When they tell you about the wonderful perks that come with being a near immortal undead, they don't tell you about all the shit that comes with the dying part.
The half-dying...whatever it is exactly.
They don't tell you that you're going to lose all your skin-colour to stark, parchment white, that your hair will fade to a flat, dull grey, and that, whether you like it or not, you're going to waste away to permanent gauntness, with sunken cheeks, jutting joint-bones and Belsen-concave stomachs.
They don't tell you that you're going to have to spend at least a month in constant, unrelenting agony – wracked by a pain that smears you're brain into useless putty, twists your guts into a thousand aching knots, and leaves your limbs sore and tingling with never-ending pins and needles – unless you end up going into a death-like coma and wake up weeks later without the foggiest idea of who/what/where you are.
They don't tell you that you won't be able to walk from one side of the room to the other without wanting to vomit, cry and collapse all at the same time from sheer exhaustion, or that the merest crumb of good old-fashioned normal food, whether it's a piece of chocolate, a potato crisp or a piece of dumb, tasteless lettuce, will have whatever's left of your insides all but turn inside out as you retch like a dog.
And they certainly don't tell you that a good chunk of your innards are going to rot into a black, stinking pulp, and then make a bloody, horrifyingly painful exit, just when you think it might all be getting bearable again.
And that's all just the beginning.
The worst part, overall, is the hunger.
You know when you're thirsty, so thirsty that you feel that you may blackout into cold unconsciousness at any second, when your head spins, your hands shake, your legs wobble at the core, and the back of your throat begins to seal up in a sticky, swollen mess?
Imagine feeling like that, every second of every day, for the rest of your life.
It never goes away, not even when you feed.
I had a dog once, when I was a little girl. It was the sweetest, goofiest dog you'd ever see. A real barrel of a thing, it would eat anything and everything that wasn't nailed down. Anything it got would be wolfed down so fast it can't have even touched the sides.
We used to keep all of her food in the broom cupboard, in a big bucket.
One day, my brother, God rest his soul (yes, I can say God...), dropped the bucket, and the food went everywhere. The dog was onto it like a large, hairy vacuum within a matter of nanoseconds. We desperately tried to scoop the food back into the bucket, but we simply couldn't move fast enough. There must have been a good thirteen meals for that dog out on the floor, and although we managed to scrape about two inches of food back into the bucket, we then had to stop and helplessly watch the dog, waiting for her to have her fill and leave, so we could finish clearing up the rest without the risk of getting snapped at or bitten, cause dogs always go a little crazy around their food, you know?
She didn't leave, she stayed right where she was and ate, and ate, and ate, until the last crumb was hoovered away up into her stomach. It was as though her body was automatically set to devour any food she could until there was simply no more of it left.
Well, that's what my body is like now. No amount of blood is ever enough – I will always need more, and I will always feel unsatisfied, even when there is simply no more blood left to be had.
That kind of need can get you into all kinds of trouble. It's hard to appreciate any new people you meet when all you want to do is stick a big, sharp straw in their carotid and guzzle down all you can before they die. It's hard to think about anything else really – just where the next meal is coming from.
And you won't believe how I got into this mess. I did it for a dare, at some dank house-party with the portion of my friends I liked to refer to as the 'wrong' crowd. I let some pale, gaunt stranger, who I'd known for a matter of hours, cut along my shoulder with a knife, and then get his slimy, infected gob all over it as he sucked up the paltry dribbles of my blood. I can't even remember what I was thinking at the time (can't even remember what I was on at the time) – that I was somehow proving a point? Everyone agreed it was creepy and disgusting, and no-one, even those who had egged me on at the time, could quite believe I'd done it. But surely it wasn't that bad – what harm could come from a bit of depravity and spit after all?
He came and found me, two days later. Tracked me down through a friend of a friend of a friend, and showed up on my doorstep, trying to be seductive and mysterious. He told me that he had selected me especially – that our meeting at that party had been no accident. He told me that my life was going to undergo some changes, and spouted the most unbelievable pile of crap I'd ever heard, about how I was going to 'transcend' from the drudgery of mediocrity, and become an eternal scourge of humanity at his side. At first, I played along, then I laughed in his face, and then I got angry, and slammed the door in it instead.
Luckily for me, I suppose, he pinned his number to the door, and also luckily, some crazy part of me threw it into a drawer rather than the bin, so in a fortnight's time, when I was literally shitting my guts out, I was able to call him in hysterics, demanding answers, support and salvation from the creep that ruined my life.
I still didn't quite believe what he was telling me though. Vampires...they don't exist.
To be honest, a part of me still doesn't believe they exist, even now. Not how the world imagines them to be. We're not stalkers of the night; suave, seductive predators living outside the laws of mortal life, elegantly draped in silks and velvets. We don't drink blood in wine glasses, or bathe in it, and we certainly don't live in derelict but beautiful mansions, drawing our meals to us like lambs to slaughter through seduction and thrall.
We are, at the end of the day, people. Thin, suffering, parasitic people, who twitch and gibber, ruled by constant, burning cravings like the scabbiest of junkies. We're driven by a desire to survive at any cost, to protect our numb half-lives by sucking dry others who could have been set to change the entire world for all we knew, as we drain them away.
Certainly they always have more of a life than we shall ever have ourselves – but we're the ones with fangs.
AN: This should be called "What Jess writes when she's not feeling so hot". It's a piece of computer file debris I just stumbled across that sums up my personal take on the 'vampire' mythos much better than I thought it did when I wrote it. It probably won't continue, although I have a few niggles that may weave it into something ongoing.
All feedback is welcomed with open-arms and cyber-cookies.