“... Um... Hello sir, your pizza is by the door. Sorry if it is a little cold. ”
“ Nevermind that boy. Tonight we will feast on my famous liver! ”
I try to interpret his dialect but it is too hard to. All I know is he is not from here... With his pale skin and bony face, there is no way pizza was his food of choice.
“ I'm sorry, sir. I got six more stops after this and I'm already late. ”
“ Please... I insist. ”
He wraps his bony fingers around my shoulder with elongated nails that dig into them.
“ Whatever you say, sir. ”
He laughs a deep belly laugh similar to the one over the phone. Maybe this was all a prank. A trap. Maybe my family wanted to get back at me for staying and dropping out of college.
“ Tell you what, my friend. You keep me company tonight. I will be more than willing to pay for the gas and double whatever they are paying you for your shift tonight. But you must try the liver, it is exquisite. ”
“ Umm, okay, sir. But I really gotta go after that. ”
“ Oh please, you don't even have to stay for dessert. But I must warn you it too is delightful. They are juicy Papanași. A traditional dessert from where I am from. ”
“ And where might that be, exactly? ”
“ Haha, all in good time, my friend. ”
I knew I recognized this laugh. Something is up. I just can't put my finger on it.
We enter an extravagant dining hall through the side corridor, which I had yet to explore. The doors opened by themselves, but I am sure it was just a draft. But, hell, maybe I was wrong. After what I saw, I don't know what I believe.
The dining hall truly was extravagant. Yet another enormous glass chandelier hanging over a long stained redwood table. Rain pounded against the stained glass windows surrounding, but in the red-stained glass, it looked more like blood.
On top of the opposite end of the table stands a fireplace with depictions surrounding it. Atop those are dancing flames that bring the depictions to life. The flames inside dance as well.
Tall shadows stand on the sidewall with the occasional flash of lightning illuminating strange figures of darkness.
“ Ah, here we are, my friend. I already prepared the liver and have it here waiting for you under golden cover. ”
The way he formed his sentences was so strange... As well as the number of times he has called me his friend. He is not my friend.
Merely a quick buck because as soon as I “eat.” I'm getting the hell out of here.
He pulls out my chair, and I hesitantly sit. He pushes the chair in like a gentleman, but I saw him as nothing of the sort. He drags his nails across the table as he walks beside me. Halfway expected him to leave marks with his razor-sharp nails.
“ I must be frank with you, I don't get many guests. Ever since my wife died, and I left my family overseas, I have been so alone. This house feels more like a prison in which I will write love poems for my deceased love.”
I heard that you scumbag.
What the hell?
“ Ah, she, uh, must have been gorgeous. ”
He puts his arms behind his back as he nears his seat.
“ Ah, but she was. Look here, there she is, standing beneath me. ”
He points to a towering painting that gives me a migraine just looking at it. I have a recurring vision of his dismal frown, then his claws piercing into her shoulders. Finally, her welling eyes.
Did he kill her?
Why would you even consider such a thing, you ticălos nenorocit?
I know for a fact that wasn't me. How is he in my head?
“ Um, what was her name? ”
“ Her name was Elizabeth. My heart bleeds for her every day... But enough about me. “
He unveiled the revolting liver under the cover. I gag, but quickly cover my mouth so he cannot see.
What? You don't like pigs? Surprising considering you are one.
He sits down and proudly holds his silverware up beside him. I hear a deep growl and look side to side to glimpse at the source. Then I hear the gnashing of teeth and a loud chewing sound. He looks up from his meal with piercing eyes. The bit of liver he is chewing on falls from his mouth.
He picks up his handkerchief from his lap and wipes the blood as it drips off his lips.
“ Where are my manors? ”
After whipping his mouth, he grins his blood-stained teeth. He leans back and his eyes fall into darkness, making his skeletal face reveal two stark hallows.
“ The guest should always eat first. ”
I lift the golden cover off with a trembling hand and raise up my knife and fork, grabbing the improper ones, of course. I cut into the liver as it spews out blood.
“ You don't have a dog, do you? ”
“ Haha, no, what would cause you to think of such a notion? ”
“ Oh, I just heard a growl earlier. ”
“ Must have been your stomach. Eat. ”
I lift a piece that drips blood as I raise it with my quivering hand. I put it to my lips and take a bite. It makes disgusting squishing sounds as I try to bite into it. I lift my handkerchief and spit it into it, almost vomiting it up.
I saw that...
“ Mhmm, that truly is e... What did you call it? ”
“ Exquisite. ”
“ Haha, I'm sorry. I dropped out of college. Guess school just wasn't for me. ”
“ You know, higher education is essential to one's prosperity. Education truly is the meaning of life and the highest achievement man can achieve. ”
“ Yeah I know. I just love it here too much. ”
“ I get that. But you must really reconsider, my friend. I have a master's degree from my old town. Who says you have to leave town to go to college? ”
“ Just drop it. I like my life. Anyway, I gotta use the bathroom? Any chance you can help? ”
“ But of course, travel down the main corridor. The bathroom door is on your left. You can't miss it. ”
I see the swinging door at the end of the hall. I grab my swelling head and leave the room.
“ I appreciate the hospitality. ”
I leave the room feeling his eyes piercing into the back of my skull. I rub the back of my head as I open the closed door to the dining hall.
Don't be long, my friend...
I look back to it engrossed him and his entire face in shadow as the fire surrounds him behind him, creating a halo. Like he was some sort of Hell's angel.
I turn around as goosebumps crawl down my neck and head towards the main corridor. I look back one more time to see if he is following me, but all I see is a shadow swift across the walls.
He is following me
I turn around and speed up my pace. Once I reach the front of the main corridor, I turn back one more time. Thank God nothing was there.
I whip my head around to be confronted by a bat.
“ Ahh! ”
I close my eyes and shield my face with an x. I feel it scratch me and draw blood. Once its shrilling is done, I open my eyes to an empty hall. Only now the blood that was once on my forearm covers the walls.
All the doors are open and despite my reluctance, I traverse down the hall. I look into the first open door to see me arguing with my parents in their house.
I move on to the next door to see me driving off into the sunset. I take one glance in the rearview mirror and whip the car around in the dirt.
I move on and look into the next open door to see my girlfriend slap me, then walk away with her arms folded.
I continue on until I reach the bathroom door. I look inside to see a normal bathroom. I take a step inside, then look back. The hall has morphed into its previous form.
I see a shadow approaching, so I sprint in and slam the door behind me. I reach for a lock but none was on the golden handle.
I step back from the door, trying to catch my breath. I then come up with an idea. I hear a knock at the door and it makes me jolt up.
“ Yes. ”
“ It’s me. How long do you think you will take? ”
“ Not sure. To be honest, I have terrible stomach problems. But say, what did you say your name was? ”
“ I didn't. ”
“ Oh, well, could you tell me? My Momma raised me right with manners and being congenial. ”
“ See, I know some of them five-dollar words, haha.”
His lack of laughter is intimidating. I gulp.
“ My name is Count Alucard. ”
If this guy didn't step out of my grandma's black and white television. On one of them monster shows.
“ Oh, cool. Nice to meet you, Count Alucard. ”
“ Pleased to meet you as well, my friend. I'll be in the dining hall. ”
Instead of hearing his creaking footfalls, I hear nothing. I take a deep breath.
I sprint over to the sink and turn on the hot water, and close the drain. I rush over to the bathtub, throwing aside the curtain, expecting him to be there waiting for me.
Nothing is there, so I turn on the hot water. It slowly fills the tub, but I had no intentions of taking a bath. Instead, I turn around and head back over to the sink. A thick haze pillars up from the sink, staining the mirror until my reflection can no longer be seen.
I lick my finger and trace out... A... L... U... C... A... R.. D...
With each word that I trace, a mirrored reflection appears beneath. I gasp as I take a step back to see what is reflected. DRACULA
I quickly turn to the door to find him there... waiting for me...