Blind Date

The long black cloak was a dead give-away. The slicked hair, the golden pendant shaped like a star. The way he loomed over the salt-shaker.

Trisha had set me up with another vampire.

I sighed and leaned against the bar. He hadn’t seen me yet, I could just leave -back to my dusty house and re-runs of NCIS. Why did Trisha keep doing this to me? The first time had been awkward, and the second unbearable — she always feigned surprise, her eyebrows climbing into the stratosphere of her forehead.

My mother’s manners were iron. I finished my drink, and marched over to introduce myself to my date for the evening.

“Hello, I’m Dorothy — are you Gregori?”

He knocked over the salt-shaker in his haste to make a florid cape-gesture. It tumbled across the table, clattering.

“Mh-yes, I am Gregori. You look so beautiful in the moonlight of this evening. The moonlight in this evening? Of…in? You look so beautiful in the moonlight….?” he finished lamely, standing at the table.  “I am Gregori.”

Then he reached forward and righted the salt-shaker.

“It’s nice to meet you, Gregori — do you mind if I sit down?”

“But of course, my dear…othy. Dorothy. ”

I arched an eyebrow, and found myself having to fight a grin.  Gregori smoothed his medallion, and cocked his head to the side.

“Please forgive my familiarity, it is the custom in my country.” he nodded mysteriously.

“And what country is that?”

“Pittsburgh.”

“Pittsburgh.” I looked down into my purse to keep from laughing. This poor man. He seemed so uncomfortable in the lifestyle that he’d chosen, a serious, brooding expression locked on his face.  So determined to be convincing, like a kid in his father’s coat  – giving a speech before the class.

I reached across the table and laid my hand on his wrist. He went as still as the grave, a look of pure terror appearing in his eyes. They were nice eyes, brown.

“Greg — can I call you Greg?  I’m a woman, and you’re a man. It’s nighttime and we’re adults, and I’m already having a great time.”

Gregori’s eyes never left mine, but he laid his other hand on top of mine.

“I’m making a proper impression?” he said hopefully.

“Absolutely.”

“You’re inexorably falling under my sway?”

“Let’s not push it – we’ll see.”

A human smile peeked out of his chalk-white face.

“I am having a great time as well, my dea–my Dorothy.”

I smiled, and gave his wrist a squeeze. “Now, what kind of pizza do you like?”

“Anything without garlic.”

[This week’s Story on Demand was brought to you by Fran, the number 7, and the letter Q.]

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Most troublesome.

I killed him.

My quill almost snaps in my haste to write it down.

I turned into a mist, slipped under the door and stabbed him fourteen times with my claws. I cracked a nail on his sternum.

It was most troublesome.

He was a Nai-Elf — a mighty shaman of his tribe — come to meet with my employers. He plead his case most eloquently – the poison in the seas, the lowered birth rate of his tribe, the incalculable destruction of the natural world. The glowing tattoos in his blue skin, and the elaborate mirrored earrings and and bangles at his wrists and ankles made him savage and strange to the board — but it reminded me of home.

Clarke Peters and Dominic West in OTHELLO. Holy crap, how come I didn't already know about this?

His breath stank of sardines and aged cheese. I hated to watch him wring his hands, so nervous and uncomfortable. My employers smiled, and laughed behind their hands at him — then nodded and said soft words. It made me angry to see this wise old elf disrespected. I rushed over as he stormed out, determined to salvage some measure of good will from the shaman – Mistress Karis’ derision and anger was a risk, but I couldn’t let him leave totally empty handed.

He was angry, but he heard me – the lines in his face softened. He thanked me for my concern, and placed both of his hands out in front of his face, in a Nai-Elf gesture of respect.

I saw his eyes casually look into the tiny mirrors at his wrist. Then widen, then dart to my face.

Shit.

I whispered the word, completely surprised. He realized that I didn’t have a reflection.

The shaman left , keeping his eyes on me as his hands reached for the door. He knew what I was — which meant his fate was sealed.

I felt regret looking down at his corpse — even as I fed on his strange blood. Just a taste, our of principle.

In short order, the body was discovered , and the captain — a good, decent man himself – put the ship on lockdown, seeking the murderer. My employers were annoyed by the inconvenience, completely untouched by the shaman’s death.

I had guarded my secret for too many years to let if fall now — my sire’s commands ring in my ears as loudly today as they did a hundred years ago.

I am the spawn of Zed – the Neclord himself, and I will not fail.

There is a commotion on deck — apparently a small ship has come alongside, a group of investigators perhaps?

I sit in front of the mirror, and imagine my face — a picture held in my mind. I make the picture smile kindly, I make the wrinkles fade.

A knock at the door – I leave to go make myself helpful.

The Journals of Enton Blake, 21st of Arrowspan – 1179

 

[Story on Demand for Steven.]