Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Starving

Someone asked why I post so much fiction on my blog. After all, once it's here, it can't be sold. I explained that the short fiction I publish here is mostly writing exercises. All I've done is transfer my notebook from the folder by my bed to the computer. My short stories? I keep writing and will be sending out a few shortly. My novels...same thing. I keep plugging.

Below is another assignment. This one for Halloween. The assignment: write a vampire story. Hmmmm. The problem with vampire stories is that they are sooooo overdone. In horror the undead and their cousin the zombie have been reduced to a stereotype for those people who like familiarity. Readers should be more demanding. They aren't. Give them their Buffy clones and they'll stay happy, like a child sitting before the tv asking you to play the same videodisc over and over again until they can recite the words by heart. When people like something (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Interview with the Vampire) give it to them over and over again until they become bloated and explode.

The Starving

They got it wrong. The blood is only the beginning.

I don’t know how long ago I became infected. Time has no meaning. The creature that turned me was a woman whom I only met once. I don’t remember much about her. I think I had been drinking pretty heavily. I remember only that I was touched by her incredible sadness. Why is misery so appealing? People like to say they turn away from it, but only when the misery is too close is it too threatening. Otherwise, it’s ambrosia.

I woke the next night and knew something was different. Hungry. Yeah. But not for food. I left the apartment for the last time and headed into the darkness. It all looked so different.

At first the edginess thrilled me. I should have savored it. It died soon enough.

Walking the streets I saw the others were everywhere. The living don’t see them. The infected are only truly visible to the likewise infected.

They fed without hiding their thirst. Here a rag-tag teen with hollow cheeks drank quickly from a little girl as she and her mother stood before a shop window. There a bloated old man with puffy cheeks feasted on a meticulously groomed man as he tapped in his code at the ATM machine. The victims never knew. Two minutes lost here, three minutes lost there. All easily explained. A soreness to the neck, almost invisible marks that would fade away in a matter of hours.

The disease would could only be passed through deliberate infection, not casual feeding. So why me?

I began to feed, moving along the street, selecting my hosts without discrimination. I was full after three quick takings. I spent the rest of the night walking, not sure what would happen with the dawn. The sun didn’t matter though. I felt the heat on my cheeks and the hunger growing in my stomach. I fed again. Before I knew it, the sun passed and darkness returned.
The second night I saw four of them hunting as a pack. They followed a prostitute and took her in a crowd of people. She screamed as they grabbed her arms and started pulling her back. I watched, fascinated and excited, and only slightly interested that none of the living seemed to be able to hear or see what was happening.

They tore her apart then. They first drained her and then began to eat the flesh. I watched, trying to feel disgust and pity, but only became more intrigued. When they finished there was nothing left. That’s when I knew the blood was only the beginning.

One of the pack, a woman with a crooked back and sparse hair, came close to me. The blood on her breath stirred my hunger. "You come feed next time," she said. I started to object but she put a bloody finger on my lips.

"No?" she said. "When you’re ready. You’re still new. You can still feed on three or four people and be satisfied. Eventually you’ll spend almost every waking minute feeding. The blood won’t be enough. It never is. Neither is the flesh. But we can’t get at the other thing."

"Is that why she infected me?" I asked.

"No. It’s another urge. You feed and feed, and suddenly you know you have to share the disease. You can’t stop it. You wish you could, but then you realize you’re doing what you have to do."

"So there’s no hope?" I asked.

Her eyes widened and looked horribly human. She shook her head and whispered: "Only when you stop hoping."



Coprólalo said...

Wow, great thought about hope and the dark thirst for blood, q'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons!

I'd like to know how did you get to know my Blog, and congratulations for your stories, they're just great.

Jon said...

Remarkable little story, Stu. I really like the idea of the three hungers.

Censor Oficial said...

Your tale is really good!... i like your way of writing. I can even learn from your style.

I came here via Coprólalo, who is my best friend; he wanted me to check out your Blog.

So, keep on writing, and godspeed.

Anonymous said...

Oooh I gotta dig out my vampire story I wrote years ago.....I was reading it a while back and it is quite good...sort of creepy!!

I liked that!

SQT said...

I liked this a lot. It's different. I love the way you say the blood is only the beginning. It evokes so much and makes us look beyond the lore that we already know.

You also did a fantastic job of getting my attention right away.

Btw, thanks for dropping by my place.

Susan Miller said...

You and your assignments...such a taskmaster. Your vampire story is excellent, and, yes I enjoyed the new perspective. The Green Room is my blog for the day. Please note that I know nothing of writing a play, have never counted words and attempted to use less language in getting my point across. Oh yeah, I buttered up the judge with a Detroit Tigers t-shirt that I'm sure did not go unnoticed.

Charles Gramlich said...

Good story, Stewart. I hope you don't mind if I link my blog to yours. Gotta keep in touch with the horror folks out there. So you're in "education?" Me too. Sometime give with the details.

Crazy Eddie said...

I literally felt like I was walking among these nightwalkers. You kept my attention from the start (lots of writers forget about this important aspect) and I must admit, I almost felt ticked that it ended...

Keep the short stories coming. It keeps me fed...

Anonymous said...

This is a heck of a nice read. Thank you for sharing it for free on the net. Tooo Awaesome. Congratulations.

I am more in it for the funny, but there is a romantic side to Vampires that cannot be denied.

Anonymous said...

If you're looking for a new vampire series check out ETERNAL VIGILANCE by Gabrielle S. Faust! :)

Melissa said...

Only very few writers have talent such as yours to really portray the emotions through their writing. Vampiric books are wide and vast in number, but only a handful have been written very well. Another writer I would recommend is, Emma Gabor of "Predatoress."