Monday, April 4, 2011



A vampire finds love on the beach
copyright j.e.carlson 2011

The heat was unusual -- the night balmy. A light breeze carried the smell of the ocean to the house. Salt air called me to the shore. I stripped to my underwear and walked toward the beach.
As I stepped along the path through the sea dunes, the dry reeds and sedge rustled. I could hear the tide’s repetitive caressing of the sand.

The lapping of the waves and the hissing of sea foam against rock outcroppings was soothing. How many millennia had the water continuously rolled over the shore? Even from the century I was born, until today, was a mere second in deep geological time. The ocean knew Time intimately and still carried traces of its ancient air.

Although I had not taken over the beach house until the sixties, I never grew tired of the sounds and smells of the ocean. Many nights I walked the beach for no other reason than the comfort it gave me. The constancy of it bathed my mind and eased the dull pain of my existence.

I liked the winter here best. Ocean storms blew in from Alaska and down the Canadian coast line. The violent tides brought in all sorts of surprises and interesting debris. Occasionally I picked up and carried home what I found -- usually something I did not need. But, alas, it was mid-summer now and not much happened along the warm expanse. The sun baked the sand during the day and the moon bled silver light at night.

There were a few other beach cabins along the shore but they were sparsely spread in this comparatively remote area. It was late now and any vacationers that were visiting were most likely asleep -- happily exhausted by too much roughhousing in the waves and overexposure to the relentless sun.

There was a young woman who I’d met in the little town up the coast. It wasn’t planned. I simply met her one evening in a book store. She had commented on one of the titles I put on the counter when we were standing in line. I only smiled in return but when she walked out, she made a point to say goodnight. Obviously she wanted a conversation but couldn’t think of a reason. Like most human women, and the occasional man, she was fascinated by me. Something had happened to me when I was "turned" so many years ago. I’d never been sure what it was that attracted my prey, but I was glad of it. Unfortunately for some, I simultaneously inspired fear.

She was pretty and she smelled wonderful. I was surprised to see her a few nights later. She was in the tide ahead of me. How portentous that she would be here of all places! She was oddly unafraid as she waved to me from the water. I decided to make it easy on her by waiting for her to come out of the water. I would speak to her. I’d ask her where she was from or some other trifling question to give her the reason she needed to make conversation.

Her name was Jennifer. She lived close to Seattle. She was staying at her parents cabin. She was supposed to have made the trip with her son but he couldn’t make it.

"You’re not afraid out here alone at this hour?" I asked.

"No, I’m not," she answered. "Funny isn’t it? But I love the solitude and moonlit nights like this."

"Ahh. We have something in common then."

"What cabin are you staying in?

I pointed toward my house. "I own a place on the beach. It’s not a cabin. You can just see part of the roof from here."

"That’s great!" she said, enthusiastically. "You’re lucky." Then she changed the subject. "I’d better go in and dry off. It was really nice talking to you." She started walking then turned. "Oh, and what’s your name?"


"Cool. Okay, Ari. I hope I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ll be here for another week." She waved and walked toward the dunes. She stopped and turned toward me again. "Hey, Ari! You’ve got a killer voice, by the way."

"Thanks," I said and walked on chuckling. What irony in that sentence. I’d never heard that phrase before and wondered what it meant precisely -- obviously it was a compliment though. "A killer voice, indeed."

I veered up from the waves and skirted the sun-bleached logs and driftwood.

I sat down on a large one. I gazed up at the stars and thought of Jennifer. I liked the way she looked, the way she moved, the way she smelled and I was touched by the enthusiasm that showed through in her voice and expressions -- something I had not experienced for decades.

The urge to taste her, to sink my teeth into her neck, was strong, but sometime during our little exchange I made an unconscious decision to leave her untouched. I might even encourage her friendship. But a mere week! I would find a way to make her stay longer -- to want to stay. Just how, I didn’t know -- but it would come to me.

I decided to walk back earlier than I normally would have. I did not need to feed often and I was not thirsty at the moment, but better satiate myself now so that the hunger would not betray me when I sought out the girl. I dressed in black. I got into my car and started the long drive to the nearest tourist town down the coast. I didn’t need to wear black but I preferred my prey not to notice me until I had my teeth in them.

So strange my existence. It really made no sense. Even now I marveled at the inexplicable nature of it. Why, if God was alive, did he allow me and my kind to walk the earth? I doubted the devil had anything to do with it. I’d never seen him and did not believe he was around.

There were some of us, I knew, that lived off human life. Some drank until their victims were dead. I saw no reason for that. I could fill my tank or top it off easily without taking a life. My thoughts about this as I drove mingled with thoughts of Jennifer. I felt a hardening in my groin. Extraordinary. That had not happened in years! But it was as uncomfortable as it was unusual. So I turned on the radio and suppressed the images in my mind. I laughed aloud. Was I the proverbial dirty old man? I was ancient even though I still appeared to be a man of thirty. I thought of Elena. Except for a short dalliance with Lucas, Elena was the only vampire I had engaged sexually. To a predator like me, physical intercourse took second pace to another hunger altogether. I wondered where Elena might be and if she had found a gentler way to survive. So much time had passed.

The last thing I remembered thinking as I parked and got out of the car was about Jennifer -- "maybe this time it will be different."

* * * * *

As I drove back to the beach house. My mood was sullen, morose. I always felt like this after I was sated, but I was especially weighted down this evening. Even if I had a relationship with Jennifer, even a friendship, it wouldn’t last. Nothing endures except the earth and the ocean, the moon and me. And how foolish of me to entertain the thought. Wishes and hopes were pointless.

It was near sunrise when I pulled in behind the house. I’d go and lie down in my secret place until the evening and the rising of the moon called me back. Resignation to, and acceptance of our existence was essential to any vampire. It might be different for other types of night creatures but not for us.


Jennifer slept late. One of the best things about being here at the ocean was the slow track of time. She could get up when she wanted, eat when she felt hungry, and stay up late as she wanted. It would be nice to extend her stay, but she hadn’t decided yet. Classes didn’t start for a few weeks, so it was possible. But there was Jas. He’d be expecting her. She hated to disappoint him.

She felt a little guilty but now that she’d met Ari, she really wanted to stay. She’d never met a man like him. He was tall, handsome and his voice was deep velvet -- and he was a gentleman. She'd had bad luck with men. She'd been a serial dater for a long while now. Most dates were disasters. There was Mr. Sausage Fingers, Mr. Teeth-from-hell, Mr. Nasal Voice. On and on, she'd met everyone but Mr. Right. She figured he must be dead. No one had been like this Ari guy. She hoped to see him today.

Her skin was a bit red from the sun, so she’d have to hang out on the porch under the umbrella table. She felt all fluttery and light at the thought of him casually dropping by. Silly though. She had to calm down and think about something else. But she found herself putting on the best looking bikini she had and then a flimsy white wrap over the top. She also found herself putting on makeup which she never did when she was here.

He didn’t come that day and the ferocity of her disappointment astounded her. She chided herself. After all she wasn’t anything special. He must have been in his early thirties. Why should someone so suave and experienced be interested in her? By the late afternoon she was so bored of waiting that she was downright irritable. She went for a walk. Maybe she’d see his place. Maybe he’d notice her walking by. She passed the trail that led through the dunes to his house.

She tried to be nonchalant. She didn’t want him to think she was stalking him. She couldn’t help but glance over just the same. The view was hidden by the sand and reeds and tall grasses but she could see the shingled rooftop. After about ten minutes she walked back and passed his place again. This time she stopped and gazed down the path. An old fence was half buried along the edges of the trail. Curiosity won out over embarrassment and she started toward the house.

It was beautiful and large and did not look like any kind of beach house she’d seen. It was old and well built. She crept further toward the wraparound porch. The sun was at a low angle now and the shadows were growing longer, but it did not look as if anyone was home. She decided to gingerly walk to the front of the house and see if a car was parked there.

* * * * * * * * *

I could smell her as I emerged from the blackness of the undead. I descended from my hiding place into full awareness. I was naked so I wrapped an ugly red towel around my waist and ventured toward the glass doors which overlooked the verandah. I could sense that she had been very near but had wandered around to the other side of the house. I slid out of the door and sat quietly on the porch swing. As she came into view I stayed perfectly still and watched. She looked up to the second floor and softly sighed before turning to go.

I cleared my throat. She looked around confusedly until her eyes found me.

"Oh!" she said. "I was just taking a walk along the beach and . . ."

Her pretty face turned very red. Her blush enhanced her beauty and aroused my hunger for her. I could hear her heartbeat. Which animal lust would win? The desire to taste her blood or the urge to make love to her?

I smiled. "I’m delighted you felt comfortable enough with me to stop by. Come up and sit. I’ll get you something to drink."

* * * * * * * *

Jennifer felt such embarrassment. She was relieved, though’ that he was so warm and welcoming. She calmed and climbed the stairs. But then her heart began beating faster. "Oh my god," she thought. "He’s only wearing a towel!" He was lean and muscular and everything about him seemed so masculine to her. His beauty was overkill. She thought he was awfully pale, but maybe it was the bright red towel that made him appear so.

"Are you sure I’m not . . ." she paused and he raised his eyebrows questioningly. "I mean, if this is a bad time I can come back tomorrow."

"Nonsense," he said. Then he stood and slid open the glass door. "Wine?"

"Um, sure! Yes. That would be great."

He paused and stood looking at her. The gaze was intense and hesitant at the same time -- and there was something in his face that made her uneasy. She felt chills of pleasure and fear. Then, he grinned at her disarmingly and disappeared into the house. She wondered what it would be like to be his lover or his wife. Her face burned as her imagination ran wild. "Don’t be stupid, Jennifer," she whispered aloud.

* * * * *

We sat and talked and she sipped wine. "Have you been married?" she asked.

"You might say that. I had . . . an attachment," I said. "A very long one. We had a very bad fight and she harassed me for some time after that until I’d had enough."

"She was really out for blood, huh?"

I burst out laughing. Jennifer had no idea how right she was. My argument with Elena had been about restraint in the taking of human blood. She accused me of being weak. She refused to curtail her killing and I refused to hunt with her, sleep with her or talk with her. She took this poorly and when she actually attacked me, I disappeared. I was afraid I might kill her. "Yes, she was out for blood, Jennifer."

Jennifer’s lips were moist with the wine and she emanated warmth. Her skin was smooth. It looked soft and occasionally I could see a vein twitch in her neck. Finally, as time stretched on and my desire was prolonged and pulled taut by the sublimation of my urges, I could stand it no longer. I moved quickly to sit next to her. Naturally she recoiled and let out a little scream. She was holding the glass at that moment and some of it sloshed out and hit her legs. In a movement that must have been a blur to her, I was on my knees. My tongue was on the wine, on her warm skin.

"Oh," she cried out in her surprise. She did not move away. "You’re so cold."

"I’m sorry," I said, and continued sliding my tongue along her thighs. I picked her up and carried her into the house and onto the sofa. We made love. Then I let her rest and we did it again. Having held myself back from biting her simply made me rougher as my cold member slammed over and over into her warmth. She moaned and quivered in spasms of pleasure. It was as if I was playing an instrument.

* * * * *

Jennifer awoke in the night. She was exhausted. She felt like a rag doll. He was beside her on a bed. They must have moved sometime in the night. He looked at her. "Be my companion," he said.

She was taken aback, stunned by the emotional intensity that, up until this very night, he had not shown. Was this the same beautiful man she had met in the library only a few days ago? What was hidden behind the exterior was suddenly revealed. Nevertheless, Jennifer was exhilarated, excited by his proposal.

"All right," she said.

"We will have to go away. At least for a little while."

She didn’t understand, but she agreed."

"There won’t be any turning back." his voice had a note of questioning in it.

She wondered if that statement could be a red flag. "What do you mean?"

"I dislike endings. I’ve experienced them too many times. This time it must be for good."

His concern seemed reasonable and she smiled. "I’m so sorry you had to go through that. But I’m sure everyone feels that way."

"Perhaps," he said, "but my kind bond for life."

"Ha! There should be more of your kind then."

He buried his face in her flesh, breathing in her scent. "I must make you like me," he mumbled into her throat.

"Wait a minute," she said. "I don’t like the idea of anyone changing me."

"It’s not what you think. Just a little pain and it will be all right. We can unite for ever." Then he bit her neck savagely just below her ear. She screamed only for a moment.

* * * * *

On a warm summer night, a pale quiet couple got into a lone black car and drove away. The car bumped along a dirt road up to the highway that skirted the coastline. The tail lights got smaller and smaller, dimmer and dimmer, until they disappeared into the darkness. The night cloaked the land like a thousand other nights before it. The continual dance between light and darkness, day and night, one swallowing the other, was as dependable as the universe itself. For the sun has chased and followed the moon forever. It always will.

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