In keeping with the spooky October theme, this week’s flash fiction challenge at TerribleMinds was to write a 1000-word story about an old favourite: a vampire. But the story also needed to include 3 of the 5 following words: Cockroach, Fountain, Tax, Bottle, Box.
I’ve used Tax, Bottle and Box in my Vampire Story. Let me know what you think!
Touched for the Very First Time
It’s at times like this I remember what my old Dad used to say: The only sure things in life are death, taxes and vampires.
“Judy! Push the button! Push the goddamn button!”
I watch Laura run across the dark football field, screaming at me to “push the goddamn button” and wonder if Dad ever had to deal with this kind of thing. Sure, the three vampires are getting closer, but that’s no reason for histrionics. The closest is still a good five feet behind her.
“Judy!” she shrieks as another vampire swoops out of the darkness to her right and grabs her dress in its taloned claws.
I press the button on my Vamplight 3000 (Patent Pending) and Laura’s shoes light up like the Fourth of July. The bat-like features of the vampires come into view and Laura stops running and concentrates on screaming. I turn away and start down the stairs. The UV light will do its job..
By the time I reach the bottom of the commentator’s box and start across the field, Laura has nothing to scream about except the ash staining her white dress. The light from her shoes has dimmed to a low glow. We’ve only got about three minutes before we’re plunged into darkness.
I drop to my knees and start searching for fangs. They’re the only part of a vampire that doesn’t disintegrate when faced with strong UVA rays, which makes them the only way to prove a vampire’s been despatched. As my Dad said when he was teaching me the trade, “Ain’t no bounties paid on promises.”
“Wow. That was, like, really close,” Laura says in her high-pitched, sorority-girl voice. “I, like, totally thought they were gonna catch me. You know, it’d be much easier to run if I could wear, like, my gym clothes. This dress is, like, really—”
“Necessary,” I interrupt. Three teeth found, five to go. “Vampires are attracted to white. You need to look like a victim.”
“You know, this field is, like, really big in the dark. Much bigger than at practice.”
Six found, two to go. It’s always easier when they die on concrete.
“I’m glad this didn’t take long. Brett’s picking me up tonight. Do you know Brett?” she asks with a giggle. I ignore her. She keeps talking. “He’s the quarterback and he’s, like, totally hot. He’s been, like, asking me out for months but I keep saying no, because you have to say no if you want to, like, keep a guy interested. Y’ know?”
Seven fangs. Damn it, where’s number eight? The glow from the Vamplight Shoes (Patent Pending) starts to fade. There’s no way I’ll find the last tooth in the dark.
There! I pull out a small silver box and put the fangs inside. The first six are about an inch and a half long, and the last two are a fraction shy of an inch. Must have been a young one.
The light from the shoes goes out, leaving us in the dark. I slide the box back into the pocket of my jacket and stand up.
Laura giggles nervously. “There’s, like, no other vampires around here, are there?”
“Hope not,” I say. The only problem with the Vamplight 3000 (Patent Pending) is that it needs to recharged between uses. If we’re attacked, I’ll have to use either the silver blade at my hip or the stake strapped to my thigh. I’ve fought vampires that way before, but not when distracted by a screaming sorority virgin.
I head toward the car park. Laura trots at my side.
“I’ll need you tomorrow night,” I say. “There’s a nest at Lover’s Leap.”
“Okay.” Laura giggles again. “You know why I like Brett? Because he’s, like, so much more mature than the other guys here. He’s, like, got a really cool car, and he, like, lives in this great apartment near the river, and —”
She keeps talking but I stop listening. I’m wondering whether I should turn in these fangs for my $500/fang reward now, or wait until after tomorrow night’s haul. We reach the cars and I wait for Laura to stop talking.
“You’ll need to fix that dress.”
She looks down at the torn fabric where the fourth vampire grabbed her, and her eyes widen. “Oh my God!” she says as though it’s a single word. “He, like, totally tore my dress! He touched me! He could have bitten me!”
Dad used to say, “A vampire can’t hurt a virgin any more than a bee can hurt honey. That’s what makes ‘em a good weapon.”
But Laura seems to like the danger so I let her bleat on about her close call. I take out my wallet and count out four hundred dollars. “One hundred per vampire,” I say and hand her the cash.
Her eyes light up. “Thanks! Now I can, like, totally afford to buy a bottle of Seagrams to share with Brett! This is the best job ever.”
I’m on the cliff overlooking Lover’s Leap when Laura comes into view. I ready the Vamplight 3000 (Patent Pending).
She walks to the railing and looks down at the city lights below. I’m glad she remembers the plan. She was so busy gushing about her date with Whats-his-name that I wasn’t sure she was paying much attention to me. I wasn’t paying much attention to her either, but now her words run through my mind.
“…only our first date…”
“…everyone else has…”
“…wasn’t really ready, but…”
“…really cool apartment…”
Realisation dawns too late.
A dark shape decapitates Laura in a single swoop. Her head tumbles over the railing and off the edge of the lookout. Her body collapses to the ground, the white dress slowly turning red.
I wait until all five vampires are feeding on her corpse before I push the goddamn button.
Now I’m gonna need a new virgin.