The so-called vampire plague peaked in ’83. That is well-known. Fires burning outside cities like the funeral pyres of old. Families separated at safe points, quarantined until the test could be administered. Belief that hard-working vampires were the plague-bringers and not simply carriers of the recessive Galuse gene. Dark, unenlightened times, indeed.
Vampire rights activists hastened the transition to a more-civilized time through service programs like blood kitchens to feed now-homeless vampires, grassroots campaigning for the election of ’84, and ZND evening news’s meet-and-greets with local vampires. Why, I remember the 3rd shift nurse talking about her struggle to find another job after she was discovered to have fangs. 150 years of service to anyone in need of medical care. Fired and threatened with beheading. And who could forget those iconic pictures of Federy St. Clair pulling an old vampire out of an angry mob and cutting his own hand to help the old woman heal from her wounds?
Yet, after long-sought legislation finally passed, the road to equality has remained rocky, fraught with twisted ankles, skinned knees, and a few knocked out fangs. Such hardship to realize that all are created equal, no matter what one eats in one’s own kitchen. The new generation doesn’t remember fence-post hangings, disowning of kin, or the great plague that ravaged the Bay Area. It has the advantage of rights and acceptance as a given, but it has forgotten the vigilance required to retain the delicate peace. If we expect acceptance but do not give acceptance to others, we risk relapsing into the tales of tainted blood and bat bites.
the first golds of dawn
ignites a broken fence—
Colleen M. Farrelly