My vampire boyfriend is a shriveled mess. No matter how much blood I bring him, he keeps withering. His skin feels like damp, crumpled-up tissue paper, like a birthday gift dumped open and pawed through. “Kathleen,” he rasps, “save me.” I forget why I ever decided to be with him. He was never that handsome; he’s always smelled like used coins and nosebleeds. When I met him he looked like a bloated corpse because he basically was one, but somehow, my heart cracked open and he seeped in. Now I’m stuck bringing him bottles of blood, cradling his head in my lap and listening to him suck eagerly at the hot remnants of murdered life. It occurs to me that he’s eaten so many people over so many centuries, and still he’s never made anything of himself. Give this man immortality, and what does he do? Hide in the shadows at bars, eyeing girls hundreds of years too young for him. But every month I open my legs wide for him, let him lick out all that makes me still feel like a living woman. Every night I bite my tongue and dribble my love into his gaping mouth. Every hour of my wasting life I am aware how stupid I am, but have you ever seen a vampire? They are the ugliest things; the most secret and the most old. There’s nothing beautiful about them, inside or out, nothing to love at all – but how you’d wish there were, how you’d wait every second for some hint of goodness, if you knew one.
Carmen Lau is currently living in Berkeley, CA. Her stories can be found in Contrary, Gigantic, Shimmer Magazine, Fairy Tale Review, Prick of the Spindle and Hayden’s Ferry Review.