When Doug Fletcher opened his eyes he knew exactly two things, the first being that it was either incredibly early and the sun hadn’t risen yet or the more likely answer which was he’d slept the majority of the day away and it was now dusk and the second was that there was a throbbing baseline being worked out in the form of throbbing in his skull. Neither realization was all that promising and with a groan the thirty-seven year old man, who was balding and had developed a slight paunch and subtle hunch to accompany it, rolled from his belly to his back to stare blearily at the ceiling of his hotel room and concluded that he must have fallen asleep with his glasses on as the room was much more clear than it should have been. The curtains had been drawn shut and the room itself was darkened, stuffy despite the constant noise the air conditioner provided. Much like any other hotel room it was nondescript, decorated in an entirely impersonal fashion and smelled of past guests despite the good money he’d paid for higher end accommodations and what was worse was that he could hear the shower from the room next door.
That was when Doug sat up realizing that it was not the neighbors but the shower in the bathroom of his own hotel room and found that he didn’t remember much of the evening before. Simply the start of his high school reunion, being uncomfortable in the suit he’d rented to wear and his freshly starched shirt, then… Alcohol. Copious amounts of alcohol while he’d bragged about his accomplishments all without a digital footprint, it wasn’t often heard of that someone would eschew social media but thankfully no one had pressed further to find him. What he did remember between glasses of scotch and the fruity scent of vape clouds was someone else that had cozied up and taken his arm then decided to stay there.
He hadn’t argued that at all.
What was missing was the time between his last double scotch on the rocks and the time he’d woken up. Who had come back with him? Why wasn’t he hung over after a truly heroic amount of booze and most importantly – what was this weird after taste in his mouth? It wasn’t vomit, it wasn’t just scotch and morning breath (Or in this case dusk breath). Exceptionally rare steak? Had they stopped for breakfast on the way back to his room? Had he been licking pennies? It didn’t feel as though he’d bitten his tongue…
The shower was suddenly silent and he could hear someone pulling the curtain aside to step out, the sound of the curtain hooks scraping along the rod making him cringe, before rummaging around in the closed room. Doug took the time to reach over to the lamp and flicked this on with a sharp intake of breath. “Well fuck!” He’d muttered, rubbing his eyes, the dull throb of his head picking up into what could only be described as over powering. Maybe he was hung over after all. His head hurt, his mouth was dry, and his skin appeared more sallow than usual. He’d considered turning out the light when the bathroom door opened in a plume of steam and humming.
His companion appeared to be a couple of years younger than himself, thinner than he would have liked and fair complexioned, and he wasn’t sure if it made him a bad person to wander if he’d inadvertently picked up a prostitute that he wasn’t aware of hiring. “Good morning.” Her voice amused though he wasn’t entirely sure why it would have been.
“Uh, hi?” He, understandably, wasn’t quite as peppy as his new friend. “What time is it?”
“Early, maybe around 6 pm.” She used the towel she wasn’t wearing to towel dry her hair. “You’re up earlier than I had expected you to be.”
“Yes but that’s not a bad thing, it gives us more time to catch you up to speed.” She moved to the bed, sitting beside him and reached for his hand to give it a squeeze. He found her grip to be warm and her skin cool despite the warmth of the bathroom. Maybe the room was colder than he thought? Time to turn off the AC then? “And also to plan how you’ll be taking me home with you.”
“…More time to what now?” Now this was the moment he was fully awake and yanking his hand froms, sliding swiftly away from this woman that he may have married in a drunken black out.
“To plan how we’re going to travel.” She repeated slowly. “You’ll have to hire a car, book passage for the both of us – preferably a red eye flight to be safe.” There were other things that she was saying but Doug was no longer listening and had entered a world of panicked thoughts that revolved mostly around either gnawing his own arm off to escape or throwing himself through the room’s window. Either would have been a solid plan from what he could tell. “We can figure out the rest when we get back to your place.”
“I’m sorry, who are you?” Doug tried his best to be polite, really he did, but the sheer panic of the situation wasn’t exactly lost on him either. This was bad and it was about to get a whole lot worse.
“You poor dear, you did have too much to drink last night, didn’t you?” She laughed and stood up, going to a pile of unfamiliar clothes that were left on a nearby chair. The woman dropped her towel and Doug was quick to look away, swallowing hard, she was going to kill him. “My name is Jennifer. We met at your reunion last night. You got bored hanging out with your old chums and slipped away to the bar across from the hall they were holding it in.” First her under garments, then her dress her was next, Doug busied himself locating a pair of pants and his shirt. Mercifully he’d at least had his underpants. “You bought me a drink and we talked and talked until eventually you invited me back to your room for the evening.”
“I did?” Parts of her story seemed right. He remembered the reunion and that it wasn’t going as well as he had hoped, he remembered excusing himself to get his stories straight and needing a drink. Doug also remembered the woman from the bar but she’d cuter the night before, scotch goggles can do that to a fellow, after that it began to get a bit hazy. He remembered talking, laughing, running his story by her and when she seemed thrilled by the details of his life she’d said something about going upstairs. In his infinite drunken wisdom he hadn’t argued. “…Oh fuck, I did.” He dressed faster, clapping his hands together and stepped back a few feet to clear the path to the door.
“It was an unforgettable night, wasn’t it?” She smiled at him, a very careful smile that didn’t show her teeth. He couldn’t help but wonder if maybe they were more yellow than she would have liked or if possible they were crooked and she was embarrassed by them. “Life changing.”
“Well I don’t know about that,” He’d started uncomfortably. Alright Doug, it was time to get out of this and likely to be injured in some fashion. “I don’t know what we agreed on last night, I can’t remember it, but I think we both might have made a mistake.”
“Oh?” Jennifer’s brow crooked, eyes narrowed when she turned to face him with a hand on her hips. “What mistake might that be?”
“Well I think one of us might have misrepresented our self at the bar.” Doug began slowly.
“Well obviously.” She laughed, relaxing. “There wasn’t really a good or believable way to tell you I’m a vampire other than sharing blood with you last night.”
“The thing of it is… I’m sorry, did you say vampire?” Well fuck, this was perfect. A screw he didn’t remember from a crazy woman and he couldn’t even say it was the best he’d ever had because he couldn’t damn well remember it! “Yeah, no, that’s not a thing.”
“Nope, it isn’t.”
“Look I don’t know what you’re into but it’s been nice meeting you Jennifer and I’ve got some packing to do.” Doug nodded, moving to the door to open it and let this crazy woman out and into the hallway. “And, uh, best of luck with that whole vampire thing.” He opened the door only to have it slammed shut without warning, Jennifer standing behind him having cleared ten feet without a sound in the time he’d taken to turn his back on her.
“I’m not the one that’s going to need luck, you are.” She countered, pulling his hand from the knob and yanking him with a surprising strength back towards the bed. Doug, in a rather undignified fashion yelped, hit the bed, bounced, and landed most unceremoniously on the floor. “I’ve got decades of practice, you’re barely a baby. You need me to learn what’s expected of you which means you’ll have to arrange to bring me home with you, you will take time off of work so I can train you properly and in return for my efforts you’ll compensate me by allowing me to become your new wife, at least in public.”
“Well, I mean, I could do that..” He waffled for a moment, rubbing his palms on his pants. “But my mother probably wouldn’t be happy about it.”
“Your mother lives with you?”
“Not exactly.” At this point Jennifer seemed as though she was growing annoyed with him.
“I live with her, in her basement to be precise which should work out pretty good since you said we’re vampires, and I work the graveyard at 7-11 so that won’t be too bad either, I don’t have to change much about my day.” He still didn’t believe her but he figured at least telling her the truth about the situation might force the crazy lady to reconsider her stance on coming home with him.
“You said you were a stock broker and had your own home! A summer home on Lake Ontario!” Jennifer was no longer amused, grabbing him by his shirt and hauling Doug back to his feet.
“I, uh, said a whole lot of things. All not true.” He smiled sheepishly. “It was my high school reunion and I didn’t want people to know I was a loser that couldn’t get a job outside of a gas station, I mean in this economy it’s hard to find a job let alone affordable housing.”
“You lied to me!” Jennifer’s voice was little more than a vehement hiss and her eyes flashed crimson on brown, a very unsettling effect when one stopped to think about it, what was even more unsettling was that she turned and threw him across the room and into the TV. Again Doug bounced, landing in an undignified heap on the floor. “You wasted my fucking time!” She raged, tearing the room apart and caused Doug to cringe again. This was money he couldn’t afford to spend and she was just adding to the bill. Absently he wondered if maybe the front desk had seen her come in with him and he could pass the blame, rightfully, to her.
“I mean, why did you believe me? I clearly made the whole thing up, I’ve got a flip phone – not a smart phone. That probably should have been your first hint I wasn’t a stock broker.” In Doug’s own mind his point was pretty solid. It wasn’t his fault she couldn’t recognize that she had been scammed by a drunk loser looking for some fun.
“You can fuck right off.” Jennifer continued to rage, collecting her shoes and purse before storming to the door and yanking it open with a great thud, putting a hole in the wall behind it that caused Doug to once again cringe. He was going to be either sued or charged at this rate, fuck. “You lying little prick, I hope you fry at sun up!” And with that Jennifer gave him the finger and stormed off down the hall to catch the elevator, which in itself seemed anti-climatic, he’d almost been hoping she’d turn into a bat and fly off.
With that Doug got up and looked around his now ruined room with a soft harrumph. There was no way to get out of this… Or was there? She said he was a vampire now, right? Vampires had mind powers, right? Suddenly an idea was forming, a truly ingenious plan if he said so himself. He picked up the room’s phone and called the front desk. “Hello, this is room 332,” He began when the pleasant if not somewhat bored voice came on the line. “Would you please send the concierge up with some towels for my room please? I’ve had a bit of an accident.”
For the next fifteen minutes while he waited Doug faced the mirror (that he still appeared in, that part must have been a myth too) and attempted to hypnotize himself. Waving his hand with an over exaggerated flourish. “Yes, good, good..” He muttered when the knock came from the door. Doug went to the door, placed his hand upon the knob and took a deep breath, the knock coming again and with a smile he opened the door to look at the much larger man in his hotel uniform looking wholly unimpressed and carrying a load of towels.
“Your towels, sir.”
“Thank you, please… Bring them in.” As he spoke Doug lifted his left hand and waved his fingers in front of the clerk’s face.
“I’d… Really rather not.” The clerk appeared to be a bit taken aback by this. “Hotel policy is we don’t enter the rooms sir.”
“I’m afraid I must insist.” Again he waved his fingers, attempting to use an accent. That would work, he’d seen it in movies. Clearly they knew how this whole thing worked.
“I’m going to set your towels down, when you’re ready you can bring them into your room.” The clerk took his eyes off Doug for a moment and that was all he needed, he pounced on the clerk. “The hell?! Let go!”
“I said in the room!” Doug attempted to wrap an arm around the neck of the clerk, frantically waving his fingers in the other man’s face. His best Dracula accent failing him.
“I said no!” The clerk hauled off and punched poor Doug in the dick, making the poor guy crumple. In the movies vampires don’t feel pain, but Doug sure as shit did. Groaning, he wasn’t prepared for when the clerk kicked him hard in the gut. “Fucking weirdo!”
“No! Wait!” The Clerk was running for the stairwell instead of the elevator and Doug was trying to get to his knees. “Come back!” He waved his right arm this time, convinced the problem had been with using his left. “I command you!” And with that the Clerk too flipped off Doug, slammed through the stairwell door and fled to the first floor. “Fuck!”
Things were not going as planned, the clerk would most likely call the cops who very likely wouldn’t be impressed with a vampire trying to use hypnotism. Instead Doug got to his feet and ran for his room. Frantically he looked around for his wallet and when he found it turned to his window and ran towards it, jumped, and launched himself at the glass with a loud, sick THUD. Doug slid painfully down to the floor before again forcing himself to get up and limp his way out of his room to the stairs.
The clerk would be watching the entrance so the roof would be his best escape, Doug grabbed the railing and launched himself running up the stairs, stubbing his toes and tripping on stairs. Banging his shins and knees, swearing as he fumbled up those same abusive stairs. “I thought this vampire shit was supposed to come naturally?!” Doug grumbled, all he’d gotten so far was a headache, a broken toe, sore legs, and a bruised dick. Nothing was going right but at least the roof entrance was unlocked! Below he could hear sirens, could see the flashing of blue and red and panicked a bit while peering down over the edge. The cops were here and coming into the building, he had to escape.
Doug realized there was only one option, he had to fly away into the night. The hypnotism hadn’t worked but surely flying would, all baby birds could fly if they were pushed out of the nest, this shouldn’t be any different. Doug could swear he heard boots tromping up the stairs, heavy footfalls meant to come and capture him, and he felt sweat dripping down his spine and gathering in places it really shouldn’t have. With a deep breath Doug took fifteen steps back and looked at the door before looking forward again. “Police! Don’t move!” They yelled from behind him so Doug did what came naturally to him in that moment.
Doug ran for the edge of the building. Each step one giant leap into freedom and while Doug was not quite certain how he would fly he did remember something from a show a co-worker had talked about, it had been about vampires. That was how Doug ended up launching himself from the ledge of the building while screaming “BAT!” and seemed to stay in place for a moment, legs and arms wheeling before he began to freefall. “Oh fuck!” Was the next scream, followed by the sickly thud of his body connecting with the ground below. There was pain, there was blood, it was hard to breath and none of his limbs seemed to work right. It was dark and in the distance he could vaguely hear voices calling for an ambulance before the darkness crept in and he began to realize that he, Douglas Fletcher, was the worst vampire ever.
Some twenty feet away, puffing on her vape pen, Jennifer had watched the whole thing go from bad to worse and was pissed that she had fallen for his lies. The suit had been just good enough to make her believe that he was middling and likely a good stepping point to find another rich victim. In the meantime he would have been a decent enough ghoul. The problem was Doug was not even slightly intelligent.
Jennifer had told him she was a vampire, that they had exchanged blood, what she hadn’t told him was that he needed multiple exchanges to complete the change from human to vampire and it was unlikely she would have let him get that far before completely consuming him. Distantly she could hear the cop talking to her and shook her head, rubbing at the back of her neck.
“Honestly officer it was the weirdest thing, all I heard was someone scream Bat and then wham! This guy fell out of the sky. Craziest fucking thing I’ve ever seen.”
Credit: A.R Dooley
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