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I recently visited a tiny town on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. In the shadow of the Olympic Mountains, on the edge of the Hoh rainforest, and only a few miles from the rugged Pacific coast beaches, Forks has always been as rich in natural beauty as it has been poor in industries and tourist attractions. In recent years, however, out-of-state license plates and foreign accents have become as common as bald eagles and elk. What phenomenon has transformed this sleepy old logging town into a mecca for thousands of vampire-loving visitors? Twilight has come to Forks, and its citizens have whole-heartedly embraced the dark side.
Local retailers take advantage of every opportunity to cater to visitors, regardless of whether they identify as Team Edward or Team Jacob. Aside from the expected T-shirts and coffee mugs, fans can buy Twilight-inspired thongs or boxers, candy bars or lattes, even “Twilight firewood” from a roadside stand.
They can eat Bellasagne and Ed Bread, leave angst-filled letters in a special mailbox in front of the Swan house, and pose next to a replica of Bella’s truck.
They can take photos of a sign warning vampires off Quileute tribal land, or stand in the parking spot reserved for Dr. Cullen at the local hospital. No part of the area around Forks is untouched by vampire-fever.
Over the past couple of weeks, the blogs on this site have been exploring the attraction of vampire stories. Why are we drawn to these myths and legends? Why do we continue to reinvent them, transform them? Why do people travel to an isolated small town in order to immerse themselves in a place where fictional vampires lived? The stories in Girls Who Bite give the vampire myths a fascinating and sexy twist by focusing on the blood-bond dynamic in a lesbian context. This anthology examines a dark, visceral connection between two women that sinks deeper than flesh and travels beyond the boundaries of socially acceptable passion and into the world of control and submission. Predator and prey. Perhaps we’re drawn by the desire to be subdued, to nourish our lovers’ souls, to embrace the pain of love without cringing. Or maybe we secretly wish to subdue, to take without remorse, to feel the power that comes when we give our lover pleasure beyond her wildest dreams. Either way, in these stories we are given space to confront and embrace the dark desires lurking inside us.
In my story “Dark Guard,” Rica the vampire is a Marginal, living on the edge of society without the same rights and freedoms as human citizens. Lisa is a hybrid, living among humans with all of their privileges. The two join forces to catch a serial killer, but Lisa’s true journey takes place inside her heart. She has to learn to embrace her Marginal half, the darkness lying deep inside her, the part of her that responds to Rica’s call.
But she won’t accept it without a fight…
Excerpt from “Dark Guard,” by Karis Walsh:
Lisa kicked off her covers as she slept fitfully the next day. The city radiated heat on the late summer afternoon, and the sheets tangled around her sweaty legs as she struggled in her sleep to break free. The vampire stalked her dreams, running a hand that was so soothingly cool down Lisa’s bare back. The hand was replaced by lips and a tongue that trailed an icy path down her spine and calmed her restless movements. She arched her back, the uncomfortable heat forgotten as that tongue moved across her hips. As if her movement was an invitation, a hand slipped under her, cupping her, teasing closer to the wetness that suddenly rushed from deep within.
Lisa moaned and ground down onto the fingers that flexed below her belly. She felt golden hair cascading across her back as the enticing scent of vampire filled her nostrils and lungs. Somehow the smell triggered Lisa’s internal alarms even when her other instincts failed her, and she suddenly snapped awake. She heard Rica’s cry of surprise as she lunged quickly upward, throwing the vampire off her back.
“Jesus,” she shouted, sliding closer to her headboard so she could put as much distance as possible between her and the vampire who was now sitting at the end of her bed. “What the fuck are you doing in my room? In my house?”
“You overslept,” Rica said calmly even though her golden eyes glowed with desire. “I came to get you for work and I guess I got carried away.” She raised her hand to her face and inhaled deeply. “You smell so good. I’ll need to feed before we go out tomorrow.”
“Just don’t pack a lunch,” Lisa said, pulling the sheet up to cover her bare breasts. “I don’t want to drive some poor girl around until you get hungry.”
Find Karis Walsh at www.kariswalsh.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter (@kariswalsh).