Strange and seductive forms of vampirism manifest in the new Sirenia Digest released a few days ago. The new Caitlin R. Kiernan story, “Mercy Brown”, is another dialogue. This time between two people with a friendly and physical relationship, it involves discussion of mythological “hair” vampires as well as a recounting of the first person narrator’s encounter with a vampire. Caitlin loads the story with a variety of details to add texture to the concept, including a visit to a museum and an examination of bezoar—hardened food and other material taken from the digestive system of living creatures. This is great but I liked the tale of the narrator’s encounter even more.
What does a vampire do to its victim? Many versions of vampires cut out the blood and have the creatures drain energy. In this case, what is more draining than compelling questions that are never answered? The vampire here responds to every question from the narrator with an evasion, with a return question and the advice to wait and see. The mental teasing perfectly suits the the experience. The story also has some lovely description and it made me want to see the vampire described by the narrator.