This post will get a little gruesome. If reading about anatomical details in the context of a vampire consuming human beings makes you sick, please stop reading.
Today in my pre-deployment training, in a class called "Combat Lifesaver's Course," our medic instructor mentioned in his medical training that cerebrospinal fluid is sweet. He wondered out loud why he had been told that in training, as he were going to taste it--something he'd never do.
And at that moment launched in me an idea for story vampires that perhaps constitutes something altogether new. Imagine a vampire that has no interest in sucking blood, but longs for cerebrospinal fluid.
Cerebrospinal fluid (a.k.a. CSF) is, by the way, the clear or slightly greenish fluid that bathes the brain and spinal column, providing protection and nourishment. When it leaks from the ears or nose, it's an indicator of a serious skull fracture, which is why we were discussing it our class.
If CSF really is sweet, it's possible that a garden-variety vampire would like to have it for desert after feasting on blood. Or might simply like the taste. But the idea that passed through my mind was a whole new kind of vampire, with massive jaws with sharply incised teeth like a rat, the teeth containing a hollow tube within them, making a sort of drinking straw inside, in this way like conventional vampire fangs. This creature would pinch a human head in its inhumanly wide jaws and compress with enough force to puncture a hole in the skull (it need not necessarily be a big hole). Then, of course, it would suck out the CSF.
Not the sort of creature you'd see featured in Eclipse for certain, but not necessarily a creature any more sinister than the way vampires are typically portrayed nowadays. Though I do think this idea would naturally tend to bring back the original idea of a vampire, which was that of a terrifying creature that no sane human would want to have any dealings with.
I realized after I started writing this that you could do something similar with any human bodily fluid, though this could get quite bizarre. I mean, wouldn't a lymphatic-fluid-sucking-vampire be anything but scary? Though the thought of a bone marrow sucker gives me a chill. As would a bile drinker.
These variations on vampirism could still be called vampires, I suppose. Or they could be given entirely different names. Any proposals?