I've been fascinated by vampire mythologies since I read Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series and L. J. Smith's Vampire Diaries as a teenager. Since then I've read every book and seen every movie about vampires that I've come across, and one thing I've noticed is how the vampire mythology changes--slightly or drastically--with each author.
In some stories, vampires can't come out during the day (e.g. Bram Stoker's Dracula, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, Blade, and Underworld), while in others they can (e.g. the Twilight series). Some vampire mythologies claim that vampires can only drink the blood of human virgins (e.g. Andy Warhol's Dracula), or that being bitten by a vampire either kills a person or turns them into a vampire (e.g. From Dusk Til Dawn). In some stories, humans and vampires can be bound to each other by the exchange of blood (e.g. Octavia E. Butler's Fledgling). In others, a psychic exchange accompanies the exchange of blood: vampire and human can see each other's memories, hear each other's thoughts, experience each other's feelings (e.g. Annette Curtis Klause's The Silver Kiss). There are rules about crosses and garlic and holy water. About stakes and beheading. Rules about whether being bitten is pleasurable, erotic, or painful. About shape-shifting and controlling the weather. And these rules change from story to story as each author creates his or her own mythology.
I too am creating a vampire mythology, for the Lilly Frank series. Here are some of the rules of that world:
- Vampires can eat human food, but it does not sustain them; they need blood to stay alive, and human blood is best.
- Being bitten by a vampire can be either pleasurable or painful, depending on technique, but it neither kills you (unless they drink too much) nor turns you into a vampire. It takes a significant exchange of blood to become a vampire.
- Vampires are not only stronger and faster than humans but they also have more acute senses: smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight are all heightened. Which means, among other things, that light hurts their eyes more (hence preferring the dark of night) and scents more easily offend their noses (hence the aversion to garlic).
- Crosses and holy water have no effect.
- Wooden stakes hurt a lot (remember heightened sense of touch), but they do not kill a vampire. Vampires are immortal and heal quickly, and the only way to kill a vampire is to deprive them of blood for an extended period of time or to behead them and make sure the head and body stay far away from one another.
1) Under this mythology, would you want to become a vampire? (Why/why not?)
2) Regardless of whether you'd want to be one, what would you do with eternity if you were one?
On Oct. 15, 2012, I will choose three people's answers to use, with their permission, as the bases for characters in the Lilly Frank series.