Today through Halloween (Monday), we will be showcasing multiple authors’ stories! Today we’ve got two flash fictions, both from authors who are returning to Coastal Magic in February.
Kiernan Kelly has been with us every year, and always brings something fun, interesting, and unexpected to the event. She’s doing the same in her story today. (Dracula at Disney?? Ok!!)
Don’t forget to comment below her story with a question or comment for her (or for us), to be entered to win a prize pack of books & swag from many of our authors this week! (And be sure to check back on our “kickoff post” for the full schedule of participating authors. So many great stories, and each day you can enter to win!)
Here’s the image that pairs up with this story…
Fireworks explode across the black velvet sky, sizzling drops of reds, blues and whites blazing blindingly for a moment before slowly fading and dripping into nothingness. Thunderous explosions and crashing symphonic music rattle bones as small children shriek in eardrum-shattering harmonies. The smell of gunpowder rides the smoke and ash that sifts over the crowd as the finale comes to a close.
I do love fireworks. They remind me of sunlight. For that single moment as the shell explodes the night transforms into that time of morning when the sky brightens to day I can almost feel the sun’s heat on my skin; can easily pretend that it is the sun’s light behind my closed eyelids, even though more centuries have passed than I care to count since I have been able to allow myself such pleasure.
I’m such a sentimental bastard.
Winter at home has always been harsh. Bitter winds and deep snows accompany a cold, syrupy mist that covers the mountain crags like a shroud. The sky turns the color of lead and the trees stand naked, stripped of their autumn brilliance and transformed into stark skeletal sentries as the entire landscape fades into a dreary, dull monotone.
Worse yet is the silence that descends with the first snow, so thick that I often feel that I can reach out and shear it in two with a sharp knife. It is suffocating, and it perversely magnifies the smallest sounds into deafening roars. The tap of my heel on the hard marble flooring reverberates like a gunshot; the pulse of blood in my ears is as vociferous as a tsunami crashing ashore.
It’s all so fucking depressing.
And yet there I remain, cocooned within the ancient walls of my chosen prison and for no reason other than nostalgia. Actually, that isn’t entirely true. In all honesty, the raison d’être has less to do with nostalgia and more to do with the fact that the local villages have yet to acquire security alarms and motion detectors.
But when the icicles that dangle from the eaves have grown as long and sharp as my teeth and first begin to melt, splattering dirty drops of wetness on the cold square cobblestones that line my courtyard, and the wind kisses my cheek with the promise of Spring, I pack up my shorts and tee shirts, my fanny packs and my Nikes, and head west.
For obvious reasons, I always take the red-eye and almost always fly coach. It may not be romantic, but it is practical. You try being a one and a half-pound bat flying across the Atlantic with seven pieces of luggage and a Hefty bag full of topsoil and then tell me that vampires don’t need to hoard their frequent flier miles.
In any case, that is how I come to find myself in the wang of the New World each Spring, wearing brightly colored shirts bedecked with flamingos and palm trees. It is why I bare my lily-white legs in cargo shorts and flip-flops, and mingle with the tourists in their ice cream-stained tee shirts and mouse-ear beanies. After the sun sets and the bright lights along the main street wink on I join them, walking along and indulging myself in the fantasy of normalcy.
I buy cardboard cartons of freshly popped corn that I never eat, and waxy cups of soda pop that I never drink. I browse elbow to elbow with the human tourists, shopping for cheap ceramic statuettes and sweatshirts emblazoned with rodents that will end up in the nearest trash receptacle. I stand in the ever-present queues that wiggle their way in neat coils in front of every attraction so that I might park my immortal ass on the sticky seats of the roller coasters, straddle the horses on the carousel, and grin like an idiot at the squeaking animatronics.
Pathetic, I know, but it makes me feel almost human.
I suppose that I could go to any major city on the planet and achieve the same effect. But there is one other reason that draws me here to this land of make-believe, and it is simply that I too, have fantasies. I may be a vampire, but I’m not dead.
You see, throughout my long life I have developed a fixation of sorts with royalty. And here in this citadel of sycophants, there be princes.
My obsession with those of noble blood was born of a dull and unimaginative rationale. Early in my second life (or first death, if you feel the need to be picky about semantics) I discovered through trial and error that those of royal lineage were privy to better food and cleaner water, therefore having fewer diseases than their peasant brethren. As a result, quite frankly, they tasted better.
In addition to my hearty appetite, I also happen to be a lusty soul. Since I have never held with the philosophy of self-denial in any way, shape, or form and considering the clandestine and precarious nature of my uninvited visits, I usually found it most expedient to fuck and eat at the same sitting. A royal bedchamber was more often than not sumptuously appointed, draped in silks, damasks and furs, and I much preferred to indulge myself over a coverlet of velvet spread across a thickly stuffed featherbed than on a scratchy, flea-infested pallet in a dank and drafty thatched hut.
Alighting on a balcony and slipping myself into a bedchamber, I’d sink my teeth into a throat and my cock into an ass nearly before the owner of said throat and ass became aware that I had arrived. They barely knew what hit them. I left a trail of befuddled-looking newly anemic sovereigns all throughout the Middle Ages.
Unfortunately, over the last century progress has rendered my midnight visits not only dangerous, but damn near impossible. Windows are wired with sensitive alarms, and it seems that nowadays everyone has a cell phone with the Police on speed dial, not to mention a handgun buried underneath their mattress. Not that any of these things would keep me from my prey, but sirens and gunshots tend to ruin the mood.
As a result of this recent technological boom, I have been reduced to returning to haunt the tiny Eastern European backwater villages and hamlets that had been my mainstay so long ago when I was but a fledgling. History, it seems, does repeat itself.
While my stomach and my cock are both appeased by the progress-challenged villagers I am forced to hunt, my driving desire for stimulation and for fulfillment of my sexual fantasies is left pitifully unattended, and I yearn for the days of old.
There is only one solution to my problem. To recapture the glory of my heyday, I need a prince. And as I have mentioned before, this place, this fantasy in fiberglass, this nirvana of make-believe, is Prince Central.
Here I can easily find a Prince to suit whatever mood I might be in at the moment. From charming princes to beastly princes, to princes on flying carpets or white horses, from brunettes to blondes to carrot tops, this place is a veritable prince smorgasbord.
Now I stand in the courtyard of the castle, seemingly naught but one of many pairs of eyes that watch as the fireworks explode over the mock stone and the gilded turrets.
There, just within the cavernous hole that slices through the middle of the castle, stands a likely candidate for my discriminating tastes. He is tall, as a prince should be, dark-haired and handsome, with skin so clear and flawless that it makes one wonder whether he’d yet begun to shave. He looks vaguely familiar to me, but then again, after standing for so many seasons in this same princely buffet line, they all tend to look alike to me. Broad of shoulder and narrow of hip, his body has been poured into his jacket, a second skin of white polyester blend. Fringed golden epaulettes grace both of his shoulders, and his leggings are of a fabric that clings to each sculpted thigh, and are of my favorite color, blood red.
He is waiting for the last of the fireworks to drift down and fade away, ready to trot back to center stage for the last meet and greet of the night with his adoring subjects.
I follow the crowds who divide themselves equally between the Princess and the Prince, making certain that I get into the correct queue and that I, above all else, am the last in line. I do not wish to be shooed away in favor of some vertically challenged, sticky-faced prepubescent.
His eyes, a twinkling midnight blue, lift to meet my own several times as my turn draws inexorably closer. When at last I stand before him, the expression on his face is a bit muddled as he quickly scouts the area about my knees searching for the rug rats that he assumes to be waiting with me. Finding none, he looks into my eyes again, curious. His features color with understanding when at last he realizes why I would waste an hour of my time standing in an endless queue that culminated with me in the presence of a false Prince. His perfectly shaped lips lift in a small smile, and his pale ivory cheeks ghost over pink.
His eyes drop again, but this time he looks no lower than my crotch and that small smile turns into a lecherous leer.
Beautiful? Yes. Princely? Definitely. Subtle? Not on his best day.
His eyes quickly dart to the side, eyeing his keeper, an overweight young man with horrible acne and a ten-dollar haircut whose sole function is to escort the Prince through the park unmolested. At the moment, the keeper’s attention has strayed from his charge. He is busy ogling the neckline of the Princess’s demure ball gown, which has evidently slipped a bit lower than the guidelines advise in the Official Costume Handbook of Princess Décolletage.
Looking into my eyes yet again, my Prince leans forward a bit and whispers that he would gladly meet me at just inside the exit next to the wheelchair and stroller rental booth in an hour hence. I bow to him, a courtly, graceful bow learned an age ago in the Houses of long dead Kings, and turn away.
Smiling as I make my way to the exit, I debate where in the kingdom I should take my Prince. Somewhere secluded would obviously be the best choice. Perhaps I shall spirit him away to the nearby campgrounds, where poorly lit nature trails zigzag amid thickets of towering pine and majestic oaks dripping with Spanish moss. Unfortunately the trails also drip with poison ivy and oak and I have a fleeting vision of a hive-covered Prince, swelling and scratching before my very eyes. Not attractive, to say the least.
Mayhap instead I will bring him to one of the many golf courses in the area, to be taken by me on an emerald green fairway. I giggle as I picture his Princely dick sticking up on the eighteenth hole as straight and as stiff as an oversized golf tee, and realize that I’ll never be able to keep a straight face long enough to fuck him, let alone eat without choking.
As it turns out, my ruminations are of little value, for within an hour my Prince walks towards me carrying a small garment bag over his shoulder. In the garment bag he carries is a white cotton shirt and matching pants, both trimmed with green and purple, the costume of the custodial keepers of the kingdom.
In a hushed voice, my Prince, whose real name is whispered into one of my ears only to immediately fly out of the other, explains that by my donning this atrocious attire we might remain at large after hours and move about the kingdom without fear of reprisal.
Normally I would hold myself above such shenanigans, but today I am in a playful mood abetted by the fact that my cock is straining at the zipper of my cargo shorts.
A long, slow smile lifts my lips. Here before me is an unexpected opportunity that I have yet to have sampled in all my years of visiting this counterfeit kingdom. Dining and debauchery within the walls of my favorite place in all of the New World in the guise of one of their own! I nod, take the garment bag from his slender hand and slip into the men’s room to change.
As it turns out, it is the first time in over a thousand years that I have thanked whatever gods might still be on speaking terms with me for not allowing me a reflection in a mirror.
The material of the costume is stiff, scratchy, and smells vaguely of overripe bananas. It is badly wrinkled, and sports a few stains the origins of which are thankfully mysterious. The shirt is too tight and stretches almost painfully across my chest, and the cuffs of the both the shirt and the pants are at least two inches too short, baring my wrist and anklebones. However, since the pants’ waistband is two sizes too big, my ankles are covered after all when the pants slip down over my hips and puddle at my feet. I sigh, pull them back up, and cinch the canvas belt as tightly as possible around my narrow waist.
There is also a small nametag in the bag, a hard, oval piece of pin-on plastic. The name on the tag reads, “Vlad.” I hold it in my hand, staring at it for a moment, shaking my head. After all, what are the odds? As I pin it on I remind myself to stop at a local convenience store later that night and play the lottery.
My Prince is very lucky that I am both very hungry and very horny, for nothing else would force me to show myself in public in such a laughable outfit.
As I exit the bathroom my features show no sign of my inner thoughts and I remain as poised and dignified as I have ever been. I do come precariously close to knocking my Prince’s head right off of his shoulders when a slight smirk crosses his face as he spots me. Luckily for my Prince’s health, he recovers quickly and hands me a broom to complete my disguise.
He asks me if I’d like to grab a bite to eat. I reply that I have every intention of doing so, but would like to have sex first.
The look on his face at that point is priceless. Evidently he isn’t used to such candor among the men he picks up while he is masquerading as the Prince. It takes him a bit longer to recover from my honesty than it did for him to cover his smirk of a moment ago. Now it’s my turn to smirk and I make no effort at all to conceal it from him.
Almost imperceptibly, he nods. Good, I think to myself. I’ve gone through enough trouble tonight for this Prince and wish to get on with the show. I smile, careful not to show too many teeth, and get a winsome smile in return.
He leads me back toward the castle, and my custodial artifice seems perfect as we pass by several security guards unchallenged. Through the hole in the castle’s belly we walk, and out into a haunting parody of the daytime fantasy of this place.
The carousel sits before me, its gaily-painted horses colored a dismal gray by the night. The lights are dark and the platform stilled from its incessant spinning, and yet the music plays on, loud and gaudy and yet somehow eerily poignant in the blackness of the night. All around me the familiar amusements, so colorful and animated a mere hour ago, sit in silhouette as deathly still as bones in a graveyard.
I toss my Prince a pained expression. If I had wanted to be depressed, I would have stayed at home.
My Prince seems ignorant of my thoughts as he leads me to an attraction set to the left of the castle. I can smell the dank odor of old water and hear its softly sloshing rhythms. Once inside, I gaze with ill-disguised distaste at the barge-like boats that bob in the brackish water.
He asks me to wait, and I agree, although most reluctantly. This is taking far too long as it is, and my patience is growing thin. I should have been sated and on my way back to my hotel room by now. My foot taps impatiently on the dock as I wait for him to return.
A short time later, my Prince trots back, and cavalierly motions me into one of the boats. As we board, I look up into the control center that is suspended above the canal and see a young man grinning down at me. I wonder what favor my Prince has promised to the happy young man in the booth in order for us to be allowed this midnight ride.
With a sudden jerk, the boat begins to move forward as the air is at once filled with the jangling music of a familiar song. That song. That nerve-grating song so irritatingly sweet that it threatens to give even me cavities. I’m certain that you’re familiar with it, for once heard it’s likely to remain stuck in your head forever, popping up when you least expect it until you’re quite ready to drive a stake through your own heart. The lyrics speak of laughter, of tears, of mountains and oceans, of moons and golden suns and smiles and friendship for everyone. I have news for whoever wrote those sickeningly saccharine words. The world is not small. It’s fucking huge, and I did not fly halfway across it to get my rocks off amid the creaking and clanking of rhinestone studded, perpetually grinning, bobbing and spinning mechanical munchkins.
And yet, it seems that is precisely my Prince’s intention.
Our barge slowly threads its way through the day-glow painted continents of 60’s flower-powered papier-mâché, past singing moppets in sombreros, coolie hats, saris, and wooden shoes, past grinning crocodiles, pink kangaroos, and hula dancers, until it finally enters the last room. There my Prince takes my hand and steps out onto one of the floating platforms, dragging me along with him. The barge leaves us behind, and we are marooned in a blue and white, silver and rhinestone-studded multi-national Lilliputian nightmare. Finding myself pushed down onto my rear end and trapped between a lasso-spinning cowboy and a Native American in a full feathered-headdress, I wonder briefly where the rest of the Village People have been hidden.
My Prince wastes no more time. He pushes me backward and straddles my hips, already unbuttoning his jacket and slipping it from his shoulders. His chest is as pale and as smooth as marble and he has an admirable bulge in the crotch of his blood red leggings, but by this time the grinning moppets and that infernal eternally-looping song have robbed me of what little desire I had managed to hold on to since boarding the barge. I am no longer horny – I’m simply hungry. I want to eat and get the hell out of here. Now.
Without warning and with little effort I flip him over, and look into his eyes as I slowly bare my teeth.
Perhaps my Prince is not very quick on the uptake or perhaps he has been drinking the canal water, but in either case something is not right in that pretty little noggin of his, because instead of fear etching his face as would be right and proper for someone staring at the business end of a hungry vampire’s incisors, he chuckles.
His chuckling deepens into a hearty laugh, and it is I who am taken by surprise, because as he laughs he gives me a good view of his teeth.
My Prince’s incisors are long, sharp, and look amazingly familiar.
It seems that this is not the first time that this particular Prince and I have crossed paths.
I sit up, a laugh warming my own belly. I remember him now. It was the spring of ’76 or ’77 that I first met him, dressed very much as he had been that afternoon. I had tasted his blood and sampled his charms in the shadows under the twisting waterslide of a pool at a nearby hotel.
He smiles his toothy grin and calls me “Sire,” and I pinch his cheek fondly. Admitting that he knew who I was from first sight, he begs my forgiveness and my indulgence for his humor in bringing me here. A little payback, he says, for having killed him in the first place.
His is only one in a long line of princely faces, but I seem to remember that he was a good lay and had tasted sweet. I tell him that the nametag was a delightful touch, and he tells me to keep it as a souvenir. As we reminisce, my stomach rumbles loudly and we laugh again before we both change forms and fly out of the attraction and up into the control booth.
I never thought to ask what promise my Prince had given the smiling young man in the control booth before we set sail on our happy little voyage, but I’m willing to book money that whatever the deal had been it hadn’t involved two hungry, horny vampires.
As morning approaches we part ways once more. The following night I will catch my flight home, planning to return again the following spring. This vacation, while not the most satisfying, has indubitably been one of the more interesting ones I’ve taken.
My only regret is that now I have that fucking song stuck in my head.