Moonlight filtered through the window of Rutherford's mountain home. The brightness did not lift his spirits as he read the local newspaper. "Brent, look at this," he said as he read the headline, "'Rabies Confirmed in Another WV Bat.' This really sucks. I've been cooped up in this house for over a week. There's a full moon out tonight, makes even the sane act like lunatics."
His young guardian replied, "It'll be over soon, Master, and then you can spread your wings and fly in the moonlit sky. Oh, I forgot to tell you, Amanda sent an e-mail. She's sure we won't have to cancel the Halloween party. She said she and Purple Lips have already got their costumes, and they're looking forward to meeting the new puppy Vlad."
"With so much bad news," the older man said, "it's good to hear something positive." He laid down the newspaper and picked up another, The Bat Times. He gasped as he read the headlines, 'Renegade Vampire Seeks Revenge on Members of Biters Anonymous.'
"What's the matter, Master?"
Rutherford said, "Cody has escaped. Our intervention was too late. We knew he was in big trouble when he prank called the Bat Crisis line."
"Do they know where he is?"
The older man said, "Listen to this in the newspaper. 'Cody Welch was last seen flying East from the Vampire Rehabilitation Hospital. Please do not approach this individual as he is considered fanged and dangerous.'"
"But, Master, will he come to West Virginia?"
"I'm afraid that's exactly where he's headed. You must pack tonight and leave immediately. Cody will come after me first, and I don't want you anywhere near." He looked over at the fireplace. "And take Vlad with you." The bloodhound wagged his tail as he heard his name.
The sky lit up and shortly cracked with thunder. Brent said, "Don't worry, Master, I'll be strong and diligent. He won't get past us, right Vlad?" He patted the puppy on the head, and Vlad rolled over to get his belly rubbed.
"No, no, there's nothing worse than a vampire on the edge. Speaking of," Rutherford said as he looked out the window, "I'm going to be a vampire on the edge soon. This weather is the pits. It's raining cats and dogs out there. It's not a fit night to be out for man nor bat."
Brent looked at his Master with concern for his health. Rutherford Zucks felt the cold deep down in his old bones and needed to bask in the warm moonlight to get his circulation going. The young man said, "I don't want to leave but -- "
"Please, I must have quiet to think my strategy through, and it'll be easier if I'm not worrying about your and Vlad." Rutherford took off his glasses and took a long sip of cool red nourishment, blood from a funeral home, kept in a water cooler in his living room. "What is really concerning me is the possibility of violence. I vowed non-violence, and now I wonder what I will do when faced with evil."
Brent nodded his head in agreement.
"And if I resort to violence, will I fall victim to blood lust addiction?" His eyes were filled with sadness. "Now, you go pack and I want to see those suitcases before I go to bed in the morning."
Rutherford lay in his coffin, his mind filled with swirling thoughts and fears. He slept deeply and a puppy howled in his dreams. His eyes popped open -- this was no dream. Something was wrong. He felt it in his stomach as it rolled over in nauseating fear. His hands trembled as he yelled out, "Brent Field, come here, I need you." Then he remembered he'd sent the young man away. The lid was so heavy, but he pushed with all his strength to open it. He sat up and recognized Vlad's howling protest. He saw the angry puppy pinned between the couch and the wall. He was surprised at his own strength as he moved the heavy couch to release Vlad. With impending doom sinking deep in his heart, he ran to Brent's bedroom. An empty suitcase lay open on the floor.
Rutherford thought of all the times that Brent had rescued him, like the time he was arrested for releasing all the bats destined for exotic fare at a gourmet restaurant. Then there was the time he was stuck in bat form and frozen to a tree limb; another time he drank blonde blood and went through a vanity phase in his life dyeing his thin hair blonde and nearly going into hysterics at the prospect of dark roots. He never again wanted to relive that nearly deadly experience with the time he suffered from swine flu and amnesia.
But there were also happy times. The most important rescue was a lonely old vampire too tired to live. Brent gave him the inspiration to live when they went to Biker Week. He remembered the wonderful warm nights in Daytona Beach riding motorcycles, the invigorating moontan that gave him a new lease on life, and the good times and dancing in the Biker Bar. And what fantastic Halloween parties they had. His favorite costume was Willie Nelson, while Brent Field with his red hair was a perfect Carrot Top.
Vlad interrupted his thoughts as he sniffed the foot of the bed. Where was Brent? Had Cody kidnapped him or worse? He refused to think of the possibility and pulled back the comforter on Brent's bed. He fell to his knees in horror as he saw the bloody bat's head lying on the sheets.
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.