1 | Always Starving

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I like the rain.

The rain comforts me and drowns out all the screeching of spirits in my house. The rain never failed to distract me from my hunger. I would look at raindrops and pretend that they were beads of tears from gut-wrenching memories.

Like now, I was sitting inside my apartment and staring out of the window, listening to the wailing of the wind and the sound of raindrops slapping the glass behind the curtains before trickling down the windowsill. They looked like tears. I poked out my tongue as I thought of licking them up.

The sound of a cabinet opening brought me out of my thoughts. My daydream was halted. My mood became foul. I knew the sound was from the kitchenette just a glance away. The apartment was small. The living room and kitchen shared the same space.

"You've been dead for two years, give it a rest," I said, watching the pot on the stove stop shaking as the gas turned off. Olivia, as I've come to know the human soul, whose body I had consumed two years ago, always attempted preparing a meal at this hour. She still didn't seem to accept that she was dead, and she hung around my apartment with a few others, trying to perform everyday human tasks.

I sighed, leaning back on the sofa as I cradled my head. The ghosts in my house wouldn't be so bad if they could stop trying to cook. I didn't mind them watching television or even letting the bath water run. But with the stove? I was concerned about the fire hazard.

Every few weeks I think of moving. That was how I ran away from the souls that started stockpiling in a given space. Spirits can't wander too far from where they've died. I try my best to eat out, but sometimes luring someone to my apartment was necessary.

Sometimes I dream of human sight. I wonder if the world would seem less clustered and rowdy if the spirits were gone, and the emotions that dripped and clouded every living being wasn't visible to me, but then I feel I might not like it very much.

I've been alive for one hundred and four years. I might be a young vampire, but those were many years to be alive. It would be hard to readjust.

I let my hands drop and I narrowed my eyes at the stove, letting out a relieved sigh when I noticed Olivia had turned it off all the way. My eyes move to the television. It was on but I had turned the volume down all the way, so all I could do was observe the moving pictures—stare at the white-faced man with fangs that were supposed to represent people like me.

A laugh escaped me.

When humans think of a vampire, they imagine high-class all-powerful beings, not scrawny looking—hungry-looking—folks living in isolation as they battle their curse of hunger and immortality.

I worked, because I needed hunting grounds for food, and I needed money to exist. Many of my kind are just like me. Too hungry to think too much. Too tired to fight or embezzle and scheme like the rich bloodsuckers on T.V.

When you eat a human, it was in your best interest to finish the job. When being eaten, human bodies turn to mist—a concentration of their emotions and memories, and you can wade through them to find the ones that matched your affinity. Sure, you leave a huge chunk behind, and then there's their soul, but humans can't see those, and the police have nothing to work with. It was for the best. Hungry vampires are messy and have no time to think through their hunts and kills. We would all be in prison if we left behind a trail.

Humans who don't get to the point of defragmenting into just memories, their souls and emotions became reanimated corpses that become murder machines. They make humans anxious, and they leave behind a trail of blood that could be followed and tracked by the police.

Bottomless hunger coupled with immortality was a curse, but my cursed existence would have been much better if I had been anything but a trauma vampire. Those who fed on emotions like lust, pride and even terrible thoughts motivated by evil were lucky. Even the lowlife human corpses infected with vampirism, which were too weak to feed on emotion, and fed on blood instead, had a less anxiety-ridden experience than me.

Feeding on traumatic experiences is a beast of its own. Like the others, I am forever hungry, and I always want to eat, but eating distresses me.

Cries, screams, and tears are delicious—so much so, but emotions motivated by traumatic memories were intense, and I always feel drowned out and overwhelmed by their significance and bitterness.

I like to eat one meal that can last me weeks or months so that I don't have to experience the feeling of eating for a while, but those kinds of meals are becoming far and in-between. Humans still have traumatic memories, yes, but the ones dripping with a year's worth of food are few and far between.

There aren't many vampires. A few million compared to the human seven billion. However, when certain emotions are at their collective peak our species can justify reproducing because there was enough food to go around.

I was born in Germany, in the middle of the First World War. Genocides and periods of extreme violence are when vampires like me are born.

My stomach rumbled, and I shivered, feeling the need to go out and hunt, but I swallow the need back, remembering a jar filled with memories of a homeless man that I had saved for later under my bed.

When memories are stored away from the body, they become less sweet—they spoil. Human brains are fascinating. They constantly reconstruct and refresh memories as a cooler would keep food warm.

I frown a bit, thinking of how off the memories would taste if I eat them now. It's been weeks, almost a month, but I don't have a choice.

I am always starving.

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