The Iron Writer Challenge #6
2013 Iron Writer Summer Solstice Challenge #6
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
B R Snow, Bernice Agyekwena, Don Corcoran, Moira McArthur
An 1880 Vampire Hunting Kit
A Nudist Colony
A Cell Phone Charger
B R Snow
“The things I do for this show. My ass has frozen off.”
“No, it’s there. I mean…I’m not…it’s…just…there in the moonlight.”
“Eyes up. Had you pegged asexual. Now focus. We’re scouting this location for a show.”
“We’re blending in.”
“Why would a vampire hang around a nudist colony?”
“Maybe it likes to take a good look before dining. Japanese restaurants hang pictures of their food in the window. And don’t say nudist colony. Permanent residents; it’s a community. Temporary visitors; it’s a camp. Colony evokes overtones of servitude and oppression.”
“So what’s this place called?”
“This place? It’s a bunch of naked people on ten acres. What the fuck do I care what it’s called? I’m starving.”
“I like eating late. Check out the pond. Nice soft lighting.”
“The Koi are pretty.”
“Fancy name for carp. They’re bottom feeders that eat anything. I hate bottom feeders.”
“Eyes up. I was talking about carp.”
“A lot of people eat carp.”
“So what? A lot of people watch the Kardashians. Doesn’t make it a good idea. Damn, my nipples are like granite. So what’s your deal?”
“Eyes up. Your deal. If I’m forced to have a co-host, I need to know your deal.”
“Well, like I told your producer, I’m a vampire hunter who uses ancient techniques.”
“Uh-huh. What’s in the box?”
“It’s my great-grandfather’s 1880 vampire hunting kit. I hunt vampires the way others might use bow and arrow for game. I have a Bible, flint-lock pistol, silver bullets, mahogany spike, special serum-”
“Holy water, garlic, honey, and salt.”
“You killing vampires or making salad dressing, Freddie?”
“Somewhere vampires and lettuce heads are cowering in fear. You into low-tech?”
“Only for vampire hunting. I love technology. See? An Apple. Well, it’s a cellphone, but made by Apple.”
“I need to call my Mom. I don’t want her to worry.”
“Living with your mother?”
“Yeah…I’m gonna get my own place soon.”
“Honest. Darn. My phone’s dead.”
“I’d lend you mine but I didn’t have any place to put it.”
“No problem. See? Battery-operated charger.”
“Wow. It’s tiny.”
“Only one inch long.”
“Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s cold.”
“Nothing…bad joke. Let me see it. The charger, not the frightened turtle. Damn. Dropped it right in the pond.”
“And swallowed by a Koi.”
“Told you they’d eat anything. Christ, I’m starving.”
“How long will we be here? She worries.”
“Not long. I’ve seen all there is to see.”
“Seen what? We’ve barely moved.”
“Japanese restaurants, Freddie.”
“What? Are those…?”
“Yes. The same ones I used on your garlic-infested, great-grandfather. Gave me wicked indigestion. Forget the box, Freddie.”
“Don’t worry. I’m 200 years in and still don’t have all the answers.”
“Look on the bright side. You’re going to die staring into the eyes of a beautiful, naked woman. Damn, I need to grow some hair. My cooter has frostbite.”
“Eyes up, Freddie.”
Sergeant Ali snorted as he sat at the wheel of the police jeep with Jacob Herman in the passenger seat. He hated waiting. Corporal Atinga, the best marks man and the only one who knew the route to where the vampires that had been preying on Bongo were hiding out was late. The vampires were said to reside 600 miles away, beyond a primitive nudist community that wanted nothing to do with modern civilization.
Vampires in the twenty- first century? They were supposed to have died out! Yet the 230 deaths that had taken place within the last three months at Bongo all bore the tell-tale marks of a vampire attack. The deaths had sent inhabitants fleeing to other parts of the country. The Police had been under pressure to track the killers, whether man, animal or spiritual being and put an end to the horrific deaths.
Atinga arrived with the excuse that his phone charger had failed to function so he had to borrow one to charge his phone. The trio took off.
Not all his training and experience tracking armed robbers, drug traffickers and ritual killers had prepared Ali for the task on his hands now. How do you hunt down something that is not human, can disappear and has supernatural powers? When it had become clear to the Police Force that the killers besieging Bongo could not be defeated by machine guns and grenades, it had sought the assistance of spiritualists, juju men, fetish priests, pastors and priests but still the mystery killers had eluded them. An intensive research on the subject had led them to a website advertising the Herman family, a famed German family with a track record for hunting and killing vampires.
At the request of the Police, Jacob had arrived at Bongo, armed with an 1880 vampire hunting kit. Now Jacob, together with Atinga and Ali were making the trip to the rugged mountains to trap and kill the vampires. Several hours of travelling and they chanced upon a nude couple. They had arrived at the nudist community. An hour later and the rugged mountains loomed before them. They left the vehicle and skirted around a stream to the mountain which was inundated with caves. Moving from cave to cave, they looked for the clues of the vampires with the help of the kit. The instrument showed a red flashing light in a very large cave; a vampire was close. They hid in a corner and waited. At midnight a vampire appeared and amidst a lot of struggle, they trapped and killed it. But then came a second, a third, a fourth, and suddenly dozens of vampires. They fled! “Run for the stream”. Jacob screamed to his companions. “Vampires cannot survive in running water.” They run and jumped into the stream. Atinga grabbed something in the water. It was a fish. Was it a vampire fish, a trophy for his adventure? He held on to it until morning and took a good look at it. It was a carp!
He was handsome enough.
“Hope you’re enjoying the party,” he said.
Claudia smiled, her head nodding to the monotonous bass-line.
“You don’t come to these often, do you?” he asked.
Her eyes widened and her smile grew tighter. “That obvious?”
“Nipples are a weird thing… in our society, I mean.”
She raised an eyebrow.
“Aside from not moving from that spot since you got here, I think your drink has gone untouched. Mostly because you don’t want to expose nipple.”
Claudia blushed. Not so much because of the nudity. She liked her body and, as thirty Illustration 101 students could attest to every week, she wasn’t shy about exposing herself to strangers. He was right. She felt foolish standing there without a lick of clothing while taking the obligatory stance of a woman whose breasts were getting too much attention.
“Hey, not everyone here is from the colony. Some are friends of friends.”
“I let them use my backyard.”
They looked out at the dozen writhing bodies dancing to the rhythms the DJ spun. His body caught her eye. His exhibitionism was apparent. It was obvious he worked out, and his tattoo – two koi swimming in a circle across his left buttock – wouldn’t be seen by just anyone.
Claudia shook her head, bringing herself back to the moment, “What? This is yours?”
He nodded, trying not to be smug.
It all came together for her. “I’ve been looking for you all night.”
He did a double-take seeing the look she gave him as if he were all she’d ever wanted, all she ever needed. He flashed a broad grin.
Excitedly she dug into her purse and pulled out a black cord. A hunk of lifeless glass and plastic dangled from the end.
Dubious, she smirked, “Um, do you think I could charge my phone?”
His head dropped as he chuckled, “Sure. Follow me.”
Inside was a museum: hundreds of DVDs, a massive television, and framed posters depicted vintage films. Her eyes wandered over the walls.
In an apologetic tone he confessed, “I’m a bit of a horror nut.”
“I’ve seen most of these. My dad raised me on creature double features,” she beamed. “But I’ve never seen some of these posters.”
“They’re mostly signed imports. Vincent Price, Peter Cushing.”
She took a closer look at the Dracula poster. While Christopher Lee got top billing as Dracula, the poster showed Van Helsing removing a cross from a wooden suitcase filled with eldritch vials, stakes and silver bullets.
He stood closer to her. She turned and he could feel her breath on his chest.
“Um, the outlet’s over there.” he smiled down at her.
She blushed. “Thanks.”
They were suddenly aware of their nudity.
As he made his way back to the party, she gathered her courage to ask, “Why?”
“Why didn’t you try anything?”
“I dunno. Seemed obvious. Inappropriate.”
She brushed by him with a grin, “Well, it’ll be charged soon.”
She looked at her dwindling stock from the 1880 Vampire Hunting Kit, withdrew the knife and stabbed him through the heart.
Monday nights. Going out with friends. A habit. Together in the local run down pub. No-one else in on a Monday. Every year they all booked a long weekend in some equally crumbling destination. Full of old folk, rubbish entertainment and free bar. A way of making money in the empty months before the Xmas trade began. All near a fishing lake.
Last outing, a small seaside town where it poured with rain the entire weekend. The hotel, separated from the town by a good mile of deep rutted puddles. Sheila, tired of hearing John and Allan going on and on about fishing carp, had stood up and announced she was going for a walk. Her husband, never a fisherman, was pointedly reading a book on his i-Phone. She noticed he’d brought his cell phone charger. The fishing talk could go on for ever. The ladies of the party, deciding it was much too cold to venture out, had brought down their knitting. Sheila said, “Bye, then” and went for her raincoat and boots.
Stomping along, she went over the other holidays they’d had. Never again, she thought. No matter what, never again.
The town had a closed appearance as if it too was giving up. Another cloudburst and Sheila stepped into a shop doorway to shelter. The door opened behind her. She turned to see an old man saying ‘Come in, come in’. Needing no second bidding, Sheila went inside.
She looked around. Shelves of curios.
The man motioned her to take a seat and went through the back. Reappearing moments later with two mugs of coffee. They sat looking out at the rain. Sheila suddenly found herself talking about the holiday and how, please, she could not think of going on another. The old man got up and went to a shelf in the corner. He brought out a small leather case. “This will help. Don’t open it now. Wait until you are back at the hotel.” Sheila reached into her purse but the man laid a hand on her arm. “Take it”, he said. “A souvenir of your holiday.”
Back at the hotel, Sheila went up to her room and opened the case. Dried garlic cloves, a small pistol, jars of unidentifiable objects. A sheet of paper, tucked in at the back, said ‘1830 Vampire Hunting Kit’.
Over the course of the year, the Vampire Hunting Kit did indeed become useful. Garlic cloves kept moles from digging in the garden. An iron cross went over the grave of her daughter’s hamster.
The time for discussing the next year’s outing came around. They all sat open mouthed at John announcing the venue, a nudist colony with an amazing fishing lake, Sheila took the only route possible then calmly sat back and waited for the police. Whatever happened next was vastly preferable to crumbly holidays and fishing talk.