Since no discussion topic has occurred to me this week, I've decided to post a short excerpt from my first vampire novel, DARK CHANGELING, from Hard Shell Word Factory (www.hardshell.com). It illustrates my approach to the intersection of blood and eroticism for vampires. My vampires are members of a natural nonhuman species, who enjoy erotic gratification by drinking from human donors ( as opposed to ordinary nourishment, most of which comes from animals, and totally separate from reproductive sex among themselves, which happens rarely, because of their long lifespans). They can't get fulfillment from the blood of their own kind. In this scene, Roger Darvell doesn't yet know that he's a vampire-human hybrid (he thinks his blood thirst is pathological), and he doesn't recognize Sylvia as a vampire because he doesn't know they exist. The two of them have met while both trying to prey on the daughter of their hosts at a party. They fled after almost getting caught:
He felt Sylvia's smoldering anger, but she docilely followed him out of the house. She balked only when he led the way down the circular drive to his black Citroen. "I'd rather take my own car."
His hand clamped onto her arm. "You can pick it up tomorrow. I'm not letting you escape until we have this out." He sensed her debating whether to fight him and rejecting the idea. Though she was tall for a woman, he was taller and outweighed her. He shoved her into the passenger seat, then got in on the driver's side and leaned across her to fasten her belt and lock the door. She watched him speculatively as she accepted these indignities. He sensed her anger yielding to curiosity.
He roared out of the driveway in a shower of gravel. Beside him, Sylvia wedged herself against the far door, subdued by his display of temper. After skirting the perimeter of the M.I.T. campus, he headed north out of Cambridge. Thankful for the late-night dearth of traffic, he didn't slack off the accelerator until they came to a scenic turnoff on Route 1A several miles out of town. The car swerved off the road and squealed to a stop.
Sylvia gave Roger a wary look. "Are we getting out?" She scanned the marshland beyond the low wall of unworked stone, as if evaluating its suitability as a refuge. Roger gripped her shoulders and jerked her around to face him. "What is this, rape?"
"Not exactly." His inflamed thirst left him with no patience for hypnotic seduction. He'd rely on physical force and wipe her memory later. He came down upon her.
Her resistance astonished him. Rather than overcoming her easily, he had to use all his strength to keep her immobilized. She kicked and squirmed in his grasp, twisting her neck away from his mouth, her own teeth bared as she tried vainly to retaliate. But she had no chance against him. Pinning her legs with one knee, he bit into her throat with a roughness unusual for him.
When her blood began to flow, she relaxed, not cooperative, but resigned. The taste was cool and tart, not the hot richness he expected. Despite Sylvia's residual excitement, satisfaction eluded him. He felt no outpouring of vitality from her, only an emptiness like his own. Baffled, he finally drew back, still unappeased.
She gazed at him, heavy-lidded, and pressed her palm to the oozing gash on the side of her neck. "What's the matter with you? Don't you know we can't get nourishment from each other?”
His rage dissipated by the struggle, Roger offered her his folded handkerchief, resisting the impulse to apologize for the red flecks staining her gown. "What do you mean, `we'?"
Sylvia wearily dabbed at her wound. "You mean you don't know? That's impossible." Her eyes probed his.
He sat up straight on his side of the car. "What are you raving about?"
"Come off it! With that strength, and your psychic power -- you have it, I felt you trying to manipulate me -- and those teeth? You're my kind. I wasn't sure until just now, because you feel somehow human, too, but you are."
He stared through the windshield, his fingers cramping on the wheel. He felt overheated in his suit jacket, stifled by the knot of his tie; he envied Sylvia's lightweight clothes. "Human? What else could I be? What do you mean, your kind?"
Again she projected bewilderment. "Maybe I did read you wrong. You don't feel right -- but you don't feel human, either."
*The woman is schizophrenic, and I'm listening to her.* "Are you saying that you're not human?"
She forced a humorless smile. "You don't believe me."
"Do you expect me to?"
*What about the things she mentioned, though? Especially the quasi-telepathy?*
Well, what about it? Some educated and otherwise rational people did believe in auras and paranormal perception. Stipulate that the power was more than delusion, that he did possess an empathic passkey to other people's emotions. If he met a woman who shared not only that power but the same perversion he suffered from, it made sense that they would be drawn to each other. Perhaps the power to read emotions predisposed to an obsession with blood. That didn't mean he had to accept Sylvia's proposed folie a deux.
"Can't you decide about having me committed later?" she said. Her shoulders twitched, and he glimpsed the tautness of her nipples through the rippling crepe de chine of her dress. She hugged her arms to her chest. "You've got both of us needing it in the worst way."
His own nerves vibrated in sync with the thirst she projected. Regardless of her mental balance or lack thereof, she certainly shared his obsession. "What do you suggest?"
"Drive," she said through clenched teeth.
He pulled onto the highway and floored the accelerator. After a few minutes she said, "Better slow down, or you won't be able to stop in time."
He noticed her eyes darting from window to window in a restless circuit of the visual field. "What are you looking for?"
"At this hour?"
"You'd be surprised." She didn't pause in her scan of the roadside. Over twenty minutes passed before she pointed to a figure standing on the shoulder. "There. Pick her up."
Roger slowed to a stop next to a teenage girl in a denim jacket, holding a crayoned sign that read "Cape Cod." "She's a bit young, isn't she? And what's the matter with her? Doesn't she know she's begging for assault or murder?" he said to Sylvia.
"Yes, isn't it lucky for us that people are such idiots?" she replied. Opening the door, she leaned out and beckoned to the hitchhiker.