Thank you for purchasing The Modern Guide to Vampires, the newest title in the globally best-selling Modern Guide series of undead reference works. If your problems extend beyond vampires, we hope you will also consider purchasing other products from our catalogue, such as The Modern Guide to Ghosts, The Modern Guide to Zombies, and The Modern Guide Home Exorcism Companion.
It is our goal to provide you with the knowledge and skills you will need to protect yourself from the sanguinovore menace. This booklet will explain how to find, identify, and deal with vampires, all while lowering the risk of becoming one yourself.
He appeared as I stood amongst the wind-tossed papers and scattered garments littering the only room of my girlfriend’s sixth-floor walk-up efficiency on the Lower East Side, calling her name for a second time.
Perhaps it was the mini-blinds rattling and clacking in the icy breeze from the open window that covered his approach, or the fact I was mesmerized by the sheets of newsprint whirlygigging in the cyclone eddy that sashayed in through the open window like Tom DeLay on “Dancing With the Stars,” or whatever less-crappy metaphor I can’t come up with right now. In any event, the first I knew of him was when his kipper-touched breath wafted past my ear and glanced off my nose, stunning it, as he spoke.
When they first came, people said they was environmentalist aliens. That’s ‘cause they sucked up all the landfills and the junk floating on the ocean, all them sorts of things, and carted it all back off to space. Even paid for it – rare earths and precious metals and some radioactive stuff. All these people on the teevee and the radio said they’d come to save our planet for us – or from us – just like some space story from the Fifties, like my papa read when he was a kid.
I knew better. We knew better. Them aliens didn’t care about our planet or our environment. Didn’t have no high-minded ideals in common with the hippies and the lefties and the crunchies. They was just doing what my people’d been doing for years.
Peace be upon you this morning, my brother. I see you and I alone are brave enough to clap our eyes upon this thing, this menace of the Eastern Sea.
Or fools enough, as our shipmates would say.
I? Oh, yes, I’ve seen it before. Gone so far as to make landfall and stand beneath it, but that was with a captain and crew of the One True Faith. Islanders like our ship’s master and his men are still beholden to those superstitions that pass for religion in these waters. But I trust that one day the revelations of the Prophet, peace be upon him, will open their eyes.
The sun is setting as I order the helmsman to bring the Jolly Roger down.
When we emerge from the cloud bank, the wind pulls free a few strands of my hair – some black but more grey – to dance across my face as I stare down past the bow railing. Even from this height I can make out pinpoints of light scattered across the island. I know them to be bonfires, and around every one motley gangs cavort, lads who will never grow up so long as they reside in this accursed place, and therefore never know life’s greatest gift.
Indeed, the love of their parents is at best a dim memory to them now, and so long as they are trapped in this perpetual childhood they will never appreciate what they have forsaken.
Did you know the first full human clone we created was of me? True story. When it came time, I insisted it was my DNA that went into the tank. We used a chest hair, if it’s important for your piece.
Just kidding! It was blood plasma.
Did I have any doubts? Not at all. We’d done a lot of test runs, partial processes, all of them shut down and disposed of before anything reached a viable stage. And everything looked good until, well….