Friday, 31 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire- Part 16

Four hours later we were parking my beat-up old Datsun in front of an impeccably maintained somber-looking building from the '50s. In the trunk were several shopping bags stuffed full of brand new garments (not all of them black) shoes, stockings, lingerie.

Sheila hadn't blinked an eye at her newly-widowed mother buying a black satin and lace corset. Apparently, for my daughter, such things were as necessary as toothpaste, as commonplace as high-neckline granny underpants at a Lawn Bowls Club

We stepped out and approached a tall carved door sporting a bronze hand-knocker. The polished door-plaque discreetly announced: Silverman& Stell - Undertakers

Undertakers, not the more usual "Funeral Home"... Undertakers had a dark Dickensian charm I found enormously appealing at this particular point in my life! It was redolent of pale mourners in dense black and Resurrection men with rusty hands. It went beautifully with the new sinister sensuality that was awakening in my changing body

I knocked, and the door was opened by a young woman with a small mousy face and the most splendidly exuberant red hair I had ever seen. The serious-looking girl greeted us in a low and sad tone - very professional - and had I not been desperately containing a surge of joyous energy and biting my lips so as not to let my mouth expand into a happy smile, I would have been both comforted and impressed

I grasped Sheila's arm firmly and responded appropriately: "Good afternoon - the Valginsky party, for Mr. Francis Valginsky, deceased. We have an appointment with Mr. Stell"

Of course, please come this way. The girl lead us into a large room where several imposing and rather beautiful caskets reposed. Lovely! To a new vampire, raised on Bram Stoker and all those Hollywood movies of lusty and lecherous toothy seducers, these objects assumed an oddly erotic luster

I wonder if I could get one for myself? I had to bite savagely at my lips not to giggle. A tall man moved forward out of the gloom. Tall and slim, with a smoothly shaved head and large velvety dark eyes. He wore a beautifully tailored pinstripe suit with a narrow black tie - the very image of a man you could rely on in your time of grief.

The only clear indication of what I was to know as his true nature was a well shaped and frankly sensuous lower lip, overshadowed by a small rakish moustache with curled tips that would have done a musketeer proud - what raunchy May would have identified as a "pussy tickler

"Mrs Valginsky?" His voice was warm chocolate, "Jonathan Stell" He extended his hands and gripped my right hand firmly. "I am so sorry for your loss," said the future love of my undead life, looking deep into my eyes, "We at Silverman & Stell will do our very best to honour you loved one and put him to rest with dignity and discretion."

What a charming man! Next to me Sheila perked right up. The girl had inherited Frank's irrepressibly flirty and sadly promiscuous nature. She sobbed and extended her own hand.

Mr Stell let go of my hand with gratifying reluctance to give her a brisk handshake. His head swivelled to renew our dizzying eye-contact. "Mrs Valginsky..."

I interrupted him: "Ms Schultz, Greta..." The ends of his moustache curled a little more, and a little dancing flame seemed to ignite in his pitch-black eyes. I was assaulted by a vision of myself in my new corset being bent over the silky honey-wood of one of those luxurious caskets...

I felt the blood flood my cheeks. And poor Frank not cold yet! Then I remembered Frank's night at the morgue in a freezer drawer. Frank was as cold as a leg of lamb, and a cheating, hard-hearted bastard besides.

Mr Stell's expression changed dramatically, and Sheila cried out in alarm. "Mom, are you alright? You turned the strangest colour! I swear you turned blue." She was frantic with fear. "Mom, I am taking you back to Hospital, you may be on the verge of a heart attack..."

I recalled poor Donnie's blue blush. Oh,oh! Yet something else to deal with. Lust turned me the lovely pale azure shade of Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.

Then Mr Stell smiled, and two deep dimples (my perdition) punctuated his cheeks. "Ms Schultz, I see we have much to discuss, perhaps it would be best if we spoke alone? There are details of a delicate nature in you...husband's...situation that might distress your daughter." He turned to Sheila, even as he gestured the little red-head forward. "Maeve will show you our range, Miss Valginsky, and advise you on the best choice, while I speak with your mother..."

Ooooh...All alone with Mr Stell and his pussy tickler in the midst of all those inviting caskets? My heart lurched, my undead soul twitched, my uplifted chest heaved. Being dead had certainly done wonders for my love life. First the Doctor, now the charming Mr Jonathan Stell!

"Lead on, Mr Stell," I said, lowering my eyelids to hide my excitement, "I'm all ears.." And all yours...


Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire- Part 15

So I went upstairs and put on the darkest dress I owned - a blá-brown shirtwaister and some sensible chocolate pumps. I pulled back my hair and stared into the accusing mirror. Had I really aged that much, or was it my neglect of myself as a woman I was seeing?

My face was rounder, my features softened, but there were no harsh lines marring my forehead, no deep fissures of discontent bracketing my mouth, no crackling crow's feet at the corner of my still blue eyes.

I was still myself. What I needed was a good healthy dose of vanity, confidence, and flirtation...

I turned side-ways and winced. My boobs were definitely migrating south and would be forever arrested on that descent.

I was at that interesting point when I was too old to be young, and too young to be old. So I belonged to neither group, would be regarded with suspicion by the first, and with spiteful envy by the second.

I would be in that sex-less limbo forever - stripped of sexual allure without being imbued with the dignity of elderly wisdom.

I took an old lipstick from the seldom opened make-up box. I opened it and looked at that sticky bar.
Pale pink, like a minute anemic penis... I looked myself in the eye and raised my chin a notch.
I delved back into the drawer and found a gilded cylinder - an old present from May in a shade I'd nicknamed "Shameless Slut". It was a deep matt red, and I applied it to my pursed lips.

There! I pulled my hair back and clipped it up high, opened four buttons at the neckline of that shirtwaist giving myself a cleavage. On the dresser was a long string of tiger's eye stones - a birthday present from Frank - and I looped it around my neck.

Better, much better! Now I could go shopping without getting steered to the Grandma section!
I gave the mirror one juicy blood red kiss...

"The Kiss Of The Vampire..." I husked in a mock-sexy voice, and I winked at Greta Schultz - woman reborn.


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire- Part 14

I looked Rosa in the eyes, and for the first time saw her turn away, her derisive smile fade. A brief flash of fear illuminated her vapid face. 

"Dear Greta, so understandably upset...Especially after your ordeal..." She moved over to the kitchen counter and picked up her handbag. Clutching it defensively before her she backed nervously out of the door. "I will leave you, I know you need some alone time...I will see you later at the wake..."

Sheila gave her a hug and saw her to the door. I waited for her, and willed that murderous rage down, down...

My daughter returned and headed for the counter, put the kettle on, took down the teapot, the sugar, and the tea-caddie. Soon we were sitting nursing large mugs of aromatic tea.

"Mom?" Sheila took a deep breath, "At the hospital, they told me you had been attacked last night. Why didn't you call me?"

"Thank God I didn't, or you might have been home when your Father was..." I choked out the word, "Murdered."

"Oh, Mom!" My poor child started to sob and I reached out to embrace her, comfort her. I felt no urge to snap at her throat or feed on her blood. Relief untied the knots in my spine. I was not an uncontrollable bundle of murderous instincts. It was as Alphonse had promised; I was still me, but with a sting!

I let her cry it out, then my pragmatic Teutonic side took over. "Darling, we need to organise the wake. I know that the Hospital released the...body..."

Sheila blew her nose and nodded. "Yes, and they recommended a funeral home. Very sympathetic on the phone...A Mr.Jonathan Stell, of Silverman & Stell Lda.

"I think we should pop over, sort out the details so we can inform the family, your aunt May...Does she know?"

"Yes, I called her and she is calling Dad's side of the family and his friends. She is driving up from London tonight, Uncle Klaus will be taking care of your side..."

"Right. So we need to sort ourselves out. Speak to your Mr. Stell, order some flowers, sort out the details..."

"Oh MOM!" Sheila gasped in sudden horror, "I just remembered the WORST thing! You have nothing to wear! All your clothes are those browns and beiges and clumpy orthopedic shoes. You don't even have black stockings" From Sheila's expression I deduced this was a major failure for a woman. "We need to get you something in black for the funeral!"

Shopping for clothes with Sheila. Oh, joy...
Then I remembered Frank's credit card and I perked right up. What had Alphonse said? "Reinvent yourself"?

Oh yes indeed! It was time to give Greta Schultz a revamp, in every sense of the word!


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire- Part 13

Donnie drove me home and I asked him to drop me off around the corner from the house. It would not do to have neighbours already aflutter with a juicy murder/rape to add the glistening dollop of suspicion of an affair with a younger man...

Mrs. Robinson with fangs! Now THERE was a thought!

I walked the 200 meters to my house and up the few steps to the front door. Before I had my key out it swung open,

"Mom!" My daughter's arms were around me, her hot tear-damp cheek pressed to mine. My girl. MINE. For all that Frank had fathered her, I suddenly realised she was first and foremost MINE.

I walked into my kitchen and into danger. A dizzy wave of hot blood swelled my temples. My sister, my rival, my betrayer was there.

"Rosa," I said her name flatly, with no emotion, but inside me, I felt a strange commotion: anger, and hunger combined in a rising tide... This, I suddenly realised wasn't just me. My symbiont was aware, perhaps even sentient, and connected not just to my digestive system - it was linked to my emotions.

"Greta," My dearest sister cried and held out her thin elegant hands with those long painted claws. She embraced me. I stood stiffly and felt an odd ripple as if my very jaws ached to clench around her throat. I swallowed a flood of saliva and pushed her away. She was prettily distraught. Her blond hair immaculate, her picturesque tears streaking her cheeks without smudging her make-up.

"I'm so very sorry...For your loss..." She sobbed.

"Frank was a great loss, for us all, wasn't he, Rosa?"

"Yes, our family is sadly diminished...And you widowed so young..."

"Yes, regrettably, as Frank would have said."

Her pink, perfect mouth dropped open, then shut as she threw me a wary glance.

"Family," I said. "Pain, grief, loss, regret...And secrets."


Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire- Part 12

The doctor immediately leaped down from his chair and rushed to my side, placing a comforting arm around my shoulders. Donnie - predictably - started crying too.

"This is all my fault! MINE! I am a monster! A failure as a human, a failure as a vampire..." His weeping was not pretty. A bubble of snot expanded from his left nostril, even as a dribble of saliva meandered down towards his receding chin.

The doctor threw him a sharp look. "This is not about you! This is about Greta. Control yourself."

Donnie continued his snivelly blubbering but in silence.

The doctor pulled out a large handkerchief and wiped gently at my cheeks. "My dear Greta, you are still in shock. It has been too much for you." He continued to soothe me "As difficult and dark as things may seem right now, soon you will adapt, and before long you will see there is much good in this new life of yours."

"I...I can't do it! I can't BLEED people..."

"Well...You know...You can do anything you really NEED to do. You are a strong and intelligent woman. And you're not a Vegan, are you?"

A burst of laughter exploded through my tears. "NO! But Sheila is... So it's just as well Donnie made his mistake!"

Alphonse laughed too. "Yes indeed! Another Vegan Vampire is more than I could bear in a hundred lifetimes!"

I raised my head. "There is a Vegan Vampire?"

He sighed. "Oh yes...And a Satanist...I don't know which of them give me the most trouble."

I twisted his hanky between my hands. "I'm so sorry, but I just feel so lost. And incompetent. I can't imagine how I will survive, or face this alone."

"You won't. I will help you in any way I can - and Greta, you will be joining a support group and a sponsor will be assigned to you. Long lost are the days when a vampire was expected to dig his or her own way out of the grave and find their way in this world alone."

"I'll be here for you, Greta, I'll help and support you as I would my own mother - may she rest in peace." Donnie's contribution was well-meant but hardly reassuring.

After all, he hardly seemed the soul of self-reliance and competence himself. He probably had trouble tying his own shoe-laces. I could imagine a near future in which I would be looking after blundering Donnie, rather than enjoying his support and protection.

"Doctor, could we continue this another day? I am exhausted, and my daughter needs me. Also, I have a body to explain, and a funeral to arrange."

"Of course, Greta." He extended a card with a hand-written cell-number. "My personal number. Call when-ever you need help or advice." He smiled, "And I'd love you to call when you don't need anything at all..."


Friday, 24 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire- Part 11

I smiled back at this odd man. "Please, what am I now? What can I expect? Donnie said you believed this is a virus?" I shuddered, "Like Ebola? Will I be putting my daughter at risk?"

The doctor grinned: "Only if you fail to acquire the necessary discipline and snack on her. Which - by the way - is considered bad form!"

I remembered Frank and smiled wanly - "Indeed...Very rude..."

"The first thing to remember is that you are NOT evil. Who you are has not changed, you are not a minion of the Devil. You have a symbiotic relationship with a very unusual and complex virus. A virus that brings substantial benefits in exchange for a little blood."

"Donnie said once a week?"

"For optimum maintenance, yes. But if you need to fast you can do so safely for up to a month." he paused, and continued carefully, "But it is not advisable. The hunger becomes uncontrollable and that is when accidents happen."


"Gorging on a donor, and killing the poor thing."

"A donor..." Charming. "There are volunteers? We have access to a blood bank?"

The doctor looked uncomfortable. "Alas no. Blood banks don't work. The symbiont requires the blood straight from the source. As for donors..." He sighed, "I suppose it is an euphemism, though in some outré Clubs there are people cutting each other and drinking the blood. But those are not vampires, and the practice is most unhygienic."

"So how will I feed? Even once a week?"

"We all have a system. Some use strangers they engage in sexual congress; others have regulars they visit - friends or relatives who unknowingly provide sustenance... Every vampire finds a way - as all creatures, we do what we must to survive."

Lovely! I suddenly saw myself trolling for flabby middle-aged men at the corner pub on Saturday nights.

"And the fangs?"

He drew back his upper lip to show some decidedly imposing incisors. "As you see! They take time to grow, though. A few months, so until then it is wise to invest in a high-quality surgical steel broad-bore veterinarian needle to extract your sustenance."

"What? Do you just stick it in their necks?"

"Well, for discretion, I suggest the groin area. There are some major vessels easily accessible in the upper inner thigh, and people don't usually scrutinize their own genitals. A puncture wound in the neck, though traditional, is not recommended."

Better and better! From now on I would be snuffling at groins for arteries and sucking up blood...
Oh joy! Crotch-rot and arse-breath! I suddenly burst into tears.

"I'd rather be dead," I wailed, "Dead, do you hear! Decently, respectfully dead! Dead with dignity, not slavering at crotches for eternity!"


Monday, 20 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire Part 10

The camel-faced butler held open a door and gestured us into yet another luxuriously appointed parlour.

Sitting enthroned on a giant green velvet Chesterfield was a man. A very short man whose feet didn't reach the ground but swung merrily ten centimeters over the intricately patterned silk Persian carpet.

"Come in, come in!" He had a round face and a large hawkish nose, a close trimmed beard and sharp, observant, yet kindly eyes.

"Doc!" Cried Donnie, practically running to the man and nearly tripping over his own feet. he bent down to wring his small but masculine hand between his own. The man kissed Donnie on both cheeks and jumped down from his seat.

"My dear Lady, welcome! I am Alphonse Bernette."

"Doctor, Greta Schultz."

"Charming!" He gripped my hand in both of his and beamed up at me. "Lovely!"

I found myself blushing under his approving smile. I cannot remember when a man had looked at me and seen Greta. A woman called Greta who was still charming, lovely, desirable.

"Doctor, Donnie has told me all about you. He tells me you will explain all this baffling mystery..."

"Alphonse, please!" He twinkled up at me, "Perhaps even Al. Do sit!" He indicated a chair next to his and clambered up not ungracefully into his own.

"You've just been turned, yes?" I nodded, "And you are confused, frightened, bewildered; but believe me all will be clear and you will soon be enjoying your new life very much indeed!

He leaned forward and tipped me a naughty wink, "And there is so much to enjoy!"


Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire PART 9

Miss Elegance took out a slim dark red leather folder embossed with a gilded crest from a desk-drawer and opened it. She picked up a fountain pen and looked up at me expectantly. "Name?"

"Greta Rosalind Schultz." I replied crisply.

She wrote it down and looked up: "Date of birth and current address?"

"12th December, 1965; Number 4, Darlington Crescent."

"Mmmm..." She looked up at me - "I though you were older..."

"Yes, I have that effect on people..." I replied with my best charming smile.

She looked confused, and ticked a few boxes on the forms. "Education?"

"A levels. Secretarial course..." She hummed again and frowned.

"Right. Ms. Schultz, here is what the Vermilion Club does for its members: we will provide you with quarters in the clubhouse of which you may avail yourself whenever you wish - but you cannot bring or receive non-member visitors. You will receive a generous allowance from the club which will be deposited in your bank account monthly (if you have your IBAN with you I will do the transfer now). In short - the Vermilion Club provides material comfort and financial security for all its members."

"That...That's wonderful...But the rates? You know, joining fees, contributions?"

She smirked. "Ms. Schultz, the Vermilion Club is richer than many small oil-producing Nations, and we take care of our own. When the time comes for you to change identities in order to hide your longevity, we will provide documents and facilitate the transition. When you wish to retreat temporarily or retire from the world, you may do so. The Crimson Convent provides shelter for the members who become weary of the strife and stress of immortality."

Wonderful. "What are the rules," I asked. "What's the catch?"

"None, really. You may not expose our existence to mortals, let alone to the media. Killing is frowned upon, but since feeding accidents DO happen, you call us and we send in a Cleaning Crew to dispose of the left-overs. You must also attend regular meetings with your peers for group therapy. If you have trouble adjusting, your sponsor will recommend individual treatment. Now - if you will sign the non-disclosure agreement and provide the name of a mortal beneficiary for your Death Benefits Insurance, you can see Dr. Bernette straight away for your physical and briefing on health and reproductive issues."

I leaned over the desk and filled in Sheila's name and contacts, then signed at the bottom of the page. I fumbled in my purse and found my banking details and added them on. Throughout all this, Donnie had stood still as a statue, stripped of his fidgets by the cool woman behind the desk.

"I'm afraid I didn't catch your name..." I said to her. "The distraction and excitement of the moment..." She hadn't bothered to introduce herself, and she had the grace to look discomfited.

"Deidre Glastonbury." She smiled with practiced charm, "My 12th identity, I am one of the founding members of the Club."

12 lifetimes. She was old, very old. I nodded as if it was all quite normal. "Why you don't look a day over 40!" I exclaimed.

She drew herself up: "I was 32 when I was turned." She raised an elegant bejeweled hand to her silver hair and patted it. "I am now preparing to move on to my 13th."

"Oh! Of course!" I nodded knowingly and kicked out at Donnie's skinny shanks. "So, Donnie, shall we leave Ms. Glastonbury to her duties and go see the doctor?"

"Excellent"" Ms. Glastonbury nodded relieved approval. "Here are your forms and your contacts. This is the Emergency Number for 24/7 service and rescue. I hope you will enjoy immortality as much as I have, Ms. Schultz."

We walked out of her office and back into the hushed cathedral-like hall. "The doc is this way," Donnie said, "He's a nice man - a scientist and he's been studying our condition for centuries. He will explain everything so much better than I ever could!"

"Our condition...Being a Vampire is a condition?"

"Oh yes. Quite a complex symbiosis with a virus that Doctor B says originally evolved from an Ebola-type Hemorrhagic Fever many hundreds of thousands of years ago."

"Ebola?" I practically shrieked, "You gave me a deadly contagious disease?"

Donnie looked scandalised. "It's not contagious, or there would be millions of Vampires, you know. It's infectious. I injected the virus when I bit you. We have to infect someone deliberately. That is why we have fangs..."


Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire PART 8

So here I was driving down-town at dawn in a canary-yellow Porsche driven by a gawky Vampire... I cringed down in my seat.

Donnie was a careful driver, I'll say that for him, and never accelerated over 40 m/ph...

After a long and silent drive (I couldn't think of anything to ask, and he had nothing to say) we pulled over in front of a tall 18th-century brick building with a discreet bronze plaque: The Vermilion Club - Members Only. Right. Okay...

Donnie knocked and the high door was promptly opened by a tall man in a penguin suit. VERY CLASSY!

Inside it was all hushed high ceilings, Persian rugs, polished wood, and the deliciously faint aroma of bee's wax, fine Brandy, and good cigars. These Vamps sure lived the life! It was the perfect picture of an exclusive Gentleman's Club.

The tall man eyed me with a certain elitist disdain and sniffed.
"A new member, Mr. Donald?"

"Ehr...Yes..." Dorky Donald actually looked apologetic! I obviously did not fit in with the Club's image. "This is Mrs. Valginsky..."

"Greta, Greta Schultz", I cut in sharply. I was taking back my name, and this new life would be on MY terms."

Donnie led me down the hall into a plush reception where a genteel-looking white-haired lady presided over a gigantic antique walnut desk.

White-haired, but with a very young face - surely no more than 40.
The woman looked me up and down too, then applied a smile to her patrician features.

"Welcome to the Vermilion Club, your new home from home for Eternity!"


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire PART 7

I put on the clothes and a sweater Sheila had left for me. My ID and my purse were in the bedside table drawer along with my phone. I was good to go.

Eager to get me out before the doctor examined my injuries (now healed) Donald sneaked me past the Nurse's station and out through a service corridor that led to the entrance to the hospital morgue. Day was breaking and except for the squeak of the occasional Hospital staff's orthopedic footwear and the clatter of surgical steel, the area was dead quiet...Which was ironic, since we crossed paths with some funeral-home employees picking up "work" in a long black hearse.

Yep. Life as one of the living dead was sure proving cheery. As the gurney trundled past us, a hand flopped out. A big hand with nicotine-stained fingers and burnt oil permanently ingrained under the thick fingernails. I knew that hand. Frank's hand. My stomach turned over. Frank dead and wearing a neat Y incision on his hairy chest.

It must have been a slow night for the M.E, to have sorted him out so quickly. But then again, this town wasn't exactly the crime capital of the Western World, so Frank's murder must have been exotic enough to bring some excitement to the pathologist's usual roll of hum-drum deaths by natural causes.

The hearse attendants loaded him on, and I noted the discreet lettering on the back door: Silverman & Stell Lda.

I would have to speak to Sheila about the arrangements I presumed she'd make... SHIT! I suddenly realised my daughter would be in a panic at my sudden departure from the Hospital. I scrounged in my pockets and pulled out my cell. I typed out a quick message: Checked myself out. All good. Meet you at the house later. Love MOM.

There. I followed Donnie out to the parking lot and a shiny low-slung canary-yellow two-seater sports car. OMG! A Vampire in a Tweetie-bird coloured car... This was bad.

Donnie opened the passenger door with a flourish and graciously gestured me in. The interior was pimp-purple and the seats were plush velour. This was even worse. Maybe I could get a ride in the hearse with Frank...


The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire PART 6

I must admit I looked on my "transformer" with a certain animosity.
I had yet to hear anything about my new state that was to my benefit. Extended life? It sounded like extended misery.

"Any other tit.bit of inaccurate lore you'd like to add to the roll?" I asked.

He looked discomfited. "That sunlight bit is bosh too. In the middle ages, pale skin was a sign of aristocracy, high rank...Vampires have always been elitist, I'm afraid. Snobs, to be honest."

"Wonderful!" I exclaimed as I thrust my bed covers aside and swung my feet onto the ground. I tested my equilibrium. All good. Not dizzy or weak-kneed. In fact, I hadn't felt this good since I was 18 and filled with vim and vinegar.

OK! You didn't LOOK young, but you felt pretty good...

"Now what?" I asked him, "And by the way, what is your name?"

"Donald." He stepped forward and extended one of those pale spidery hands. He had quite a nice smile. Shy and sweet. "Donald Hardfinch."

I suppressed a giggle. Donnie the Vampire... I smiled back and said "Greta, but you know that..."

He looked discomfited and nodded. "Shall we go? I'd like to take you to the Council Office and they open at daybreak. On the way, I can show you where the meetings are."


"The V.A. meetings. You have to attend daily in your first month."


"Vampires Anonymous. Our support group."


Friday, 10 March 2017

Chronicles of A Middle-Aged Vampire PART 5

So...No glowing diamond skin, no siren's silhouette.

"What about the garlic thingy?"

"Well, it seems to be legend too. The symbiont is actually sensitive to onions, not garlic."

Great! I wouldn't have to give up Italian food! My stomach rumbled at the thought.
"Listen, I'm really hungry. Will I be on blood smoothies for the rest of my life?"

"Oh no!" he exclaimed, "We only need blood about once a week, the rest of the time we eat quite ordinary food - without the onions."

"What about the bodies? Surely a murder a week is a bit excessive? Don't the victims start to pile up?"

He looked shocked: "We don't KILL! We drink about a pint of blood, and believe me that is quite enough!"

"But...With Frank...I drank every drop!"

"You were newborn and in an emotional state, I'm sure." He pursed his lips primly. "We consider it quite rude to kill a donor."

""WE"? You mean the other vampires? This "council"?"

"Yes. We have to get you registered for the Insurance Package and the Pension Plan as soon as possible. Preferably tomorrow morning,"

"Pension? Insurance?"

"Of course. We've had a comprehensive plan for prolonged living for centuries now. You have no idea the practical and living problems  immortality can bring!"

Immortal bureaucracy. Now I'd seen everything!


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Chronicles of A Middle-Aged Vampire PART 4

The man was worried I'd make a mistake? I'd already murdered my husband, how much more of a "mistake" could I make?

I sat up slowly, expecting my head to explode in pain, and felt nothing. No twinge from the stitches, no throbbing from the bruised bone of my skull. I felt great.

I squinted my eyes to get a better look at my "attacker". "What do you want?" I asked, "Haven't you done enough?"

He stepped forward and into the dim blueish glow of the presence light over my bed. "I'm sorry, I must apologise again, but we need to talk. There is much I have to explain to you..."

"You certainly do! Like what you were doing in my bed, and what you did to me. I killed my husband, do you realise that? Tore his neck out and drank up his blood."

The man nodded and started wringing his hands again. I had a feeling it was a habitual gesture and very annoying. "I'm sorry..."

"Stop saying that!" I snapped, "And let's get to what matters: What did you do to me?"

He hummed a bit and shuffled from foot to foot. " I...That is...I turned you. Into a Vampire."

"Right!" I snapped, " So where are the glowing skin and the instant facelift? Where are the fangs?"

"Oh!" He said, " The fangs take time, and I'm afraid the other stuff is only propaganda..."


"Well, it seems that a couple of hundred years ago the Council did a recruitment drive. They sort of promised eternal beauty along with eternal life.."

"And it's all crock, of course?"

"Not the extended lifespan. That is quite true. But the rest? How you are is how you stay. For as long as you live."

"What? Warts and all?"

"Yes, exactly!"

"And saggy tits?"

"I'm afraid so...Hence my myopia."

"I see."

"Which is why Sheila was such a wonderful candidate! She's so beautiful, so perfect!"

"Yes...Isn't she?" I am ashamed to say that there was a trace of acid to my tone, "Thank God for plastic surgery!"

"Erh... I'm sorry to tell you..."

"You spend a lot of time being sorry, have you noticed?"

He blushed blue. believe it or not and stammered: "Ye-ye-yes...Bu-but I really am! You see, the body allows no changes. Whatever you get done it will revert to the original state at turning in 24 hours."



Sunday, 5 March 2017

Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire - PART 3

No blood. A dead body and no blood. How should I explain this? And then the answer came to me.

I shouldn't. I was a victim. I knew nothing. It would be as much a mystery to me as to the Police.

I should not manufacture clues or proof to deceive forensics. I was in my own home, in my own room. My fingerprints, my DNA, even Frank's blood on me were to be expected. I had been packing to go to my mother's, to get away from a house that had become a scene of trauma when someone had struck me. I had come to to find my husband dead.

That was all. The whole story. Let the Police look for murder weapons, leads, and suspects. All I needed to do was to wash my face and give myself was some kind of head trauma. A nice photogenic bruise or an impressive scalp wound.

I got myself up, washed my face, and gargled with mouthwash, spewing the residue into the toilet so I could flush away any traces of Frank's blood mingled with my saliva. Then I walked back into the bedroom. Now, where would I knock my head? Ah! THERE! I walked over to the cupboard with its full-length mirror and reached in to grasp a hanger, then swung my head sideways sharply into the glass.

The impact darkened my sight, dulled my hearing. I felt myself staggering and let myself fall. Hot blood was pouring down the side of my face, pooling on the hardwood floor in a very satisfactory way. I pushed myself up, grasped the side of the door, and got to my feet.

There was Frank, dead as a door-nail a few feet away. I stumbled over and knelt beside him, placed my hands on his chest, then pressed my bloody cheek to his silent heart. There!

I reached for my phone on the bed-side and pushed the emergency number with blood-stained fingers. When the operator answered I screamed: "He came back, he came back! Please help me, I think my husband's dead!"

I crawled back on my hands and knees and pulled Frank's oily head onto my lap. A very touching scene and guaranteed to confuse traces of any unlikely behavior or blood trails. I also ended up soiling my beloved Aubusson, but hey! It's a small price to pay for getting away with murder, even if the rug was over 200 years old.

I settled down to wait and I am sure I presented a touching if gory tableau for the responding officers. The bedroom with the open suitcase, the scattered clothes, my dead husband and me touchingly cradling him in my grieving arms, tears mingling with the blood clotting the side of my swelling face. Very nice indeed!

It was very gratifying. The Police arrived, and I was sped away in an ambulance back to the hospital, with a compress on the side of my face to staunch the bleeding. Once admitted they administered a sedative and that was that for me.

I came to much later in a quiet and dim room with my daughter sitting next to me holding on to my hand and weeping. "Sheila?"

"Mom!" My brash and bouncy daughter was swollen-eyed and hoarse with grief, "Oh Mom, I don't know what I would do if I lost you too."

"Frank?" I mumbled, "Frank? Is he..." I gasped and let tears of relief trickle out.

"Oh Mom, he's gone..."

"It's my fault!" I cried truthfully, "I killed him!"

"No Mom! The Police said your attacker came back... Dad walked in on him... You're lucky you survived."

"It was my fault..." I let myself fall back weakly on my pillow. In truth, I felt as strong as a horse.

A nurse came in and check my pulse, looked surprised but gratified, and told Sheila she had to leave. I had had a great shock, lost a great deal of blood, and needed my rest.

Lovely. I closed my eyes as my daughter tenderly kissed me goodbye and fell instantly asleep

When I woke it was dark and silent, and there at the foot of my bed was the tall and gangly silhouette of my attacker.

"Mrs. Valginsky?" He whispered, "Are you awake? We need to talk before you make a mistake..."


Saturday, 4 March 2017

Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire - PART 2

I started to cry. I have never been a weepy sort of woman, but this had been a very stressful evening for me. My husband of more than thirty years was leaving me, I was going to lose my home, what I had taken for a delightful erotic dream had been abuse - a man "seducing" me by mistake - and that weirdo was sitting on my bed crying in regret.

"Please!" he cried, "You must believe me! I had no desire to..."
I started giggling through my snotty tears. The story of my mediocre life seemed to have reached a climax, and it was a pathetic farce, to say the least.

I was 55 and a man was sitting on my bed confessing that he had "no desire" for me. His eager erection had been a case of mistaken identity...

I finally grasped the phone and punched in that magic code of salvation "112". The man gasped- "Wait! I must explain!"
A voice answered and I screamed "RAPE! Help me! Hep!"

Surprisingly, the man made no move to rip the phone away, to strike me or to stop me. He got up and backed out of the room wringing those pale hands. "Please, stay home today, I will be back to explain the changes. Stay home. Please! You will be a great danger..."

A howl of sirens and a screech of tires announced the miraculously speedy arrival of the coppers and he ran to the landing and vanished from my sight.

An hour later I was sitting on a hospital bed in a paper gown having been submitted to a humiliating examination by a scrawny kid-doctor who reeked of Clearasil. The policewoman who sat with me kept patting my hand and saying "There now, there now..."

I couldn't wait for this to be over, so I could go home, take a shower, and wash away that awful yesterday - every last second and hour.

It was ten by the time they dropped me off. It had taken four hellish hours to process my complaint, and that misty dawn had birthed a miserable muggy day. One good thing, there had been no actual penetration, so that particular violation I had been spared - but I told the Police about his veiled threat that "I would be in great danger" so they sent me home in a unit with a policeman to search my house, and see if it was safe.

I was so tired. I could not remember feeling this tired before. Ever. I watched impatiently as the officer walked through the house, stumbling upstairs in his wake.

"All clear, Ma'm. I'll close the door on my way out. You call us at any sign of trouble, OK?"

I nodded dumbly and listen for the click of the latch. From long habit, I walked into my conjugal bedroom and fell onto the bed. In seconds I was fast asleep.

I slept like the dead and woke to chaos. Frank was opening and shutting drawers, flinging clothes into a gaping suitcase in the middle of the floor. My drawers, my clothes.

"What...what are you doing?"

"Get up you lazy bitch!" he snarled.


"I want you out! Take your shit: go to your mother, or your brother, but get out."

I started to feel peeved. "You can't do that. It's my house too."

Frank grinned. I had discovered over the years that his grin was as ugly as his smile was charming. "Stay if you like. But I am bringing my fiancée to live with me. Tonight."

My slow anger stirred. "You can't do that!"

"Yes, I can." That ugly grin again, like a snarl. "I can and I am."
He opened the closet and started pulling out my dresses. "Don't you want to know who you will be sharing your home with?"

A stirring of foreboding: "No!"

"No? We've been having it on for fifteen years, Greta. We don't even hide it much anymore. I'm sure you must know. How dumb can you be?"

"Please Frank, don't say something you will regret."

He started to laugh. Frank's laugh was as ugly as his grin. "ReGreta! That's what we call you: my big fat saggy-tit ReGreta!"

A wave of rage blasted through my stomach and up into my brain. "Stop! STOP!" He didn't, which is why the blame for his untimely demise can be laid firmly at his door.

"Me and Rosa. Your baby-sis, Rosa." His face twisted again, "And as soon as I'm shot of you, I'm marrying her."

"Rosa and I," I corrected him automatically, and then that flower of rage exploded into a vision of Rosa. Vapid, porcelain-pretty Rosa who had so despised my "low-class" husband and his crude ways, derided my hunger for a small and peaceful life. I saw Rosa with her pink mouth opening into a delighted "oh" under Frank's thrusts, her manicured nails clawing at his hairy back, winding her thin cellulite-free thighs around his heavy hips. Rosa.

The agony of trust betrayed, love soured, belief soiled, ripped through the anger. I knew, I suddenly knew that half their pleasure had derived from imagining my pain. "Why?" I screamed, "WHY?"
Then scarlet blinded me, deafened me, took me down into darkness.

I came back to myself and utter silence. I was standing in the middle of my bedroom, and at my feet sprawled Frank. He was on his back with his mouth wide open and a thin silver string of saliva hanging down his chin. His eyes were wide and surprised, his neck ripped. It looked like a scene from those CSI shows I liked to watch when I thought he was in the pub every night drinking with the boys.

It was exactly like one of the shows, except that it smelled and there was no blood. Frank had pissed his pants. There was a dark stain on the front of his trousers and by the sickly smell, he'd defecated too. His deep wound showed raw red flesh and whitish strands twisting though what I supposed was the yellowy fat of his jowls, but no blood spattered the floor, pooled on the carpet.

There was a strange and unfamiliar tang on my tongue - coppery, thick, and rich. Like undercooked blood pudding. It tasted rather good.

It suddenly occurred to me that this detachment signaled madness. My husband was dead and here I was standing, coldly analyzing the vivid sensations washing over me.

I stepped over him and walked into the bathroom. I stood in front of the mirror and saw that there was a wide stain around my mouth like I'd been making out in blood-red lipstick. There was blood on my teeth too. I must have killed Frank in my blind rage, tore into his neck like a rabid dog. My knees failed me and I sat down heavily on the toilet. I cradled my head in my hands and felt a sloshing heaviness in my belly.

I had killed Frank. I had become a murderess. The words of my attacker sounded clear as a bell: "You will BE a great danger..."

THAT is what he had said. Not "You will be IN great danger..." I was a danger, I myself. He was right and the proof of it lay in the bedroom, on my grandmother's pink and pearl Aubusson rug.

The absent disjointed thought flitted through my head, that thankfully Frank hadn't ruined my priceless heirloom with his blood.


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire.PART 1


It was Frank's fault, all of it. The misery that was my life from age 17 to 55, and why I became a vampire.

You might suppose I am going to tell you a sob-story about a teen pregnancy and a man with heavy fists, but that is not how it played out. I am resolved to be honest here, so don't expect to hear pretty excuses for my bad calls. My life was a chain of lousy choices, until that last fatal night when I had no choice at all.

My name is Greta Schultz. I was born in London to a pair of reasonably well-off Austrians who'd escaped from the war as child immigrants. They met, married and proceeded to reproduce in time-honored tradition. I have three brothers, one sister. I was raised to be clean, disciplined and well-behaved; went to a good school, had high marks and a regrettable taste for low company.

That was my "fatal flaw". I liked the cant of the dialect in my Cockney class-mates voices, I envied their short flouncy uniform skirts and slutty heels when I was forced into knee-length pleated respectability and patent buckle-shoes over white frilly socks, even at sixteen. I wanted to chew gum, and drink beer and lose my virginity at the back of the bus. I wanted to be bad, and so when Frank Valginsky sauntered into my life I was more than ready to be charmed, seduced, and deceived. In fact, you could say I did it all myself.

Frank was twenty-three and he was "rough-trade". It was there in his square blue-shadowed jaw, his thick lips that pouted in brutal lust, the tight leather pants over his broad thighs. He was "rough-trade" and I wanted him at first sight.

I made the first move. He had come to pick up his sister May in his souped-up old bike, and I was waiting by the steps for my mother to arrive. I saw him. I just saw him and I wanted him. That was it. No smarmy excuses. I walked down those steps like I was walking on air, stopped in front of him and stared into his eyes.

He stared back, and then he smiled. He had a charming smile, did Frank. Wide and sweet, and he had these dimples you'd want to poke with your finger to see if they were really that deep... He smiled and said: "Hey there...Want to go for a ride?" So I did. We ended up in the backroom of his auto-shop, having sex on a narrow cot with a poster of a blond woman with gigantic breasts hanging up over it.

To this day I still remember, gripping Frank's shoulders and grimacing in pain, meeting the busty blond's eyes as she smiled vapidly, pretending her fat nipples weren't poking out between her primly posed fingers.

I remember the poster and the smell of burnt engine oil, and the scent of Frank's salty skin. I remember thinking that I was now a woman, and about to start a free and exciting life with a strong, passionate man by my side.

What an idiot! Frank was indeed passionate, and single-minded in his pursuit of me. He wanted to marry me and I was dizzy with desire to do exactly that. My parents disagreed, so we eloped.

I married Frank and we moved into a tiny box of a flat with an oven, an old rusty fridge, and a big double bed. That was it. A week later I got a job working as a typist in a solicitor's office and started putting every penny I earned into making that box a home a man would be proud of - while Frank started his life-long investment in a beer-gut.

A few years later I thought that if we had a baby, Frank would be more likely to spend his time at home rather than at the pub swilling beer and playing darts.

It worked. More or less. Frank would be home right up to Sheila's bed-time. Sheila would fall asleep and Frank would walk out. I should have known then what that meant - but I have to confess that I was astounded when he called me into the kitchen two weeks ago and asked me to sit down.

He was leaving me, he said. Sheila had finally moved out ("about bloody time she's 27!") and so he, Frank, was "finally free".

"Free?" I asked, "Free of what?"

"Free of you. I want a divorce, Greta."

"A divorce?" I couldn't believe it. It wasn't the happiest of marriages, but there was no violence, no hate - only a low-grade sadness, loneliness - the sour tang of disappointment I had never thought he felt.

"There is someone else. Has been for years."

"Years?" I repeated stupidly.

"You knew! You had to know! Not even YOU could be that dumb!"

"No, I didn't...I didn't."

"Well Sheila's gone, and there is no need to keep this up, so I want to sell the house."

"My house? Where will I go? What will I do?"

He looked at me, really looked for the first time in more than twenty years. I could see him taking in my saggy tits, my scruffy baggy-kneed leggings.

"Get a fucking life." He turned and left, just like that. Closed the door behind him and left me behind as he had for a life-time of nights.

I went into "our" bedroom and got my flannel nighty, my pillow, my cell-phone, and my alarm clock. I took "my life" to the room next door, Sheila's empty room. I lay on that bed, surrounded by her perfume - the scent of a vibrant girl with everything to play for and no regrets - and I fell asleep.

I dreamed a man was kissing me, loving me. Not Frank. Frank's touch was rough, and what had once excited had long since lost its charm. This man touched me as if I was precious, desirable, fragile. I heard myself moan and his answering sigh.

"Oh my love, my love...I have waited eons for you, I will love you for eternity..." And then I felt a thin exquisite sting as he nipped my neck. I cried out at the pain, shuddered at the pleasure, and fell into a strange daze.

I woke from that strange erotic dream in the half-light of pre-dawn to find a thin young man sitting on the edge of the bed wringing his hands and sobbing.

"I'm so sorry, so very sorry! It was all a terrible mistake. I can't tell you how I regret..."

"Who are you? What are you doing here?" The memory of the dream had me pull the comforter up over my breasts. "Oh my God! It wasn't a dream! You raped me!"

"No, no...You must understand..."

I screamed and the man lifted up his very long thin spidery hands in a frantic gesture of regret. "I had no intention...It was a mistake! Please, you must believe me! I thought you were Sheila!"

"Sheila? You were planning to rape my daughter?" I screamed, "My daughter?"

"No, no! I was supposed to be turning her, not you!"

"Turning her?"I was feeling for my cell-phone on the bedside table, I was going to call 112, keep him talking until the Police got here.

"Well, into a Vampire, of course - like me. I love her so much, but I'm afraid I made a mistake...I'm short-sighted, I thought it was Sheila's room, It smelled like Sheila, I thought it was you. I turned you. You are now Immortal. I am so very sorry. I can't apologize enough..."

A nut-case rapist who'd watched too many movies, no less. A wild giggle escaped my lips. What I had taken for an erotic dream had been some kind of weird assault. I had been attacked by mistake.

Manuela Cardiga