Eddie tended to drift into whatever jobs were available that would pay the rent. Generally, he found his short term work by plucking fliers off telephone poles.
He’d done everything from shining the shoes of business shmucks, to cleaning up after pampered pets. There’d even been one where he’d quietly read magazines in a corner as a man practiced erotic asphyxiation; so he didn’t accidentally hang. It was the weirdest, but not the worst job.
This new one though, it was something else. For six days now, sharply at ten p.m., he let himself into Frank Sumer’s home. Every time, a new costume and character description were provided for him to memorize.
Today it’s a librarian costume with the instructions that he be helpful and quiet; yesterday’s was a nun’s habit. For some reason they were always women’s outfits. If it ever turned sexual he was ready to bolt but for now, it was kind of fun. It beat scrubbing dingy toilets.
Frank was also a different person day-to-day and never broke character. He always held the role of male lead. Eddie seriously couldn’t figure out if he had a love for theatre or if he suffered from some kind of mental health issue.
Either way, he paid well and Eddie was thrilled that by the end of next week there’d be enough money to afford a new mattress for his studio apartment. No more springs poking him while the bed bugs feasted.
Brushing back his greasy black curls, he pulled on a gray wig, and then buttoned a fuzzy green sweater over his beer gut. The calf length skirt was freeing but chilly, he wished there’d been stockings provided. As there were no heels today, he kept on his ratty sneakers.
“All set, looking lovely my dear,” he said to himself in the mirror. His blotched complexion and acne scars made him look like the ugliest woman who ever lived, but as long as Frank didn’t mind, he didn’t.
Walking into the Victorian styled parlor, Eddie froze. Frank was wearing a cape, elaborate face makeup and fangs. He was a monster. This was a surprise because usually Frank opted for something mundane like a banker, or teacher.
“Come my lovely Lily, have a seat next to Vlad.” Eddie’s discomfort must have shown on his face because Frank gave a firmer pat to the cushion, “We’ll have you back to your books soon enough, don’t worry yourself.”
He gave in and perched primly on the edge of the seat, as far away from Vlad as he politely could. He offered Eddie a delicate cup, “Tea, my Lily?” He took a dainty sip and asked, “Yes, thank you Sir Vlad. Is there anything I can help you with? A specific book perhaps?”
“I called you here today because I do require your assistance.” He leaned against Eddie’s conservative sweater and smelled his neck. Tensing up, Eddie almost shot off the couch and through the door, but repeated to himself that this was all an act, just pretend. Frank wouldn’t hurt him. “Oh..uh, oh? Wha…what can I help you with?” He kept his gaze to the ceiling, trying to keep his composure.
Out of the corner of his eye Eddie saw a flurry of material and Vlad produced an old parchment with symbols on it. “I need you to decipher this scroll for me. The key is on my desk and I will give you one hour to translate it. Do it now!” He pointed a sharpened fingernail towards the office. Eddie gulped and walked over with the scroll. He didn’t graduate past the ninth grade and could barely read English, but he’d try his best.
It turned out to be not as difficult as he’d imagined, every picture stood for a word. A drop sign equaled blood; a skull was death, and so on, all with the same dark theme. He finished and read it through, “Dark sin will be committed this night. Death rides on the dawn for your soul. Beware the gluttony of the beast lying within.” Eddie blew out a breath, “I need a new job.”
Vlad unexpectedly came from around the corner, “Ah, ah, ah, without your help my sweet morsel, how would I get my scholarly needs filled. Let me see your work!” Eddie handed the notepad to him and he smiled at the macabre translation. “Excellent, my delectable dear, shall we retire to the dining room?” Vlad gestured to the door with a fanged smile, “Ladies first..”
A cold pain bloomed in the back of his skull and Eddie fell to the carpet. Coming out of a dark fog, he felt someone poking his belly, “Rise and shine, Lily pet.” He tried to lift a hand and rub his eyes but found he was chained, spread out on a basement wall.
“Frank! What the fu…Ah!” Pain throbbed from where he’d been struck across the face. “Don’t call me that! I am Vlad… I am older than human’s knowledge of civilization. You will respect me! Am I clear Lily?” Eddie nodded yes and Vlad smiled, “Good girl.”
“Now, I’m going to…” He was interrupted by the loud clang of the basement door slamming shut and footsteps descending. Vlad’s face flashed with fear, “Oh no! It’s Mother.”
Eddie breathed a sigh of relief that he may soon escape with his life. “Help!” he yelled out to the approaching woman. The elegantly styled lady saw him chained and turned to her son, “What is this?” Frank tucked his head and softly answered, “Nothing…I was just…”
“What have I told you about playing with people this way?” She tapped her four-inch heel expectantly and scowled. The vicious smack she gave him echoed against the stone walls. “I’m sorry Mother! It won’t happen again.” He shrank away into a dark corner, sniffling.
Turning her attention to Eddie, she came close and slipped the wig from his head. Blood had pooled in it. Eddie felt the warm tickle as it began to slowly run down his neck. The woman leaned in close and gasped softly, “Oh you’re hurt, we need to do something. We can’t have you hanging here in pain.”
He smiled in relief, “I promise I won’t say a word Ma’am. I’d just…”
Eddie stopped talking and panicked at the feel of her sharp nail as it dug into the flesh of his neck. Then he screamed. A high sound he didn’t know he was capable of. All while she cleanly dragged it across his jugular; one side and then the other.
When she finished her assault she sucked her finger clean and told Frank, “You played with your food. Now you get to eat it cold and off the floor!”
She walked calmly back up the basement stairs while Eddie’s vision faded to black. His last sight was of Frank greedily licking the blood from the ground at his feet.
This story was one that just got denied for the first line magazine. I was hopeful, but they have a low acceptance rate and I understand my weirdness isn’t for everyone, so I’m not crushed. Hope you all can enjoy at least. 😊
Picture is from http://www.clipartFest.com but I did put fangs on the dude. Lol.