July 26, 2009
Q: If the vampires don’t have blood, then where did it go? Did it just dry up? Evaporate? Or were they nearly drained of it by the one who changed them?
Stephenie Meyer: The blood left in a newborn vampire’s body is used–burned like fuel, the same way the blood they drink from others is used for fuel. Here’s an analogy: think of it as the fat stores in your body. You’re still eating, but you use those fat stores up, too, over time (though not always; more’s the pity, so the analogy isn’t perfect unless you are successfully dieting). That blood left in them is used slowly over about a year.
Quote from Twilight Lexicon’s personal correspondence with Stephenie Meyer.
We just had one of the largest thunderstorms in Forks history. It’s almost always rainy here, constantly pouring down like slop from a bucket, but this was louder and stronger than anything I’ve ever seen or heard, ever. The ominous black clouds lingered over the tiny town of Forks, making it feel like twilight, even in the middle of the afternoon. The lightening crashed and crackled—it could have easily drowned out the sound of even the most intense game of vampire baseball.
We plan on playing baseball tomorrow, in the clearing. My first game of vampire baseball since becoming one of them. I can’t wait. The storm is supposed to last days, tapering off gradually at times. The streets are already flooded, delivering a lot of wet basements to the good people of Forks. I think we’re the only ones in this town who can truly appreciate a storm. It’s like freedom to us. Freedom to venture out without the fear of the sun causing our skin to sparkle like embedded diamonds, giving away that we are different.
It will be Charlie’s first game of vampire baseball. His bright, blood-red eyes lit up when the thunder started rolling. He had been waiting for a storm big and loud enough to conceal the intense cracking sounds of a baseball game played by a bunch of rock-like, exceedingly strong vampires. I have a feeling Charlie is going to be one of the best players. Baseball is in his blood, or was.
Carlisle is still struggling to understand Charlie’s eyes. Unlike humans, he can’t just cut Charlie open and do an experiment. He has, however, discovered something strange. Something he’s never seen or heard of before.
While Nessie was resting on Charlie’s chest the other day, she started to say something, that, at the time I thought was in a different language. “Thumpbump. Thumpbump.” The sound was calming her, causing her big eyes to slowly droop shut, though she tried to fight it. Charlie looked at Nessie like she was a crazy alien child, concern gradually flooding his face.
Edward picked Nessie up and placed her in her bed, then called Carlisle over to the cabin. Edward pressed his ear to Charlie’s chest and heard the same weak, feeble, almost imperceptible beat.
“What. You think I have a heart beat or something?” Charlie smiled, but it didn’t touch his eyes.
I could see the concern behind his expression, and didn’t want him to worry, so I quickly joked back. “Yeah Dad, looks like your heart was just so big there was no stopping it.”
Carlisle was at the cabin almost instantly, and had his ear pressed into Charlie’s chest before he even spoke a single word. Edward and I waited silently, my eyes dancing between Charlie and Carlisle. I didn’t understand the calm look on Carlisle’s face. I hoped his calmness meant that nothing was wrong with Charlie, or that Carlisle had a better understanding of what was happening.
Edward pulled me into his chest, cupping his hand onto the ball of my shoulder, then he kissed the top of my head softly, not taking his eyes off of Carlisle. I couldn’t take the silence anymore.
“Carlisle, is everything okay, or..?” It came out more bitter than I intended it to.
Carlisle looked up at me, then shot a knowing glance in Edward’s direction. He knew Edward could read his thoughts. I jerked away from Edward and demanded he tell me what Carlisle was thinking.
As Edward was about to speak, Carlisle interrupted. “I really don’t understand it. Every so often I hear a light, almost undetectable beat. Even with my heightened hearing, it’s still extremely vague. They aren’t timed, either. It almost seems as though you can hear each beat getting weaker and weaker, just slightly, though.” Carlisle was clearly confused, something I wasn’t used to.
In a very calculative fashion, Carlisle started theorizing. He thinks it’s a mix of things. Charlie’s heart could have been too weak to push the venom through his entire system, which would eventually cause it to completely burn the veins and stop the heart in a normal transformation. However, because of Charlie’s weak heart, due to the bullet wound which was followed by surgery, Charlie doesn’t seem to have had a normal transformation.
Carlisle thinks Charlie’s age is a factor, too. He’s in his forties, which could also be another reason his heart didn’t push the venom through his system properly. He was weaker than someone in their teens or twenties. Not everyone survives the change, either. Charlie is still considered lucky, we all are.
I don’t know a lot about medical stuff when it concerns vampires—they didn’t exactly teach us that in school, but Carlisle tried to explain it to me. I didn’t understand, at all, so Edward tried explaining it, too.
Basically, Carlisle concludes that Charlie had an aortic insufficiency. In aortic insufficiency, when the pressure in the left ventricle falls below the pressure in the aorta, the aortic valve is not able to completely close. This causes a leaking of blood from the aorta into the left ventricle. This means that some of the blood that was already ejected from the heart is regurgitating back into the heart. So when Charlie was bit, the venom couldn’t act effectively because his heart was regurgitating blood, and venom, not allowing the venom to flow through his veins at full pressure. If the venom was being regurgitated, it couldn’t flow throughout his body to completely kill it, like normal. When the venom would attack his heart, he would regurgitate more blood, not letting the venom to completely stop his heart or completely dry up his veins—which is also why his eyes are still so red.
Unlike most newborns, he isn’t burning his human blood as fast because his heart is still slowly, faintly pumping. His eyes will remain red, forever.
Otherwise, nothing else is different. Charlie is still inhumanly strong, he still craves blood, he’s fast, and there’s a chance his heart will eventually completely stop due to lack of activity. A small chance, but it could happen.
The small amount of blood in Charlie’s system won’t cause our throats to burn, either. Similarly to how we cannot smell human blood on non-vegetarian vampires, and how newborn vampires who still have some human blood flowing through them don’t cause us to become thirsty.
Carlisle assured me and Charlie that there’s nothing to worry about, except for maybe the fact that Charlie will always be a little stronger than the rest of us. I can live with that, though. We’re playing vampire baseball tomorrow, I already reserved a spot on my team for Charlie. I guess, technically, baseball is still in his blood.
I’ll let you know how the game went in my next entry.
Here is another description of the “conversion” process as described by Stephenie Meyer:
Q: If someone’s bitten with loads of venom right by the heart, how quick is the conversion and is it more painful than a regular conversion? Were some of the Cullen’s transformations worse than others?
A: About the conversion process… If there is a lot of venom in the human’s system, the pain is more intense to begin with. Like fire, the venom burns through the body. So, with fire in more places, there is more pain at the outset. When Bella was bitten by James, the fire was only in her hand. Painful enough, but not as bad as if she had several bites. Of course, this is only at the outset. If James’ venom had been allowed to spread through Bella, it would have over time made its way through her whole system, and the pain eventually would have been just as intense as if she’d been deliberately infected with multiple, well-placed bites (jugular, wrists, ankles, etc.). So, all that early pain as the venom wound through her system is extra–an added portion of pain that doesn’t in anyway cut down the time or the intensity of the greater pain. The greatest pain begins when the venom is all the way through the body, through the heart, and it starts meeting itself in the veins again and then burning them dry. It moves slower than blood because it’s thicker. Each beat of the heart can only push it so far. The changing/burning process is slow. The venom has to leak through to every cell before it ends. It took Carlisle a little more than three days because his bites were not deliberate or well-placed. It can be as short as two.
EDIT: Looking for a new dark love story to read? I have written a novella called, ‘My Darrling.’ (This is not the Willow series I’ve been working on, rather it’s a small side project.). You can read a preview and purchase ‘My Darrling’ here!