October Challenge Submissions

We had three fantastic submissions this month, and the vampire theme apparently really resonated with Nat, bcynic, and Stephanie. All three are rated GEN/TEEN, meaning safe as houses for most readers and work environs, with a few curse words involved. Thank you all so much for participating!

November’s theme will be posted later this week.

Vampire by Nat

(Prose poem. Ziggy’s POV during the intermission in the “King of Pain” chapter.)

I’m a vampire, they say. I’m the one who comes and sucks your life away. I’m the one with bite, in the dark of the night. who sinks my teeth in and won’t go away. Once I want you, you’re mine, you just don’t know it yet. But every vampire got bitten too, once. Each of us once walked in the sun. Now I keep to the shadows because otherwise I’ll burn. Sunglasses on say don’t get too close, I’m not safe and I’ll do you harm.

My vampire was tiny and white. It came trapped in amber in the dark of the night. A sleek little pill as sharp as a tooth, made me feel good, that was the truth. They say it takes three times to turn, three nights I took it, swallowed that worm. A beautiful light seemed to come from my skin, but a monster was bred from deep within.

The shouts of the crowd are rowdy and raucous, but I descend to the madness of Bacchus. The pill turns me into a ghost, the cinderblock hallway as blurry as smoke. The sound of my name floats down the hall: the only thing solid is Daron’s call. This time, maybe this time I’ll bite, bring him to my side and darken his light. Every vampire was bitten once. Each of us walked in the sun.

No, I can’t, can’t trap him like this. I love him too much to damn him like this. Safest is distance, safest is silence. I’ll spare him the anguish of this life, and I’ll look away from the pain in his eyes.

My Daddy Is a Vampire by bcynic

(Digger certainly sucks the life out of other people to sustain himself. And he is slimy, like something down at the bottom of the river. Lots of appropriate words in that song. “The lord’s gonna come for your first born son …” Digger’s also like a ghost that haunts Daron, a shadowy figure that roams about at night with drunk-blurred vision, in line with the images.)

Remo’s stolen my boy from me and maybe it’s good riddance.

I shouldn’t be thinking that about my own kid but what can I say? I’m drunk.

“Again,” she says, and I can’t argue with that at some untold hour, holding the receiver up to my ear and cradling the phone like a baby, like a goddamned baby boy.

He was the only one we had. The rest were girls. We had so many girls. Don’t know how I got talked into any of it, except I do.

It was fucking Claire. Remo almost stole her, too, but now she doesn’t want anything to do with any of us. At least I don’t have to worry about that. She’ll never end up with another man, not a real one. Maybe she’d hook up with some holy roller, but no one I couldn’t take.

Whatever, why would I bother? I’ve got what I need and the sky’s the limit. It’s a cliché, I know, but people still listen when I say it, and they believe.

That’s why I make the big bucks now. I’m free to find the real opportunities that are out there. I’m not chained to some shoe store or owned by some family.

It’s a shame about the boy, though. He had real potential and he threw it all away.

I did everything I could to warn him, but people in the rock ‘n’ roll business, you can’t tell them anything. I should know.

Untitled by Stephanie

I awoke with a start, covered in cold sweat, my hands balled into fists at my sides. Another nightmare. I couldn’t remember the details, but I remembered his eyes, black and fathomless, but not quite normal. Ziggy. I glanced at my radio alarm clock. 6:27. Fuck, it’s early.

Too freaked out to get back to sleep, I crept downstairs in the darkness, flicked on the kitchen light and poured a cup of water from the tap. I downed it in one swallow and set the empty glass in the sink.

Elbows locked, I leaned against the counter, trying to steady my nerves. What the fuck was that dream about? Why was I so spooked? What had been so different about Ziggy’s eyes? I dropped my head against the cabinet, breathing deeply.

A glimpse of a shadow caught my eye and I turned to see what was there. Nothing, that’s what was there. I strained my ears, thinking maybe one of my roommates had come downstairs, but heard nothing either. I shook my head. When did I get so damn jumpy? I needed to relax, and there’s only one way that’s going to happen.

I descended the stairs to the basement, turning on every fucking light I encountered on the way. I grabbed the Strat and sat on the ugly orange rug on the floor. I didn’t plug in, didn’t want to wake Chris or Colin at this ungodly hour. I just needed a guitar in my hands. Everything would be better with a guitar in my hands.

My fingers started playing without input from my brain, a collection of riffs, my old stand-bys, comfort songs I’d known since I was a kid. After a while, they played some new stuff I’d been tinkering with. The tension drained out through my fingertips, dissipating with each note.

Another shadow startled me and I spun around, holding the guitar out like a weapon. “Holy fuck, Colin!” My hand covered my racing heart like some chick in a horror movie until I realized what I was doing and dropped it to my side. I turned away from Colin so he wouldn’t see me blushing.

He came up behind me. His hands found my shoulders, gently massaging. “You’re so tense, Daron. Sorry if I scared you.”

“It’s alright,” I mumbled as his hands turned me to putty. I could barely hold onto my guitar I was getting so relaxed. Maybe that’s why I said what I did. “You think Ziggy’s a vampire?” Colin’s body shook with laughter against my back. “I mean, he’s already sucked out my soul.”

Colin’s breath was warm against my neck. “Vampires don’t suck souls.” His voice was deep and husky and I leaned back into him. “I should know,” he added softly. I felt the piercing sting of teeth on my neck and blood trickled. I screamed.

My eyes snapped open. I was covered in cold sweat, my hands balled into fists at my sides. One hand flew to my neck, to the phantom pain there. I examined it in the watery, early morning light filtering through my window. No blood. Had I really expected there to be blood? The alarm clock read 6:27. That’s fucking spooky.

My heart rate and blood pressure shot up to about stroke level. I scrambled out of bed and crossed the room to the door, throwing the lock with trembling fingers. I leaned against the door, flooded with relief… because a lock will keep a vampire out. Vampires? Jeezus, Daron, get a grip.

I flung myself back onto my bed, staring at the ceiling, willing my heart to slow down. From somewhere deep in my childhood memories, I heard an echo of my mother’s voice. “Too much chocolate before bedtime will give you nightmares.” I had no idea if that was true, but an image popped into my mind; Chris, Colin, Bart, and Michelle helping me devour the Halloween candy we’d bought but not given out to trick-or-treaters last night. I vowed then and there to never fucking eat chocolate before bed again.


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