A short story by CK
“What the hell is this?”
There was a crash in the next room, which sounded like someone had upturned a dinner table set for six. One of the three yelled loudly in what seemed to be their native tongue, and proceeded to let out a string of curses – I didn’t speak their language, but nothing sounded as colourful and vehement as curses. There was a lot of noisy scrambling, and some more yelling, now between the first guy and his two buddies.
They’d received the note.
I chuckled, and winced in pain. They’d done a number on my head, tossing me around like a sack of potatoes. It didn’t help that I had my house slippers on, and the ancient things couldn’t find purchase on anything properly. Of course, I hadn’t headed out of home to go on a trek – we’d run out of orange juice – I lost rock-paper-scissors best two out of three – and decided to walk to the nearest 24/7 convenience store. It was lame to be going out in the middle of the night to buy orange juice, but dear wife wouldn’t stop with her damn cravings – to be fair, though, I did the same to her when I hankered for something, and she was always nice enough to get it for me.
Actually, thinking about it, it was probably one of the few times she’d actually nagged me – usually, it was the other way around. I remembered the time when I wouldn’t stop longing for the chocolates with the gooey orange centres, but every store near our house had run out of it. One evening, we were in front of the big screen – I was watching a movie, she was on her phone. She didn’t really like movies, but she sat with me to keep me company. And suddenly, she got up and said – “I have to go” – grabbed the keys, and was out of the door before the words “Why, what-” could leave my mouth. Not that she would’ve heard them – she was mumbling something incoherently, and she never heard a word I said when she got like that.
Thirty minutes passed, and I paused the movie, wondering where she was. Another fifteen minutes passed, and I was about to give her a call when she walked in through the front door, came back onto the couch, and dumped a bag in front of me, full of – you guessed it – the chocolates I was craving for. Before I could get the words “Why, what-” out of my mouth, she told me that she’d asked her friend, a chocolatier, to custom make these for me, since I’d been craving them for so long. I looked at her with a mixture of awe and the realisation that my wife was slightly crazy about the kind of power she had in the world we lived in. I ate one of the chocolates, and I could’ve burst with happiness – They. Were. Perfect. I quickly swallowed, and leaned over to give the missus a sweet, chocolatey kiss.
There was also this time where she randomly disappeared for a couple of hours because I was craving bat’s blo-
The approaching footsteps cut through my train of thought, and I’d shook myself into the present just in time for the goons to burst through the door. I looked at them, and it was hard to not stifle a chuckle. Boy, were they pissed – even in the dim lighting, I could see their red faces and veins bulging along their bald heads. Guess they aren’t happy about the note, I thought.
Turned out, they weren’t. One of them started screaming at me in their native tongue, and on realising I wasn’t following a word, he switched over to a language I knew – well, whatever I could understand through his thick accent.
“What is this?” he screamed, and I turned my face away from the spittle flying out of his mouth. I turned back, and saw him throw a note at me, which landed near my bound feet.
I recognised the missus’ handwriting, as well as the monogrammed paper she’d written on. I bit back a chuckle when I saw the short, one sentence note she’d sent them.
Nice knowing you.
“Does she not care for you?! We send her ransom note, and she send no money – she send this!” another guy – him I recognised; he was the one who hauled me around and tied me up – yelled. For a bunch of people trying to intimidate me, they weren’t doing a good job of hiding their fear.
“Who she write this to? You?” the only woman in the group demanded angrily – the damn woman who pretended to be lost, and asked me for directions to the nearest convenience store or police station. I said no a couple of times – should’ve said no a couple more. Then she wouldn’t have had to be in this situation.
“Well, it’s a reply to your ransom note, so I guess it would be to you,” I replied. I saw the hard slap that came next, but with bound hands and feet, I couldn’t do much to stop it. The woman had a pretty mean backhand, and I had to shake my head to stop the ringing in my ears. I could feel something warm trickling out of my nostrils, and the scent of blood filled my nose.
“When she gonna pay up?” the man who spoke to me first demanded. I shrugged, deciding to not speak with these poor fools. What they didn’t know was that they weren’t the first to kidnap one of us for money, and that they wouldn’t be the last. In fact, it wasn’t public knowledge, and there was a reason for it. The police was never intimated or involved, and no one ever got to hear the kidnapper’s side of the story. The two of us, of course, never said anything.
The man growled in frustration, and stomped off, cursing again. The other two stood in front of me and discussed something in their native language, aware that I wouldn’t understand. I sighed softly, and looked out through the lone window. It was bright outside, even though it was night time in the middle of nowhere, and I suspected a full moon was out and about, but I couldn’t see it yet. My guy told me it was descending from the zenith, and I’d get to see it through the window in just a few more minutes.
The woman was speaking to me in a softer tone, and I had the feeling that she’d mistaken me looking at the window longingly for something else. “Doesn’t your partner love you?” she asked.
I couldn’t hold back my chuckle at hearing that. “I would think so, especially considering how long we’ve been with each other. One thousand, six hundred and thirty six years isn’t a joke.”
The woman looked at me strangely, but the man next to her shook his head at me, and yanked her by the arm. “She crazy. We need to talk,” he said, and dragged her away.
“But what do we do?” I heard her ask as the door closed behind them.
The blood from my nose had caked on my upper lip, making it stiff. I moved my lip one way, then another, trying to get the dried clot to break up. So irritating, I thought as I tried to rub my face against my propped up knees, trying to get the clot off my face.
A sudden jolt ran up my spine, and I sat up straight. It was as if dry ice and molten glass were running down my back side by side. My skin broke out into goosebumps, and I turned towards the window.
How beautiful. The moon looked absolutely ravishing tonight.
The icy heat took over my body, from the tips of my toes to the follicles in my scalp, making every cell in my body sing. My wounds disappeared, the blood vanished, and the ropes binding me were engulfed by cold flames, burnt to ashes.
I stood up, and shook the ash off my clothes, the same my wife had gifted me. A little cold of her to not come and save me this time. But when people keep trying to kidnap you or kill you over the centuries for the riches you’ve accumulated over time, it gets boring really fast. Besides, I wasn’t a helpless princess locked up in a tower – I could save myself.
I looked through the window, and smiled at the full moon. The moon looked wonderful, and the longer I looked, the hungrier I got. And I was reminded about the last time I was hungry for bat’s blood, and my darling wife, yet again, went out of her way to get me some.
Well, she wasn’t here to satisfy my cravings. And after smelling blood – even though it was my own – I was really hungry for human blood. Admitted, I didn’t like human blood the same way I disliked fast food – sugary, greasy, full of stuff not good for you. But you still craved it, once in a while.
Three humans wouldn’t be enough, but they’d do. Besides, humans were funny – the looks on their faces when they realised that the person they were trying to intimidate and harass was actually six feet tall, with claws and fangs that were going to tear them into bits always made me laugh, long after they were gone. The screams made things a bit dramatic – my wife lived for such things, but I didn’t – but, in the middle of nowhere, I didn’t think anyone would hear, or care.
The animals outside started to howl. They could smell me, and they were warning each other to stay away. Oh, if only humans understood the tongue of the ones they considered dumb.
The longer I looked at the moon, the more it looked like cheese. I threw my head back, and howled in joy and hunger. I heard the hearts of the humans in the next room skip a beat, and then race frantically. Their breathing hitched, and then quickened, until they were panting. I stopped howling, and I could hear them walk slowly to the door, probably armed. I smiled.
Nothing was more enjoyable with cheese than a glass of red wine.
My first attempt at fiction after a hiatus that lasted many years. I decided to try and write a story based on the prompts from the Instagram page @writing.prompts.re, so that I can try and write some fiction. It’s not that great, I know, but I’m really proud of it. I hope you enjoyed it – do let me know!
See you next time! Love, CK.