When one is a Vampire one is not as fragile as those who walk the Earth with fragile hearts pumping hot blood and thoughts of love.
I attempt to be poetic but even that alludes me today.
My Vampire love Gillian is traveling and will not be home until late tonight. I feel an unease even for a Vampire. It is that odd dread remembered from my childhood. We were not in danger but everyone else was.
I decided to go down to Cassie’s bar. It is not called that. My closest warm blooded human friend Cassie owns the bar. Sitting with her and watching the other patrons would knock me out of my melancholia. I called my friend Randolpho to come join me but he said he was unavailable.
Randolpho quickly stopped talking on the phone which was quite unusual. He gave me no details to where he might be going or what he might be doing. Maybe he was in the middle of a meal. I do not know. One should never bother a Vampire who is in the middle of the meal.
Cassie greeted me at the bar with a bright smile. Her eyes were sad. The only other humans working were her helpers Kate and Diego. They were busy cleaning and making small talk with the few customers who lingered spread out in the usually crowded space.
I noticed a coldness not usually there. Everyone in the bar, except for a group of four friends at the end of the bar were Vampires or others who are not in danger due to human mortal illnesses.
A couple of ghosts sat at a table by the window. One had a shot of some unknown spirit, while the other hovered over a glass of red wine. They were dressed in the fine clothing they were buried in and did not look around as they held their glasses with transparent hands and took in the aromas of the drinks.
Several Vampires, for it was mostly Vampires there, sat at a booth in the back. I went over to see them.
“What is the worst pandemic you’ve seen Vlad?” my friend Constantine asked.
“The Black Death arrived in Europe when I was a child of three years,” I said. “One of my first memories is adults speaking of it, and of the rats and piles of bodies. There was a great fear our main food source would be gone.”
“Was it bad where you were Vlad?” That was asked by Lily a young Vampire woman.
“No, not in the Vampire Kingdom. My father sealed the borders far from where our warm blooded citizens lived,” I said. “We thought that would be the last of it. I remember at the time I was kidnapped and thrown into a crypt another smaller plague was in Europe. So much for traveling out of my own country.”
A Vampire named Valentine spoke of a cholera outbreak where he lived on the Northern coast taking entire families out. He left, not daring to weaken any of those still living with his own needs. Before he left he helped tend to those who were ill since he was immune to cholera.
“We are not ghouls,” said Lily. She took a sip of her drink and then wiped a tear from her pretty face.
My friends spoke of pandemics I had missed while I was locked away. They lost friends due to the Spanish flu, more plagues, Yellow Fever, and HIV. In fairy stories warm blooded humans write of Vampires turning the sick into Vampires, but it does not work that way. The sick do not survive the turning. They are not strong enough for conversions, so we do our best to nurse them or give them a comfortable death.
A lone Demon, uncomfortable in his own skin, sat alone with a beer, pulling with the collar of his flannel shirt. He looked like any other thirty year old man, but I knew his mouth was full of poison and underneath his shirt were leathery wings. I also knew, that like most demons, it was not an existence he savored. Being vile to the core takes a harsh toll on any creature.
Cassie rang a bell and yelled out, “LAST CALL.” It was only 9:30 but I could tell she was weary and done for the night.
An hour later we dispersed. That included the Ghosts and the sad looking Demon.
“I will walk with you to your house,” I said to Cassie.
She smiled at me and we put on our coats. I must now mention that before I was locked in a crypt for three hundred years, only to be rescued six years ago, I never used an umbrella to keep rain off. It was just not done. We had no umbrellas in the Vampire Kingdom. It is an amazing device. Cassie and I shared the dry space underneath an umbrella on the walk to her house.
“This all makes me uneasy,” said Cassie. “I am worried about my grandmother. I’m worried about my parents. I’m worried about my business.”
“Do not worry about your business. You have Vampires to help you out.”
“I don’t want to take charity,” she told me.
I said, “Cassie, it is not charity. Even Vampires need someplace to go where everybody knows your name.”
Cassie laughed and squeezed my arm. I do not know why. I did not think my comment was funny or of the arm squeezing variety.
My friend Randolpho was standing on her porch wearing one of his ridiculous hats.
Then I noticed the way he looked at Cassie. Then I noticed the way Cassie looked at Randolpho. Could it be? Perhaps? Maybe?
Cassie tossed her hair back and pushed it back showing her neck. Randolpho put out his hand and then Cassie put her hand in his. Then he kissed her on the cheek.
Sometimes a woman needs a man who will bite her neck and tell her sweet things. Sometimes when times are tough, and we are told to be alone, maybe it is good to have a Vampire around.
As I walked away, a smile on my face, I could hear Cassie sing a line from a song I do not know, “You can leave your hat on.” Then I heard Randolpho laugh as they went through the door.
I will have to look that song up.
When I arrived at home Gillian was there to greet me with a cold kiss and bright eyes. I held on to her for the rest of the night.
This has been the 57th instillation of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To read the entire series from the beginning CLICK HERE. This is the only one that is not outrageously funny.
Reblogged this on West Coast Review.
The most impressive thing I see here is a room full of Vampires not trying to destroy one another; sobering, to say the least. Also: I kind of love the hat.
They tend to get along in their community which was founded during the California Gold Rush. They’ll send the vampire hunters after anyone being overly aggressive towards their own kind. Nor Cal is a chill sort of place for Vampires.
Yes, the hat is awesome.