Here’s a little inside info about vampires in the world I have created for Georges Belleveau and Diane Patterson, the two central characters in On The Far Side of Darkness.
The most important thing is that vampires work very hard to keep their existence a secret. They’re outnumbered at least ten thousand to one, and they know how mortals react to different. Most have been around for at least decades and to them events like The Holocaust and The Trail of Tears aren’t something they’ve just read about in books.
No one is sure what the odds are though. There’s never been a census of the world’s vampires. But no matter what, the odds can’t be good. So vampires stay out of sight.
Their main ability towards this end is that they can hide themselves. A vampire’s natural form is a terrifying beauty. They can change that appearance to look merely human. A touch pale perhaps, and an observant mortal might suspect something is odd about them, but a vampire won’t cause panic if they hunt in a crowded bar.
The other major ability is that they can mesmerize people. This is less powerful than you would think. A complete memory wipe or personality change is impossible. But subtle effects can be more effective. The suggestion that “it was just a shadow,” or, “that person was just very angry,” will be enough. The human mind will take such hints and build new memories around them.
Vampires are, of course, undead blood drinking monsters. They can be cheerful, well read generous and loving. Georges Belleveau tries to be these things But vampires are undead blood drinking monsters and to be treated with care at all times.
Since they are predators that hunt at night vampires are stronger and faster than humans. Their senses are sharper as well. Their eyesight is equivalent to the most modern mortal night viewing instruments with commensurately heightened senses of hearing and smell on top of that.
They can use the blood in their bodies to enhance their abilities even more. Increasing their senses requires only small amounts of blood. If they augment their strength to the point where where a tempered steel bar can be snapped, that takes more. A vampire will be starving in a few seconds if they move at a speed too fast for the human eye to follow.
Any wounds a vampire suffers can be healed in seconds, if the vampire takes the time to concentrate and if they have enough blood to do so. Severe wounds might take most of the blood in a vampire’s body. Which leads to one of the most dangerous things in existence; a hungry vampire.
Another power vampires possess is the ability to draw a cloak of shadows around themselves. As long as they stay out of bright light they appear as a dark mist at best. From inside this they can stalk their prey with ease.
They have weaknesses of course, with exposure to sunlight being the worst. If the sun falls directly on a vampire they’ll have barely enough time to scream before they are dust on the wind. Indirect sunlight, as in a bright room, will kill them slowly. So a dawn or sunset is something a vampire will never see.
A wooden stake through the heart doesn’t kill a vampire. It merely paralyzes them. But considering your average vampire’s reflexes and how hard it is to hit the heart in a melee, good luck with that.
If a vampire is staked then destroying them is fairly easy. Beheading works. Cutting off a vampire’s will end the magic (enchantment? illusion?) that maintains their existence. Be prepared to deal with a mess though. Time will catch up to the body in an instant.
A staked or otherwise helpless vampire can be incinerated. By which I mean shoved in an incinerator and reduced to ash. A simple dousing in gasoline and throwing a match on them simply won’t do it. Plus if the stake burns away you’ll have a vampire in a great deal of pain to deal with.
Vampires do sleep during the day. Not entirely because sunlight is fatal. Just the fact that the sun is in the sky drives them into unconsciousness. They find a dark place to sleep at dawn and stay until sunset. They can wake to defend themselves so don’t think it’s much easier to destroy them during the day.
Barring the methods listed above vampires are very hard to kill. Shooting or stabbing them will simply make them angry. As noted previously, this is not a good thing.
One famous vulnerability is in reality, uncommon. Icons of faith such as crucifixes can only affect a vampire if the wielder has honest-to-God, bone deep faith. Belief isn’t enough. Without faith a vampire will just laugh at a mortal acting like a character from a Hammer Horror film.
So these are the vampires of which Georges Belleveau is numbered. It’s a dark, hidden world where mortals are not allowed. But, very occasionally, love grants an entrance.
On The Far Side of Darkness is available for preorder at the cost of just $0.99 until the release date of Halloween. You can buy all of R. C. Graham’s books by clicking on the covers in the side bar.