This week’s prompt on TerribleMinds was an opening line challenge. There were three opening lines to choose from:
(1) Everyone else remembers it as the day the saucers came, but I remember it as the day a man in a suit shot my father.
(2) Three truths will I tell you and one lie.
(3) Thursday was out to get me.
They were all quite intriguing, but in the end I decided to go with option 2.
“Three truths I will tell you and one lie. That is how the game is played, is it not?” I smile and seat myself at your table.
You crush a paper napkin in your left hand and stare at me. “Game?” Your voice shakes in the most delicious way.
“Yes. A drinking game.” I signal the waiter. “I will provide you with four drinks and four statements. When the game is done, you will tell me which three were truths and which one was a lie. Yes?”
“I don’t think—“ you say, starting to stand.
“Sit down,” I say and you do. I bestow upon you my best smile. “I apologise, my dear. I do prefer not to be so forward, but the game has not yet begun.”
The waiter arrives with a drink. I slide it towards you. “We will start with a G&T, shall we? Something simple, innocuous, seemingly harmless.” I smile as you pick up the glass.
“Once we have finished the game, you will be free to leave.”
You nod and sip the drink. Your free hand is still worrying the napkin. You stop drinking after a moment and I draw my attention away from your hand and back to your face. “Drink up, my dear. Your next is on its way.”
You do and the waiter returns. He places another drink on the table. When he is gone and we are once again alone, I slide it to you. “Let us move on to something more interesting, shall we? A Tequila Sunrise they call this. Is it not beautiful and fresh and bright?”
You take the tall glass without hesitation, abandoning the shreds of napkin in your haste.
“This is not an ordinary bar.”
You stop drinking and look at me, meeting my eyes. It is a long time since I’ve looked into eyes as blue as yours.
“What do you mean?”
“Come now,” I say with a smile. “Do not pretend ignorance, my dear. I see you wearing your finest clothes, carrying an over-sized purse, all dressed up for an evening of pleasure in one of the shrines to dance and alcohol that litter the streets of this fine city. And yet here you are,” I wave my hand in a broad arc, “in a bar with no name and not even a placard on the door to mark its existence. You found your way here because this is no ordinary bar and you are no ordinary person.”
“It’s not like that,” you say, your words tripping over themselves in their haste to make my acquaintance.
“No?” I don’t try to hide my amusement.
“No.” You place the Tequila Sunrise to the table. “I was meeting a friend, but–”
“—but here you are,” I interrupt. “Drink up, my dear. The game is afoot.”
I wonder if you will attempt once more to leave. A frisson of anticipation washes over me at the thought. But you do not. You raise the glass to your lips, look into my eyes once more, and finish the drink.
The waiter returns and places a glass in front of you. Your expression slides from annoyed to perplexed and then amused.
“A Bloody Mary?” you ask.
“Oh yes,” I say. “It is a favourite.”
You pluck the celery from the glass and bite the crisp stalk. You chew slowly, the flesh crunching with every bite. My mouth waters. When I can bear it no more, I tell you to drink. My voice is huskier than I would like, but still irresistible. You lay down the stalk and raise the glass to your lips.
“I am a vampire.”
You choke. I wait while you cough and splutter and catch your breath. Then I go on. “Where I am from, they do not call me by that name. They call me drakûl. But vampire is a word more familiar to you, yes?”
You gulp down the Bloody Mary. “You’re insane.”
“Am I?” I smile, fighting my desire to reach over and wipe the thin line of tomato juice from your upper lip. “That is what you will need to decide when this game draws to its inevitable close. Three statements have I given now. One remains before the game is done.”
The waiter is back, clearing the table and depositing your fourth and final drink. This one looks like sunset in a hurricane glass, a sprig of mint on the rim. You look at it with curiosity.
“What is it?” you ask.
“It is called a Zombie, but it is merely a colourful concoction of fruit and rum . It will not literally transform you into one of the shambling undead.”
You nod and lift the glass, placing the straw between your lips.
“You will be transformed into a vampire this night.”
You do not pause. You drink, drawing the sweet liquid through the straw and into your mouth with a rhythmic sucking motion. My fangs extend in response and I look away.
“I’m finished,” you say. “That’s the end of the game, right?”
“Then I know which three are true.”
I look back at you and smile, revealing my fangs in all their glory. “The first is a lie, of course. You were never free to leave.” I smile and stand. “Are you ready for your transformation, my dear, or shall I chase you first?”
You stand. My skin tingles in anticipation.
“You’re wrong,” you say. “It was your last statement that was a lie. I won’t be a vampire. Not tonight or ever.”
You reach into your purse and draw out a device that may have come from an episode of Buck Rogers. “You were right about one thing,” you say. “I’m no ordinary person. I’m a hunter. And this is my UV gun, you blood-sucking motherfucker.”
You pull the trigger.