tagNonHumanBlack Vampire in Texas

Black Vampire in Texas


Surrounded by angry rednecks irked at the fact that I danced with a white woman in a saloon, it occurred to me that Galveston, Texas, is definitely no place for a Black man. Lesson learned, folks. Stay away from blonde-haired white chicks with British accents while in the Midwest unless I'm armed. Cool. I'll remember for next time. Now the question is, will I live long enough to pass that wisdom to some others? I should have known Rose Leicester was up to no good.

The way that curvy, blonde-haired and green-eyed British lady walked up to me the moment I walked in the bar, I should have suspected that we were both in trouble. Sadly, I was thinking with my little head instead of the big one, and now I was about to pay the price. I don't suppose you fellas want to let me buy you a drink and forget about this? I said, smiling all the way. This only pissed them off more. You're going to swing for this nigger, one of them cigarette-chomping, fedora-wearing rednecks spat, and stepped toward me. Damn, I thought, and braced myself for the worst.

The Midwest has its ways and will cling to them, and one of their old traditions is that they treat Black folks badly, just because they can. That much should have been clear to me when I moved there from my hometown of Cap-Haitien, Republic of Haiti, in 1969, but I've always been the stubborn type. My grandfather, Grandpa Francois used to say my head is harder than a rock.

No argument there, given how my life has turned out. The name is Emile Guillaume and I'm a fella with a story to share. It's about my adventures in the heartland of America, after leaving the Caribbean for good, at a particularly turbulent time in U.S. history, right after the Civil Rights Movement. People tend to cling to their ways, and agents of change tend to get caught in the crossfire. It happened to me, and I barely survived it.

I was born on the island of Haiti in 1949, and the life of a farmer in the environs of Quartier Morin didn't suit me. I used to dream of running away, of living in a faraway lands and having amazing adventures. Not for me the life of a goat herder, or cattle minder. My grandfather owns several kilometers of fertile farmland around these parts, and he's considered one of the wealthiest men in the area. He sent my older brother Etienne to study at the prestigious Notre Dame University in Port-Au-Prince, and decided that I would be a farm hand until the end of my days.

When I asked my grandfather why, the old man told me that I was different, and needed to be looked after. You've got the same curse that took your parents, he said. I would always scratch my head at that, but I knew better than to press him for details. A long time ago, something happened to my parents, Joanne and Jean-Luc Guillaume. Something that nobody in the town of Quartier Morin will discuss. Behind my back, people would whisper that I am cursed, yet they never told me why.

I didn't want to spend the rest of my life in a place where I felt unwanted, living as a goat herder. The day I turned nineteen, I realized that such a life simply wasn't for me. I left North Haiti, the region in which I'd spent my whole life, and wandered across the island. I thought about going to the Dominican Republic, but after the way they treated my people in the Parsley Massacre, that whole side of the island could kiss my behind. Instead, I turned my gaze to the United States of America, the fabled land of opportunity. I wanted to visit the U.S. and sought a way to get there.

Like the rest of the world, I heard about the Civil Rights Movement. Black folks in the States were finally rising up against racial discrimination and segregation and marched for their rights. Some progressive whites even joined them. I must say I found the whole thing exciting, especially as a man of color. Living in the Republic of Haiti, I had a fairly unique perspective of such things. You see, my homeland is the first independent Black republic. And we Haitians won't let the world forget it.

You probably don't know about us, so I'll enlighten you. In 1804, Haitian men and women defeated the French armies and established the first free Black nation in the world. For this, Europeans have hated us for a long time. We're a constant reminder that they're not invincible. To hear that my sisters and brothers in the U.S. were finally rising up against colonial oppression, well, that pleased me greatly. I felt the pull of America in ways I couldn't explain. I realized that I had a chance to be part of history. That's why I took a boat bound for the lovely shores of Miami, Florida.

Florida is a beautiful place, and in the late 1960s, it was already a hotbed of immigration. Scores of Haitians, Jamaicans, Cubans and other Latinos were flooding Miami and Orlando, forever changing the demographics of these very Southern locales once ruled by Florida rednecks. White men and white women living in Florida had to reckon with the Black and brown peoples now surrounding them. I settled in Miami, and worked as a security guard, cook, and tailor while adjusting to life in American society.

I'd been in town for about eight months before I got caught by wanderlust, and began traveling again. I went to Chicago, Illinois, and Boston, Massachusetts, and Birmingham, Alabama. I wanted to see those places which I'd only read about in books. I visited the places where Malcolm X and Martin Luther King walked, and preached, and fought. I spoke to the Nation of Islam peoples in Chicago and they were quite happy to meet a brother from the Caribbean. I was fascinated by Black culture in the United States, for it was so unlike my own back in Haiti.

Eventually, as luck would have it, I made my way to Texas, and stayed in Galveston for a while. The birthplace of Jack Johnson, the first in a long line of Black boxers destined to terrify the white guys in the ring, now that's a place I couldn't pass up. Long before Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson, there was Jack Johnson. I had to see the place where the great one first saw the light of day. Even though Galveston is smack dab in redneck central, I found the place charming. I began working as a deliveryman for a popular restaurant, got myself an apartment, and took in my new digs.

It's around that time that I met Rose Leicester. Five-foot-nine, blonde-haired and green-eyed, curvy and fine-looking, with the kind of butt I didn't think a white woman could have. I'd seen my share of fine butts among my Haitian sisters on the island and the gorgeous Black women of America. Rose was in a class by herself. Like me, she was a newcomer to Galveston, Texas. The lady was born and raised in London, England, and came to work for the Galveston County Daily News.

In this most unlikely of places, Texas, where naked racism is visible in every corner, a Black man from the Caribbean and a white woman from England fell in love. In England, they're a bit more liberal than we are here in America. We began seeing each other in secret, going to clubs and restaurants in the Black sections of town. A white woman going around with a man of color isn't the sort of thing that can stay secret in a place like Galveston, Texas. I understood the need for secrecy, but Rose didn't. You see, in Texas, lynching is a hobby more popular than football or baseball. Black men have been killed for merely being in the wrong part of town, can you imagine what them rednecks would do if they saw us?

Rose Leicester is from England, where there aren't a lot of Black people, and they don't have an intrinsic system of color-based discrimination like they do in America. At least, they didn't back in the 1960s because they didn't feel the need. There were so few people of color in Great Britain in those days. We have to hide, I tried to explain to her. Rose would look at me with those doe eyes of hers and smile that fearless smile I knew so well. I am not ashamed of us, she said, shaking her head.

Neither am I, I told Rose, kissing her passionately. Making love to that woman was an endurance test, she was that insatiable. As I lay on my bed, Rose climbed on top of me, straddling me. Fuck me big man, she purred, and put my hands upon her hips. Caressing Rose's lovely, large breasts, I eased my manhood into her. You're one crazy woman, I laughed, playfully smacking Rose's big, gorgeous ass as I fucked her.

You got no idea, Rose said, licking her lips as she rode me. We would make love energetically for hours, the danger of our illicit meetings adding fuel to our passionate encounters. In the American South and the Midwest, white men have had dalliances with Black women for centuries but for a white woman to cross the color line, well, that was still taboo even after the Civil Rights Movement stunned the South and empowered African-Americans. The lady liked to live dangerously, and I guess I must have caught it from her.

Our affair was destined to end in tragedy, and one fine evening in the summer of 1969, I went to a local bar, the aptly named Day's End Saloon, and like many tired men at the end of a long workday, I ordered myself a drink. The bar's clientele was mostly white, but there were a couple of Black guys and a few Mexicans about. Galveston was slowly integrating, and I for one was glad of it. Perhaps one day couples such as Rose and myself wouldn't have to hide.

Honestly, I was drinking a beer and watching television, laughing at something Raul the Mexican said when, suddenly, the whole bar fell quiet. A tall, sexy blonde waltzed in. A gal who liked like she belonged on the cover of magazines. I barely Rose Leicester, dolled up to the nines as she was that night. Every man in the bar had his eyes riveted on her, and the lady most definitely liked the attention. I smiled, and thought about those nights we shared, Rose and I. What would those nice Texans think if they knew about us?

Rose Leicester went to the bar, ordered a drink, and sat at a stool. Looking around the bar, her eyes took in the scene, the men and the few women, none of whom could touch her in matters of beauty. Rose's eyes found mine, and she smiled. Coyly, she moved to my corner of the bar, sat two stools from mine, and then asked me if I had a cigarette. I hesitated, then handed her one. And just like that, we moved our stools closer and talked. And every redneck in the joint glared at us. They did not approve.

I tried to play it cool, casually chatting with Rose Leicester as if we were two strangers meeting at random in a bar instead of lovers engaged in a months-long affair. I don't think we were fooling anyone. The rednecks eyed us coolly and some were whispering among themselves. The baseball game on TV was forgotten, Rose and I seemed to be part of tonight's entertainment. Especially when her favorite song, I've Gotta Be Me by Sammy Davis Jr. I want to dance, Rose whispered into my ear.

I looked into those mesmerizing eyes of hers, and even though it might mean my life, even though we were surrounded by bigoted rednecks, I couldn't say no. Let's dance my angel, I smiled, and took her hand. As Sammy Davis sang in the background, we danced together, clearly aware of all the eyes riveted on us. With Rose's hands in mine, I felt like I was on top of the world. Until a burly redneck trucker walked up to me. It's not right for a nigger to dance with one of our women, he spat, his angry eyes glaring balefully at me.

Go to hell, Rose said, her beautiful face turning red. Let's leave this den of pigs, I said, and took her arm, leading her outside. And that's where we got confronted by half a dozen redneck bozos. You got some nerve nigger, a fat, bearded slob said, hefting a baseball bat. Another one glared at me menacingly. We don't take too kindly to your kind crossing the lines with our women, he spat, chomping on a chubby cigar. I'm with him by choice, Rose said angrily, defiance in her eyes.

You nigger-loving whore, an older white guy spat, shaking his head. I looked at these angry, bigoted white men, and felt a dark anger well up within me. They might be able to intimidate Black Americans like this but I am Haitian. The very fact that I exist is proof that white men aren't invincible, with their guns and their bombs and their damnable empires. I am Haitian and where I come from we cut your pale heads off and use them as soccer balls, I said, laughing hoarsely. The moment these words left my mouth, you would have thought they'd seen a ghost.

All six went pale, and fell silent for a moment. It's going to be fun killing you, the older one said, and stepped forward. His buddies advanced on me as one. No nigger talks this way to white men in Texas, the fat one said, swinging his bat menacingly. Don't kill him please, Rose begged, and bravely stepped in front of me. Run Emile, she pleaded. I stood there, touched by her bravery and kindness. All the while, I thought to myself that the lady was just having a good time with me. Like the lifelong cynic I am, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It's not easy for someone like me to believe in good, and in love, you see. My whole life I felt unwanted. My grandfather treated me as he would a tame but formerly violent animal that might revert to its true nature at any moment. He always forbade me from eating meat, saying that it wasn't good for me. And while he endlessly cussed me out, he never laid a hand on me, as if he were afraid of what I might do.

I thought of the few fights I'd gotten into in my life. Not many, for I avoided confrontation. There's only one incident that really comes to mind when I think of such things. One night, a burglar came into our home, and tried to hurt my grandfather. The man was dressed head-to-toe in Black, wore a mask, and carried a machete. He came at me, and I defended myself. I don't remember what I did, only that I fell upon him, roaring like an animal. When all was said and done, the burglar lay dead at my feet, torn apart. He never had a chance to use the blade he carried. I was in the twelfth summer of my life at the time.

I think you should run, I told Rose. Turning to look at me, eyes filled with incredulity, Rose shook her head. I won't let them hurt you, she said. Get the nigger and his whore, the old redneck spat, and the men surged forward. In that moment, I shoved Rose aside and faced my enemies. It was as if something inside of me which had been trapped for ages was suddenly freed. I threw my head back and unleashed a roar that might have startled a lion, and waded into the men.

I went after them, one by one, and although they swung their clubs and knives and even fired their guns at me, I fell upon them. I saved the old man for last, and after firing six bullets at me with no effect while watching me slaughter his friends, he was terrified. As I stepped toward him, he actually wet his pants. Emile please don't do it, Rose begged. I seized the old man, and fastened my lips to his throat. My teeth pierced his skin, bit into the flesh and I drank his blood. I couldn't stop myself any more than the sun could refuse to rise.

The old man's blood tasted oh so wonderful. My first meal, but it would not be the last. I turned and looked at Rose, and the horror I saw in her eyes would haunt me for all eternity. What are you? she asked, fear in her voice. I did this for you, I said, and looked at the corpses at my feet. I stepped toward her, but she shrank from me, afraid. I saw fear in the eyes of the woman I cherished. Not fear for me but fear of me. I'm sorry, I said, and walked off into the night.

In the years and decades that followed, I discovered much about myself. The world calls my kind vampires, but there's much they get wrong about us. For starters, there are many different breeds of vampires. It wasn't until I began traveling the world again and encountering many things I thought to be the stuff of myth that I realized, I wasn't alone. Vampires exist, and they're an ancient species that has interbred with humanity for millennia. As many as zero point two percent of the world's human population has some type of hidden vampire gene in them somewhere.

The vampire gene lies dormant within these humans, but it also makes them different from others. These pre-vampires look and act like normal people, and they can eat normal food, and age normally, but the day they drink human blood, it changes them. The vampire gene is activated in them, and they stop aging. They become monstrously strong and fast, and heal rapidly from injuries that would kill any normal person. They also crave human blood all the time and can't last more than three days without it, otherwise they start feeding on themselves.

You don't become a vampire by getting bitten, I'm sorry to say. If that were the case, the world would be overrun by vampires. Nope, vampires reproduce the same way humans do. They have sex, pregnancy follows, and then a pre-vampire is born. He or she will live and age normally until the day they ingest large amounts of human blood. Once that happens, they're transformed. They become effectively immortal. As was the case for my parents. They were driven off by the people of Quartier Morin, Haiti, after their transformation. They're out there somewhere. Someday, I mean to find them.

After my transformation, I wandered the world, looking for others like me. I missed Rose Leicester sorely. I checked up on her, and I'm happy to say that she returned to good old England, safe and sound. In the summer of 1975, she married an African-American artist named Tyrone Patterson, whom she met while visiting Atlanta, Georgia. Rose Leicester and her husband have three sons and two daughters, and she gained moderate success as a writer of horror and fantasy. I wish her and her family the best. I'm still looking for mine. I have all eternity to find them, and I dream of our reunion. I still have questions, and I have fears and insecurities. I guess in that way, vampires aren't that different from mortals. Such is life.

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