Story #24 for Story A Day Challenge May 2016
A Vasovagal Vampire
Acer could hear the voices from behind the door as he entered the waiting area. There was no doubt they were arguing.
And he could guess what they were arguing about: him.
He sat down and waited to be called in. The arguing continued.
“How was I supposed to know? Look at him: 6-foot-3, athletic, rugged. He plays soccer and tennis. He’s a soccer goalie, for Pete’s sake. Goalies are tough hombres.”
“Maybe you should have paid attention? Checked him out?”
“I did! I did! I watched him on the soccer field and the tennis courts. He’s got one heck of a monster serve. That’s how he got his nickname: Acer. And gory movies! Did I mention how much he likes gory movies?”
“Gory movies and real life are not the same.”
“I got that, right? You know that, I know that, he knows that. There was just no way for me to discover ahead of time that he had a problem.”
“What do you expect me to do with a vampire who can’t handle blood, huh? There is no place and I mean no place I can assign him. It’s not like we are in dire need of fangy file clerks, Tony. What we need is more vampires in the field and you,” Sheila jabbed her finger at him, “are not helping.”
Tony sneered. “Well, you can yell at me all you want but he’s your problem now, isn’t he, Sheila? Good luck with that!”
Flinging open the door to leave, Tony stopped when he noticed Acer on the couch. In the heat of the argument, he’d forgotten Acer was out there. Baring his fangs, Tony walked across the floor and out of the building.
Acer watched him go, dreading what was coming.
“You can come in now.” Sheila gestured for him to follow her into her office, the lettering on the door: Vampire Vocations.
Sheila sat down. Acer sat down. After a long minute of silence, Sheila said, “So, Acer, I hear there are some problems with your orientation. Tell me about it.”
“Um, well, I just can’t seem to bite anyone without passing out. It’s not something I can help. I’ve always been that way. I mean, not about biting, I never did that before, but about the blood.”
He looks tired, Sheila noticed, and he’s lost weight since Tony first brought him to the compound. No wonder, if he hasn’t eaten in a while.
“I didn’t hide it, you know, about the blood. It just didn’t come up very often. But that’s why I stayed away from football and rugby. Anyway, I’m actually better now than I used to be. Scraped knees and shins, little stuff like that doesn’t bother me. It’s when there’s a hint of blood flowing, that’s when I black out.”
He remembered the training forays, pouncing on a pedestrian, blood spurting into his mouth. His vision blurred and he felt faint just thinking about it. He was glad he was sitting down.
This was a first for Sheila. A vasovagal vampire. The human-to-vampire transition kept the base physiology of the individual. It didn’t change who they were, just how they existed.
Sheila was faced with a problem. It was her job to assign each vampire to a field position best suited to their character. Only there wasn’t a place for a vampire who was – to misuse the term – allergic to blood.
There wasn’t any going back for Acer. No matter how she tried, she came up with only three options: (1) Let him starve to death; (2) Call in a vampire hunter; or (3) Death by Vitamin D (the natural kind: sunlight).
Letting him starve to death was not an option. It wasn’t in her nature to impose suffering. (She’d been a veterinarian in her human life. She hadn’t spent all that time caring for animals just to turn her back on a non-human in need now.) Besides, no one knew how long a vampire could go without blood. Contacting a vampire hunter seemed scandalous but she wondered about the benefits of doing one of them a professional favor. If done right, it would be quick and Acer wouldn’t have time to even realize what was happening. And sunlight? Acer’s last sunrise? Could she talk him into that? Would she have to lock him out of the compound? Could she, if she had to?
“Isn’t there anything you can do?” Acer pleaded, bringing her attention back to the troubled vampire sitting in front of her.
“Don’t worry, Acer.” Sheila looked at her cell phone resting on the stack of folders. “I’m sure we can figure out something. Why don’t you go back to the compound while I make a few calls.”