by Betsy Leohtar
Gwen was puzzled by the knock at the door. She was house sitting for a friend of a friend, she wasn’t entirely sure what the relationship was, as a sort of recuperation after accidentally receiving a faceful of VMace from Hannah. Yes, she was back to her old self, but they thought it worthwhile for her to ‘have a rest’ and this was a good way to do just that. And it was killing two birds with one stone, which is always good. Gwen, however, was bored, which is bad.
She went to the door and opened it. The day was overcast, which helped. She didn’t need her sun glasses for comfort. There were two men and one woman stood there, each man smartly dressed in a new looking black suit, black shoes, black tie, white shirt—the whole works. The woman dressed more sexily, showing her decolletage, of which she had plenty. Gwen didn’t notice much else about her.
“Yes?” she asked.
“Good afternoon, ma’am,” answered the nearest man. He looked to be the oldest. “We’re from your local Vampire society and wondered if you were interested in attending one of our meetings.”
Gwen felt distinctly under dressed in her tee shirt and pants. Grey tee and blue pants. They didn’t match but they were comfortable. Her feet were bare and her toe nails were unpainted. “Are you kidding me?” she instinctively said. “Halloween is months away.”
All three smiled politely at that quip. “It’s not a joke, ma’am. We really are Vampires and we’re setting up in this neighborhood. We want to remove the Vampire stigma we are usually subjected to and have decided to invite all who want to come and see us. We have nothing to hide and welcome all to our hall.”
“But aren’t you supposed to be frightened of the sun?” Well, it was the obvious question and one they were prepared for.
“That is part of our message, ma’am. As you can see, we have no fear of the sun at all. That’s just a myth. One of the many we want to dispel.”
“Won’t your fangs frighten off people?” Gwen was enjoying this.
“Not at all, ma’am. Our fangs are retractable and we never show them to any but other vampires.” Gwen barely restrained the urge to laugh.
The woman added, “We have leaflets,” and held one in her outstretched hand for Gwen to take.
Gwen took it and perused it. It showed standard, non threatening, views of a group of similar people in relaxed conversations with other people who were obviously not part of this group.
Gwen wasn’t going to tell them she wouldn’t be here long. “I still don’t understand. Vampires are scary and threatening. They don’t ‘chat’ with people. They either suck them dry or make them into thralls.”
The lead ‘vampire’ smiled again. This time he opened his mouth while smiling to show how good natured he was. “If you come tonight, you’ll find they’re all myths. We’re a friendly bunch and only want to be able to live in peace with our neighbors.”
Gwen knew all about neighbors. She remembered neighbors with pitchforks. “I’m still confused. Are you saying all the ideas I have in my mind about vampires are wrong?”
“Yes,” was the immediate answer. “We are sick and tired of having to deal with the same questions over and over again from everybody we meet. Here we are trying to let this neighborhood know exactly what we are, so we can deal with you in peace and harmony.” His smile returned automatically..”
Gwen was on a roll now, and ignored the implications of that little speech. She looked at the woman. “Are you really a vampire? Or are you their thrall?”
The woman was perky and wanted to talk, but Gwen noticed she didn’t interrupt the leader. “Oh, I’m a vampire too,” she responded. “You can see I don’t have any marks on my neck.”
That’s true, thought Gwen. And there was a lot of neck on show, as well as a lot of boob as well. Of course, just because you’re not bitten somewhere obvious doesn’t mean you’re not someone’s thrall...
“I can see that,” Gwen said aloud, “but aren’t vampires more a reflection of the patriarchy? I mean, how many female leaders do you have? And what exactly do you do in this organization?”
“Oh, I take notes at meetings and write them up afterwards. I get their coffees and snacks. I generally make myself useful.” She smiled as she said this, obviously not realizing what she implied.
Gwen was certain she would be able to smell out another vampire and she didn’t here. So, what did they want? “OK,” she said. “I know you want to meet and greet the locals. But what exactly do you DO in your private meetings?” She was looking at the woman as she said this, and the woman answered.
“Oh there we learn all about our savior, Lord Archibald—” but the lead man stopped her there.
“I’m sorry, but that’s a private matter,” he stated to Gwen. “Only for the initiated, you understand?”
“I see. Are you looking to initiate people?” Gwen asked the obvious question.
“Only if the person is willing and open minded,” he answered smoothly. “Such people are welcome to our inner sanctum meetings.”
“That’s interesting,” Gwen mused. ”I’d like to learn more.”
Lead vampire smiled the smile of the salesman recognizing the opportunity he was looking for. “Well then, perhaps we could talk in greater depth? May we come in?”
Gwen had to force herself to look serious and not giggle as she invited them in.
The police never found the bodies...