I’m fully packed for San Francisco. Spent some extra time in the gym today working out my anger over Charlie’s death on the heavy bags. Decided against taking Black Betty with me and grabbed a Taurus Judge from the SASR armory. If you’ve seen “Max Payne,” you’ve seen the Judge. It’s a revolver that can fire bullets and shotgun shells. Might not have the same effect as Black Betty, but it’s easier to conceal in my bags.
Oh, and as far as how I get my “tools” overseas: I won’t go into detail on that. Let’s just say that Burlap’s contacts in the Church extend beyond the world of confessions and sacraments. I’m still not allowed back in Montana because of the cat issue, but that’s gonna be cleared up in three more months or so.
I’m a man of my word if nothing else. Went looking for trouble after dark and ran into a newly-turned Black Court fanger. That’s a rarity, but hey…it’s more fun for me. I took out the silver chains after unloading a couple of bullets into the fanger, bound it, and then took the fangs for Charlie. Left her screaming in the middle of a dirt road. Her best bet is if a poor sap decides to pull off the chains, but even then she won’t be able to feed for a month. If she’s not able to get out of those chains by daybreak…there’s gonna be a crispy critter on the road to the Ossuary. Cleanup on aisle six level mess, readers.
And speaking of my word, I’m devoting this post to debunking a few vampire “myths” that have perpetuated in modern lore. On top of that, a reader decided to toss a few questions our way, so I’m going to do my best to answer those as well. We’re about information, and we aim to please.
Myth: Vampire bites turn a human.
Fact: One bite’s not gonna turn a human into a fanger. Three bites, sixty bites…a vampire can feed off a human for years if it wants. There’s a very specific process a vampire goes through when they turn a human, and even then only Black and Red Court vamps can create new Undead from humans. Whites are born.
The process for turning a human works like this. First, the vampire has to drain a human right to the point of death. Then, the vampire gets the human to drink said fanger’s blood. This starts the transformation process. After the human drinks vampire blood, he or she is then buried in the ground. They’re forced to dig their way out of the earth. I’m not sure what purpose the burial serves, and I can’t find anything in the SASR archives that explains it scientifically. Best I can tell is that it’s just ritual for most vamps.
The final step–what brings in the demon and sends out the person–is when the newly minted fanger kills another human for the first time. There’s records of humans that have fought the Hunger for a long time, subsisting on pig and rat blood. None I’ve seen ever last for longer than a couple of months without human blood, though. It’s not for lack of trying; the demon in them just takes over and robs the human of its self control.
Myth: Vampires can transform into animals or a mist.
Fact: This is one area Stoker got wrong. I’ve never seen a vampire shapeshift. The only ones that “change” are the Reds, and that’s just when they lose their fleshmasks. Black Court vampires can cast spells to alter their appearance, but those are just veils–illusory changes in form. They’re still humanoid. I’ve got a couple of books in front of me that have some vampire legends about shapeshifting, but those are all Weres. I guarantee it.
Myth: Vampires have to sleep during the day in a coffin/box of earth from their native land.
Fact: Vamps rarely sleep in coffins. None sleep in boxes of dirt. The ones I’ve seen sleep in coffins were former goth kids who’d listened to Bauhaus a little too much. A vamp would probably find the notion of sleeping in a box full of dirt un-hygenic or disgusting.
Most sleep in beds. And they don’t have to sleep during the day, either. They can keep any hours they want; it’s just easier for them to travel around at night since there’s no sun to fry their undead skin. I’ve caught a couple of vampires using sewer tunnels as a means of transport during the day.
Myth: Vampire blood possesses restorative qualities, is addictive when consumed by humans, and can give the person who drinks it supernatural strength and speed.
Fact: This made me laugh when I saw it on an HBO series recently. Vampire blood doesn’t do anything for humans except leave a bad stain on clothes and a very nasty taste in your mouth. I’ve gotten plenty splashed on me in my day, and it’s not made me any younger. I could only wish.
One problem humans face with vampire blood is the Blood Bond. If a vampire can get a human to drink from it three times, the human establishes a sort of psychogenetic link with the fanger. The human becomes hopelessly lost in the vampire’s will, and the vampire can use the human as a sort of “dummy” whenever it wants. It sees what the human sees, hears what the human hears, and can direct the human to act as it sees fit. Scary, huh?
That’s enough from me. Now on with the reader questions.
If vampires are above life/religion/deities, why do they fear a cross?
Vamps ain’t above religion or deities. They’re part demon, and the demon in them (depending on the type) can’t stand the notions of faith in a Higher Power. The best I can tell you, readers, is that when a demon–a creature of pure evil–is faced with a symbol of good (regardless of the faith)–it’s so offensive to the very core of their being that they can’t take it.
Remember my previous qualification on the issue of Faith Symbols when dealing with the Undead. You have to really believe in the power of the symbol for it to work. That’s why I don’t carry around a Star of David.
In the same vein…what’s the deal with garlic?
Vein…that strikes me as funny. The genetic process that creates a Black Court vampire carries with it certain allergies. It’s similar to when a human with allergies passes it on to their children. One of those allergies just happens to be garlic. As JSB’s stated, the garlic has to be really concentrated for it to be effective against the Undead, too. Fresh cloves work in a pinch, but the really good stuff comes when you mix equal parts garlic, holy water, and silver nitrate in a blender.
Do vampires have a preference in blood type?
You know, I can’t answer this one with the same degree of certainty that I can the other questions sent in. I can tell you that I’ve seen fangers develop a taste for certain types of people as they get older, though. One I tortured kept asking for B negative, so you might be onto something with this. I’ll go ask the research staff if they’ve got anything scientific to back up the idea of vamps developing specific blood type preferences. JSB–you wanna comment on this?
If you kill one vampire, do the people they’ve sired (or whatever it’s called) become human again? Do they die? Or does nothing happen?
Readers, I wish the first option were the case. The second would make my job easier, but that ain’t what happens either. The sad reality is that when a vamp turns, they stay that way until someone ends their sorry existence. That’s why we’ve gotta be careful…once you go fang, you don’t have many options left.
That, and people like me will eventually find you.
Keep the comments and questions coming. If I don’t answer them, Burlap will. The SASR is here to provide information for the safety of humans everywhere. –MY