The Vampire That Everyone Saw

Tristan’s Journal — July 8th, 2016
It has now been close to a fortnight since I’ve had a decent victim. Not the longest span of time since I’ve had a good drink, but still, longer than I would like. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve begun conserving my energy. And honestly, what’s the point of having a good night out anymore when you’ll surely be discovered and shared with the world in an instant? The only thing that I can even justify doing anymore is my journaling. I never thought I would fill this blank encyclopedia given to me centuries ago, (and don’t get me started on the ink situation) but here I am, the final few pages. And at this rate, I may not need to abscond with another book, which is neigh impossible these days. The bookmakers have all but gone.

Not since those days in the late 1000s have I had this much trouble feeding. Back then it was lack of experience. I didn’t know how to be a vampire. I didn’t know how to use my powers to act upon the millworkers and villagers I used to call my friends. Indeed, in those times, I felt very much the same way I am now: destitute and dry.

If it weren’t for another vampire, Ludwig the Languisher, I would not have survived those dark days. He was feared, even among his own brood, for the ruthless ways he would stalk, kill, and drain his prey. And yet, he felt pity for me all those years ago. He took me under his dark, veiny wings, and showed me his ways. By the early 1200s, I was just as feared and ruthless as he was, and after an especially crafty group of hunters pinned Ludwig down and thrust a stake into his chest, I took his place in the pantheon. Legends spoke of Tristan the Terrible, the scourge of the narcissistic!

You see, while I’ve observed many changes in people over the past millennium, one thing has not changed: humanity’s obsession with itself. Indeed, my favorite prey was the vain, and by far my favorite vampiric quality was the fact that I don’t up show in their mirrors. While my victims were absorbed in themselves, I would absorb their blood! And for over 800 years I was unstoppable. But one day in the early 1800s, I would first encounter what has become my ruin: the camera.

It seemed a textbook strike. A portly, spectacle-clad gentleman was seated in front of that seemingly innocent device, perfectly still, for what seemed like an eternity. Another man who seemed to be operating the machine walked out of the room, and then it almost seemed too easy, so I decided to make some fun of the situation. I slunk up behind him, and obscured myself in his shadow; he did not move an inch. I began to stand back up, thinking surely he would notice me now. But he continued staring straight ahead into the camera’s single, glass eye. I began to get my fangs out, and positioned them just millimeters from his neck; still no acknowledgement. So I stayed there, waiting with him for what seemed to be the second coming. I figured it would make an interesting story for the others in the coven that night.

“Okay! It should be just about ready now!” the operator charged back into the room, and the other man’s head jerked toward mine. The three of us stared at each other for what seemed to be another eternity. Of course, being the vampire I acted first, draining both of the men and flying out of the studio before anyone else could discover me. Was I scared? Not at the time, no. I was absolutely confident I could get out of that situation unscathed. It was the situation that followed that would haunt me to this day.

The next night on the prowl, I sunk my teeth into an evening newsboy. “Extra! Extra! Read all abou–.” Another routine strike, but his goods gave me pause, for on the very front of the gazette was the man from the day before… and myself right over his shoulder. I stole a copy of it and flew back to my manor.

I got back, and examined it further. “VAMPIRE SIGHTED?,” the headline read, “2 DEAD FROM PARANORMAL ENCOUNTER.” At first, I laughed, for they did not realize those men would be up and moving again soon enough. But later that night I realized, the word, and now the vision, was out. People would be hunting me all the more fervently. My existence was known, and soon I was kicked out of the coven. I was a marked, undead man, as many of us over the next century and a half would become, as those infernal cameras became more and more widespread. We were outcast from all but the most alturistic among us. This is why vampire covens are mostly a thing of the past, and why many of my kind hunt alone.

For the past few decades, I’ve kept up a fairly steady supply of blood and victims by taking up residence in another old manor. This one became somewhat of a tourist destination, first due to the famous person who died in it, (Thanks to yours truly!) and then as a popular “haunted” destination. I would snag the ones visiting alone, since these people would likely not be missed, and more importantly, not have someone else with them carrying a camera. Oh, how I pine for the days when I could romance a bombshell of a woman, embracing her, and then throwing her away into the embrace of the undeath. But with all due respect to my victims, (I’m not one to bite the hand that feeds, so to speak.) all I’ve been able to snag were losers!

But today, everyone has a camera. They are small and flat. Even the loners point it at their face at arms length, nearly all the time. There’s no escaping it. A few too many “photographic explosions” (If that what they’re called) and now the world’s tourists dare not step foot upon my hearth. The local police finally boarded up my home and will not permit anyone entrance, save for the odd paranormal investigators who wouldn’t be caught dead without their personal photographic devices..

What few vampires I have come in contact with say I need to “change with the times,” and “learn new tricks,” to stay alive. It reminds me of the time the icebox was invented, and vampires could preserve their victims’ blood for months in such a shortage as this one. But I tell you, nothing beats a freshly bitten corpse. I would wretch at the thought of eating that cold “donated blood,” but alas, I have barely anything left within me to do so.

And so, here I am, feeling much like the young villager who was laying in the road, just bitten, and pondering what lies ahead of him in the great beyond. Little did I know, it was a whole new life spanning a thousand years. In writing this, most likely final account, I have come to accept that the time of Tristan the Terrible is long passed. I embrace whatever heaven, hell, purgatory, or perhaps a fourth option can throw at me.
As I’m writing this, a large truck has pulled in front of my home, and I can barely get up the enthusiasm to attack whoever is inside. That said, the words printed on its side intrigue me: Marty’s Magnet Company. It occurs to me that, in all my years, I have never once grasped a magnet. Methinks I will enjoy one last meal, and maybe check out some of his wares.

If this be my final entry, then farewell to you, intrepid reader. I’d like to think I wouldn’t have bitten you if we had ever met in person, but we all feel hunger.

Tristan’s Journal — July 9th, 2016

EUREKA!! Long live Tristan the Terrible!

—————-

Author’s note that probably should’ve gone at the top: In an effort to exercise my creative writing muscles, I have decided to start taking on short story writing prompts, primarily from Reddit’s /r/WritingPrompts. With any luck, that should also provide some good, regular content for this blog! You can find the original prompt, and how I actually kinda missed the point, (it was a long week, okay?) here!

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