The night was black, the moon’s lips bit the peaks,
and I in a carriage rushed through this dark forest;
the Prince of Evil ahead of us, his castle in the air
above those ancient Carpathian mountain snows.
I heard the moaning wolves beyond the warmth,
and felt the coachmen’s whip snap in terror.
We arrived at midnight, the witching hour,
and all our hosts surrounded us in a blood circle;
each to each a key had drawn and now moved forward,
while I a reluctant guest stood back and waited a little longer.
The Count stood there in the light a little feint I thought,
but then again I’d just returned from sunny Malibu;
those sun days on the beach still on my skin.
I felt out of place in this 14th Century melodrama,
but here I am again, your faithful time bandit, trying to discover
the truth of these strange legends of vampires and ghouls.
Was that a silver tooth I saw in his smile? A metal casing
with a small tube, hollow and pure? Maybe I’m imagining things
but the ladies at dinner seemed to eat nothing at all,
and the men all pale and wan seemed to be matching their mates,
and I, as usual was famished and ate and ate and ate;
even dessert was strange, blood pudding, of which I did not partake.
After dinner my host smiled and gave us each a little gift.
Mine was a small frog. Unusual I thought. He laughed and said:
“Oh don’t worry its a joke. Frogs croaking keep the vamps at bay.”
I laughed uneasily, then I ascended the stairs to my room. Said goodnight.
Stoked the fire, turned down the bed, and opened a good book
on Count Dracula. Sometime in the night I heard a scream.
I rushed into the hall to discover if I could help, but found it empty and silent,
no one about; so I walked to each door and listened, hearing noises
like growling and purring, which gave me strange bumps on the skin.
At the last door I heard a young girl, a maiden, her feint voice pleading;
a male voice calm and reassuring was whispering to her sweet nothings.
Suddenly I heard her scream, but not as I’d expected, no; this was sensual,
the maiden was screaming for more… more… more… unquenchable.
I knew I needed rest so went back to bed. I felt something touch my flesh.
I woke up and heard her whisper in my ear, saying, “Hello love,
why don’t you lay down and let me suckle you tenderly.” I did just that.
I felt my life force drain. My sheets turn dark as night. Dawn burst
upon me the next morning, and I noticed something peculiar,
I could not stand the sun. It blinded me, and burned my flesh, I’d changed
somehow and become a monster; so now I’m like my brothers and sisters
here in the castle, living freely in the evening dining on others who come
and visit us with their inquisitive notions of love and death and pain.
The only cure it seems is time the destroyer, and since I’m it’s master
I discovered a secret. Once I reentered my blue phone booth I was made whole.
– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.