What She Was Working For

She met the vampire in her PhD program. It was his fifth doctorate, though she didn’t know that at the time. He’d drained a kid clean and stolen his credentials to be admitted. The vampire told her that she was beautiful, but more than that she was smart, so smart. Brilliant even. She had gone straight from her undergraduate to a Master’s program and then into the PhD and when she met him, she was starting to question if academia was her true path in life. It was intoxicating, having someone compliment her like that after years of questioning her own intelligence. She found out he was a vampire at a house party where she had accidentally broken a wine glass that led to a cut on her hand. He offered to take her home and it was there that he sucked her blood for the first time. It felt good like how she felt when she got a paper accepted for publication or a good teaching evaluation from a student. After a long and brutal job search in which she got told that her work “wasn’t academic enough” and was once hit on by the chair of a search committee, she was finally offered a tenure track position in the most light-filled city in America. The vampire gave her a choice between moving to Arizona or staying with him forever and she chose the tenure track job because that’s what she thought she had been working for her whole life. The vampire killed her when she went to say goodbye, the moving truck already packed and on its way to Arizona. “What a shame,” the director of the search committee said before submitting a request to do a new job search the following year.

Tasha Coryell lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where she spends her time watching shows about vampires, werewolves, and girls out for revenge. You can find her book of short stories, Hungry People, at Split Lip Press.

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