Monday, October 10, 2011

How I Survived True Encounters With the Undead

So many authors today are writing about vampires.
You may scoff, but every word I have written below is in fact veritably true.
So many authors today are writing about vampires, The empowered undead. But so few have actually encountered them. I on the other hand hesitate to even spell the word on my keyboard.
You see, I am not speculating. I have encountered them in my daily life. I have felt that urge emanating from them, so strong it actually infects their victims.
So, you may be thinking, how did I encounter them and live or become one of the undead?
I lived in the French Quarter of New Orleans. An area rife with undead alongside the drunks and merry makers.
I’ll tell you now that avoiding their wiles did not involve garlic necklaces, holy water, or crosses. None of which in my experience are effective against the blood suckers. It was simple friendship. I frequented their hangouts where they were not shy to reveal their nature, but where it was unlikely they would imbibe their favorite liquid.
One particular bar that many would frequent was called the Dungeon. It was not an actual dungeon but the history of the spot on which it was built included a dungeon where a large number of slaves were slaughtered in the eighteenth century. The decor included a plethora of sculls and eerie sights. The bar did not open until midnight (although I hear that they are opening earlier now). The upstairs music room was designed for the comfort of the vampire. Not only dark corners and lots of tourists from which to smell their favorite food, but also alcoholic drinks, which contrary to legend they enjoyed immensely.
The music they play would make Lestat proud. The volume makes it difficult for the average human to converse, but of course vampires having supernatural hearing have no trouble at all.
This is where I met my first vampire, Lydia. While she was attractive, she wasn’t as irresistible as I had been led to believe. She sat at the end of the bar alone, although it was apparent she knew the bartender well, and vice versa.
I’m rather shy myself and, as you could imagine, in those circumstances I was reluctant to introduce myself to anyone.
People crowding the bar to get the bartender’s attention ended up pressing me closer and closer to this woman. Eventually it was all I could do not to end up in her lap. I apologized to her. She took a deep breath in through her nostrils and answered that it was no problem it happened there all the time. She smiled at me and I returned the smile, uncertain as to why her smile seemed a bit strange.
I stumbled out some pleasantry, which caused a large smile from her revealing some extra large and extra long canines.
As social inept as I was. I remarked on her long teeth (grandmother what big teeth you have).
She explained why they were so long. The hair on my arms and the back of my neck were at attention. I was either in the presence of a psychopath or the real McCoy either one made me uncomfortable. She reassured me I was safe and explained the origins and the culture of the vampires in New Orleans. It was in the middle of her dissertation that I realized she had not raised her voice. Her volume remained at the level of a wall flower accidentally discovered yet I heard every word. The music was running an honest 85 db's, loud enough to cause permanent aural damage.
I considered that I may be flirting with death but I began frequenting the Dungeon. I got off of my job near midnight so it was a perfect fit with my schedule. I met many more vampires in the course of the next few years and never once discovered punctures in my neck.
They were friendly and a joy to be around in spite of a lingering feeling that they were playing with their food.