© by Gary L Morton (550 words)


Count Varsook tossed his black cape up elegantly, revealing the dusky gray lining as he spun on his heel and faced the mirror. A portion of cracked, chipped skull was all the reflection he had.

"Damn!" he said. Three hundred years old and he still couldn't remember about mirrors. At the dresser, he patted some AfterDark on his neck - reflection or not he knew how uninviting a five o'clock shadow could look on an aging face. And tonight he was hungry - his appetite had faded some over the years, often he took a fresh victim just to keep up appearances. "There is no rest for the wicked," he thought, and then he sighed.

As he was pomading his hair, he heard a rap at the door. Night was freshly fallen so he strode over fearlessly. No one was outside the door; brilliant city lights rainbowed in blurry tears. He reached in his cape for his contacts. His eyes adjusted and as he was about to shut the door, he looked down and saw a baby in a basket.

He carried the baby inside, taking note of the blue blanket. Scratching his silvering head, he figured that maybe some city agency had mistaken him for a foster parent and delivered him a baby. For sure, he didn't want the burping little beast; baby blood was about as tasty as juice from sour crab apples.

The Count finished his toilet by sweeping his hair back dramatically, and then he turned to check on the baby. It was sleeping peacefully, sucking on the bottle of warm blood he'd given it. He decided to go out and then ponder the matter later. Spinning on his heels he became a bat in a flash, flew out the window, and off toward the gibbous moon.

In the dew-cool quiet of 3 a.m. the Count returned, his long shadow moved by the window as he lit up the candelabra. He'd forgotten about the baby and was planning on a little reading in his tiny library.

A yawning Count Varsook turned to cross the room. What he saw froze him in his tracks. Bloody handprints were smeared across the wall. Tables, lamps and ashtrays were knocked over, and a half-eaten body lay on the hardwood floor. It was the body of a mailman - his mouth was open to scream, but his tongue was torn out. A hole of black and blood was all that was left of his belly and one of his arms was gone.

There was no sign of the baby, but the side door was ajar. Spotting the baby bottle, the Count went over to pick it up. Just then, a puppy bounded in the door and dropped a mouthful of intestines on his shoes. The puppy sat at his feet and licked the blood off its paws.

"A wolf pup," the Count said to himself, and then he glanced around the gory room. "Werebabies do the darnedest things," he said, wondering what to do about the pup.

The night amplified the footsteps of someone coming up the street; the pup bounded out the door, followed by the Count. "Heel boy! Heel!" the Count hollered, his voice echoing down the street.

------ The End -------