ASN 5.3 Hematophagic Discussions

by Matt P.

Walter offered a little bit of a shrug. “OK, so vampires. I mean…that would be more earth shattering if you weren’t faeries, and I hadn’t killed your faerie dad.” He shrugged. “Sorry if that came off as callous.”

Morgan and Tania shrugged a little bit as well, and it only seemed slightly forced from the both of them. “We weren’t big fans,” Tania offered, which was followed by a nod from Morgan.

“I don’t think it’s unfair to say we were estranged,” she commented wryly, offering Walter a slightly reassuring smile. “Vampires are…an unfortunate fact of life,” Morgan began by way of explanation. “But like everything else they follow rules. Vampirism is a binary state—you aren’t one until you are one. And during the only processing time, you’re a corpse.” She moved up to the head of the girl, and reached out to pull back some of the white-blond hair. It exposed a single puncture mark in the neck, raised and inflamed like it was infected. “Vampires bite much like you see in movies—they have prominent fangs for puncturing and tearing. Chewing optional, as they can actually process flesh as many hematophages in nature can,” She explained, with a little scowl of distaste. “Not what appears to be a hypodermic needle. Assuming that’s the…vector,” she grasped for the right word for a moment. “Salvation addicts will also inject in the neck sometimes, because it apparently introduces it more directly in to the bloodstream.”

Tanya yawned slightly and leaned against the wall, but Walter supposed it wasn’t new information for her. Siobhan, meanwhile, grinned. “We didn’t get to see much of you doing the doctor thing, during our stint as the world’s best candystripers.”

Morgan offered a small smile back at that. “I thought you striped no candy, Siobhan.” But then she looked back at the unconscious girl, and sighed. “In order to make a new vampire, you need someone to die. Exsanguination almost to the point of death, and then an infusion of your…vampiric essence through blood. That outright kills them, and 48 to 72 hours later they sit back up as a vampire,” Morgan continued explaining, “With what I’ve been told is the worst hangover imaginable. This,” she said, reaching down to gently move the young woman’s hair back to how it had been, “More closely resembles a body fighting off an infection or virus that it isn’t quite sure it can beat. She is basically in a coma, her body preserving energy to stave it off. She should be either a corpse, or a fully awake if malnourished human.”

Walter moved up to the head of the bed to look down at her as well, considering. “Are you sure she’s got this,” he paused, “Viral vampirism and not something else?” He motioned to her neck, and the apparent injection site. “Could it just be a straight up infection and she just happened to be held by a vampire?” He shrugged. “By the way, he was fast, but that fight was generally easier than I would have thought for a vampire.”

Morgan moved away from the bed to sit in one of the chairs, crossing her legs and leaning her elbows on them. “Medically there could be something going on here that we haven’t heard of before, but there is definitely vampirism involved. I can feel it in her,” she motioned across the form on the bed, “Although it is so different and faint that I almost didn’t recognize it at first.” Some thought crossed her mind at that, before she shook her head. “I don’t know what is what inside of her. And so I won’t speculate until I can know more.” She gave a kind of mirthless laugh at that, running a hand back through her hair. “But the most important thing is that there is apparently an increase in vampires dicking around with the city, as the kids say.”

“No,” Siobhan said, “we don’t.”

“Yes they do,” Tanya insisted blithely. “Let me see, the last time we had a power acting against the city we ate calamari for days. Sword and blowtorch and we go kill some vampires?” She looked disturbingly hopeful at that, a gleam in her eyes that Walter had last seen in the middle of desperately fighting for their lives.

But Morgan was traditionally the cooler temper in their relationship, and shook her head. “No, the squid god didn’t have an embassy here, Ember,” she responded, giving a slightly exasperated amusement on the last word—apparently the reciprocal nickname to Tanya calling her Icicle. “We let the vampires have their embassies, and we have to give them some courtesies. Besides, we both know it’s the Europeans.”

Tanya nodded, shaking her head as well. “Damned Europeans, I told you we couldn’t trust them.”

Now Walter had to interject. “I’m sorry, aren’t you both Irish?” That drew, in response, a flat stare from both of them.

“And we were doing so well before you called us European, Walter,” Morgan sighed, but she had a twinkle in her eyes that belied her sad seriousness. He was searching for a response when there was a double knock on the door, and Lacey peeked a blond head in.

“Sorry Mr. Richards, Annie, Bonnie, scary people I’ve seen stabbing other scary people,” she apologized to them all in turn; both Morgan and Tanya let out a delighted little snort of laughter at that description. “Annie, we’ve got to get to school—we have practice instead of study hall today, remember?”

Over the winter Lacey had talked Antigone in to filling in as a replacement in Winter Guard, an indoor color guard competition and not Morgan’s private army—much to her sadness. She had parlayed that into convincing Antigone to also try out for the junior varsity dance team for the Spring. Walter had been happy to see her joining in, although not so much at the cost in uniforms and gas.

“Ok, there’s a lot I have to follow up on here, like why Ireland isn’t in Europe, and what the hell we’re talking about,” Walter rolled his eyes. “Some day we’re going to deal with just a guy with a gun, and I’m going to finally be the guy who knows what to do. Lacey, can you and Monica take Annie to school? I need to talk with Bug, and I’ll drive her in or call her in.” He looked over to grin at his daughter. “Maybe I’ll take you on a ride along and we can have lots of daddy daughter time,” he told her, in deeply and disturbingly saccharine tone.

Siobhan almost shuddered at the tone. “Yay?” She offered, weakly and unconvincingly.