Portrait of a Modern Vampire

“The Count was clearly a fair-minded man. Anyone who didn’t think so deserved to die.” ~ Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett

Your blood means little
to him, fear and praise are food.
Starve his vanity—
make him choke on your backbone,
drown his madness with your truth.

His mirrors spew fibs
he spreads like Agent Orange.
Give him no access—
protect your yard with knowledge,
fight what lies in the gas! GAS!

His mirror spews fibs.

for the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads and Vampire’s Day Soirée.

by Anna Kulakovskaja

Special Interests

June 22, 2013
New York, New York

Dearest Raven,

Sharing the blood of wannabe murderous psychopaths has eerie effects on the psyche. I spent most of the morning helping Sweet Darn sort severed extremities for her father’s home clinic, hoping the busy work would distract my anxiety. I had sent an urgent letter to Great-Grand-Papa and received no reply. Then I telephoned and no one answered.

“Give him time”, Sweet Darn said to me, placing an arm with big hands and long fingers in a drawer labeled Possibly a Pianist.

I levitated an arm with a pirate hook in the end, dropped it in a huge Special Interests box, and said nothing.

Sweet Darn smiled, mayhap to comfort me.

I trembled, wondering if she knew that no one could be reassured of anything, while watching her grin stretch the sutures crisscrossing the skin of her cheeks. I opened my mouth to ask her, but the sound of approaching steps and Mama’s words hushed me.

Mama was telling Sweet Darns’ father that she knew what was best for me. Since I did not wish to tell Mama exactly what I thought about her knowledge, I urged Sweet Darn to hide with me behind the Special Interests box. For a moment, I worried Mama would smell our scents, then I remembered that her daily perfumed bath blinded her senses.

“We can’t truly know our children if we don’t talk to them, Ms. Tepes.” Sweet Darn’s father pulled a folder out of a filing cabinet set against the wall opposite to where we hid. “Limb transplants involves complex surgery. I rather the three of us discussed—”

Mama silenced Sweet Darn’s father with a raised hand. She told him that I was a minor and she the parent, then ordered him to sedate me before I went to bed, and to perform the transplant while I slumbered. “My Drusilla will awaken whole and happy. She will think her perfect new body was a gift from The Stitcher herself.”

It was the ill-informed joy I heard in Mama’s voice that made me lose control, Raven. Screaming a “No!” that was the raw rage of a hurt beast, I slammed my will into the steel box that hid me, levitated it three feet, and pushed it forward until its bulk trapped my mother against the wall. When my mother tried to speak, the arm with the pirate hook rose out of the box to level itself with her neck, its tip just centimeters from her jugular.

Sweet Darn called my name in that soft, frightened voice reserved for talking to rabid animals and to people in deathbeds… The sort of voice that says the speaker wants to give no offense, since it cannot tell if the listener is going to attack or just die.

“Drusilla Amarantha Tepes, control yourself.” The new voice knew neither softness nor fright. The force that fed its tone gripped my bones and blood and will, made the hook twitch in midair. “Control yourself, or this fury will control you, Great-Granddaughter.”

My rage felt good, Raven. I wanted to keep it. But I did not. I would not give anyone or anything that much control over me.

I pulled the steel box away from my mother, let the hook fall to the floor, and hovered out of the room without saying a word or looking at anyone.

Sweet Darn and her father are proper behavior connoisseurs. They stayed put. But my mother and Great-Grand-Papa never heard of the respect one should pay to a dramatic exit. If I had feet, my mother and Great-Grand-Papa would have stepped right on my heels. They followed me to the Darn’s library and closed the door behind them.

“Drusilla, I need to talk to you”, my mother said.

“No, Llanelli,” Great-Grand-Papa told her, “you need to listen.”

“She is my daughter, Father.”

“And you are mine, child.” Great-Grand-Papa walked closer to my mother, and told her that if she did not tell me why she was behaving half insane, then he would tell me.

Raven, you will not believe it. My mother wants to get me armed and legged because she believes that if I look like everyone else, then my life in society will be easier than hers has been. You see, my parents did not wed for love, money, or any other traditional motive. They chose each other because of their surnames. My mother thought marrying a Bethory would give her a grander and gorier status. My father believed marrying a Tepes would mean sharing his life with a ruthless, imaginative murderess, who would protect him from stronger predators and assist him in the bullying of weaker ones.

My father ran off after learning that neither Great-Grand-Papa nor my mother killed for sport—the Tepes family rejected games like Two Legs and a Bloodied Stump Races and Stick the Stiletto in the Urbanite’s Eyeball generations ago, that sort of screaming is unhealthy for the ear. My mother was shocked to discover that my father was a bloody coward, but not enough to stop pretending that she had not attempted to deceived him.

I am staying at Sweet Darn’s house for a few days. Great-Grand-Papa is taking me home, to Wildwoods, to gather my things. He lives too far away from any school that can teach our kind. But he spoke to Mistress Claudia, and she said that Camp Cute, Creepy and (quite conveniently) Remote would be thrilled to have me as a permanent resident, while I complete my schooling.

My new living arrangements hurt my mother’s feelings. I am sorry she still fails to see. I wish she could understand that people must grow up, before they can be parents.

Missing you terribly,
Drusilla Amarantha Tepes, the Only

P.S. Sweet Darn’s father has bleached skulls and small bones looking for a good home. Would you please ask Roseblood if her dolly could use any new teeth?

the wee notes…
– The 5th letter: Four Sutural Enhancements and a Velvet Cape.
– I’m not sure when the 7th of Drusilla’s letters will be published. Maybe in 3 months, for May Monster Madness. Or sooner… if her constant whispering turns into shouts. 😉
– Linked to Holly’s Vampire’s Day Soirée. Fly over to her blog, and see what wonders others have written, painted, photographed, brewed, bled… *cough, cough, cough*.

Drusilla, in front of the portraits of two of her ancestors,
Elizabeth Báthory (the Blood Countess) and Vlad III (the Impaler)
by Emma Yardis, mistress of Groovy Gothic