Nobody wants to be a vampire hunter. It’s certainly not the kind of thing that you plan on doing for a living. I mean it’s not exactly an occupation that you grow up wanting to have when you?re a child -- like a fireman or a policeman; or even, God forbid, the President of the United States.
It’s just as exciting as any other job, I?ll give you that ? maybe even more exciting, with its endless supply of questionable deaths, constant dangers, and mind-searing horrors. But you never stand in line at the grocery store and hear a little kid telling his mommy, "I want to kill vampires when I grow up". Do you?
Like I said, nobody starts out in life wanting to be a vampire hunter. You do it because, for some reason, you feel that you were called to do it. Nobody chooses this job ? the job chooses you. Well, nobody who harbors any ideas of seeing themselves live to a ripe and bitter old age, anyway.
Hunters do what they do for a variety of reasons -- revenge, guilt, the fast money, sometimes even religious fanaticism. Well ? I?m not that kind of vampire hunter. For me, it’s about family. My family has been chasing down flesh-eating Revenants, gory ghouls and bloodthirsty nosferatu a century before this job was actually considered a real job. Back in those days, you couldn?t even file for your tax returns with "Vampire Hunter" as your legal occupation.
My father, Jeremy O?Brian, was a vampire hunter; and his father, Nicholas, before him. The infamous O?Brian clan -- that would be us.
So when I was a little ankle biter, I did in fact, say, "I want to kill vampires when I grow up."
To me, vampire hunting was always just the natural order of things. Even as a child, the concept made perfect sense to me -- vampires killed and hurt people and therefore my family killed and hurt vampires. It wasn?t until I started school at the age of six when I realized my family was more than just a little different from the other kids? families in my class.
For more than sixty years the O?Brian family was considered to be a bunch of crackpots by the rest of the so-called "civilized" world. We were "unnecessarily violent people with paranoid hallucinations and a loose grip on reality", according to one bigoted neighbor we had lived next to when I was in kindergarten.
Of course, nobody believed in vampires back then, because they weren?t supposed to really exist. That is, normal people didn?t believe in vampires ? up until the Great Outing of 2048, when a handful of well-wishing vampires decided it was time to step out of the shadows of their nocturnal society and into the light of the public eye. Talk about one of your serious culture clashes.
You would think this would have caused wide-stream panic. Well, oddly enough, it didn?t. Vampirism entered the mainstream of United States? social culture, thereby penetrating the everyday realm of the mortal living with the same zeal, gusto, and magnitude that the Gay Rights movement had during the late 20th century.
Vampires were coming out of their coffins, so to speak -- exposing themselves to the general, wide-eyed public for the first time in "accepted" recorded history. There had been reports before, such as that of Peter Plogojowitz, just for starters, in what I believe was the 17th century if I?m not a total doofus.
The few hundred or so vampires that had so grandiosely out-ed themselves, soon demanded their kind be granted basic civil rights -- demanded that they be protected from people like my family ? and it didn?t take long before they got what they wanted. With the liberal vote being as popular as it was in those days, there wasn?t a politician alive in 2049 who would have dared to challenge what was to come next.
The Civil Rights Amendment of 2050 changed everything for people like us. In the beginning, it was celebrated and praised by several organizations as a victory in the volatile fight for Civil Liberties and Equal Rights. It wasn?t until several years later -- after countries across the globe followed America’s lead, welcoming their nocturnal former outcasts into the artificial light of the world -- that the politicians realized, and with great terror, just what kind of hell onEarth they?d unwittingly unleashed ? not just on their countries, but on the whole of mankind.
Any time you suddenly introduce a new class, clan, or culture into the population of a pre-existing society, the people of that society inevitably end up having to take the good with the bad. And the vampires had plenty of bad things to bring to the table with them.
Before the close of the 2050’s, the integration of vampires into the human population caused crime rates to shoot through the roof and entire cities turned into abandoned ghost towns almost overnight. The mortals of the day were suddenly overrun and overwhelmed by creatures of the night -- vampire street gangs, vampire-related serial killings, rampant kidnappings and disappearances became commonplace.
Even vampire designer drugs were now tearing the already dangerous urban landscape apart. Due to the obvious differences between human and vampire anatomy, normal drugs had little to no effect on someone infected with the Magyar virus. The most popular of the designer drugs were the opiates like "Bitter Sweet" and PCP/blood hybrid "Blood Smack". "Bitter Sweet" isn?t all that different from heroin in the manner it is administered, usually mainlined with hypo needles or a syringe. "Blood Smack" can be found as a liquid, either dropped into a glass of warm blood or directly under the tongue using a baby dropper.
Parents were afraid to let their teenagers go out after sunset, worried that their "rebel without a clue" adolescent might decide to run off into the night to join the ranks of the undead. The romantic allure of immortality had already coaxed countless na?ve teenage mortals into the vampires? cursed web of eternal darkness and inescapable bloodlust.
Eventually, clinics had to be opened for the rehabilitation of these "tragically fallen youth" (as one bleeding-heart politician so eloquently put it) into what has now been dubbed by many as "the symbiotic vampire class". This "class" system adheres to the idea that certain vampires have, in fact, felt obligated to keep up their end of the original bargain as stated in The Civil Rights Amendment of 2050 by living among the mortals of this world quite normally. Well, as normally as one can when one lives on blood and must sleep during the daylight hours, of course. These "Uncle Vlads," as many of the street-punk vamps have come to call them, manage to exist without the need to hunt and kill mortals.
There are many vampires, however, who choose to walk the more traditional and bloody path -- killing, tormenting, and feeding on the mortal living (not necessarily in that order). It was because of this element in the vampire population that the Vampire Bounty Laws of 2061 were passed. In the blink of an eye, it was open season on all rogue vampires.
Similar to the private hiring and use of bounty hunters by bail bondsmen, it stated that "vampire hunters could and should be hired as contractors on a private basis, by individuals and/or community action groups, in order to handle certain problems they experience due to the spread of illegitimate vampirism", as the formal legalese goes.
From the very beginning, strict guidelines were set for these nocturnal hired guns, though few were currently being strictly enforced on us. The most important guideline of the law, which all hunters must remain wary to follow, is that we are not legally allowed to be hired as contract killers or assassins for the indiscriminate elimination of any non-violent vampire that has not committed an "illegal feeding". Especially if that vampire has been classified by the state as a member of the "symbiotic Nosferatu class", as such an act would be in direct violation of The Civil Rights Amendment of 2050 and result in a hefty fine -- a staggering quarter of a million dollars and up to twenty-five years in prison, depending on the severity of the violation. Plus, the hunter in question risks losing his license to work legally as a freelancer ever again. No license, no work -- it’s as simple as that.