“Blooming Maturity And Dying Flowers” By: Evanthenerd83
“Pick one...” the little girl said and the grown woman stared at her.
It took her a minute to take it in. The pink eyes that shimmered underneath the flickering street lights. The white dress that fluttered in a gust of wind, revealing snow pale legs. She looked five. Maybe six. But the grown woman didn’t care about her age.
Because the little girl was staring back. Politely waiting.
“Um... okay,” the grown woman mumbled, quickly glancing at the selection of flowers.
There were three: a dandelion, a rose, and a white lily, in that order. Not that much of a selection. It wasn’t even an appealing selection. They looked like they had just been plucked out of the soil, dirt covering the girl’s fingers and dress. The rose still had its thorns and she didn’t like white lilies. So, that only left...
She pointed at the dandelion.
The little girl sighed and blew off its petals. They fluttered away on a gust of wind. Free and lifeless.
A single tear rolled down her cheek. It soon disappeared, seeping deep into her white skin. Which turned gray. Then black. Scales formed and broke apart. Cracks ran along her face and down her neck and down the rest of her body.
But the little girl didn’t scream as she crumbled away, arms falling to the ground and cracking into a million pebbles.
She smiled sadly at the grown woman.
“It’s finally time.”
Everything You Never Knew About Vampires By: lordbitememan
Nick sat at his desk scribbling on a post-it note. He didn’t want to be there. It was Halloween, and he wanted to be at a party somewhere getting smashed, feeling up on some slut in a devil costume. He didn’t want to be at the radio station working for his jackass boss. He slapped his pen down on his desk, turned to Vicki, the super-hot shrew of a receptionist, and asked “Think there’s any chance we get out early tonight?”
She didn’t even make eye contact. She just kept her face pointed at her notepad, and answered in a tone that betrayed some annoyance at even talking to him “You know he’s not going to. He never does.”
He always used her bitchy tone as an excuse to lay on a bit of degrading language. “Hey, when we get out why don’t you come on out and party with me. It’s Halloween, you can go as a fucking demon without even getting dressed up.”
“Party with a little jerkoff like you? I can only imagine the date rape drugs you would feed me.”
“Nothing but the best for you, Vick.”
She huffed “Asshole.”
“Speaking of assholes, what the hell is Spitzer even doing tonight?”
“Who knows what he does? Nobody questions the almighty Dick Spitzer.”
The night dragged on mercilessly. Every time Nick checked the clock he swore he saw the second hand tick backwards just once, really quick, as if to get away with it before it knew it was being watched. He stared at it, almost like a prison guard trying to keep an unruly inmate in line. His concentration was broken with the explosive sound of a door flying open. “Chambers!”
Nick damned near had a heart attack. He shot up in his seat and gasped, turning to his boss “Yes Mr. Spitzer?”
Spitzer burned in on him with his sharp, piercing eyes and thin, groomed mustache. “Chambers I’m waiting on some very important calls. I am not to be disturbed by anyone, do I make myself clear?”
Nick looked around the place. Nobody was coming in tonight. “Uh boss, I don’t think that’s going to be a . . .”
Spitzer leaned all six feet and four inches of his frame right in Nick’s face “It’ll be your ass Chambers. Your! Ass! Is your ass clear on that?”
“Yes sir, Mr. Spitzer sir.”
“Yes sir Mr. Spizter. My ass sir.”
With that Spitzer closed the door to his office with the audible click of the lock. Nick turned back to Vicki, who was sporting the widest schadenfreude grin known to man, and asked again “Seriously, what the fuck does he even do here?”
Another hour dragged on by. Nick had returned to his vigil of the clock. It mocked him with each passing second. This night was so boring. The only thing that could make it any worse was. . .
The prospect of having to hang out alone. “Magic” Melanie, the late night DJ showed up and instantly rushed over to the reception desk. “Vicki, I just got back from Cassandra’s place and got a whole new pile of demos.”
Vicki perked up “Does that mean what I think it does?”
“You know it girl! We’re gonna binge these things before the late shift!”
“Ugh, it’s been so fucking boring here tonight.”
“You know Mel’s got your back!”
“Yeah you do bitch! Let’s go.”
Nick looked up with his jaw dropped. He couldn’t believe she was abandoning him. Vicki saw him, and decided to rub it in a bit “Oh yeah maggot, answer the phones if they ring.”
With that, the two trotted off.
Nick was nodding off at his desk when he heard the door close. He snapped to a bit, wiped some drool off his face, and took a good look at the fellow who’d just walked in. The guy was as tall as a basketball player, blonde and blue eyed, with a pair of wire frame glasses on his face. He was carrying a tan leather portfolio bag with airport tags on it, and he happened to catch the word “Amsterdam” on it. “Can I help you?” Nick asked.
“Goedenavond, I’m hear to meet Mr. Dick Spitzer.”
“Uh, he actually told me he’s not to be disturbed tonight.”
“Just get on your phone and tell him Joran Haarhuis of the Eindhoven Society is here to see him.”
“Whorehouse? Your name is whorehouse?”
Haarhuis shrugged in irritation “HAAR-HUIS!”
Nick just replied “Look, he was pretty specific about not being disturbed.”
“I have come from a very long way away and I just want to meet with Mr. Spitzer for a few moments.”
“Just how far away?”
“The Netherlands. . . I. . .does it matter? Just fucking call him!”
“The Netherlands. . . like. . . Amsterdam?”
“Yes, Amsterdam is in the Netherlands, but I am from Eindhoven. . .”
“Don’t they have pot in Amsterdam?”
“And freaking hookers too, now will you call Dick Spitzer?”
Nick, with his blank, zombie-like expression replied, “But. . . my ass. . .”
“Nevermind. I’ll see what I can do.” Nick picked up the phone and paged his boss. “Yes, Mr. Spitzer, there’s some whorehouse guy here from Amsterdam.”
“HAARHUIS, you ignorant. . .”
But there was an audible scream that cut him off coming from over the phone “YOUR ASS!”
Nick put the phone back to his ear and said “I’ll ask what it’s regarding.” He cupped his hand over the speaker and asked “What is this about?”
Haarhuis regained his composure and said “Just tell him I’m here for the book.”
Nick nodded and explained “He says ‘I’m here for the book.’ Uh huh. . . uh huh. I’ll tell him. Right. My ass. Right.” And with that he hung up and explained “Mr. Spitzer says he’ll get you the book, but it’s going to take him a while and you can have a seat right there.”
Haarhuis took a seat, muttering something to the effect of “that’s more like it.”
The minutes dragged on in silence. Nick was starting to get the lingering feelings of boredom creep up on him again, so he decided to take a chance and strike up some conversation with the visitor. “So, what’s that place you come from like?”
“Eindhoven? It’s boring and ugly and I don’t want to talk about it.”
Nick muttered under his breath “dick.” He decided he desperately needed something to keep him awake, and figured a Mountain Dew from the vending machine would do the trick. He opened his wallet, fished out two singles, and shambled on over to the machine. There he saw another in a series of heartbreakers that night. The light next to “Exact Change Only” was lit. He headed over to Vicki’s desk and rifled through her drawers to see if he could dig out a quarter. Black nail polish, an assortment of lace chokers, a spare tampon, but there was no quarter in the desk. He decided to give his Dutch guest a try. “Hey buddy, do you have change for a dollar?”
Haarhuis rifled through his pockets a bit and fished out a few coins. “I can’t ever keep your coins straight. Can you take a look at them for me? Bizarre monetary system, ten cent pieces bigger than quarter dollar pieces or however it is you people do it.”
Nick counted through them a bit “You have a dime and three pennies.”
“Oh, well, let me see if I have some” he ruffled through his pockets some more, and pulled out several objects. He piled a lighter, some dental floss, his passport, and then a coin roll.
“Right there! Those are quarters!”
Haarhuis clamped his hand around the roll and explained “these aren’t for spending.”
“Uh, they’re quarters. That’s sort of what they’re made for.”
“No, you don’t understand. They’re old coins. Silver.”
“You know it’s illegal to melt down US currency for scrap, right?”
Haarhuis sighed “They’re not for melting either.”
“So. . . what are they for?”
“Don’t worry about what they’re for. They’re not for spending and not for melting. That’s all you need to. . .”
Before Haarhuis could finish his words they were immersed in darkness. Nick looked up “Ahhh shit. Looks like a power outage.”
Haarhuis’ next words betrayed a subtle level of fear. “Does this happen often?”
Nick scratched his head a bit. He couldn’t recall it ever happening. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen this.”
The emergency lights kicked on, bathing the men in a dull red light. Haarhuis said grimly “this isn’t good.”
Nick asked “I’m not going to get my Mountain Dew, am I?”
The two made their way cautiously under the faint emergency lights down the hall. Nick had hoped to just wait in the lobby for the power to come back on, or, more optimistically, just be dismissed for the rest of the evening. Haarhuis, instead insisted that they head to the building’s emergency shelter. Nick couldn’t understand why, but the Dutchman was insistent. And after several minutes of arguing, with Haarhuis growing increasingly frantic and Mr. Spitzer nowhere in sight, he caved. Nick was about to press him on the matter, when the two heard a very audible and sinister sound of a woman laughing.
“Christ!” Haarhuis exclaimed. He reached into his bag and pulled out a bottle. He halted Nick, unscrewed the cap from the bottle, and spilled the contents in a line directly in front of them. Then, he turned back around and did the same a few feet behind them. “Whatever you do, young man, stay between these lines.”
“Um, what the hell is that?”
“Cinnamon. . .” a very sultry and seductive voice replied. “The hot, sweet spice.”
Nick was confused, but soon saw the very sinister looking smile of Vicki emerge into the emergency lights. “Oh, you. Come on, we’re heading down to the. . .”
Haarhuis quickly cut him off “Don’t tell her our plans!”
Vicki laughed, and bent down to reveal some ample cleavage “Oh Nicky, don’t you want to stay here with me and play a bit?”
Nick’s eyebrows shot up. . . among other things. He demanded “Are you fucking with me right now?”
She stepped into the emergency light a little further, revealing a trickle of blood down her neck. “What I want to do with you involves some fucking, alright.”
“Hey Whorehouse, I’m gonna be back in a second. . .”
“Stop right now!” The Dutchman cried “Look at her neck!”
Nick looked quickly to see two puncture wounds and streams of blood down her neck. “Shit! Vicky, we’ve got to get you to a hospital!”
“Oh Nicky. . . I don’t need a hospital, just some good, hard, deep action!”
Nick was really, really having trouble justifying staying behind the cinnamon line at this point. “Look, uh, I’m just going to slip off with her to the bathroom for a minute. . .”
Haarhuis was adamant “Can’t you see she’s. . . oh to hell with protocol, she’s a vampire!”
Nick looked at him incredulously “Vampire?”
Vicky stuck her lip out in a seductive pout “Don’t listen to him Nick. He sucks, and I want to play!”
Nick looked at Haarhuis “Um, you’re really, really asking for a lot of faith on my part right now.”
“You fool! She’s got fang wounds in her neck! Look! She’s a vampire!”
“Nicky. . . I know you’ve been looking at me every single day you worked here. I know you want me Nicky.”
“Christ do I ever!”
Haarhuis reached into his bag again, pulled out a jar, and said “I can see reason is lost on you young man. So let me fix this issue with your libido.” He splashed the contents of the jar over Vicki’s face and shouted “show your true form!”
Vicki shrieked loudly and her face soon contorted into a twisted, demonic form with a bat-like snout and her fangs bared. Nick recoiled in terror, as Vicki soon mocked “what’s the matter Nicky, don’t you want to fuck me no more?”
Nick was white as a sheet. He was sitting on the floor, careful as possible to stay between the cinnamon lines. Haarhuis was calmly seated opposite him. Vicky stood just beyond the line, patiently awaiting some slip up out of the two. After a while Nick broke the silence. “Are you sure she can’t cross the line?”
“I never heard anything about cinnamon keeping vampires away before.”
“Well, there’s many things people don’t know about vampires.” the Dutchman replied.
“Like that they exist?” Nick reminded him.
“Well, there’s that.”
“And what did you throw in her face?”
“Simple olive oil. It’s another little known fact about them, throwing olive oil in vampire’s face can force them to reveal their true vampiric form.”
“How do you know all this shit? Are you, like, Van Helsing or something?” Nick asked.
Haarhuis lost a measure of his composure for a moment. “Oh for Christ’s. . . We let Bram Stoker in once, he reads the damned credits page of the book, and suddenly a low level research associate is the professor vampire killer of record! This is why we don’t let people see the books, right here!”
“Wait, what? What book?”
Haarhuis was silent for a moment, then he explained. “I am part of a society that has been in operation since the 1600s, The Eindhoven Society.”
“No, so much more. We are researchers of all things paranormal, occult, unnatural, supernatural, you name it. We have studied for over four hundred years, probing subjects that baffle the mind, that challenge mortal understanding itself. We have field tested methods, studied sources from tombs more ancient than the pyramids, and seen the twilight realms between worlds.”
“And Van Helsing worked with you guys?” Nick asked.
“Yes,” the jaded Dutchman replied “as a bit player of sorts. Nowhere near the foremost expert on vampires. That was a Frenchman, Dr. Pierre Monteforte. He was brilliant. Heh. There’s actually a portrait of Van Helsing on the toilet over one of our fireplaces. Monteforte burst into the outhouse one night, committed the image to memory, and painted the whole thing from those few seconds of viewing it. It’s was the 1800s equivalent of you kids bursting in and snapping pictures of one another in the toilet.”
“People don’t really do that anymore. It’s kinda sick.”
“And his contributions to the study were astounding. I mean, after all, Stoker only read two pages of the book and he penned the greatest vampire novel in human history. Well, second if you count our own.”
“Damn Whorehouse, you guys are pretty serious about your vampires.”
“As I was saying,” the Dutchman angrily continued. . .
“Blah, blah, blah” Vicky interrupted. “You bore me. And I’ve remembered something about cinnamon.” She leaned over to the line on the floor and began to blow on it “It’s so very, very light.”
Nick recoiled in terror “Um. . . you didn’t tell me she could do that.”
Haarhuis, stroked his chin vigorously, “They all figure it out eventually. Just give me a moment to think.”
Vicky blew harder, kicking up clouds of the cinnamon and clearing more and more space for her to slip through their little barrier. Nick begged in a quivering voice “Think faster!”
Haarhuis fumbled a bit in his pockets, then dropped his pants to his ankles. “Well, we’re cooked! Guess it’s time to have some fun before we go.”
Vicky just laughed “Ha ha, foolish man. Play time is over. But I’ll be happy to tear that off first.”
“Come on baby! Reach out and touch foreskin!”
Vicky’s hand slowly reached out as she smirked with malicious intent. When she was within mere inches of emasculating him, Haarhuis dropped a quarter into her outstretched hand. As soon as it reached her hand she screamed. Her shrieks quickly faded from existence as she simply disappeared. Nick’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “What the fuck was that?”
“A coin to pay the ferryman. An undead can’t stay tied to this world once he can pay the fare.”
“Is that in your vampire book?”
“Yes,” Haarhuis explained “The Eindhoven Society Tome of Vampires. It contains this and so many other facts about vampires, everything you won’t find in goddamn Bram Stoker.”
Nick paused a moment, and asked “Do you think he smoked up in Amsterdam?”
Haarhuis stared at Nick in disbelief. “You’ve just learned that vampires are real, that Bram Stoker created the greatest horror story in history after visiting our society, and that you can kill vampires with a coin in the hand. You are now one of three people in this hemisphere that knows all this, and you want to know if Bram Stoker smoked pot in Amsterdam?”
“How in the hell should I know? Come on, I’m all out of cinnamon and all out of olive oil. Your friend was clearly turned to a vampire here. That means there’s at least one vampire still out there.”
Nick quickly exclaimed “The break room! There might be something you can use there!”
“Brilliant idea!” Haarhuis said. “There might be cinnamon there by the coffee machine. Could they possibly have some olive oil too?”
“No. No coffee machine. And no olive oil either. But. . . there might be some Hot Pockets there. You can do things to vampires with Hot Pockets, right?”
Haarhuis muttered just audibly “Hot Pockets. More money and power than any country in human history and America invents Hot Pockets. Come on, I’ll find some other means of disposing of the remaining vampires.”
“You still need to pull your pants back up.”
From the break room, the two set about planning their next step. Haarhuis assured Nick that there were enough ways to kill a vampire that this wasn’t a concern. What was a concern was locating the other vampire in the building. Nick suggested “Maybe it’s Spitzer. Please tell me we can kill Dick Spitzer.”
Haarhuis assured him “There is no way it’s Mr. Spitzer. I can assure you that much.”
“Well, the only other person it could be is Melanie the evening DJ. . . who was just in a room with Vicki. . . okay, I get it.”
“Oh do you hun?”
The two turned to see Melanie, fangs exposed, staring right at them.
“Umm. . . yeah. Hi Mel.”
Melanie said in a huff “Save it. You two just killed my bestie. Now there’s going to be hell to pay.”
“Uh, Whorehouse, what’s the plan.”
Haarhuis indignantly replied “Before we die I’m going to make you pronounce my name properly just once, or I’ll rip out your damn tongue.”
“Oh, no, I’m the only one who’s ripping out any tongues tonight boys.”
“Fuck this, we’re getting out of here!” Nick yelled. He grabbed a break room chair and smashed through the drywall of the room. The two dashed out into the hallway. They stumbled clumsily through the poorly lit corridor, with the demonic laughter of Melanie hanging over them the whole way. They reached the lobby once more, and turned to face the oncoming vampire. Instead, they were greeted by a flash of light and audible grunt.
“The cinnamon line!” Haarhuis exclaimed. “Vicki only blew away the first one, the second one is intact still.”
“Great, so that buys us some time.”
Even as they spoke, they could hear the sounds of Melanie blowing at the spice.
“I need you to think very, very clearly. Do you have anything, anything at all that you’re carrying?”
“A condom, a rewards card from Ling’s Massage Parlor, two and a half Viagra, a honey packet from KFC. . .”
“The honey!” Haarhuis said excitedly, “Give it to me quickly!”
Nick fished out the packet and gave it to the Dutchman. As he tore it open Melanie cleared enough of the cinnamon to pass through the barrier and dash into the lobby. Haarhuis squirted it onto the floor in front of her. She lunged at him, but immediately dropped to the ground. Haarhuis reeled backward, but was safe from her clutches. She tugged at her right leg, screaming and shrieking the whole time. The foot, though, was stuck to the ground, and it refused to move.
Haarhuis picked himself up off the ground, laughed, and explained “That one is Egyptian. The mystical powers of honey, they swore by them.”
Nick asked “So, how long do we have till she’s free.”
“We have plenty of time. We can dispatch the vampire at our leisure.”
“Stake through the heart?”
Haarhuis shook his head. “Alas, I don’t have an oak stake. Besides, that one is a lot more complicated than you’ve heard.”
“Sneak a coin into her hand?”
“No. . . it would work, but she’d almost certainly bite by the time the coin got there.”
Nick shrugged “I could go to the grocery store, get a garlic clove to jam in her mouth.”
Haarhuis explained “You know, garlic actually does not kill vampires.”
“No, they just hate the smell. ‘Most rancid thing on Earth’ they complain. This is one of the principal reasons why there has never been a major vampire outbreak in Italy. There was a rumored one once, but that just turned out to be. . .”
Just then the door to Spitzer’s office was thrust open. He immediately began pelting them with questions “Why are the lights out? Why are we on dead air right now? Why is she screaming? Oh. . .” Spitzer could see the vampiric fangs and twisted, demonic face of Melanie. He walked over, put a hand on her shoulder, and said “go to hell.” Melanie instantly erupted into a cloud of flame and was gone from the world.
Nick turned to Haarhuis and asked “We could have just done that all along?”
Haarhuis said “No, just him.”
“What do you mean just him.”
“It’s complicated.” Haarhuis then turned to Spitzer “Mr. Spitzer, you look different than the last time I saw you.”
“Very funny Haarhuis. You’ve come for the book, I take it?”
“The society misses its property.”
Spitzer handed him the book. He then looked at Nick and said “You’re going to forget everything you saw here tonight. You’re going to clean this place. And if I’m disturbed one more time it’s your ass!”
Spitzer returned to his office, and as soon as he closed the door the lights flared back to life. “Always happens when the threat has cleared.” Harhuis said.
“So, you’re heading out now I guess?”
“Yes. It was a pleasure meeting you, Nick, but I came for the Society’s book, and now that Spitzer has given it back I have to return with it.”
Nick had a mind to ask “Any chance I could read a couple pages of the Tome of Vampires there?”
“Oh, this isn’t the Tome of Vampires,” Haarhuis explained “That’s back in Eindhoven. This is another of our books, The Eindhoven Society’s Tome of Hell. Still think you want to read it?”