A Memory of Biting by Jack Klausner

I was ten when my father took me to see the vampire.

He lived in a terraced house in one of the damp little streets behind Safeway. My father parked in the supermarket car park, which struck me as odd even then, before taking me through the underpass which led from the car park to the street. It was raining. The droplets tapping the hood of my coat were loud in my ears.

I remember the front door was a faded green, peeling paint showing dark wet wood underneath. The yellowish circle of a Yale lock. A dark crescent of a window, high up.

It smelled of cigarettes inside the house – and something else, and even to this day I don’t know what the something else was. My father spoke with him for a while. This was in the living room, which was cold, and I was glad I still had my coat on. There was a football match on the television but the sound was turned down very low. I remember watching the players, red jerseys and pale blue jerseys, chasing the ball all over a sea of green.

You want to know what he looked like, the vampire. He looked utterly normal. Skinny arms. A five o’clock shadow. Greyish flesh beneath and around his eyes. He had an accent I associated with the next county over, and a soft, quiet laugh. He kept jigging his knee. His stomach was bloated, straining against his faded grey t-shirt. It was the only fat part of him, like he was pregnant or had eaten a particularly large meal.

After a while my father went somewhere, I don’t know where, and it was just the vampire and me and the silent football match on the television.

I remember his hands. I remember his mouth. I remember the biting. But all of this in a slippery way compared to the rain coming down the window, which was what I focused on, like the sky was washing the street outside.


Jack Klausner lives in the U.K. Find him at jackklausner.com or on Bluesky @jackklausner.