Still dealing with the weirdness of being a vampire. That still doesn’t sound believable. I’ve written many books about vampires, explored their history and myth, and yet I never thought I’d come face-to-face with one, much less become a clichéd “creature of darkness.” And, yet, here I am. Tonight I even fed on another human for the first time. I don’t think I’m completely processed that point.

The evening started with kind of a “Vampire 101” how-to lecture by Jing-Wei, one of the elder vampires. It was actually somewhat interesting – so many things vampires can do with blood that I had no idea. I learned how to use blood to heal wounds, and increase my strength and speed. Dyl, one of the other new vampires, can even use blood to make her face flush and her heart beat again, although I haven’t learned that trick just yet.

At the end of the lesson we had a lecture on hunting and The Traditions, most of which I already knew from my time here with the Tremere. Tonight we each were to hunt for blood relatively on our own for the first time, which wasn’t something I was looking forward to. Then, they let the eldest of the new vampires, Alexandria, choose where she wanted to hunt first, and being a musician, she chose a club.

This only added to my stress. I hate crowds. HATE them. I don’t do book signings for this reason alone. If there was one thing worse than trying to figure out how to bite and draw blood from another human, it’s the idea of learning to do that while *surrounded by a throng of other people.* That might work if you’re used to being the center of attention like Alexandria obviously is, but I still can’t see how that will help keep things a secret.

The club was worse than I imagined. So loud you couldn’t hear yourself think, and the main pit a writhing mass of unwashed humanity. Alexandria and Dyl seemed to dive right in. I tried to wait outside, but Jing-Wei insisted I come into the club with them, so I hugged the back of the room near the merch tables and tried to wait it out until Alexandria fed and we could leave. I was promised a quiet bookstore for my ‘lesson.’

Things went downhill from there. Alexandria started some sort of fight with these goth kids, and bloodied one of them before they all took off as a group. I don’t think she even fed from them – I think she was just being a bitch. Then these five weird guys came in – even Jing-Wei didn’t know exactly what they were – and lay siege to the place. They started beating people with bats and claiming to be vampires – definitely bad news.

After getting drilled all night not to let anyone find out that vampires exist, it was freaky seeing these things loudly proclaim their vampire status, especially after they waded back into the crowd and started killing people. This is not what I expected, and I tried to stay out of it. Before I knew it, though, the other three were breaking stools into stakes and wanted me to join in fighting these giant skinhead vampires with small chunks of wood.

Jing-Wei attacked the one nearest us with some kind of telekinetic blast, and then Dyl and Alex laid into him with pointy sticks. Unlike movies where vampires fall with one stab to the chest, this guy lost an eye and got stabbed in the back near the heart and just kept coming. Luckily our chantry security most have noticed something was up, because they busted in with guns blazing and took our big guy down.

The vampire-thing didn’t want to stay down, but Alex and Dyl covered him in alcohol and lit him on fire, which seemed to do the trick. Oddly enough, hurting one of them seemed to affect the other four, so we were able to concentrate on taking the one guarding the door down, and then incapacitate the other three while they were reeling from the death of the second guy.

Using one of the steel tables from the pit, Alex kept hammering one of the three in the head while Dyl and I set fire to the other two. Dyl had the bright idea of keeping one to study, and so Jing-Wei and the security guys got him tied up and into the limo while the rest of is dealt with all the witnesses to the Masquerade-shattering vamp attack. Most of them had holed up in the back or in the bathrooms, so we got them together and lined up.

Jing-Wei pulled out a Chicago PD badge and “interviewed” all the suspects until they remembered what she wanted them to – apparently, that they’d witnessed a non-supernatural fight between punks and skinheads and that the cops would contact them with any additional questions. When there were just a few witnesses left, Jing-Wei let us feed off the rest, since they were getting their minds wiped anyway.

After the panic of almost getting killed again, the actual feeding was almost instinctual. The guys seemed to like it when I bit into their neck – at least, once past the initial pain. Jing-Wei had mentioned something about the “Ecstasy of the Kiss” but I didn’t really believe it until I saw it first-hand. Now, I’m torn. It wasn’t a predatory thrill, but I don’t feel as guilty about it as I feel I should. Am I losing my humanity already?

-- KL 2003.07.19