The Vampire Lestat - By Anne Rice
I AM the vampire Lestat. I’m immortal. More or less. The light of the sun, the sustained heat of an intense fire—these things might destroy me. But then again, they might not.
I’m six feet tall, which was fairly impressive in the 1780s when I was a young mortal man. It’s not bad now. I have thick blond hair, not quite shoulder length, and rather curly, which appears white under fluorescent light. My eyes are gray, but they absorb the colors blue or violet easily from surfaces around them. And I have a fairly short narrow nose, and a mouth that is well shaped but just a little too big for my face. It can look very mean, or extremely generous, my mouth. It always looks sensual. But emotions and attitudes are always reflected in my entire expression. I have a continuously animated face.
My vampire nature reveals itself in extremely white and highly reflective skin that has to be powdered down for cameras of any kind.
And if I’m starved for blood I look like a perfect horror—skin shrunken, veins like ropes over the contours of my bones. But I don’t let that happen now. And the only consistent indication that I am not human is my fingernails. It’s the same with all vampires. Our fingernails look like glass. And some people notice that when they don’t notice anything else.
Right now I am what America calls a Rock Superstar. My first album has sold 4 million copies. I’m going to San Francisco for the first spot on a nationwide concert tour that will take my band from coast to coast. MTV, the rock music cable channel, has been playing my video clips night and day for two weeks. They’re also being shown in England on “Top of the Pops” and on the Continent, probably in some parts of Asia, and in Japan. Video cassettes of the whole series of clips are selling worldwide.
I am also the author of an autobiography which was published last week.
Regarding my English—the language I use in my autobiography—I first learned it from the flatboatmen who came down the Mississippi to New Orleans about two hundred years ago. I learned more after that from the English language writers—everybody from Shakespeare through Mark Twain to H. Rider Haggard, whom I read as the decades passed. The final infusion I received from the detective stories of the early twentieth century in the Black Mask magazine. The adventures of Sam Spade by Dashiell Hammett in Black Mask were the last stories I read before I went literally and figuratively underground.
That was in New Orleans in 1929.
When I write I drift into a vocabulary that would have been natural to me in the eighteenth century, into phrases shaped by the authors I’ve read. But in spite of my French accent, I talk like a cross between a flatboatman and detective Sam Spade, actually. So I hope you’ll bear with me when my style is inconsistent. When I blow the atmosphere of an eighteenth-century scene to smithereens now and then.
I came out into the twentieth century last year.
What brought me up were two things.
First—the information I was receiving from amplified voices that had begun their cacophony in the air around the time I lay down to sleep.
I’m referring here to the voices of radios, of course, and phonographs and later television machines. I heard the radios in the cars that passed in the streets of the old Garden District near the place where I lay. I heard the phonographs and TVs from the houses that surrounded mine.
Now, when a vampire goes underground as we call it—when he ceases to drink blood and he just lies in the earth—he soon becomes too weak to resurrect himself, and what follows is a dream state.
In that state, I absorbed the voices sluggishly, surrounding them with my own responsive images as a mortal does in sleep. But at some point during the past fifty-five years I began to “remember” what I was hearing, to follow the entertainment programs, to listen to the news broadcasts, the lyrics and rhythms of the popular songs.
And very gradually, I began to understand the caliber of the changes that the world had undergone. I began listening for specific pieces of information about wars or inventions, certain new patterns of speech.
Then a self-consciousness developed in me. I realized I was no longer dreaming. I was thinking about what I heard. I was wide awake. I was lying in the ground and