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Vampires are nothing like I thought. It’s pretty cool out here, and I have more time to think about this than I thought I would.
It seems funny to think that less than a day ago, I thought vampires were awesome; fictional but beautiful, deadly but easily tamed by the average teenage girl, and capable of logical thought; lovers of art and poetry, philosophical, gloomy, nihilistic trendsetting pseudo-monsters, that just happened to need human blood to survive.
Vampires to me were capable of love; great love, and they could be seduced by mortality because it was what they really wanted, to be alive again. So many things, least of all, that vampires were real, did not occur to me.
I am a very average woman; I’m divorced, I talk too much, I have a job in customer service, which I absolutely hate, but I’m fairly intelligent and I read a lot. I also confess that I have been worried for a long time that someone would attack me at the hotel where I work; pull me into a room, mug me, rape me, whatever. I keep pepper spray on my key chain just in case.
My name is Beth; my boss is Bill, his wife is Nora, and a few other people, all underworld denizens of the city, work here too. My favorite thing about this place, is how secluded it is. We have some weirdness, but all hotels do. For a while now, ever since June, we’ve had a lot of car break-ins, and the homeless people around here seem to be multiplying. They have a weird little homeless people village behind the Waffle House across the street.
It’s October now, and so you’d think there would be less homeless out because of the cold, but there are more than ever, wandering around out here. The other night, our shuttle driver, the nosiest guy on the planet I swear, –his name is Scott, –he said that two of these guys walked around the whole hotel, and looked like they were casing the place. Trying to find ways in, and where the cameras were. Just to see what was up, I checked out the cameras. You can’t really see much. Just two dudes, dirty, old clothes, and wandering around the sidewalks.
It doesn’t really get to me. It’s the off-season now, and if you’re here, early enough in the morning, deer come out of the woods on the other side of our car port, to drink water out of puddles in our parking lot. They’re beautiful.
I went outside to sit in the decorative rock garden on the stone bench, under the stars, to smoke my fifth cigarette today, and I hear the leaves clamoring for attention; the dead leaves fainting and falling from branches in hopeless adoration of the still living leaves’ performance. They’re loud, but quiet; ambiance is important, appreciation for the outside world is key to making it through an evening at work. If you don’t appreciate the world, then it gets easier and easier to hate your job, and the people who pester you every five minutes for sheets, soap, towels, and the long-standing “There’s a bug in my room, you owe me a discount!”
The woods beside the hotel are not woods, not really; the trees are a small patch of wilderness where these deer live, and on the other side, there is an extremely loud train yard. The noises coming from the yard are mysterious; all hours of the day and night there is rattling, banging, and sometimes, thunderous booming and clanging. I have suspected in fancy, many times, that the train yard where I have never ventured or driven through, is secretly a boxing ring for gods, and demigods, who drive through the gravel entrance, past the chain link gate in utility trucks and safety-yellow hybrid minivans, trucks with toolboxes and all manner of safety vehicles, to test the strength and skill of other gods and demigods in grudge matches. They square off like Olympians with steel pipes and aluminum baseball bats. The dead gods get buried in the gravel or hauled away in tankers and this is what goes on in the brief lapses of silence in the train yard.
I’m thinking of this when a svelte, silky brown doe walks gingerly out of the woods and stares at me. I pretend to have no interest, and douse my cigarette quietly, and when she turns, I follow. I don’t exactly know why, except that it is dark, and I want to see where the doe lives and if she has babies. At the edge of the trees, I hear thrashing in the leaves on the ground, and it sounds like the stormy treetops have all decided to cast a spell on the earth, because the ground is stormy now too. It’s dark, the hotel’s parking lot lights don’t reach into the trees, and my eyes adjust too late for me to leave. The deer is being… eaten. There are crouched creatures surrounding her, biting her everywhere; her head, her heart, her legs, and torso are being bitten, and pulled by faces that are dirty, and hands that are rough and knobbed are pulling and tearing at her amber coat, and everything slows and stops, and time doesn’t stand still. I do.
The homeless are eating this deer, and as cold as it is, their breath doesn’t steam. The smell of the deer’s voided bowels, the smell of her blood, and the viscera now strewn across the ground; it’s the steam and it rises like the smell and breaks the stillness. I am like the girls in horror movies, but only because there are thorny vines and ivy and weeds everywhere. I trip, I fall, and my hands are bleeding, my sweater is muddy and leaves are all over me.
Vampires are not romantic; and they are biting, and it hurts, it hurts so much. They are dirty, they smell like dirt and mold and garbage and old sanitary pads or used tampons. I push at the hands, because I know that if they get to my throat I will die, but it seems stupid to me now, because by then, they had already bitten into my popliteal artery, my femoral artery; they were biting into my crotch, and if this was anything close to what it felt like to give birth, I was glad I never did it. My breasts, my stomach; they were pushing and pulling, and trying to rip me open from every angle, and I fought until I died, screaming and trying hard to be heard over the sounds from the train yard.
I am not a beautiful vampire; I am a cold, barely alive thing, a shadow of a corpse; everything hurts. I don’t know what will happen, but I do know that the darkness is burning at the edges of my vision and that what steals into me is not life. There isn’t much left of me, and if I get up after this, what moves me will not be me. Something else is coming, and I don’t know where I will go or if I will have to watch from within my body, but I am tired, and it is cold. Vampires are not beautiful. They killed me in these trees before I could ever have babies, or graduate from college; they ripped me open and bit my face, crushed my nose and one of my eyes, knocked teeth out of my mouth, bit my lips and tongue and even ate pieces of my thighs.
No one knows I am dying, and I want my mother. My roommate, anyone, my cat. I miss my friends, and I don’t want to die alone in the mud, with vampires sucking on my wounds. I am going to go to sleep now, and try to forget this.