Unfaithful Servant (Sheridan, Vampyre)

Unfaithful Servant

(Sheridan, Vampyre)

Being an immortal parasite had gradually made Sheridan sullen and depressed. When he first met Francois Varcuic he thought being a vampire would be the coolest thing in the world. Now, it just seemed pathetic.

            Sheridan was brought across in 1979. He was eighteen years old. He grew up in New York City, the only son of an Italian Mother and a father whose heritage included Irish, German and American Indian ancestory. Sheridan was raised Catholic, and his mother often talked about the Devil, and the creatures that served him. Unlike most mortals, he was not surprised when he found out that Varcuic was a vampire. There was no disbelief. Eventually, there was only disappointment but unfortunately, he felt the disappointment too late.

            Sheridan’s mother died when he was ten. His grieving father took a job in Texas. They moved from the greatest city in the world to a town with a 7-11 and a Walmart. If you did not play football, no one talked to you. In fact, any lack of conformity was met with derision. His father remarried a Southern woman, who had two daughters. They all loved Sheridan’s father, but hated Sheridan. Sheridan’s father had a new family, but Sheridan always felt he was in the way and a reminder of a past his father wished to forget. Ostracized at home, ostracized at school by the Yankee hating rednecks, he rather enjoyed or at least got used to being disliked.

              In 1978, the famous punk rock band, the Sex Pistols, on their first and only tour of the United States, played in Austin. The concert changed Sheridan’s life. Most of those retarded hillbillies booed, threw food and garbage at the Brits who hated the crowd as much as they hated them. But the fast, aggressive Rock and Roll filled Sheridan with awe. Sid Viscous was his favorite Sex Pistol. Skinny and pale, shirtless with crimson pock marks on his arms, chest and face, Sid smashed his bass on the head of some redneck who wanted to fight the band. Sid became Sheridan’s only hero.

             Sheridan bought an electric bass guitar that looked just like Sid’s. He plugged the instrument into the speakers of the family stereo system. A week later, after his father yelled at him about the noise and his step sisters laughed at him for his lack of talent, he took the bass guitar, everything he could fit into a duffel bag, bought a bus ticket to New York City and left. He would never see Texas again. His father did not bother to call the police. It was a good riddance for all concerned.

            His dream of being the next Sid never happened. The bass guitar was stolen. He slept on floors or on the street and soon, like so many young men who came to Manhattan just to see their dreams die hard and fast, used drugs to feel better and made money by having sex with older men.

He met Varcuic in a gay bar called Reading Goal on Christopher Street. Sheridan felt bored and rich that night. He had more than a hundred dollars in his pockets—besides the men who picked him up on the street or in the bars and discos, he had dependable and wealthy tricks who paid him for sex on a regular basis.

Reading Goal was devoted to Oscar Wilde. On the pink walls hung framed photographs of old and young Oscar as well as other Victorian fops. By 1985, the pictures were gone, the walls were covered with brown wood paneling and the name was changed to The Bulge—homosexual men had become less subtle about their sexual preferences as well as less interested in dead literary heroes. Fewer patrons understood that goal was another spelling of jail. Two years ago, it became a Starbucks.

            But that night, as Sheridan drank his Lowenbrau, he gradually realized that in the mirror behind the bar, he could not see the face of the man sitting next to him. He remembered his mother telling him about vampires—they’re evil and lived on human blood and because their souls belonged to Satan, their faces could not appear in a mirror. They had no reflection. Most people would have done a double take. Sheridan was calm about it. When he glanced at the guy again, he moved in a way that did not attract attention.

             Then he heard a European accent, “Can I buy you a drink.”

Sheridan squinted at the man. “Sure.”

             “I am not a trick.” Sheridan heard the same voice. But the mouth did not move He was looking at the stranger, noticing his swollen, yellowish eyes and long narrow nose. Even though his accent was certainly not English, his teeth seemed crooked and his over-bite stretched his ribbon-thin, purplish lips. The man waved the bartender over. His lips quivered as he pointed at Sheridan. “Serve him.”

             Sheridan nodded at the bartender when asked if he wanted another beer. Then he smiled. “I didn’t think you were.”

             “I want to know you better, Sheridan.” His pronunciation of Sheridan sounded funny; his accent tripled the number of syllables. Most people would have asked, how did you know my name? But Sheridan was quick to understand a situation. Then the man told him his name, and as they shook hands, his lips did not move again. “I am what you think I am.”

             “Cool,” Sheridan muttered. He guzzled his beer until his hands stopped shaking. They left together. They walked in silence. On the street, Cars and taxi cabs rumbled past, their headlights sluggish comets in Sheridan’s peripheral vision. Varcuic turned on Bedford, a narrow street with short buildings that for the moment was deserted, and Sheridan followed. They both stopped, the vampire turned around. Sheridan became breathless from the gaze of the undead. He whispered, “Can you show me without killing me.”

                Varcuic laughed. He lifted Sheridan’s hand to his mouth and kissed it tenderly. Then his mouth gripped Sheridan’s wrist and made a slurping sound. But it didn’t hurt . Sheridan just felt that his skin was being pulled. A few minutes later, Varcuic’s mouth let go. Blood slowly dripped out the two holes in Sheridan’s wrist. “Come stay with me.”

                Maybe it was the vampire mind control from the very beginning. Maybe even noticing the lack of his reflection in the mirror at Reading Goal was one of those hypnotic suggestions the older blood suckers could plant in your mind. Sheridan knew that Varcuic influenced him. But he was never sure of the degree.

                 Even in the beginning, when Varcuic’s power seemed strongest over Sheridan, he could not be completely controlled. Eventually, he was just confused—devotion and resentment constantly colliding.

              Sheridan helped Varcuic with practical matters. Vampires think mostly of the feeding. The search for and consumption of the thick, warm, red—that’s the undead’s strongest obsession. They don’t hold down jobs. Sometimes such simple matters as securing a safe hiding place for the coffin were overlooked. Feeding can be an excruciating chore. Vampires need servants. Their existence was too precarious to live, like animals, only to feed. Daylight, crucifixes, Eucharist’s, holy water and the random anti-occult zealots who tracked down vampires and staked their hearts while they slept—too much garlic could incapacitate vampires until the dawn kills them—if servants weren’t there to provide some basic safeguards, blood drinking could be as dangerous for the Nosferatu as for the mortal population. Sheridan became Varcuic’s servant. His duties included bill paying, dealing with banks as well as keeping the apartment clean.

            Varcuic lived in the largest apartment Sheridan had ever seen. Thirty foot high ceilings, large living room, dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms—in Manhattan, only rich people lived in places like this. Sheridan had only heard of places like this. One bedroom was empty, where they sometimes stored drained corpses for later disposal. He gave Sheridan the other room. Varcuic’s coffin was in the third bedroom, which was at the end of a long hall. He kept the door locked during the day. The living room had a tiger pelt rug on the dark hardwood floor, black leather chairs and a long sofa with thick cushions. The burgundy colored walls were lined with book cases filled with books in a number of different languages.

           Varcuic was brought over in the year 1315. He lived in a Serbian monastery when he was mortal. He wanted to become a priest, but the Abbot did not think he was ready. Nonetheless, he was one of the few educated people around then. This was part of the problem. Varcuic was accused of caring more about knowledge than he did about the Church. So he ran away from the monastery at the age of twenty seven. He threw away his robes and rosaries, socialized with prostitutes, gypsies and other outcasts until Lilith Krastinga, an old, Turkish vampire with a deep and utter loathing of anything Christian, made it her duty to bring a would-be-priest across.

            “I want to be like you,” said Sheridan.

            “You are not ready yet,” he replied. Sometimes he just wanted to stay in and read his ancient books and would suck some of Sheridan’s blood to ease the hunger. Other nights, they would cruise the bars, find a young man or woman to bring home. Sheridan made love to the victim, then Varcuic would drain the person dead. Sheridan had to dispose of the body, a task he soon he got used to—cutting off the limbs, melting down the skin and bones with sulfuric acid. Not as messy a task as one might think without the blood. What didn’t disappear into the plumbing he’d put in a plastic garbage bag, throw it in the river, sometimes just leave it with somebody’s trash to be taken away with the morning pick up.

            Varcuic took Sheridan to a bar called The Artery. Only the undead and their friends and servants knew about it. The bartender, Sanko, a bald blood drinker, was brought over when New York was Dutch. He procured blood and victims for visiting vampires, helped the undead who needed places to rest. The place was dimly lit, no mirrors at all. Classical music was played on the stereo. Most nights were quiet, except for vampires talking about distant histories, remembering mortal days, or slurping on the blood Sanko served. One night, Sheridan watched Sanko, Varcuic and a female vampire, Vitale—who was from France and knew Napoleon in her mortal years—play a card game for an infant boy. Vitale won. She picked up the child, smacked the wall with his head, then yanked open the child’s skull and drained the blood by sucking it through the veins and arteries connected to his tiny brain.

            Varcuic was wealthy, gave Sheridan more money than he could spend. Sheridan bought designer clothes, even though they were mostly expensive versions of his punk garb—silk T- shirts, black boots, black jeans, black leather jackets—he hung out at the hippest clubs and chatted with the self-involved and morose denizens of downtown Manhattan. He bought a Fender bass that the music store owner swore was once played by Sid Viscous and a Marshall amplifier, but the idea of playing music held no interest anymore. All the death he had seen—the power of Varcuic he had witnessed—made everything but crossing over seem meaningless.

            Sheridan bought a mahogany coffin and put it in his room. He slept in the elegant box. He found healthier, more attractive victims, fed them huge steak meals so the blood would be richer for his master. He searched out books in Latin and Greek. Anything to make Varcuic happy enough to grant his simple wish.

 “Please, master,” he begged. “Make me in your image. Make me the flesh of your flesh, the blood of your blood.”

            Varcuic hissed with annoyance. “You are not ready,”

 Sheridan decided on a different strategy. He purchased a small, razor-sharp, silver poniard in an antique store in Soho. Varcuic was in one of his lazier phases, spending his evenings reading the works of Aristotle and dreaming of the Serbian countryside.

One night, as Varcuic was sucking on Sheridan’s neck, Sheridan unbuttoned Varcuic’s shirt, removed the small blade and slid it across Varcuic chest. Sheridan lowered his mouth and drank the black blood of the supernatural. Sheridan wasn’t given vampirism. He stole it.

            Sheridan never realized how much he would miss the sun or the company of people, or other thoughts and desires instead of solely wanting and thinking about the thick, warm, red. Around the same time, the Sex Pistols had broken up, Sid died of an overdose, and the punk rock scene he dreamt about as a New York teenager living in nowhere Texas disappeared. People his age finished school and took jobs, started using personal computers and watching music videos on MTV. Then crack and AIDS took their tolls. The idea of never aging or dying certainly motivated Sheridan’s desire to join the undead. But America changed during his first decade as a vampire; youth was no longer held in the same esteem.

            For a while, it was exciting. Nothing compares to the thick, warm, red. No mere sustenance. It is power and euphoria. Imbibing is closer to sexual pleasure than normal eating or drinking. Sheridan owned the night and anyone alive could be his victim.

But the other vampires at The Artery never gave Sheridan respect. They often spoke in foreign languages just so he could not join in the conversation. Sheridan could read minds, hypnotize victims so they would not struggle and the feeding would be quick and easy, but his powers were never at the same level of Varcuic or the other drinkers. Nor could Sheridan transmute into a bat or a wolf or a disappear into mists, although the capacity of metamorphosis is not a common vampire trait. Sheridan suspected that because the vampirism was not bestowed, but taken, his powers could never be as strong as theirs. Varcuic claimed it had to do with Sheridan’s young age as well as bloodline purity. An American mongrel boy like Sheridan was innately inferior to vampires from unmixed stock.

            Varcuic constantly reminded Sheridan of his weaknesses and Sheridan decided to spend more time on his own. He put a spare coffin in the basement of an abandoned building, and months would go by without any contact with other blood drinkers. Sheridan hated how they treated him at The Artery, but the isolation, as well as the need for a fix when a victim could not be found, always forced his return to the company of other vampires.

             Despite being more powerful, Sheridan never felt the other vampires were any smarter. They kept glorifying the Old World, as if Europe was some kind of Olympia and they were blood sucking gods. Europe was nothing more than just another bunch of jabbering mortals eating, defecating, fornicating, reproducing, fighting and watching TV. Most of the countries there were Catholic, which meant plenty of crucifixes and other deadly objects. America’s religious freedom and cultural diversity minimized that threat. The villagers were always getting in an uproar when a drinker’s feeding got out of hand. They murdered vampires in the morning or drove them from their castles and countries; yet the old world vampires loved and yearned for these lands. To Sheridan, the vampires at The Artery were hypocrites and fools

            Soon, except for meeting Varcuic during his occasional visits to The Artery, Sheridan never saw the vampire who brought him across. Sometimes, Sheridan was so depressed, he could not keep his mind on stalking victims. Mortals were suspicious of all strangers these days. They had become increasingly difficult to seduce.

He often wondered if he had been set up by Varcuic. The old vampire could have implanted the desire to drink the black Nosferatu blood. Sheridan could never be sure.

Many nights, after roaming aimlessly from Washington Heights to Battery Park, too absorbed in bitter reveries to hunt, Sheridan considered ending it all—throwing himself on a wooden pole, running into a church and breaking open the tabernacle and eating all the Communions out of a gold Ciborium, or just standing on the sidewalk and letting the dawn turn him to cinders.

            One chilly February night, Sheridan was sad and lonely as he lurked through the streets of the East Village in a half-hearted attempt at feeding. All he could think about was how these streets that seemed so thrilling when he first arrived in New York, now were dull and desolate. Suddenly he heard familiar music: God Save The Queen, by the Sex Pistols. He followed the sound up First Avenue to Tenth Street. It had snowed about a foot two days before and Manhattan was not done digging out. On Tenth Street, two men in their thirties were drinking beer by their car, a brand new Saturn on whose sound system the Compact Disc re-issue of Never Mind The Bullocks blared. They had just cleared away the snow, and were taking a breather, listening to the music of their youth and discussing the pros and cons of a particular computer software program they both used at their jobs.

            Sheridan stopped and stared. These men were his age—born around the same time—and until that fatal night when Sheridan drank from the chest of a vampire— probably experienced most of the same things Sheridan had. Now, Sheridan was completely alone but these two had friends and families, held responsible positions in society and youth was not everlasting to them, just memories that inspired nostalgia. Sheridan looked like a very pallid juvenile delinquent. The men got in the car and locked the doors. He was the youth they left behind. The Sid who could never die. Every preternatural molecule in Sheridan’s body envied them; an envy that for the moment was stronger than the need to feed. He became upset, moaned so loud everyone on the street recognized anguish. The engine started, the Saturn jerked out of the spot. Sheridan fled, stomped through the frozen slush across Manhattan until he knocked over a woman in a dark blue parka on Hudson Street.

            “You stupid jerk,” she yelled. He put out his hand to help her up, but she screamed, “Get away from me.”

            He became furious and attacked her. He tore through her garments, bit off one of her breasts and drank. Her thick, warm, red covered him. He was absorbed in the frenzy and when she was drained, he roared with muscular delight. He left her in the snow, to be found the next day by an early morning dog walker.

            Every newspaper, radio station and Television network featured the mutilated woman story. Experts talked about the possibility of a new serial killer in town. Politicians called for increased police protection. Neighborhood patrols were organized. The mortals were afraid. It became harder to feed. But no hunters appeared. Many New Yorkers had faith in God or Tarot Cards or Astrology or Psychic Healers. But few believed in supernatural evil, or in immortal monsters who drank blood to survive.

            Nonetheless, at The Artery, the vampires were angry at Sheridan. They were afraid of too much attention; as if New Yorkers had nothing better to do than band together like Carpathian peasants and start chasing down blood suckers with crosses and holy water and Eucharist’s and wooden stakes. Sheridan had not read any of the papers or heard any of the reports. When he walked into The Artery, Sanko punched him in the face, sending him flying across the room. Suddenly, all the vampires thrashed Sheridan, hitting and kicking and cursing his name in several different languages.

            Sheridan cried, “Why are you doing this.”

            Sanko explained about the woman then screamed, “only a moron doesn’t dispose of the body after they’ve fed. We don’t want no hunters in this town.”

            “Are you all crazy,” Sheridan yelled. “People die all the time in New York. Tomorrow they’ll be talking about something else. We’re not living in the middle ages. These mortals are not the stupid peasants you’re used to. They’re busy making money.”

            “Some of the witches they burned at Salem were Nosferatu,” said Sanko. “I remember.”

“That was hundreds of years ago,” shouted Sheridan. “It’s history.”

Sanko kicked Sheridan in the head. “There are those who still hunt our kind!”

            Vitalie was so filled with rage her fingernails and fangs grew and her ears and eyebrows became pointed. She shrieked, “Let’s chain this stupid boy to the top of a building and let the sun burn his soul.”

            Suddenly, Varcuic pushed the others way. They feared and respected him. “Leave the boy alone. I brought him over, and I’ll take the responsibility for him.”

            “Kill him,” Vitalie insisted “He’ll hurt us all.”

            “No.” Varcuic was firm. “He was too young when he was brought over, but he is one of us! Without each other, we’ll wind up feeding on stray dogs and rats. No. He needs to be taught, he needs to be re-educated. He belongs to me. He’s my concern!”

            The blood suckers murmured angrily, but no one wanted to challenge Varcuic. One by one, they went back to their chairs. Sanko was the last to depart. Finally, he spat on Sheridan and told Varcuic, “Just don’t bring him around here. I don’t want to see this punk again.”

            Varcuic helped Sheridan stand, brushed the dirt off his motorcycle jacket and spiked hair then hugged him. “Come home with me, my son.”

            “Thank you…master,” sobbed Sheridan.

            George Bush the first was president the last time Sheridan had been in the apartment. The furniture, the tiger pelt on the floor, the books, even his first coffin in the spare bedroom, had not changed, except for the inch layer of dirt on everything, empty blood-packs, puppy and kitten carcasses and assorted debris scattered throughout. The small oak stand near Varcuic’s favorite leather chair was caked with candle wax. Instead of paying the electric bill, he was reading by candle light.

            Sheridan was a servant again. He had to buy a mop, broom, cleaning supplies to scrub the place down. Since it was winter and the sun was setting early, he hurried over to the Con-Edison building before it closed at five and settled the bill with one thousand dollars in cash. The next night, he carried the tiger rug to a dry cleaners who specialized in fur, something he had done for Varcuic when they were together and had not been done since. The old man behind the counter remembered the rug and Sheridan. He charged two hundred dollars and said it would be ready by the end of the week.

            “I can’t believe it, you look the same, like you haven’t aged a day,” the man said as Sheridan left. “Good to see you again.”

            Varcuic had gotten lazier. He despised walking the streets of New York. Sheridan had to bring him food. “Get me something young, tonight.”

            Sheridan found a young man with green hair—a grunge dude—at CBGB’s—the only hangout from the old days that was still in business and still looked exactly the same. The mortal embraced Sheridan on the Street. Sheridan sucked on his neck. It made him easier to handle. Sheridan only drank a pint. Varcuic was mad at Sheridan for opening up the veins. The old vampire grabbed the boy, drained him quickly, then tossed the corpse aside.

            “I hate the taste of Heroin,” he hissed. “Get this hideous piece of trash out of here.”

            “Okay… but why don’t you go out sometimes? You waste all your nights reading. Get your own food, Francois.”

            Varcuic grabbed Sheridan by the collar of his leather motorcycle jacket, threw him against the wall. He knelt on Sheridan’s chest and began slapping his face. “I’m your master, and you do as I say. I gave you immortality! I taught you how to feed! You give me obedience… and respect, like a good son and servant. Or, I’ll nail your coffin shut and you’ll be hungry until that bastard Jesus Christ comes back and sends your soul to Hell!”

            He stopped hitting him, and Sheridan whimpered, “I’ll do as you say”

            Varcuic looked into Sheridan’s eyes. “The others don’t like you, they never have… they still want to kill you, you know.”

            “I don’t care.”

            “Always the teenager. Always the little boy. Always the little American.”

            “What do you want me to do, all the kids are on the smack these days.”

            “It’s such a pity. It’s so bad for the blood.” Varcuic stood, pulled Sheridan to his feet. “I want somebody young and fresh. I’m sick of males. I need a female. A young female. Go look in different places. I love you, Sheridan. I fathered you. That’s why I treat you so. It’s been a long time since I had a girl. That will bring me out of my ennui. Everything will change. I’ll love you like I used to.”

            Confusion tormented Sheridan. He resented the old blood sucker, but he also wanted his approval. Sheridan suspected that his mixed emotions could be another vampire mind-trick. One way or another, Varcuic was the source of his inner conflicts.

            The next night, Sheridan went to Port Authority Bus Station on Forty Second Street. This immense transportation center was cleaner, with more police and less homeless and panhandlers than when Sheridan arrived after four days on the Grey Hound bus more than fifteen years before. Men and women in business suits lined up for commuter buses home to New Jersey and teenagers wandered through the station in groups. Two policemen stood with a German Shepherd against a wall. The officers were watching Sheridan, who was darting his head around looking for victims. His ink-black hair was spiked and his face was the color of a junkie’s—ghoulish white. Suddenly the dog, who was trained to remain still until it heard a command, started howling and would not stop.

            On the second level, at a table in the Pathway Donut Shop, Sheridan noticed a girl sitting alone with a nylon daypack on her lap, wiping tears off her cheeks with a napkin. She was overweight, acne covered her face. The tables, counters and walls were a bright orange and glaring fluorescent lights were suspended from the ceiling. Sheridan squinted as he walked up to the cashier, ordered a coffee and a chocolate donut, then sat at a table next to the girl’s.

            He pretended to drink the coffee. Their eyes met a couple of times. He smiled at her. He was able to read her mind. Her name was Monica Burston, she lived in Paramus, New Jersey and tonight her father came home drunk and was fighting with Monica’s mother. Monica took a bus to Port Authority to escape the turmoil. A sophomore in high school, she was dyslectic and overweight. Everybody in school made fun of her. She had no friends. She was fifteen years old and a virgin. Her will was feeble, thus susceptible to Sheridan’s limited powers. He telepathically instilled in her feelings of trust.

            He smiled at her again, offered her the donut. “Would you like this, I’m really not hungry.”

            She shook her head, stifling a sob.

            “Go on, take it… I just came in here to chill, I just got back from visiting my parents in Westwood. Home is as bad as when I left.” She sniffled, then accepted the donut, bit into it then chewed very slowly. Sheridan continued, “I don’t mean to be nosy or anything, but you seem upset.”

            “It’s nothing,” she said, biting into the donut again.

            “Are you leaving from… or coming to… the Big Apple?”

            She did not understand the question right away. “Oh… I don’t live here, I mean, I just took a bus here. I mean, I’m waiting for a bus. I just came to get away.”

            “Get away?”

            “My father’s a real pig. I couldn’t stay.”

            “Gee, I thought my father was the only father who was a pig.”

            She laughed at this, finished the donut. The chocolate was calming her down.

            “A pretty girl like you shouldn’t be crying like that, it’s not right… my name is Sheridan.”

            “I’m Monica.”

            “I’m studying to be an actor and I need to know about people, Monica… why don’t you tell me your life story.”

            “Being an actor must be so exciting.” Then she sighed, “I’m so boring. I live in New Jersey. I go to school.”

            “I don’t think you’re boring at all, Monica. I think you’re deep.” She blushed. His words pleased her. His charm was working. “Monica, you know if you don’t want to go home to that bastard tonight, you can stay with me.”

            She looked down. “I don’t know you.”

            “I know you don’t, and I don’t mean any funny business whatsoever. Besides, I live with my uncle, he would make you sleep on the couch anyway. I just, well, I’ve been in tough spots and strangers have been kind to me and so I always feel that the only way I can repay their kindness is to be kind to other strangers I meet.”

            “I was just planning to take the last bus home.”

            “But if you want, you can take the bus home tomorrow. I understand how you feel, in this day and age. Everyone is paranoid, and they have every right to be. I just have a sense about people. I just have a sense about you.”

            “I wish I had a sense about people.”

            “I suppose it’s because I want to be an actor. I’m interested in people. I like to know everything about them.”

            “What about your uncle.”

            “Oh, he’s the same way. He loves to help people… he’s the one who still makes me visit my parents.”

            It clicked in. She was feeling comfortable and safe. Sheridan said, “we can talk and watch television, and you can sleep on the couch and I’ll go to my room and in the morning, when everything looks better, I’ll take you back here and you can get that bus. It will teach your parents a lesson. It will teach them to treat you better, with some respect.”


             She slung her daypack over her shoulder, and they went to the ground level of the bus station. As they left the building and headed towards the taxi stand, an old wino inadvertently stepped in front of Sheridan. He held out his hand and said, “Can you spare some cha-cha-cha..”

            The man’s withered face went slack with fear. Some people sense the supernatural easily. Monica did not notice Sheridan quietly hissing at the wino, who choked on his words and turned around and staggered swiftly uptown. They got in a cab, which smelled of incense. Luckily, no distressing objects like blest crucifixes dangled from the rearview mirror.

            Varcuic was dressed in black pants and a white shirt, a silk, red ascot tied around his throat. He was playing the European aristocrat tonight. After Sheridan introduced Monica, he kissed her hand then said in his gentle accent, “Welcome to our home, and may you leave some of the joy you bring with us when you go.”

            Monica gasped when she saw the thousands of books in the living room. She sat down on the couch, asked if the tiger rug was real.

            “Oh, yes my dear… it was killed by my father in the nineteen fifties…and he felt so bad about it that he made the creature into a rug and he never went on safari again.”

            Sheridan rolled his eyes and thought, what a blood sucking dork. Monica looked at the head of the animal—lifeless obsidian eyes and a row of long white teeth sticking out the snout. She said, “It’s kind of cute.”

            “Sheridan, let us not be impolite. Order some food to be delivered for our guest from the coffee shop around the corner. I must apologize sweet Monica, there is nothing in the house to eat.”

            “I can’t impose,” she replied meekly. “I’m not hungry really.”

            “No imposition at all, my dear, I insist.” Varcuic smiled. Then he snapped his long fingers. The girl froze. He said to Sheridan, “You did well my son… she smells delectable, utterly fresh.”

            He snapped his fingers again. The girl blinked, shook her head. She felt dizzy. Sheridan whispered to her, “He’s eccentric, don’t worry. Unless you eat something, he won’t shut up about it. Do it for me, just to keep him quiet.”

            Varcuic retreated into his bedroom. Sheridan called the coffee shop, ordered milk shakes, bacon cheese burgers, French fries, essentially enough food for five people. He gave the delivery boy two hundred dollar bills and told him to keep the change. She seemed very hungry and ate with pleasure. He enjoyed watching her chew and swallow. He even ate half a cheeseburger, just to make her more comfortable.

            He turned on the television and they watched The Tonight Show, then an old movie on another channel. “You and your uncle,” she asked, “Are you always this nice to people you don’t know.”

            “Oh, I think I know you… but we are nice to everyone. It would not be Christian to be unkind to strangers. Do you feel better?”

            “Yes,” she yawned.

            “Fathers never understand.”

            “Mine sure doesn’t…” she explained about her dismal childhood. He liked Monica a lot. Everyone always seemed disappointed in her. She could do nothing right. Her story was his.

Sheridan missed sharing secrets, building friendships. He wished he made more friends when he was mortal.

Suddenly, Varcuic’s voice echoed in Sheridan’s head. “It’s feeding time.”

            Varcuic walked into the room, carrying sheets, a blanket and pillows. “Sheridan, it is getting late and your guest must be tired. Make up the couch for her.”

            Sheridan tucked the sheets and blankets into the couch. She went into the bathroom, washed her face and hands, and Sheridan turned around when she took off her jeans. She got under the covers. She thanked him again, then they talked a little more, but she was soon asleep.

            Varcuic hovered into the room. He was naked, and the anticipation of drinking virgin blood magnified the bestial nature of vampirism. His legs and arms were covered with thick, wolf-like fur. His ears and eye brows formed points, his fingers nails became claws and his fangs protruded out of his mouth, which dripped fat gobs of saliva. He laughed, exhilarated with the thought of the thick, warm, red from a female so young.

            Varcuic’s voice was a roared hush. “Stand up, Monica.”

            The old vampire’s control of her mind was absolute. She stood on the orange and black striped pelt of the long dead jungle feline and removed her undergarments. She was pudgy. Her breasts were only recently formed and the her pubic hair was pale and sparse. She was more child than adult. Still a girl… womanhood far away.

            “No,” Sheridan cried out. “This is wrong, not like this.”

            Varcuic clutched Sheridan’s throat, lifted him off the ground and threw him against the ceiling. Sheridan crashed down to the floor. Varcuic waved his hairy hand, and Sheridan was sent tumbling out of the living room and into the kitchen.

            Varcuic crouched in front of the young girl. He drooled with excitement. He was planning to savor this feast, to take his time and fully enjoy the feeding.

            Sheridan was able to stand. Varcuic’s attention was no longer on him. He reached into the kitchen closet, took out the mop, and snapped off its end. It was now a sharp, wooden javelin. As Varcuic put his gruesome mouth on Monica’s delicate breast, Sheridan came running into the living room and jabbed the pole beneath Varcuic’s shoulder blade, piercing his heart. Sheridan pushed until the jagged tip came out Varcuic’s chest.

            “My son,” screamed Varcuic as he staggered back in agony. His bestial countenance faded. The human face that replaced it began to age rapidly. Steaming black bile flowed out of the hole in his body and singed the tiger fur. Varcuic’s skin began to rot. The passing of centuries finally made their mark. What was left of Varcuic collapsed on the floor. Sheridan kicked the decaying carcass out of the way, cursing so vehemently he wept.

            Monica was now hysterical, verging on the edge of physical shock. Sheridan pulled the sheet off the couch, wrapped it around her and held her in his arms. “He was evil… he won’t hurt you now.”

            She hugged him. Sheridan could not remember the last time he felt the warmth of humanity. He was in love with her. But the aroma of the thick, warm, red could not be resisted and he put his mouth on her plump, alabaster neck.

This story was first written in 1996 , part of a longer novel or film or at least a series, which I never could finish. Last year, I cleaned it up some and made it more a stand-alone piece. The story takes place in the 1990s. Who knows, maybe someday I will finish it, but there’s so many good Vampire stories out there. Aficionados may notice what is original here.