Longform

South Florida's underground vampires lust for more than your heart

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"Looking back, I should have known. But most vampires don't awaken until their 20s." She has always been uncomfortable in the sun. "I actually get little red blotches all over my skin." She always preferred night to day. And since she was a little girl, she suffered from random asthma attacks. "I went to doctors, and they gave me medicine, but it never worked. I went to allergists, and they said I'm perfectly normal, whatever normal is."

The only thing that works is blood and energy consumption, she says. "I believe strongly in science, but this is beyond what science and medicine can prove. I've asked a lot of people, and nobody has an explanation for why I require this different method of feeding."

Every two weeks, she feeds from one of the donors in the private database she has compiled with her vampire friends. She says it's never with a stranger and never in front of her baby — feeding in the presence of minors is generally forbidden.

She also has a lighter side. Unlike most vampires, Nyx says she has a special fondness for the Twilight series, especially Edward, the teen vampire who must learn to control his urges. She read the books and saw the movie in the theater with a fellow vampire. "It's embarrassing, but yeah, we were there with our Edward shirts on, ready to quote every line."

The people who live as vampires are indeed as diverse as the stories and the creatures who populate them. But Nyx contends it isn't the differences people should focus on.

"Honestly, in most ways, we're no different than everybody else. I go to work. I go to the grocery store. I take my kid to the doctor. It's just that every once in a while, I need to feed on human blood. Really, it's no big deal."

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Michael J. Mooney