Own Worst Enemy
So, yeah... feeling a bit light-headed. Still probably need to catch up on sleep, but bleh. I have the most wonderful daydreams and I wish I could make them real. Popular one is flying. Or mentally grabbing cars as I drive along. Others as well. A fine gumbo of daydreaming. Some escaping, some extrapolating What IF's into feature length presentations. I know my daughter does the same thing. You know how parents want their children to surpass them? Well, I built a better introverted anime rpg nerd - possibly the best. Her only genetic failing is not wanting to go to Toys R Us seeking the elusive toy-of-the-month as much as I do. Anyhow, i'll watch her walking around on the way home from school, or whatever, and she'll be smiling at nothing, just bobbing along Somewhere Else. She'll snap out of it long enough to use the Tae Kwon Do I've been paying for on me. Joy. As you sow, so shall you be ax-kicked.
So, own worst enemies. This is a common theme, perhaps the only theme, in Unknown Armies, an RPG that has a lot in common with a lot of different authors, one of them being Tim Powers. It is the game that, as a player, provided a nearly transcendental afternoon of gaming - a game as intense as any movie, any play... Anyhow - the idea is there's no Cthulhu, no Devil, no Big Evil out there. All the horrible things in the world are perpetrated by man, usually upon other men. No icky thing is without a human origin. 'Demons' are just malignant ghosts, and so on... Unknown Armies also has an interesting magic system. Magic is basically an obsession. Each magical school is built around a magical paradox. Like the dipsomancer - the boozehounds - they get more magical power over reality the more drunk and less controlled they become. The plutomancer who gains power over commerce and money be gaining money and never spending it... and so on. Adepts, as they're called, are a messed up bunch who have to do some desperate things to keep their magic mojo flowing. The magic is also fairly low key.
So, someone wanted to know how to spin vampires in the world of Unknown Armies. I tried. He's some. What are vampires? People who drink blood? What are they, and how can you misinterpret the idea.
The blood is alive.
Where did it come from? Some say a guy was giving blood, and they left him too long, he bled too much - he died. Or maybe it was an Epideromancer gone wrong that became the blood? A boozehound who drank himself to liquid death? Something weirder? Outer space? The Holy Grail? Is it even blood at all?
Whatever the reason, the Blood is alive - that's what's known. It gets inside you, becomes part of you. It can whisper things. It can sing the sweetest songs to you, right into your soul. It can be your friend. It can tell you secrets. I hear it can pass from mother to child. I hear it can be transmitted by a blood transfusion, and maybe against its will.
Sometimes, things get ugly. The relationship with the body its in goes south, or it discovers the body has cancer.
The blood needs to get out. But the body won't let it. The host might refuse. Sometimes, the link between body and blood is too strong and the blood is just stuck inside the host's veins, screaming. It can't override the bond, it can't bring itself to sever that link.
But there are some people who can hear it. Sensitive types. Loners, sometimes. Special people.
And if the blood is strong, and the listener is weak, or is overexposed to it, or in some cases sleeps near the blood, so that the blood's cries enter the sleeper's dreams...
... well, sometimes those who listen try to help the blood.
Normal folks suddenly grab a guy, bite his neck, take the red thinking thing into their body. Sometimes they grab someone, tie them up, and bleed the stuff out of them, fascinated by the psychic cry. Refrigerators full of little screaming bottles. There's talk of a guy who freezes it, up in Alaska. Makes little sculptures out of it, shapes you wouldn't understand. Is it a shape the blood wants to be in?
And then there's the lonely ones. The ones who learn about the blood, and can hear it. Can hear it whisper to the people it lives in. Suicidal types, most often, looking for a reason to live. Looking for a friend, perhaps, or just something to have some control over. They find those with the blood, and they steal it. I knew a girl down New Orleans, said she had managed to collect five of them after we broke up. Weird girl. Kinda nuts, but better than the starving thin thing she was way before. Still, I left in the night soon after she told me.
The blood... it makes you... not stronger... but it gives you will. It affirms, it supports, it's something that believes in you. You can do some crazy things with the blood whispering in your ear. Break handcuffs apart (and probably your wrists too), keep walking after a car wreck, beat a guy to death even though your hand is full of glass shards. Whatever crazy thing you put your mind to, the blood can help push your boy to achieve. Let's not talk about the blood and sex, ok?
There's lots of other stories, if you know who to ask. About the meetings the blood-folk sometimes have, and how they never speak at them, they just *know* things.
Some say that there's more of them than you think, and that they've been around since old Egypt. And maybe there's a jar with some real old blood in it - or maybe that's where they come from, I dunno.
Then there's crazy talk. The blood wanting to make a body they can all live in, like a big living apartment complex. Whatever. That's just nuts.
Mostly, I just hide, in case she finds me, and what I took.