Analysing the Vampire

A Piece of Writing Blamed on Herring

Oh look, here we go again. Yet another oh so fun round of scrutinize the vampire's mental state. Poor Dr Brian, you don't know what you're in for. This is your first time analysing a supernatural being, let alone me. What do you want me to tell you? What are you expecting?

Do you want me to rant about the unfairness of being caged up like this? To scream at you, to complain?

Or do you want me to just sit quietly and tell you my life story? Doesn't that sound a little too Anne Rice? Surely, you can't be expecting me to tell you the truth about vampires – life expectancy, how we can be killed, if it's necessary to drink human blood – even if you are, I won't. I'm not suicidal. I'm not going to give you methods of murdering me.

Perhaps you just want to observe me today, to try and work out how my brain works. You have, after all, been almost unnaturally quiet. In fact, you haven't said a single word the entire time I've been here. Are you ignoring me? Interesting.

(A few minutes pass in silence, in which Sylvan observes Dr Brian, and Dr Brian observes him right back)

What's so different about you, Doc? You're nothing like the rest of the shrinks. You don't talk, you don't seem to expect me to talk, you aren't even taking notes!

I'm going to try and work you out. Nod if I get it right, okay?

(Dr Brian nods, looking interested)

Wonderful! Now, let me see. You were the best of your class in school, working towards your goals, having decided at a young age to become a psychiatrist. Aced all your exams, top of your university classes. Considered to be the next bright star of the psychiatric profession.

(Looking pleasantly surprised, Dr Brian nods)

You're in your mid thirties, one of the best despite your young age, unmarried. You have a girlfriend; she's a kindergarten teacher. Been together a few years. Am I still getting it right?

(Dr Brian, now looking amazed, nods again)

I'm doing well then. Now, let me see if I know why you're here. Because you're one of the best, they called you up and asked you if you'd be interested in their project. Maybe it was the boss himself.

(Again, Dr Brian nods. He is shocked that Sylvan has such insight into his life)

What I don't get though, Doc, is why you took the job. Why do I interest you so much? You don't think much of the boss, I know that much.

(A stunned, questioning look is directed at Sylvan by Dr Brian)

Ah, I was waiting for this. You want me to tell you how I know all about you. It's a simple answer, Doc, and I'm surprised that you haven't guessed it for yourself yet. It's a supposed myth that is commonly thought of vampires these days.

(The answer hits Dr Brian suddenly, and a look of understanding washes over his face, along with amazement)

(Sylvan laughs softly) So you get it now, Doc. You're right. Vampires can read minds. You've done well; not only are you still here, but you've found out something new. Congratulations.

But you still want to know why I couldn't work out why you took this job. It's easy, Doc. You're not sure why you took the job, so I'm not sure why you took the job. I'm a mind reader, not a fortune teller.

(Dr Brian looks curious)

No, vampires can't tell the future, unless they were, say, a Seer before they were turned. A shame, really… If I could, I would have been able to avoid you people and I wouldn't even be here.

Do you know why I'm here, Doc? Did they tell you that much?

(Dr Brian looks reluctant)

Oh no, don't worry; I don't expect you to tell me. Just tell me if you know.

(Relieved, Dr Brian nods)

Thank you, Doc. You're the first one to tell me that much, even. The others before you asked questions, and far too many of them. I had a hard time even thinking about an answer before they threw the next one at me, I certainly didn't have time to speak, even if I had wanted to.

I actually prefer you to them, even though you've managed to find something out. Mainly because I finally have a chance to talk. I haven't used my voice for weeks now, Doc, because no one was listening. But even though you've been silent, I am actually enjoying this conversation. Are you?

(Again, Dr Brian nods, this time smiling slightly)

In fact, Doc, I'm even going to talk to you the next time you come to analyse me, as well as for the rest of today's session. Because if I'm going to be honest, Doc, I actually kind of like you.

(Dr Brian looks pleased)

You've been sitting there, Doc, with your clipboard and pen, and I can't help wondering what you've been writing about me. Care to show me?

(Dr Brian grins and turns his clipboard around. There is a single piece of paper on it, and it's completely blank)

(Sylvan laughs) Oh I really do like you, Doc! I really, really do. But why aren't you taking notes? Do you have a photographic memory?

(Dr Brian gives Sylvan an amused, and yet slightly bewildered look)

(Catching on, Sylvan sighs and gives Dr Brian a faint grin) If I knew everything about you, Doc, life would get boring. Besides, unless I dig deeper with a specific question in mind, I can only read surface thoughts. And if I did that all the time, what would be the point of even having this conversation?

(The Doctor shrugs, placing his pen behind his ear)

So back to my question, do you have a photographic memory?

(Dr Brian shakes his head with eyebrows raised in amusement)

No, then? Just not taking notes for no reason. Interesting. Perhaps next time, Doc, you'll participate in the conversation more. This is sounding a little one sided to my ears. Although, I can't help but wonder what we'd talk about.

(Smiling, Dr Brian shrugs again)

You're quite right, Doc. We'll just have to wait and see.