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Short story: “A Modern Monster”

A silly thing and my own take on the modern vampire story, from the POV of the very creature it is about.

(The ending came a little out of left field, but I like it.)

***

It simply wasn’t the same anymore.

Back in the old days, it had been easier to deal with the humans. They knew their place in the world. He was the predator and they were the prey and they acted accordingly whenever he revealed himself to them. The fleeing and the screaming was half of the pleasure. He simply couldn’t digest his meal properly if he hadn’t had a good scream and chase through back alleys and over rooftops.

But then one of them had thought it would be jolly good fun to write a book about his kind. Bram Stoker’s fictional account of his species had not been the worst he’d read, though the depiction of those women as being so easily lured by the charms of the vampire in the novel he found laughable.

There was nothing seductive about what he did. He simply fed; he never felt the slightest compulsion so mate with the damn things.

How many humans drop their rifles and go off to have a good shag with the deer they’re about to shoot?

He’d hoped Stoker would be the end all of humans pretending they knew anything about what it was like to live in his skin. But no.

About a century or so passed. The humans invented their electricity, which made it both easier and harder for him to make a living. On the one hand, it made it easier for him to stalk his prey when the night was so lit up. On the other hand, it made it harder to stalk unnoticed. He had always been one who preferred to cling to shadows and darkness, shroud himself in them. Yet, he did not wish to keep to the darkest corners of the cities, the cemeteries and the abandoned warehouses; he wasn’t a slob, so he had to make do. 

And the stories about his kind thrived and somehow…They got progressively worse.

He wasn’t sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line, his kind changed from creatures of the night to be feared, to something attractive and appealing to the humans. It was a slow change, from one human writer to the next building on the work of their predecessors. Perhaps it was the gradual change, the subtle changes in the portrayal that made it hard for him to catch what was happening. If he’d noticed…If he’d known, he would have personally hunted down these writers before they could do any more harm to his and his kind’s reputation.

But then the damage was done. From looks of fear and terror whenever he showed his face to the ones he had chosen to feed on that night, they simply looked at him with curiosity and when he told them what he was about to do…As if that would make them properly scream and run, they still remained where they were, gawking, as if he was some form of circus act for their amusement.

“Show us your fangs”, they said. Some asked him to “turn them”, as if that was such an easy thing to do, or anything he *wanted* to do even. Others asked him if his skin sparkled. And there were those, usually of the female persuasion who threw themselves at him and playfully presented their necks to him as if this was all just some elaborate mating ritual.

Those he shoved away most brutally and left.

He’d prefer an empty stomach to meals that gave themselves so willingly. Thinking about it, there had been many nights he’d had to go to bed on an empty stomach.

And there was absolutely nothing that could be done about that.

The only time he’d been able to complain about it had been that time when his friend had come to town on an errand. He’d grinned at his complaints and informed him that if he’d thought it bad for his kind, then he should inform himself better. This was something that was happening to all species of the night, not just the vampires.

Humans had lost their fear of the dark when they moved to the cities, he’d said. They were afraid of other things now, afraid of their computers breaking and the destruction of their comfortable society in some cataclysmic disaster.

A part of them longed for those olden days though, when things were simpler, when the dark was more than just an absence of light. That’s why they romanticized them to such an extent. They had forgotten how the dark had really made them feel, so they used their nostalgic feelings to fuel their stories instead.

It was sad for them, his friend supposed. But it was something they would just have to get used to. His friend also mentioned that he’d taken advantage of the human’s changed attitude a few times, but only with the ones he was certain no one would miss.

After all, a human bullet would hurt them near as much as they would hurt a real human if they decided to hunt him down for murder.

Finally, as they said their goodbyes his friend had patted him on the back and suggested he’d lighten up some and see the opportunities that came with the new world order instead of pissing and moaning so much.

If it had not been is friend, he might have thrown something hard at his retreating back. He even suspected his friend of falling in with one of those fangirl types, the ones who saw themselves as the milking cow equivalent…That perhaps his friend had ever mated with one of them. The very idea made him retch.

But he did take some of his words to heart. The world had changed and there was nothing that could change it back. The humans did not fear him as they used to, not when he kept on doing his regular old thing. He’d simply have to come up with some way to up the ante.

Perhaps if he got himself one of those computers and researched what the humans feared these days…

 

The first day he dressed up as a rotted man with a hockey mask. The other he wore a rubber face and wielded fake knives on his hand. The costumes got more and more elaborate and terrifying.

With enough rubber and make-up on he began to frighten even himself.

There were times he almost forgot why he was making such an effort to frighten the humans, there was such a rush of joy when some of them actually ran from him that he forgot to catch them and feed on them.

The fun stopped when the SWAT team arrived one day and a couple of bullets clipped him bad enough that he’d had to lay very low for some time.

 

Groggy and weak he surfed the web and found there were actual parties arranged for humans wearing costumes. Perhaps his friend was right about another thing; the time of sneaking around in shadows was over too…

And the costumes didn’t even have to be that elaborate or frightening. All he needed was a believable enough outfit and he’d be let in right there among the humans and in such a crowded place it was easy to pull his prey aside and feed.

And no one would ever know who he truly was.

He’d replaced one kind of sneaking for another and his hunting grounds had changed from back alleys and darkened streets to masquerade parties and cosplay events. It was not the same kind of life he’d had before, but it was…life.

Though when he looked up at himself, feeding off a man dressed up as a starship captain in tight yellow shirt and pants he wondered what his father would think about him.

Ah, his father would probably prefer starving to death to this. He took another deep drink.

Sometimes you just have to get with the times, even if he still missed how it used to be.

 

No, things were not the same…But as long as there was a free supply of humans to feed on, he supposed he’d have to make do.

Even if he still missed the screaming.

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