It turns out vampire
hunters are still a thing. I blame reality TV, which anyone with a sliver of
intelligence knows is about as real as professional wrestling. Each may have
been real at some point, but that was long, long ago. You can believe what you
want, and they may be more real than full-on fiction, but “Ghost Hunters” and
“Paranormal State” are not weekly documentaries. Now everyone with a phone,
cameras, and a voltage meter thinks they can explore the unknown.
Which is about the category
of vampire hunter I’ve encountered. Douchebags with unconsecrated Bibles and
objects, plus a little holy water. Mostly they make good eating. I like when
they think they have me cornered or defeated and then they find out they’re
wrong. Sometimes I even act scared to play up the drama, cowering and hissing a
little. It’s a good time every time.
That’s why I stick to
Canada and the US. It’s a good comfort zone to be in. Sure, there are priests
and rabbis here who can put up a fight and make things difficult, but far fewer
than there are in Eastern or Central Europe. There everyone’s grandma knows how
to watch for and handle any kind of supernatural problem, just as well as they
can make their own family recipes. It’s probably handed down at the same time.
This vampire hunter who has
been chasing me started out as the garden variety modern kind. About 28, works
some office job during the day plus a side job at True Value hardware. One
weekend he tracked me down while still wearing his store uniform, which was
laughable, but he usually comes armed with things that can actually hurt me,
and he has grown tedious. He already has kept an eye on blood banks and
enlisted friends to help him with that, the bastard. Whatever. This is my town
too, and it has been since the 70’s. I’m not about to be hunted down by some
pup with a posse.
Problematically, this guy
started to figure out where I live. He must have read his Richard Matheson. “I
Am Legend” is like a manual for your modern vampire hunter, and thankfully few
who can do anything about it have read it, they’ve just seen the movie with
Will Smith, which is more about plague zombies anyway. No, Hardware Boy figured
out how to use a map and look for things like dark windows. He built himself a
little network of spotters and made it clear he would keep at it until I’m
gone, or he proves I exist, and for all I know he’d follow me if I leave the
city. My city. Fuck him.
I’ve seen him three times
in person. Once at a blood bank, when he was wearing his True Value uniform.
Another time on a bike path near the lake, where I would sometimes pick up
joggers or bikers in the evening. He almost got me, then. I nabbed a biker and
pulled him with me into the bushes and was met with an air horn, a spotlight,
and a spray in the face with some sort of garlic-infused pepper spray. That
shit hurt. Then there was the third time. He was standing on my block, on the
corner, looking down the street when I came out of the house at sunset. I knew
he was waiting for me. He knew where I was, just not which house, and he wanted
to throw down. He was standing at one end of my block, which is a dead end
street, and there was a van idling at the other end of the street, probably
full of his friends. A clear pincer attack.
I strolled out of my house
calm and cool, crossed the street, and watched him watch me. Then I poured on
the speed, ran between two houses and hopped a fence. Behind me I heard the van
roar to life and heard him say, “Go go go!” I smiled. I’ve clocked myself
running, doing laps on high school tracks. I can jog at 30 miles an hour. I can
move for short bursts at over 60 miles an hour. I was on the other side of the
neighborhood before that van got to the end of the block.
But he had his spotters out
in force. They dogged me all night long, clearly fencing me in, cutting off any
place to hide or blend in. He kept it up until dawn, going for the kill,
wanting to finish me himself. The sky was getting light, and he was approaching
me from down the block, smirking. He looked behind me and pointed at the sky.
“Hey bloodsucker, do you
see what I see?”
I turned and saw the cross
on top of St. Josaphat’s Basilica, poking over the top of the houses. I groaned,
covered my face, and dropped to the ground in a ball.
Crosses and stars of David,
blessed ones, hurt. If they touch me, yes, they burn. Especially silver ones.
But when I see one, it’s not as much a physical pain. It’s shame. It’s like God
looking right at me, making me feel what I’ve done.
I’ve killed hundreds of
people. Literally hundreds. I’ve lost the exact count. It may be a thousand by
now, probably is. About a person a week, sometimes two, for more than 40 years.
And when I’m faced with a blessed cross, I feel the weight of each of those
souls on mine, dragging me down to Hell. There’s no hope for me and I know it.
But at the same time, I’ve
made peace with it. The piker used the wrong thing as his hole card and secret
I turned, smiled, and was
down the block before he could blink. I drank blood straight from his heart.
Lass has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in all areas
of publishing, from books and magazines to blogs. He has released four books of
poetry to date, including the most recent, Delta, with art by Jennifer
Paige Davis, published in October 2020. His fiction and poetry have
appeared in Electric Velocipede, KSquare, The Albatross,
Coffin Bell Journal, Schlock, and Every Day Poems. His
short story, “Fence Sitter” was nominated for Best of the Net 2020.