This week, as part of the coursework for a free online literature class I’m taking with Dut and my fellow blog warrior Erin, I read Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic vampire novel Dracula for the first time. Given my penchant for horror, it is no surprise that I loved it completely. So, with a tip of the hat to Mr. Stoker and without any further ado, I give you my foray into vampire fiction; just don’t expect any glittering or romance here.
Despair Has Its Own Calms
The thunder cracked loudly outside her window, causing her to start awake. Blearily, she roused herself and stepped down onto the cold floor, a sharp intake of breath accompanying the move. As she headed down the dark hallway to the bathroom, only the repeated flashes of lightning lit her way. She could have done this in her sleep. Actually, she practically was.
Mindlessly, she went about her morning routine, scrubbing and primping and brushing and dressing. She just couldn’t seem to shake this sleep-weight that lingered behind her eyes.
That night, after work, she flopped down on the couch, too exhausted to even think about dinner, despite being voracious. She felt a little gnat land on her neck and it took conscious, pointed effort to brush it away half-heartedly. Eventually, she mustered up enough energy to get up and snack on a few potato chips, but they just tasted…off. She tried to wash out the cloying taste in her mouth with some orange juice, but the juice tasted even worse. She gave up and made the walk back to her bedroom, collapsing on the bed, fully clothed.
She woke up to another morning storm, but its ferocity barely penetrated her drowsy fog. She tried to roll over and check the clock, but she wasn’t even able to do that. Before falling back asleep, she thought she remembered laughing in the night, a deep, resonant sound. But the memory drifted away on the sleep-mist as her eyes closed yet again.
Another peal of thunder. This is getting ridiculous, she thought groggily. She opened her eyes and stood up, shivering. The storm had blown her window wide open, and some rain was spattering her floor. She padded over and shut the window, feeling strangely alive as the wind tossed her hair and the rain speckled her skin. Remembering that she was starving, she made her way into the kitchen and ripped open the fridge, looking for something, anything to curb her hunger. But the entire fridge turned her stomach; all the food smelled spoiled.
Eyes blazing, she began to tear the apartment apart, looking for something that appetized her. Twenty minutes later, her apartment was in shambles and her hunger was becoming unbearable. She whirled around angrily at another clap of thunder, only to find a tall, thin man towering in the corner of her living room. He seemed made of the very shadows of the room save his deep red eyes, glowing like embers in his pallid face. The man’s presence pacified her instantly; he grinned large while he held out his dripping wrist.
“Drink, my child. Drink and never thirst again.”
Suddenly energized for the first time in days, she meekly stepped over to him and lowered her head onto his pulsing wrist eagerly. His deep laughter echoed off the walls, and before long, it became a duet, rising and falling with the storm’s raging fury.