The absolute guide that will definitely tell us once and for all… what the heck is up with these mysterious folks (mostly according to me). I sat down with milkmaid extraordinaire Pam Ravenscroft so she could give us the skinny on vampire biology. She is currently in hiding, mostly for giving away secrets about her race.
You can all blame treewitch703 and Northman Maille, both of whom gave me the idea, albeit unbeknownst to them.
Pam Ravenscroft does not belong to me. She belongs to Charlaine Harris, although Pam is her own woman. I belong to me, though.
Reb: How old are you, Pam?
Pam: I shouldn’t tell you, because a lady never reveals her age, but in the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I’m about one-hundred-sixty years old, give or take a decade.
Reb: You look great for your age.
Pam: Thank you.
Reb: So… you don’t age?
Pam: Nope, not at all.
Reb: Can you cut your hair, or dye your hair, or cut your nails? Can you change in any permanent way?
Pam: We can cut our nails, but they just grow back during our sleep. Same with hair. I could cut my hair every night, I suppose, but it’s too much hassle. I used to do it in the twenties, though, when short hair became the new fashion. As for dyeing it, it can be done, but then the hair starts losing its color with many shampoos and starts looking ugly. I’ve had to shave it all off and start new.
Reb: How did that work?
Pam: I just shaved it off and went to sleep. I had my hair back in the evening.
Reb: How about…?
Pam: You asked me if we can change in any permanent way.
Reb: Oh, yes, sorry…
Pam: We can’t. They way we are turned is the way we remain for eternity, or until we are dealt the final death.
Reb: What are the ways you can meet your final death?
Pam: There are only two: a stake through the heart or decapitation. We can grow limbs, but growing a new head is a bit difficult.
Reb: Right… Which brings me to another question: what’s up with silver?
Pam: You can think of it as us having a violent allergic reaction to it, nothing more. It’s a race-wide trait, though, not like hay fever in humans.
Reb: How about all the others: garlic, religious items, mustard seeds?
Pam: Mustard seeds?
Reb: In folklore, sprinkling mustard seeds in front of one’s home is supposed to make a vampire stop from entering the home in favor of counting the seeds.
[At this point Pam is laughing uncontrollably, drawing deep gulping breaths which I need to ask her about]
Pam: I suppose a vampire with OCD would stop to count the mustard seeds. Otherwise we would not do something like that. We are stopped from entering a person’s home by another type of magic.
Reb: Can you explain it some more?
Pam: In essence, you have to invite us into your home, because you have to be aware that you are consciously inviting evil inside.
Reb: WHAT? But you look so innocent…
Pam: All demons work the same way. We cannot enter someone’s home unless we are invited in.
Reb: And once someone invites evil inside, can it be uninvited?
Pam: Sure! Dogma rules us as much as it rules above. If it’s your firm belief that by uninviting evil, evil will leave, then we do. Now, as for garlic and religious items, it depends on the vampire. Some people don’t like garlic, same with vampires. The really old vampires are very superstitious and will stay away from religious items, but it also depends on the vampire. My master, for example, is not superstitious of the traditional religious items like crosses and rosary beads because he wasn’t raised in that belief system.
Reb: Who is your master, Pam?
Pam: I’m sure you know him well, Rebelina. [She winked at me and gave me a sly smile. I was hoping to be introduced, not told that I knew him already, darn it!]
Reb: Do you need to breathe?
Pam: We only need to breathe in order to smell or talk. We don’t have any other need. We don’t convert oxygen to carbon dioxide, so actually a vampire would be the best to help a human perform CPR.
Reb: Are you affected by breathing helium? Would your voice go up?
Pam: Yes, our voice would change pitch because of the type of gas we would be exhaling, just like a human.
Reb: I guess everyone wants to know… why blood? I mean, there are other substances in the body; does it have to be blood? And is it only human blood?
Pam: The magic within us needs to be fed with live human blood. In dire circumstances we can imbibe animal blood, but it’s not as compatible with our type of magic, the magic that animates us. Nothing else inside a human could sustain us because it isn’t life-giving, only waste… except, perhaps, blood from a menstruating woman.
Reb: Let’s not go there. Can you drink anything else? Water, wine…?
Pam: Sometimes small amounts of water do make it inside, but it doesn’t affect us. Anything more than, perhaps, a few tablespoons, needs to be expelled. As for things other than water, the answer is no. All of that is incompatible with our system and needs to be expelled.
Reb: Expelled as in…
Pam: Vomited, for the most part. Sometimes it comes out through our anus.
Reb: My fault for asking. So does that mean that your intestines digest the blood you consume?
Pam: Well, yes, of course. Except that, unlike humans, we use everything we drink and don’t waste anything.
Reb: I’m going to ask about sex, is that okay?
Pam: Yes, of course. Would you like to have some later?
Reb: Um, no. I’m happily married.
Reb: Um… thank you, but I don’t want to cheat on my husband. Now, about vampires: it seems like men produce semen and women produce lubrication. Do you know what or how…?
Pam: The same way as humans. The men are missing live sperm, of course, but otherwise it’s the same. Everything that our bodies secrete – saliva, semen, lubrication, blood – all of it has a much higher concentration of antibodies than a human’s secretions. Our blood, in particular, contains the magical properties that keep us in the state of suspended animation as far as our aging goes, so it can help heal humans and keep them young.
Reb: So what’s up with this sudden emergence of the drug V? What makes it different? Why is it so toxic to humans?
Pam: The longer our blood remains outside of our body, the more it has a chance to corrupt with the evil within it. If I were to give you my blood right now, it would be unpolluted and uncorrupted, and a perfect antidote to whatever ails you. Once it mixes with the impurities inside the vessel where it’s stored, with air, et cetera, it becomes polluted. Extracting blood from an unwilling vampire is not exactly a clean process, you understand?
Reb: Yes, I do.
Pam: Plus, like I said, we are a type of demon. Our humanity keeps our blood healthy. Once it’s separated from the vampire, the blood is all evil.
Reb: That is a little scary.
Pam: As well it should be.
Reb: Has anybody mapped out the vampire genome?
Pam: That is classified. I can neither confirm or deny it.
Reb: Which probably means yes…
Pam: It’s better if you didn’t know.
Reb: Okaaaay… in that case and to keep myself safe, I think I’m going to wrap up this interview. Thank you so much for answering all my questions.
Pam: You’re not leaving so soon, are you?
Reb: I can’t be glamoured.
Pam: Why not?
Reb: ‘Cause I’m the writer and I say so, pretty much.
Pam: Well that just sucks.
A/N: If there is anything you’d like me to ask Pam, let me know in a comment or review.