The Vampire at Elm Street

This is a vampire story - but not as you know it.

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1. Elm Street

                                 
34 Elm Street was an almost unremarkable house. It was semi-detached, with a faded blue garage door and ivy sinking like leeches into the flesh of the crumbling bricks. Three empty milk bottles lay next to the front door, with a note for the milkman slipped inside. Throughout the day, a passerby wouldn’t take a second glance towards the place, let alone stop. It was only at night that the house became unusual. Noticeable, in fact. Different to any other.

Number 34 was the only house in Elm Street that never turned on its lights. If it wasn’t for the sleek Mercedes leaving the garage every morning, with its tinted glass windows, anyone would think that the house was uninhabited. Nobody had actually seen a human being step outside the house into the broad daylight. It was only occasionally on a moonlit evening that a procession of hooded figures would leave Elm Street and could be seen entering The Cooperative, but only when the lights were dimmed.

Norman Vladimir knew the secrets of number 34. Every day he made his way down the black carpeted stairs by torchlight, greeted his mother and father and sat down for breakfast in his wooden dining chair. It always took his eyes a minute to adjust to the ever-blanketing darkness, but when they did, he could see his mother gently buttering her toast with an elegant ease. His mother was a refined being, with suave, slinky mannerisms. She spoke only in a soft whisper and kept her teeth sharp and spotless, just in case.

His father was straight-laced, cantankerous and cruel. He insisted on living in the Dark Ages, or the “bad old days”. Norman considered his parents dull and stereotyped in every way: the ever-present skull accessories, the weekly spell casting ceremonies at midnight and the annual Blood Hunt. It was all so incredibly boring. Norman wished they’d lighten up a bit sometimes. He wanted to do something exciting, like going food shopping in broad day light, or buying a television, even if it had to be black and white. Unfortunately these activities were deemed “extremely hazardous”, so Norman would just have to make do with their monthly tiddlywinks competition for excitement. Although, his parents were extremely competitive, so it often ended with a violent clash, and tiddlywinks flying left, right and centre. 

That morning, Norman’s brother, Victor, fluttered down to the table and landed precariously on the toast rack. He hopped towards the chair opposite Norman and, with a flick of his wings, he appeared in his normal form. Victor often slept in the airing cupboard, hanging upside-down above the boiler, amongst the towels and rubber ducks. It was only at mealtimes that he decided not to be a bat because, as he always remarked, it played havoc with his eyesight. His face was always slightly red at the table because the blood had a tendency to run to his head in the night. Norman had not yet undergone the Chiroptera Ceremony, or the bat changing, and he did not look forward to it. Hanging upside down upset his digestion and, besides, he didn’t want to live in the airing cupboard with Victor.

Norman’s father, Count Vladimir, cleared his throat and gestured his bony fingers towards Norman. His pallid lips curled into a thin smile. 
“Norman, I am aware that your birthday is fast approaching and I have had a spectacular idea. Your mother and I have spoken and we have decided…” he paused to stir his coffee and took a long sip, sucking noisily on the rim of the tankard. “…that perhaps we could move the date of the annual Blood Hunt, to your birth night!”

Norman looked from his mother to his father and then back to Victor. All wore a terrifying grin, displaying their razor-like teeth. Norman chewed his toast, slowly. 
“That sounds…fun.”

His mother threw back her head and cackled heartily. “I am so glad! I thought perhaps we could invite the cousins as well? You’ve always been so good with small children and we thought you could show them the ropes?”

Norman stopped chewing his toast and swallowed. And then, never taking his eyes off his father, he slipped his fingers into his pyjama pockets and pulled out a folded flyer. 
“I was…hoping…to maybe do this on my birthday?”

His father reached out a ringed finger and clasped the flyer. In one swift movement he unfolded it and his eyes darted back and forth. Minutes passed. Norman knew the flyer only had a few words on it, in enlarged font. His father sucked in his lips and exhaled sharply from his cavernous nostrils. He spoke in a rasping voice.

“Ice skating?”

Silence hung over the table. Victor choked on his toast. Norman’s mother stopped buttering and the knife fell onto the table. Everyone stared at Norman.

“Yes. I, um, I thought I could invite some children. Make a few friends.”

Count Vladimir crushed his piece of toast inside his fist and the pulverised crumbs scattered across the table. His knuckles turned blue.

“Children?” he spluttered. “You want to invite children?”

Countess Vladimir appeared to be deep in thought. Her face was furrowed and she seemed extremely perplexed. Eventually, she formed a sentence.
“Do you wish to lure them there…to…to eat as a snack?” she focused her black eyes on Norman. “That might be an idea. I do prefer catching my food, however. Much more fun than having it delivered to me…”

Norman licked his finger and dabbed the crumbs around his plate. “I think I would prefer a birthday cake actually, mother. But you may have something bloody if you want. The ice rink restaurant does stakes. You could ask for extra rare.” 

“But Norman,” Victor removed his night retainer and placed it next to the skull-encrusted pepper grinder. “why do you want to go ice skating? It could be fatal. Why not choose a nice, friendly affair like the Blood Hunt?”

“I do not really fancy taking part in the Blood Hunt this year.” Norman watched as his mother materialised into dust and then back again. It often happened when she was stressed. 

“Why ever not?” Victor laughed, nervously. “You must come along. Whatever’s wrong with a bit of blood?”

A car passed by outside. Norman waited, coughed twice and then looked at his father.

“It brings me out in a rash.”

Victor transformed, flew in a frenzy around the chandelier, shrieked out curses in Bat Speak, and then fainted into the butter-dish. 

“But you can’t be…allergic…to blood. Can you?” Countess Vladimir placed the butter-dish lid over Victor and stared desperately at her husband.

“Blood is the way forward. We need it for survival. What about Type O? You like that, don’t you?” the Count dabbed his forehead with a bloodstained handkerchief. Norman winced at the sight.

“I can’t stand to look at blood, let alone consume it.” He paused. “In fact, I’m not much of a meat eater. It goes against my ethics.”

“I’m sorry?” the Count spat his coffee across the tablecloth.

“I think I would like to become a vegetarian.”

Countess Vladimir gasped. “A veggie what?”

“Maybe a vegan.” Norman shrugged. “Whatever’s easier.”

A motorbike roared past the black-out curtains. Count Vladimir pondered for a moment, almost speechless. He tried to change the subject.
“Well, what do you propose to do now?”

Norman smiled and rose from the table. “I think I would like to take a walk.”

With that, he made his way into the hall and unlatched the door. For the first time in his life, Norman stepped out into the sunshine. A women passing on her bike fell into a wheelie bin in shock.

Norman realised that he had not turned to dust. It was quite remarkable. The sunshine felt wonderful on his skin.

“See you later!” Norman shut the door, and began to stroll up Elm Street, waving to aghast pedestrians.

Count Vladimir tore his eyes from the flyer and turned to his wife. “Could it be puberty, perhaps?”

 

 

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