Prelude: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

by Diane Webster, student archaeologist

If I told you how I spent my summer vacation, you would never believe it.

I’m still not sure I believe it myself.

I know a lot of people think the life of an archaeologist is bullwhips, ancient curses, walking mummies, and finding ancient tombs filled with golden treasure. Straight out of the summer movies, right?

Usually it’s sifting through a metric ton of sand to find a handful of pottery shards. That’s what I was expecting. Backbreaking and painstaking work, with or without air-conditioning, depending on whether we were doing it in the back room at some museum or in the field.  Which was fine with me. It doesn’t pay all that great, but it pays something, and it counts as professional experience. I considered myself lucky I got a graduate assistantship that summer that was actually in my field. The professor was a bit eccentric, but I assumed it was something I could deal with.

But as it turned out, “eccentric” didn’t even begin to cover it.

And that boring summer job of sifting through sand and identifying pottery shards? That turned out to be more like something out of the movies, complete with special effects by ILM and WETA.  It started with a random bellboy attack, and progressed from there to airport stalkings, museum robberies, weird prophecies, kidnappings and heroic rescues, secret societies, cryptic cyphers, ancient curses, forgotten tombs, ritual murder, blood, corpses, giant serpents, a lunar eclipse, flying monsters, resurrected gods, earthquakes, and entirely too much unexplained supernatural shit to be at all plausible even by Hollywood standards.

But let’s not forget the epicenter of the weirdness that was my summer job-slash-vacation, without which none of the rest would likely have ever happened.

I’m talking, of course, about the Vampires.