I’ve mentioned my story being in a vampire-themed anthology. The story itself is actually quite old, and was originally written in English; I’ve translated it to Serbian and edited it a bit for the anthology. If you’re in the mood for some dark humor and a vampire hamster, here’s the original version. I hope you enjoy it!
My Hamster Is a Vampire, or, How I’ve Learned to Stop Fearing and Love the Suckers
In the beginning… Well, in the beginning, I was happy, and I feared nothing. I had a pretty good life. My job at a video-club was entertaining AND paid the rent, my cats were adorable, and I broke up with the idiot who was, for the reasons I could no longer remember, my boyfriend for two years.
Yeah, life was good. Then I got Sleepy. For a while, nothing significant changed. Just for a while.
I got Sleepy as a birthday present from Mira, my brilliant friend. She always had such wonderful ideas, like giving me a coffee-maker (I don’t drink coffee), a vase to keep flowers in (I don’t care for flowers), or a nice blue sweater which was three numbers too small for me (“Oh, sorry, you look so small…”). Sure, with my 110 lbs. I look small to a cement mixer.
As for Sleepy, well, you guessed it: I don’t care for hamsters. Or any rodent, for that matter.
But, since he was already in the house, I’ve decided to keep him. I called him Sleepy because all he ever did was sleep. He would wake up about once in a week and eat like a pig (well, he did eat a lot for a hamster), then get back to sleep again. I figured, sooner or later one of my two cats (Lucifer and Lilith) would eat him and I would forget him.
Strange, but it never happened. Lucifer and Lilith hunted everything, birds, mice, rats, flies, everything that moved. I never had a problem with cockroaches once I got those two adorable beasties. But they ignored Sleepy from the start, and kept ignoring him.
Sleepy was never a good pet if you expect your pet to entertain you. But if you want your pet not to bother you, Sleepy’s perfect. You only need to feed him once in a week, and sometimes to clean his cage. That’s it. And everyone who came to your house would say “Oh, what a cute little hamster! May I touch it?”
Sure they could. Sleepy wouldn’t even wake up. He had never bitten anyone.
There were three odd things about Sleepy: he ate once in a week, he accepted food only from me, and he had never bitten anyone. Well, the last one was about to change, some six months after I got him.
I don’t know what happened, really. Maybe a vampire got into my house, bit Sleepy, Sleepy returned the favour, and the vampire thought it might be funny and didn’t just break his neck. Maybe something completely different. I don’t know, and I probably never will.
All I know is, I was about to put food into Sleepy’s cage, and he bit me. It hurt, of course, but I was surprised more than angered. I dropped Sleepy in surprise, and then I reached for him again, to see if he was hurt. I thought that maybe one of the cats had bitten him, and I happened to touch him somewhere where it hurt.
Sleepy seemed all right. There were no wounds on him which I could see.
Then he began licking the wound on my finger. After a moment, he started to suck my blood.
I was too surprised to stop him. After all, I thought, how much could a hamster take? Not much, I realized once he was done. Not much at all.
I left his usual food in his cage, just in case, and waited to see what would happen next.
The cats were aware of the change in Sleepy, too. Lilith brought him a mouse, still alive, and put it in front of his cage. She pressed the mouse with her paw, so it couldn’t escape, and waited.
Sleepy kept sleeping.
The mouse squealed in terror, it sensed something too, but Sleepy kept sleeping.
Then I remembered that Sleepy accepted food only from me.
Obviously Lilith remembered it too, since she took the mouse to her bowl and ate it.
A week later, Sleepy’s usual food was untouched. I opened the cage, he bit me and took some of my blood.
So he still ate once in a week and he still accepted his food only from me. Oh well, he didn’t need much, and having a vampire hamster sounded interesting. All the people who touched him, thinking he was so cute, and they never even suspected, because Sleepy wouldn’t even wake up, and would only accept food from me. Whatever that food was. Cool.
After a while, though, things became boring again. Sleepy was still sleeping all the time, so Lucifer and Lilith got back to ignoring him. And watching people touch Sleepy and know nothing became old news. But I became fond of my weird little hamster, so I kept him. I wondered, idly, if he was immortal now. If he was, he’d probably spend eternity sleeping. What would he eat, though, once I was dead?
What a weird way to find out vampires really existed. Through your hamster. But after a while I got used to the idea — the world was weird, anyway — and stopped thinking about it. I knew some people think of vampirism as a disease, but I also knew it wouldn’t spread from Sleepy, since he was taking just my blood and I had no intention of taking his. I have never wanted to be immortal, or almost invulnerable, or to have great strength, or whatever were the supposed advantages of a vampire. I felt quite comfortable with being a mere mortal, and had no wish to prolong my life by taking other people’s blood.
All things considered, my life seemed quite all right until that damned dog jumped through my window.
Lucifer was always a thief, and a good one. He was never afraid to steal food from our neighbours. They were not nice people — I knew they had beaten their own kid almost to death several times, and put him in a wheel chair — so my only objection was to Lucifer’s safety. But he was a stubborn cat and had to do things his way.
So one day he decided to steal meat from our neghbours’ Rotweiler, while the dog was around. And he forgot to notice that the dog wasn’t tied. Which is illegal, of course, but so is putting a child in a wheel chair.
Anyway, the Rottweiler ran after Lucifer, Lucifer, with his prize catch, jumped through my window, and the dog jumped after him, knocking down Sleepy’s cage in the process. The cage opened and Sleepy got out, confused and wondering who had awakened him so unkindly, but no one paid any attention to him. Lucifer was running away, and I was looking for something to hit the dog with, the dog which was considerably heavier than me.
Sleepy bit the Rottweiler. The dog yowled in surprise. Sleepy bit him again and began chewing on the dog’s paw. My poor brave little hamster. The Rottweiler simply broke his neck.
Lilith and Lucifer watched. Lucifer licked his paw, feigning disinterest. His green eyes shone when Sleepy got up, his neck healed, and continued chewing on the Rotweiler’s leg.
The Rottweiler grabbed him and yanked him again, until Sleepy got still. He dropped the hamster, not so certain about what he was doing here in the first place anymore.
Sleepy got up again. It was too much for the Rottweiler. It was a mean dog, but also a coward; a foe, no matter how small, who refused to die, was too much for him. The Rottweiler ran away, the same way he got in. I closed the window and called the inspection, to report a dangerous dog on the loose.
I checked out on Sleepy. He took some of my blood and went back to sleep.
Lucifer took his prize to his bowl and shared it with Lilith. Have I mentioned I rarely had to feed the beasts?
The guys from the inspection were usually too lazy to do anything, but this time they picked up the Rottweiler. Can’t say I mourned because of it.
I’d only have a day to mourn, anyway; the dog got back. I guessed the neighbours paid the fee and forgot about it. That is, until I noticed the Rottweiler slept much more than he used to. Then I remembered that he had his teeth in Sleepy. He tasted Sleepy’s blood. Was it enough? I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t like the idea. A sleepy vampire hamster is one thing; a big, mean, vampire dog is something completely different. Ouch.
Nothing bad seemed to happen, though. Lucifer and Lilith were careful to avoid the Rottweiler, and that was it. And a miracle happened: the neighbours’ kid was walking again! I knew what happened as soon as I saw the kid’s fangs, but the boy never tried to enter my house. How was it possible? Wasn’t he supposed to keep all the wounds he had before he became a vampire? What were vampires doing out in the sun, anyway? I don’t know. I don’t know much about vampires, it’s mostly what I’ve seen in the movies or read in books, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be true. He just smiled at me — he had always had a wonderful smile, and the fangs didn’t ruin it — and waved. I smiled and waved back, but I didn’t feel entirely comfortable.
A cute boy and a mean dog. No way it would end there. I didn’t think he would make vampires out of his parents — he’d have to be retarded to want to spend eternity with them — but he would certainly feed on someone, right? And he had a few friends; the way world looks like today, idea of becoming a vampire would look appealing to at least some kids. As for the dog, well, he’ll certainly feed whenever he wants to, and every time his prey bites him, there we go.
What was I to do? To destroy them, and my hamster, too, just in case? It was probably possible. Difficult, but possible. Then what? Several days had passed since the boy began to walk. They had certainly made a few vampires by now, or at least the dog had. How would I find them? Would I be able to destroy them all? Or should I tell somebody? Yeah, right, like anyone would believe. “You see, it all started with my hamster…” Sure. They’d just laugh, or, if I was persistent, I’d get a fancy white shirt with looong sleeves. Destroying the suckers didn’t seem to be an option.
But I was afraid. Afraid of smiling children. Afraid of people’s pets, for Christ’s sake! Not that Christ had anything to do with this. But I looked with fear at every dog, every cat, every damned squirrel. Sure, they were cute, but for how long?
I hated being afraid. I wasn’t the only one feeling this way, either. Lilith was calm, but Lucifer became nervous. I don’t know how much he understood, but it was obvious he was very nervous. Lilith purred next to him and tried to calm him, but it didn’t work.
One evening, I saw him laying next to Sleepy’s cage. Sleepy woke up and looked at him. Lucifer returned the gaze. Sleepy got closer to him, pressing his small body on the bars. Carefully, almost gently, Lucifer bit him, and licked the blood which came out of the wound. My poor frightened cat.
When he was done, I got Sleepy. I knew he’d be hungry. He took some of my blood, than got back to sleep.
I looked at the cats. Lilith wrapped herself around Lucifer, purred and licked him. He licked her once or twice, too.
So now I’ll have vampire pets. Me and the rest of the city. The rest of the world, possibly, for who would ever suspect pets? All right, they might suspect cats — there are many people who don’t trust cats — but who’d ever suspect a chihuahua? A collie? Or some cute dog with sad eyes? “Sir, did you know your golden retriever is a vampire?”
But what was I to do? I was still afraid. Sleepy and Lucifer won’t attack me, but they won’t be able to protect me against a vampire, either. Not if the vampire was bigger than Lucifer. Great. I have to fear everything that’s bigger than a cat. And I really, really hate being scared.
Is it so bad, being a vampire? I mean, really? My life used to be good, true, but I was also aware the world sucked. Thousands dying of hunger, every day. People killed by bombs. People fearing anthrax, or AIDS, or whatever. Wars, someplace or other, all the time. And no one really cared about it, as long as his/her life was more or less okay. I didn’t care, either. I still don’t, to tell the truth. So what difference would it make, whether I was a vampire or a human? Except that I won’t be so afraid?
So I did it. I cut my hamster, just a little, with a knife. And I took some of his blood. He was perfectly calm. When I was done, he got back to sleep.
That’s it. That’s how I became a vampire. I can smell them now; I see them on streets and recognize them. Mostly pets, for the time being. They’re all very friendly to me. And a few kids. They smile their sweet smiles, showing me fangs when their parents are not watching. I smile back at them. All the ones I feared smile at me and like me now.
I’ve learned a few things about those vampire kids. If they were hurt, their wounds heal when they become vampires, I know it now. But they won’t grow up. They will always remain small and sweet, their faces pale but beautiful. They’ll never have nine-to-five jobs. Their pets will never die of old age. They’ll never have kids to yell at, or to fondle, either. Oh well, one cannot have all.
I’ll have to warn them, though, once their number increases, not to turn too many people, so we don’t run out of our food supply. We’ll have to do something about ecology, too, or those stupid humans will kill themselves. There will be work to do.
But that will come later. For the time being, I enjoy exploring my new senses, and I enjoy not being afraid anymore. Oh, and I’m always on the lookout for some handsome vampire to share the eternity with. Or some part of the eternity. If I can’t find anyone I like, I guess I’ll have to create one. I certainly won’t get too old before it happens!
So much to feel, and nothing to fear. So much to do, and all the time of the world to do it. Life sure is good; whoever thought vampires were damned knew nothing about what it felt like to be one.