Born and Dead in Brooklyn
by Naomi Clark
The girl was a typical Goth
and I felt like a shitty cliché as I stalked her into the alley. Problem was, in this part of town, Goth was all you got and
I was hungry enough to make do. God, I wished I could still smoke.
Well, I could still smoke.
It just didn’t do anything for me anymore, you know? The only thing that calmed my shakes nowadays was blood. One of
the downsides of being a vampire. I’d been happy as a bricklayer. That was what I got for going home with one of those
pale and interesting type chicks.
This chick was one of those
pale and interesting types too, long (dyed) black hair, too much eyeliner, silver necklaces clicking together around her pale
neck. Oh yeah. Nothing like a nice neck to get a dead guy in the mood. I licked my lips, catching my tongue on my sharp canines.
Still hadn’t gotten used to that. Licking the blood away, I dug my hands into my pockets and hurried after Miss Goth.
She was lighting up, the smell
of cheap weed wafting towards me. Most of the time, I was down with the heightened senses being a vampire gave me. I liked
smelling mustard and ketchup and cigarettes. I mean, I couldn’t taste them anymore, so smelling them was the best I
could get. But this stench was rank. Like garbage and unwashed socks. She had her back to me, her long hair falling over her
shoulder to expose that sweet-looking neck. Damn, I was hungry.
Not sexy-hungry though. I
never did buy that bullshit about vampires getting kinky with humans while they eat. I mean, Jesus, I liked hotdogs but I
didn’t want to fuck them. That was weird shit. I stole towards her, grabbed her shoulders and spun her round, fangs
poised to strike down hard and fast.
Her black-painted lips parted
in a scream that died almost instantly. Before I could get my fangs in she said sulkily, ‘you’re a vampire?
I wait all my life to meet a vampire and you’re it? Fuck.’
I was pretty new to this undead
game. But usually people just screamed and fainted. Disappointment didn’t happen much. There wasn’t time, what
with all the bleeding and dying. It made me pause. ‘What’s wrong with me?’
She looked me up and down. ‘You’re short. You’re not exactly skinny –‘ she poked me in the ribs
– ‘and you smell like beer.’
‘What did you want?
Frilly shirts and Calvin fucking Klein? What am I, gay?’ I asked, letting her go and looking down at myself. I was not
fat. I was husky. ‘And don’t exactly smell like J-Lo.’
to be sophisticated and seductive. You could at least wear black.’ She tugged at my battered brown bomber jacket. ‘I
refuse to be brought across by a man in white sneakers.’
‘Brought across? What
the hell are you talking about?’
She rolled her eyes and took
a drag on her joint. ‘Vampires drink the blood of their chosen companions and turn them into vampires. Then they can
spend eternity together in the shadows.’ She sighed romantically.
‘Sounds pretty shit
to me. I was just gonna kill you. I don’t know nothing about this brought across shit.’
She glared at me and stomped
her foot. ‘You don’t even have a fucking French accent.’
‘Look lady, I was born
in Brooklyn, I died in Brooklyn and now I’m undead in Brooklyn. I didn’t want to be a vampire. I wanted to be
a baseball player.’
She sneered. ‘I bet
you’re not even a hundred years old. I bet you’ve never even been to France.’
‘And I bet you’ve
never had a slap upside the face,’ I snapped, lunging for her neck again. She dodged, slapping me away.
‘I refuse to be raped
by a bald vampire!’
‘I’m not going
to rape you! I’m going to drink your blood and kill you!’
‘It’s rape if
I’m not consenting. Which I’m not. I wanted a sophisticated French baron, not a dumpy man with cement on his jeans.’
‘I was a bricklayer!’
‘That’s no excuse.
There are professional standards, you know.’ She gestured at me with her joint. ‘Long hair, pale skin, black clothes
– clean black clothes – sexy accent. If I have to spend eternity with someone, it has to be someone with
a bit of personal pride.’
‘You’re not going
to spend eternity with me,’ I snapped, leaning in towards her. ‘You’re going to bleed to death in the alley
and it’s going to be horrible.’
She bit her lip, leaving black
smears on her teeth. ‘So who turned you? I mean, if this “crossing over shit” doesn’t happen, how
did you end up a vampire? A piss-poor vampire, at that.’
I shuffled, embarrassed. ‘It
was an accident.’
She hooted with laughter.
‘Right, that figures! No real vampire would bring you across to alleviate eternal loneliness!’
I saw red. I grabbed her round
the throat and shook her hard. ‘Listen to me, you black-lipstick, weed-stinking little runt. Being a vampire ain’t
pretty. It’s not romantic. It’s not all moonlit walks and reading French poetry to each other in the bath. It’s
not red roses and candles and orgasms. It’s not nice! It’s bloody and boring and shitty. You have to sleep
in a box full of dirt. Your dick doesn’t work anymore. You smell like wet garbage and people keep trying to burn you.
And you have to kill people – you have to freaking kill people and drink their blood and you have to do it forever!’
I released her, flung her back against the wall.
She dropped her joint and
stared at me, mouth gaping. ‘Are you going to kill me?’ she whispered, real life in her eyes for the first time.
I clenched and unclenched
my fists. I was real hungry now, beyond-waiting hungry. I needed blood like a junkie needs crack. I could smell her blood,
running under her skin like a secret river. I wanted it. I wanted to slice her open, drink her blood and kill her dumb-ass
kiddy fantasies. ‘Yeah,’ I told her. ‘I’m gonna kill you.’
She closed her eyes, whimpering.
‘Do I get a last wish? A last act of human compassion?’ Her lips trembled as she spoke.
‘Lady, you just don’t
get it, do you?’ I lunged for her pale, exposed throat. Her blood flowed, thick and salty and thirst quenching. She
died without a sound, her silver jewellery clanking on the concrete when I dropped her body. ‘I ain’t human.’
Copyright Naomi Clark 2006