DIS-ORIENTATION • by C.I. Kemp

You’re awake? Good.

Don’t try to move or talk. Just lie there for the time being.

Relax. Drink this.

No? All right. I’ll just leave it here in case you change your mind, Stephen.

Yes, we know who you are.

You’re Stephen Cushman. Age thirty-two. Self-employed software engineer. Husband to Doris. Father of Stephen Junior and baby Michelle.

I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Stephen, but you won’t be seeing your family again. That would put them in extreme danger.

I know, I know. That’s a lot for you to absorb. Just hear me out.

You see, Stephen, you were the victim of a particularly savage attack. You were left for dead in a public place.

Much as I hate to say it, it was one of our people who did this to you.

Fortunately, it was also one of us who found you before anyone else did, and brought you here.

No, this isn’t a hospital, but it is a safe place.

We’re going to help you get through this. I have to warn you, it’s a long process. We’re not talking weeks or months. We’re talking years.

You’re wondering who I am, aren’t you? My name isn’t important. Just think of me as a member of a group, an order, if you will. We’ve been around for a long time.

Throughout history, we’ve been stalked, persecuted, hated.

And slaughtered.

Over the years, we’ve learned how to blend in, to keep ourselves  — what’s the term? — “under the radar.” The one who attacked you may have drawn some very unwanted attention to us. Don’t worry, we’ll find out who it was and deal with him — or her.

We’ve been among you for generations. It’s quite likely some of the people you knew were members of our order. Friends you’ve socialized with. People you did business with. Women you’ve made love to. People you voted for.

How do you feel, Stephen? Are you Hungry? Well, that’s understandable.

No, don’t try to sit up. Hey, quit fighting me, dude; I’m way stronger than you are!

That’s better.

I know how powerful the Hunger is. Right now, you’d gorge yourself on anything. Or anyone. Am I right?

Normally, a simple pinprick is enough to satisfy us. Our “victim” awakes, doesn’t remember a thing and goes on their way with a feeling of mild dizziness or lethargy. They don’t even notice the tiny puncture marks.

The one who attacked you hasn’t learned to control the Hunger. It’s something we try to avoid.

That’s not to say we don’t bring others into our ranks. When we do, we’re much more discreet about it. Mostly loners; people with few or no family ties. And always in a secluded spot.

Are you ready to drink this now? Here.

Careful. Not so fast. Just sip it. Good.

It’s 3 AM. There are a few more hours before dawn. For the time being, you’ll want to limit your activities to the nighttime. In time, you’ll be strong enough to tolerate the daylight. You’ll also build up a resistance to garlic and crosses. Be patient; it only took me a hundred years to get there.

What do you say, Stephen? Feel up to grabbing a bite?

Sorry, couldn’t resist.


C.I. Kemp is the author of two e-novels, Demon Ridge (Barbarian Books) and Autumn Moon (Taliesin Publishing). His short stories have appeared in Under The Bed, Encounters, Isotropic Fiction, and Speculations From New Jersey.


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 average 5 stars • 1 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Funnily enough, I’ve just finished writing a vampire story myself today. Anyhow, I enjoyed the gradual (though ultimately predictable) reveal to this story. It read well, engaged me, but somehow felt like a creative writing exercise on composing a story entirely in dialogue. It is extremely well composed, though.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Funnily enough, I’ve just finished writing a vampire story myself today. Anyhow, I enjoyed the gradual (though ultimately predictable) reveal to this story. It read well, engaged me, but somehow felt like a creative writing exercise on composing a story entirely in dialogue. It is extremely well composed, though.

  • I kept waiting for the not-a-vampire twist to this. Especially given this posted on a Monday. Was thinking he might be presented his law degree or something.

    So, good story on its own, but my own expectations caused me to enjoy this less than I should/could have.

    • Ramon Rozas III
      We lawyers kill our prey outright.
    • MPmcgurty
      Okay, I'll bite. Hahahaha. What's Monday got to do with anything?
      • Camille Gooderham Campbell
        We try to post more humorous things on Monday. Or at least non-depressing things. Mondays are grim enough already.
        • MPmcgurty
          Ahh, good to know.
  • I kept waiting for the not-a-vampire twist to this. Especially given this posted on a Monday. Was thinking he might be presented his law degree or something.

    So, good story on its own, but my own expectations caused me to enjoy this less than I should/could have.

    • Ramon Rozas III
      We lawyers kill our prey outright.
    • MPmcgurty
      Okay, I'll bite. Hahahaha. What's Monday got to do with anything?
      • Camille Gooderham Campbell
        We try to post more humorous things on Monday. Or at least non-depressing things. Mondays are grim enough already.
        • MPmcgurty
          Ahh, good to know.
  • Hmm. I completely missed all of the vampire references until the garlic was mentioned. That’s when my mind said, “Oh geeze, here we go.” Had it been in the middle of the story I probably wouldn’t have continued reading.

    The story is rather interesting and very well-written. I just think the ending kills it. It reads more like a sci-fi piece, so I was expecting that sort of twist. The whole vampire thing doesn’t seem to work exactly. Aside from being a bit cliche.

    Thanks for sharing. I hope to see more of your work.

  • Hmm. I completely missed all of the vampire references until the garlic was mentioned. That’s when my mind said, “Oh geeze, here we go.” Had it been in the middle of the story I probably wouldn’t have continued reading.

    The story is rather interesting and very well-written. I just think the ending kills it. It reads more like a sci-fi piece, so I was expecting that sort of twist. The whole vampire thing doesn’t seem to work exactly. Aside from being a bit cliche.

    Thanks for sharing. I hope to see more of your work.

  • Strong use of dialog, though I prefer this skill appearing in a fuller story employing the gamut of tools.

  • Strong use of dialog, though I prefer this skill appearing in a fuller story employing the gamut of tools.

  • S Conroy

    Enjoyed a lot. Very skillful writing I thought.

  • S Conroy

    Enjoyed a lot. Very skillful writing I thought.

  • Chinwillow

    I liked this,..Nice flair dialogue and I thought well written. The ending I agree was a bit of a disappointment but it went down well with morning coffee:)

  • Chinwillow

    I liked this,..Nice flair dialogue and I thought well written. The ending I agree was a bit of a disappointment but it went down well with morning coffee:)