A Vampire Adjusts
October 03, 2012
This week's prompt for Flash Fiction Friday was to write about a different sort of vampire.
Let’s explore what your perception of a vampire might be. Already having been around for a few centuries, how does he/she cope with today’s world; for instance, cell phones, the Internet, and Cinemax? Does your creation seek out the companionship of humans or scour the local paper for an off-the-wall support group? Is the vamp you imagine afraid of his/her own shadow and/or does the sight of a paper cut send him/her into a dead faint? No pun intended here, I promise.
Prompt: Craft us a tale about a vamp, but forget all the stereotypes. Be scary, be wild, be hilarious, be touching. Paint us a picture of one of them that we’d never expect.
Word Limit: 1,500 words.
I decided to use my Fairy Tale Folk and see what happens. 1246 words.
A Vampire Adjusts
The Count sipped on his Bloody Mary, trying to relax in spite of the woman singing on the stage. My god she was bad – yet everyone seemed to love her. He winced as she screeched another high note.
“Not a music fan?” He'd heard someone sit behind him at the bar just now. He turned to make a music comment but froze in amazement.
“You are a wolf,” he said.
“Yes I am,” said the wolf, “and you're a vampire. And not a fan of Red's singing.”
“How can you see me?” said the Count.
“It's from decades, centuries, of being part of the old stories. Sort of brought some of us characters to life, with some nice powers.”
“Powers?” said the Count.
“Yes, like being able to see other magical people. Like you. And giving us the power to charm and influence people with our stories – or in this case our singing. Red really is pretty bad, but to all these people she sounds great.”
“She does?” said the Count.
“Well, mostly great,” said the wolf. “There's still an undercurrent of dissonance – you can see it in the way her fans all seem to squirm now and then. They're trapped, like ancient Greek sailors pulled onto reefs by the sirens.”
“How do you know her?” asked the Count.
“Old friends from the stories.” He held out his hand, “Hi, I'm Romulus. And you are?”
“Just the Count. Pleased to meet you.” He looked around. “This is all very new to me. I have been asleep for fifty years. 1962 was Elvis, flower power, free love and friendly hippie women. I have been here only a few days, but do not see many women looking to party.”
“Not any more,” said the wolf. “Now we've something called AIDS. A blood disease, transmitted during sex. Not good for you I would guess.”
“We are pretty well immune to any disease,” said the Count. “But we still can get things from blood – like a serious high from a hippie full of LSD. It was an interesting time though, in the sixty’s. The time before that was 1912, and the Titanic.”
“Were you on it?”
“Yes I was. A beautiful voyage. The best in wine, food, music – I enjoyed and nibbled. Passengers, crew, it didn't matter. Although my feeding may have distracted some of the crew on duty that final night.”
“You crashed the Titanic?” said the wolf.
“Not directly,” said the Count. “But I did feel a little guilty after, so spent the night swimming from raft to raft – the cold did not bother me of course – and making sure they made room for all the women and children. I can be very persuasive.”
“That's - weird,” said the Wolf. “But why a 50 year sleep?”
“I get bored,” said the vampire. “I find some victims, do some partying, throw lots of cash around, but it all seems the same.”
“Don't you need to work?” asked the wolf.
“Never bothered,” said the Count. “Didn't find anything I liked. Some of us do, though. I checked up on my cousin, he's working in New York, for some children's TV show. Says he likes it, easy job, mostly counts things. Suits him – he tells me he is what they call obsessive compulsive. I don't need to work anyway, I have a lot of money. I have been invested for years.”
“Wish we'd done that,” said the wolf. “We all still have to work. But at least we like it.”
“We?” said the Count.
“Hi boys.” It was the singer he'd been trying to not listen to.
“Good evening,” he said. “I am the Count.” He looked at her long, pale neck. “Beautiful singing. From a beautiful mouth. And a beautiful neck.” He leaned forward slightly.
Red's eyes opened wide. “Why, you're a ...”
The wolf pushed his way in front of the Count. “Back off Count, she's my friend.”
“Yes, excuse me,” said the Count. “My apologies, I get too hungry at times. I have tried to quit but it never works. Please, let me buy you two a drink.”
“OK,” said Red. “Just keep your distance.”
She listened as the Count repeated his story for her, then suddenly turned to the wolf. “Rom, I thought Buddy was meeting us here?”
“Oh shit,” said the wolf. “I forgot about him. His training went so well, that tonight I let him go solo.”
Just then there was a yell from the door and a big burly man, brandishing a wooden stake, came rushing at the Count. The Count bared his fangs, hissed, and prepared to attack.
“Wait a sec guys,” said Red. She pushed at the Count. “Rom, stop Buddy, just give us a break.”
“He is a Slayer,” said the Count. “You people know him?”
“Yes,” said Red. “He's a friend, Buddy the Vampire Slayer.”
“A friend?” said the Count. “Things really have changed.”
“What's this animal doing here?” said Buddy.
The Count lunged again, but Red held him back. She was surprisingly strong, he thought.
“Calm down boys,” she said. “Wolf, he's not going to go after me, so stand down. Buddy, I know his people are your enemies, but wait 10 minutes while we talk. Then, if you want, I'll leave and let you tear each other apart. And this place in the bargain I suppose – it's such a nice little karaoke bar though.”
She looked at all three. “Short truce?” They nodded.
“OK, first things first,” she said. “Count, you say you'd like to kick the habit. Ever heard of blood banks?”
“Vaguely,” he said. “Back in the sixty’s.”
“Very big now,” she said. “All over the country. I'd imagine you'd need to sneak it out, pay extra, but you did say you were rich.”
“Very rich,” he said. “So I could easily get a supply of blood from these?”
“I'd imagine so,” she said. “Just nuke it in the microwave for a minute or two and chow down.”
“Microwave?” he said.
“Sort of an instant heater," she said. “Let's see if there is one near here. Rom, do you have your iPhone?”
“iPhone?” said the Count.
“Google blood banks,” she said. “Or better still, pull up a map and look for them near here – GPS should work OK in the bar.”
“Google? GPS?” said the Count. “I think I have a lot of catching up to do.”
“Here's a bunch,” she said. “Not that near though – oh wait – here's one just off Elgin. 'Blood by Boris. Discretion Assured. Open Evenings'. And another private one a block further – might be others out there like you looking for alternatives. We can check it out.”
“Might work,” he said.
“Buddy,” said Red. “Good with you?”
“I suppose so,” he said.
“But I'd still get bored after a few years,” said the Count, “and want to die again.”
Buddy tried to push around the wolf. “Why wait,” he said.
“Come on,” said Red, “Truce. Count, you did say you were bored. Would you like some interesting work?”
“Doing what,” he said.
“Doing stories with us,” she said. “It's lots of fun. We get to play all sorts of characters, sometimes to the customer's script, sometimes we get to improvise. Try it for a few days – we've another story contract coming up soon.”
“OK,” said the Count. “I can try it. Why don't I order something very expensive to seal the deal. Champagne?”
“Remy Martin congac for me, please,” said Buddy.
“Excellent idea,” said Red. “then I'll get up and sing some more.”
Very cleverly done! I like the continuing 'saga' here... and how you've brought all those old fairy tale characters into the 21st century. It flows very well.
I always suspected cute little Red's voice was not as pretty as the rest of her. ;-)
Posted by: VeronicaThePajamaThief | October 04, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Oh, this is superb! The Count's going to join them in the stories? What an incredible interaction between Rom and the Count, and then factor in Red and Buddy...
Apparently, being a vamp is not all it's cracked up to be. I would imagine it would get rather boring after awhile--I mean, with no real diversions from your nightly routine. Buddy's a gem: 'Why wait?' Classic comeback.
I can't wait to see more of the Count and Buddy, and of course, my dear friends Red and Rom. Thank you again for pulling these delights out from between the pages.
Posted by: Joyce Juzwik | October 05, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Thanks Joyce and Veronica for the comments. I like Buddy and the Count together, I think I will re-write a bit to add more tension between them.
Posted by: Ravens | October 06, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Very fun read. I love the reference to the Sesame Street count.
Posted by: Tom51n | October 07, 2012 at 06:30 PM