A Feared Vampire Dies
Monday, December 10, after dark
My name is Charlie. My last name is, trust me, just as ordinary. I have an ordinary age: thirty-one. I look ordinary, and I eat ordinary food.
I used to date ordinary girls. When I broke up with them, or they broke up with me, it was for ordinary reasons.
For example, Linda—my last ordinary girlfriend—told me I would “never break out of the pack,” and she was breaking up with me because “I need to consider my future.”
Which was funny, because if Linda thought she could just walk up to a rich guy and get him to marry her, she needed to stand a little closer to the mirror. She was as ordinary as I.
Still, I thought Linda and I had something going, and it made me sad when it ended.
She broke up with me on a Sunday. The next night, Monday, I was alone in my house. I spent my hours after work not playing a video game, or watching my TV—no, I sat in my silent house, drinking beer and watching the snow fall.
That’s when I heard shouting from outside.
I opened up my front door, to find out what the shouting was about. Damn, it was sure snowing hard!
Five people were shouting back and forth on my front lawn. Three more people watched from the street.
I lived in a cul-de-sac, and there was only forest behind me. The Smiths, whose house was in front of me and to the left, had loaded up the RV and had taken off. I wouldn’t see them till sometime next month. The Pattersons, on my right, were gone—or rather, Calvin Patterson’s and Sally Patterson’s cars were gone. The Patterson teenage boys were definitely at home, getting their ears blasted from three feet away, because I could hear loud video-game sound-effects from the Patterson house.
Which is a long way of explaining why I was the only person in the cul-de-sac to hear the shouting and to come outside to investigate.
One man, whose back was to me, was wearing a blue cape, I’m not kidding. The four other people on my lawn, who were all shouting at the caped man, looked how you would expect people to look on a winter night: red faces, along with heavy coats, scarves, gloves, and thick caps.
The three people silently standing in the cul-de-sac street surprised me: Those two men and one woman had white faces and hands. Also, while the pale onlookers wore winter clothing for indoors (long-sleeved shirts and wool slacks on the two men, a wool skirt and knee-length high-heeled boots on the woman), none of the three people was wearing winter outerwear. Yet they seemed unbothered by the cold; the pale woman’s top even showed a neckline.
One second later
“Your days of vampire evil are over, Mage Draco!” a blond boy yelled. He ran toward the man whose back was to me, and who was wearing the cape. He charged the man while holding in his right hand—this is honest truth—a wooden stake.
I thought, Hold on, did he say vampire?
The attacked man did something—the cape blocked me from seeing it—and the stake zoomed to my right, to bury itself in the snow. Mage Draco easily picked up the teen by lifting the top of his head with a big hand. He said, “No, do-gooder, your days of doing good are over.”
The caped man grabbed the young man’s shoulder to hold him in place, then the caped man’s other hand spun the teen’s head around, as easily as if he were opening a jar. I could hear the teen’s neck snap, even with the sound-deadening of the falling snow.
“What a waste of good blood,” said one of the men standing in the street.
Meanwhile, the other young man on my lawn screamed, “BUSTER! NOOO!” He was slightly off to my left, so I could see the reflection of the streetlamp’s light when he drew a gun. He fired it at the caped man—
Who screamed. Then the caped man yelled, “You shoot me with silver, bloodbag? You die!”
The caped man rushed forward and to his left with inhuman speed. He batted the gun out of the shooter’s hand—
—undoubtedly breaking hand-bones, because now it was the shooter-man who screamed.
Mage Draco picked up the shooter-man by the shoulders, and brought the shooter-man’s neck to his own face.
“He’s biting me! He’s got his fangs in me!” Shooter-Man yelled in terror.
“I’m looking for Buster’s stake!” a young brunette woman yelled, running off toward where the wooden stake had fallen.
“No, you won’t,” one of the two men in the street said. He ran onto my lawn—fast enough to make snow fly upward—and wrapped his arms around the brunette girl before she could find the lost stake.
“Do not hurt her,” Mage Draco commanded. “Only I shall take the life of Izaak Van der Veer’s sidekicks.”
“If we don’t take yours first,” the brunette girl said bravely. Then she said something that I was not sure I heard right—and a ball of fire formed between her hands. It flew up, then back, as the brunette girl ducked her head. The fireball hit her captor right in the face. Which set him on fire.
“Do you think you can fight me, little magess?” Mage Draco growled. He spoke words in a foreign language, and a fireball the size of a beach ball zoomed toward the brunette. She responded with both hands making strange gestures—
It did her no good. The brunette burned up, just like the man she had attacked.
Only one vampire-hunter was not dead and not injured: a tall, slim brunette beauty who was absolutely out of my league—if she lived through the next five minutes. The brunette had her hand inside her unbuttoned maxicoat; now she pulled out a crossbow.
“Let go of Xavier,” she said nervously.
“He is in the way, isn’t he?” Mage Draco said calmly. “As you wish.”
Mage Draco’s right hand and arm came out to the side, beyond his cape. He spoke strange words, and the wooden stake zoomed out of the snow and into Mage Draco’s hand.
Mage Draco did something quick with his right arm; captive Xavier gasped loudly, then gurgled.
Mage Draco said, “It’s funny, I think, a vampire killing a vampire-hunter with a wooden stake.” Mage Draco threw dead Xavier to the left as easily as if Xavier were a pillow.
Then Mage Draco turned his attention to the brunette beauty, whose arm and hand had not moved. “Did you know that soldiers in war are terrible shots when they are afraid? I have seen this often. If you shoot at me and miss, you die.”
“Maybe I won’t miss,” the brunette said. “You want me to give up without a fight.” But while the brunette’s words were brave, her voice trembled.
“What I want is for you to drop the crossbow and to taste my blood before I give you the Kiss of Night. You have great beauty, and your beauty should never fade.”
“No!” she said, bringing the crossbow up. “I’ll die first!”
Mage Draco’s left hand came up, clenched into a fist, and Crossbow Brunette froze statue-still.
“Drop the crossbow,” Mage Draco ordered.
“Drop the crossbow, yes,” the brunette answered in a monotone. The crossbow slipped out of her limp hands and onto the snow.
“Tell me your name,” Mage Draco ordered.
“I am Penelope Pike,” the brunette replied, still with a monotone.
Mage Draco brought his right wrist up to his mouth. I could not see what he did next, but what he said was, “Drink from my wrist, Penelope Pike. Then I will give you the Kiss, and you will be beautiful forever as a vampiress of the House of Draco.”
The hypnotized brunette shuffled forward.
I had watched all this, knowing that the safest thing I could do would be what I was doing: Stay close to the front door, and be ready to run back inside at any second. But now I had a moral problem: Can I let this evil vampire turn this beauty into a vampire too?
That’s when I heard a noise to my right.
One second later
To the right of the front landing was a big evergreen tree. To the tree’s right was a dark shadow; the tree blocked the front-door light from lighting that part of the yard. The tree itself blocked from being seen, anyone who tried sneaking from the back yard into the front yard by walking close to the west-side wall of my house. Now I heard the footsteps of a woman walking around by the evergreen tree.
Except for her bow and her drawn arrow, the new woman looked like someone I would see in a biker bar: She had stop-sign-red hair; her black jeans were low on her hips, tight, and ripped; she wore a t-shirt that was knotted under her braless tits, revealing her midriff; and she had a tattoo on her left arm. Before I could read the text of the tattoo—
Thwit! An arrow appeared in the back of Mage Draco’s blue cape, where his heart would be. Fwuit! What I could see of his head and arms all burst into flames; they as quickly stopped burning. Then the cape fluttered to the ground.
Thwit! Now the one man-vampire who was still in the street suddenly had an arrow in his heart. Fwuit—his body (but not his clothes) burst into flame for one second; then his clothes dropped to the ground with no body to hold them up.
The woman-vampire ran away before Archery-Slut could shoot her. The vampiress’s high-heeled boots hit the pavement at inhuman speed, sounding like a jackhammer.
Penelope did not react to any of this; she stared ahead.
The archery-slut ran up to her. “Penny! Wake up!”
Archery-Slut said, “Oh shit, what’s the phrase?” She paused, then said, “Penny, return to wakefulness.”
Penelope did—and immediately freaked out. The archer-woman said, “Listen, I don’t want to sound like a bitch, but freak out later. We need to get us and them out of here before the police or more vampires show up.”
Penelope made a phone call. Five minutes later, a van pulled up. Archery-Slut and a middle-aged man who had glasses and a beard loaded the corpses of Buster and Xavier into the van. The inside of the van was covered with painter’s plastic—clearly these folks had hauled off blood-dripping bodies before.
By now, Penelope had found Buster’s blood-drenched wooden stake and was holding it in her hand. But instead of climbing into the van, she said, “Wait, we should grab Mage Draco’s Hypnosis Ring! He used that sucker on me!”
The middle-aged man said, in a European accent, “We will look for the ring by daylight. We need to go, Penelope.”
Penelope shrugged and climbed into the van. The van drove away.
I thought, Hypnosis Ring?
I ran back into the house, and rushed straight to the drawer in the kitchen where I kept the LED flashlight.
As snow continued to fall
I cleaned up the mess that the battle had left behind.
I folded up Mage Draco’s cape and put it on a step of the front-door landing, planning to put it on a shelf in my bedroom closet. The other clothes that I found on my lawn or in the street, I put in trash bags. The fireball-throwing vampire-hunter, I put her burned bones into an old Amazon shipping box; I figured the vampire-hunters would come back to ask for her remains sooner or later.
And Mage Draco’s ring? I found it in the snow. I slipped it on the middle finger of my left hand.
I was still wearing that ring many hours later, when I was awakened from a sound sleep by pounding on my front door.
Vampiress at the Door
Hours later, after midnight (Tuesday, December 11)
Muttering curses, I left my warm bed for my arctic-cold bedroom. I pulled on my cold bathrobe, slipped into cold sheep’s-wool slippers, and trudged through my cold, dark house toward the front door.
I hoped, Maybe some drunk guy has the wrong house?
But that hope was feeble, because I knew what my after-midnight visit was really about.
My front door opened backward and to the right. Before I touched the door itself, I planted my left hand (wearing its new ring) against the inside wall of the doorway, placing my hand a few inches to the left of the doorjamb.
Now I flicked on the front-door light and, with my right hand, unlocked the deadbolt. Again with my right hand, I took the chain off the door, figuring that I was safe without it.
I regretted that decision as soon as I opened the door wide. Standing on my front landing was the vampiress from earlier tonight, as well as a big man. The man was tall and strong enough to be dangerous.
He wore coat, scarf, gloves, and cap; the vampiress again wore none of those. His exhalations puffed white; no exhalations came from her.
The vampiress had a truly magnificent rack. If I did not know she was a vampiress, I would have presumed that she had bought breast implants—several times. She wore a gold-chain necklace with a faceted purple gem at the bottom; that purple gem nestled in stare-worthy cleavage.
She said, “Good evening, sir. My name is Elizabeth Riverby.” She spoke with a BBC accent. “I believe you have something I want. May I come in and we discuss it?”
I smiled. “The guy’s cape? I’m not giving it back. I figure I’ll impress chicks at Halloween.”
Her eyes narrowed. “I think you know the item to which I refer. For shame, you have not invited me in, when I wear no coat and the temperature is horrid. You are no gentleman.”
“And you are no lady,” I retorted, “and have not been such for decades. Or is it centuries?”
Vampire-Elizabeth sighed theatrically. “As you Colonials love to say, I tried being nice.” Then her voice became harsh: “Bubba, seize him!”
Vampire-Elizabeth could not cross my doorsill, but minion-Bubba could—and did.
He rushed in and grabbed me, pushing me away from the doorsill, so that my left hand was yanked away from the wall.
Then Bubba spun me around, so that my back was to him. He wrapped his arms around me and grabbed his wrists in front of my ribcage.
Bubba then spun around a half-turn, so that both of us faced Vampire-Elizabeth.
Less than three seconds ago, the vampiress had given her command, and now I was helpless and looking into her eyes.
But she was not looking into my eyes. She was staring at Draco’s ring on my left hand, while she grinned evilly.
She said, “Bubba—”
I realized two things in an instant—
One, Elizabeth is looking at the ring and yet she’s not in a trance. Mage Draco must have done something more with the ring in order to put Penelope Pike into a trance.
Two, I’m sure to not like whatever Vampire-Elizabeth is about to say.
I did the only thing I could think of, in the split-second that I had left: I swiped my right hand across the ring on my left hand, hoping it would work.
For one second, the middle finger of my left hand tingled, as if it had fallen asleep. Then my finger went back to normal.
Meanwhile, Vampire-Elizabeth was staring vacantly at my ring. She had spoken no more words, and her face was slack.
I said, “Elizabeth, tell your minion to release me and to join you outside.”
Elizabeth obeyed me, then Bubba obeyed Elizabeth.
The danger was over.
And a world of possibilities had just begun.
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