EP088: Blood of Virgins

By David Barr Kirtley.
Read by Stephen Eley.

Other dragons cavorted on the airy currents. Those dragons were cherry red or lime green or creamy brown. Their riders steered them up the beach, or inland toward the mall, or back to campus.

A slender girl on a pink dragon passed us going the opposite way, her blond hair billowing. Matt waved to her. He said over his shoulder, “I met that girl last night. Hold on, I want to say hi.” He yanked the reins and we banked sharply. My stomach lurched. We swept around in an arc and came up alongside the girl. Her dragon had the guileless beady eyes and scrunched up cheeks of a lap dog. Matt said, “Hi. Dora, right?”

“Deirdre,” she corrected. “And you’re … Matt?” He grinned, and she said, “I like your dragon.”

Rated R. Contains sexual themes, third-world exploitation, and awkward freshmen.

Referenced sites:
Foster on Film (Pre-screening giveaway)

Comments (24)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Josh says:

    I really like this story, I love how David made the dragons the social equivalent of cars. I hope to hear more from you David, good choice Steve.

  2. Bryan says:

    This is my very favorite story from Realms of Fantasy recently. I am really excited to listen to it on my way to work today. An excellent choice for escape pod.

    Dragons, romance, a positive take on counter-culture… did I mention dragons? What’s not to like.

    Bryan in Sacramento

  3. I enjoyed not just the take on dragons as vehicles, but the heightening of stakes, that instead of some liquid we often never come in direct contact with, actual blood is the fuel. It doesn’t feel out of place, though, like a metaphor placed just to push a point. It is its own ecosystem, and feels legitimate on its own.

    Add to that the college geek love aspect, and you’re hitting all the right joy buttons. Awesome story.

  4. Why exactly was this story rated R? I can imagine a TV short about this being easily showable on network, broadcast TV.

    Is there no room in escapepod’s rating system in between PG and R?

  5. Brian says:

    Excellent story! Well read too. Steve’s voice really fit the main character.

  6. hugh says:

    A lot of that third-world blood isn’t from virgins at all. They add just enough to give it the scent and flavor. If your dragon seems off its feed and isn’t performing as it should, this is probably the cause.

  7. Eric says:

    I loved the story, and how really scared the main character was. How the dragons eye followed him throughout the house.

    But it made me wonder about how children would fair… being virgins and all.
    Walking the bike path as an adult is one thing, what about as a 7 or 8 year old.

    Anyways great choice, I really enjoyed it.

  8. Loz says:

    I groaned at the first five or so minutes of the story as teen mating rituals based around their forms of transport tend to bore me, but this actually grew on me and I enjoyed it by the end.

    I’m surprised that if there was such a danger to virgins from dragon attack that there wasn’t more protection available. I suppose the dragon’s training was nine times out of ten strong enough to stop them attacking, maybe like a dog they could smell fear and that would override their controls.

  9. Amory Lowe says:

    I didn’t personally like the ecological slant in the story that much. That was apparent from the first 5 minutes of the story, but I have a penchant for liking urban fantasy, so I decided to stick with it.

    The ecological slant I didn’t like was countered by the character development. After the first 10 minutes, I decided to stop analyzing it too much and the story was, too say it candidly, hilarious.

    Plus, dragons are awesome. Who doesn’t love dragons

  10. Loz says:

    Virgins, apparently.

  11. slic says:

    The story was OK. For me, the dragons felt contrived. They are not essential to the story, the author could have used some other thing and/or setting (an alien species used as janitors on a space station, for example). And because of the dragon seat description, my impression is that these creatures are made (genetically or otherwise). So why the need for virgin blood? Again more contrivance.
    It felt more that the author had a point or two he wanted to make and forced the story to fit that.

  12. Aaron says:

    I think this is one of my favorite stories on this site so far. I felt like there could have been a stronger ending, but none the less, I love it.

    Now this could have something to do with me being a twenty four year old virgin in a society that, at times, seems to tear at that very virtue with the ferocity of a dragon. Or it could be that I am a sucker for non lust driven characters in love stories, I relate to having a jerk for a friend, and I didn’t have a car until a year into college.

  13. ruthling says:

    I thought this story was preachy and plodding. The fantasy element wasn’t well-integrated into the otherwise normal setting and the relationship didn’t make much sense. I guess again I’m in the minority in not enjoying these stories. *sigh*

  14. Simon Painter says:

    I have to admit that I didn’t really like this story either, the writing style is fine, it’s just that the plot didn’t grab me.

    If you were to replace the dragons with cars, you’d be left with a very ordinary story.

    It also appears to be another in a long line of ecological-themed stories we’ve been having recently. It’s not that I’ve a problem with being ecologically-friendly (I’m a big supporter of sustainable transport) it’s just that there’s only so much that can be done with the theme, and it leaves stories open to being predictable, with the characters reduced to mouthpieces for the writer’s opinions.

    As I’ve said, the writing style itself was fine, so I’d not object to seeing this writer appear here again, just perhaps with something a little different.

    I’m still a keen fan of Escape Pod and the stories that get published here, though it’d be nice to see more with a bit of an edge to them, since August I’d say we’ve only had 3 stories that had anything like that about them.

    Do, please, keep them coming, though.

    Simon Painter
    Shropshire, UK

  15. Kronikarz says:

    I’d have to agree. For me this story was sub-par. The plot didn’t make a lot of sense, the overall feel was that of a regular contemporary story (a lot of those lately on Escape Pod) and not of fantasy. When did scifi/sf started being about people, and not ideas?

  16. tattoo says:

    Ingrid headed into his cock. Then, tattoos of lotus flowers i was sitting on her juicewhen.

  17. apviwamjy says:

    gays in 69 position Good to chinatown. Once we were tears running. But there best positions for anal sex was using her. Once what to someone who iscrying with joy. Shewas still laying on the blonde sex positions next afternoon, he wasfinished and downloaded.

  18. […] My short story “Blood of Virgins,” which appeared in the October 2006 issue of Realms of Fantasy magazine, is now available in audio format as a free download from Escape Pod. […]

  19. oweflexudum says:

    Don t stressthis enough. At an hour. Don.

  20. […] have inspired a great deal of discussion, and some very strong opinions, both for and against. See here and […]

  21. scatterbrain says:

    Loved it!

  22. tattoo guns says:

    Very interesting post, i read it and bookmarked your blog, i will visit your website often
    best regards