Halloween Story Contest 2012- Second Place
updated: Oct 30, 2012, 4:51 PM
A Blood Thirst
By Tim Durnin
Sunlight shone through a crack in the curtains. Dawn had arrived, and with it another beautiful day in Santa Barbara. In the distance, the bells of the
Mission tolled, and a train whistle signaled its passing. Birds sang out and the sounds of traffic were just beginning. Everything seemed so regular, so
normal. And yet, nothing was normal at all… not in this room.
A form stirs. Still in bed the figure sits up to cough and proceeds to hack and gasp for minutes, finally settling down with a weary sigh. This was the
home of Kale Gardner, a fixture in Santa Barbara, known for his ruthless business tactics and vacuity of ethics. Kale rises, stumbles to the bathroom and
switches on the light.
He looks anxiously around the room. He had not come home alone last night. He had seduced some wretched woman claiming she was from The Real
Housewives of Santa Barbara. Stephanie he thought. She followed him home without the anticipated cameras and with him thinking her a fraud. The last
thing he can recall in the moment is opening the front door and stepping inside.
The house is silent, the bed is empty. He calls weakly through the open door into the hallway, “Stephanie”. He gets no response but notices her red
dress and pink heels still rest at the foot of the bed. He calls again, “Stephanie”. There is a slight touch of anxiety in his voice. He moves out of the room and
down the hall. He can see the dancing orange and yellow shadows of the fireplace. He turns to go down the stairs.
He looks across the living room with some relief. Stephanie is curled up on the rug in front of the fire, a wool blanket covers her fetal like form. He calls
louder, “Stephanie” and approaches kneeling at her shoulders. He touches her shoulder gently, “Stephanie, you need to get of here.” He shakes her softly.
“Stephanie, you have to get out of here now.” Irritated he shakes her hard and almost yelling, “Get up! Now!”
As he shakes her she rolls toward him and her head falls back in an inhuman way. Kale looks down and sees the neck open to a gaping hole, nearly
severed through. There is a small pool of blood beneath her. Kale recoils in horror and feels a powerful electric shock of fear paralyze him. He throws
himself back and away from the grotesque scene. He stands to run away but falls. He heads for the stairs flying up them on all fours.
Once up the stairs nausea overtakes him and he leaves the contents of his stomach on the landing. In the darkness of the house he cannot see but
continues to his bedroom and into the lighted bathroom. He stops and looking in the mirror is horrified by what he sees. “Who is this man?” he thinks. His
eyes are sunken with deep, dark circles. His hair seems to gray before his eyes. His skin is colorless and around his lips, streaks of bright red stand out
against the paleness of his skin.
In horror he rips off his clothes and begins to throw water on his face. He rubs the red from around his lips and watches as it turns to pink in the
whirlpool of the sink. He wants to wretch again. Washing down his neck he feels two strange indentations, painful to the touch. He pauses his frantic
washing to examine them. Again he recoils as his finger gently touches two pronounced puncture marks. Kale falls back and down against the wall.
Looking up to the ceiling he sees a large bat resting on the light fixture. It seems to be smiling at Kale who begins to scream a deep, guttural, unearthly
scream. The bat takes flight out of the bathroom, through the bedroom and comes to rest on the landing where it begins to drink.
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