A bit of a spoof on the famous novel for fun...
|“Come on, Mina! It will be fun!” Ren enthused. He stared at me expectantly, a sly smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
“Fun?” I asked, wrinkling my nose. “You have a fucked up idea of fun, dude.”
“What?! Knowing that you’re doing a good deed for someone in need? Providing life-giving blood?” Ren’s eyes looked almost manic. He was way too excited about a freaking blood donation.
I rolled my eyes, sighing. “I suppose you’re right. It would be for a good cause…”
Ren smiled wide, the glint in his unblinking eyes causing me to shiver involuntarily as he stared at me. Luckily, a fly clunked into the window nearby, buzzing noisily as it bounced along the glass. It seemed to distract him.
“So where did you say this blood donation clinic was again?”
Now Ren’s gaze remained locked on the fly. He licked his lips, his fingers trembling. What was up with this guy? “Carpathia Street.”
“Do I need an appointment?”
“Oh no,” said Ren. “In the evenings, you can just walk in.”
“In the evenings? Like after normal business hours? I thought doctors pretty much did the 9 to 5 thing?”
“This particular doctor is quite accommodating. The Mas—er, um, he likes to be available when it’s more convenient.”
I furrowed my brows. “Convenient for him or his patients?”
Ren smiled but didn’t answer. His eyes narrowing as the buzzing fly finally landed on the window sill. Quicker than thought, his hand darted toward the window sill. His fingers closed about the fly, abruptly silencing its lively hum. He slipped into the pocket of his black pants.
“What the hell?” I cried, taking a step back. “How did you just do that? And why?”
“I don’t like to leave flies about the house. All that succulent vitality wasted bouncing against the glass,” he said. Succulent vitality? What the hell did that mean? He gave me his version of a reassuring grin. It only served to further unnerve me.
“Okay, well, I guess I’ll meet you over there tonight then. Does 5:00 work?”
Ren donned his coat, shoving his arms into the red liner before smoothing out its black exterior. “It opens at 8:00 PM.”
“Really? That late?” I was starting to get a bad feeling about this place.
“Yes, Mina. After sunset.”
I cocked an eyebrow at that, but he didn’t seem to be joking. His expression was inscrutable. “And who do I ask for if I get there before you?
I shrugged. Sounded Indian. Or maybe Filipino. “Okay. See you then, I guess.”
As I turned to leave, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of Ren’s hand darting into his pocket. I paused, turning to look at him again. He was chewing on something.
“Did you just…?” I shot him a curious look, unsure how to politely phrase my question. Was this freakazoid seriously eating a fly?
He finished chewing, then swallowed, a Cheshire smile expanding under wild eyes. He nodded. “Tasty.”
Okay, this guy was seriously weird. If we hadn’t been assigned together for this class project, I wouldn’t be caught dead hanging out with him. This semester was just beginning, and I already couldn’t wait for it to be over.
After classes, I headed back to my dorm room, taking the opportunity to google “Dr. Acula” on “Carpathian” street. No reviews. Not one. Strange.
Still, his office was close to campus. It wouldn’t take me long to get there. And his office apparently didn’t open until 8:00. In the meantime, I’d grab some dinner. Tonight was spaghetti night, and donating blood gave me a perfect excuse to splurge a bit.
After dropping off my backpack, I made my way to the cafeteria, grabbing a double helping of garlic bread. I scanned the crowded tables, my eyes settling on a friendly face.
I smiled as I approached, sliding my tray onto the table and taking the seat next to him. “Hi, Abe! How was class today?”
“The much-anticipated lecture on Dutch history? Boring. As usual,” he replied with a smile.
I laughed. “Why did you even take that class?”
He shrugged. “Well, I’m Dutch. And my parents are always encouraging me to learn more about my ancestry…”
“Oh yeah. You’re from upstate New York, right? ‘Tired Cave’ or something?”
“Right,” I said with a grin. “You’re probably a Yankees fan. I should hate you.”
“Oh, Lord,” he said. “That’s right. You’re from Boston.”
“Not Boston, exactly. But close. I’m from just a little ways north. Salem.”
“The place with the witch trials?”
“Yeah,” I sighed. “Seems like we’re still trying to live that one down.”
“Well, when you hang nineteen witches in one go, one of them is bound to get a curse off before she goes down.”
I stuck out my tongue. “Okay, Mr. Van Helsing.”
“Real mature, Miss Harker.”
We both laughed.
“Actually, I am going to do something pretty mature in a little bit. My project partner for Bio 216 talked me into donating blood tonight.”
His bushy brows furrowed “Tonight?”
“Yeah. At 8:00. Wanna come?”
Abe considered for a moment before spreading his hands wide. “Why not?”
“Is this the place?” Abe asked as we approached the dimly lit gothic building on the corner of Carpathia and Bran. “It looks more like some kind of defunct cathedral than a doctor’s office.”
“I guess so,” I said, checking my maps app to be sure. The address was correct. I looked around. “I wonder where Ren is?”
“My project partner. Ren Fields.”
“Oh yeah. Right. That guy.” Was Abe jealous? Or did he just think Ren was kind of a weirdo like I did? If he were jealous, that might mean he was interested. He wasn’t bad looking…
As we paused at the door, we saw a small sign that read, “Blood donations welcome.”
“Looks like it must be the place,” I said uncertainly.
Abe shot me a questioning look, then clanked the wrought iron knocker.
“Come in,” said a female voice in a British accent.
Abe pushed open the door, the creak accompanying the rusty iron hinges echoing through the large wood-paneled entryway. We stepped inside, spotting a woman in black scrubs behind a desk and making our way toward her. I don’t think I’d ever seen anyone in black scrubs before. It was trippy.
“We’re here to sign up for a blood donation,” Abe announced as the pretty blonde looked up at us. Her name tag read “Lucy”.
The young woman spun a clipboard toward us, smiling to reveal a pair of elongated canines. “Excellent. Sign right here.” She seemed to hold her esses for an unusually long time. Maybe it was because of those unusually long canines of hers. She should really get them ground down or something. She was really quite pretty, aside from her cat teeth.
Abe scribbled down his name, and I quickly followed suit. The nurse pulled back the clipboard, looking it over. She frowned. “Van Helsing?”
“I’m Dutch,” Abe replied, a wry smile crinkling his attractive features.
“I gathered,” Lucy shot back, looking as if she had just smelled something particularly distasteful. I cringed, remembering my garlic breath. Was it that strong? Crap. I really should have brought some gum or something.
Then, I realized that she was looking at Abe, not me. Thank God. Maybe my breath wasn’t so bad, after all. A moment later, however, she did turn to me. “Mina, you may enter Dr. Acula’s office now.”
“That’s it?” I blinked. “No pre-screening or whatever?”
“Pre-screening?” The nurse looked at me blankly.
“Yeah, like to make sure I’m not sick or anything?”
“Why would we not want you to donate blood just because you’re sick?”
My eyebrows rose. “So that you don’t make someone sicker by giving them my blood? I mean, what if the recipient died because I have COVID or something?”
“Oh, your donation can’t make him sick. He’s already d—” The nurse stopped, catching herself.
“Him?” I queried. “Is there already a recipient for my donation?”
At that, Lucy smiled. “There is indeed.”
“But you can’t tell me his name because of doctor-patient confidentiality and all that?”
Lucy’s smile grew wider. “You’ll learn his identity soon enough. This way…”
I followed her through another doorway, where she sat me on a medical bed. I looked around as she glided away. There was nothing on the counter. No cotton swabs. No needles. No heart monitor. No blood pressure thingie. No nothing. What kind of doctor was this?!
The door opened, startling me. When I turned and looked, however, it wasn’t Dr. Acula that had entered. It was Ren Fields.
“I’m glad you made it, Mina,” he said, circling the bed until he was behind me. He placed his hands on my shoulders and pressed them down to the mattress.
“What are you doing?” I said, growing alarmed. That was not normal. Even for him.
“Just making sure you’re comfortable.”
“I’m not comfortable!”
“That’s unfortunate.” He didn’t release me.
I began to squirm. “Unfortunate?! What the hell, Ren?! What are you doing? LET ME GO!!!”
He didn’t move, so I struggled harder. Damn, this guy was strong!
Then, the doctor walked in.
He was tall, slender, and breathtakingly attractive. Literally. I felt my lips part to issue an involuntary gasp as my eyes met his. He smiled at my reaction as he swept into the room, his black lab coat parting as if it were a cape. “Good evening, Mina. My assistant has told me much about you.”
I blinked. Even the guy’s goofy Eastern European accent was strangely sexy, his voice giving me goosebumps. “Your assistant? You mean that Lucy girl?”
“No. I was referring to Mr. Fields.” He nodded to the man holding me down.
“My project partner is your assistant?” Was that why he’d been so pushy about this blood donation thing?
“More of a servant actually,” said Dr. Acula. “I was just trying to be polite.”
I really wanted to get out of here. Being held down by a weirdo and addressed by a doctor dressed in black in a doctor’s office devoid of any medical equipment whatsoever had me more than a little creeped out. I couldn’t seem to move anymore. Hell, I couldn’t even seem to break eye contact with this doctor dude. I needed to think of something else. And fast.
“Did you hear that, Ren?” I said, tilting my head back to get a look at his upside-down face. “He basically thinks you’re a slave. Do you really want to work for this dude? How about you let me go, and I’ll just forget this whole third degree assault thing you’re doing right now?”
“I am his servant,” said Ren, his tone reverent as he gazed at the doctor. “He is very powerful, due to what he ingests.”
Okay, so that didn’t work. So much for my plan to sow dissent between the bad guys. But what did he mean exactly? “What he ingests?”
“Oh, yes. I feed on only the smallest of life. The Master feeds on human blood.”
Ah, so that was the deal. This dude was going to suck my blood. Just my luck. I lifted my head to get a better look at the doctor. His canines seemed to be growing. I cocked my head to the side. “Doesn’t that hurt your lower lip? I mean those things look damn sharp!”
The doctor shrugged. “You get used to it after a few centuries.” He began to slowly move toward me.
I thought about the rest of Ren’s words, remembering the fly he’d put in his pocket earlier that day. “You feed on the smallest of life? You really did eat that fly, didn’t you?”
What can I say? When I’m stressed, sometimes I focus on the odd things at inopportune moments.
Ren merely smiled.
“That is so gross!” I said, frantically trying to think of a way out of my predicament. I managed to wriggle a bit more.
“Look at me, Mina,” said Dr. Acula. I did. Instantly, I felt lightheaded. “Cease your struggling.”
His words seemed to reverberate inside me. I had no choice but to obey. So I ceased.
“Now, lift your chin,” he commanded.
I lifted my chin, my body growing increasingly excited as I continued to gaze into his dark eyes. As I thought of his teeth puncturing my flesh, I nearly moaned with pleasure from the thought alone. Okay, that was really strange. Normally, I didn’t go for the whole pain thing. I was more of a strictly pleasure kind of girl.
“Did you roofie me or something? Why am I feeling like this all of a sudden?” My words seemed strangely distant even as I spoke them.
The doctor paused, looking suddenly perplexed. “Roofie?”
Just at that moment, the door burst open. Abe rushed inside, flinging away Lucy, the receptionist, who was clutching frantically at his arm. He held a stake in one hand, and a necklace of garlic cloves in the other, determination lighting his blue eyes. Dr. Acula turned to face him. “So we meet at last, Van Helsing.”
Abe nodded, but as he looked into the doctor’s eyes, his pupils began to dilate. Was that what I looked like? Was that what he had done to me?
Probably, I decided.
Dr. Acula laughed, then strode confidently up to Abe and grabbed him by the neck, lifting him off the floor with terrifying ease. As the garlic necklace and stake clattered to the floor, the doctor examined Abe’s face. “Really? Is that it? I expected more, frankly.”
“Well, I usually do my vampire hunting during the day. Grandpa recommended that method because things are quite a bit tougher at night. I mean, at night, there’s the whole mesmerizing thing. And the strength thing. And the razor-sharp teeth thing. It’s quite a bit easier that way,” said Abe. “No one ever really puts up a fight.”
“Perhaps you should have used that technique in this case as well,” said the doctor, frowning as he looked his would-be assailant over. “I am Dracula, after all.”
“D-Dracula?” said Abe, swallowing hard. ”The Dracula?”
The doctor nodded.
“I thought that ‘Acula’ name sounded vaguely familiar. Very clever.” A nervous laugh issued from Abe’s trembling lips. “Anyway, I’m right there with you on the ideal vampire hunting time. What do you say we try this again in the morning when it’s more of a fair fight? Me versus the sleeping version of you?”
“I think not,” said the doctor. Moving faster than my eyes could follow, his head lunged forward, fangs sinking into Abe’s neck. As Dr. Acula began to suck, Abe’s face grew pale. His head lolled and he moaned in pleasure, his eyelids fluttering shut.
Seeing him like that gave me tingles. He looked to be thoroughly enjoying the experience. I hadn’t actually known Abe was gay. Check him off the available dating pool list then. Too bad. He had been kinda cute… or maybe the doctor’s sensual mojo really just that strong? Part of me couldn’t wait to feel him inside me. Wait! Okay. Sorry. That came out wrong. It’s not like that. This isn’t that kind of story. I was talking about his teeth!
“Yes, Master! Yes!!” cried Ren, sounding as excited as I felt.
I tilted my head to look at him. “Get a life, fly boy.”
He scowled, pressing his bony fingers into my aching scapula with renewed vigor.
Apparently finished with his meal, the doctor tossed Abe to the wall. He slid down, landing in a crumpled heap. Lucy, who had re-entered the room, clapped her hands together in delight.
I stared at Abe’s lifeless body, then turned my gaze to the doctor. “You k-killed him?”
Dr. Acula shrugged. “He was a Van Helsing. He came here to kill me. What did you expect?”
He had a point.
“I just… are you going to kill me too?” Pathetic, I know. But there were three of them and only one of me. And I’d just gotten a really sucky preview of what was likely my very near future. I wasn’t liking my chances at this point.
In an instant, Dr. Acula was by my side, leaning down as his fangs extended downward. So I had my answer. I was going to die.
As his mouth neared mine, however, he paused, sniffing the air. “What is this I smell?” His knees began to wobble.
I cupped a hand over my mouth and breathed out, suddenly remembering the two pieces of garlic bread I’d downed at the dorm just before coming over. “It’s garlic!” I exclaimed, suddenly beaming. Garlic was some sort of anti-vampire thing, wasn’t it? Sweet!
I sucked in a lungful of air, then let loose a massive exhale of garlic breath right into Dr. Acula’s face. He reeled backward, screaming and slapping his hands over his face.
Ren was so shocked by the sudden turn of events, that his grip loosened, and I was able to wriggle free. I leapt from the bed, sprinted past a flabbergasted Lucy, and ran straight back to the dorm. I called 911, but apparently everyone had disappeared from Dr. Acula’s “office” by the time they arrived.
Abe had a nice funeral. When I told his family what happened, they simply shook their heads and muttered “dom”, which I later translated. It’s Dutch for “stupid”. They took his unusual death pretty much in stride. Apparently death by vampire is not particularly unusual in the Van Helsing clan. Who knew?
And not to complain, but I never saw Ren again, so I was stuck doing our joint project all by myself. It sucked.