A Humorous Fantasy
Friday, the thirteenth of January, was bitter cold in the rugged hill country of Vampirevania. Deep in the woods Pim, a woman known and admired far and wide for her beauty, trudged along a narrow path accompanied by her lover and companion. Terry was not as handsome as Pim was beautiful. Nonetheless, with his dark beard, he was good looking in a rugged masculine way. His melancholy expression testified to a great tragedy in his life. As the couple pulled a hand-drawn sleigh of firewood down a narrow forest trail, each puff of frigid air shook small blizzards from snow-laden firs and spruce upon their heads and shoulders. In the icy air, every breath was needles in their lungs. Except for the crunch of snow beneath their feet and the sighing breeze, the forest was silent. They hurried. Soon the pale winter sun would disappear behind the mountains, making the thick forest a place of utter darkness and frigidity -- like a grave.
To Pim, her good looks was a mixed blessing. Sometimes they embarrassed her. When she entered a room, every head turned. Every man present let out an involuntary and spontaneous sigh. Her waist was slim, her hips full and her legs long. Her heavy cloak did not hide her prominent curves. In the waning light long strands of copper hair strayed from her hood and glistened scarlet.
Terry once said to her, "Everything about you is beautiful. Your most attractive feature, nonetheless, are your eyes, dark as and deep as a desert well. When you're excited or angry, they flash like a danger signal. One look in them is all a man needs to set his heart on fire. If he gazes deep enough into them, he is forever lost, your slave for eternity."
After Terry rekindled the fire at their rustic cottage, they warmed themselves with cups of hot cocoa before the crackling flames. Finally he broke their silent contemplation of the fire. "Soon the moon will rise full. You know what that means, my love."
Pim sighed heavily. She dreaded these monthly episodes. "Yes Terry, my poor dear. Are you ready?"
He kissed her cheek for a reply. They gathered warm quilts and again braved the frigid air. She clutched his hand fiercely as they strolled along their narrow garden path to a dog house large enough to house the greatest of Great Danes. Near the entrance a strong chain and a heavy leather collar was attached to an iron spike driven into the ground. Pim kneeled in the snow and spread the blankets inside the enclosure. When she rose, she fastened the collar around Terry's neck. "I hope you'll be warm enough."
"I'll be fine. Don't forget that I'll have a fine fur coat."
They embraced tenderly, and Pim trudged back to their cabin. A single tear rolled down her cheek and froze into a glistening ice crystal which she did not bother to brush away. After she entered their living room, she extinguished the candles but one and changed into a flimsy nighty before the roaring fireplace. With the aid of the candle, she crept to their cramped bedroom and crawled under a silken comforter. Although she was apprehensive about her lover out in the cold, she was exhausted from their hike and soon fell asleep.
Hours later the moon shining through her window woke her. Strangely, it was deep blue, almost the hue of Terry's eyes. Outdoors, a wolf bayed, long and plaintive, as though it lamented the world's sorrows, a chain rattled, and the moon changed to blood red. Something is terribly wrong, Pim thought. She bounded from her bed, threw on her fur-lined cloak and boots and rushed out the door. When she reached the doghouse, the chain lay on the ground with the collar broken. Terry was nowhere in sight.
"No," she cried and gazed around. Wolf prints led to the woods. She buried her head in her hands and sobbed. It was no use going after him now. She'd only be placing her own life in jeopardy. You see, Terence Lalbert, Terry, was a werewolf.
Sadly she trudged to the cabin, sat bundled in blankets before the fire and watched sparks dance around the logs like tiny demons. After a long while she nodded off.
As the early morning light drove away the shadows, Pim knew that she was still alone; Terry had not returned. Quickly she dressed in her warmest garments and wandered through the woods calling his name. She tried to find his tracks but fresh snow had obliterated the prints she'd seen the night before. She returned to the hut at . The fire had burned to embers, and she restocked it with the fresh wood they had gathered the day before. After a light lunch, she returned to the forest to call out her lover's name for hours. The next day she did the same. And again the following day. Finally she decided to seek help.
Vampirevania was ruled by Count Gorblud. Although he was a vampire, he was kindly in his fashion, satisfying his blood lust only on condemned criminals. It was to this warmhearted bloodsucker whom Pim intended to go for advice. Years ago she and he had rescued a foreigner by the name of Dorian from being tortured by Duke Savage the Barbarian. They'd been friends ever since.
She set off on a horse-drawn sleigh for Gorblud's castle in the mountains. Although the distance was not far, at this time of the year it took her two arduous days to cover the dangerous route. The first day a blinding blizzard forced her to seek shelter in a farmer's barn for most of the afternoon and all night. The next day the rutted roads were at times blocked with drifts that made her make wide detours. At times the wind blew the snow so hard that it created whiteouts during which she had to use extreme caution not to end up in a ditch or go over a cliff. After sunset , since this was Vampirevania, there was danger from werewolves, werebears and vampires.
When she finally reached Gorblud's estate, she wearily plodded up a narrow path to the vampire's bleak home. She passed through the gate in the outer wall only to find to her dismay that the castle was in ruins, consumed to the foundation by a conflagration. Wisps of smoke rose from smoldering timbers. Broken blocks of stone and snow soaked ash were all that remained of Gorblud's proud palace. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she wandered about the ruin in the vain hope of finding a clue as to what had happened to her friend. She discovered nothing.
Crestfallen, she drove to the village at the foot of the mountain, a place called Frankenheim. During supper, she sat in the darkest corner of the inn with the cowl of her cloak shielding her face. As she picked at her meal of stir-fried vegetables over rice with minuscule bits of chicken in it, she eavesdropped on the conversations around her. A group of drunken local men were bragging how they'd attacked the castle and burned it down.
"Yah Fritz, dot garlic-hating vampire vill never again burden us vith his cruel laws. Imagine outlawing the importation of garlic. Everything mine wife cooked tasted burnt. It vas awful."
"He vas a bloodsucker no doubt, dot count. No voman vas safe from him. Gute riddance to bad rubbish. Did anyone ever find Gorblud's body und pound a stake through his black heart?"
"Nein. He flew away as a bat vile ve pounded on his door. Someday ve cotch him. Den ve make him true dead and not chust undead."
For some reason the men thought the last statement was hilarious because they all broke out in uncontrolled laughter. Tears again flowed from Pim's eyes. Poor Count Gorblud, she thought and prayed that he had escaped unharmed.
She retired to her lonely room in despair. Who to turn to now?