9 comments

Horror Funny

Something wooden clattered to the stones outside, issuing a loud, hollow bang.


Marley Strudwicke jerked awake and sat bolt upright in his bed. During his years of service to the master, he had learned to have a keen ear and a shallow sleep. It wasn’t the first time some brave hunter had reached the castle. But Marley would ensure it would be their last visit. He grabbed ahold of the pistol on his bedside table and held his breath, listening.


A burp and a whisper followed. ‘Bugger it.’


Marley exhaled, and his grip on the gun loosened. He’d recognise that Eastern European accent anywhere. Marley left the weapon where it was, threw back the covers and slid into his slippers by the side of his bed. He hit the lights on his way out.


Nisesh Ozul—The Count to many—leaned against the stony archway of the castle. His one free hand swung back and forth like a pendulum. He had closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against the back of the hand gripping the stones. At his feet lay the wooden broom he’d knocked over. ‘Spinning, spinning, like my eyes when I—’ He giggled. A high-pitched, silly noise. ‘When I hypnotises them. Then I eats ‘em. Omnomnomnom.’


Marley frowned. Nisesh was usually very poised and elegant. He sighed past his victims like the autumn breeze, stirring only but the crisp orange leaves. He wrapped his dressing gown tighter around him. ‘Master?’


Nisesh turned around at the sound of Marley’s voice. His glassy eyes seemed to look everywhere and nowhere all at once. A stupid grin spread across his face, showing off his unique teeth. The vampire pushed off from the wall and staggered towards Marley. ‘Malley!’ he said, slurring his words. ‘Is my friend!’


Marley groaned. As a vampire, Nisesh could only consume blood. This affliction meant that imbibing alcohol—even if secondhand via a victim—hit him hard. The poison affected him much more than it would the usual ale-swilling villagers. Marley rushed to the swaying figure. ‘Oh, master! I told you not to prey upon the drunks as the Castle View closes its doors! You know that there’s more booze than blood in their systems!’


Nisesh nodded and burped. He gestured over his shoulder, back at the village below them, as if that explained everything. ‘Happy hour.’


Marley recoiled when he got within a foot of Nisesh. The underlying whiff of blood was there, as it usually was. Coppery and tangy. But tonight, the yeasty stench of beer drowned it out. He sucked in a breath and blinked. ‘Jesus—’


The vampire raised his hands and hissed, stumbling backwards over the cobblestones.


Marley’s heart leapt in his chest. He reached out and grabbed ahold of his master by the shoulder, steadying him, making sure he didn’t flop to the floor. ‘Sorry, instinct. What I meant to say was, you smell like a damn brewery, master. How much have you had?’


Nisesh pulled away and regarded Marley whilst trying to remain standing still. ‘How—’ he hiccoughed ‘—dare you.’ He placed a hand over his cold, dead heart. ‘I am the familiar.’ He raised a finger with one enormous black nail Marley knew could cut a carotid or jab into a jugular. He pointed at Marley. Or, rather, in Marley’s general direction, swaying. ‘And you are the master. Who are you to question the great Count Ozul?’ He raised his hands, his cape tucked into his fingers. He staggered to the side. ‘I-I am the shadows! I am the darkness! I am the— the—’ He burped. ‘I am the spectre of death that lurks behind men! I am—’ he paused, deep in thought ‘—scary!’


A grin spread across Marley’s face. He wiped it off. Drunk or not, Nishesh was still a vampire. It would be no good to go and get himself killed before the master could turn him, would it? He nodded and offered Nisesh his hand. ‘Yes, yes you are, master. I’m sorry. Come, let me help you inside.’


Nisesh wobbled on his feet for a moment, squinting at him. After consideration, he took the offered arm and put his weight onto Marley. ‘I am death,’ he murmured. ‘I am the wind. One moment I am there, then POOF, I am gone.’


Marley’s eyes watered from the reek of beer. He’d have to hold his breath lest he become intoxicated from the fumes alone. How many drunkards had he drained to get this plastered? Now would be a perfect time to get Nisesh to bite him. He was, after all, bloody drunk. He might agree to do it with a bit of persuasion. Or, Marley could wait until he passed out and press his neck up against the master’s fangs. He pulled Nisesh’s arm around his neck and wrapped his around the vampire’s waist. ‘That’s it,’ he grunted, ‘this way. Come on, master.’


Nisesh’s head lolled down to his chest, rolling on his neck like a stretched-out spring. His hand flapped out, gesturing to the castle grounds. ‘The shadows,’ he mumbled, half unconscious. And then he added: ‘Love you, Malley. Good boy.’


Shameful red heat spread to Marley’s cheeks. No, that wouldn’t be right. Drunk people couldn’t consent to anything, least of all a transferral of blood. How would he feel in the morning to learn that Marley had taken advantage of him in this vulnerable state? What kind of a familiar was he? What kind of a man? What kind of a human being? No, Marley would do his time and wait. Nisesh would turn him when the time was right—when he was ready. Marley sighed. ‘Come on, master. Lean on me. This way. Yes, it is a lovely cape, isn’t it? All billowy like that. Very intimidating. Come on now, up the steps. Yes, I know you can fly. No, no! No need to show me now, how about in the morning, if you’re up for it? Of course, I mean in the evening, once the sun’s gone. Yes, I know vampires crisp in the sunlight. Come on, up these steps, one, two, three!


‘Now this way, come along, let’s get you into your coffin…’

December 09, 2023 15:43

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9 comments

Lukah Roser
13:59 Dec 27, 2023

This was genuinely wholesome and hilarious. Such a creative and fun read. I really want more of these characters 🥹.

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14:20 Dec 29, 2023

Thanks, Lukah! I rather enjoy writing this, as I call it, 'wholesome horror'.

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Kailani B.
23:17 Dec 20, 2023

I need more tipsy vampires in stories; this was really fun!

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13:51 Dec 21, 2023

Thanks, Kailani! Pleased you liked it. I had fun writing it; maybe there'll be more sloshed bloodsuckers in the future...

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Nicola Chapman
17:22 Dec 20, 2023

Delightful little story. It's hard to write drunk so that it sounds convincing. Well done!

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13:52 Dec 21, 2023

Thanks, Nicola! Happy my tipsy dialogue hit the mark.

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17:59 Dec 19, 2023

Lol this is great fun. If Marley wanted an out that was the perfect chance! Lucky for Nisesh he's a good familiar! Thanks Joshua

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19:30 Dec 19, 2023

Thanks, Derrick! Glad you liked it. Good workers like Marley are so hard to find...

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19:33 Dec 19, 2023

Loyalty like that should be rewarded by instant promotion!

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