Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Short fiction: On An Empty Shore III

The Anatomy of a Junkie

A vampire isn’t all that different from a junkie. Kept away from a regular supply of fresh blood we get sick.

In the old days, when I was still scoring brown, there were times when I couldn’t get any. Could be that the cops intercepted a big shipment, or there was a delay somewhere along the line. The price would go up and either you made a plan to get money or you got sick; sweating and half shitting yourself to death going cold turkey.

If you were desperate, you scaled paregoric from the pharmacy. That was until the pharmacists cottoned on and started keeping the shit behind the counter. Paregoric is a tincture of opium, and prepping to shoot it was a mission. Even if you got it right, it burned like shit and the taste of camphor lingered in your mouth.

Desperate times called for desperate measures.

Being a vampire had one advantage. I never needed heroin again. While I got nostalgic-like about some of those old days, I can’t say I missed that never-ending worry about where I’d get my next portion.

My unlife revolved around a far more terrifying addiction. It wasn’t that I found blood disgusting. Far from it. It’s just the idea of hunting people freaked me the fuck out because I never was the sort to go out looking for trouble. To have to approach someone to bite them, although it felt like the right thing to do, still scared the crap outta me.

Most people were bigger and stronger than me. Guns and knives could still hurt me, though I healed a helluva lot faster. Once I got blood. But it was the getting blood that wasn’t easy.

Laugh all you want. I don’t care. Just be glad you’ve never fiended bad for the one thing that keeps you from turning into a fucking wild animal, foaming at the mouth like a dog with rabies, and go around biting people.

Biting people isn’t cool. Vampires that went around biting people in the old days got put down. They had to be sneaky. The warmbloods must never know. As much as I didn’t ask to be turned into a vampire, I was still attached to existing. No one likes the idea of dying. Even if God existed, I wasn’t prepared to take the chance that I really was damned.

It took about two nights to come to terms with what I’d become. By then, I was starving. My veins almost clawed their way out of my skin to throttle me but the more water I drank the more I puked. I’d holed up in my digs I shared with a buddy who put up with me because I scored him weed.

Food was the last thing on my mind. I was thirsty, like I could drink out a swimming pool and never kill the need for liquid. I spent those two nights sicker than ever before. During the day I was dead to the world, but at night I shivered and shook. It’s only when I looked in the mirror on the second night, and saw what had become of my teeth, that it sort of sunk in. A big WTF moment. I had great big fucking canines. I smelled my buddy, asleep in his bedroom.

I mean he smelled really good, like I could eat him.

I wasn’t quite all there. I was tripping off my tits from the thirst and I did what any vampire in my condition would do. I let my thirst ride me.

Maybe I spared Sean a worse death. I wasn’t very good at being a vampire and I bit him a few times and it must have really hurt before I got it right and drank him up like he was the best wine ever. But it sure beat what the zombies would have done.

And I think he kinda got into it near the end. That’s the thing with vampires. Warmbloods sink into the whole vibe of being sucked on. Maybe it’s something in our spit. They go limp the moment the fangs sink into the skin.

It’s better than sex. It’s better than junk.

I got beaten up a few times until I learned to be clever about stalking my prey. I always took out the ones that would have died anyway. At least I keep telling myself that. I didn’t always kill, but often then ones I drank from were so weak, I don’t think they survived every time.

Some of the other vamps said we were the apex predators. Whatever that meant. Just fancy words. Still didn’t change the fact that we killed and that didn’t always sit right with me.

Nowadays I don’t kill at all. They’re so scared, the warmbloods. Their blood is thin and bitter. I look into their eyes and I see fear. Real fear. In the old days they could pretend they were immortal, like us. That illusion’s been stripped away. There’s no pretend-pretend now.

Maybe if I work hard at it, I can somehow show that I’m better than the mindless flesh junkies roaming the street. I don’t want to be like that, just eating and eating and eating. I want to be something better, and I’m not quite sure if I am.

I’ll never kick this habit unless I greet the sun. And I’m too chicken shit to do that. Some small part of me wants to make up for what I was when I was still a warmblood. It’s all bullshit anyhow. I don’t know what I really want anymore. I can’t change anything.

* * * *

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  1. Between this guy and Xan I seem to be surrounded by emphatic and likable Vamps! At least in the good old days you could count on those effete aristocratic goth trendies to be d-bags. Catch you next week.

  2. Thank you for the support, Jason. There are still a good few more episodes coming through.

  3. I'm really enjoying this series! It's nice to see a vampire who didn't immediately cotton on to what was happening.

  4. It's more difficult than one would think to write a character like this. I'm more prone to Lestat-type ramblings.

  5. Nice add. I kind of like Joost you know. ;)

  6. Bravo, good read. I love the junkie reference and the God scenerio. It's nice to see the story through the eyes of the vampire instead of just observing him.

  7. I'm so trying to get with the program....
    Is this an intro into a new character?
    I enjoyed it, you keep me busy with good reads.

  8. Thank you! It's part three of an eight-part blog serial. I'll possibly put the whole thing up on Smashwords as a download at some point.

  9. I didn't realize this is a series until after I read it. Must say it was quite a good read on its own.