“I am Arthur. I am a creature of the night. Humans shall fear me and the great power that was bes… bestowed on me”. Arthur didn’t like the way he had faltered just then, and repeated the last sentence to himself. “bestowed… was bestowed… great power that was bestowed… on me”. Thus satisfied, he continued: “Many have tried to stop me; all have failed. After tonight, I shall reign upon humans and erm… all the other creatures of the night. Forever. And ever. Yes, that sounds quite good”. With a joyful smile on his abnormally pale face, which revealed the tip of two shiny fangs, Arthur shook his shoulders to readjust his black cape. He had chosen it with great care. He knew he must look his best tonight, impress his peers and intimidate ordinary people. To inspire great fear in humans, that was his plan. His hair was slicked back and he was about to step to the mirror to make sure it was still in place when he remembered he wouldn’t be able to see his reflection. How inconvenient. It was one of those things in life that would make anyone falter. But not him. And not tonight. No, sir. Lifting up his chin, he adjusted his collar and practised looking intimidating.

Valerie, elegantly dressed in black, stopped in front of the half-opened door. “Arthur darling”, she called, “I will be ready in a few minutes and then we can leave”. Not turning to her, he nodded so she knew he had heard him, and recited once more under his breath. “I am Arthur. I am a creature of the night…”. Valerie looked at him for a few more seconds and gave an indulgent smile, before she moved to the next room to slide on her black boots. It was clear that Arthur had been looking forward to the evening, preparing a speech and making sure at every chance that his clothes were ready and fitted. She tied her long hair, the same colour as Arthur’s, so blond it was almost white, up into a high ponytail, and applied blood-red lipstick. She was happy for him. He had been forlorn since they had moved to the new place and to see him get excited about the night’s celebrations pleased her. In those moments, she could see pieces of his old self, who he used to be, her Arthur. She was slipping on a black leather jacket when he came into the room and confidently announced that he was ready.

Hand in hand, the pair left the house and stepped into the cold October night. The trees were almost bare and the moon could be seen between their branches, reflecting on the wet pavement. Some fog was settling in the faraway fields that extended beyond the village’s quiet streets. From a distance, a wolf’s howl came through the wind. In response, the dogs at the end of the one-way street barked. The perfect atmosphere, Arthur thought. He looked at Valerie, who smiled at him and lightly squeezed his hand. He squeezed back. She had meant it as a gesture of reassurance, but he was not afraid. Not anymore. He was fully prepared to take on his new role in society, he thought. After all, wasn’t he a vampire, the most feared creature in the world? Although, maybe werewolves were more feared. But they could only come out in a full moon and the moon wasn’t quite full tonight so it should be fine. Besides, he would soon reign over them all.

They arrived at their destination, the first house of many they would visit tonight. Arthur turned to the moon, gathering some courage from its shimmering pallor. The sky seemed to twinkle even more than usual tonight, as if even the stars could tell the moment’s gravity and were keen to be a part of it. Looking back at the house, he gave a strong knock and both he and Valerie stepped back to let its occupants open the heavy wooden door, which protested with a loud creak. Arthur almost recoiled, until he remembered who he was. Creature of the night. Impressive. Intimidating. Fearsome.

An old man appeared on the doorstep. He was wearing a flannel bathrobe and held an orange bucket in his left hand, the right hand still holding on to the doorknob. “Good evening and welcome to our humble abode”, he said in a wobbly voice, “we have been expecting you”. A lady who must have been the same age appeared behind him. She also had an orange bucket although she was using both hands to carry it. Arthur stepped up to the man and said, “I am Arthur. I am a creature of the night.” Valerie, who still stood back, put a finger on her lips, in a silent invitation for the elders not to interrupt. They obeyed. “Humans shall fear me and the great power that was bestowed on me”, Arthur proudly continued, with a turning motion that he knew would show off his beautiful black cape. The man gravely nodded.

Emboldened by his audience’s solemn attention, Arthur went on. “Many have tried to stop me; all have failed. After tonight, I shall reign upon humans and other creatures of the night.” He stopped, for effect. “Forever and ever.” This last bit was a bit rushed but it was clear to Arthur that the couple had recognised him as the superior being. A vampire. A dangerous one, too. The man certainly looked impressed, although the lady still had a tender smile on her face. Arthur gave a scowl, but it seemed to only make it worse as the lady shook her head fondly. Valerie then stepped in, and explained that they were quite new to the neighbourhood, and hoped their visit wasn’t a bother but as the couple had put up Jack-o’-lanterns she had assumed… The lady interrupted her from her spot. “Not at all”, she argued, “it’s always a pleasure to entertain the young ones.” With a pat on Arthur’s shoulder, Valerie reminded him of the ancient customs. “Oh right”, he said, “I almost forgot”. Scowl long forgotten, with a large smile adorned by two shiny fake fangs, Arthur claimed: “Treat or treat!”

From behind, Valerie whispered to the amused couple, “I’m sorry, it’s his first time!”

October 23, 2020 21:05

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