Being a vampire sounds awesome, but a lot of the time it’s a pain in the neck.
I’m sorry, that was terrible. Let me try again.
Being a vampire isn’t nearly as awesome as people make it out to be.
Let’s consider the life of the average college student for a second. We’ll make up a name. Let’s go with Fred.
Fred wakes up with fifteen minutes to get to class. Maybe he goes, maybe he doesn’t. We’ll say he does. He rolls out of bed, pulls on a t-shirt and heads to class in his pajamas. He takes some notes. He texts his girlfriend.
Maybe he has another class or two. Then he goes to a cafeteria and eats his lunch. No cooking, no figuring out where and what to eat.
Fred goes to another class, maybe hits the library, does a little studying. He goes back to the cafeteria and has dinner. Now it’s night. He goes to his dorm room, maybe studies a little, and then a friend calls him and tells him where the party’s at.
Fred puts on actual clothing for the first time that day. If the ladies are lucky, Fred takes a shower before he goes. Fred gets his drink on. Then he decides to stay up and play pool for a while. Suddenly it’s 2 AM and he’s getting a cheeseburger at some diner called Marv’s, and getting back to his room at 4 AM.
He goes to bed. If the next day is a weekday, he gets up and starts the process again. If it’s a weekend, he sleeps until noon, then goes down to the cafeteria and gets himself something lunch-like to eat.
In case you missed it, here are the things he didn’t have to worry about:
The blazing hot sun burning him to ashes in a matter of minutes.
Finding a human being that will allow him to drink his or her blood so that he can stay alive.
Staying out of the public eye as much as possible so as to avoid uncomfortable questions about why the sick and elderly around you always seem to end up dead and a quart low.
Figuring out what to do with the rest of forever.
Don’t get me wrong, living for all eternity is kind of nice. And I can’t complain about the almost complete lack of morning breath.
But imagine spending the rest of your existence trying to pretend it was normal that no one ever saw you during the daytime, and you’ll get a little taste of what my world is like.
On the other hand, I don’t think I’m the average vampire. In less than a month I managed to become a fugitive from both my hometown and Denver, Colorado. I have a new identity and a new phone and some new clothes, and they all fit into a large blue backpack I carry with me whenever I move to a new city.
Which I was about to do for the third time when me, Wash, and Emma got off our plane in Pittsburgh.
Wash is a lean, well-muscled African-American ex-slave. He’s also missing a hand, thanks to his evil sire, a man who went by the name of John Smith.
Emma was born just after year one, as the Gregorian calendar goes. She was also sired by John Smith.
Oh, and she met Jesus. She was the woman caught in adultery. It’s in the Bible. You should look it up.
Between the three of us, we had a lot of complicated issues, all of which I’ll talk about later.
At that moment, we only had one issue, but it was a big one.
We had gotten on a plane in my hometown in order to leave it forever and ever and ever. Mostly because I was a vampire and I needed to make sure my family and friends (well, friend) didn’t find out what really happened to me. But also because we had killed John Smith, who as far as we knew was the world’s oldest and most deadly vampire.
And we sucked all the blood out of my mom’s ex-boyfriend. And stole a gun off a police officer. But I swear, we did it all for good reasons. See above re: killing oldest and most deadly vampire.
I digress. Again.
Instead of immediately flying away, what happened was: we sat on the tarmac and didn’t get in the air for a long time. So when we landed in Pittsburgh, we had maybe 45 minutes to get off the plane, and get our rental car, and get to our hotel.
So of course we sat on the tarmac some more. And once we finally got to a gate, everyone got to stand around while we waited for someone to open the door.
We got off the plane with 15 minutes ‘til dawn.
There was one more little wrinkle I forgot to tell you about.
When we tried to get on the plane, I was told that my bag was too big. So they took it away from me, stuck a tag on it, and set it in the little hallway that leads to the plane.
No big deal, right?
Except when I got off the plane, my bag was nowhere to be seen. It had all my clothes. And my ID. And it was just gone.
I could buy more clothes, and the ID was fake. But still, it was all the stuff I owned in the world, outside of my mega-awesome smart phone. Which now had no charger, because it was in my bag.
I stared at the place where my bag was supposed to be, but wasn’t. Emma tugged at my arm. Wash tugged at my other arm.
“We need to go. Right now,” said Emma.
“Right now,” echoed Wash.
I looked at them. “My stuff?”
“We’re millionaires. We’ll get more stuff,” said Emma. “Let’s go. Now.”
We walked out of the hallway and into the airport, and I saw immediately what the problem was. Windows. Soon-to-be-sunlight-filled, vampire-killing windows. Everywhere.
Less than 24 hours earlier, I had lost a lot of my hair and scalp to sunlight. I froze. Wash and Emma, still holding me by my arms, pulled me forward. We were walking like they were my parents and I was a lackadaisical toddler.
Which was true in a sense, even though we all looked like we were somewhere between 17 and 22. Ish.
Wash had sired me after I had been attacked and almost killed by John Smith. That means he put some of his blood in my mouth, and I swallowed it, and then I died from blood loss. Which sounds funny when I say it that way.
Later, Emma had told me that Wash loved me, but we had almost literally not stopped moving long enough for me to ask Wash about it.
And now I was pretty sure I was going to die.
The thing is, vampires have very, very low-key emotions. It has something to do with the fact that our hearts don’t beat, so we don’t kick the normal chemicals around that human beings have. If we freak out and get a shot of adrenaline, it lasts maybe a second. Then our heart stops moving and our demeanor returns to neutral.
Which is to say, after a second I unfroze and let Wash and Emma lead me instead of drag me.
I turned to Emma. “Plan?”
“Don’t get fried,” said Emma.
I decided to try Wash. “Plan?”
Wash shook his head.
Emma let go of my arm, pulled out her phone, and started tapping at Mach 5. Watching her was like observing a highly-skilled violin player performing Rachmaninoff.
Emma held out her arm, blocking my progress and bringing Wash up short. We were standing in what appeared, to me, to be a random hallway.
Emma brought her arm in front of her, extending her finger to point. She had her phone in the other hand. “Door,” she said. She turned a little bit. “Out the door, this direction, there’s a hotel. Of course, when we walk out, we’ll be in a parking garage. So we have to get through that, go that way,” she pointed a slightly different direction, “and then run across a bunch of busy airport roads.”
I grimaced. “What could go wrong?”
Wash smiled. “Everything.”
Emma glanced up at a nearby clock. “Six minutes. Give or take. We go to the door at normal speeds. Then we go, go, go.”
So we speed-walked.
A few steps before we hit the door, Wash blurred. He ran, is what he did, but the sudden change in speed was so fast that a human would have seen a strange flash of color as Wash zipped forward, jumped and jerked a cable out of the back of a camera mounted above the doorway.
Of course, to me it looked pretty normal. Vampire vision.
And then we ran.