Conclusion to Vampire Story

Well, I have finished my vampire story. I’m going to post it here. I have no idea if it’s any good or not. It was the best I could do. I went way over the word count, but I couldn’t wrap it up with any fewer words. Let me know what you think. You can read the preceding parts here.

Part 4:
As he began to open the door, inches away from salvation, Jim took one final look at Stinky. The creatures were nearly on top of the bartender. He had little hope for survival.

Jim considered life if he walked out the door. He would survive, but would he be alive? Work on Monday. Cup of Ramen for lunch. Meetings. Boss droning on about
nothing. Take away Stinky’s bar and he might as well be dead.

Slamming the door shut, Jim screamed “Who wants some?” in his best Bruce Campbell impression minus the chainsaw for a hand.

Gaining the attention of the foul beasts, Jim recalled the old woman’s words: “mind your neck”. Jim removed his shirt and wrapped it around his neck, taking care to cover every inch of exposed skin. He had watched a few vampire movies in his life, and as far as he could remember had never seen one bite through a victim’s clothes. He flung himself over the bar and took a place beside his friend.

Seconds later, Jim found himself surrounded, a mass of pale bodies clutching and scratching at his skin, welts and cuts forming on his chest. He swung his fist wildly in all directions, knocking some down, and others rose in their place. Stinky was still wildly swinging the baseball bat, several times coming mere inches from striking Jim. Jim hoped it wasn’t intentional.

About to succumb to the flood, Jim caught one of the creatures in the face with a left cross. For a moment, the man lay on the floor, but soon the color started to return to his face. With a “thanks, mate” the man stood, wiped the blood off his mouth, and joined the fray, knocking several of the creatures off Jim. Jim smiled, the bulb lit. Aim for the face and hope for the best. It worked.

Had he not been a curious child, willing to put his hand in a blender just to see what would happen, Jim would never have survived, never discovered the cure to what plagued the poor souls, and would never have saved the only place in his adult life that truly felt like home.

When the fighting ceased, the bar filled with blood, teeth, and the newest target demographic for denture adhesive companies, Jim turned to Stinky and said, “I’m going home.”

“I told you that hours ago,” said Stinky, laughing as he shook Jim’s hand.

“Wasn’t tired then,” said Jim, finding a blood-stained hundred dollar bill in his hand. He wanted to refuse the money, but knew it would be just enough to get him to his next paycheck, if he cut the right corners. Jim placed it in his right front pocket, nodded to his benefactor, and stumbled out the door.

On his long walk home, Jim stopped at the alley a block from his apartment, hoping to thank the old woman for her warning. She wasn’t there, nor was her burning barrel. Jim wondered if she ever had been there.

Jim opened the door to his apartment, wanting nothing more than to collapse on the couch for a few days. He was cut all over, but figured a few hours sleep would do him as much good as the alcohol swab bath he would give himself in the morning. As he took the first step into the doorway, Jim praised his paranoia, for without the light he refused to turn off, he would never have seen the smiling reflection of the creature in the glass of the old, brass clock on his wall.

Vampire Story Part 3

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.
Part 3:

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.

Fortune, for once, was in his favor. The man who had moments ago lunged at him lay unconscious on the floor, his mouth agape, his front most eight teeth lay scattered on the floor not far away from him, like tiny shards of steel to a magnet. Jim looked at his hand, which had hardly a scratch, but against logic seemed to be throbbing, the first feeling he experience in that hand since his “bright idea” all those years ago.Stinky popped his head over the bar, his knuckles white as he clutched a Louisville Slugger, and said, “Nice shot Jim, now get the hell outta here.”Startled, Jim flinched as he turned to face his friend, not sure if the baseball bat was meant for him or for the other patrons. “What was that thing, a vampire?” he said.“Does it really matter?” Stinky answered, as he poured himself a shot of Jaeger.“Not really,” said Jim. “I just prefer to know whose dinner I’m about to become before it happens.”“You got lucky with that one Jim. Don’t press your luck any further. Go home. “

“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.

Part 1:

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.”

Part 2:
Jim walked away from the old lady, saying nothing. He had seen enough movies to know he should take her words to heart (where old ladies who knew your name and gave out random prophesies always right?), but had lived long enough to know she was most likely off her Plush Pink Riding Pig. Jim glanced back as he was walking away, wanting to give her one more chance, but she was back to staring into the fire and he gave up.
 
Jim made the walk to Stinky’s in record time, as would be expected of someone in zero degree weather wearing neither a jacket, nor a hat, nor gloves. Jim never wore these things when he went out as the disturbing tendency of staying at the bar far after he had gone home for the night, probably having a much more interesting time than their owner.
 
His hands tucked inside his shirt sleeves, Jim nudged open the door to the pub and walked straight to the bar, saying, “Five Lagers Stinky,” as he slid a quarter across the bar. Jim wasn’t entirely sure the man’s name was Stinky, but he was the only bartender Jim had ever seen at the place and had always answered as if it were.
 
“Might’ve been a good night to stay home Jim,” said Stinky, placing the frosty glasses in front of Jim as fast as he filled them. There was something in his voice that Jim found unsettling, though it didn’t keep him from quickly downing his beer.
 
“It wouldn’t be Friday without seeing your pretty smile, Stinky,” said Jim, tapping his hand on the bar with a THUNK, THUNK, THUNK. Nerve damage suffered as a child (he had the brilliant idea to test “what would happen” if he put his hand up to the wrist in a blender) had kept his hand in a permanent fist. It had won him several bets in college, and won him a few fights in his friskier days as well. There wasn’t a surface around that he couldn’t crack with a good left jab.
 
“Well, keep your head up, alright?” said Stinky, placing five more beers in front of Jim. “The next round’s on me, but take it easy on the bar, will ya?” Stinky walked away, summoned by another patron.
Jim downed the next five drinks nearly as fast as the others, glancing about the room as the alcohol began to take effect, noticing that although the place was reasonable packed for a dive bar, none of the other regulars seemed to be there. As he was about to order another round, Jim felt a cold breath on the back of his neck, as if someone just ate a popsicle and was standing inches behind him. If he were wearing cologne, the person would’ve had a nose full.

“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.