Monday, July 2, 2012

Excerpt from Finnegan

Here's an excerpt from Finnegan, a funny little story about vampires, history, and the weird ways family and strangers can intermingle in fantastic and frightening ways.  The following only suggests about a tenth of what is actually in the novel, but it's a good look into the thought and depth of the characters and the vastly complicated situation they find themselves in:
Actually, it’s completely different.  On some level, such relationships, such real dilemmas, must be how those romantic comedies were once conceived.  A situation like Romeo and Juliet, who would have been happy together except their families were blood enemies, that might have been a possible source, or another successor.  This isn’t to say that it’s unnatural for a vampire and a mortal human to fall in love, because love is blindness, but that it’s a basic contradiction.  Unless the vampire makes their lover into a vampire, they are dooming themselves into unhappy, temporary lover.  You can make an argument that eventually, one of the two could come to find some peace in the arrangement as it is originally introduced, but even in that, it will become to the vampire, in time, as if it never really happened.  Long life already undergoes enough change.  The purpose of intimacy is to retard it, as much as possible.
     Since it is hardly likely that most people would introduce themselves with their least savory characteristics, it’s natural to assume that this will almost always be a problem.  A vampire meeting a human will never come right out and say that they are a vampire, which at the offset complicates everything.  Since humans and their thoughts are inherently private matters, thought is almost always kept private, and as a result, privacy is held as one of the most valued traits we possess, the thing that serves as the barrier and obstacle across the entire world, which in almost every case remains standing throughout the lifetime.  This is where secrets, deception, and betrayal come from.  It is from the privacy of thoughts that evil arises, the belief that no one can truly understand or accept each other, so that perhaps it doesn’t matter, you can tell yourself anything, and you will almost never be contradicted.
     Were there to be a vampire culture, mastery of the privacy instinct might be considered the primary goal of the community.  If there were free and open relations between vampire and humans, lines of perfect transparency might be the first ones to be fostered.  Being a vampire would be no different from hailing from a certain country, speaking a certain language, or practicing a certain religion.  In its essence, vampirism is really no different from these things.  It is, only a distinction; it is “different” only in the way that all people are different in some way.
     Except vampires are solitary creatures, and they remain legend at best to the common human experience, a fiction.  Their origins are hardly known at all.  Did God say, let there be vampires?  Are they descended from angels, perhaps, or demons?  Eolake might have found an easy piece of conversation on these lines, making the transition in his relationship with Fiona.  It was something he had to tell her, because being a vampire is not something that she would have noticed herself.  What was there that would have given him away?  He looked no different, behaved no differently.  To all intents and purposes, he was human, like the athlete who isn’t tell, gaunt, or muscled, who when they aren’t engaged in their sport, look no different from anyone else.  The vampire is not pale, their hairline is ordinary, and they do not shrink from blood, or sunlight.  They dress like anyone else.  They simply have different biological characteristics.
     In the beginning, it didn’t matter.  Eolake was a vampire, but Fiona wouldn’t have cared.  She fell in love with the Eolake she was presented with.  He was charming.  He was polite.  He was, in the chivalric tradition, a gentleman who presented a comforting, loving persona right from the start.  He seemed like he loved all mankind, and Fiona was lucky enough to be there and win his affections on a more intimate level.  In time, she noticed things that put chinks in his armor, but she was okay with them.  She wasn’t interested in those things.  She was interested in Eolake.
     At the point he began wondering if he should tell her, she wouldn’t have cared.  She had grown used to his presence, and if he had told her that he was a sofa, she would have gladly placed him in her living room and told her cat to not leave too much fur on him.  Real love was that Eolake was allergic to the cat, but was willing to take medication so that it was not a problem.  If there was medication for taking away the vampire, Eolake would gladly have taken that, too.

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