For about ten years now I’ve known a woman – we’ll call her B, for the sake of the pun – who is a rare example of a real-life psychic vampire.
It was subtle, when I first met her. Most folks would just describe her as “needy”. At that time in my life, I had a lot of friends with whom I was fairly physically intimate – these were the heydays of the WPA, and the couches in the dormitory kitchen/lounge where we met were almost always filled well beyond capacity. We greeted each other and parted with warm hugs, and no one thought anything of it. But as more and more of the group got into and out of relationships, and just as we got a couple years older, B’s hugs started to change. It wasn’t that she touched anyone inappropriately (not back then, anyway), but when she touched you … you came back diminished. And if you wouldn’t let her touch you, she’d give you the kind of look a kicked puppy gives you: uncomprehending disappointment. After a few months, it got to where I, at least, didn’t feel safe touching anyone when she was around.
The group met twice monthly, and every meeting I came home feeling exhausted. This was a rough period in my life, and the WPA was my only social outlet. I thought that it was dealing with people, putting on a happy face and pretending that I wasn’t coming apart at the seams, that left me so drained. But we had a lot of turnover, that year, including picking up a few people who’d been around the block more than us, and for reasons that escape me now (hell, maybe I never even knew back then), B began to miss about every second or third meeting. And we started to realize that on days B wasn’t there, we all had more fun and still felt good at the end of the night. Those of us who had been practicing magic for years – the group was always a mix of newbies and (relatively) more experienced practitioners – got to where we could feel our energy pouring into her.
We started meeting at people’s homes over the summer, and several of us warded our homes against her. One couple did the classic freezer-binding; I had her, and the rest of the WPA, cast a circle around the house I was living in, then used her part in the circle-casting to teach the wards what they needed to keep a lid on. House-level wards were effective, but almost nothing short was. Strangely enough, it was almost impossible to get people to join the group.
We tried calling her on it, in our various immature ways. “B, your aura’s sticking to me again.” “Can I have my power back? I wasn’t done with it.” She pretended we were joking, but by the time I was setting things in motion to move to St. Louis, I was being more direct: “You’re draining me again. Stop it.” “I’m sorry, I didn’t even know I was doing it” “I know. That’s what makes it even worse.”
Then I moved to St. Louis, and left her in everyone else’s hands. Their town, their problem.
I heard stories occasionally, of course. She found a group to do full, formal circles with, and it was filling her to the brim with power. Mutual friends of mine and hers moved, and found sticky cobwebs of her power after they’d taken down all their own wards. People would learn to shield against her, and she’d ask third parties why so-and-so didn’t like her anymore. Once, when supposedly casting a circle of protection, she ate all the mana out of a wall. On several occasions she has made people sick as fuck. People unaccustomed to her presence feel ill as soon as she walks into a room.
I saw her tonight for the first time in years. My lady-friend and a mutual acquaintance were hit first, almost as soon as she entered the room. It took a little while longer to overwhelm me, but not much: even working in the mall is not as toxic as half an hour in the same room as B. Before we all left, I had to pull tendrils off of each of them – sick, orange things that left a residue like fast-growing fungus.
Merely being in the same room as this woman made most of us exhausted, irritable, and even nauseous.
Tragically, there is not yet any conclusion to this tale. B remains at large, psychically assaulting everyone within reach, and driving newcomers away from the WPA – now the KU Cauldron. Something must be done, but what? Talk to her? Certainly the first step. Bind her? And be bound to her forever? Psychically assault her in return? All three, possibly.
How long will this go one before someone intervenes?
What troubles me most about B – what troubles me most about every one of the not quite half-dozen vampires I have encountered in the almost fifteen years I have practiced magic – is how similar their power is to my own. To heal, to weave … or to drain and bind … these things are not so different. I am partially resistant to her attacks, particularly aware of them, because I am perfectly capable of replicating them.