Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Another of Tinman’s camera-less attempts at the WordPress Photo Challenge…

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The colours of the day faded slowly to grey. The first stars began to twinkle, and day changed to night.

And he awoke. There was a time when Dracula would then simply have pushed open the lid and emerged from his coffin with an air of triumph and stale fart, but that was before that awful night, that chanting mob, those flaming torches.

Ever since he had awoken each twilight and dug until morning at the earth above him with a luckily convenient implement. It’s a bit of a paradox, but if you want a vampire to stay buried then you shouldn’t bury him with a stake in his heart.

And now, finally, on this night a hole appeared in the earth, a hand wriggled out and within another couple of hours Dracula was free.

He went back to his castle. It was dusty and cobwebbed, but that was only to be expected. He put on his best dress suit, draped his cloak over his shoulders and looked in the mirror to see if his bow-tie was straight.

Of course, there was no reflection there. He was over four hundred years old, and he still forgot that every time.

He went to the window, flung it open and dived out, changing into a bat as he did so. His shoes dropped to the ground like a stone. Well, two stones.

He approached a house, flew to an upstairs window, and peered inside. He could see a sleeping female form in the bed, so he flew in and resumed his human shape. The young woman in the bed sat up. She stared at his outfit and, to his astonishment, suppressed a giggle.

“I’m Susan,” she said. “Who are you?”

My name is Count Dracula,” he replied. “I am a vampire.”

“You don’t look like one,” she said. “I’ve seen the movies – vampires are young and sultry and have just-got-out-of-bed-hair, whereas you look as if yours has been varnished onto the top of your head, and you’re dressed as if you’re about to play snooker.”

Dracula was confused. This woman seemed to have no fear of him at all. Plus she was not dressed as was customary among his victims, in a long, flowing, almost see-through night-dress with a deep V at the front. Susan was wearing a pair of pyjama bottoms with bunnies on them and a Lady Gaga World Tour 2009 souvenir T-shirt.

“Anyway, what happens now?” she said.

“I bite you on the neck, then you become my bride,” said Dracula.

“What, just like that?” said Susan. “What do you think this is – the nineteen-twenties?”

“Er, yes,” said Dracula.

“Well, it isn’t,” said Susan. “It’s two thousand and thirteen.”

“What?” said Dracula. “I’ve been undigging my own grave for ninety years?”

“Looks like it,” said Susan. “And you’ll find that womankind has changed over that time. We don’t get married after one hickey anymore. Some of us even hold out for a steak dinner – pardon the pun.”

“You’re not in the least afraid of me, are you?” said Dracula.

“Of course not,” said Susan. “Partly because I’ve a baseball bat under my bed that could knock your front teeth out, which I’d imagine would inconvenience you more than most people, and partly because it’s almost morning. Isn’t it true that if you’re exposed to the sun’s rays you burn and burn?”

“You’re thinking of the Irish,” said Dracula.

All the time they had been speaking he had been conscious of a growing noise. Susan was looking out the window.

“Well, isn’t it true,” she said thoughtfully, “that bats emit a sound that can be heard by other bats?”

“Do you mean a sort of bat-signal?”

“No,” said Susan, “because then we’d be in the wrong story. What I mean is, when you turned into a bat just now, would other vampires have been alerted to you?”

“They would,” said the Count proudly. “All vampires all over the world would have instantly sensed the return of the Great Dracula.”

“Mmm,” said Susan, still looking out of the window. “And these Brides of Dracula,” she said, “how many of them have there been?”

“I’m not sure,” said Dracula. “Two or three hundred at least.”

“And after they’d been, well, brided, what happened then? Did you used to give them spontaneous hugs, buy them flowers, watch an occasional DVD together? ”

“Of course not,” said Dracula. “I’d move on to my next victim.”

“So you’ve basically dumped over three hundred women in your life,” said Susan.

The noise from outside was louder now. Dracula went to stand beside her at the window, and stared out in astonishment. Coming up the hill was a mob, with torches, hearts and tempers aflame.

“Who are they?” he gasped. “Are they the villagers? Already?”

“Oh, it’s much worse than that,” said Susan cheerfully. “Here come the Wives of Dracula.”

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