Dear Juju,

I'm writing because: I've been hit on by a total creeper of an interdimensional vamp man! Let me explain:

        There we were, my beloved stumpling of a corgi and I, out for a walk, just before sunrise; the same route
we take every day--a romp down the hill from our humble apartment. We always stop by the parking lot of a
neighborhood synagogue, where my corgi sniffs the light poles, and checks his busy P-mail inbox. Well the
poor kid let the letters stack that day! As we arrived to the consistently barren lot; I saw a figure dressed in all
black, marble pale, completely bald. My dog saw him immediately and freaked right-the-hell-on-out; fur all
hopped up like pins to a magnet (which is SO not him; he's a people-person).

I wish I'd had time to wonder if this was just a local cyber-goth on his walk-of-shame back from a rave, but any
chance for a rationalization was vacuumed into the anomaly by- I swear to Dog- a sucking sound! It was coming
from behind my right shoulder?? The guy(?) was visibly in front of us, but the sound was coming from behind us!
It sounded like those goofy, big, kissy sounds you'd hear in an old cartoon; when one cartoon animal is sexually
harassing another cartoon animal. Despite the directional dissonance, I just knew - intuitively-- that He was making
this sound.

My dog was over it, at that point, and ran off, so I followed suit. I don't know how I got to sleep after that, but once
we were back home; I passed out for a couple of hours. When I woke up, I was in this dissonant mental fog, of
"Did that happen?"; and I laid there trying to check myself, to see if I'd just dreamed it all. I felt like I was suspended
in a dream-state, but despite the after-warp, I knew better.

What I want to know is, what did he want, exactly? Was he trying to suck our souls? Could he have gotten a little scrap
of my essence in the exchange? What should I do now, like, as a cautionary follow up?
I don't know if I can ever walk past that lot before daylight again.

Nervously Your's,
Bewildered by Bald Batmen in Birmingham, and Dog


Dear Bewildered,

What an eerie encounter indeed! I hope you're curled up with a big mug of garlic tea, because acquiring a taste for that
charming little bulbous bane of paranormal parasites is just the beginning, honey (which I hope you've got on hand too--
even the most steel-tongued hippies and Romanian elders cannot confess to "enjoying" this holiest of protective libations)!

That pasty chap sounds like exactly the kind of ghoul we have historically christened "Vampire", but exactly what "Vampire"
really entails is a Pandora's Box of chocolates: You never know what crippling curses unto all-humanity's course you'll get!
Extra Terrestrials long-settled on Earth? A hellacious class of Geist? Ancient cryptids? A guess-list longer than Dracula's
dinner table, sweetheart!

For starters, I prescribe you infuse your life with ample "sunlight" at all hours: lots of warm, bright colors - and drink your
%DV of orange juice or take some vitamins. One easy at-home trick is to carry a pocket mirror and flashlight at all times,
as a mock-sun for cloudy days! Now if Mister Tall, Pale, and Hauntsome ever comes sniffing around your pad; Bulgarians
in the Middle Ages had a couple of anti-cat calls for just the occasion. If a noise was heard at night and suspected to be made
by a vampire sneaking around someone's house, one would shout:

"Come tomorrow, and I will give you some salt,"
"Go, pal, get some fish, and come back."  [ Vuković, Народни обичаји, p. 213.]

(I must admit myself dumbfounded by the efficacy of these mildest of blessings-out! It has taken me much harsher hexes to
drive off the Hounds of Horn down at the bar!) What your pale pal wanted, you may be Bewildered to hear, is probably much
the same as any of us: The warmth of companionship, a hand to squeeze, another soul to drive mad in this endless void voyage
he calls Unlife. Really: we're all just walking the anxious dogs of each other's existential terror Home, aren't we?

As for your essence, I suggest monitoring your dreams for any signs of lost pieces. If you're wandering wastelands or trapped
in any dark boxes, you'll want to call that little lamb back to roost! There are myriad methods for a reclamation ritual, but my
personal favorite is inexpensive and fun!

You'll want to get a "catching device", something your soul-scrap will recognize for the function. Commonly used, are: butterfly
nets, fishing poles, baseball gloves, or even your very own pillow case (unwashed preferably, it smells like "home"). Next, what
was your favorite radio hit at the time of the suction-abduction? If you own or can come by portable means to play this song, all
the better; otherwise you'll have to sing it yourself. The ritual will need to take place at the site of the encounter, but lucky for you,
any time of the day will do! Assemble said elements in "Lassie Come Home!" fashion, and you'll be back to your usual stress
dreams in no time! And sure, wear a cross, they're always in style.

Best wishes!

P.S. If you're feeling feisty, maybe poke around the synagogue and ask about any practicing resident Kabbalist mages who
might be willing to provide some pest control for that sucker in the lot. They might appreciate the open-portal report at the
least-- worse than potholes, am I right?