Prologue to “Fred Dracula”

After writing nonstop for podcasts and little ebooks for four years, I took about six months off during Covid to veg out and watch a zillion movies and shows. Now I’m coming out of hibernation and back at the drawing board. Here’s the prologue of my next book and first one I’ll try to get properly published, “Fred Dracula”. Enjoy!

 

Richmond, Virginia
1852

Elizabeth had just finished brushing her hair and was preparing to put it up for bed when she heard something outside the window. Something raspy, like a dying possum. She stepped slowly towards the window and tried to ignore the sound of her heart pounding. She took a deep breath and threw the curtains open to reveal a man’s face. This wouldn’t be so surprising if she wasn’t on the third floor.

The man wore glasses and a black cape which flitted in the breeze as he floated in mid-air. His hair was brown and looked like he cut it himself without the aid of a mirror. He had a cowlick at the top of his head that wouldn’t stay down. He was saying something, but she couldn’t make it out. He made a motion for her to open the window. She disappeared from the man’s view for a moment, then returned with her hands demurely placed behind her. She coquettishly raised the sash with one hand and the man drew nearer.

“Ah, that’s better,” he wheezed. “And now, my dear, I believe you want to invite me in.”

He inched closer and closer to her room. Soon she would be in his thrall and he would feast. He was about a foot away when she produced her other hand from behind her back. It held a fireplace poker. Before he knew what was happening, she raised it and brought it down on his head. He tried to float away, but she grabbed his foot and kept hitting him.

“Hey, knock it off!” he cried, as he struggled to escape her grasp. “C’mon, quit it!”

Heavy footsteps raced through the hallway and a burly man burst into the room. Just as they had practiced, Elizabeth moved out of the way as her father leaped out the window and grabbed the would-be assailant by the legs. The man began to change form. He was halfway between a human and a bat, trying to fly away, but it was hard to concentrate with a grown and quite furious man shaking him with all his strength. They began to sink down.

“Get off! What’s the matter with you? Look, I’m sorry, okay? I won’t bite her! You win. Just let go!”

The man ignored him and shouted, “It’s the vampire! Vampire! Come quickly!”

Doors opened all along the street as his neighbors rushed out to attack the monster. Some had hunting knives. Some had stakes. They’d been preparing for this.

As the combatants reached the ground, the crowd circled around them. Elizabeth’s father let go of the creature and got out of the way of the vengeful mob. Some held him down. Some swiped at him with their weapons. Some lucky ones got in a good kick. All the while he yelled at them to quit and made cowardly concessions.

“Look, I’ll leave town. I won’t come back! No more vampiring! Whatever you want! Come onnnnnn!”

The preacher made his way through the crowd. A woman in the mob handed him a wooden stake.

“Fine, fine, I’ll go away, alright?” the vampire pled. “And! And! I’ll give you money, too. I’ve got some money and some land and whatever you want. Whaddya say?”

“Foul, unholy beast!” Father Bedford intoned. “You would dare attempt to bribe a man of the cloth to allow a demon from hell to continue killing us?”

“Well, sure, when you say it like that I sound like a real asshole. But hey, we’re all adults here. Let’s make a deal!”

Father Bedford plunged the stake into the vampire’s heart. The undead wretch let out a gurgling sigh, tried once more to lift himself up, and went limp. That is where the story of the Fiend of Shockoe Bottom ends, though some who were there swore until their dying days that before he collapsed they heard him utter, “Oh, this is bullshit.”