Vampires at Dusk

Penny Perkins

“This is how the vampire myth started,” she said as we walked out of the house.

5:30 p.m. on the tale-end of a winter’s day, only a few weeks before spring. The air was crisp and clean. Our cheeks were flush. A faint pink wash lingered in the sky.

As we walked hand-in-hand down the sidewalk to the bodega on Union and 4th, blue turned to midnight blue.

Day turned to Dusk.

And we turned, again, to each other.

We had spent the daylight hours inside — the blinds closed, lights out, and candles sputtering. Rampant sex across carpets. Outlaws languishing in dark, sexy deeds. Her clothes off, mine on. Her hand slapping my ass through the thin skin of well-washed denim.

“Anything can be a sex toy,” she said.

Lubricants greasing fingers and silicon. Nipples bit and pulled. Hands tied. Flesh on flesh on sweat. Orgasms for days.

This is how the vampire myth started. Lovers sequestered indoors for hours, for days, for weeks at a time. The smells and sounds seeping through portals to the noses and imaginations — the dirty, dirty imaginations — of neighbors and pitchfork-wielding fear-mongers.

Each night, the Lovers — faint from hunger — slip out like shadows just as the darkness arrives to greet them. The Lovers: out on a prowl to eat to feast to feed … to replenish bodily nutrients so they can skulk back through the same dark night (that brings fear to sleepers and protection to the Lovers) only to start the whole flesh-on-flesh adventure again.

Not quite human these Lovers, for they are full of the stuff of Eternity — passion and possession — and they are utterly, utterly insatiable. Their faces glow with the wonders of sex and succulent sensuous savoring. Their feet glide — not quite on the sidewalk, not quite of this world — carrying them down roads others are too cautious to tread.

This is how the vampire myth started. Two creatures feeding off each other, without a need or thought for community or daylight, becoming something inhuman and more-than-human … casting terror into the hearts of those who observe passion, but who do not possess the magic of it themselves (nor the courage to conjure up the magic).

But they want it, those others. Oh, yes, they want that passion, that power, too. They crave it without admitting their cravings, and that is what makes them more dangerous — so much more dangerous — than the Lovers. For if the villagers cannot have the enchantments and sorcery, they will not allow the Lovers to live it, either. They will track and stalk and mutilate the Lovers until their four wayward feet return to the ground, until they go to work on time, until there is a stake in the heart of their union, until the Lovers forget the ecstasy of life at Dusk.


But there is a little-known secret about life at Dusk: It is not always the villagers with their pitchfork jealousy who end the twilight time of the Lovers. Vampires can be killed from within, too. The fear that erases Dusk, the doubts that disrupt Eternity — these can come from the Lovers themselves, not quite able or willing to believe in this blissful netherworld, not quite sure how to sustain its heady charms, not quite ready to accept the inevitability of its raw pleasures.

“It will be for the best.”

“I will get back to the life I left behind.”

“We will still see each other, just more casually.”

But never, never at Dusk. Never again will they see each other at Dusk and revel in its sublime delights.

Instead, they will fear their draw toward each other, they will see other people, they will make each other jealous, they will run from each other and toward each other in ever-widening circles. They will go on separate vacations and send each other postcards. They will make a last ditch stab at a trip together in a distant city, where they will argue and seek separate hotel rooms. They will forsake each other’s names. They will rip up photos of each other and refuse to return each other’s calls. They will make new friends and break other hearts. They will move on.

But always there will be some chemical aftertaste lingering in their dreams and on the dark side of their memories, of a time — of a very brief, but intense time — when they had each other completely. When they were enraptured by the Dusk of each other, and when their desires for each other knew no bounds.

And then, one day, many years in the future, even the faint stain of that fading chemical bond will erode, and finally — in its terrible, terrible complete and utter finality — the last infinitesimal connection between them will be gone.

And that, my initiate, is how the vampire myth ends.

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