“What’s the worst thing you can ever imagine happening to you?” Dave asked the group of us seated around the Halloween camp fire.
We were a group of a dozen eighteen-year-olds, some of us away from home for the first time. Dave, our youth worker, had arranged this camping trip to the southern part of Spain. There had been resistance from a couple of the girls’ parents, but Dave had managed to persuade them that we would be safe, and that he would make sure we didn’t get into any trouble.
We had enjoyed a splendid meal for our first night, and Dave had let us have either a glass of local red wine or a bottle of light beer. One of the lads had suggested that as it was Halloween, we should all tell scary stories. That didn’t go down too well – no-one seemed to know any scary stories. That was when Dave asked what he did.
Far from telling stories, most of the kids just trotted out their fears:
“I’d hate to be homeless,” offered Janie.
“I’m afraid of growing old,” said Jamie.
And that’s how it went around; quite dull, really. Until, that is, the turn passed to Nobby.
“I’m not afraid of anything,” he said, “not after what happened to me a couple of years ago, anyway.”
“Care to tell us about it?” Dave asked.
“Not really,” Nobby replied.
Choruses of “Go on, tell us,” from the rest of us eventually managed to wear him down.
“Alright; if you insist,” he said.
“We do,” we replied with a single voice.
“It was my sixteenth birthday,” he explained, “Mum and Dad had said a few days before, that as a special treat, I could go to the pictures with a couple of my mates. John and Gazza; that was my mates; said they fancied seeing the latest Halloween film, but I wasn’t sure – I’d never been to see a scary movie at the pictures before. They convinced me it would be okay and that they’re not as bad as people say, so I went along with them.”
“And was it?” Jamie asked.
“It was,” Nobby replied. “When we came out, every sound I heard scared me witless; every shadow had me convinced that there was someone evil lurking around the corner. What made it worse was that John and Gazza wanted to go around the town playing tricks on people, seeing who they could scare. I didn’t want to do that; I just wanted to go home where I could feel safe.”
“So what happened,” Dave asked.
“They walked away, and I walked home.”
We all groaned. We were expecting something more than him being scared by a film and then going home.
“And that’s it?” Janie asked.
“I wish!” Nobby replied, and started his story.
“Everything was okay as I was walking home, and I started to get less nervous. I was still a bit on edge, and nearly jumped out of my skin when a car pulled up beside me and the driver pushed the passenger door open. ‘Sorry, mate; did I scare you?’ the driver asked. She was an older woman, maybe thirty-something, but quite fit-looking for her age. I told her it would take more than her to scare me, putting on my hardest look and hoping that she couldn’t see through my lie. ‘That’s good,’ she said, ‘I didn’t mean to make you jump. Where are you going?’ I told her I was going home, and she offered me a lift. I said I didn’t think it would be a good idea and, anyway, it wasn’t all that far. I asked her why she stopped by me in the first place. ‘Oh yes,’ she said, ‘I almost forgot. Two of your friends, Gary and John I think they’re called, are in a spot of bother with the law.’ When I asked her where they were, she told me they were at a police station in town, and offered to take me to them. Of course, I agreed. They may have given me the worst birthday ever, but they were still my mates. Anyway, I got into the car and she turned around and headed towards the town. As we were getting close to the centre, she took a turn-off and soon we were on a narrow road headed in the wrong direction. ‘Where’s this police station?’ I asked. ‘Who said anything about a police station?’ ‘You did,’ I said. ‘No,’ she insisted, ‘you must have imagined that. I have plans for you that will be much more interesting than a police station.’ I thought about what she had said, and suddenly came to a realisation. ‘You’re taking me to a surprise party, aren’t you? Did the lads set this up? You a strippergram or something?’ ‘Let’s go with or something, shall we?’ she said. I didn’t know what she meant by that, and it was starting to worry me a little. ‘Let me out of the car, please,’ I asked, ‘I’d like to go home.’ ‘I don’t think so,’ she replied, ‘it’s still early, and I haven’t eaten yet.’”
Looking around, Dave could see that some of the girls and a couple of the boys were beginning to look as though sleep would evade them that night.
“Okay, okay, Nobby,” he said, “that had better do for now.”
“Don’t you want to hear the rest?” Nobby asked, “Don’t you want to know what happened to me; what she meant by ‘or something’?”
“Not tonight, Nobby,” Dave said, “maybe another night.”
“That’s good,” Nobby admitted, “that’ll give me time to make something up.”
Oh, how we laughed!
A few days later Dave had some caterers come in and do dinner for us. They set up a dining table and all the finery next to the campfire. The meal was delicious; seafood paella, chicken paella, Spanish omelette – a genuine one, not what normally passes for one at home – and we were allowed some Rioja with it. By the time we finished all that, we were comfortable with full stomachs and heads that were buzzing just a little bit from the wine. Oh yes, and the Spanish beer we had afterwards.
“Do you have the rest of your story for us, Nobby?” Dave asked.
“I do, Dave,” he replied, “if you think you’re ready for it.”
“I’m sure we are, Nobby,” Dave said.
Nobby began, “I was a bit worried by her ‘I haven’t eaten yet’, so I asked her what that had to do with me getting out of her car. ‘I live alone,’ she said, ‘and that is generally okay, but I hate to eat alone. If you aren’t in a hurry to go home, I thought we could go to McDonalds. If you aren’t hungry, I’d still be grateful for the company. I’ll be more than happy to stand you a coffee or a soft drink, and if you are peckish, I’ll buy you whatever you want.’ The way she said it, I thought it would be dreadful of me to leave her to have her supper alone, so I agreed to go with her.”
“And did you have anything at Maccy D’s?” Jamie asked.
“I wasn’t hungry, but she brought me a soft drink; orange juice. Thinking about it, it did taste a bit funny, but when I mentioned it, she said they must have a new supplier or something.”
“That sounds dodgy,” Jamie said.
“It was. As soon as I drank it, I started to feel really woozy. The next thing I knew, I came to in a bed in a darkened room.”
“OMG. Were you alone?”
“No. She was in the room with me. I don’t mind telling you, I was well scared by then. I asked her what was going on, and she said that I’d taken ill in McDonalds and she had brought me to her house so I could sleep it off. ‘Sleep what off?’ I asked. ‘Whatever you’ve been having all evening.’ ‘I’ve had nothing,’ I said, ‘I went to the pictures, then I started walking home. Anyway, where are my pals? You said you would take me to them.’ ‘No need,’ she said, ‘they’ve probably gone home already.’”
“So what happened then?”
“What happened then was that I tried to get out of bed, but couldn’t.”
“Because I was strapped down. She walked towards me and started taking her clothes off. I’d never seen a naked woman before, and it scared me; I didn’t know what she was going to do to me. When she got to the bed, she started ripping my clothes from me, too, which didn’t do anything to make me less scared. ‘What are you going to do with me?’ I asked, panicking. ‘Nothing you won’t enjoy,’ she said, and she smiled. Her smile was really weird, she had long, pointed teeth like a dog. Are you sure you want to hear more?”
“Carry on, Nobby,” Dave said.
“Those teeth worried me a lot. I started thinking perhaps she was a vampire or something. I’ve seen movies and TV shows with vampires in them, and they’re not normal people. They live forever and feed off the blood of other humans. When they take your blood, you become a vampire, too. ‘Are you going to bite me and make me like you?’ I asked, scared silly that she would say yes. ‘No,’ she said, ‘I just want us both to have some fun,’ and then she started doing things to me that no-one had ever done before, things I thought only happened on the parts of the internet my Dad doesn’t know I look at.”
“Obviously,” Dave offered, “she didn’t kill you.”
“No, she didn’t. She just did some things, then took me home. I arrived home at about two o’clock in the morning. She dropped me off, and when my Dad came out, really angry, she explained that she had met me outside the pictures and taken me for a McDonalds to keep her company. She has a way of making people believe what she says. My Dad even asked her if she wanted to come in for a few minutes but she said she needed to get home to bed.”
“And that’s it?” Janie asked.
“I wish,” Nobby replied. “She knew exactly where I lived then, and she started coming around every so often; about once a fortnight. My Mum and Dad really liked her, and didn’t seem to notice that she was more than twice my age. Anyway, they were happy for her to come around even if they weren’t in. They trusted her completely. If they had known what we got up to; I was a willing participant by then; they wouldn’t have been so happy for her to come around.”
Nobby paused to take a drink from his beer bottle.
“This went on for about eighteen months,” he said, “and things were going very well, right up until the evening I told her that I didn’t know what I should call her. None of us did; me, Mum or Dad. Well, I asked her straight out, ‘I don’t know your name,’ I said, ‘If I want to talk about you to my friends, what do I call you?’ ‘I don’t want you talking to your friends about me. That wasn’t part of our deal,’ she said. ‘Deal? What deal?’ I asked, ‘There is no deal.’ ‘There most certainly is a deal,’ she said, angrily, ‘The deal is that you don’t talk to anyone about our fun evenings, and I don’t turn you.’ ‘What do you mean, turn me?’”
“What did she mean, turn you?” Jamie asked.
“What she meant was that she would bite my neck, drink some of my blood, and make me into one of her kind.”
“A vampire?” the group chorused.
“A vampire.” Nobby confirmed.
“And that evening, I knew that what I had thought all along was right. She had an agenda. She was using me for pleasure for a short while, but she really wanted a companion for the long haul. She managed to put me at my ease; she always could; then whilst we were… you know… she started kissing my neck. I thought she was going to give me a love-bite. She did, but not the sort of love-bite I had in mind. I passed out for a short while, and when I came to again, I felt… I don’t know, different. She looked me in the eye and said, ‘You can call me Onyx.’ I knew then, that things would never be the same for me again. I felt a hunger; a hunger I’d never known before. She offered me her wrist, and I instinctively bit into it and drank the succulent fluid that escaped from the puncture wounds I had inflicted. Very soon, my hunger was sated. I looked at her wrist in awe, as the wounds healed and disappeared in seconds. ‘Come to me, lover,’ she said, ‘and show me how you got your name.’”
“So she did it,” Jamie said, “she made you into a vampire.”
“When did you last see me out in bright daylight, without being fully covered?”
“This is a made up story, right?” Dave asked, nervously.
“Of course it is,” Nobby answered, smiling.
And I could swear I could see the campfire glinting on his sharp, elongated teeth.
This short story was written in response to a challenge at esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com, to write a story to scare her. Written in two parts, the second followed a request from Esther and Kate. Thanks are also due to my niece Sarah for providing the inspiration in her excellent book "The Angels of Islington"