Promised

Lucy used the spare key hidden on the porch light to get into his house. What she found was a disaster. Smashed furniture, the smell of rot, a shape curled up in the darkness. A long, low moan. “Nooooo.” As she swung the door open, that shape began trying to drag itself away. Away from the light.

Away from her.

“William?” Lucy said, afraid of the answer.

“Go,” the voice hissed. Then, in a pitiable whisper, “Just . . . just go.”

She looked at the debris scattered around her, saw the broken chair leg with its jagged point next to where she had first seen him. He had stopped trying to crawl away. Instead, from that misshapen mass, two eyes stared back at her. Dark and beady, Lucy could only catch the smallest glint of light reflected in them. Gradually, as her eyes adjusted, she began to make out more details: bony hands, clawed fingers, back twisted into a hunch, papery skin, sparse white hair in lank clumps. Fangs. They caught the light too, vicious, dangerous things.

“What . . . happened to you?” she asked, already knowing the answer.

The vampire answered anyway. “No blood,” he said. “I promised . . . for you. No more blood.”

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Story by Gregory M. Fox