Attack of the Vampire Sharks

Well, no, not really. And yet, sort of.

I just finished reading Incubus Dreams, the latest Anita Blake book by Laurel K. Hamilton, so I guess it’s natural that I have vampires on the brain. Though, I’ve been intrigued by vampire lore as long as I can remember. Also, it’s October, so, hey, it’s even seasonal.

One rainy weekend when I was about fourteen, I spent the day curled up with a copy of The Annotated Dracula, which was basically Stoker’s novel accompanied by a bunch of nicely snarky footnotes and comments – everything from explanations of the gesture which wards off the “evil eye” to a really groovous recipe for chicken paprikash. I remember finding it amusing when the notes included the wry comment, “Isn’t it interesting how a journal entry can stutter.”

Now that I’ve been blogging a while, that comment doesn’t amuse me quite so much. Oh, I still appreciate the inherent snark, but I’ve come to realize that journal entries do pick up the conventions of speech, more than they follow the standards of formal writing. At least, in my case anyway. So if I use dashes or ellipses (often with a healthy dose of literary license), it’s because I want to give the impression of a mental stutter, a minor paradigm shift, much as, I suspect, Stoker was doing in Jonathon Harker’s journal entries, within the novel Dracula.

Of course, this has nothing at all to do with sharks, vampiric or not. But, as I said, I have vampires on the brain. And over the past two weeks I’ve been following the stories of two white sharks, one in Massachusetts, caught in a shallow inlet, and the other at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. (The latter has recently survived it’s 18th day in captivity, which is a record.) I’ve had a ‘thing’ for sharks even longer than I’ve been into vampires (and by ‘into,’ please understand, I mean in fiction and folklore. I have never been much for the goth scene.) So I have sharks on the brain, as well. My fascination with them is twofold: they’re amazingly beautiful, efficient, apex predators which should be protected, and I, like others, associate them with the very primal fear of being eaten.

With NaNoWriMo beginning in two weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out what to write about. Oh, I’d never cheat and begin the actual writing ahead of time, but, plotting, character backgrounds, that kind of pre – it’s all legal. Last year, the story just happened. It flowed from my brain through my fingertips to the computer, and I never had to stretch for it. This year…well, I’m more focussed, but the process will be more structured, more intentional, less organic.

So, I woke up at six this morning with this sentence echoing in my brain. If a drop of your blood falls into the ocean, you are bound to the sea for life. And an image of a young woman in the water, and a large shark eyeing her, making some sort of judgement and accepting her, and then moving away. And I was tasting blood in my half-awake state, as well. So, I guess the story will be about blood and water and vampires and sharks, but I’m not sure how to tie them together. I did ask my husband, a longtime World of Darkness fan, if there were were-sharks, and he said there were, but…I don’t know…I prefer to invent my own folklore, not steal someone else’s.

Vampires. Sharks. Blood. Water. Rain.

Food for thought.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Attack of the Vampire Sharks by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.