Biting back

by Jenny

Biting back

Balthazar blinked in the bright sunshine as he hauled his heavy suitcase out of Sigisoara’s tiny airport. This was not how it was supposed to be at all - where were the storm clouds? The ominous prickle of static? The eerie stillness? And the howling? Surely there’d be howling...

A car blasting europop zoomed past, full of laughing teenagers, and knocked over a wheelie bin. He frowned.

“Adrian? Ay-dree-uun?!”

It was Sharon, sweating her makeup off in her corset, eyeing the other passengers’ wheeled cases balefully.

“What is it Inclementia?”

“Sorry, uh - Balthazar. This. is. heavy...”

He stared off into the distance.

“It is but six miles to our lodging, Inclementia…” he trailed off seeing her red face and damp armpits. Walking was clearly not an option. “But perchance I can arrange a driver. Wait here.”

Ten minutes later they tumbled out of a battered Uber at the Travelodge. The receptionist signed them in, rolling her eyes at their outfits.

“Vampire festival is July” she told them, taking a bored sip from her ‘I’m BATS about Transylvania’ mug. Balthazar’s mystical expression clouded

“We’re not here for the festival.” he said “we are called hither to this ancient land…” he trailed off expectantly.

“Room 487. No tampons down toilet. No smoking. Lift is broken.”

“Balthazar no vampires are going to show up. Can we get some goulash or whatever?”

Inclementia lay on the grave in the twilight, breasts artfully arranged so that, while neither nipple showed, there was every suggestion that both soon would.

“We need to entice them. Maybe if there was blood…?”

“You’re anaemic Adrian and I’m buggered if I’m cutting myself for some undead arsehole.”

They weren’t speaking when they got back to the room. She slammed the door behind them, yelling:

“We’re ridiculous Adrian, we look like twats.”

“People fear what…”

“No-one fears us Adrian, everyone’s laughing because we’re dressed like fucking storybook characters. Vampires aren’t real!”

The look of shock and hurt that spread across his face made her sorry immediately. It was like telling a 6-year-old that Father Christmas had died, but before she could apologise he’d locked himself in the bathroom.

Sitting on the toilet Adrian ignored her apologetic tappings. Maybe she was right; it was time to start living in ‘the real world’. A huge rip had opened up his make-believe reality and the real world seemed to be seeping through no matter what he did.

It was time, he decided standing up, to admit that he would never be a vampire. New start, new Adrian.

Then a shadow moved, lightning fast, in the mirror.

Later, when the police arrived to lead her away from the bloody corpse, no-one believed she hadn’t attacked him herself. They had all heard them fighting, and hadn’t she been dressed like a crazy vampire obsessive? Who else would kill someone like that?

And nobody noticed the faint smile and strangely elongated teeth on Balthazar’s face as he lay motionless in his pool of blood on the bathroom floor.