Safe As Houses (An Original Vampire Story)

Teasing Him Out

Safe as Houses: First Prelude
Copyright © 2012 by Michael Litzky

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Annoyed, Charla peered between the pallid faces pressed against her window. They blocked what she needed to see.

Vampires can’t poke a nose hair into your house unless you invite them (…invite me… hissed a face as she squinted). Felchin’ vampires: no trips to the corner for forgotten milk, no ordering late-night pizza. And yes, she finally saw it. Behind the dim shapes creeping across the darkened lawn, there they were: trash cans not at the curb. “Aw, toss my felchin’ salad!”

The vampires watched Charla with hungry longing as she checked Sundroid. Sunrise was at 7:14:04, the app told her, so she set a “Put out trash” alarm for 7:15. What a pain.

As she pulled the shades their nails clawed an annoyingly creepy skritch. She didn’t even bother flipping them off. Fuming, she left the room (skriitch). Annoying as the noise from the freeway a lousy half block away (in the daytime, that is; it was quiet at the moment because no sane person drove at night). Freeway noise drove you from outer rooms just like the vamps did.

“You’re brooding” Tomas walked in and she relaxed into his arms. But her brow suddenly wrinkled. An idea was fluttering around the edges of her thoughts.

“I miss camping,” she said, hoping the idea would solidify. “Sure, a tent’s your ‘home.’ But what fun’s camping if you can’t sit around the campfire, roast marshmallows?” What was it, what? she thought as Tomas quietly led her to the padded door.

“Come on,” he urged. “Nice music and just wait’ll you taste this lasagna.” Dozens of vampires called after them as they passed through the padded door into the center of the house, away from voices and claws. Charla gave up trying to grab the elusive idea; it would come.

Quiet string music filled the inner sanctum. The garlicky lasagna gleamed in the candles’ glow. Here you could pretend that vampires were not crawling on the roof, or pressed like moths against every inch of outer wall.

Charla lifted her glass. “Tomie, to health and long life in a world infested with felching pests.”

“Language!” he teased. He had googled the word “felch.”

Right then twenty fists pounded on the front door, audible even through the soundproofing. Tomas winced. Desperate voices screamed “Help, please!” But nobody fell for that trick anymore. Charla slammed a fist on the table.

Silverware rattled. Tomas froze with a piece of lasagna just over her plate. “This is a felching invasion!” she snarled. “They’re worse than advertising!” Carefully Tomas nodded, his sensitive face neutral, waiting.

Charla froze. Her eyes gleamed. She had it, she had it!

“Tomie,” she said slowly, “Their noise is an invasion of our home, isn’t it?”

He put the lasagna on her plate, alarm bells ringing. “Yeah, invasion. But what are you going to do about it?”

She stood slowly, eyes blazing. “Get your smart phone ready. This’ll either work or it won’t.”

Tomas gripped her arm, winced as her arm jerked. “Charlie! What are you about to do?!”

“Follow me and see what I’m going to do!” she cried. “And roll that camcorder.” She ran toward the front door. Tomas followed her, filled with foreboding, cursing as he started the calc app instead of the camcorder.

The door shook with the pounding. Seven evil faces pressed against the glass. As they saw her, they grinned hungrily.

And then Charla ripped open the front door!

Tomas gasped and his face drained of color. A deadly silence slammed down, broken only by soft hissing. Charla glared at the night creatures crowding her doorstep, pressing up to the invisible line where the door had been.

“Now hear this,” she yelled at the vampires. “You’re invading my home with your noise!”

And the hissing stopped.

A single voice started to say, “Come out to us then –” but cut off with a high whistle. When she slammed the door to, it was quiet. They pressed like dogs against every window but could only stare.

Only then did she see that Tomas was trembling, nearly fainting. “You took a horrible chance!” he gasped. “You could have been killed, ripped apart!” He looked like he was seeing it happen.

But he still held the phone. She put her arms around him. “You got the video?” He held up the phone in a trembling hand. She smiled. “Upload that sucker.” She turned to face the vampires and shouted, “Viral by 9:00!” She made her lips into an “O” and moved her tongue in and out making slurping sounds.

Then they dragged stuffed chairs to the former reading nook window and ate side by side. Hungry faces pressed against the glass watching them until Charla said quietly, “The sanctity of our home includes our view.” Disappointed faces melted away, leaving their moonlit garden visible.

It didn’t matter that every shadow held five vampires. Until morning, the world would be as peaceful as a grave. Charla lifted her glass and delivered her final thought.

“I wish,” she said wistfully, “that the damn freeway noise was as easy to get rid of.”

Continue to the second pelude.

Teasing Him Out


Safe As Houses (An Original Vampire Story) — 2 Comments

    • Randy: thanks for your comment. Actually, I did mean “slammed the door to.” It’s a way (admittedly a bit archaic) of saying “slammed the door closed.” It shows up in Chaucer, as I recall: “Tee hee, quoth she, and clapt the window to.” But you raise a good point: if the wording is archaic enough to be confusing, maybe I should just say “slammed the door closed.”

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