Like most people my age, I went through a vampire phase. I think it started with Amelia Atwater Rhodes’ In the Forests of the Night, which was dark and lovely and just scary enough to pique the interest of this horror-shy lover of creepy things. From there, I branched out to a variety of series and one-offs, including bad romance series (fun fact: I have read almost every Sookie Stackhouse book and I refuse to be ashamed of it), a weird one about the connection between diabetes and vampirism called Sweetblood, Interview With the Vampire, which I did not care for, and, inevitably, Twilight, which left me bored and confused.
When I find something I like, I dive wholeheartedly into it. I didn’t just want to read the contemporary stories themselves, but the stories behind the stories. How far back did these legends go, and what did they look like elsewhere in the world? To this day, I remember my personal favorite vampire tidbit–that some culture or another believed you could become a vampire if someone hammered a nail through your shadow. Unfortunately, I can’t verify this anywhere and I don’t even remember where I read it. For all I know, I made it up.
Nowadays, vampires aren’t really my thing–werewolves, on the other hand…–but the folklore is every bit as interesting as it’s ever been. I might not be actively seeking it out anymore but I still drool a bit over a juicy piece of myth, even if my tastes have moved on to different fields.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(Noun: Ancient Greek potamós for “river” and phóbos for “fear”)
The fear of rivers.
Sylvia has read a great many books. She knows about rice, about mirrors, about permission to enter. She knows about rivers.
Absently, she scratches at the two puncture marks on her neck, still healing. They’ve scabbed over but she picks at them until the blood flows sluggishly from the wound. She feels a little ill with how hungry it makes her.
Sylvia takes a deep breath and rinses her fingers in the water. She doesn’t immediately die, but behind her, too close, are hounds baying and she must make a choice. She puts one foot in, then another, and runs.