Crave - Teresa Mummert



I stood on the thin ledge of my hotel’s roof as my heart pounded rapidly inside of my chest. Kicking my sandals off, I watched them flutter toward the ground below, disappearing into the darkness of the night as the concrete bit into my soles. I hoped I would be as lucky. I just wanted to fade into oblivion and out of existence like the others before me as they became a memory.

I inched forward slowly until my toes hung over the edge, freedom from the turmoil that plagued me within reach. Stretching my arms out to my sides, I braced for my disappearing act. I hoped my next life would be less cruel, one where the monsters remained inside of our heads and not outside of our doors clawing to get inside.

It started with a bite but less dramatic than you’d probably imagine. Just like a simple nip from a mosquito could transfer diseases like the Zika virus that could mutate human offspring and then be transmitted from person to person, so did Vampirism. Only it didn’t spread as rapidly with vaccinations such as the TDap immunization that inadvertently made human blood a less than an appealing host starting as young as two months old, or even in the womb if the mother had opted for their own shot while pregnant.

Unfortunately, adults rarely went back for booster shots and many began not vaccinating their children altogether when it was rumored that they could possibly cause autism. If only they knew what was actually being spread. By the time vampires were discovered, the damage had been done.

At least, that’s what the government told us, to keep us lined up in the clinics and feeling like we had some semblance of control over our fate. All we needed was a simple prick, the president told us. He was a simple prick who had no idea what he was talking about. The truth was, vampires had been around a lot longer than we liked to admit and there was nothing we could do to stop them.

Thousands took what they called the easy way out, committing mass suicides to get the jump on the end of the world and meet their maker. But they were wrong as well. There was nothing easy about what they’d done.

Sure, their pain ended in the blink of an eye but their pain didn’t die with them, only transferred to those who’d loved them. Same with the victims who’d fallen prey to the vamps. Pain, like love, didn’t die. It wasn’t human. It wasn’t something tangible. Until we all were gone, it just collected, building up like sludge in the souls who were still struggling to make it through another day until it clogged up the heart and we lost all will to continue. The population was rapidly dwindling and the heartache was spreading like an infectious disease.

The air whipped around me, engulfing me with the smells of the city. The scent of life was intoxicating, but it was the death that lurked in the shadows that terrified me. I let out a deep sigh as fat tears rolled down my cheeks and jumped backward to safety onto the roof.





Sorry For Myself

I wandered back to my apartment barefoot and brokenhearted. It was one of those nights that you dared someone to mess with you. No one did, of course, and I made it home without anyone so much as glancing in my direction. Even the hunters who stood guard through the night acted as if I was invisible. I posed only a threat to myself, and I couldn’t even go through with that.

Throwing my purse on the kitchen table, I grabbed a beer from the fridge. Sinking down on my couch, I turned on the evening news and braced for the inevitable. The current ticker filled with undead crimes scrolled across the bottom of the screen as if it wasn’t something out of a horror movie.

“Monsters,” I groaned under my breath as I chugged my drink, setting the bottle on the coffee table. My doorbell rang, jolting me from my self-loathing and I nearly jumped out of my skin.

“Who is it?” I called out as a gripped the small handgun stuck in the back of my jeans, my trembling fingers flexing against the warm metal that dug into the flesh of my lower back.

“This how I taught you to greet people?” My