The Hunger

Today is my friend Alyssa’s birthday. For the occasion, the NaSties dubbed the week “Vampire Appreciation Week”.
As you know, I’m in a sprint to finish my novel (only 10/15k words left! Yay!). Yet, I wanted to write a story for Alyssa because she deserves it. I haven’t but as much time on it as I usually do (or as I wanted to do), but I hope it still makes a awesome gift.
Happy Birthday, lovely Alyssa, and may this year fulfill your heart’s desires.

* * *

I remember what it was like to be human. I’m too young a vampire to have forgotten yet. I don’t want my memories to disappear in the fog of years; I enjoy comparing them with what I live now. Or is “live” the appropriate word?
I recall how hunger felt like when I was human. The stomach seemed to fold onto itself, shrinking like a dried fruit. The dull pain of its complaint barely disturbed me at first, then intensified until eating became an imperative. Sometimes, a humiliating growl gave away my condition to everyone within hearing range. If I starved for too long, I got a headache. Eventually, I saw stars though the sky was nowhere near. That was the “eat or faint” threshold. I never went further than that limit.
Hunger, as a vampire, is another experience altogether. People might want to argue semantic because we are on a liquid diet but thirst doesn’t cover the feeling. Human thirst caused me to feel dizzy and weak. Hunger was what drove me forward in my quest for sustenance. Because of that, hunger is more accurate to describe a vampire’s craving, though it hardly covers the feeling.
The only context in which thirst seems appropriate is when I apply a Scottish proverb to my life. “They speak of my drinking, but never of my thirst.” It might be true for human drunks. It is just as true for vampires. People never talk about what we feel but only about our death toll. They’re unaware of our restraint, ungrateful for our constant effort.

Humans would like us to drink from animals. Yet, do they find garbage a viable life choice for themselves? No.
They might propose blood banks as an alternative. Is it healthy for them to live off three weeks old chicken? “Heat it up and it’ll be the same” really doesn’t fix it.
Synthetic blood is the silly dream of a mad woman.
Human blood, straight from the source, quenches the hunger. Nothing else.

I step outside my mansion and the wind instantaneously engulfs me. Its caresses arouse every patch of naked skin it finds. Though I have no need for it, I breathe in the scent of the night, of the storm soon to break. I close my eyes to dwell in the feelings.
The air weighs on my body, full of humidity and expectations. It calls for the rain, singing for the glorious release of the night sky to wash away the heath of the day. It carries the scent of humans which hums against my throat until saliva fills my mouth.
It has been a week since I last fed. The hunger is barely stirring and yet, its strength is almost implacable. As it kicks in, the winds’ kisses turn to bites. My skin shies away from the touch of the night but covering it with clothes only makes matters worst. So I leave it to suffer as the first drop of rain stabs me. 

That’s hunger.

My eyes snap open and I know they have taken their unreal shimmering tint. The dancing lights within them hypnotize humans. That’s how clever the hunger is: it leaves no chance for the prey to escape.
My skin burns at the contact of the atmosphere. My body forgets how the rain was supposed to be a release. Each droplet tortures me. That’s how wily the hunger is: fighting it in any way brings hell on Earth.
I growl one time, glad that no one’s around to hear it, and then break into a run. My instinct drives me to track the closer human. My body pushes past any human limits. That’s how strong the hunger is: it fuels our muscles beyond imagination.
Even vampires don’t want to come face to face with a starved member of our kind.

When I find my potential prey, my knees buckle. I dig my hand in the corner of brick wall, breaking fingernails to hold myself back. They’ll grow back. In front of me, an old lady continues to walk, unaware. Biting her will most likely kill her. If the fear doesn’t, the blood lost will. Her constitution isn’t strong enough.
A violent lightning bolt shoots through my stomach and I bend in half, thunder ringing in my head.
I need another target. Fast.
The sharp tang of a long day of hard labor reaches me. The rain washes away a man’s sweat nearby. He smells strong enough to withstand my desire. I round the corner before my mind catches up. There he walks, dirt dribbling away in the rain. The woody scent tells me he’s a carpenter. A very well-built carpenter.
I stop dead in front of him.
His eyes meet mine and I wait impatiently for the few seconds required to dull his senses. The hunger wants me to drink. Now. But I hold. At last, he sighs and relaxes. I lace my arms around him so he doesn’t fall to the ground. He’s ready for me.
I sink my teeth deep in his jugular, then pull them back so the blood can flow through the two fresh holes. I moan when the first gulp of blood runs down my throat. Each swallow dims the hurt of the world, pushes back the incentives of the hunger.
These liters of blood aren’t pleasurable to take. I don’t even taste them. They go straight to the hunger. Once being undead is no longer a torture, blood becomes an addictive nectar. Shivers of ecstasy run along my spine when the man is half-empty. I’ve reached the turning point.
Pooling all my will, I draw back from my prey’s neck. My self-control took years to master and I still shake madly every time I refuse myself the bliss of drinking a human dry. I lick his neck clean, forcing my saliva to close the gaps I’ve created.
The man is unconscious in my embrace. I carry him to a bench. His pulse beats nice and strong. He’ll survive. I flip open my cell phone and call an ambulance to pick him up. With one last look at my meal, I vanish into the night, finally able to enjoy the rain and my eyes back to normal.

Driving us to feed, that’s what the hunger is about. It makes it easy and effortless. It also makes it tasteless. Incidentally, the hunger is also about driving us to kill. Only then can we enjoy our meal. Actually, that’s not true. I could risk killing someone every night so I could feed while the hunger is asleep.
I choose to suffer one a week and never satisfy my urge for delicious blood. Not just hunger filling blood.
Yet, according to human, I’m a heartless bitch.

About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

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