O’Malley spent the next week or so teaching me everything I’d need to know to make it in our world. We practiced shapeshifting in the field outside Arlington, and soon I was able to transform into bats with very little effort. Once I had that down, I learned to change into a wolf. And just like with the bats, I had black fur and green eyes in my wolf form. I even retained the scars at the corners of my mouth and the side of my neck. I wondered why she didn’t teach me that first, instead of the bats. Turning into a wolf was much easier, since I could keep my body in one piece. O’Malley explained that we wouldn’t be using the wolf form much, since we lived and hunted in the city. The whole point was to avoid drawing attention, and a giant wolf walking around downtown in a bustling metropolis would be anything but subtle.
Of course, I had the same question that everyone has after they watch a werewolf or vampire movie: “How do the clothes disappear and reappear when they change and change back?” The good news is, the movies get that part right. The bad news is, I don’t have an answer for you, O’Malley didn’t have an answer for me, and the vampire who made O’Malley didn’t have an answer for her. That’s something she made a point of explaining to me. Some of the time, we don’t know how or why these things work, we just know that they do.
She also taught me all about our abilities and weaknesses. These are the facts I could get staked for telling you, even though I know this story will be passed off as fiction.
Let me start by debunking the myths. Garlic, crucifixes, holy water, all that shit, it has no effect on us. But, like I just said, the wooden-stake-through-the-heart thing is real. It doesn’t have to be a wooden stake, though. It could be a bullet, a knife, or a fucking spork from Taco Bell. So long as it pierces the heart deep enough, it’ll kill us. Decapitation works too, but it’s kinda hard to do. Our bodies are much more resilient than mortals’. But besides those two things, everything else heals. You can chop me in pieces, but if you don’t stab my heart or cut off my head, the parts can be reassembled. And then, you’d better watch your ass.
Now, silver… Fuck silver. It burns like a bitch, and it’s the only thing that leaves a scar. If you do want to chop up a vampire, do it with some kinda silver blade, because that’s the only way to make sure that the pieces stay in pieces.
Destroying the heart, check. Decapitation, check. The only other thing that can kill us is the sun. If we’re unfortunate enough to be outside when the sun rises, we go up in flame. The only saving grace is that we’re not awake to experience it. Have you ever seen a corpse in full-blown rigor mortis? That’s us, body and mind, from the moment the sun peeks over the east until the moment it fully disappears in the west. And that’s in relation to each individual vampire. If you wanna be picky, because my coffin is on the eastern side of the room, I fall asleep a few nanoseconds before O’Malley each morning and wake up a few nanoseconds after her each night.
I know, I know. Seems like the only stuff we actually have details on is the boring stuff.
Just notice that I said the sun can kill us. I also said that only silver leaves a permanent scar. The thing is, if your plan is to torch one of us, you’d better make sure the whole damn vampire is ashes when you’re done, because even burns from the sun can heal. Sure, there’s a point of no return, like if only a hand was exposed to sunlight and it burned away, there’s no growing that hand back. Except there might be. O’Malley said there are stories about blood being poured on a vampire’s ashes and bringing him back to life, but no one knows if it’s true. But hey, if it worked in Hellraiser, I’ll take it.
Come to think of it, there’s a lot we don’t know about ourselves. We don’t know why mirrors shatter if we look at them, but not when we see our reflections in anything else. We don’t know why we can only change form into bats or a wolf. We don’t know why our bodies become wracked with pain and bleed from every pore and orifice if we enter a house without being invited in first, but after we get that invitation, we can come and go as we please. We don’t know why we can hypnotize humans, but not other vampires. We don’t know why the touch of silver burns us. And we don’t know why we age just like mortals if we stop drinking blood, but no matter how much we feed, we can never look younger than we were when we were turned.
But many suspect it all has to do with how the original vampire became what he was. And there had to be an original vampire. After all, only vampires can create more vampires. Who was Vampire Zero, and how did it happen to him? No idea.
The rest could only be learned by experience, and I was gonna get plenty of that. Forget the bullshit stories you’ve read about vampires being miserable and hating themselves. I’d always liked being a monster, and I loved being a vampire!