Submitted into Contest #215 in response to: Set your story in a haunted house.... view prompt


Urban Fantasy Horror

The deluge of icy water soaked Sorina. Thunder exploded; lightning blazed. In-between, all was pitch. It wasn't the rainstorm terrifying her. It was the black figure appearing and disappearing throughout Forest Park, each time whispering in her ear, “She is mine. She is mine.”

Two Romanian vampyrs had once battled for the love of Sorina’s mother, Marian Bane. The vampyr who lived, returned twenty years later to stake claim on her mother. Now she was gone – against her will.  

A crash of thunder, so powerful the ground shook. The lightning that followed illuminated the vampyr at the entrance of the park. Then woosh! He was gone.

Sorina’s stomach pitched. She knew her mother was in Pittock Mansion, after hours. Could she break in? Was it too late?

Earlier Halloween morning.

In Portland Oregon, Vanator was open for business. Sorina Ardelean created Vanator-a vampyr hunting agency-when there was an upswing of people disappearing or left bloodless and dead.

Her mother, Marian Bane, was her assistant…or rather posed as her assistant. People handle grief differently. The loss of her beloved father left Sorina loathing vampyrs.

Remembering the love between Cezer Ardelean and she, left her mother adoring them. 

Vanator, Romanian for Hunter, had been successful at moving vampyrs out of Portland, but had never caught any.

Sorina often wondered if that was her vampyr-loving mother’s doing.

Marian Bane was Sorina’s backup when needed. The remainder of the time she was Vanator’s secretary. And, as was typical, her mother strolled in late.

Sorina gave her “the eye,” the one mothers reserved for their children. Dressed in full orange and black Boho regalia, Marian swirled into the office, orange frizzy hair and black tinted lips in full smile. “Good morning, my dear!”

“Good morning, Mother. You realize you’re again.

“Darling, it’s Halloween!” Then pulling a small distinctive pink box from behind her she added, “Halloween wouldn’t be complete without Voodoo Doughnuts!”

Sorina groaned in delight. “Did you bring me an Old Dirty Bastard?” Chocolate frosting, crushed Oreos and peanut butter. She could have an orgasm just thinking about it.

“Two.” Her mother’s green eyes sparkled. As she set out napkins and doughnuts, she added, “The world is alive with little ghosts, goblins, witches and warlocks!”

“Oh! You were at the Multnomah Library for storytime.” Sorina had a soft spot for children. “What did you read this year?”

“Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler!”

Sorina giggled. “I love that story.” Then she was serious again, despite her mouth savoring her doughnut. “Speaking of Halloween, as you know, this is the worst time to track vampyrs since everyone in the city will be acting uh, supernatural. Especially those partaking in the “Boos and Booze Haunted Pub escapades.”

“Your father and I used to go there every year,” Marian sighed. “Then we’d go home and make passionate…”

“La, la, la.” Sorina covered her ears, closed her eyes and sang so she couldn’t hear her mother’s graphic details of sex with a vampyr.

“Sorina, don’t be so stuffy,” her mother laughed. “Your father and I had a healthy sex life.”

“Exactly what is a healthy sex life when you’re…. you’re doing ‘it’ with a vampyr?” Sorina quickly put up her hand to fend her mother off. “No, never mind. I don’t need to know this.” 

Sorina looked at her mother who continued to smile, but her eyes were teary. “How many years?”

“Today would have been our thirtieth anniversary. I miss hearing him whisper Romanian love words in my ear. Did I ever tell you Ardelean means ‘from Transylvania?’ I did? Well, anyhow, when we, we fell madly in love.”

“I have a few memories.” Those memories were bittersweet.

Marian smiled sadly again. “You were so young. He was a good man. I remember telling you he was dead. It broke my already damaged heart. I didn’t want to give you details but you were curious.”

“I was able to piece together jealousy and fire.”

“Vampyrs are territorial when it comes to their mates. Varujan Barbu was in love with me, but I only had eyes for your father. He tried to steal me twice. Once by charming me. Second by kidnapping me. When Cezer finally found me, the two men went to battle. I pled for them to stop, but Varujan managed to exterminate him right before my eyes. I felt nothing contempt and horror toward Varujan. Not only had he destroyed my husband but also my daughter’s father. Varujan realized I would never love him so he left us, never to be seen again.”

They were quiet for awhile until Sorina got a phone call. “That was a patron of the Pittock Mansion. She claims she saw a vampyr while touring. Let’s take a look.”

Sorina was searching her drawers for her vampyr killing equipment. Her pure silver handcuffs were hanging from her beltloop. “Wooden Cross with sharpened tip, Holy Water, garlic…garlic…where’s my garlic?” She looked up from her desk. Her mother was sporting a confectioner’s sugar moustache and trying to look busy. “Mother, where is my garlic bulb?”

“I didn’t have time to go to market last night. I was going to replace it,” Marian Bane assured Sorina.

“You used my bulb of garlic in your pasta sauce?” Sorina was flabbergasted. “Mother, that’s blessed! You made spaghetti with blessed garlic?”

Marian’s eyes were large, “And it was delicious! You even said so. The holy water must make it taste even better!”

“Oh.My.God. Mother you can’t just use…oh never mind. Now I must stop by the market, then St. Agatha’s for holy water. I swear, you are the bane of my existence.”

That made Marian laugh, the play on words, but Sorina was serious. As much as she loved her mother, she also drove her to distraction.


 By the time they reached Pittock Mansion it was late afternoon, almost closing. She didn’t need the light of the full moon to see that someone, or something, lurked in the shadows. She could feel it. The sky had grown dark, heavy storm clouds floating toward the building. Her mother was still in her Halloween attire but Sorina was understated in all black-pullover, jeans, peacoat, rainboots. Her black ponytail was drawn through the back of her Oregon Ducks ballcap. She wore no makeup and her dark eyes stood out against her pale face. Her looks came from her father.

Pittock Mansion had a great view of the city and surrounding mountains. It also provided a chance for a run-in with the paranormal. Members of the Pittock family were haunting their beloved mansion. They have been responsible for disembodied voices, ghost sightings and Henry Pittock’s traveling haunted painting. This haunting didn’t frighten Sorina. It was what she felt in the air. When they entered the building, that feeling increased a hundredfold. Sorina doubted a vampyr would lurk on the main floor or upstairs so she veered toward the basement steps.

As she neared them, she could smell old books. The library was on the first floor and oddly, the scent was growing stronger as she walked down the steps, away from the library. “Sorina, that smells like Varujan,” whispered her mother, panic in her voice.

“Varujan smells like old books?”

“Not exactly old books. It’s more like an old body. Varujan would be about 300 years.”

They were finally in the basement. It wasn’t dingy as she had expected. Along with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, it had two card nooks and a billiards room. They watched ‘the break,’ the clack of the cue ball hitting the number balls to start the game. They watched the chalk cube being rubbed against the tip of the cue stick. They watched the cue ball hit number 3 and fall easily into the pocket. They watched all of this, never once seeing a being, playing the game.

“Varujan loved playing russky bilyard,” Marian whispered. Sorina looked at her mother blankly. “Russian Billiards. It’s the eastern European version of pool.”  

“I’m touched that you remember, my dear.” A soft, husky voice was now attached to a form beside her mother. Her mother took a step closer to Sorina and reached for her hand in utter fear.

The vampyr was unnaturally tall, handsome, dressed in black with a Saint Laurent Tuxedo Cape costing thousands of dollars.  

“Why are you back?” Marian whispered, fear thick in her voice.

“It has been twenty years since that unfortunate accident. I thought we could begin again.”

“Accident! You call murdering my father an accident?”

Marian gasped. “Please Sorina!”

“That’s right, little girl. You don’t want to upset the big scary vampyr.” Varujan chuckled evilly.

Sorina choked back her words. He was right. Although she had her tools of the trade in her bag, the vampyr was too close to her mother. She was not safe. Sorina needed to use the power of her words to get the vampyr to leave. But before she could say another word, the vampyr swirled his cape around himself and her mother and the two of them disappeared.

Sorina cried, “No….” and raced up the stairs and out the door as if she could catch them. She heard the door close and lock behind her. She stood in the rain, black all around.

Tears pricked her eyes, and Sorina Ardelean wondered how she could get in the Pittock Mansion to save her mother. 

September 10, 2023 18:44

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