Even Stephen King is doin’ the whole vampire thing: By Blood We Live is a short story collection, all about the vamp nation. We’re talking the likes of Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Neil Gaiman, all in one book. Shocking, I know, but super cool. So I’m not a total loser for giving in to vampire mania. Everybody’s doing it! On that note, back to “I See Monsters.” Hope you’ve been looking over your shoulder at night. You never know who might be watching…
* * *
“I See Monsters”
By Sara Dobie
The imposter and I were living in the time of movies like Twilight and television programs like True Blood. Vampires were all the rage in that era. People wanted to dress like vampires. People wanted to pretend to drink blood and sleep all day, party all night. People found it dangerous and sexy, and it made my kind sick to the point of truly coming out of the closet, as they say. It made us want to finally and honestly show ourselves for the monsters and murderers we really were and see if the goth kids could deal with the reality of our horror. It was better than the slop they were serving the masses, after all.
Twilight was one thing. Twilight was a blatant fabrication. It spoke of so-called “vegetarians”—vampires who only hunted animals and left humans alone. Vampires who glittered in the sunlight. Vampires who had love and compassion. Hogwash. It made people feel safe about the whole thing, as if maybe society could accept vampires with open arms. And society could give its best effort, but we knew once that happened, we would take those open arms, rip them off, and sip from the veins like barbarians with their goblets of ale. Fabrication. False. A lie.
True Blood was different, because True Blood was the creation of one of our own. When the Sookie Stackhouse books had hit shelves, the vampire community had been in uproar. How dare a fellow immortal tell the mortals about us? How dare a fellow immortal give away our secrets? But of course our uproar had been superfluous. No one believed the books, because vampires did not exist. They were attractive on screen. The idea of living forever was pleasant enough, but none of it was true. None of it was possible. At least, that was what the mortals said. The books received good enough reviews, but it wasn’t until the TV series True Blood that our fellow immortal author went underground, passing on the penname of Charlaine Harris to a mortal who could do book signings during the day without bursting into flames.
But because of this reckless immortal, True Blood had become a revelation—a show about what would happen if vampires admitted to their existence and assimilated into the mortal coil. The goth movement had reawakened, and every Sunday, throngs of young adults and lonely housewives would crowd around their televisions to see how Sookie and Vampire Bill would get out of another relationship crisis. It wasn’t that I hated True Blood. I had watched it, and I found it to be entertaining. Good actors. Good dialogue. A pleasant romp through the fields of the walking dead.
What concerned me about True Blood was its factuality. Thanks to my damned immortal compatriot, our secrets were on the streets. For instance, as I mentioned, we cannot enter a mortal’s home uninvited. When we cry, we cry thick streams of crimson blood. We will burst into flames in the sunlight, and our blood will bring a half-dead Sookie back to life. Secrets revealed. Secrets that had been secret for centuries, being mass ingested by clueless youth who think vampires are oh so sexy.
Of course, on the flip side, putting our secrets out there made it much harder to believe they were true. Seeing vampires on TV made it much harder to believe there were vampires in life. I doubted the imposter ever thought about death. I doubted he had ever considered his end to come at the hands of an immortal. I watched him, from my perch, as he pushed himself up from his bed. He grabbed a navy blue sweatshirt from under his pillow and pulled it over his head, messing up his hair with one hand as he returned to the kitchen. I watched him grab a plate from the cupboard above his sink and toss some rice and vegetables in a heaping pile on the platter. Using his fingers, he scooped a bite into his mouth. Caleb watched from his side, waiting for a stray piece of broccoli or carrot.
No, the imposter was clueless. The imposter was just like the rest of them—living under the delusion that they were safe. That monsters were trapped behind TV screens, instead of hanging from tree limbs outside kitchen windows.
* * *
PS: I was recently featured in an article about starting your workday right. We all need a little help in the morning, so head over to Idea Anglers and see what your fellow entrepreneurs are up to before sunrise: http://tinyurl.com/IAstartright.