Yvonne stood beside the open window for a moment, apparently enjoying the coolness of the night breeze that wafted across the overgrown garden. After regarding the golden moon for a few seconds, she put her hand on the latch, swinging the frame until it was nearly closed, but leaving a finger’s-width gap. Less than a minute later, the warm glow of the bedside lamp went out, leaving the whole house dark.
Sometime later, a shadow flowed up out of the garden, gliding up the wall while a cloud passed before the moon to pass silently through the open window. The cloud moved on, and the renewed glow revealed a tall man, clad in worn clothes several generations out of fashion, standing at the side of Yvonne’s bed. He gazed down at her, eyes fixed on the length of neck which showed white above the dark nightgown she wore. Slowly, he began to bend toward her, then froze,.
The movement was detected too late. A cord drew the window closed even as it released a rosary concealed in the blind. The crucifix rattled against the panes as it came to rest right beside the window’s latch. Two men raced in from the hall, throwing on the light. One bore a cross in each hand, the other a boar-spear cut short for ease of use indoors. The spear’s blade and cruciform guard glittered with the blessed oil applied to them shortly before sunset that night.
“Caught you at last!” Doctor Crenshaw boomed. He reached back to hang a cross on a small shining nail driven into the door’s lintel, although he kept his eyes locked with those of the creature by the bed. Its features were an inhuman rictus of hate and frustration. “Higsby, are you ready?”
Higsby tore his own eyes from the ghastly visage to fix upon his mark, the middle of the creature’s chest. He brought his hands up until the shaft of the spear was parallel to the floor, level with his own thudding heart. “Give the word, sir,” he said, secretly pleased with the even calmness of his voice.
Yvonne had pushed herself up to the head of the bed. She looked from her two rescuers to the vampire. “The plan has worked perfectly,” she said, smiling.
With a flick, she tossed the bedclothes over the doctor. His muffled cry of surprise was lost under the roar of the shotgun Yvonne had shared her bed with. Higsby, pierced in a half-dozen places by heavy buckshot, dropped the spear before slumping against the door, his last breath wheezing out.
The second barrel ruined the bedclothes and ended the doctor’s efforts to remove them.
Yvonne broke the gun’s action, the spent cases pattering onto the floor by the bed. She set the weapon down, and stood. The vampire, his features returned to those of a handsome older man, took her hand in his.
“Thank you so much,” he said. “They have been hounding me for months. I have hardly slept since the spring.”
“Not at all,” Yvonne replied. She laid her free hand over the clasp they held. “People like them… my brother died because that breed of idiot got up a torch-and-pitchfork parade. I consider it a duty.”
“Are you sure there is no… gift… I might bestow?” His voice dropped into a sultry purr.
“No, no.” Yvonne let go of his hand, and as she continued she began to gather her clothes. “You’d best get along. I’m burning this place down as soon as I’m dressed. But do be in touch if you find yourself in need of any more help. You did a find job of drawing those two in, and I’d be happy to use… to work with you again.”
“Inktober 2019 – Bait” ©2019 Dirck de Lint.