Contest #99 shortlist ⭐️

Dracula in the Morning

Submitted into Contest #99 in response to: End your story with somebody stepping out into the sunshine.... view prompt

18 comments

Fiction Funny

My doctor told me that a lot of the whole “I burn up in the sun” fear that I have is, you know, just that.

It’s a fear.

A fear that’s rooted in trauma, because, you know, when the villagers would come, they would come with torches, and so now, I associate fire or fire-like things with destruction and harm. And, you know, if I only lived a natural life, then I would only see that fear grow to include, um, you know, obviously, fire, and, like, maybe matches?

But when you’ve been around as long as I have it expands--the fear--it expands, and somewhere along the way, it grows to include sunlight. That’s why I stopped going out in the sun. And, you know, Dr. Mahoney was telling me how we create our own myths, and then other people take those myths that we’ve told them, and they tell them back to us, and that’s why there’s all this lore about vampires and sunlight.

I mean, do I like going out at night?

Sure, who doesn’t?

But I don’t hate the daytime. I’ve got nothing against it. I just burn easy. Look at this skin. I’m practically translucent. It’s the Eastern European blood. Back in Transylvania, if the heat index goes above 103 or 104 degrees, you are staying in your castle for the day. That’s not just vampires. That’s everybody.

Well, everybody with a castle.

Yes, I recognize that I am privileged to have a castle, but Dr. Mahoney has taught me that I can be proud of the things that I have as long as I put forth that many others do not have what I have and that it is understandable for them to harbor animosity towards me due to the fact that I got my castle by murdering everyone who used to live there.

Now, that was hard work. Murdering an entire castle full of people? I mean, I’d like to see some of those villagers try it. They only had to murder me, and I was lying fast asleep in a coffin, and even then they couldn’t--

But this is not about my detractors. This is about what I am prepared to contribute to my own life. Namely sunlight.

I am stepping out into the sunlight.

The temperature is a reasonable seventy-four degrees, and I have put on a substantial amount of sunscreen. Dr. Mahoney has assured me that, contrary to what I’ve read online, people have not taken to wearing garlic around their necks. She said I may encounter a crucifix or two, but if that happens, I just need to remove myself from the situation. I cannot control what symbols people let into their lives, but I can control what I allow myself to be exposed to out in the world. The important thing is that when I look in a mirror…

Well, I can’t see anything, but were I able to see anything, I would want to be able to like what I see. That’s my goal. To imagine that I would enjoy seeing my own reflection, because it would be a reflection of someone who has grown into a vampire that does not run from fear.

At her office, we did some exercises where she would shine a flashlight on me, and I would start to see smoke coming off my skin, and I would wail and beg her to put the flashlight away, and she would yell over my wailing that I needed to think about what the flashlight represented, and I would tell her that it represented pain and anguish, and she would ask me to dig deeper, and then I would be forced to admit that it represented…

That it represented rejection.

Oh, there was still a sizable burn mark on my arm from where the light hit it, but what is a scar if not proof that your therapist cares about you? Dr. Mahoney is a miracle worker. Before she and I started seeing each other, I never thought I’d find a good therapist. Mainly because my ideal time for sharing my vulnerability with others is between two and three am. Luckily for me, Dr. Mahoney suffers from insomnia, and that means I was finally able to access treatment for my mental ailments.

Now when I say “That holy water really stings” she says “Is that because your first love was a nun who forsook you for her calling?” and as I weep, she pats the back of my cape, and I feel comfort in a way I’ve never known.

Just between the two of us, I think I may be developing feelings for Dr. Mahoney. It’s a perfectly common thing that happens between patients and their doctors, but I did consider turning Dr. Mahoney until I found out that she’s already a swamp creature. I hadn’t noticed the scales on her hand or the way she has to dunk her head into a bucket of water every few minutes during our sessions, but when I suggested to her that eating raw trout might not be good for her health, she shared with me that she’s actually part-reptile, and that ended any notion I had of her joining me in my castle as a member of my deceased ensemble.

When I confessed my desire to convert her at our last session, she put her little webbed hand over my icy cold fingers and told me that long after she sheds her skin for the final time, she hopes that her guidance will still carry on in my heart.

I was so moved by this expression of kindness that it propelled me forward into territory unknown.

Namely, the morning light.

While I know there will be discomfort at first, I hope after that first step, provided my feet don’t evaporate, I will continue to make my way forward into a world I’ve never experienced aside from books and movies and the occasional pamphlet left at the castle door about water levels being dangerously low all over the continent.

And when that first beam of sunshine hits my face, and the top layer of skin inevitably falls away, I’ll think of Dr. Mahoney, and how her skin replaces itself as well, and I’ll be so grateful that we can become new people whenever--and however--we wish.  After all, even the undead need to live a little.

June 19, 2021 17:06

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18 comments

Rayhan Hidayat
12:13 Jun 21, 2021

Hilarious as always! I’ll admit that I assumed Dr Mahoney was a guy at first. I also assuemed she wasnt a swamp creature. Everything is so delightfully absurd and I love it. 😙

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Patrick Samuel
23:46 Dec 23, 2021

This was so good I was "performing" it as I read (simultaneously translating it into French, and it sounded just as good which is always a good sign.) Would have loved to do it on stage.

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Story Time
00:03 Dec 24, 2021

You'll have to send me a recording of you doing it in French! I'm learning the language now and would love to hear that.

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Patrick Samuel
00:10 Dec 24, 2021

Deal! (Ou Marché conclu, as we say here :)

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Story Time
01:24 Dec 24, 2021

KevinRBroccoli@gmail.com

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Patrick Samuel
01:51 Dec 24, 2021

Cool! Will try to have something ready by tomorrow (almost 3 am here and while it's a good time to share insecurities, I wouldn't want to wake the household doing so.)

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Story Time
17:04 Dec 24, 2021

This was the best gift I've gotten in a long time!

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Shea West
01:28 Jul 06, 2021

This line: but what is a scar if not proof that your therapist cares about you? Chef's kiss!! This was quirky and great, and the first of yours that I've read. Congrats

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21:40 Jul 05, 2021

f a n c e e. with two e's. the two e's are very important.

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Stiya Wriley
01:20 Jul 05, 2021

Love the twists on vampire tropes. Great and at times funny read.

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Nyambura Mwangi
20:01 Jul 04, 2021

Excellent work. I love it.

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Ramona Taylor
16:18 Jul 03, 2021

Loved it! Hilarious! Good job. This is why I don’t see a therapist.

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Amanda Fox
00:26 Jul 03, 2021

So much fun - truly enjoy your work.

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Redd Herring
19:33 Jul 02, 2021

Super story! I love the way you made the character vulnerable and talk about "vampire things" as if they were mundane (I guess they are to a vampire).

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Amanda Lieser
17:11 Jul 02, 2021

I really enjoyed this story because it felt like a conversation between the main character and the reader. I also enjoyed some of the cliches spoken in therapy. I thought you did an excellent job of doing something unexpected with this prompt. I didn’t think I’d enjoy sympathizing with a vampire this much. Thank you for writing this story and congratulations on being short listed.

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16:08 Jul 02, 2021

Finally! So glad your immense talent has been recognized. Well done, sir!

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17:57 Jun 27, 2021

This brought a smile to my face. The swamp creature took me by surprise but my favourite line has to be "Oh, there was still a sizable burn mark on my arm from where the light hit it, but what is a scar if not proof that your therapist cares about you?" There is a bit early on where the narrative is a little broken by "like" type words (there is probably an actual name for them) and I thought that voice might continue throughout as part of the POV character but they seem to disappear as quickly as they come. I wonder if adding a sprinkle of...

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