He spots his prey as soon he enters the bar. He stands beside her and she smiles at him. She will soon be another victim of his superior power. After all these years, he is still eager, and he’s not sure if his anticipation is due to his hunger or how he’s looking forward to the thrill of seeing her trembling before him when she discovers he is a terrifying monster.

It isn’t long before she says she wants to leave, and she takes his offered arm. They walk to her house. He knows it is close. He knows she lives alone. He is a skilled stalker, a bright wolf among these inferior sheep.

She pauses at her door. “I don’t usually do this,” she says.

Of course, she must invite him. He loves that tiny tease, the highly remote possibility that he might fail, when he must once again rely on his finely honed skills.

“I don’t usually do this either. What kind of man do you think I am?”

She laughs. His charm has won another one. Still smiling, she says, “Come in.”

In a flash, she’s lying beneath him on her bed, and he’s looking at the white expanse of flesh revealed by her low-cut blouse, especially her neck.

“Eager, aren’t you? Well, so am I,” she says.

As he leans forward he reveals his fangs.

“You’re a vampire! No! Help!” she screams.

He rises as though he’d seen that ancient enemy, Van Helsing. “You call that frightened? Actress? I can see why you’re driven to prostitution.”

“Wait!” she says, “Let me try again.”

“Don’t worry. I’m not going to stiff you.” He throws the bills on her bed with disdain and starts toward the door.

“Hey! Times change. Just give me a quick bite. I’ll give the money back. Your kind is so in now.”

“In?” He shakes his head. He never thought he’d live to see a world so twisted that ancient evil was attractive. “In?” he says, continuing out.

“How about I scream? I can scream good. Listen. Help! Help!”

He leaves, her horribly false, so not bone-chilling scream sounding like the grating of fingernails on a blackboard to his acutely sensitive ears.

# # #

Paying for It by Ed Kratz
originally published in the Fall 2011 print edition



Ed Kratz is a career civil servant resuming writing after a long hiatus. He's an affiliate member of the HWA based upon his short story, "Poppa," being published in the Space and Time Anthology, "Bringing Down The Moon" many years ago. He has recently had stories published in OG's Speculative Fiction #12. Every Day Fiction, and The Shine Journal.

For more of Ed's work,
visit his Big Pulp author page


This feature and more great
fiction & poetry are available in
Big Pulp Fall 2011:
On the Road from Galilee

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