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Vampires and America’s Lost Colony of Roanoke

Vampires – at least vampires like me of a “certain” age – are masters of concealment. Our very survival depends upon it. We die at every sunrise, leaving our bodies vulnerable to any stumbling blood bag who might happen upon us. Discovery could lead to a number of undesired outcomes, including a fatal case of solar exposure.

There are two safeguards to help avoid such an untimely demise.

The first is an utterly secure defense of some sort — a castle, for example — and a strict routine that never allows you to stray too far from your familiar haunts.

The second? Human attendants, of course.

Most of my kind usually relies on some combination of the two, but both have risks. Humans are easy enough to engage with promises of immortality, access to a bit of depravity (knowing we will dispose of the evidence), or sex the likes of which they have never before experienced. But it’s sort of like asking the sheep to tend to the shepherd, which is why it’s best to not get overly reliant. And the sex always makes me feel dirty, and not in the good way.

It’s always best to be the master of your own destiny, which occasionally can be challenging. When desperate, we’ll resort to almost anything to avoid a terminal morning: a card board box, a barrel, a shallow grave hastily dug by hand, even just wrapping ourselves up in a tarp.

I can tell you that it is with great reserve that under such hurried circumstance we feel the darkness of first light creep across our eyes, knowing full well we may never open them again.

You have to plan for every contingency, and I’ve lost old acquaintances in the oddest ways. An accident on the freeway opens a coffin in the noon time sun and the body turns to dust before anyone even notices. A curious bear rips open a “borrowed” tent only to shuffle through the bloody ashes. I even know one old timer who has no legs below the knee. He spent the night under a table in an abandoned house. An earthquake – it was California – tipped it over and the rays of the sun sliced his legs off as he lay there immobile. That particular disability has made him no less lethal, just a tiny bit comical in appearance when he attacks.

One of the true legends of vampiric concealment occurred when America was first settled. A particularly industrious vampire smuggled himself on board a sailing ship bound for America, hidden inside an ingeniously crafted barrel inside a larger barrel of wheat. At night, he would let himself out and feed on some unsuspecting pilgrim, but just enough to barely keep alive.

He made it safely to the New World, but it was all for naught. After going a little crazy from the hunger on the long trip over, he ate his way through the residents of his adopted town of Roanoke, leaving nothing but a carving on a tree and empty vessels. He ultimately met his demise at the hands of the indigenous people. They had many of years of experience with my kind and their arrows, conveniently fashioned of wood, were especially potent.

These days, a panic room is an easy way to protect one’s self from the sun and from prying eyes. It certainly makes it difficult to leap up and feed, which is why I often lock a little run-away in the room with me. I wah-wah-wah-wah wonder what I’ll eat come night fall.