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Horror Contemporary Teens & Young Adult

Vampires are not always asleep in their coffins during the daytime. Take me for instance. Before becoming one of the many of the legion of undead, I’d suffered during much of my life from insomnia; tossing and turning my way through sleepless nights, usually losing consciousness as the sun was coming up, and rolling out of my former bed feeling like death warmed over most mornings to do things I had little to no interest in. My life sucked!

Then I became a vampire. “Well how did that happen?” most would ask. And I, Charlie Althea, would reply, “I’d been dating this girl named Linda for around a week or two when one night while we were making out, she bit me on my neck. At first, I just thought she was either trying to give me a hickey or that it was just one of those sexy, playful love-bites when I felt two tiny pricks where my jugular vein was located as her fangs broke the skin, entered the vein, and began sucking the blood and my life right out of me before I knew what was really happening and had passed out. When I came to, I had a feeling there was something quite different about me. I was hungry for blood.”

When something like that happens, you’re pretty much all on your own. I mean it’s not like you can go to school, enroll in online courses, or even get a user’s manual on how to be a vampire. You’re just kind of left to your own devices on how to figure it out. So, we do, and the majority of us that I’ve met do it pretty quickly. I mean it’s not that hard: stay out of the sun, avoid mirrors, protect yourself from people with wooden stakes, and drink blood. That’s really all there is to it for most of us, and the ones who make it more complicated than that, like the cringe-worthy crucifix cringers, are usually the ones who bear the sole responsibility for doing so. As a whole, a vampire’s life can be pretty much a piece of Red Velvet cake, if you know what I mean.

I’m certain most of you have heard that after someone’s been turned and then awakes as the undead that any ailments that plagued them during their lives were miraculously and mercifully gone. In most cases that was true. But in my case, most days in the coffin were sleepless fits of Hell. As in life, I squandered away my sleepy-time time rolling about uncomfortably in my bunk and rarely getting any shuteye. You see, even though when I’d joined this blood-sucking and unliving legion of neck biters, while I no longer was bothered by seasonal allergies, colds, flu, or much else for that matter, to my surprise I still had to endure endless bouts of insomnia. Even as a vampire, if I hadn’t had at least 8 hours of rest I’d be as knackered as an overworked hooker on the Monday morning after a big convention weekend.

Oh my God (yeah, all sanguisuges are allowed to say that name, and there’s even an interesting and a quite funny back-story regarding the why’s and how’s that I’d be happy to share with you another time), sleeplessness when you really want to sleep really sucks! You want to know what the only thing that gets me through my dreamless naptimes? It’s technology. Thank God for WIFI, the internet, and cell phones. If it wasn’t for that I think I would’ve killed my undead self by this time. Do you know why I didn’t, I mean besides the whole cell phone thing? It’s because vampires can’t commit suicide for the obvious reason; we’re all already dead.

It was during one of those coffin-contained bouts of un-somnolence I came upon a solution. How did I stumble upon that discovery you may ask? I was reminded that I still had my cell phone on me one wakeful day when I felt the vibration from an incoming call in my pants pocket. The call? It was from some telemarketer asking if I was happy with my current health insurance plan. Now is that ironic, or is that ironic? We spoke for a long time. Him asking me questions about my current healthcare coverage (sure, I had to lie a bit, but what else could I have done to keep the conversation going for as long as it could to avoid the resumption of my boring bier bound attempt at restless repose?), and I in return inquired into all the insurance plans the telemarketer had to offer, their options, cost, and coverage. By the end of the call, I pretty much knew everything there was to know about health insurance plans, deductions, co-pays, and compliance.

Since then, I always made sure my phone was on me when I hit the sack. Although there were some bumps along the way in the beginning. One time I had neglected to check that it was fully charged and before halfway toward trying to get a full forty winks the phone died out, and let me tell you, by the time I climbed out of my casket that late evening I was in one foul mood—even for a vampire—and took my anger and frustration out on everyone I encountered the rest of that night.

After that, I not only made sure the battery was fully charged, I even took it another step further. You see, when I was alive, I had this knack for how to handle electrical wiring (hey—I even use to wire my own DJ equipment at the shows I was booked to spin—and set up my home entertainment system center when I was still had to earn a living among the living, so who the Hell needs to pay an electrician?). So, after the second time when my cell inadvertently ran out of juice because I had drunk the blood of some wasted wino down on Bowery Street which had gotten me a bit tipsy (yes, vampires do feel the effects of alcohol and other intoxicating substances regardless of how they were ingested), and I had forgotten to do my then routine battery level check, I thought of a solution.

Thus, before the end of the night that followed the second uncharged battery snafu, I came up with an idea. Why not just install a charger in my crate? I could run the wall plugged thin wire of it between the lid and the upper side-lip of my sarcophagus, so pretty much outside of any electrical blackouts, my fully charged phone would eternally be with me. This way I could call and talk to whomever I wanted to during those bouts of bothersome insomnia, surf the web, maintain and post/comment on my social media platforms, and even check the clock to see if it was finally time to pop out of the old pine box for another night’s meals and parties (and we vampires do like to party a lot after eating—it’s kind of our thing).

But today when I couldn’t catch some Zs and was still in the middle of updating my Facebook status the power grid went down in the area where I keep my cozy catafalque so that I lost not only the electricity but my WIFI router too. My life sucks! Here it is with hours to go when I can’t sleep, have only my own thoughts for company, and have absolutely nothing to do. Which sucks likes a Hoover vacuum cleaner souped-up with a Ferrari V12 engine. Today the sun can’t set fast enough for this snooze-less, soulless, spiritless S.O.B...  And counting sheep doesn’t work (and yes, I have tried that) since I always lose count when I get distracted imagining how good it’d be to drink their blood, that gives me a bad case of the munchies which make my stomach growl hungrily until my next dining opportunity.

It sucks, I tell you. Come on, where’s that good old Sandman when you need him the most? Oh my God, if you’re not going to let me nod off then at least give me back a jolt of that alternating current along with a bit of that internet access so I can see some bars on my phone and be a happy little camper again. Because today, it really, really, really sucks to be me in this lightless, lifeless little box! 

*Special thanks to fellow Reedsy writer Ruth Porritt who was responsible for planting the seed of experimentation in my mind regarding horror genres.*

June 13, 2021 18:10

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27 comments

Merry Marcellino
18:53 Jun 13, 2021

Great story! Very creative! Maybe you need to write a User's Guide to the Undead! That way all the vampires know what to expect! :)

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Stevie B
18:57 Jun 13, 2021

Love your suggestion and feedback, Merry.

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Rohit Jagtap
12:52 Jul 03, 2021

Now I know how difficult it is to be a vampire and my younger self always seemed amused by its extraordinary skills, now I know vampires too not happy with their life. I just love the idea of narrating the story through a vampire's point of view, and the 'my life sucks' part was cleverly depicted literally as well as figuratively, thanks for projecting some new styles.

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Stevie B
13:28 Jul 03, 2021

Thank you, Rohit, for your kind comment. So happy you enjoyed this undead tale.

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Ramona Taylor
14:37 Jul 02, 2021

Everything I wanted to know about vampires but was afraid to ask! Very good, amusing and the title was perfect!

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Stevie B
15:16 Jul 02, 2021

Thanks, Ramona, and what you don't know about them now is hardly worth knowing.

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Terry Sala
14:13 Jun 24, 2021

Well I Skimmed through it. I pretty much got the gist of your story Pretty much similar to mine yet different in many ways I know it wasn’t easy as I’m going through right now time is merely a thought how did you change your cognitive thinking how long did it take because I’ve been working for years on mine trying to get a hold and dominion on myself and learn self preservation and control and let me tell you it sucks more difficult than I thought There’s got to be a shortcut because once I’ve got control over myself like life really took a...

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Stevie B
14:34 Jun 24, 2021

Yes, the answer lies within.

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Aryansh Dubey
13:38 Jun 20, 2021

Hilarious! Though I was kind of expecting a poke at the twilight cliches or something....

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Stevie B
13:39 Jun 20, 2021

Aryansh, glad you liked it and thank you.

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18:53 Jun 19, 2021

Wow, amazing story. Great content too.

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Stevie B
18:59 Jun 19, 2021

So kind of you to say that, Lucy.

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Cindy Calder
17:48 Jun 17, 2021

I am still laughing. The only thing missing from this story was a bout of restless leg syndrome. I love your writing - always an entertaining and well-written read!

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Stevie B
18:00 Jun 17, 2021

Thank you, Cindy, and I'll remember to include a bout of restless leg syndrome in an upcoming tale.

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Metaxia Tzimouli
17:21 Jun 14, 2021

I love the pun in the title! While I was reading it I was thinking back to the 80s vampire films I used to watch. But I also love the double meaning (if that's what you were going for) with the technology and that we all sort turn in the undead ! Reminded me of the film The Dead Don't Die... any way I am a big horror buff, this was a really good read! Well done!

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Denis Howard
18:42 Jun 15, 2021

It also reminded me of this movie: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10162208775965627&id=188565255626

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Stevie B
20:40 Jun 15, 2021

Thank you, DJ Denis!

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Stevie B
17:29 Jun 14, 2021

Metaxia, thank you for your encouraging words.

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Arya Jackson
13:45 Jun 14, 2021

Very creative!!! I love the vampires!

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Stevie B
14:15 Jun 14, 2021

Anya, and vampires need love too. Thanks!

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Ruth Porritt
04:13 Jun 14, 2021

By total coincidence, today is/was my father's birthday. (the 13th) I had genuinely forgotten it was my father's birthday, until just now. He would have loved this story as well--he loved vampire tales--and he also suffered from insomnia. Dad dabbled in fiction writing in the eighties, but found greater success (in publishing) with creative non-fiction stuff. I wish he had had access, in the eighties, to Reedsy. Anyway, have a great one and keep on truckin', (writing wise) Ruth

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Stevie B
12:19 Jun 14, 2021

Likewise, Ruth.

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Ruth Porritt
04:00 Jun 14, 2021

Wow, Stevie, you work fast! :) Thanks so much for writing and sharing this story. Also, thank you for the shout-out, and thanks for getting me thinking about creative non-fiction and the many possibilities for stories of this kind. (In university, I had a wonderful creative non-fiction class, with a great professor, but I was terrified of classmate feedback. I took a risk with a creative non-fiction piece, and my classmates just went to town on it. The writing was good; my classmates just thought I should be made fun of for my topic.) Any...

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Stevie B
12:18 Jun 14, 2021

Thank you, Ruth. The thought of turning it into a series and/or another novel has crossed my mind and glad that silly simile made you smile. I'll keep you in the loop as to if/when this whiney, little techno vampire with insomnia will rise from the dead again...

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Ruth Porritt
02:01 Jun 15, 2021

Wonderful! :) Have a great week, Ruth (a.k.a Superman's daughter)

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Stevie B
15:52 Jun 15, 2021

You too.

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Stevie B
18:26 Jun 13, 2021

Note from the author: I hope this terrifying tale of a whiny, little techno vampire suffering from insomnia doesn't scare you too much and keep you awake at night. If so, like Charlie Althea, you best be sure your cell phone is fully charged before burying yourself between the sheets tonight as you await the arrival of what may be your final macabre midnight hour.

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