Friday, 15 February 2013

Friday Flash Fiction - Janice and the Vampire

"Why do you wear those things?" Sean asked Janice. Janice looked down at the gloves she was absently putting on - black, fingerless, with a cross stitched on each knuckle.

"Because you never know."

Years before, Janice had been a carefree university student, attending (most of) her classes during the day, studying or partying by night at the share house near the campus. It all changed that November.

The after-exam party started off great. There were dozens of people, the music was loud, the booze was flowing freely and everyone was having a great time. Janice was swimming in the pool on her own, just a few minutes after everyone else had gotten out - there was pizza just delivered, but Janice wasn't hungry.

Floating on her back, looking up at the stars and hoping that she had passed her Psych final, she thought she heard something in the upstairs bedroom. Now, the house had a game they played. If you caught one of the others in their room with a boy, they did the dishes for a week. It had been Cathy's idea. Jan suspected it was just Cathy's excuse to barge into people's rooms whenever she felt like it, but it had saved Janice from dish washing duty more than once.

It was Cathy's room where Janice heard the noise and, watching the window, she saw someone walk past. No, not walking. Chasing.

Janice grabbed her towel and got out of the pool as quickly and quietly as she could. If she could catch Cathy in the act, it would be the first time ever. Either Cathy was very good at sneaking around, or she never brought boys home. As Janice sneaked upstairs, the music was still playing loudly, but everyone was sitting down. Janice was just glad nobody got in her way.

Creeping up the stairs, Janice eased Cathy's door open and could definitely hear sounds like an enthusiastic make-out session. She flung the door wide, flicked the light on and yelled "Gotcha!", but the sounds weren't of kissing.

There was a man in the room, he seemed to be biting Cathy, and she was lolling, eyes wide open and glassy, mouth in a weird quirk. She was dead.

The man turned towards Janice, and his mouth dripped with blood. His eyes were ... mesmerising. Janice found herself getting lost in them from across the room, until he blinked, or she did, and she had the sense to scream.

The man leapt up from the bed and chased Janice out the door. Her still-wet feet slipped on the wooden floor as she made for the stairs, but the vampire - even in her panic, Janice's subconscious offered up the only word that fit - got a handful of her wet hair and dragged her back. He pinned her to the floor and stared into her eyes again, then that same feeling of calm and peace came over Janice. He was just going to bite her. It was okay.

Then Janice snapped out of it again, and remembered the cross around her neck. She held the thing up like a ward and, despite what decades of vampire movies had been saying, it worked. The vampire hissed - actually hissed! - and drew back from the silver crucifix, and even seemed to wither in its presence. He hunched down in a corner, shielding his eyes, but kept peeking back, looking like he hoped Janice would give up and go away.

Janice got close enough this time to press the cross into his forehead, where it left a red welt. With a scream, the vampire turned to dust and crumbled before her eyes.

Everyone else was already dead, but Janice had survived.

"And that's why I wear the gloves," she said. "It's why I joined the police force, too. To hunt them and protect people from them."

Sean just stared at his partner with wide eyes. "Wow. Janice, I had no idea. I just ... I'm going to wait in the car. Come along when you're ready." He left, and Anne, another officer, walked over with a sly grin.

"None of that's true, is it?"

"Well, I did room with a Cathy at uni."

They both laughed.

"So why tell him all that?" asked Anne.

"You know how superstitious Sean is. Bet you twenty bucks he wears a cross for at least a week."

"How about you bet he wears it for two weeks, I bet he takes it off after one."


Mokalus of Borg

PS - I felt much better about this one when I figured out how it should end.
PPS - And that was when I was halfway through writing it.

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