Summer 1992 • Vol. XIV No. 3 Nonfiction |

Bats

for Susan The bed is too large. The sheets extend from my feet like a lip of an iceberg. Leagues beyond the cliffs of my bed is the freezing floor, a tundra where grotesques writhe in the dark like the souls in a Bosch purgatory. One figure always emerges from that swarm and steps into the center of my room. He wants to drain my body of its life by seducing me. And I know I will be powerless to stop him, as powerless as I am to keep my body from sleep, from sex, or even someday from death. And because I am unable to control my body or my life I am terrified. It is 1962 and I will soon be twelve years old. Thus far I have lived in fear of little but this vampire mythology. My father drinks, my parents fight, the bleak house trembles, but I fear only Dracula. In these olden days, the story of Dracula is a bedtime waking nightmare, a drama in which I stockade myself against the dark powers of annihilation. All children are fundamentalists, and every cell in my body is zealous t

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