No Such Things as Vampires, Part 5: The Waking Nightmare

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

She did smell it. She smelled the rot even after she had broken the ice on the basin and washed her hands twice. She smelled it in her hair, and she smelled it on her bedclothes when she hid under the covers.

It was the smell that awakened her, the stench of rancid feet and honey. She tried to cover her nose but could not raise a hand.

And someone was slumped by the door, a small shadow straightening its back. She could see its yellow eyes as it rose slowly to its feet and stretched its arms toward the ceiling, the shadow of a tiny, old man stretching to the ceiling. She tried to cry out, but she was alone in an empty house in a dying village in a godless world. No one could hear her and she could not scream.

Its dark fingers spread across the ceiling like the branches of a tree, filling the room with a poisonous stench of sour underclothing and shit. Shadows slipped down the walls, thickening until they formed a forest of darkness around her.

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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.”

Continue reading “No Such Things as Vampires, Part 4: The Epidemic”

No Such Things as Vampires, Part 3: The Visitation

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

A sense of imminent danger drew her from the depths of sleep. She opened her eyes wide and tried to sit up, but could not. She tried to lift an arm, but could not. She tried to turn her head and cry out for her father, but could not. Panic squeezed her heart. 

Sleep paralysis from livescience.com

(Image from Livescience.com)

Light was draining from the room, but her awareness sharpened. With startling clarity, she could trace the grain in every wooden beam. She could hear the rattling snore of her father catch in his throat, the creaking of individual boards in the frame of the cottage, the whistling of the wind through specific chinks in the mud and woven sticks.

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No Such Things as Vampires, Part 2: The Baptism

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

Stana stayed in bed as her belly grew through Lent and Easter and Pentecost and the hot summer months.

Nada told no one and made her father swear secrecy, but he was going out drinking more often, so he must have let the shameful secret slip. At first Nada thought she was imagining it, but she eventually had to accept that most villagers wouldn’t greet her on the road or in the market. Even neighbors hurried away. They would not answer her queries about their children and grandparents. They would not purchase her embroidered goods, sheep’s milk, or brown eggs. She had become invisible, like a ghost among the living.

Continue reading “No Such Things as Vampires, Part 2: The Baptism”