Part I: Enigma
August 30 at 7:30 PM
Photo courtesy of DepositPhotos.com
‘Twas an accident, I confess. Not sure where to begin, so let me just jump right in. I caught her spying on me through the window that eve as I poured over edits of The Canterbury Chronicle. As I hurried to bolt the door, the pale shadow slipped inside, combing her blonde locks with her fingers.
“Do not be frightened, dear. I am an admirer,” she murmured, licking the keen point of her incisors with her tongue. “Pity I have had to savor your work from afar, pondering every word, every subtle turn of phrase. No longer.” She advanced me. “Is that tomorrow’s edition?”
“Yes.” I steadied my trembling hands.
“Good, then I have a story for you: the wisdom of an old, enlightened soul,” she mused.
“Very well.” I backed into my desk. “Who would you like me to interview?”
“Myself, of course.” She lifted her crimson dress, and eased into the chair.
“Right.” I lumbered around the desk, and plopped down in my padded armchair. “Well then, tell me about yourself.” I grabbed a quill.
“Hopefully you will not ask my age,” she smiled, her gold eyes sparkling.
“How about your name?”
“There have been many over the years: Evaline, Saffrey, Marion, bitch, hag, slut…but you may call me Delilah.”
“Your eyes do not deceive you.” She cut in. “I am a vampire. For the past month I have lived among you, but I am not the only, nor the eldest.”
Icy beads of sweat trickled down my spine. “There are more?”
“Ask yourself, Mr. Bundt: is it a coincidence that The Chronicle is an evening paper?”
“It is my paper. I do with it as I please,” I balked.
“Then why not a morning paper?” The vampire eyed me curiously. “How did you arrive at this?”
“We conducted a survey, asking subscribers which they preferred.”
“Overwhelmingly they prefer an evening paper, but that’s besides the point. I myself prefer an afternoon deadline so that I do not stay up all night.”
“Yet despite such deadlines, you still find yourself laboring through the night. This I know. I have been watching you the past few moons,” she chuckled.
“So you have come to Canterbury to prove the conspiracy of the evening post?” I set my quill aside.
“I am here to offer names, and in addition, my story,” she replied.
“I cannot afford to become the target of some secret society that does not wish to be exposed. If they do exist, they will come for you as well.”
“One can only hope,” Delilah grinned.
“Not another word.” I stood. “A pleasure meeting you, Miss Delilah, but I am better off entertaining the notion that there are no vampires living in Canterbury, even if they do in fact exist. Good evening.” I nodded.
In the blink of an eye, she jumped across the desk and seized my neck. “As if you have a choice in the matter,” she sneered. “Do not make me stain my dress. I have grown quite fond of her. Tell me, Edgar, how is your darling Maggie? I am told she has a birthday in the coming days. I will craft her a gift that she never forgets.” She tightened her grip.
“You wretched whore,” I choked.
“Please, call me Delilah.”