No Such Things as Vampires, Part 4: The Epidemic

(For the first part of this story, “The Dirty Pot,” click here.)

The same morning before the weak autumn sun had burned through the clouds, Joachim also died without confession or holy communion. Some villagers whispered that he had eaten jimson weed to kill himself, but his mother denied it vehemently.

Autumn, Leaves, Scars--Beyond Dark Clouds, Deep into the Burning Sun, pt. 2; maxresdefault

(Autumn, Leaves, Scars – Beyond Dark Clouds, Deep Into the Burning Sun Pt. 2, by LightFox177)

“It was the vampir,” she insisted. “The vampir choked the life from his body. Every night since Stana and her child died, he has grown weaker. It was the vampir.

“And the evil eye! You heard the terrible curses Nada laid on his head, that bitter woman. You heard the terrible lies she told about my son. You saw how she beat my boy in the town center until she shattered his nose and broke his brow. She cursed him, that wicked woman! She sent the vampir to kill my son! She sent her own nephew to suck the life from his body. It was Nada. Do not say that he killed himself. Do not tell such lies about my boy.”

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A Not Not-True Introduction to Donald Barthelme and “The School”

Sixty StoriesThis introduction to Donald Barthelme’s short story “The School” is non-fiction. Non-fiction means “not fiction.” Fiction, as you have learned, is a story that is “not true.” In other words non-fiction, on a linguistic level, is “not not-true.” This means, logically, when you cancel out the negatives, that the non-fictional information I am about to give you, is — I am very pleased to say — true.

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Eros and the Arabesque: The Serial Proliferation of Life in The Arabian Nights


I have heard, O wise and happy Professor, that the end of the story is death, its continuation, life. For Shahrazad this is literally true. While the story continues, she lives. If the story ends, she dies. Full of jealousy and rage, the king has sworn to take a new wife every night, satisfy himself with her and kill her the next morning before his seed has dried in her womb. Thinking to save himself from the cunning of women, the king has unwittingly placed himself in a vulnerable position between orgasm and murder: under the tongue of the most cunning of women, the quintessential story-teller, Shahrazad.

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