When you find a sleeping vampire, you jam a brick into its mouth so it'll starve. This doesn't always work—sometimes their jaws are strong enough to crush bricks. Sometimes they aren't vampires at all. I've jammed bricks into the mouths of regular corpses. There's no telling about anything. There are simply too many monsters out there.

I drank vampire blood once. The body was right there, so I figured why not. It tasted like regular blood and hasn't changed me a bit. I keep getting older, my bones and skin frailer. When I look in the mirror I still see myself. People aren't afraid of me, and when they are, it's not in a sexy way. I don't get uncontrollable cravings for anything.

Sometimes I dream about death by sunlight. I'm standing at my window just before morning. The sun climbs up over the dark houses, just like on any other day. When the light reaches me I start to burn. First the little hairs on my skin ignite, like thousands of tiny birthday candles. Then my skin catches fire with this sound like a whoosh, and in no time, I am one big roaring flame.

You should see me then: I'm like the wick of a kerosene lamp before I scatter into ashes. You'd never know it was me—so bright and hot and surprising.


Carmen Lau graduated from the UC Davis creative writing MA program. She currently lives in Shanghai, where she teaches English.
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