"A cage, Brent?" Rutherford Zucks asked. "Please tell me you didn't lock me up in a cage."
"But, Master, the vet insisted," he answered. "You were sneezing and coughing so bad I had to take you to an exotic animal vet who would see me after office hours."
"I seem to remember someone calling me an ugly varmint."
"That was the nurse at the vet's. It's a good thing I took you, too, 'cause you almost lost a claw, uh, I mean toe, and your ears were frostbit," the young man answered.
The older man nodded. On the top part of his ears were two bandaids. The skin still bothered him sometimes, especially when it got cold. "I'm so grateful you rescued me, though, I don't mean to sound grouchy."
"I had to wait till the Sheriff left to get you out of the tree. Your wings had frozen and wouldn't let you fly down. Then after the third night when the medicine kicked in, you were flying around outside hunting mice," Brent explained, "even though I kept a bowl of fresh nourishment in your cage."
"Mice! I hate mice! That's why Momma always had a cat, sweet little Fluffy, she was a pretty white cat," he recalled.
Brent frowned and said, "I don't remember a cat."
"I kept her for two years after Momma passed on. Fluffy died of old age, and I buried her beside Momma."
Brent laughed. "You know, it was kind of embarrassing the vet wanting to know how you ate since you had no teeth."
"Very funny, I think since the weather has warmed up some, I'd like to visit Momma's grave. There's such a great full moon out there tonight," Rutherford said.
Brent held up a poster he brought from the library. "Master, it's nearly that time again. They're planning ramp dinners at the church."
Rutherford shivered. The last time the air was full of ramps cooking and being chopped, he broke out in hives, sneezed, and his eyes watered. He was totally miserable.
"Master, we got an email from Amanda saying she and Purple Lips would meet us at the same biker bar this year during Biker Week."
"Such fine memories. I think tomorrow night I'd like to go shopping for a black leather vest."
"Fine, Master. Come outside. There's something I'd like to show you." The two men went out to the red pickup truck. Brent unlocked the six-foot tool box coffin installed down the side instead of across the back of the truck bed. The Master gasped in delight. There instead of an old quilt and pillow was an egg-crate mattress cut to fit and a pillow, both covered with black sheets and a pillowcase. "That's not all, Master," he said and pointed to the radio at the top of the coffin-like tool box. "You can listen to music, too."
Rutherford exclaimed, "This is wonderful! Now, I can travel in style. This is the perfect solution for traveling during the day." He looked up in the sky at the bright moon shining down. He held up his face to the sky. "I guess I could start on my moon tan soon."
Brent answered, "Yes, Master, you always look better with a tan."
"Let's go out and visit Momma's grave, and then we'll gather things early to pack for Biker Week. I wonder if they still remember the Wooden Stake Boogie. Amanda and I had so much fun dancing that night," Rutherford said.
The two men walked back to the house and up a small knoll for one grave surrounded by early yellow daffodils. Rutherford picked one and put it on his mother's grave. He sneezed and groaned. "Oh, no, ramps are already in the air. I must get out of this air soon."
"Master, we'll leave as soon as we can."
A bat flew around the two men and came towards Rutherford's face as it squawked and squeaked loudly at him. Brent tried to shoo it off but it still circled Rutherford. "Master, is that bat talking to you? I don't understand bat talk."
Rutherford closed his eyes and shook his head. "I swear I never saw this bat before in my life, but she thinks we're engaged."
"Oh, Master. I guess we'll have to leave town in the daylight so she won't follow us."
Rutherford sneezed and his eyes started watering. The bat flew into the sky and swooped down near his face. "Run for it, Master! She means business!" Brent told him as they ran back to the house.
Rutherford moaned and said, "Is there no refuge? Man's days are full of trouble and woe, but so are a vampire's." He lowered his head looking forward to better days at the beach.
To purchase a copy of Beverly's book, Gothic Bedtime Stories, contact her at P. O. Box 803, Alderson, WV, 24910 or by email: hbpoe(at)excite.com. The cost of the book is $15.00 -- mention the Piker Press for free shipping.