The count turns a young punk into a vampire, and boy, is he sorry!
| Prompt: Write a story in which a person must be bitten three times before he or she becomes a vampire.
The New Recruit
“Gotta bite three times! Oh, my gosh! I never knew that,” I said to the vampire, Count Nicholas Barnabus Carlos VanZagan.
He sneered, acting like he thought I was too young to be a decent recruit, but I pushed back my shoulders, lifted my chin, and said, “I’ll make you proud of me, Count. Gosh, it was so cool you turned me, I mean really. I really do appreciate it. I mean, like it’s so awesome and all! And like now, you’re my father, right?”
Count Nicholas Barnabus Carlos VanZagan sighed heavily. “I need a long nap,” he said, using the old-fashioned, stilted speech patterns of late night Count Dracula movies. “And, Kyle, I am definitely NOT your father.”
I almost curled a smile, but the count had a reputation for having a very vile temper. I straightened my lips and waited.
“All right,” he continued. "It is simple. You simply drink and decide if you wish to bite again. If so, you must not drink all you want. Take only a little and allow your victim to sleep. Then, the second time, you encourage the victim to reciprocate. Most will not. It is all right if they refuse. Do not force the matter. On the third time, drink of the victim all that you wish. But on that third time, you must make your recruit drink, as well. If he does not, he will slip into one of three things. Some become angry ghosts and haunt a building. Some turn into werewolves, our cousins, you know. The third is the worst possibility, for it is they who cause the most trouble. When a recruit will not replenish his blood loss, he still partly lives, for you have given him your saliva three times. Without an exchange of blood, Kyle, the last bite can create a zombie, a member of the walking dead.”
I shuddered and felt faint. I remembered how I hadn’t been eager to drink when the count ordered me to. I’d fought him, in fact. I mean, it’s not like I was resistant about the vampire thing; I’d begged the guy to bite me and all, but drinking his blood had turned my stomach. I mean, it’s not like he was old or anything. Sure, he had a few white hairs, but his face was okay, and his body wasn’t so bad for somebody a thousand years old, but the truth is he smelled and tasted like spinach. Heck, if he’d had chocolate blood, no problem. I’d even had slurped up vanilla, but I draw the line at vegetables. Not even my sainted mother could have gotten me to eat spinach-blood.
So the count had pinched my nostrils and slugged me in the stomach, and I’d inhaled about a pint of the stuff. It was enough. When I stopped coughing, I started dying. What a rush!
“Cool. I'll remember that stuff. No zombies, for me, but what finally made you decide to turn me ?” I asked the count, popping a big bubble from my wad of gum.
The guy hit me in the chin, and corked out the gum, faster than I could say, “But.”
“We do NOT chew gum,” he lectured.
“Sure. No sweat, man,” I told him, rubbing my chin. Good thing I wasn’t alive anymore. Hanging around with the count would have made me a color zone of bruises.
He gave another loud sigh and then decided to answer me. I was real surprised because most of the time so far, he hadn’t bothered to tell me anything.
“I didn’t mean to turn you,” he said.
Okay, so my mouth dropped open a bit, and I paled. (Of course, I was already pale, so probably no one would have noticed. For sure, not the count; he was busy yawning.)
“But you made me drink your blood,” I said, when the sting of his words settled down. “How come you did that, Pops?”
The count's fangs dropped, and he hissed at me, but I wasn’t really scared anymore. What could he do -- kill me?
“That doesn’t matter,” he said, slapping me across the cheek.
I think he hit me that time for calling him “Pops,” but it could have been ‘cause he didn’t like my question. I sure couldn’t figure out what made the old guy tick!
“You’re one of us, Kyle,” he growled at me. “Try to adapt.”
Yeah, like he had? He sounded like one of those late night movie gangsters.
“Sure, Pops. I’m gonna live forever,” I started singing. Obviously, he didn’t like Sting songs. He slapped his knuckles across my face, and that ended that.
“Look, can’t you just tell me what you want me to do and not do?” I said, standing up for myself, but backing away a little, too. “I mean, I know you’re tired and all, Dad, but if my singing bugs you, just tell me.”
“I should have left you a zombie. At least zombies don’t talk,” he groaned, holding his head.
“Yeah, well . . . I’d rather be a vampire. It’s cool, you know. Zombies, are like . . . kind of dumb, you know. Besides, you don’t want a member of your family hanging around like a dead person, do you? Whoops, I guess that’s me, huh? I am dead, aren’t I.”
“Ohhhhh,” he groaned again.
“So, why did ya'? Why did you turn me?”
The count was just about to step into his casket. He stopped and turned around to look at me. Then he shook his head, “That first time, you reminded me of my son. I didn’t make him a vampire, so, of course, he died a long time ago. He looked like you.”
I nodded my head, hoping he’d go on.
“The second time I bit you, Kyle, you were silent, staring up at me with your amber-brown eyes -- his eyes. I dropped you and ran off. I should have ended it then.”
The guy’s speech was drifting like an old person’s, and his eyes were staring off into space. I waited at least thirty seconds before I urged him on.
“So, what about the last time? Why’d you do it, then?”
The count’s eyes moved to mine. I shuttered. His were streaked with red, and he looked ancient, all of a sudden – like a dead man. I started to laugh 'cause we were all dead, but he frowned and took a step toward me.
“That’s just it,” he said. “You were all eyes that time, too. You followed me around, never speaking. Always those eyes begging me, pleading me to bite you. And then you asked me to take you. But that was all you said. So I bit, and I forced you to drink. AND THEN you started talking.”
“So what?” I said, taking a step back in case he was going to slap me again. “Aren’t vampires supposed to talk or something?”
“Never mind,” he groaned, shaking his head and holding his forehead. “I need a long nap, a very, very long nap. Just close the casket, and I’ll wake up when you’re older; I can’t bear teenage years. Set the alarm for your twenty-first birthday, Kyle. Then, we’ll talk.”
He stepped inside, slid down until he was comfortable, crossed his hands across his chest, and ordered me to close the top.
I slammed it down and heard him groan again, but I didn’t care. Let him sleep with a headache. It would serve him right for being such a grouch.
The night was quiet without his stupid lectures. I walked over to the window and shot a glance outside. It was heavy dark. The sun wouldn’t come up for another three hours. I checked the count’s overcoat and found a wad of hundreds. Cramming them into my pocket, I let myself out of his house and set out to enjoy my night.
I almost didn’t make it back, but I did, and that’s all that matters. I was feeling cocky about the whole thing already. This vampire business was pretty easy. I brushed off some dried blood from my coat and hung it up.
Then I looked in on my new “father.” I wasn't scared of him anymore; he was sleeping heavily. I was still pretty angry with him, though. I’d been thinking about his lectures, and I knew just how to silence them. I held up the stake I’d brought back from my excursions of the night. I lifted it high, aiming for the guy’s heart, and then I stared down at Count Nicholas Barnabus Carlos VanZagan.
The count didn’t look quite so old in his sleep. He didn’t look dead, either. His complexion was only a little pale; his cheeks even held a hint of red. I stared down at him, thinking about how he’d become a part of my life. He really was my father now, the father I’d never really had.
I put down the stake and thought about that. I didn’t have to kill the guy right then. I could kill him tomorrow, or the next day, or the next. I’d have years to kill him -- if I really wanted to.
Laughing, I reached down and kissed my father goodnight, and then slowly, gently, I lowered the casket lid.
I could feel that the sun was just peeking over the horizon, but I’d been careful to pull down the blinds. I yawned a couple of times, read a bit in the Playboy Magazine I’d picked up downtown, and then crawled into my own coffin-bed.
That night I dreamed about the day my father would finally wake up. We went fishing in my vision and then out to the movies. Later, we prowled around the town, and at the end of my dream, when I was just waking up with a great, big smile on my face, I remember how we watched some girls, and we laughed and joked around. It was a great dream.
I knew then, when I woke up that evening, I’d never use the stake on the count. I’d wait for him to wake up, and when he finally did, I’d say, “Come on Dad, let’s hang out tonight. Like it would be so cool, you know.
Or maybe, "Hey, Pops, let's go shoot some pool,"
or -- I’ve got it. I know what I’ll say. It’ll go like this:
“Hey, padre mio, how about we go out for a little bite to eat, ok?”