Drawing of a mouth with vampire fangs. Caption reads: "To kill her would only take one bite."

Fangs short story by Iris Carden

She shouldn’t have invited him home. They could come in any time if you have invited them in once. She just wasn’t on her game that night.

She’d acted like a victim, going to his favourite haunt. She sat at the bar, where the last three victims had sat, and pretended to be drunk. He appeared, acted charming, and she’d pretended to go along with it.

She could have led him anywhere. But she’d done the thing her mother had told her never to do. She’d invited him home. His previous victims had invited him to their homes. She needed to do what they had done to keep him from suspecting. He would have questioned going to a hotel room, or a back alley. So she’d taken him home.

It all went wrong. He was a much older vamp than she realised, and he was well-fed. He was incredibly strong. He pulled the silver cross from her throat with only a minor burn to his hand that he didn’t even acknowledge. Then grabbed her wrist and wrenched the stake from her hand as she plunged it into his chest. It wasn’t enough to pierce his heart, just to leave a gaping wound. He threw her across the room and then he ran out into the night.

Now, she was alone, at home, knowing she had to leave, before he came back. He was too strong for her to fight. She needed to recruit help. She would have to call the family. First she needed to leave this place he could come back to at any time. The only possible reasons for him leaving when he did were to play with his food, or to wait until it struggled less. He would probably wait until she slept, was vulnerable, wouldn’t fight.

She peeled a bulb of garlic and ate it raw. Then she started to throw things into a suitcase. Clothes, passports in multiple names and nationalities, a few bundles of cash, the stake, garlic, silver and the Bible which formed her tools of trade.

Normally she travelled to the job, and stayed in a good hotel at the client’s expense. This time there was no client. This was her own city. She couldn’t let a vamp run loose in her own city. It affected her reputation, was bad for business.

She called a local hotel and booked a room under her original name, Sarah Helsing.

She was still talking on the phone, and dragging her suitcase as she opened the door to find him standing right on the doorstep. Sarah dropped everything she was holding and tried to slam the door shut, but the vamp pushed his way in.

Her second mistake of the night was to not consider the “playing with his food” option, that instead of waiting until she was asleep, he’d be back as soon as he’d healed from the minor injury she’d given him. He might even have been lurking just outside the door while he healed.

Her tools were in the suitcase. That was the third mistake, and the fatal one. He was too old and too strong for a bit of garlic to stop him.

He overpowered her easily. The bite was excruciating at first, but then its anaesthetic qualities began and she lost all awareness.

When Sarah woke, she was lying on the floor, right beside the front door, which was still open. Alive. He’d left her alive. Or had he?

To kill her would only take one bite, but three bites that could be far worse than killing her. Normally, a vamp would spread three bites over several nights, allowing the victim to recover and produce more blood, so the vamp would have a reasonable feed with each bite. It was, however, possible for a vamp to bite three times in the course of one feed.

Carefully, fearfully, she felt her teeth with her tongue. She cut her own tongue on one of them: fangs.

Now, her own family would come for her.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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