to pump out the water. Truthfully, I was doing a lot of the carrying.

This got me thinking about Dracula — silly, right? For the record, there’s no such guy, but imagine he and his brides waking up one stormy evening to discover the crypt was full of water. “Egads!” he’d cry out in a thick Romanian accent (I have no idea what he’d say, so I’m rolling with this). “Quickly, my brides! Gather all the buckets and towels you can find! For the love of darkness, save the tapestries!” Then there would be burst of motion and activity as four Vampires started bailing out a crypt and moving things away from the leak to wait out the storm. Turning into a bat, he’d brave the pelting rain to survey the roof, finding the portion that had given way.

DraculaBelaWax“Niña! Pinta! Santa María! Swoop down upon the unsuspecting village below the castle and use the cover of the night to snatch as many roofers as you can carry! Make all haste!” For full disclosure, I have no idea what the names of Dracula’s brides are, so I used Spanish ships — what’s he going to do, sue me for defamation of character? With the roofers secured, Dracula would use his command of the elements to make the storm over his castle stop so the roofers could fix the damage, then send them back to their village with a bag of gold each. Do you think that’d be enough to cover the workmanship plus free round-trip airfare to the castle and back?

Yes, I’m being silly, but I think the fictional King of all Vampires would be awesome at crisis management.

Keep each other safe — and dry.

~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
Twitter @JanissConnelly
Instagram @janiss.connelly

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Sins of the Fathers and Trails of Tears – Vampire Verisimilitude

Is there a statute of limitations for immortals? If someone wrongs an immortal and escapes their wrath into death, should their offspring suffer?

I’m not talking about reparations. I’m talking about pure revenge. This isn’t even a right or wrong question; it’s a question of motive.

Ruth recently mentioned Deuteronomy 5:9 to me, the often-misquoted bible verse: ‘…for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.’ Yes, that’s a bit specific and in no way forgiving.

NancyWardOfferingsLet’s say for example that Nancy Ward — for whatever reason — was still alive. Nanyehi was born into the Wolf clan of the Cherokee at Chota (the hills of Eastern Tennessee) in 1738. She rose to fame taking up arms against the Creeks after her husband fell in battle, earning her the title Ghighau, the “Beloved Woman of the Cherokee,” a powerful position of influence within the tribal government. With the creation of Fort Loudin on the frontier, Cherokee and colonists traded and sometimes mingled; Nanyehi took the Anglicized name Nancy Ward and learned English when she married English trader Bryant Ward. In contrast to her warrior instinct or perhaps because of it, Nancy sought peace between her native people and the encroaching colonists until her death in 1822.

For all the good it did.
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