Entry for the 03/16/10 Daily Flash Fiction prompt.
|Dinner al fresco
Dennis' teeth chattered, and he wished he'd worn his parka. He had considered it, but had finally decided on just the jacket and sweater. After all, hadn't it been a fine spring day just a few hours ago, with temperatures near 15 C. and a bright sun filling the sky? The cheerful sun was gone, though, replaced by a clear, cold night.
The pleasant breeze had disappeared, too. Here, atop the tower of the old castle and some eighty feet above the courtyard, there was no gentle rustling of dry leaves scudding across ancient stones. The keen wind pierced his jacket and sweater, knifing straight through to his bones. It made an eerie whistling sound as it found narrow gaps in the timbered walls.
"Have you taken note of your surroundings?" asked a quiet voice.
Dennis whirled around and saw a tall, thin man wearing a deeply hooded cloak, his face barely visible. He recalled the note shoved under his hotel room's door: "You have been selected for a rare viewing opportunity. Climb the castle tower at ten o'clock. Tell no one; speak only to the one who asks the question, 'Have you taken note of your surroundings?'"
"Yes! Yes, I have!" came Dennis' eager reply.
"Then turn to the west, advance to the wall and place yourself, so that the brightest star is directly over the hill across the valley," instructed the other.
Dennis did so and stared, awaiting the "viewing opportunity". He never saw the cudgel that felled him.
As the others materialized out of the shadows, the leader - hood thrown back, sharp fangs glistening now in the moonlight - signaled them forward.
"Alright then, the usual order." The vampire turned and looked at the crumpled body. "To plump Yanks - may we never run out!"