Polidori (new vampire) had an idea.... use the corpses as bait. Drag them out where the mice will find them. So that's what we did. Caught one right away. Polidori jumped on it. Vaulted right onto it's back, just like an ancient Minoan bull jumper. Grabbed hold of the ears and held on. It squealed. It ran. Tried to knock him off in the brambles. Scratched him up pretty good. But he's a vampire. They heal fast. Thing got tired. Mice can move quick, but only over short distances. When it stopped to catch its breath, he bit in. Now mouse blood's not the same as human blood. But this universe isn't Earth either. Things are different. Do they overlap? Sure. But they're still different. He was nourished in a half-assed sort of way. And the mouse easily had a body mass equal to two and a half or three times that of a person. There was more than enough, so Tomas had some too. Not his cup of tea. But he was curious and this was taking too long. Soon after, it squeaked to a mousy god, shuddered, gasped and lay still, legs stiff, on it's side, the way they always do.
Then they peeled off the skin. Humans watched. One or two smart ones began to help. Repulsive sickening work. Had to force their finger nails under the hide. But what did they know from that? Just a matter of survival. Now being Australian, Polidori understood something about sheep. He knew how to stretch and dress a hide. Sheepskin gives good leather, thick, pliable and what with the fleece, incredibly warm. This wasn't that. Yet when properly prepared would provide robes for two people. Nothing fancy... More Neanderthal than Cro Magnon. If they can kill a few every week, they'd all be warm... or warmer. Built frames out of twigs. Polidori showed them. And via that 'skin talk' they have (stroke each other's faces picking up chemical 'words' along the way) 'smarts' travel fast.
Did they eat the carcass? Of course. Country folk on Earth eat muskrat. In the tropics, fire roasted rat is a delicacy. It eats the grain and the farmers eat it. Thus they recoup their losses. Fire kills anything, even the germs. Soon they had quite a little community. Killed a few shrews too, but mice are easier.
Tillie, the other vampire Tomas made, picked up some words. She learned English, naturally, because Tomas and Polidori spoke that, plus a few words of classical Spanish from Tomas too. Might have been Old Vahmperigo, the life-eater dialect. They are fairly similar. She appreciated her new, grey, mouse fur kimonos. The made snug boots too. Rodent couture was 'in' that year. The extra layer or two of insulation did the trick. People stopped dying. Oh, once a weasel came 'round. To the Mouse Skin Wearers it was an apatosaurus. But Tomas quickly sublimated through the head and killed it. Though it did crush a little boy under a sharp clawed paw. All the humans had to climb over it to get out of the den. They had to leave. It was too big. They couldn't move it. But a few yards away there was another den. From the smell, it probably belonged to some mice, though they were long gone. What with the vampires and other humans, what chance did they have? You know mouse bones make good spears? Leg bones telescope together. Sharp too.
Weeks passed. Soon it was time to feed. Tomas needed to kill. Local vampires, ones made here, had no such rhythms. They could kill. But regular small drinks were enough. The 'burden' rested different on them. It's always like that. Even Earth has different strains.After a while they formed 'harems' of compliant humans willing to share their blood. And the donors benefited too. Got choice hunks of mouse meat and nicest robes.
But vampires, at least Tomas' kind, get very aware come feeding time. He felt the air and the night and the damp and the soil. He smelled each and every mortal. How unique they were... How irresistible. The very particles of creation vibrated with a certain resonance...an 'Earth' resonance... It felt like home.
He lay there, curled up in the dark, listening to the world around him.... each breath and the subtle 'hum' of the planet beneath him.
Intersecting universes have overlapping resonances... That's how they intersect. So Earth, although thousands of light years away, was quite accessible in other ways.
Tomas felt that... and it tortured him.
Sometimes he almost heard voices.....
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