Dawn, 1936

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The child was unharmed.

I had left my home at dawn, Colts holstered, and a Browning automatic rifle slung over my shoulder. On my back was my rucksack which contained a beechwood mallet and several ash stakes sharpened to a fine point.

This wasn’t the first time I’d hunted a vampire, and I wanted to be damned sure that I wouldn’t die this time ‘round. Those other instances had left me with a strong sense of caution.

A short time after the sun had crested the horizon, I found where the vampire had struck.

It was a squatter’s shack on the western border of town, a place far enough away where the residents might not have gotten word to stay indoors. Or, they might have been so informed and the vampire, being what it is, managed to find a way in.

The door was open, and the place reeked of the odor which is peculiar to vampires – stale blood and age.

There is nothing enticing about it. Not to one who isn’t under the thing’s thrall.

The boy was sitting by an old mattress, and he was filthy. His eyes were bright, and he was dressed warmly. Of his parents, however, there was nothing to be found.

I asked him where his mother and father were, but he didn’t seem to understand English. It was only when I struck upon French that he showed some comprehension, and I had to switch to Creole to get him to say more than a few words together.

He told me, in the simplest of terms, that his parents were in the basement.

They would not wake up.

I told him his parents were sick and that I had to go and see them. He was to remain upstairs.

The boy nodded and stretched out on the mattress while I went into the basement.

In a far corner, well away from the daylight leaking down through the gaps in the flooring, I found his mother and his father. They were thin and worn, much like the clothes they wore. They had clearly given all they had to their child.

I finished them off as quickly as I could, thankful that neither had the strength even a single feeding would have given them.

When I was done, I stuffed their mouths with garlic, bagged their heads, and went back into the daylight. I scooped the sleeping child up into my arms and left for town.

#fear #horror #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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