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art by Melissa Mead

Losing One’s Appetite

As a child, Sarina Dorie dreamed of being an astronaut/archeologist/fashion designer/illustrator/writer. Later in life, after realizing this might be an unrealistic goal, Sarina went to the Pacific NW College of Art where she earned a degree in illustration. After realizing this might also be an unrealistic goal, she went to Portland State University for a masters in education to pursue the equally cut-throat career of teaching art in the public school system. After years of dedication to art and writing, most of Sarina’s dreams have come true; in addition to teaching, she is a writer/artist/ fashion designer/belly dancer. Her art has been sold to Shimmer for an interior illustration and another piece is on the April 2011 cover of Bards and Sages. Sarina’s unpublished novel, Silent Moon has won Romance Writer of America awards, and she has sold her short story “Zombie Psychology” to Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, and “A Ghost’s Guide to Haunting Humans,” won the March Whidbey NILA Student Choice Award. Now, if only Jack Sparrow asks her to marry him, all her dreams will come true. Her site: www.sarinadorie.com.
I ran my tongue over my fangs, scanning the crowd, inhaling the scent of warm meat. The thumping of hearts around me drowned out the cheesy Dixie Chicks song.
Then I saw her in vintage Gothic attire, her hair in a 20's bob. Crimson, horned-rimmed glasses sat on her nose as she sipped her Bloody Mary. With an outfit like that in a country bar, she was asking to be my dinner.
I sauntered through plumes of cigarette smoke, locked eyes with the twenty-something man in a cowboy hat seated next to her, and mesmerized him with my powers. "Leave," I mouthed.
He stood and left.
"Good evening," I said, a hint of eastern European inflection seeping through. If there's one thing the ladies dig, it's the exotic accent.
The woman glared after the man. "See if I give him an 'A' on his next paper."
Even under an excess of perfume, her salty-sweet blood made my stomach growl. I straightened my ruby bolo tie and I flashed my most dazzling smile. "Perhaps you would care for the company of someone a little more... mature." Six hundred counted as mature, right?
She shrugged.
I now realized she was forty or so, a streak of silver through her black hair. Older than my usual, but really, I was doing the world a favor taking out an aging vamp wanna-be.
I used my look-into-my-eyes tone. "So, you're a teacher? What do you teach?"
"English 201, Gothic Literature, and Monsters in Mythology."
"Monsters? Like vampires?"
Her heavy-lidded gaze passed over my black Wranglers and rested on my enormous silver belt buckle. A smile tugged at her scarlet lips. I turned on my hypnotism, but she spoke first. "You don't actually believe in vampires, do you?"
"Don't you?"
Again, I was about to bend her will, but she ruined the moment. "Vampires are just metaphors for what people didn't understand with their limited knowledge of medicine in the past." She then commenced to lecture me on Victorian disease until I was sleepy.
I ground my teeth, about to ensnare her so thoroughly she would be my willing slave, but the woman opened her mouth again. "Because the literature reflected the sexual suppression of the era, the monster was often the main character's wife or neighbor, transformed from innocence into a femme fatale deviant. And the manner the empowered woman had to be killed--the phallic stake being the man's tool of choice--how can anyone deny the metaphor of sexual violence?"
I was ready to bite her right there to shut her up. Usually human victims weren't so difficult to control--or this talkative.
She waved to the bartender. "Can I get a menu? I'm starving." She turned to me. "I hope they have garlic chicken wings."
It was now or never. I looked into her eyes. "You aren't hungry. You're thirsty. We will leave and you will invite me in for a drink at your place." Doing the bloodsucking at someone else's house always saved on cleanup.
The lids of her eyes drooped. "A drink... at my place." She blinked. "My place is a mess. No way you're seeing that."
I leaned closer, the sound of her pulse rising above the twang of Shania in the background. The scent of her blood filled my nostrils, making it difficult to concentrate. I stared into her gray eyes. "You will come with me to my condo and I will... empower you." And after that, I'd drink her blood.
She smiled, drunk on my magic.
"And you will not ruin the mood by speaking," I added.
She rose, staring into my eyes as we exited into the cool, night air. Even though Miss Dinner stank of cheap perfume, what I suspected was residue of wet dog, and cigarette smoke, I was still dizzy with hunger. But my powers must have been waning by the time we got to my place because she stumbled on a crack in the sidewalk and the spell was broken.
"And if you think the vampirism in literature a hundred years ago was sexist, you should read some of the trash published today about supposedly sexy vampires."
"What do you mean, supposedly sexy?" I took her elbow, guiding her to the elevator.
"They're in paranormal romance novels, powerful men bending women to their will. The weak woman says no, but afterward she decides sexual violence is okay because she didn't know what she wanted anyway. Blah! That's why I like Jane Austen. Keep it simple with nice Mr. Darcy."
I tried not to gag. I hurriedly enthralled her into silence with what was left of my magic, and ushered her to my condo. Jane Austen fan or not, she would be my dinner.
Unfortunately, when we entered my bedroom, instead of jumping on my king size bed with the inviting blood-red comforter, she went to the dressing screen in the corner.
"Ooooh, I've always wanted to change behind one of these! Can I?"
"As you wish." I reclined back on the bed, faint from hunger, stomach whining in complaint.
She disappeared behind the screen. "So, you never did answer me when I asked if you believed in vampires."
I chuckled. "I have reason to believe. Perhaps, I might change your mind...."
She was silent for a long moment. Her scent intensified, the feminine musk growing sharp in my nostrils. And there was something else.... Was that fear? I smiled.
At last, she spoke. "And do you believe in werewolves and witches, too?"
"Of course not." Though, I had known a few hags in my time. "And you don't, either, I'd wager, as you'll just say wolf-men are metaphors for--"
She slipped out from around the screen. She had changed, but not in the way I expected. She was covered from head to toe with fur. Her face was now a muzzle, drawn back into a hungry smile, though her voice was the same authoritative teacher tone as before. "Not wolf men. Wolf-ladies."
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, September 6th, 2011


The inspiration for this story began after reading a book from the digital library called Classic Vampire Short Stories. One thing that struck me in the Victorian and Gothic literature I was reading at the time, was how often sexuality and vampirism (or other paranormal attributes) were tied together, making women who felt desire the equivalent of sexual deviants. This, in combination with the vampire versus werewolf rivalry produced by “Twilight,” and the idea that a country bar should be the least likely place to find a vampire, all contributed in the creation of “Losing One’s Appetite.”

- Sarina Dorie

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