Austin didn’t become a Vampire Hunter because of any personal vendetta or tragedy. Nobody he every knew had been turned into a Vampire or killed by one. He didn’t even believe in Vampires. To Austin Vampire were characters in really crappy Peter Cushing movies that used to play on late night weekend TV.
He had a PhD in History and lectured at a local university part-time along with occasionally publishing articles. But his real business was restoring 19th century buildings, mostly old homes.
While in the basement of a Queen Anne that was built on the foundations of a Gold Rush era house of the early 1850’s he came upon an earlier sub-basement. In a far corner was a box, a casket, ornate with gold flowers painted on the sides. Austin could barely stand but managed to get the lid off.
Inside lay a woman almost perfectly preserved. Her face was sunken but her lips weren’t drawn back like so many mummified bodies. A silk ball gown had started to deteriorate but still held its form. Her hair was done in ringlets and was still perfect except for alight dusting of dirt and a net of cobwebs. Even the rubies in the gold necklace around her neck caught the light of his flash light as if she’d just put them on. No stench came from the box. She’d been down under the ground for too long.
He could tell she’d once been beautiful. Who in the world would have put her here? A lover or husband who couldn’t stand the thought of his true love being devoured by worms. He turned his back, ready to go back to his truck for his camera when he heard a low hissing noise. He turned and shined his flashlight into the face and fangs of his first Vampire.
After a struggle he took her head off with the edge of a shovel. Almost as quickly as she fell her body turned into dust leaving nothing behind except a tattered silk dress and a ruby necklace.
That night as he sat in his own kitchen cleaning his wounds someone came to the door. It was his attorney Aaron Todd. Of course it was a surprise to see Aaron. It was even more of a surprise to learn he was a Vampire.
To make a long complex story simple and short it turned out that Austin had a natural gift for finding things that are a little on the shadowy side such as Vampires and Ghosts. He learned from Aaron that some were quite benevolent, such as Aaron and his kind, and some were quite dangerous and even evil.
That was eight years ago. Since then he seemed to come upon them on a regular basis, either finding them himself or taking care of Vampires others had found.
Most of the Vampires Aaron found underneath old buildings and in mine shafts and crypts were lost souls or those who had lost their souls. They’d for the most part been unwilling converts to the Vampire world, unable or unwilling to make the transition to being creature who prey on humans for blood. They had become like husks who’d given up laying there like freeze-dried beef stew waiting to be reanimated.
On a recent morning he sensed something underneath a house he was working on and called Aaron. The Vampire arrived with his sister, a small woman built like a Victoria’s Secret Model with the attitude of mother wolf. She was the one who crawled into the small space under the house and exterminated the three dried out vermin Vampires. She didn’t even flinch. She even mentioned she’d known one of them in the past. She said they’d forfeited their souls and weren’t fit to exist. Austin suspected she had other motives as well but said nothing. One learns there is a time and place to question those motives aloud.
So those of you following this tale (links below to all of it) Austin went home and thought about Elizabeth, the Vampire who’d become his lover. He thought he had the upper hand. He wanted to have the upper hand. He needed to have the upper hand on the situation.
Elizabeth came home from a long day, poured herself a glass of wine and put her brief case in a place she hoped she wouldn’t be tempted to go. No work tonight.
She heard a knock. Someone was at the door.
Austin stood on her front porch, hair wet with rain, and a look on his face she couldn’t read.
“I have to know something,” he said.
She took his hand and brought him inside.
“Did you want to be a Vampire? Was it your choice?”
“Yes, I entered into it gladly.”
“Good. OK. I’ll see you in a few days.”
“Ok I will, if you tell me that everything you tell me is the truth.”
“It is. I wouldn’t lie to you.”
Austin wasn’t sure if he believed her but he stayed.
Elizabeth wasn’t sure if he was crazy or not but she enjoyed a warm body in her bed and the sound of a beating heart next to her cold quiet one.
To be continued…
For the complete story of Austin and Elizabeth check the links below.
Part 8: Crawl Space
Note from the author: This is late for SUNDAY because I keyed it out on my iPhone while at my daughters Artistic Roller Skating Meet – between events. By the way she got first in team dance, second in solo dance and third in figures. So I figured I’d just finish the story up tonight at 10:13 pm which means it is no longer Sunday for many of my readers. Yes, Short Story Sunday means I write the stories on Sunday, usually with no planning, just me, a cat or two, maybe a squirrel barking through my window if the sun has come up yet and whatever pops into my head. Yes, that is how it is done around here. AND…No I’m really not built like a Victoria’s Secret Model because I’m not Photoshopped. I’m real. And I know all about that because I’m an expert level professional Photoshop user.
Yes and Dust and Desire does sort of sound like a John Waters film but it isn’t.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman