THE OLD VAMPIRE AND THE BOY
Michael G. McLaughlin
He was an old vampire who lived alone in a coffin in a deserted castle and he had gone thirty-seven nights now without biting a neck. In the first twenty nights a boy vampire had been with him. But after twenty nights without blood, the boy’s parents had told him that the old vampire was now definitely and finally, coagulated, the worse form of cursed.
It made the boy gloomy to see the old vampire come in each dawn with his fangs empty and he always helped him carry his cape. The cape was patched with black plastic bags and unfurled, it looked like the cape of permanent defeat.
The old vampire was gaunt and anemic with deep brown blotches of benevolent skin cancer the full moon brings. The blotches ran down the sides of his face and he had the deep-creased scars of a re-animated corpse. But none of the scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in an endless night. Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the night and were cheerful, undefeated and seductive.
"Vamps," the boy called to him. "I could fly with you again. We’ve bitten many necks together."
"No," the old vampire said. "Go with the blessed ones."
"But remember how we went thirty-nine nights without blood and then on a new moon we sucked big veins?"
"I remember," the old vampire said. "I know you did not leave me because you doubted. That would drive a stake into my heart."
The boy said, "Can I offer you a drink of hemoglobin?"
"Why not?" The old vampire said with a smile. "Between vampires."
The old vampire had taught the boy how to suck necks and he loved him.
They hung in a dim-lit cave and drank and many of the other vampires made fun of him, but he was not angry. The older vampires looked at him and were sad. They spoke politely about the nights and the moon and the steady supply of good necks.
Then the old vampire and the boy flew together up to the old vampire’s castle tower. His room was drafty, the windows broken and the floor was covered with bat guano. But it didn’t matter. On a dark wall, hung upside down, were a black and white picture of Count Dracula and a sepia tone of the Virgin of Transylvania. They were relics of his dead wife. She was caught by dawn’s early light and never returned.
"Keep cold, Vamps." The boy said. "Remember we are in July."
"Yes," the old vampire said. "Anyone can be a vampire in October."
The young boy said, "I would like to help you in some way."
"You can clean out my coffin," the old vampire said and pointing to his closed coffin.
And when the boy opened the coffin, ten thousand bats from hell flew out and the old vampire laughed at his joke. The boy laughed too. That night they flew together and sucked seven juicy necks.
In 2005, MICHAEL D. McLAUGHLIN sold most of his worldly belongings in California, moved to Lake Chapala, Mexico and never looked back. His days are now filled with perfect weather, time to write and Spanish language lessons. OK, maybe a Margarita or two.
While a captive in the United States he founded, directed and performed with a small comedy theater, appeared in television commercials and worked in many lackluster jobs to pay the bills. His short stories have or will appear (the wily editors promised) in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, Barfing Frog Press, Piker Press, The Harrow, Write Side Up and Sun Dog.
Presently he performs with an improvisational comedy troupe Spanglish Imposition---The only English speaking troupe between Tijuana and Terra del Fuego. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. But not promptly.
The motivation for this piece remains his secret for now.