I remember a long conversation I had once with a vampire named Bordick, some time in the late seventeenth century. He was one of the oldest I’d ever met, meaning we had a good deal in common with one another, because how often does one get to compare two-hundred-year-old war stories with someone else? We got onto the subject of the somewhat unfair public perception of vampires—a perception that was actually worse in the seventeenth century than now. It was Bordick’s theory that people, in overreacting to vampires, tend to create their own monsters. He meant this rather literally.
As he told it, some time around his first century the villagers of a small Latvian hamlet figured out what he was and decided to do something about it. So one afternoon they sealed up the crypt where he was spending his daylight hours. Without elaborating on why they did this—he wasn’t bothering anybody and had restricted his nightly drinking mainly to livestock—he pointed out that this is just about the stupidest thing you can possibly do to a vampire, because they don’t starve to death like people. They just get hungrier.
Hang out with a vampire who drinks a small allotment of blood two or three times a week and you’ll swear there’s hardly any difference between him and your average human. But one who hasn’t drunk in two or three weeks isn’t the best company around. The hungry ones tend to fixate on your neck a lot, which can be very uncomfortable, and it becomes obvious somewhat quickly that they aren’t listening to what you’re saying because they’re too preoccupied listening to your heart pumping. It’s like conversing with somebody who’s wearing a Walkman, only much more disturbing.
According to Bordick, anything longer than thirty days is utter agony. Two months and this constant pain spawns dementia. Longer than that and you’ve got a vampire who is, mentally, entirely too far gone to listen to any sort of reason whatsoever. So after a full calendar year sealed up in that crypt, Bordick was utterly out of his mind.