Christopher Peruzzi is surviving a zombie apocalypse. He is the author of "The Undead Rose" in the "Once Upon An Apocalypse" anthology.
The Twilight Fans Have It All Wrong
Imagine a kind of immortality.
This isn’t the typical immortality of godhood, nor is it something you get when you make a formula from a philosopher’s stone. This is immortality with a price. This is living a demonic half-life which requires you to exist without sunlight and ingest a quart of fresh blood once a day.
This is “vampire” immortality.
Vampires are an interesting lot. Ask any teenaged girl. These creatures of the night get to be perpetually kempt, perpetually the same age, perpetually stylish and have a pathetic sob story almost guaranteed to melt the most cynic of teenybopper hearts. To hear about a vampire lament about his situation is to know the true meaning of nausea. How many times can a woman hear the whining about loneliness and the simpering crap about needing to share the burden of a painful existence?
For those women who thought the Twilight books were the greatest literary piece of fiction since the Bible, strap yourselves in. Should you actually ever meet one and fall prey to his seductive line of bull shite, you’ll be hearing it 24/7/365 until you get the urge to sharpen a broom handle and put him out of your misery.
For the rest of us, have no fear, I have some great ways to get vampires out of your life. All it takes is some careful rules of thumb, mindfulness, and a bit of amateur butchering knowledge. After all, dealing with a parasite with the predilections of a wood tick might require a little more than a lit match and a pair of tweezers.
You’ll be okay if you can work with this stuff in your daily lives.
Carry Some Religious Paraphernalia
This only works for non-atheists.
Catholics feel they have the monopoly on easy vampire repellent by keeping assorted crucifixes hanging around their house and on their person. Why not? The media coverage for this simple trick is pretty huge. The use of crucifixes goes all the way back to Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. Abraham Van Helsing, a Catholic zealot, stumbled upon a great way to keep vampires at bay – wear a crucifix or hold a crucifix near a vampire.
It works well when you’re unconscious. More than one vampire adept at hypnosis has “suggested” to a potential victim to toss that old ugly piece of jewelry away at a critical moment. More fanatical vampire hunters simply tattoo one to their jugular vein. Those of us who work in an office with a dress code know this isn’t an option.
There is also the technicality that a crucifix can only be wielded against a vampire by a man of faith. Once again, atheists are out of luck on this one. The theory behind this has to do with the resurrection of Christ and how a vampire’s existence is pure blasphemy to that notion. Anyone who’s seen the movie or read the book Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, know this to be true. It’s important at this point to avoid conversation with a clever Nosferatu who is fluent in the works of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Higgins.
It could cost you your life.
My suggestion is to investigate alternate religions for a resurrection mythology. One might look into the stories of Isis, Osiris, and Horus in Egyptian mythology. I won’t go into the story now, but much of the story has to do with coffins, resurrection, sex with dead people, and enough elements to make a vampire puke.
Plus Egyptian jewelry and tattoos are really cool looking.
Almost every mythology has a resurrection myth, not every vampire is up on their classics. Find a cool one you can believe in and use that.
Use Garlic in your Cooking
For some reason, vampires hate garlic. It might be one of the reasons you never see an Italian vampire.
My guess is it’s the equivalent of rubbing dog crap all over your own food. Remember, most vampires don’t see human beings as potential eternity mates. Most vampires see people as food. Would you eat something rubbed with dog crap? I know I wouldn’t.
I have a hard time putting cumin in my chili. It’s hard to be a supernatural threat when you can be stopped by a simple condiment.
To be fair, Terry Pratchett fans know this maneuver isn’t perfect. In his book, Carpe Jugulum, Pratchett created a band of vampires who, through systematic desensitization and gradual acclimation, learned to like garlic. They grew immune to the garlic barrier much like antibodies in a flu shot. If you haven’t read the book, I recommend it highly.
Discounting Terry Pratchett’s vampire lore, most vampires will avoid the smell of garlic much the same as anyone invited to spend a day working in a sewage treatment plant. My suggestion is you should use more of it in your cooking. Hindu and Italian cooking is full of garlic. Garlic is full of antioxidants and is good for your heart. Unless you have acid reflux problems, learn to like garlic if you suspect your neighborhood has a vampire infestation.
Like Grandma Van Helsing would have said, “A clove of garlic a day keeps the filthy Nosferatu away.”
Things in your Vampire Survival Kit
A medium sized crucifix
Only works with believers. A "man of faith" can wield a small crucifix better than an atheist with a giant one. Repels vampires because of the resurrection Christ.
To a vampire, it smells terrible
A sharpened wooden stake
Driving this through the heart of a vampire will kill it... and anyone else you do this to.
Silver anything will burn a vampire's skin.
A hand mirror
A mirror will not show the image of a vampire. Apparently, it has something to do with lacking a soul.
Live in Places like Alaska, the North Pole, Greenland, or the South Pole in the Summer
Did you know that Alaska has periods of night that last for sixty-seven days straight?
Fans of the comic book series (and movie), 30 Days of Night, know this is Club Med for a vampire. Imagine being stuck in a town where a pack of vampires can hunt without any kind of daylight limitation for a month straight.
Remember, these are creatures that move preternaturally fast. You might have run pretty quick on the track team in high school, but that’s nothing to a vampire on a slow day. They’re also about ten times stronger than an average man. So forget about barricading doors with lots of furniture and living in an improvised bunker – they’ll probably get you in the end.
With that in mind, the inverse is also true. Alaskans get eighty days of straight, constant daylight in their lives. It might throw your sleep schedule off a bit for that two and a half month period but think about living in a vampire-free world for that time.
As bad as it would be for you in the winter, it would as hellish for a vampire in that time. If you suspect a vampire has taken residence in your Alaskan town just before the “white nights” you have two and a half months to hunt that bad boy down.
Ignorant vampires moving to Alaska looking for the thirty days of night might have a rude awakening very much like mistakenly going on the prowl during a one-hour solar eclipse.
Should you decide to go on a vampire hunt during the white night period, bring a reputable dust buster. I recommend Black & Decker.
Live Near a River
Another little thing about vampires is they have problems crossing a running river. I don’t know why. Some say it has a lot to do with the very nature of being supernatural. My personal belief is that like resurrection myths, it has to do with crossing the River Styx.
The River Styx in Greek mythology has to with crossing into the land of the dead. When people died, they were given coins to give to Charon, the ferryman to take them to the other side. Naval ships to this day, build their boats with a few coins in superstition.
The point is vampires really don’t was to screw with the River Styx.
Considering a vampire’s very being is a mockery of death, I don’t think they’ll take any chances crossing a river where they may not ever get back – even if it’s a small one.
Some people say it has to do with the gurgling of a river and how that sounds to supernatural ears. I think that’s not quite right. However, think of the enjoyment you’ll get watching a confused vampire having to take the long way around to get to you. That should give you plenty of time to prepare your traps.
Invest in Silver Door Knobs and Latches
The best rule of thumb for vampire survival is never to invite a vampire into your house. That being said, you should never be a mayor and give the key to the city to a vampire, either.
In the original Lost Boys film starring Kiefer Sutherland, the head vampire under the guise of the boyfriend of protagonist’s mother was invited into a home and happily ate garlic and handled silverware. In that scenario, the vampire was quite invulnerable to any kind of attack. Well, almost any kind of attack. A stake through the heart will kill pretty much anyone vampire or human.
The same goes for decapitation.
Should you find the “vampire invitation ban” not working at all, I would suggest replacing your door knobs with ones made of silver or, at the very least, silver plating them. A bucket over the door with some water mixed with silver nitrate might also do the job.
Depending on what kind of movie you subscribe to, silver to a vampire could range from extreme annoyance to burning to (in the case of the Blade movies) just make vampires ignite altogether. At the very least, I would hope they vampire might get a terrible burn on his hand from using a silver door knob.
If All Else Fails, Go with the Classics
What’s the surest way to kill a vampire?
As every first grader who’s ever watched any program involving Count Dracula can tell you, the surest way to kill a vampire is with a stake through the heart. Marvel Comics and DC Comics would have you believe that’s not true at all. According to them, a stake in the heart merely serves to paralyze them. Should you remove the stake from a vampire’s heart, they come back to life like geraniums in the spring.
Much like destroying a zombie, the surest – THE VERY SUREST WAY – to kill a vampire is decapitation.
The best way to permanently destroy a vampire actually came from reading The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition. A stake through heart and then decapitate the head from the body. Stuff both the head and the body with garlic and burn both in separate pyres. From there, take the ashes and scatter them.
That should do it.
Soaking the ashes in holy water might just be a bit of overkill, though.
Why Are We Afraid of Vampires?
When we look at vampires we see superhero like beings wearing dead skin. Think about it. They run like lightning. They’re invulnerable to bullets – the jury’s still out on whether you can kill a vampire with a silver bullet, typically that’s a werewolf cure. Vampires are really strong. They can also hypnotize people with just a glance. Plus, on top of all of this, they’ve been known to transmogrify themselves into bats, mist, wolves, and younger versions of themselves.
That last part isn’t from any kind of modern movie, either. That’s directly from Bram Stoker’s Dracula from the part written by Jonathan Harker.
They need surprisingly little to survive. They need a coffin with three pounds of the dirt from their own homeland and about a quart of blood every night. Give them that, get them to avoid sunlight, and they’re good to go.
Sure, they have a bunch of rules that keep them from getting to us immediately. There’s the garlic thing and the silver thing. There’s also crosses, mirrors, rivers, lack of house invitations, sunlight, wooden stakes, and decapitation. Those rules level the playing field a little bit, provided the potential target of a vampire knows he’s coming.
Vampires are not zombies. They think and have rules. Zombies just wander around and if you happen to come near them, you could be in trouble if there’s a lot of them. Other than that, they’re like a vampire’s special needs younger sibling.
We fear vampires because they’re dead and physically superior to us. On top of all that, they want what we have – that precious juice that gets moved around through that fist-sized pumping thing in our chest.
Someone thought sex appeal to these things was a neat idea. What it really is, is a con job. From a vampire’s point of view, they’re looking for a young girl who’ll buy his lonely hearts story so he can not only feed on these idiot women but also have a mate stupid enough to evolve over the next hundred years or so without realizing she’s been the main ingredient to his Jenny Craig plan.
As Jim Butcher so eloquently put it in one of his Dresden Files books, humans are food. They eat us. The only really good thing about vampire stories is we have a chance to use some of the many vulnerabilities against vampires.
But that’s all we have – a chance.
Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on May 18, 2020:
I'm glad you liked it.
Jim Henderson from Hattiesburg, Mississippi on May 16, 2020:
I love the way you approached the subject. Very well thought out. You weave a good tale mingled with interesting conjecture and 'facts.' I found it very entertaining from beginning to end; sometimes a story can drag but not this.
My favorite line was, "For some reason, vampires hate garlic. It might be one of the reasons you never see an Italian vampire.