Sunday July 26th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something about: the vampire.

I'm sitting here having great difficulty remembering anything of interest that happened today. Sounds like a good day off to me.


I'm not sure why, exactly, I had agreed to house sit for the Millers. It's not like their home was in some wild, exotic locale - they lived two streets over from me. And it wasn't even two blocks closer to work! It actually took me nearly five minutes longer to get to the office (thanks to that stupid slow light at 34th and Brookside).

We weren't the greatest of friends either. In fact, I'd probably have described them as acquaintances. That's why I was so surprised when they asked me to watch their place.

I should have taken it as a sign. Should have understood that I was not the first person they had asked. Hell, now that I've got some perspective on the matter, I doubt I was among the first ten to be offered the job.

But there I was, spending most of my long weekend at their house. Trying not to break anything too obvious. Trying to keep their plants alive. Laying in bed, in the darkest hours of the night, trying to get some sleep while listening to the strange noises that belong to all homes that are not your own.

And wondering why their only instruction to me was a note that read: Stay out of the basement.

I couldn't stop myself from thinking about it. What embarrassing secrets lay hidden below ground, at the bottom of those rickety wooden stairs? What, exactly, was down there?

And all that while I should have been asking who was down there...


Greg said...

Not even a please in that note? I'd say the Millers know your narrator all too well and deliberately wrote that to entice them into the cellar! I like the jaunty friendliness you have in this piece, especially considering that the title suggests that things aren't go to go well for the narrator. The background information, the general mundanity, all serves neatly to bring up the real problem, being the vampire in the cellar, in a way that seems almost like it's something we all have to deal with on a daily basis!

The vampire
The young girl with the pet leveret and coal-tar black hair came to an abrupt halt a mere foot and a half into the bedroom. "Hob's boots!" she swore, making one of the two making-up maids faint on the spot. "What is that?"
"That is a bed, child," said the Queen sounding supremely unconcerned. "There are twenty mattresses on it to ensure that you sleep well. Not to fear though, the maids –" she looked round "–ah, maid singular it would seem, will help you clamber atop."
Some ten minutes later the girl was perched atop a trembling mound of mattresses, her leveret clutched to her chest watching as the Queen and the maid left the room. She heard the distinctive sound of a key turning in the lock on the side of the door.
"Well," she said to the leveret, setting it down on the bed. "I'll bet you anything that there's a pea lurking in these mattresses somewhere, with the intent of proving that I'm a real princess by causing me to toss and turn all night and rise in the morning covered in bruises."
"Shall I check?" asked the leveret, and the girl nodded. The leveret bounded to the edge of the mattresses and then disappeared, tunneling around and under them. A few minutes later it returned and spat a concussed, half-suffocated toad out into the young girl's lap.
"Just a toad," it said.
"Hah, just so? So they expected me to look for the pea then... this Queen is clearly a fair bit sharper than I'd expected. Well, a toad wouldn't give a princess bruises, but I suppose it might be the prince under a curse. I wonder if I should kiss it and see?"
"You'll get warts," said the leveret, making itself comfortable on six pillows.
"Just so," said the princess. "Maybe I can find a pitcher of water for the poor thing." She looked at the eighteen foot drop to the floor, sighed, stepped off the edge. She floated down to the floor as gently as a feather, and then found a ewer of water and a small pottery bowl to pour water in and leave the toad by.
"Since I'm down here, already," she said, but the leveret just yawned loudly and started snoring. The girl wavered in the air for a moment as though caught behind hot air, and then turned into a soft, chilled cloud of fog. She drifted to the door, flowed under it, and went in search of the prince.
"Oh bugger!" said the prince, who was naked and had just turned round. He turned back again, checking his shaving mirror, and then back to her. "You're a vampire!"
"Yes," said the young girl. "And your mother plans to marry us if she can get proof that I'm a princess."
"Will that make me a vampire too?"
She gave him a searching look. "Only if wedding ceremonies in these parts are rather different to the ones I'm used to," she said. "Look, I'm just here looking for someone; help me find him and I'll be off again quick as you like."
"A man called Nosferatu."
"Uncle Nossie?"

Marc said...

Greg - Uncle Nossie... my goodness. This took some unexpected twist and turns, but that final one is perhaps the best of all of them. Really fun piece, and I am quite intrigued by this young girl.