The Vampire Bodhisattva
After a brief time away in a sunny and warm Puerto Vallarta, it’s back to writing. This story has been sitting around for a few years. I hesitated to include it in the collection coming late this fall. Then I thought, ¿por qué no? Did I mention the Mexican beach trip? Anyway, here’s a first draft. You may reasonably expect some changes before it’s release in final form. But since you’ve never seen it before, here it is. BTW: the collection will be eclectic–don’t take this as at all representative of the whole.
He awoke at dusk, blood crusty and cracking at the corners of his mouth. Evidence that he once again had broken his vow. What kind of Bodhisattva could drink the blood of others? Ever since he had learned the path of peace, the practice of Buddhism, he had tried to leave the way of the vampire. Each night he awoke, renewed his vow to be a Bodhisattva. He must respect the humanity of others, leading them to the law. Instead, the hunger overcame him again and again.
Somehow, he must find a way to resist. Resist the flavor of warm blood coursing through the veins of passersby. Passersby he might otherwise lead to happiness. Happiness he himself was denied by guilt. But he couldn’t resist, not from twenty feet away or more. The redolence exuded from their pores—the lifeblood he wanted and needed, since the change.
In the meantime, he encouraged his fellow vampires to take up the practice. They laughed when he explained karma. How causes created effects in one’s life. That the karma from one’s current life carried forward into the next—in cycle of death and rebirth.
“Seriously?” one said, “A vampire is already eternal—we never die. So how could we be reborn?” The laughter echoed so loudly it pained his vampire enhanced hearing.
“Well, all of us don’t live forever, you know,” another said. “Those who get caught in the sun or are staked by a hateful human do suffer the true death.”
He realized then he had no other choice. Be true to his new found faith or remain a vampire. He fed one last time that night, before praying earnestly for rebirth. He walked outside just before the dawn, awaiting his flaming fate. He would never know for sure if his prayers were answered. The reborn don’t remember their past existences. Only their karma endures.
§ § §
“Hello Mr. Burke. Back again for another donation?” the nurse said.
“Yes, I just can’t help myself—after I learned how valuable my O negative blood is,” he said, baring his arm with a smile.
“All right then. My goodness Mr. Burke, you’re due for your gallon-pin today—congratulations!”
We are running a little bit behind schedule, but we will catch up with a goal of first drafts on all stories by March 31st. Where are we right now? First drafts on five flash and micro stories. Two third-thirds through a first draft of a full-fledged short story. We will be pounding the keyboard for the next seven weeks. We will get there! Must have the collection out to beta readers before summer.