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VIETNAM VAMPIRE

The vampire (vampyre) is a creature surrounded by myth and lore, a Gothic horror
with romantic overtones. Neither is true, the truth is that the vampire is the perfect
killing machine and it is created by a demon. The vampire is a human body caught in the
shadow between life and death, and for that reason neither life nor death have any
meaning to it. The rest of the myth was created by the demon to give itself cover and
make it's hunting easier. The vampire can neither fly or shape-change, only the demon
can do these things. It can't be killed because it is not alive, but it can be destroyed by
either removal of the heart or head.
The demon is very clever and knows that it's human prey would soon wise up to it and
have it exorcised. Humans hunt down and destroy the vampire and rest easy while the
demon continues it's foul work.
The vampires can roam around during the day, sunlight does not destroy them. They
prefer to rest after gorging themselves on human blood and that is usually during the
day as it is much easier for them to hunt at night. They do not have fangs, that is the
demon. Do not confuse the two. The vampire has to rip out the jugular vein with it's
teeth and suck out as much blood as it can. The demon has endowed the vampire with a
lust for human blood that will sustain it in it's state of limbo between life and death.
Since it's not alive it has no conscience, it does not care whether it's prey is a man,
woman, or child. It has the hearing and sense of smell of a predatory animal. The Bengal
tiger can hear your breath whistling past your nose hairs from the distance of a hundred
yards if there is no background noise. Your pet dog or cat can both hear and smell your
blood pulsing through your veins. So can the vampire, the vampire can smell your
breath when it enters a room. There is no hiding from these creatures. The crucifix has
no power over the vampire, only the demon can be deterred by the cross, and garlic is
useless unless you like spicy food. The demon has to be exorcised using ritual, holy
water, crucifix, and blessed articles of priestly clothing. The vampire can only be
destroyed by beheading or removal of the heart, a steak driven through the heart will
not destroy it. A couple of months ago I knew none of these facts.
I came to Vietnam in July of 1968 just out of basic training and A.I.T. and thought that
my biggest worry was going to be to keep Charlie and the NVA off my tail. After a few
months in Saigon and Long Binh I was transferred to the delta area. I reported to my
new unit and processed into the company. It was a MACV outfit that did mostly recon
and patrol assistance to the ARVN ( the army of South Vietnam) a poorly led and largely
incompetent conscript army. The ARVN could not make a pimple on Charlie's ass. ARVN
was poorly motivated and cowardly. There was a wooden sign in our company area that
read " We are the unwilling, led by the incompetent, to do the impossible, for the
cowardly and ungrateful." I believe that whoever made that sign had a good handle on
the Vietnam war.
Vietnam is at the same time beautiful and miserable. Without the war blowing
everything up, the countryside would have been beautiful, it was lush and green. There
was grinding poverty, but the average Vietnamese seemed pretty much unaware of how
poor they were. They just wanted to be left alone to get on with their lives as best they
could. Almost every American GI would have been happy just to go back home and
leave them to their fate, I know that was how I felt. I had been happy not to know
where Vietnam was and I would be happy to go home and forget about them and their
conflict. It wasn't going to happen, Lyndon Johnson and his cronies had decided to make
South Vietnam the place where we would make our stand against world communism. We
would prop up South Vietnam's corrupt government, and help them fight their war
against North Vietnam's effort to unify Vietnam under a communist flag. We would
ultimately fail and the Saigon regime and the ARVN would fall to the communists, but I
believe that out of that failure came a victory of sorts. We made the war so expensive
for North Vietnam's backers (China and the USSR) that the dreaded domino effect never
took place. The USSR broke apart a few years later and China was forced to rethink it's
approach to communism. Vietnam remains under communist control today, but I don't
think anybody really cares.
I was on my first patrol mission in my new unit. The heat was taking it's toll on me (I
had become used to an air conditioned office) and all my water was already gone. The
closest guy on my right had assured me that we would soon be picked up by a deuce
and a half (an army truck) and transported back to base camp. His name was Billy Bob
Baugh, everybody called him B B Balls. I learned that everybody got a nickname over
here if you lived long enough. Army training can kiss my ass, nothing can prepare you
for this. Slogging through rice paddies (stay off the dikes or berms, that's where the
booby traps are) and streams then trudging through six foot high elephant grass on into
thick jungle growth. The sun beating down all the time. We were in this thick growth
when Charlie jumped us. Somebody tripped an antipersonnel mine and all hell broke
loose. I got off a few rounds and I know that I got a VC that was only a few yards from
me, I watched him go down. Then something hit me in the head like a sledgehammer
and I went down thinking that this was it, this would be my last thought. I was just
grazed by the AK round, but it put me down for the count. I used to be a boxer and I
have been hit in the head more than I care to admit, but nothing like this.
When I became conscious again the shooting was over and I could hear the Lt on the
radio trying to get choppers in to take out the wounded and dead. I tried to call out to
them, but I was too weak. Dizziness would rush in and I would pass out again. I must
have had a concussion. When I awoke again it was dark and I don't hear anybody. The
thirst was overpowering. All I could think of was a drink of water. I was able to stand
and walk a little. It was a clear night and the moon and stars gave me enough light to
move around a bit. It became clear that my unit couldn't find me and they had pulled
back to basecamp for the night. I was on my own.
I remembered the VC that I had shot just before I got hit, he must have had some
water on him. He was crossing a path when I shot him and I saw him fall to the side of
the trail. I found the trail and followed it a few yards and there was the dead Charlie
partially hidden in the weeds. I dragged him out into the trail and found his canteen. The
dead VC stunk horribly, his bowels must have let loose when he got hit. I walked away
to get rid of the smell so I could drink some of the water without throwing up. I had
heard of Bengal tigers, wild hogs, and packs of wild dogs that had learned to associate
the sound of gunfire with fresh kills, and would scavenge battlefields. All I had to do was
survive the night and I would probably be rescued at dawn.
I heard a distant sound, there it was again closer now, I blended back into the
underbrush. I wished now that I had looked for Charlie's rifle. Someone was walking
toward me on the trail. I eased back into the brush a little more. I could see that it was
definitely a person walking toward me. The person walked by me and headed for the
dead Charlie, it was a Special Forces dude. Special Forces were like super soldiers to the
rest of us. They get the specialized training, and operated pretty much independently of
the rest of the army. I started to step out and identify myself, but something stopped
me. Special Forces dudes usually worked in teams. What was this guy doing out here all
by himself.
He stopped at the dead Charlie and knelt down, I thought that he was trying to give
the VC mouth to mouth resuscitation. What would be the point, the Charlie had been
dead for a while. I tried to get closer to get a better look at what was going on. I thought
I was being quiet but he whirled around and I saw blood all over his mouth and his eyes
were rolled back into his head, all I could see were the whites of his eyes. Those white
eyes were staring at me, it was the most horrible sight that I had ever seen. He could
move faster than a human, more like a wild animal. He rushed me and the Karate
training took over, I side stepped and backhanded him with my fist to his temple as he
passed me. That blow will take out the most determined attacker, it didn't even faze
him. He turned and rushed at me again and rammed into me. I rolled backward and
threw him over my body with my legs. I rolled to my right to get up but he was faster.
He was almost on top of me again, I dropped down and then flipped him over me as I
raised up. He fell behind me and immediately rose again, I had never fought anybody
like this before. I put my hands on the ground to get up and I felt something, it was a
machete that Charlie must have been carrying when I shot him. I grabbed it and swung
with all of my remaining strength, it caught the Special forces dude on the neck and
completely beheaded him. I fell down beside him, completely exhausted and passed out.
I came to in 25th evac, a MASH type hospital. As soon as I was awake I was loaded
onto a medevac chopper and flown to 3rd Field hospital in Saigon. I was given a
complete physical and a few days bed-rest. I was told that they had found me and the
dead Charlie the next day. I asked about the Special Forces dude and they said that no
other body had been found, just me and the Charlie. They said it was probably a
hallucination or bad dream brought on by stress, fatigue and the concussion. They said
that no Special Forces teams were working that area at that time. I was released back to
my company in a couple of days.
I didn't mention this to anyone at first, I was new in this unit. I didn't want to get a
reputation as a nutcase. I just wanted it all behind me. The dreams started. I could not
get that Special Forces dude out of my head. I could see him sucking the blood from the
dead Charlie. It was so real that I didn't want to sleep anymore, I stayed awake as much
as possible. I only slept when fatigue would knock me out or if I drank enough alcohol to
pass out.
A couple of weeks later we lost the Lt in about the same circumstances. The radioman
was killed and the Lt became separated from the rest of us. We found him dead the next
day. His throat had been torn out. I was due in 3rd field hospital in a couple of days for a
checkup so I was detailed to accompany the Lt's body to graves registration at Tan San
Nhut AFB in Saigon. When the mortician saw the body, he mentioned that the throat
wound didn't look like a normal battlefield wound. This looked more like a bite wound.
There were no gunshot wounds on his body, so whatever killed the Lt had ripped out his
throat. Probably some kind of wild beast was the mortician's conclusion. He mentioned
that he had seen several similar deaths coming from our area of operation in the last
several months. He also said that something else was strange, a dead body left out in
the jungle overnight should show signs of scavengers. There was nothing, like the other
creatures would leave the body strictly alone. Even ants and other insects wouldn't touch
the body. I asked him what he knew about vampires and he looked at me like I was
crazy.
When I returned to the company area, I had some beer with me. B B Balls and I went
out behind the arms room to drink it. After a few beers I asked him if he knew about any
of this. He explained that a few of the dudes that had been in-country for a while knew
that something wasn't right about some of the K.I.As. Some of them had been in other
units and had been transferred here. They said that something weird was going on here.
I told B B Balls that I would like to talk to some of these guys. B B told me that would
not be a good idea right now, because they were unsure of me. Because I was new in
the unit and the fact that I had survived out in the bush overnight without getting my
throat ripped out. That and my strange sleeping habits had them eyeing me suspiciously.
Paranoia has a way of dividing people up just when they need to stick together.
Out in the bush we basically had three types of booby traps to worry about. Nail box,
trip wire, and foot poppers. A nail box was a simple wooden box a little bigger than a
man's foot with nails driven down at an angle. It would be buried and covered up with
leaves or something. When a GI stepped in this box, the nails would hold his foot and he
would be a perfect target for a sniper. A tripwire type was usually rigged to a hand
grenade pin and did not need to be constantly watched. Just set it and forget it. The foot
popper was set and forget also. It was cheap to make and it was very effective. It
consisted of a bamboo tube, cut just a little shorter than a rifle bullet. It had a flat
bottom (usually a piece of wood) and a short, big headed nail (like a roofing nail). The
piece of wood would be buried, with the nail centered on it. The bamboo tube would be
centered on the nail and the whole contraption would be covered with dirt. Charlie would
drop a rifle bullet (usually one of our's) down the tube. The tip of the bullet would stick
out of the ground a little bit. When a GI stepped on this trap his body weight would
cause the nail to act like a firing pin and fire the rifle bullet. Charlie could take one M16
magazine full of rounds and a handful of nails, and make an entire area impassable.
A few days after I got back to my unit, we were on night ambush. I spotted a nail box
and a tripwire booby trap on a trail. I told the sergeant that I wanted to disable the
tripwire and move the nail-box. Charlie knew that we were working this area, when the
tripwire didn't go off he would probably come to check it. We spotted the sniper that was
watching the nail-box and shot him. I moved the nail-box a few yards and we waited.
About midnight three Charlies approached cautiously. One stepped in the nail-box and
we opened up on the other two. The VC that had stepped in the nail-box got hit in the
leg and hollered all night.
At dawn we recovered the bodies of two dead VC and the wounded Charlie. We went
back to the company area by truck and dumped the bodies and the wounded VC by the
company headquarters Quonset hut (orderly room). Top came out of the Quonset and
told us that we would have to wait for an interpreter so that we could question the
wounded VC, then he could have some medical attention. The VC was old and I wasn't
sure that he would make it, he had lost a lot of blood and was probably going to go into
shock.
I told top that I would stay with the VC until the interpreter got here, everybody else
could go get some breakfast and rack out. The other guys from my squad were more
than happy to go about their business and leave me to guard the VC. When I was alone
with the VC it was my chance to question him. I speak and understand Vietnamese, but
I didn't want anyone in the company knowing this. I have found that I can learn a lot by
keeping my language skill a secret. Vietnamese tend to speak freely in front of you, if
they are sure that you don't speak their language. I noticed the VC looking at one of the
dead Charlies, his throat was torn out. I asked the VC if he knew what kind of animal
could make a wound like that. After he got over his shock that I could speak his
language, he must have decided that he had best keep me for a friend. He looked at me
for a minute, then said that it was a GI that was doing this. He told me that it had been
going on for a few months. He called it a devil-man, he said that there was an old witch
woman (ba phu thuy) in a neighboring village that knew what kind of devil that we were
dealing with. He told me that the devil-man was drawn to the sound of battle to find
wounded or fresh dead. He assured me that was all he really knew about the devil-man.
I couldn't have him telling anyone that I had questioned him. I popped him in the throat
with the edge of my hand. I went on in the orderly room and told top that the VC had
died of his wounds.
MACV's logistical support for our unit sucked, we had to buy most of our food on the
local economy. It was probably better this way anyway as you don't want to be running
around the bush smelling like Americans. We bought a lot of our food from the village
that the old VC had mentioned that the old Vietnamese witch lived in. I told B B Balls
that I wanted to ride into the village on our next grocery run. He set it up and two days
later I was in the back of a deuce and a half with three other dudes heading for the
village. We pulled in and one dude got out and bargained for the food that we came for.
When he was finished it was time to bargain for something else. First the driver and one
other guy went in a house and were gone for about forty five minutes. They came out
and it was mine and B Bs turn. We went in and B B new which girl he wanted. He took
her into a room. Mamasan came over to me and asked which girl I wanted. I told her
that I wanted to go see the old witch, this caused quite an uproar amoung the girls.
Partly because I could speak their language and mostly because of my strange request. I
told her that I would pay someone to take me to her. Finally one of the girls agreed.
We cut through a couple of alleyways and arrived at the old woman's house. The old
woman was sitting outside of her house stirring a pot of rice. She acted at first like she
didn't want to talk to me, a few piasters changed her mind. We talked for about a half
hour, she explained about the demon and the vampire and their different powers. She
also explained what the demon and vampire could not do. I got back to the truck just as
B B was coming out of the cathouse. We hopped back into the back of the truck and
headed back to the base. Nobody knew about my little side trip. If they thought that I
was strange before, what would they have thought about me bypassing a cathouse to go
and see a hundred year old witch.
That night I lay awake thinking about what the old woman had told me. Was it some
bullcrap from an elderly woman that was off her rocker or did she really know the score,
that old VC had believed she knew what she was talking about. I had the same
Hollywood knowledge of vampire lore, almost all of it untrue, that everybody gets from
watching horror movies. I don't know if the demons are responsible for this lore or if it
was invented by man, but I have seen vampire victims with their necks ripped open by
vampires while wearing a cross on their dog-tag chain, the cross didn't even slow the
vampire down. The old woman was Buddhist and she said that the vampire had no fear
of the cross, but the demon both feared and hated it. The demon also could not cross
running water, therefore he was confined to a certain geographical area. Also the demon
hated sunlight. I told her about beheading the special forces dude who I believed to be a
vampire. She told me that when I beheaded the vampire I had relieved it of all evil and
scavengers might have dragged it off. The scavengers wouldn't avoid the body once it
had been beheaded.
The next few recons that I went on were uneventful. I was probably the only GI in
Vietnam that was looking forward to being ambushed, to tell you the truth I was
beginning to doubt my own sanity. We lost a couple of GIs on other patrols, we
recovered one while it was still daylight and never saw the other one again. I had
beheaded the special forces vampire, but the old Charlie had said that the devil-man was
a GI. There must be at least one still operating in our area. We had a chopper shot down
recently and no bodies were ever recovered, but it was days before we ever found the
wreckage of the chopper. The survivors (if any) had probably gotten back to friendly
lines by now.
Well I got my wish, we were about four hours into the bush when Charlie opened up on
us with a machine gun. We were pinned pretty good and the radio was shot up. We
already had three dead and a couple more wounded, I guess I should be more careful
what I wish for. The Charlies had us in a classic L shaped ambush. The two wounded GIs
were hollering their lungs out and it's only a matter of time before their buddies try to
get to them. Charlie is counting on that. Every once in a while Charlie will pump a few
more rounds into those poor guys just to hear them scream. B B is on my right and has
the good sense to stay down. Somebody is going to have to do something, we have a
new Lt and he is scared shitless. The Charlies are going for position, we only have a little
time to turn the tide or it will be over for us all.
When the VC machine gunner opened up on those wounded guys again I was up and
running. B B gave me as much cover fire as he could. I rolled down into a gully and
caught two Charlies by surprise, I cut them down with a burst of rock n roll. I worked
close to the machine gun and heaved a grenade. That gave our guys time to drag the
two wounded to cover. Without the machine gun the VC weren't so brave. They crawled
back a little ways and we had a standoff. The Lt finally had the presence of mind to pop
smoke to let the company know that we were in trouble.
A couple of hours later Charlie must have gotten some reinforcements. A new machine
gun opened up on us and heavier rifle fire came pouring in. The Lt told everybody to fall
back, B B told him that I was in the gully and was cut off from the rest of the unit. The
Lt said that they would retake that ground when our backup team arrived. I was
stranded in the gully. Charlie advanced down the gully and I concealed myself as best I
could in some heavy brush. I was low on ammo about all I could do was keep my head
down.
The sun was going down when our backup arrived. About all they could do was recover
the dead and wounded and move out. I was screwed. Charlie may or may not pull back
to his camp. Charlie owns the night. You can bet if he thought that I was out here he
would stop at nothing to find me. With all this shooting going on today, Charlie won't be
the only one hunting tonight. I don't know if there are any VC dead or wounded laying
around out here.
From what I know about Vampires they are faster, have better sense of smell, hearing
and eyesight than me and hitting them is about as effective as beating on a corpse. I
don't have a machete now, just an M16 bayonet. I'm not really worried about Charlie as
much as I am the unknown. As quiet as I could I started for a stream that I had spotted
earlier. I crept slowly and crawled when cover was scarce. I was almost to the stream
when I spotted him moving along the stream bank. He was too tall to be a VC. He got
closer and I could see that he was an air force dude. He was a black man a little taller
than me. The vampire hadn't spotted me yet, but it wont be long before he does.
I leaped him from behind and ripped at his throat with my bayonet. I cut his throat
pretty good, but didn't behead him. He slung me away and rushed me. I dodged behind
a tree and when he rounded the tree I got another swipe at his throat. My bayonet is
razor sharp, but it's hard to get a good enough cut at him. He grabbed at me and only
got my jungle jacket, the light material tore out of his grasp and I got another swing at
him. He was almost beheaded now. I grabbed him from behind and we tumbled to the
ground. I hung on for dear life and jerked his head back and forth like a shark attack, his
head finally came off his neck and he stopped moving. I couldn't move, I don't
remember ever being so tired.
I heard slow mocking clapping coming from behind me. I rolled over and was face to
face with the demon. All I could do was just lay there, I was so tired. I had no idea how
to defeat the demon. Destroying a vampire was one thing, a demon cannot be killed or
destroyed. He has all the predatory skills and senses plus I can feel him reading my
mind. Whatever defence I could come up with, he would already be aware of. You are
correct he told me. Whatever you would try I would know in advance and stop you. He
was tall and muscular with a cruel look about him, I suspected his appearance was for
my benefit. He can probably appear any way he wants. He gave me a cruel smile when I
had that thought. He clapped his hands again and said that I was very perceptive. He
was playing with me the way a cat would play with a helpless mouse.
He told me that I had caused him quite a bit of trouble, he was running out of
vampires. He said that he would fix that. I was going to replace the vampire that I had
just destroyed. He glided closer and I had a sudden thought, I stepped backwards into
the stream. He stopped his approach. He can't cross running water, I'm safe for the
moment. He is used to being in complete control and is caught off guard not being used
to having to think things out. I backed further out into the stream while he raged. He
shape-changed several times to no avail, I'm safe for the moment. Safe or not I still
have to figure some way out of this impossible situation. Suddenly he screamed and my
blood turned cold. The bloodcurdling screams continued and he appeared to be in agony.
He must have shape-changed fifty times in a few seconds then disappeared into the
ground. All was quiet, completely silent, as if the whole jungle was holding it's breath.
That is when I saw her, it was the old witch from the village. She appeared weak, like
she was going to pass out. I left the stream, hoping it wasn't some trick of the demon,
and caught her before she fell. I helped her back to her village. The VC left me strictly
alone, they weren't sure what had happened but they wanted no part of it. When I got
her into her house and comfortable, she told me that she was much weaker than the
demon. She was only able to use her witchcraft on the demon after I had distracted him
by going into the stream. I asked her why she had set out to destroy the demon and
she said the demon had been preying on her village. She told me that she recognised a
hidden power in me when I had visited her and she had known that between us we could
defeat him. I asked her if she could use her magic to get me and a friend out of this war
and out of the army.
B B Balls and I are on a TWA headed for the land of the big PX, due to a mix-up in our
original enlistment paperwork. FINI

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are all fictional. Any
resemblance to any actual events, locales, or persons (either living or dead) is
coincidental. Also by this aurthor; The Vietnam Triangle, Death House, Evil People, and
Big Sharon has closed her bar.