"Master, it's almost time for Amanda and Purple Lips," Brent Field said. The older man leaned closer to the television set.
A young blonde held a microphone, waiting for her cue. She announced, "Welcome, everyone, to the cutting edge of Gothic fashion. I'm Cilly Thomas reporting live at this year's Ingenue Fashion Show. Believe it or not, folks, these designers just finished their first year at fashion school. Now, coming down the runway is our first designer/model." The camera panned to Purple Lips, tall and thin, strutting down the runway in dark purple jeans, leather jacket, and knee high boots. She pulled the jacket tight over her bare chest.
Ms. Thomas: "Wow, just look at her. Her purple spiked hair matches her purple nail polish and lipstick. I believe this is the beginning of a new trend. Purple is the new black."
Rutherford asked, "But where is Amanda?"
"Probably back stage. Wow, didn't Purple Lips look like a real model? Oh, Master, I think that's Amanda."
Amanda hesitated just a moment and then strutted down the runway. Rutherford's mouth dropped open when he spotted her blond hair spotted with purple bangs. "Oh, I hope that washes out." Amanda's legs were shown to good advantage in a purple mini-skirt and knee high purple boots. She also wore a white lace blouse over a lavender bustier.
Ms. Thomas: "These young ladies deserve a hand. Not only did they design their ensembles but they modeled them, as well."
Rutherford's face beamed with pride. "Brent, we need to send the girls a 'Congratulations' e-mail and purple roses."
Ms. Thomas: Viewers, stay tuned to Vampire Network News and my new entertainment show, Cilly News." She paused for dramatic effect. "First, new information on the continuing Zuckfields and McBiters feud. New accusations of proselytizing members threaten to disrupt their uneasy compromise. In a telephone interview last night, Mr. Rutherford Zucks denies reprogramming members of the Dracula Traditionalists, who advocate upholding the old ways. Zucks, founder of Biters Anonymous, states, 'It is possible for the modern vampire to obtain blood sustenance without violence to human kind.' These new developments raise tensions as we ask the important question: Will the Vampire's Ball be a success this year? And, now a word from our sponsors, Fangs R Us."
"Are your fangs dull? Conveniently located beside the Blood Bank. Drop in and sharpen your fangs while you wait."
Ms. Thomas: "Join us as we debate that important question: Was Shakespeare a vampire? We will first examine 'The Tempest,' in which the famous bard quotes: 'On bats' wings do I fly' ...
Rutherford groaned. "Turn off that silly program."
Brent agreed. "It takes one like that to give all vampires a bad name. Makes them all look dumb."
The phone rang. Brent got up quickly to answer and listen to the excited voice on the other side. "Master, it's Purple Lips. They'll meet us at the Vampire's Ball. They're still on Cloud Nine over the fashion show, and now a designer wants to arrange a business lunch with them both.
"Wonderful." Rutherford continued, "What a beautiful Halloween Eve this night will be."
A full moon presided over the royal night for the vampire world. The community building was ablaze with activity. Cars and hearses arrived with happy partygoers. Rutherford smiled when he saw Cilly Thomas standing in the doorway as everyone entered to walk on the Purple Carpet.
Ms. Thomas: "Welcome to the Annual Vampire Ball in the secluded mountains of West Virginia. Everyone who is anyone is here. Looking around the crowd, I see the Who's Who of the vampire world. We can only hope that cooler heads prevail in light of the recent vampire feud."
Rutherford walked in through the door wearing a stiff, rented tuxedo. Brent, likewise, squirmed in his suit, missing his comfy jeans and polo shirt. He guided the faithful bloodhound, Vlad, to the second story men's bathroom to take a nap.
Entering the large ballroom generously decorated in purple and black, the two men saw their dates. Amanda wore a strapless lavender satin gown and high heels with diamond stars on the toes. Luckily, no purple residue remained in her blond bangs. However, Purple Lips proudly sported spiked hair, a short eggplant-colored dress with medium high pumps. She walked haltingly, unsure the shoes were not plotting to topple her over.
Brent asked the girls, "Is this your first Vampire's Ball?"
Amanda said, "Yeah, and it's so exciting. By the way, will Anne Rice be here?"
Rutherford laughed. "We wish, but no."
Amanda said, "We're going to have a ball anyway." The band started a Red Hot Chili Pepper song, 'American Ghost Dance.' "Let's join the dancers."
Rutherford felt somewhat awkward in the tight tux and black dress shoes, but soon the two couples danced comfortably as if they were still at the Biker Bar. After the dance music ended, Rutherford and Brent walked to the refreshment tables to see bowls of sparkling red punch. Tags identified the "real" blood offerings: sugar free, vegetarian, and regular. Rutherford chose a regular blend. Brent walked to the alternative drink offerings for sparkling champagnes and ginger ales for himself, Amanda, and Purple Lips.
All four sat around a table brightly lit with black candles. Purple Lips drank her champagne and tried to ignore her aching feet, longing for her customary motorcycle boots. Brent whispered to Rutherford, "Master, there's one of the McBiters staring our way. Do you think there'll be trouble?"
"I hardly think so in front of so many witnesses. They'll want all the good publicity they can get with Miss Bubble Head over there. Speaking of her, here she comes with her camera guy."
Ms. Thomas: "This is Cilly Thomas reporting live at the Vampire Ball, a resounding success this year as usual. We're just one hour away from the midnight countdown for Halloween's Eve and that kiss from someone special."
Amanda shook her head and rolled her eyes. "Did you see that dress? What was she thinking?" The men and Purple Lips stared at Cilly's purple froufrou tufted taffeta she called a couture evening gown.
Purple Lips agreed, "Looks like she got caught in a paper shredder."
Amanda stood up. "We'll be right back. Going to the little girls' 'bat' room."
Rutherford sipped his blood cocktail. "So far, so good. Maybe this evening will turn out all right."
Brent's cell phone rang a moment later. Rutherford said, "Oh, no, I hope Vlad has been a good dog."
"Master, that's Purple Lips. Someone has locked them in the bathroom, and they can't get the door open."
Cilly rushed after the two men as they ran to the bathroom area. She had an ear for trouble that could pick up the slightest rumblings and the instincts of a piranha to be first on the scene.
The bathroom door stood open with a wooden wedge lying just under the bathroom sink, alongside Purple Lips' cell phone.
Rutherford ran over to the mirror to read a note taped thereon. He read aloud, "So, you think you're so smart and superior? Well, read the rhyme below to solve the puzzle to find the girls before dawn. As the great Sherlock Holmes once said, 'The game is afoot.'"
Brent stood in stunned silence. Then he took a deep breath and read the first clue:
T'is the night of All Saint's Eve.
Will you search high or low?
As a spider's web will weave
For you are too late to follow.
Cilly yelled to her camera man. "Are you sure you got all that? Let's go live, now!"
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.