Chapter 1: Fountains of Frail Mortality
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes,
blood coming out of her whatever.”
— Donald Trump
Salvador was like an unfinished marble statue. His deific body was perfectly contoured, and from his pouting lips to his enormous schlong straining the seam of his pleather pants, all of the parts were accounted for. But the artist had forgotten to gift his creation with a ready smile or a playful twinkle in his eye. Salvador’s constant expression was that of a man watching the world burn to ash, and he was powerless to stop it. He sat in a high-backed chair, stroking the back of a Siamese cat while eating a chocolate rose.
“What . . . what are you doing?” Melantha asked as she stroked her flowing black hair. She shivered. The room was colder than the love burning in her heart. Not even the elegant dress of red chiffon and black polyester that she had bought on clearance at Hot Topic especially for the occasion was proof against the chill. It really was very cold. Her rubicund nipples were hard as erotic beetles. She made a mental note to ask if the furnace was broken. Her cousin was a repairman.
“I am petting this cat. Their love is what gives us vampires our energy,” he replied, “and eating this chocolate . . . it reminds me of days long gone, long ago, far away, back when I was still a mortal.”
Melantha’s heart was pounding. She was entranced by his glacial blue eyes. Those twin crystal pools gave no hint of the pollution lurking in his vampiric soul. But that depravity hardly mattered to Melantha. She would have welcomed his pollution spurting out from his soul and inside of her, the warmth of it, its saltiness like industrial waste spilled into the ocean of her being.
“May I pet it?”
“No! It is mine.” He paused to regard her, and his tongue flitted across his lips that still pouted at her like the figurative lips of a duck. “I am . . . sorry. I spoke harshly. It is just that to a vampire, a cat is like — ”
“Love?” Melantha asked. She had over a dozen cats at home and well understood the importance of feline love and companionship. It would be time to feed them soon and change their litter boxes. She had considered switching over to canned food from solid, but the price was just too great — far too great.
“Perhaps. Vampires do not feel love. We only understand it in the context of petting cats, eating chocolate, and maybe we feel an inkling of it when reading Amish romance novels. But what would a woman like you know of such things?”
More than you might think, Melantha thought, coyly. Unlike other people, she often thought clever things. She was amazed how well their blind-date was going. The last time that her mother had tried to set her up with someone, he hadn’t liked cats at all.
“And what would you like to order, hon?” the waitress asked.
Salvador chuckled. “I will be having the buffet.” He looked lustily toward the chocolate fountain towering above the sneeze guards.
“Okay, and that comes with a soft drink.” The waitress’ eyes narrowed as she noticed his cat. “You can’t have that animal in here, hon. It’s against policy.”
Salvador looked deeply into her eyes. “It is a service animal . . . and I would like a cherry cola.”
“Okay,” the waitress replied in a dazed tone, “and you?”
Melantha hesitated. She didn’t know whether to order a bloody steak or the salad. Which would impress him more? She checked her purse to make sure that she had remembered her coupon for twenty-percent off their total order.
She hadn’t, but Salvador seemed like a classy guy. It was unlikely that they would be going Dutch. Melantha tightened the laces of her bodice, a bad habit that she had picked up many years ago during her time stranded in a mountain cabin with a lusty, muscular lumberjack.
“I’ll . . . also have the buffet, and a coffee.”
“Okay, I’ll be right back with your drinks and your rolls. You two go ahead and help yourselves. The plates are right over there by the chocolate fountain.” With that, the waitress departed, tapping discordant rhythms with pencil and pad.
Melantha was glad that such an inane creature wouldn’t be their first shared victim. She was certain that Salvador would ask her to share his dark gift. How could he not? Even though they had just met, Melantha felt a kinship that could only signal them having known each other in a past life. Most likely, this was by way of her previous incarnation as a fiesty, red-headed 13th century dog groomer, Tangwystyl Mac Giolla Phadraig, who had been horribly scarred by smallpox as a child, suffered terribly her whole life from palsy, and died at twenty-eight of a broken heart.
“By the chocolate fountain . . . yes, the chocolate fountain.” Salvador eyed it with centuries of yearning.
“You must really like chocolate,” Melantha said. With Salvador, she was living today like it was yesterday, even though yesterday had already come to pass. He felt that familiar. She brushed her hand against his, and he didn’t flinch or anything.
“It is the only precarious link that binds me to the last vestiges of my frail mortality. It is the fetid blood of gods and the Old Ones. I will drink deeply of its splendor.”