But even a vampire has to live, even a vampire has to make a living. It gets boring, staring at walls, walking through corridors which are lighted for mortals, dark for myself. My eyes are only able to see the part of the spectrum that causes them pain, and they are all too sensitive to that. My two choices are blindness or constant headaches. The headaches are killer, but I have lost too much already to accept the removal of one of my senses.
I want to see my Ophelias as I suck them dry.
It still hurts though, it hurts to accept that job as a truckdriver because it will let you be nocturnal and still pay you enough to buy a few luxuries because sometimes even though the moon is full a delivery still has to be made. And though I can wear really expensive sunglasses to cut down on the glare a little, only a full body suit could prevent the massive sunburning which is the sun's monthly gift to me, via Luna. It makes life hell, but there are some compensations.
"How do you stay so tan in the middle of winter?"
I smiled painfully at my cab guest and future Ophelia. It's amazing how many families leave their elder daughters to wander around rest stops unsupervised. I suppose that they figure girls can take care of themselves once they hit fifteen or so. On mature reflection that may very well be, but vampires do receive some compensation for their sensitivities; the entire eternal life thing is highly overrated, but our powers of hypnotism are not.
"I'm a truck driver, remember? It may be pretty cold up here in Kentucky around February, but that doesn't mean I can't catch rays down in Florida."
She giggled as if intoxicated. "It must be terribly exciting."
"Yeah, I guess it is that. Hey, it's getting close to 3:00 am. I don't know how long you were driving before, but you've been with me for at least six hours now. You must be getting pretty tired."
She yawned, which was a welcome change from her shrill little voice. I had caused her to fall in love with me, but for women today love means talking, and the moon was making me too irritable to enjoy discussing lies with dinner. I had refrained from any more hypnotic commands because they make me tired, but she had not been helping my headache one bit, so I pushed a little.
I looked my "date," over as she slept. She was short, about 5'2", and had dyed her hair a dark shade of purple long enough ago that the brown roots were showing noticeably. She was thin, with a slender waist and small breasts which moved a little as she breathed. She was about 16, and at that age when parents "just don't understand," which had made her a particularly easy target.
My headache just wouldn't go away, and I was feeling almost nauseous. The girl (I think, in all the mindless prattle she uttered, she mentioned that her name is Carol, but I honestly couldn't remember.) was something in the way of aspirin, but I didn't want to take her yet because I still had almost three more hours to go, and her death would only be worth about an hour. I would get more relief if I tormented her a little first, but I was really too irritable to do a good job of the torture bit, and it wouldn't work unless I really horrified her, which takes effort. Actually I was tempted to just drain her as she slept; it wouldn't give me even an hour, but at least I wouldn't have to put up with any screams.
Not that I don't like screams--it's just that they have their place, and one of those places is not in my cab during a night so bright that I could barely see Carol, much less any other cars on the interstate.
I drove for another thirty minutes, tapping my fingers impatiently on the wheel while I squinted into the glare. Traffic accidents are NOT fun, and I had a feeling that one was almost inevitable if I kept this up. I closed my eyes, which helped my head, but did no good for my driving.
After ten minutes I couldn't take it anymore, and I grabbed her arm, bringing her wrist up to my face as I started to drink. I had not intended for her to wake, but as I bit into her she did, and began to struggle. After a few swallows I felt better, and started to enjoy her fear as she realized that no matter how hard she pulled or punched she did not affect me in any way. I took the last as she rested on the cusp between terror and despair and tossed her limp body back into the passenger seat. I felt much improved, and as I turned to look out the window I almost started humming into the blinding light.
This relief wouldn't last the rest of the night, but when the pain started again I could always have another.
Chris Bernard is a computer software trainer in Toledo, Ohio. He is very fond of the duck billed platypus, and not so fond of vampires.
You can E-Mail Chris at: Cbernard@cbainc.com
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