Real terrifying facts about the monsters in my horrifying fiction!
The Truth Behind The Nightmares
From insects to demons, learn about the creatures that inspired my monsters.
Did You Know? gives you short insights behind the creatures you’ll find in my stories. Each week I will post information that helped inspire a creature from one of my stories along with the title of the story and where you can find it.
Mosquitos: Vampire of the Insect World
An idea that Just Bit Me
The attack upon me was silent and quick. It was only after I started the feel the itch on my forearm did I know I had been bit. I looked down and saw the skin over my vein begin to rise. Fighting the urge to scratch, I turned to my wife next to me, held out my arm and said, “We have a mosquito in here.”
Using the glow from the television light, which was playing a cheesy SYFY channel horror movie, she looked at the wound and said, “You know what would make a great idea for a horror story, hun? People get bit by mosquitoes, become vampires then go on a killing spree. And call it, Vampsquito!”
I stared at her (I’m sure I had a dumbfound look on my face), and said, “Mosquitoes turning people into vampires? How in the hell would that even work?” And without skipping a beat, she said, “You’re the horror writer. That’s your job to figure out. “
I accepted the challenge.
How would a mosquito pass along a vampire sickness? It would have to be sick itself, I figured, but from what? How do mosquitos operate anyway? To understand my antagonist, I did my research.
12 Things to Know about Mosquitos
Small, quick, silent and, in some parts of the world, deadly. Mosquitos have been around since the Jurassic age. They satisfy their thirst for blood by feeding off any living creature they can land on. But what else do we really know about these insects? While it’s not clear what purpose they serve, their behavior suggests it’s all about survival. And there’s more.
DID YOU KNOW . . .
- Short Life Span: Males typically live for about 5 -7 days.
- A Bloody Production: Females require blood to produce eggs.
- That Piercing Feeling: They use a proboscis (elongated feeding tube) to pierce the skin. Their saliva lubricates the opening. It’s this combination that causes stinging and irritation that we feel.
- A Weal of a Deal: The itchy raised bumped called a weal, is caused by histamines trying to fight off the protein left by the attacking insect.
- They Use Blood Thinners: Their saliva serves as an anticoagulant; without it, the female mosquito’s proboscis might become clogged with blood clots.
- They Can Hold Their Drink: The abdomen of a mosquito can hold three times its own weight in blood.
- Picky Feeders: Among humans, the feeding preferences of mosquitoes typically include: those with type O blood, heavy breathers, an abundance of skin bacteria, high body heat, and pregnant women.
- : The visible part of the proboscis is the labium which is used for probing the skin for easy accessibility to blood vessels.
- They’re Everywhere, kinda: Mosquitoes are cosmopolitan (world-wide): they are in every land region except Antarctica.
- A Friend to Flowers: Several flowers are pollinated by mosquitoes.
- Dangerous Across the Globe: Various species of mosquitoes are estimated to transmit various types of disease to more than 700 million people annually in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico, Russia, and much of Asia, with millions of resultant deaths.
- A Deadly Art: They are lethally efficient at sucking blood from one individual and mainlining it into another, providing an ideal route for the spread of pathogenic microbes.
This information played a vital role on crafting the outline of my short story. And I also had a better understanding of my enemy.
Vampsquito – Reimagining the Lore
One town’s attempt to stop the spread of the West Nile Virus spawns a breed of mosquito whose bite turns residents into blood thirsty killers.
A couple of days after the challenge was given to me, I began crafting a terrifying story with the information I found during my research. The setting was a town in anywhere USA that had a mosquito problem. They try to eradicate the mosquitos only to have their town become plagued by vampirism. caused by mosquitoes. I drafted three questions about the tale that I needed to answer:
- What threat were the mosquitos causing that made the town act against them?
- How does one become a vampire from a mosquito bite?
- How can it be stopped?
As you can see from the blurb above, found an answer to the first question, a problem that was in the news at the time I created the story. But how people became vampires and how, if at all, was it stopped? That you’ll have to find out for yourself in the story. Vampsquito can be found in the anthology Hell at Brooklyn Tea which is available under the books section of this website.
I never caught the mosquito that bit me. Like any great villain, it moved on. And somewhere out there, there is a part of me inside someone . . . perhaps, in you.
Until next time, thanks you for checking out this segment of Did You Know. Next month: The Australian Funnel Web Spider.