As I stared at my colleague Phineas K. Schreck, two things rapidly became clear. One was that his pale, shallow face had taken on properties akin to that of the white rump of a unicorn, almost translucent in the midnight light. The second was that he had Vlad the Impaler teeth, and was decked out like he was about to go to the Nosferatu Ball.
"Phineas?" I said apprehensively.
"Whaddup, Rex? I got some shit to do tonight, and can't be partaking in another hare-brained scheme."
The schemes he referred to, of course, were the various adventures into the realm of the supernatural we had taken over the years, battling everything from a zombified Scotland Yard battalion, to the forces of Dr. Valtier Von Vingradiant XXXIV and his super sexy seal-man assassin squad.
"Well… Phineas, you're a vampire. Just thought you ought to know."
Phineas gave a twirl of his head, tossing his hair back with such condescension that both of my fillings blew out, and my dog came back to life.
"Psh. As if."
I stared at him, my jaw numb from a combination of incredible pain and awe.
"But… you've got the teeth, the cape, and you've just turned into a bat?"
He laughed at me, flapping his leathery wings to maintain eye contact. Somehow the little outfit had shrunk to stay in scale, which was as adorable as it was perplexing.
"Nuh uh bruh. That's werewolf 100%. How else do you explain this wicked fur?"
"You had that before!"
"WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES THAT MAKE, REX?"
I took a step back, shocked by my colleagues presence of mind to shout at me. "Phineas, what's gotten into you?"
He sighed. "Rex, I've no time to explain. Just let me go. You'll know everything by tomorrow night."
And with a swoop, he fled right out under and into the night.
Over the next few weeks, my friend Phineas began to go through some strange changes in his behavior. The bathroom which he preferred, with the gothic stone and the persian rug, had the mirror removed. When I asked him "Where on earth did my two hundred pound mirror go!?" he had nothing to say, but a shrug and a cough.
I let it slide, as an isolated incident. But as the weeks rolled by, more and more evidence began to pile up. Phineas didn't show up to meals. Oh, I would prepare a meal, of delicious linguini or scrumptious suppini, but he simply declined to appear at the dining-hall.
The signs became more clear. When we went outside, his parasol, which had previously gathered dust, became a constant companion. On Tuesday, he cancelled the appointment for the expensive daguerreotype I had scheduled. To belay my fury, he ducked into his room and locked the bolts for a day. I pitied the poor man. What he was going through, I couldn't possibly understand.
But, through it all, he came up with excuses. Oh, the mirror? He'd accidentally dropped it from the floor when he was polishing it, and found that he preferred the room without it. The food? His appetite had been dying down recently, which he was quick to associate the paleness and sharp teeth to as well. Even the daguerreotype, he made the claim of "explosive facial acne."
But the final straw came when, one night, as I stalked the chambers on my normal routine, I heard curious sounds from his chambers. Not wanting to intrude, but concerned for my friends safety, I peered inside of his room. There he was, sucking away at a blood pack, marked "B". Just then, I dropped the lantern, and our eyes met.
A moment later, there was a bat flying over my shoulder, flapping deep into the castle.
"What is it now, Rex? I'm busy."
"You'll have to come out of the cupboard eventually, Phineas. There's nothing to eat in there and all of your belongings are in the east tower."
"… No, Rex! I already said I'm busy. Leave me alone."
I sighed. Phineas, in his Chiropteric form, had swung into the cupboard with such force that the doors had slammed shut. Now, in the dusty, musty, and altogether crusty wooden chest, he laid in wait, hoping that I would go away at some point.
"Phineas, can't you just accept that you're a vampire? There's really no shame. Lots of young men your age find out they're vampires like this."
"Bug off, Rex! I'm not listening to you?"
"Look. Do you drink blood?"
"But I only do it because I love the taste! Just because I suck blood and turn into mist and project an aura of dread and transform into a bat doesn't make me a vampire! Just… an unusual werewolf. Who likes the taste of blood."
"Come off it, Phineas. You're only fooling yourself."
"But… I don't want to be a vampire. Rex, I don't! Do you know what my parents would do if they found out? They're total Stoker-thumpers!"
"There's no shame in being a vampire, Phineas. I'm still going to be your friend. We can still have swashbuckling adventures together. Do you know why that is?"
"Because I am your friend, Phineas. We've been friends since we were children. Even if you turned out to be… the creature from the black lagoon, I will stick with you, thick and thin."
"… Even if I might… try to suck your blood?"
"I wouldn't appreciate it, obviously, but I'd still be your friend. Why don't you come out of there now, Phineas? It's almost dawn, and we don't want you getting stuck in there."
Gingerly, the cupboard rattled back and forth, as the young bloke within transformed from a small mammal into a large one. The lid slowly creaked open. Out of it, stepped a man I still call my friend. He looked tired, bedraggled… and thankful. He looked up at me with careful eyes.
I smiled. "Hey yourself. You look a mess. Why don't you go take a shower, or whatever it is you need, while I call a cab?"
He frowned. "A cab?"
"If you're a vampire now, you'll need a coffin, right?"
That night, as Phineas lay in his new dirt-stuffed oak deathbox, he smiled to himself. Even if he was a vampire, and had to be a bloodsucker for the rest of his life, at least he still had a cool castle to live in. And a great friend. Those were even rarer than silver-less vampire safe jewelry.
He closed his eyes, and was asleep in an instant.
«|N/A | Twerk Witches|»