POV – Not Grace (CW – kinda messed up)

The punks thought that I was a metalhead.  The metalheads thought I was a thrasher.  The thrashers thought I was a throwback to grunge.  I just liked playing music.  All kinds of music.  I didn’t care.  I liked it all.  I played with over a hundred different shit bands in high school.  I kept a list.  I even played with a country band once.  Can you fucking imagine?  Teenagers playing country music.

What I really wanted to do was learn to play blues guitar.  How is a 14-year-old white boy in Fitchburg going to learn to play the blues?  Do they even make new blues musician anymore or did they all come from the fifties and sixties?  What did I have to sing the blues about?  How my dad wouldn’t buy me a new Playstation?  That my first car was a lame ass Chevy HHR?

I was 23, living with my mom, working part time a sub shack, pretending that I didn’t know my girlfriend was sucking her boss’s dick at the realty office where she worked, and picking up gigs with a couple of different bands.  The Virile Young Men, SHOUT!, the Living Daylight, and a few others.  It was Shirley Serious I was playing with when I got fucked.

Traveling between different scenes like I did I learned that the one thing they all have in common is that they hate “posers”.  It’s sad how many of these groups bill themselves as being “inclusive” and a refuge for “the outcast” when really they’re gatekeepers just like everyone else.  I saw an adult man punch a teenage girl because she said Green Day is a punk band.  Punched her in the face.

That’s how it started.  Shirley was a good-looking girl so to a lot of metalheads that automatically meant she was a poser.  Satan’s Slaves were that kind of metal band.  The guy that booked both groups on the same show is responsibly for everything that happened.  He’s the only person I don’t regret killing.

Zero, the lead singer of the SS (yeah, they call themselves that, they’re that kind of band) had been encouraging his fans to heckle the shit out of Shirley when she went on stage and they did.  Cursing her out, throwing stuff at her, saying vile shit, all kinds of stuff.

To retaliate Shirley grabbed a SS shirt off their sad little merch table, brought it up on stage, pulled up her skirt and pissed on it.  Because that’s the kind of thing a poser would do right?  She’s not really metal. 

Zero didn’t like that.  Like a lot of these asshole who attack people constantly he’s a total bitchass punk if anyone fights back at all.

Okay, so here’s the thing.  I like music but I’m not into music history.  Someone can tell you when it started but I can’t.  In the past old people decided that music was from the devil.  Probably because it made girls shake their asses.  I can’t tell you why anyone wouldn’t like girls shaking their asses but they didn’t.

I don’t know if the metal scene was accused of being satanic and they went with it, or metalheads started it on their own, either way it’s a thing.  Some bands stay away from it beyond throwing up the devil horns and shit like that.  Some of them embrace it as their identity. 

What I learned is some of them, or at least one of them, actually fucking are satanic.

Zero said that he was putting a blood curse on us for disrespecting him.  Shirley laughed in his face.  We all laughed.  That’s the kind of shit the kid who wears a cape to middle school says when he’s being stuffed in a locker.  A thirty whatever year-old man with a bald head and tattoos wearing leather pants is saying he’s going to put a curse on us.  What a joke right?

Only he did curse us.  Which, not for nothing, isn’t even fair to me because I wasn’t even part of the band really.  Shirley just hired me to play guitar for her sometimes.

I never thought about it but if I had I would have assumed that being a vampire would be pretty cool.  It isn’t.  It fucking sucks.  I didn’t get super strong or super fast.  I can’t climb walls or fly.  I can’t hypnotize people or turn into a bat.  Bullet don’t bounce off me, I can’t heal wounds, I can’t control animals.  I can’t do one fucking thing that I couldn’t do before.

No, that’s not true, I can die if sunlight touches me.  Or if I don’t drink human fucking blood.  So that is different.

It always used to piss me off in movies when someone would get turned into a vampire and not understand what had happened.  Are we supposed to think that movies don’t exist where the people in the movies are?  Somehow they don’t know what it means when the sun makes them CATCH ON FUCKING FIRE.

Give me a fucking break.  I didn’t believe in vampires before but I sure as fuck did once I was one.  I can’t believe that anyone in the English-speaking world wouldn’t think instantly “oh shit, did I get turned into a vampire” if they woke up and the sun burned them.  No fucking way.

Shirley’s drummer and her boyfriend both died the first day.  Just walked outside and turned to ash.  First thing I did was to call Shirley and tell her to stay out of the light.  Good thing she passed out in the bathroom. 

I handled it the best.  Not bragging, I just did.  Shirley freaked out for a while but once it sunk in she was okay.  None of us were okay, but she was okay for not being okay.  Jack W and Jack B never accepted it I don’t think.  Maybe they would have eventually.

I tried to get them to understand that if we wanted to survive we had to stick together.  Like it or not the four of us were a team from that point.  We had to find Zero and make him undo what he did.  We figured out that he and his asshole buddies had just left that morning for a six-month tour of Europe.

Even if we could have afforded to follow them, we couldn’t, it was too risky.  We’d be fried or starve to death just on the flight over there. All we had to do was survive six months until he was back in the state.  That was like our mantra.  Just six months.  Just six months.

We figured out fast that animal blood doesn’t work.  We tried to figure out how to rob a blood bank but we couldn’t even find were one was.  We kept seeing shit about bloodmobiles but that was always during the day.  We tried to go outside during the day all covered up in heavy clothes with goggles but we got so sick being out there that we didn’t make it three steps out of my mom’s garage.

Jack W started visiting his grandpa in the nursing home as much as he could, visiting hours were mostly during the day, hoping one of the geezers would croak and he could run in and drink before anyone noticed.

In the end we attacked a homeless guy in the park with fucking razors.  Because we don’t even have fucking fangs.  We felt like shit for doing it but we couldn’t hold out anymore.  I don’t know what being dopesick feels like but it must be like that.  If we had waited any longer we could have gone insane.  I would have hurt my mom.

We didn’t kill him.  But we cut the shit out of him.  He must be all scarred up now.  Like his life wasn’t bad a-fucking nuff before we did that to him.  We were all so depressed after that it was hard to see what the point was.

Maybe we should have killed him.  Maybe that would have been kinder.  I can’t imagine what kind of psych problems that guy has now because of what we did. 

The media loves to say that Americans are desensitized to violence.  They’re wrong.  This wasn’t schoolyard pushing and shoving, this wasn’t throwing a couple drunken punches at a bar or a party, we attacked a man, we cut him all up.  All I wanted to do for weeks after that was to get wasted so I wouldn’t have to think about it.  I didn’t because I was too scared. 

That’s what being a vampire is, being so scared all the time you can’t think straight.  Think about how it would feel if half the day you could just die instantly.  In summer there’s sunlight for 15 hours some days.  Even in the winter there’s usually at least 8 hours of sun a day.  Try to imagine what that’s like.  Pretend that 12 hours every day snipers were trying to blow your head off.  You can’t see them but you know they’re out there waiting for you to slip up.  Try to be normal with that going on. 

And on top of that you’re also scared that you’re going to starve to death.  Or that you’ll starve yourself so much that you’ll go berserk and hurt someone.  All the vampire stuff out there is bullshit except the stories that use it as a prop talking about addiction.  That’s what it fucking feels like.  You think about feeding all the time.  All the time.   

Imagine if you had no food in your house, there’s no stores, no gas stations, no restaurants, no Uber eats, not nothing.  The only way to get good is to steal it from someone else.  And you better fucking believe that they don’t want to give it up to you. 

After we cut up that homeless guy I knew that we had to get out of town.  Fitchburg isn’t the kind of place where a series of assaults like what we did are going to go unnoticed.  I’m not sure there’s a place in Wisconsin like that.  We made up a new band, the Vampire Sluts, and we hit the road.  And that only worked because Shirley’s cousin and John W’s sister came along to drive and care for us like fucking babies during the day.   

Sometimes my mom sent us money for a hotel and we all piled into the bathroom during the day, Steph (the cousin) and Jordan (the sister) pissing in cups because we had the door barricaded we were so afraid of the sun.  Most of the time we were in the back of a van with the windows taped and papered and covered with cardboard and anything we could find.   

All it would have taken is some kid throwing a rock through the window and we were dead.  One guy breaking windows looking for shit to steal.  One curious asshole at a rest stop opening the door.  One to catch a predator asshole trying to get after Steph and Jordan and we were dead. 

What we were all the most terrified of though was getting pulled over by the cops.  Even if we survived them ripping open the back door they’d drag us out of there and we’d be flash-fried in a second.  I thought I had been scared before but being on the road was a million percent worse.   

There was no other choice though.  We had to find victims.  There’s no other word for it.  That’s what they were, victims.   

The fucking not-funny thing about it was that people liked the Vampire Sluts more than any other band I worked with, bands that we were trying their asses off to make it.  We has no interest in success, we just needed a reason to be out on the road.  I read a review that said we had the hungry desperate sound that was the perfect encapsulation of the existential dread of our times.  If you only fucking knew man. 

Shirley got good at luring groupies backstage and getting them so doped up we could cut on them and drink.  Remember all those needle attack rumors?  That was probably us.  We’d bandage them up and call 911 afterwards so I don’t think any of them died but we didn’t stick around to find out.  Mostly it was women, guys are too hard to get wasted so we could get at them, they want to fuck before they want to party.   

That method didn’t always work.  Sometimes we had to do other things.  Once two girls hitchhiking had a really bad day because of us.  You shouldn’t hitchhike kids.  There were other incidents like that but that one sticks with me.  Those girls were so scared.  I don’t know if I’ve ever hated myself more than in that moment.  But we still fucking did it. 

There’s some concept in philosophy where anything you do to survive is okay.  Like when those guys in the plane crash ate each other.  Or stealing bread to feed your kids.  I hope that’s true.  I hope that what I did is okay because it’s what we had to do.   

Six months came and went and we had no idea where Zero was.  If he was even back in the country.  Satan’s Slaves aren’t a popular band and they’re not on social media.  It wasn’t easy to keep tabs on them.  We made ourselves believe that he was back and all we had to do was find them.  What else could we have done? 

We were outside some pigshit Texas town when an ambulance rammed us off the road.  It was after sundown so we were all up and Steph+Jordan were asleep.  I was driving so I saw it.  It was 100% deliberate but I still convinced myself for a second it was an accident because it was an ambulance.   

I couldn’t stop myself from wondering if they had blood bags inside. 

The van ended up on the side slanted forward in the ditch.  I was hanging from the seatbelt like I fell off a rock climbing wall.  I smelled the gas before I heard it glug-glug-glugging onto us.  I managed to crane my neck enough to see that the back doors had been cut open, with those jaws of life things, and a woman was standing over the hole dumping a big can of gas in.  Those giant fucking square ones that you only see on movies.   

Shirley was trying to crawl into the seat next to me, going for my dad’s old service revolver in the glove box.  Everyone else was just freaking out screaming as gas splashed on them.  One of the Johns tried to climb up at the woman but she kicked him back down like he was nothing to her, a bug.  I only saw her silhouette and the giant combat boots she was wearing.   

I managed to squirm out the window into a cavity under the van, pressed down into the dirt like a worm.  That’s the only thing that saved me.  The flames blasted out a second later.  Shirley, John W, John C, they died instantly.  It was like their bodies were flash paper, they were just gone.  Steph and Jordan weren’t vampires though.  They were people.  They screamed and screamed and screamed.  They didn’t die immediately.   

They were normal people helping us and those animals fucking burned them alive.   

When I finally got enough balls to try and slither out from under the van I saw them.  Four women standing by the side of the road, around their fucking ambulance, holding hands praying.  Fucking praying.  Thanking God for giving them the strength to murder us.  Asking him to send our souls to hell because of what we were.   

Vampire hunters exist.  We’re sick and we need help and some people hunt us.  Can you understand what that’s like?  How would you react if someone said they were a cancer victim hunter.  If they told you they find people sick with cancer and blow their heads off because their disease is a sin.   

I could sing the blues now. 

If I still cared about music. 


    1. I normally employ a strategy of hating everything I do and disregarding any positive feedback, but I am a little proud of this one. Thank you

      1. I don’t want to kiss too much arse and make you hate it, so I’ll keep it brief. The way you conjured the pre-transformation character while viewing it through the post-transformation character’s lens was an absolute beaut. I enjoyed reading it a lot.

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