My Pitch for a Truly Gruesome Vampire Story
This week I got PR email about new “True Blood” comics, and I received Rolling Stone issue 1112 with cast members from the HBO series on the cover. Suddenly, an idea came to me for a different, modern vampire drama. Here is the plotline of the story I’d tell:
Stefan has a problem. After years of being undead, he is, ah, dying. The vampire has contracted a virulent form of HIV and now has AIDS. Stefan sucked the blood of the wrong victim, not that he ever worried about disease before. Born in Rotterdam during the fourteenth century, Stefan, as a vampire, had survived every imaginable plague. Why not? Diseases attack the living, not the undead.
But this HIV-variant is different, lying dormant until fresh blood is ingested. In a vampire, the virus improves immunity, specifically attacking hemoglobin vital to the creature’s survival. The rich pink color Stefan’s skin would take on after feeding is gone. The tone is an aura of grey that rarely fades.
Stefan feeds more frequently, out of need and anger. He can’t seem to suck enough blood to maintain vitality. Meanwhile, he realizes that feeding infects victims with HIV. The strain as spread from the vampire is even more virulent among humans. They contract AIDS quickly but linger in a ghastly state for months — living and yet undead. Europe panics, as a frightening new HIV epidemic spreads across the Continent.
In France, graduate student Mirielle Charbonneau makes a startling discovery. She finds that the newest AIDS epidemic stems from a single HIV strain, and DNA sequencing suggests something simply impossible: A carrier whose genes point to Northern European origins at least five centuries past. Conflicting motivations between Mirielle, her professor and the university regents lead the research to be dismissed.
But Mirielle carries on. She leaves the university after accidentally meeting Cusper Rhodes in a bar. Mirielle drinks a bit too much and says too much about her problems. For Cusper, the meeting is miraculous. Weeks earlier, mysterious bite marks appeared on his girlfriend’s neck; she grew deathly pale for a few weeks and recovered. Cusper and Mirielle suspect there is some connection between the recent epidemic, and they return to London.
Meanwhile, Stefan reaches an unbelievable realization. His vitality and palor brightened for a few days after a busy night feeding in South Kensington. Some human’s blood countered the effects of his disease. The vampire returns to the London district to search for this victim, desperately hoping the HIV-immunity given to him has protected the human.
The hunt is on, as Cusper and Mirielle seek a vampire who is looking for Cusper’s girlfriend. But no one guesses another startling tie that binds them together.
That’s the gist of my vampire story plot. Working title, subject to numerous changes: “My Blood.” If you’re a publisher looking for a fresh vampire yarn and willing to pay a hefty advance so I can drop everything else and only write the novel, please contact me. Or I would gladly write the fuller story for a screenplay—or even the screenplay. I’ve laid out just the framework here. The real story will be even better.
[Photo Credit: Phoney Nickle / Tiffany]
[Editor's Note: This post was moved to joewilcox.com from oddlytogether.com on Sept. 28, 2010.]
Do you have a vampire story that you’d like told? Please email Joe Wilcox: joewilcox at gmail dot com.