Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.
But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire draining the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs–not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.
As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.
It would be easy to be charmed by this setting, by all the elegance that surrounded me.
Of course, all the vampires that surrounded me weren’t quite so charming. They were terrifying.
And in a room full of people, I discovered that it was easy to tell which ones were vampires and which ones weren’t. Some of the humans were easy to spot–the ones who were eating food were easy to pick out as humans, of course, and many of them had bandages or fresh wounds on various parts of their bodies. The parts where the veins ran close to the surface: the neck, the crook of the elbow, the wrist.
There were other humans there, too, though, humans who weren’t eating and who didn’t have any visible blood-donation marks. But they were clearly human, just as some of the other people moving around the room were clearly vampires. The vampires tended toward pallor, of course. And occasionally one flashed a fang here or there, particularly when they laughed–an effect that I found chilling. They were mostly extraordinarily beautiful, but then, so were the humans. Deirdre seemed to like surrounding herself with beauty.
It had something to do with the energy the vampires projected, I guess. They seemed strangely brittle, yet almost vibrating with a nervous vitality. I’ve seen a similar thing with people who were on the verge of an emotional breakdown but attempting to hide it. I’ve also seen it in people with bipolar disorder. It’s a sort of forced, manic gaiety verging on hysteria.
But that energy was combined with an indolence of movement. They swayed through the room slowly, languorously, all the while virtually quivering with some suppressed power.
All in all, it was just about the creepiest thing I’d ever seen–toward the top of the list, anyway, right after “Seeing My Beloved Eaten.”
I recognized now some of that same energy in Greg himself. It wasn’t as pronounced, but it was there all the same. Perhaps it grew with age.
That meant that I was in a room full of old–perhaps very old–vampires.
God. I was in big trouble.
About the Author & Links:
Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Sanguinary, Waking Up Dead, Taming the Country Star, Bound by Blood, Legally Undead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.
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