The Friend Who Wasn’t in the Park (Part 4)

 

Hello darkness, my old friend

I’ve come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence

-Simon & Garfunkle

 

Quickly, Simone ran after Darkness. He didn’t appear to walk any faster than Simone, yet somehow he managed to gain more ground. People walked the streets paying them little to no attention. That seemed strange, even for a city as big as LA where no one would give you a second look if your hair were on fire.

She hurried down the road after him. Thankfully, when he reached the park across the way, he finally slowed.

“You’re never going to get anything done at that pace,” he told her offhandedly as she came to a stop.

“I can’t go any faster,” she replied catching her breath.

“Well not with that attitude,” he replied and turned to the three ghostly figures behind him. “Now for you three.”

The figures looked dismal and worn as they shuffled in place before him. Two stood fumbling with little shiny objects.

“Hand it here,” he called to the apparitions.

Reluctantly one of the figures sighed with a strange echoey sort of sound and handed over the small rock. Almost immediately the creature began to glow, brighter and brighter until its form blurred. Simone shielded her eyes, but then the brightness went out. A faint gust of wind rustled her hair and the surrounding foliage.

The creature was gone. Continue reading

The Friend in the Yard (Part 3)

 

Last night I saw upon the stair,

There was a man who wasn’t there,

He wasn’t there again today

Oh, how I wish he’d go away…

-Hughes Mearns

 

Simone leapt back from the apparition before her. “Ghost!”

“Don’t scream, you’re going to upset it,” Darkness sighed, leaning on the window sill looking perfectly calm with his back eyes and dark casual suit.

I’m going to upset it?!” she nearly screamed back.

Slowly, Darkness approached the poltergeist, staring at the apparition indifferently.

The specter looked back and forth between Simone and Darkness like a trapped animal. Simone was about to ask what was happening when the translucent man suddenly looked at Darkness, began shaking his head, and backing away.

“Pity,” Darkness sighed and stepped aside as the man ran for the small attic window. Continue reading

The Friend That Wasn’t In the Attic (Part 2)

 

By April Wahlin

Edited by Travis Noble

When I came home last night at three,

The man was waiting there for me

But when I looked around the hall,

I couldn’t see him there at all!

-Hughes Mearns

 

Simone stared out the kitchen window. The neon hotel sign in her backyard reminded her of the haunting encounter with the shadowy man. Darkness. It wasn’t every day one had an intruder in their house, but it had been a few days since the incident. She should have gotten over it by now, right?

Yet, she had nothing else to occupy her mind. Her parents argued too much to pay her any attention. Even when she tried to tell them about the strange intruder, they ignored her. They probably thought she was crazy. Simone couldn’t blame them, she wasn’t entirely sure she had seen the shadowy man.

Simone tried to call one of her friends, just to have someone to talk to, but there was no answer. All of her school friends had stopped calling. Of course, it was summer break, naturally some of them would be away on family vacations, but why did they all have to go at once?

This had to be the worst summer of her life. Continue reading

The Friend That Wasn’t There

By April Wahlin

Edited by Travis Noble

Yesterday upon the stair,

I met a man who wasn’t there.

He wasn’t there again today,

Oh, how I wish he’d go away… -Hughes Mearns

Simone rolled over in bed onto a discarded snack box, accidentally grinding crumbs and sugar into the bed spread. Mom isn’t going to be happy. She moaned as she brushed the mess off the bed. Having done a so-so job, she went back to flipping through cartoon channels. Nothing on. Suppose she could read a book to fight the boredom―but why when there’s TV? Boredom or not, reading a book is for people without electricity. There had to be something on.

With a free hand, Simone fidgeted with her wristband. Sliding her thumb across the barcode. It was from yesterday’s visit. Just an asthma attack―nothing out of the norm…but still. She glanced out the window again. Dusk and an empty driveway. Her parents should have been home by now. She wished they would take her out like they used to. Dinner, movies, Disneyland…anywhere besides a hospital.

Simone finally settled on a station when something passed in the hallway outside her door. Continue reading

Pandora Syndrome (Part 1)

photo

Witten by: April Wahlin

Edited by: Mike Dolnick and Travis Noble

Chapter 1~Beginning of the End~

So there I was, encased in about ten feet of solid cement, and walled into the basement of a local Ahab’s. My skin ached. Not because of the cement, but because it was morning. Okay, so I didn’t make the best life choices, but I was still pretty new to this vampire stuff.

After the initial shock of being buried in cement finally wore off, I found myself in an uncomfortably reflective state. What else could I do? Every time I attempted to move my muscles clenched and burned with the effort. It was just easier to try and stay still.

My friends always told me I had the worst taste in men. I thought they were just making fun of my eating habits– okay, lame joke. Seriously though, even when I was human I was a horrible judge of character. At this point I was only hoping to hear the huge ‘I told you so’ from my Maker.

By the way, my name is Pandora Grey Blackheart. I know, with a name like that I’m not surprised I got turned into a vampire either. Being born in the sixties, my parents were literally hippies. My mother, Mary, was rebelling against her own name when she dubbed me Pandora. Mary is the most common female name in history; I looked it up.

If you think I got it bad, my brother’s name is Prometheus Jackson Blackheart. No one was shocked when he started going by Jack. My friends call me Adora or D; I’ll even respond to Dora on occasion, but no one calls me Pandora unless they want to piss me off. The only people that get away with it are my mother, because she gave birth to me, and my Maker (the one that turned me bloodsucker) because he refuses to call me anything else.

As the vampire books say (and yes I’ve read them all; there isn’t exactly a “Vampirism for Dummies”), I was Continue reading

Pandora’s Guidebook to Vampires: Part XI

 

Hello darklings, Kidna Styx here.

Welcome to part eleven of Pandora’s Guidebook to Vampires. My vampire friend Pandora Grey Blackheart just had to debunk a few supernatural misconceptions.

Food

It’s a big myth that vampires can’t eat. We can, but our system is no longer designed to process it. We can taste and enjoy it, but we derive no nutrition. It leaves us completely hungry.

Our bodies dissolve impurities, so food and drink have no chance of sticking around long. We are the ultimate waste disposal unit. For those of you sick puppies that really want to know the science of it, the impurities are liquefied and passed through the system like any normal liquid– which means a visit to the little vampire’s room.

Other dissolvable impurities include bullets, which is awesome. I couldn’t imagine having to dig out one of those suckers.

Advice

If you can convince a vampire to eat incriminating evidence, you won’t ever have to worry about seeing it again. Though it might just be easier and less detrimental to get a shredder.

Crosses

Vampires that were alive during the Spanish inquisition are not fond of crosses. I can understand why they don’t like to have them in their presence. However, I have never heard of crosses burning or repelling an actual vampire.

Maybe if you run into some Christian vampire full of so much self-loathing that they think God has cursed them with eternal existence—you might stand a chance. However, those vamps don’t generally last long as they usually find a way to off themselves.

Who would want to live like that?

I was never religious, but I have seen vampires that are and even they don’t have problems with crosses. So unless some witch sparkled up a cross with a curse, or you get a really big one with super sharp points, it won’t help whatsoever in a vampire attack.

Advice

Those old Van-Helsing-like vampire kits are all pretty with their ornately carved wooden case and designer tools, but unless you’re looking for an expensive tchotchke, it’s a waste of money. A revolver will have more stopping power and that ain’t much.

 

Pandora’s Guidebook to Vampires: Part X

 

Hello darklings, Kidna Styx here.

Welcome to part ten of Pandoras Guidebook to Vampires. My vampire friend Pandora Grey Blackheart just had to debunk a few supernatural misconceptions.

 

Appearance

OK, so the vamp virus tends to smooth out imperfections. Acne is no longer a problem, greasy hair balances out, years of spinal compression and hunching clear up. You stand taller, you are more comfortable in your own skin. Confidence is king and it can often do way more for a person than appearance alone.

However, miracles only go so far. Not all vampires are created equal. Maybe they’re born with it, maybe it’s permanent. If you were born with a big nose, cutting it off will not make it grow back smaller. This is how your genetic makeup decided you would look. Vamp blood only changes the blood. So save yourself some pain, and go see the psychologist because you’re stuck with it as long as you’re breathing. For instance, I know a vamp born with a strange birthmark on her arm and it’s there to stay. Can’t fight basic factory genetics. Not everyone is a beauty queen but on the bright side, makeup still works.

 

Advice

If for some reason you’re next in line to become a vampire, you might want to think twice. If you’re not too fond of yourself or the way you look, adding a few millennia won’t make it any better. You won’t have to worry about dieting but you’ll be stuck with yourself forever, for better or worse.

 

Mating

Oh love. We love it and we are quite good at it. A vampire’s natural tool is seduction. It makes getting close to one’s prey much easier. Not to mention, enhanced senses make everything way more fun.

Vampires usually stick to vampire partners, but vamps and humans have relations just fine. If you happen to be one of those humans in a relationship with a vamp, be careful—your vampiric partner is much more stronger and far more agile than you. You don’t want to hear some of the horror stories I’ve heard about things getting torn off in the heat of the moment.

Blood-drinking during mating, like with any physical proclivity, depends on the person. Some like to bite, some like to be bit. Some like to take blood by force while others like it freely given. Taking blood from a partner is pretty common though. I mean think about it, food and love, best combo ever.

What would you do if your lover were filled with hot fudge?

Vampires, believe it or not, can mate for life. It’s a long life, but when vampires couple, they often become addicted to one another. The constant blood-swapping is bound to have some long-term effect.

Most vamp couples mate for a period of forty to sixty years then take a few years off to ‘freshen the blood.’ Can’t blame them. You’d grow tired of anyone after spending nearly a century together. Some only stay away a year depending on how long they’d been together and how bonded they are. Even mating for five years can create an unbreakable bond. It‘s not as strong as the Maker Tyro bond, but it’s still powerful. Once created, you just can’t stay away from one another for too long. It’s in the blood.

Many vampires enjoy healthy periods of mating and separation, but when a bond goes wrong, it goes very wrong. If one vamp decides to sever the tie against the other one’s will, they could both go mad. The blood longs for the blood of the mate. A separation can have many negative effects such as insanity, gorging, and loss of appetite.

Actually, now that I think about it, that sounds like the effects of a normal breakup.

This is why vamps are careful with whom they mate. Only time or a new mating can heal the breakup.

 

Advice

If you somehow manage to find a pair of vampires roaming about, they are likely bonded and you do not want any part of that. Unless of course you’re into that sort of thing then go ahead, it will be a hell of an experience–if you make it out alive.

 

Pandora’s Guidebook to Vampires: Part IX

 

Hello darklings, Kidna Styx here.

Welcome to part nine of Pandoras Guidebook to Vampires. My vampire friend Pandora Grey Blackheart just had to debunk a few supernatural misconceptions.

Blood

Yes, we drink blood. What kind of vampire would I be if I didn’t? And don’t talk to me about emotional vampires. You can find those in any high school around the world.

Blood keeps the vampire healthy and lively. Human blood to us is like food to anyone else. If you just stop eating, you waste away. It has all the nutrition we need. However, unlike humans, we can go a few days without eating, and the older we get the less we need. My Maker feeds like once a week and he is older than dirt—well the topsoil anyway.

We do however have to watch who we take blood from, especially these days. I once took blood from a guy on acid and had an Elvis sighting—It was kind of fun though, in a peanut butter and banana sandwich sort of way.

Our stomach absorbs blood like a human stomach absorbs nutrition from food. Contrary to popular belief, we do have our own blood, which has been changed from human to vampire via the vamp virus. It still pumps, but much slower, which seems to put us somewhere between life and death. I’m not a scientist, but I do know that we are somewhat susceptible to necromancers. So we must be partly dead. It’s difficult for necromancers though, only the extremely skilled can pull it off.

For you nerds out there, vamp blood is like the Borg, the human blood is assimilated by the vamp blood, which adds to the collective AKA me.

Our blood is kind of a super serum. In small doses it can heal the worst of human ailments (don’t tell the insurance companies, they’d firebomb us all.) However, in large doses, it can be lethal. The blood eradicates impurities, but it’s still a virus. Giving any more than a pint to a normal human will cause blood poisoning.

Vampires can feed off one another, and often do, but it’s a completely different experience and taste. Some prefer one to the other. However, if vampires feed from each other exclusively, one of the pair needs to be taking in fresh blood regularly. Otherwise they don’t get enough new blood cells and start going insane from the purity of the virus. They begin to think they’re more powerful, when in actuality they are starting to deteriorate.

It’s like vampire mad cow disease.

Animal blood is an option, though not so much for city vampires who only have strays and pigeons to feed off. Taste varies from animal to animal of course, but let’s just say that human is much preferred. It’s the difference between drinking plain soy milk, and drinking a double chocolate malt milkshake. It does the trick, but just doesn’t hit the spot.

Vampires can feed on other supernatural creatures, but that can be dangerous and riddled with bizarre repercussions. Strange side effects often occur, generally speaking, traits from the prey transfer onto the predator. I heard of one vamp who drank from a shifter and turned into a weird half-cat thing for about a week.

To dispel yet another lame myth, when vampires feed, our eyes don’t go all crazy like they do in the movies. We don’t start hissing and tear the throat out of our victim. Actually, the bitten seem to generally enjoy the experience, it’s like getting a hickey—with a bit of a pinch. Usually, people don’t even know it’s happening, and we don’t leave marks—as long as the fed-upon survive the experience that is.

Our fangs are needle-thin at the tips and slide through flesh without a whole lot of pain. Thank goodness, I couldn’t imagine if I bit someone and they were all like, ‘Noooo! Stop, you’re killing me!!! Ahhhhh!!!’

I’d freak out.

Advice

If you know someone who is critically ill and you have a vampire friend or access to the ‘super black market’—as I like to call the market that sells illegal supernatural wares—you can get just a little bit of vampire blood and those who imbibe it will heal up rather quickly. Keep some around and you won’t need for cold medicine, bandaids, or pain meds ever again.

However, finding this stuff ain’t easy, so if you do get some, don’t waste it and don’t go blabbing where you got it. There are some pretty hefty punishments for those who get caught. Especially for those poor vamps who have so little money they have no choice but to sell their life’s blood.

P.S. The older the vampire, the stronger the blood. Sometimes it’s worth it to spend a little more. And if you’re an avid user, switch the blood source every now and again, otherwise you might accidentally blood bond yourself to the donor who will be more than happy to replenish his stock with yours.

Pandora’s Guidebook to Vampires: Part VIII

 

Hello darklings, Kidna Styx here.

Welcome to part eight of Pandora’s Guidebook to Vampires. My vampire friend Pandora Grey Blackheart just had to debunk a few supernatural misconceptions.

Garlic

I love garlic. Despite the terrible smell one acquires when eating Italian food, garlic is good for the hair, heart, and skin.

It also cleanses impurities in the blood. Therein lies the vampire’s problem. What is vampire blood but a massive impurity? True, I can’t eat it as much as I did when I was human. It burns a bit, but to be repelled by it? Someone would have to force feed me garlic by the handful. Honestly, that would repel anyone.

The actual effect garlic has on vampires is not in the smell, but in the consumption, and it’s certainly not lethal. Garlic is our equivalent of jalapeños, or that crazy hot sauce your uncle loves to eat that’ll eventually give him ulcers.

Quick aside, why do guys like hot stuff so much? I think it has something to do with it making them cry. As men, they feel like they aren’t allowed to cry unless they eat something hot or have something heavy fall on them. Maybe it’s their way of cleansing the unused tear ducts… Who knows?

Anywho, my point is that yes, garlic burns away vamp blood cells, but the effect is no worse than hot sauce.

Personally, I kinda like a little garlic burn.

 

Advice

Hanging out in Italian joints to avoid vampires will be about as helpful as hanging out in goth clubs. While vampires do not prefer these places, it does not mean you won’t find one there.

However, if you are an avid garlic lover, eating about a clove of garlic a day will get into your blood enough to deter an interested vampire. The garlic, having been broken down into your blood, will effectively get into our system upon feeding. As opposed to imbibing it ourselves in raw form which usually passes through us without much harm. So this will work if you want to hurt a vampire—of course, that means you have to let one bite you. But usually, they and likely everyone around you, will have smelled it on you first. Regardless, you will have one unhappy vampire who’ll be avoiding your garlic-eating butt like the plague.

Another bonus, garlic is really good for you, so I’m sure your doctor will thank you, if not your girlfriend or neighbors.

Pandora’s Guidebook to Vampires: Part VII

 

Hello darklings, Kidna Styx here.

Welcome to part seven of Pandora’s Guidebook to Vampires. My vampire friend Pandora Grey Blackheart just had to debunk a few supernatural misconceptions about vampires.

Sleep

In nearly every vamp story, they tell you that vampires have to sleep in coffins. If they dare step foot into the sunlight, they immediately turn into crispy critters.

Not true.

We do not have to sleep in coffins, but they are nice since they are plush and let no light in, however unnecessary they may be. Believe it or not, we aren’t actually dead. We’re infected, permanently, like zombies, but less gross. We need just as much sleep as your average teamster— about four to six hours a day. It just makes sense to sleep during the day since the sun drains our energy.

Vampires are creatures of the night, but unlike many would have you think, we do not retreat at first light. We aren’t even necessarily tired at that point. It does however suck for us to be out. Think of a hangover, add a sunburn, plus some wicked cramps, and you might have an idea of what it feels like to be a vamp in direct sunlight.

I can go out during the day if I have to, but thankfully daylight errands—e.g., going to the bank, job interviews, and other such necessities—don’t happen too often. However, trying to deal with accountants when you just want to crawl into a hole and die, takes a level of self-control reserved for drunks during a sobriety test.

A good pair of sunglasses and an umbrella goes a long way, but thankfully my brother is a sweetheart and runs most of the daylight errands. Actually, he seems compelled to do them for me…

Advice

I do not condone vampire hunting, but if you were inclined to rid yourself of a particularly annoying bloodsucker, your best plan of attack would be to find where they sleep.

This will not be easy though. Vampires are very defensive and hate feeling weak. They hardly let other vampires know where they live, let alone rest for the day. They’re a somewhat paranoid lot.

So, luck to you if you feel so bold. To say that you would be walking into the preverbal lions den would be a gross understatement. If you wake them, they won’t thank you for it, though some do enjoy a midday snack.