|Chaplin- The Darkest Side of the Night
Chaplin was a small town with a dark secret. Every town has one, that’s what makes it so frightening. The town’s citizens went about their daily routines, the daily gossip was the news but no matter the subject it was always kept in the dark. That’s what small town USA has to do, you rely on your neighbors to keep your secrets, and in turn you keep theirs. And so this was how Chaplin went about for years and years.
Some people came while others went, but nothing ever changed. The town went about their lives. Many lived and died and were born, and continued the cycle. Some didn’t.
Adem was the average sixteen year old; he was interested in the average things, girls, sports, music. He was new to Chaplin, he had arrived just a week ago. He didn’t mind it too much; it was quiet and small but appeared to be enough. His brother didn’t quite agree, but Adem didn’t care.
In the first week he had begun to settle in. He made a friend at school, Peter, and had found his way around town. The street they lived on was just a block from the high school and the downtown businesses. All was good.
“Hey, Adem! Where’s my Royals hat?” Alex called.
“How should I know, dork. You’re the one who left it on the washer,” Adem called back. He then heard the running steps of his brother and then the door slam shut. Finally alone at last, his brother was gone and his mother was still at work.
Adem looked out the window and onto the street below. The sun was bright and people seemed to be taking advantage of it. He on the other hand had a few extra assignments he had to make up, and was so forced inside. Across the street were some kids playing in a sprinkler and on the patio of the house beside that was Katie, reading a book. He wanted out, just to say hi; then he would go back to doing his homework, he promised himself. What could it hurt? Right, besides he needed a break. “I’ll just go say ‘hi’, that’s all,” he told himself.
Before he knew it he was closing the front door and walking down to the street. There across from him stood a sight that paralyzed him on the spot. Katie was walking right across the street toward him. “Hi,” he somehow managed to say.
“Oh, hi! I was just coming over to introduce myself, I figured you’ve been here a bit and I’ve seen you around. I thought it might be nice if I welcomed you. We’re in chemistry together, right?” Katie said.
“Yeah, yeah we are,” he stood there somewhat stunned to say the least.
“Were you going somewhere?” she asked.
“Oh!” he said, shaking his head, “I was just doing some homework, saw you outside and decided to take a break and come say hello to you.”
“Wow, that’s sort of funny, huh? So how are you adjusting?” Katie asked.
“Fine, fine, it’s nice around here,” he responded. ‘Work mouth, work!’ he thought. “Would you like to go out tomorrow night?”
“Huh?” she exclaimed, blushing.
“Sorry, sorry, I-”
“No, no, I’d love to, that was just a bit of a surprise.”
“Seven, I’ll pick you up?”
He was going to fit in just fine. All he had to do now was stay alive.
In all of history, especially current, one of the most feared creatures was the vampire. “The creature of the night!” A being said that could change into a bat or a wolf, or even fog, and drain them of the essence of life, blood. On top of that they would charm their way and live forever. Perfect they were not. Blessed water, the crucifix, and light were their weaknesses. Only a stake through the heart and chopping their head off and stuffing it with garlic could truly kill them. To move around, they had to be invited, say, to a town or into a house. Also, they must rest in their own native soil. None the less were they a frightening foe to all. Descriptions throughout the years have changed, fangs ears, pale skin. They of course could turn you into one of them; those stories have changed as well, exchange of blood, a simple bite, near death… But they are everywhere! Movies, books, TV, games, music… At least that’s how the story goes.
All seemed good for Adem, he had a date for tomorrow night and nothing could put him down. One oddity did get him; it was the residence next door. Since they had moved to Chaplin there seemed no sign of life in it. It was as if it was dead. It had an owner, he knew that from the car in the driveway; it wasn’t for sale; the owners weren’t out of town either.
It got him. How could there be no life to a house? There was no gossip, no word, no notice of the strangeness to anyone but himself. It was the apparent attitude that no one found it unusual that really got Adem. ‘When there is so obviously nothing there, there has to be something,’ he thought while he looked at it from in his room, ‘how could it be there’s no gossip when the house is so weird?’
‘Tomorrow is Saturday. Plenty of time for everything, plus the date-’
His thoughts were cut short by the doorbell. Adem put down his pencil and sighed, “Plenty of time.”
Adem pushed open the screen door and saw a man standing there hold a fruit basket, another one. Adem stood there waiting for a tangent to begin. He’d heard them enough in the previous week.
“Oh, hi, you must be Adem,” the man said.
Adem gave him a suspicious nodded.
“Is your mom around?”
“No. How’d you know my name?”
“Oh, sorry, let me introduce myself, the name is Draven, Chris Draven,” he extended his hand. They shook, “I’m your neighbor to the right. I met your little brother earlier today, that’s how I know you.”
“I see,” ‘so the dead do live,’ he thought.
“Well I wanted to drop this by as a house warming gift. It’s a bit last minute, I was hoping to offer diner but your mother isn’t around.”
“I’ll pass it on.”
“I make a great lasagna!” he laughed.
Adem wasn’t very amused, “Well, it was nice to meet you, Mr. Draven.”
“I hope to see you later, Adem,” he said and left waving.
“Bye,” Adem closed the door and proceeded up the stairs. That was certainly weird, now he almost wished the neighbor next door, Mr. Draven, had stayed a mystery. He was too friendly, too dorky, too odd. Adem wasn’t looking forward to dinner tonight; his mother didn’t know how to say no. There was only one option, kill Alex for sending him over, after dinner tonight. He wasn’t escaping this last meal.
Adem tried to talk his mother out of going over, but she had talked to Draven when she drove in and promised Adem and herself to be there. It was like Adem thought, there was no escape; his mother wouldn’t see any other way, they were locked in and that was that. Alex had conveniently scheduled a sleep over earlier that day, which his mother had okayed, before the plans for dinner. He had escaped the terror, now Adem really was upset.
He couldn’t believe the house, it was all wood, polished wood. The walls the floors, the furniture, it was all so beautiful, in a simplistic kind of way. It was rich brown with a shine, impressive. Adem actually wasn’t going to be surprised if the cups, plates and utensils were wood as well.
“Welcome to my humble abode,” Draven greeted them.
“How beautiful! It’s so magnificent,” Adem’s mother said, “A one of a kind.”
“Yes, it is,” replied the host, “If you’d follow me to the dining room… I hope you’re hungry,” he said guiding them into a decorated room with a long narrow table in the center and red cushioned chairs around it. On the walls were portraits and paintings of Victorian Europe.
“Please,” he gestured for them to take a seat,
“I’ll be right out,” and he left through a door on the other side of the room.
Draven brought in several bowls and plates with different dishes over a few trips to what must have been his kitchen. They appeared to be somewhat exotic to Adem. He didn’t know what to make of them, his mother was giving him a mean look.
“These are a mix of recipes I’ve picked up over the years from my travels. They’re delicious, I promise you!” Draven assured as he sat down, “Shall we begin?”
“So what is this?” Adem asked, picking a bowl in front of him.
“German, noodles with sauerkraut and beef. And that there that you have is an African soup, Linda,” he told Adem’s mother.
“Wow, this was beyond my expectations! I don’t know how we could ever repay you, this is quite the experience.”
My pleasure, believe me, I am glad to enjoy you and your son’s company. It is payment enough.”
Adem stared at the German stuff in front of him. It looked flat out gross. These may be delicious delicacies elsewhere but they weren’t here. However he had to be polite or pay later, so he scooped a little onto his plate.
“How long have you lived in Chaplin, Chris?” Linda asked.
“It seems like it has been forever. Quite a while, I moved here from Europe long ago; long ago enough that I lost the accent, I suppose.”
“Almost your whole life then?” She asked taking a sip of wine.
“It’s been a good part of it, yes. I still remember Europe though. I was all over the continent, I didn’t find it pleasant.
“So, how’s the food?”
“Great, I’ll have to get some recipes. Adem, what do you think?”
“It’s different,” he responded, “May I be excused?”
“Of course, the restroom is around the corner.”
“Thanks,” Adem said getting up and moving to the hall. He coughed finally when he was free of the two adults. How could they eat that trash of waste? ‘Adem, its different foods from different cultures,’ he thought of his mother telling him. Yeah? Well, that stuff wasn’t even fit for dogs.
This night was excruciating, he really didn’t want to go back in. Adem splashed water on his face and looked up. There was only a wall staring back at him. Adem laughed, this was strange, what was this guy? A vampire? He was going to make Alex pay for putting him through this alone. Oh yeah, majorly.
It was time to face his fate.
“So Adem, how has Chaplin treated you?” Draven asked.
“Okay, they’re not too bad,” he responded in the secluded, cold manner as he had since the beginning of dinner.
“That’s good; I know it can be hard to adjust to new surroundings. Chaplin’s friendlier than allot of places I’ve lived in. How do you like the house?”
“Fine. It’s a house,” Adem shrugged.
“Ah, but is it? All houses have a history, a period of existence and then nonexistence. They change and grow old, and die, Draven explained, and then changed expressions, “In fact I knew the original occupants. Nice family.”
“Really?” Adem smirked, “It seems a bit old.”
“Time is not relative.”
Adem looked at his watch, “So it is,” he glared over at his mother across the table.
“Why don’t I clear the table and bring out dessert,” Draven got up and carried plates to the kitchen.
“Alex; I found the lad quite pleasant,” Daven said, continuing to move dishes.
“Try living with him,” Adem couldn’t resist.
“He had good taste.”
“In what?” Linda asked.
“Oh, overall really, nothing specific. Would you agree?
“Adem! He’s not that horrible.”
“You’ve done a fabulous job raising these boys Linda. Never in all my years have I encountered any like them,” Draven said, entering the dining room, “It’s sad sometimes how short time is.”
“Why’s that? Linda asked as Draven stepped toward her. It was the last thing she said. Adem saw it to well. Draven had kept his hands behind him; Adem’s mother was out of position. He pulled the knife and slashed her throat before she could react.
“Sudden goodbyes are never easy,” Draven turned, “You’re brother was quite the meal. I bet you’ll be even better.”
Adem was stunned and dead scared by what he had just seen. Draven bent over and put his mouth to the slash.
It was sick Adem couldn’t believe it. Draven was drinking the blood of Adem’s mother in front of him; Adem didn’t dare make a move in fear of that knife. Draven stood up, his face smeared in red and eyes crazed.
“I assume you’ve put it together, you’re not dumb,” Draven said, “I am a vampire, and you will soon be dead. Too bad, you won’t be able to make that date tomorrow night, my apologies.”
“You’re mad!” Adem screamed.
“No, I assure you I am very sane, however, soon you may be going mad, from eating your brother’s brains. I moved here in 1866 from the Ukraine. It was only a small village back then, as isolated from the evolution of the world as it could be. It has barely changed, very serine and to itself. Never has it given me problems. I suppose though this is only one stop on my journey. I’ve lived one hundred lives and seen the sands of time in motion.”
“You’re just a crazed cannibal. Vampires aren’t real!”
“When the movies and fictional stories are your teachers, you can’t take their lessons for face value. Blood is life, vampires feed on that, as long as we are nourished we live, simple as that.”
Draven approached Adem, Adem was mesmerized by Draven; it was hard to move. Adem moved back as Draven moved closer. Adem stood up but wouldn’t turn away from the man claiming to be a vampire.
“In life, only death is guaranteed,” Draven said raising the knife to strike.
Adem dropped to the floor and avoid the knife. He could get away if he tried; he didn’t have to die. He ran to the front door; Draven was right behind him.
“You’re on enemy terrain Adem. You cannot save yourself,” Draven said as he continued staking forward, “If you must run, I suppose the adrenaline will be a nice additive to the blood.”
Adem struggled with the door; left, right, left, he banged on it; it was locked, he unlocked it. A burst of fall wind hit him hard. Adem sprinted down the street, he didn’t care where he was going, he just wanted distance between he and Draven. He reached the corner and turned back to look, Draven was on the porch, staring, watching him. He began the slow steady walk again. Adem turned and ran.
Adem couldn’t escape his fate. He had nowhere to go. He yelled for help, but no one answered. Lights were visible inside houses but they ignored him. Men were reading news papers, watching the news, never hearing Adem’s pleas. The stalker was still back there, shadowing the teen. It had continued like this for thirty minutes. By now everyone was retired indoors and many to bed; the streets were deserted and the boy was on his own.
He had grown quite tired by now, Draven though, was at the steady pace he had begun with, and was now gaining.
Adem collapsed, he couldn’t continue in his current condition. He felt safe hiding where he was. He couldn’t stay in town; he had to get out of this place.
Luke and Megan had just move into their first house; they were expecting. The house was perfect for starting a family. They even had the babies room picked out and decorated already. Also, the community was small, safe, and full of kids. There was no way things could get any better. It had been just their luck, the other buyer who’d won pulled out, and so they ended up getting it. What a blessing.
They couldn’t ask for better neighbors, very helpful and generous, they hadn’t had to worry about diner for the first week!
It was Friday night
“Diner is delicious, Chris,” Megan said, “I’d love to get the recipe. What was it called?”
The previous Friday
Katie was in her room reading, Earlier that evening she’d gone out to see a movie with her friends. Something dawned on her, that boy. They’d made plans for tonight. Oh well, he’d been quite the annoyance last night. He wouldn’t have fit in, he’s better off now.