Well, I’ve completed my Part 3 for Christine Eldin’s writing exercise. You can see all of the entries here. If you remember, this is my “vampire story”. A few of you seemed to enjoy it, so here is Part 3. I’m not completely happy with it, but I needed to post it to get it “off my plate”. I hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think (is it still interesting?). If you forget parts 1 and 2, or haven’t read them yet, I’ve posted them at the bottom of this post.
Jim stood unmoving, his arms at his sides, both fists clenched. An aroma of freshness filled the air, as if ten thousand dryer sheets simultaneously fell from the ceiling and landed in his nostrils. It was with this thought that Jim opened his eyes, not sure if his hand had met its intended target, or if he missed, in which case his quickly fading buzz would be the least of his worries.
“What about you?” said Jim, as he noticed the dark faces in the bar encroaching.
“Don’t worry about me, I can handle my own bar.” said Stinky, smiling. His complete lack of teeth startled Jim. First the old lady, now Stinky. Dental care in the city was even worse than Jim thought.
Without turning to face the darkness, which threatened to envelop him, Jim shuffled in the direction of the exit, moving as fast as he could while trying to avoid their notice. The cold followed.
Finally at the door, his right hand tightly grasping the handle, Jim took one last glance around the room. As the creatures inched closer to the bar, Jim considered his options. If he left now, Stinky would surely be doomed. If he stayed, Jim might become one of them. Jim thought of all the people who would miss him if he were gone: his boss, the guy at the 7-11 he gets his coffee from, and maybe even the cable guy. It was enough to make him stay behind, if only for one last drink. After all, he had a few more nickels left in his pocket.
While one of the creatures lunged at Stinky, Jim slowly began to turn the knob.
Jim was having a crummy day. It was only the Tenth, but his bank account was already empty, his gas tank was empty, and his refrigerator was empty. Lucky for him, the couch cushions weren’t quite empty. Equally lucky for him, it was Friday night and also Nickel Draught Night at Stinky’s, the local pub.
Leaving his apartment, Jim checked to make sure the lights were on (he never left without making sure the lights were on), locked the door, and walked down the dank, poorly lit staircase onto the cold, lonely streets of the city. He started on the block and a half journey to the bar, the change in his pocket playing the poor man’s chorus as he walked. He wasn’t sure what he would do when those spare coins were gone, he had only one couch after all, but he would think of something. He always did.
Jim passed a dark alley, not a block from his building, and noticed an old woman warming her hands at a small trash fire. Lacking a date for the night, Jim doubled back to the woman, hoping to offer the woman a few of his nickels and take her with him. At least that way she would be out of the cold for a few hours and be able to forget her problems for a spell.
“Hi there,” said Jim as he approached. “Care to join me for a nip?”
The woman looked up from the fire and smiled. She had the most beautiful blue eyes he had ever seen and not a tooth in her mouth. “I am unable to move from this spot, I’m afraid. I’m only here to observe.”
“Really?” said Jim. “I’m headed to Stinky’s, just down the street there. It’s not that far. Why don’t you get out of the cold for awhile? It’s supposed to get below zero tonight.”
The old woman cocked her head to the side and then leaned in close to Jim. She smelled nothing at all like someone who lived on the streets. “Keep your neck about you tonight Jim,” she said. “Things are gonna get ugly.”
“Excuse me,” said Jim as he turned around on his bar stool. He said this in the kindest voice possible, in the unlikely chance the cold breath belonged to a woman.Standing inches from him, seemingly sniffing his neck, was a man his in mid-thirties with pale white skin, jet-black hair, and piercing blue eyes. Jim cocked back his left hand, restraining himself from knocking the stranger out. Jim had seen what his fist could do, and did not want to go there unless it was absolutely necessary.
“It’s a big bar,” said Jim, gently pushing the man away. “Why don’t you go get lost in it?”
The man smiled, displaying a mouthful of long pointed teeth. Jim glanced quickly behind the bar, looking for Stinky, hoping his friend had seen all of this and was ready with the shotgun he kept hidden behind the bar. Stinky was nowhere to be found.
As he turned back around, the man lunged at Jim. Jim closed his eyes and swung his left hand as hard as he could, wishing he hadn’t drank those ten beers.