Thirsty (novel)

"Thirsty" (1997) is a horror novel written by M. T. Anderson. It is set in modern New England, specifically Massachusetts, in a parallel universe where vampires and other such creatures exist. The main character, Christopher, just wants a normal life; to date his crush Rebecca Schwartz, stay up late, and other teenager things. Unfortunately, Chris has much more to worry about than puberty- he also has to deal with his vampirism.

Plot summary

The story is set in the town of, and in the areas surrounding Bradley, Massachusetts. A Vampire Lord, Tch'muchgar, is magically imprisoned in isolation at the bottom of the town reservoir. The townsfolk performs rituals at the annual The Sad Festival of Vampires to maintain the bonds holding Tch'muchgar prisoner.

Early in the book the young hero, Chris, witnesses a vampiress being lynched. Soon after, he starts to feel a strange sensation -- a growing thirst for blood. Chris later notices that his friend Tom is casting a reflection on the water of the reservoir but Chris himself has no reflection. He realizes that he must be suffering from vampirism. Chris is afraid to tell anyone, not even his friends, because vampires are killed immediately upon being discovered.

Chris does not know how he could be a vampire, as he does not remember ever being bitten by a vampire. However, his mother tells him a story about how Chris nearly died as a newborn, but that a strange nurse took him away for a few minutes. When she brought him back, he was fine. Chris fears that the nurse must have been a vampire who infected him with vampirism to save his life.

Chris is soon confronted by a mysterious person dressed in black, who introduces himself as Chet the Celestial Being. Chet says that he serves the Forces of Light, and that he can cure Chris of his vampirism. But first Chet must place a holy object, The Arm of Moriator, with Tch'muchgar. Once activated, the Arm cannot be moved or deactivated by evil beings. Chet explains that if Tch'muchgar tries to escape from his prison, the Arm will cause him to become trapped Tch'muchgar between worlds just like "opening an elevator between floors".

Chet leaves for two weeks to retrieve the Arm. Meanwhile, Chris's vampirism grows at a steady rate. He starts sleeping during the day and staying awake at night. He drinks warm water to simulate drinking blood, and even considers his family as potential "beverages". Chris also begins receiving letters through mail from vampires living underground in the community. One of these letters is from a female vampire named Lolli, who appears to be Chris's age and behaves like a popular adolescent girl.

Chris starts to notice he is being stalked by a creepy humanoid figure he describes as "The Thing with the One-Piece Hair", or simply The Thing. The Thing corners Chris in the woods, but Chet appears and "kills" The Thing. He warns Chris that The Thing is not really dead and will rematerialize within a few minutes. So Chet places a mark on Chris' wrist, which he said will protect him from the Thing. Chet gives Chris the Arm and bring him to a congregation of vampires in an abandoned church. Chris is accepted as a vampire by the others and learns that they plan to summon Tch'muchgar. He takes this opportunity to enter the realm of Tch'muchgar and drops the Arm.

Chris returns to his "normal" life and waits for Chet to return with further instruction. His vampiric symptoms continue to grow. Crazed with thirst, Chris almost bites his friend's dog. He resorts to going hunting for raccoons to drink from. After he cuts himself shaving for the first time, Chris begins drinking his own blood. He eventually resorts to biting himself in the arm.

At the Sad Festival of Vampires, Chris is talked into going to a party with Lolli and another young vampire called Bat. They tell him that to become initiated into the vampire community he must make his first kill that night and smear his blood on his cheeks. Chris shys away from the challenge, saying that he couldn't find anyone yet, but Bat quickly calls his bluff. Chris escapes from the party and finds his crush, Rebecca Schwartz, in the area. He tells her that he needs to talk, but his teeth start to grow in bloodlust. Chris flees back to the vampire party, only to find that everyone save one high student has left.

The student tells Chris that Lolli killed a student. Afterwards, she was hit by a car and broke her back. The authorities arrived and took her to be killed. Chris hears Bat coming, and runs outside. He meets Chet, who confirms the story about Lolli's death. Bat hears this and attacks Chet, but Chet kills Bat with a wave of his hand.

At the climax of the story, Tch'muchgar attempts to leave his prison and is killed by the Arm of Moriator. Chet reveals that he was actually working for Tch'muchgar, who had realized that he would never escape his prison and was looking for a way to end his miserable existence. He also admits that he was lying about being able to help Chris, because vampirism is incurable. Chet also points out to Chris that he is now doomed. If he kills mortals for blood, they'll eventually hunt him down and execute him. If he refuses to drink blood, he'll die. If he tries to get help from other vampires, they'll kill him themselves for destroying their god.

As the book ends, Chris's fate is uncertain. He seems determined to resist his vampiric urges and live a moral life. But the novel closes with words that put a doubt in your heart.

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