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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Our Cultural and Genetic Heritage: John Barth’s “Night Sea Journey”

Lost in the FunhouseAlthough John Barth’s “Night-Sea Journey” from Lost in the Funhouse is barely six pages long, it is quite a journey, actually one which quickly expands into several voyages occurring simultaneously. Our first impression of the story is not at all like the second reading; it is a journey of a character we first assume to be human, a character we later realize is a sperm. This does not, however, stop us from reading the sperm as human, since he has a human voice and poses very human questions, it merely adds another layer. The sperm telling the story is an individual, but also a carrier of genetic heritage, the human voice, a purveyor of cultural heritage. The story itself is also implicated in the question of how it can be a unique work of art and still part of its literary heritage. The author does not resolve the question of identity and heritage, but hints at an acceptance, possibly a celebration, of our uncertain existence.

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