“Attacked by a Vampire” — Cormac McCarthy

They walked on into the dark and they slept like dogs in the sand and had been sleeping so when something black flapped up out of the night ground and perched on Sproule’s chest. Fine fingerbones stayed the leather wings with which it steadied as it walked upon him. A wrinkled pug face, small and vicious, bare lips crimped in a horrible smile and teeth pale blue in the starlight. It leaned to him. It crafted in his neck two narrow grooves and folding its wings over him it began to drink his blood.

Not soft enough. He woke, put up a hand. He shrieked and the bloodbat flailed and sat back upon his chest and righted itself again and hissed and clicked its teeth.

The kid was up and had seized a rock but the bat sprang away and vanished in the dark. Sproule was clawing at his neck and he was gibbering hysterically and when he saw the kid standing there looking down at him he held out to him his bloodied hands as if in accusation and then clapped them to his ears and cried out what it seemed he himself would not hear, a howl of such outrage as to stitch a caesura in the pulsebeat of the world. But the kid only spat into the darkness of the space between them. I know your kind, he said. What’s wrong with you is wrong all the way through you.

—from Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian

3 thoughts on ““Attacked by a Vampire” — Cormac McCarthy”

  1. I read a book once someone wrote on South America animals, insects, traveling and the one part I remember was this vampire bat. It would return again and again to its victim, gradually depleted their blood until they died. He was talking about a cow, and manetioned they did it to babies in cribs who wasted away, the parents never realizing why. I guess horror, real horror is something that stays with me. There is another one in one of Bruce Chatwin walking trips in South America, forget which country, where a very young child was kidnapped and taken to a cave by a religious cult. They then gradually confined their limbs, head twisting so that gradually the head faced backwards, the feet and legs reversed and the arms until it could no longer move on its own. This was their “saint” their little “god” that they kept there and worshipped. Nietzsche would have perfectly understood this horror of humanity.


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