It is a dark and stormy night… Hang on, didn’t someone already use that to start a novel or something…? Well anyhow, it’s dark and it’s stormy and it’s night… you get the picture. As I sit here typing this out, forks of lightning light up the sky outside… Blast, this isn’t going the way I’d hoped.
Right, forget the dramatics. I don’t know why I bothered trying. My story’s hardly horror movie material. At least not from my point of view, anyway. Though most people would disagree, I guess.
This rambling isn’t getting me anywhere, so I’ll start at the beginning. When things started to go bad.
I moved here, oh, I don’t know how many years ago. And for the first couple of decades everything was hunky dory. There were always the odd mortals who’d notice my ‘unusual’ habits, but on the whole I was more or less accepted as an eccentric millionaire or something along those lines.
I was always careful never to cause disturbance, and I never ever let people see me in my… other forms. I kept out of their way, they kept out of mine. This arrangement worked fine. Until a couple of days ago, that is…
Startled, I look up into the beam of a torch. I cover my eyes against the blinding light, trying to see the holder beyond. “And what do you think your doing?” a loud, gruff voice demands.
“I… um… I…”
“Thinking you could just sneak in and steal everything’ in sight did you?”
“Yeah yeah. You can give your lame excuses to the police. I bet… Oh my God!”
The owner of the voice suddenly drops the torch. He stares at me in horror, before turning and running at full speed back to the house. I don’t understand. What did I do? I’m not in the wrong form; I’m always very careful about that when venturing anywhere near inhabited areas.
Then I look down… and see the blood. It’s gone all over the place. No wonder he reacted that way. Crap! I’d better get out of here. He’s bound to be back before long with reinforcements. Then there’ll be no point trying to explain…
And here I am. Without anywhere to go or anybody to turn to. I tried sneaking off; that nearly got me lynched. Yes, I suppose it was inevitable and all that. And yes, I should have been more careful. But it’s not as if I murdered anybody. What is one cow more or less? It was either that or break the habit of half a lifetime. And it’s hardly my fault there were no other creatures around that night.
Hang on… What’s that noise outside? Yep, just as I thought. They’re coming. Who’d have thought that even in this day and age people can still be so superstitious. Ah well. My own fault for choosing this place. If I’d lived somewhere else I might simply have been banged up in a secure unit from which I could easily have escaped and moved somewhere else.
Wonder what would have happened if I’d gone for one of them instead of one of their livestock. Maybe I’d have had time to scarper while the police were investigating. I expect a desiccated corpse with puncture wounds in the neck isn’t something the average copper comes across very often. But then again, the penny would have dropped sooner or later I expect.
I’m going to miss the old place. Even the horrible old full-length mirror. Could never stand mirrors. That’s the one… difference I can’t hide. I only kept it so as not to look too odd to the outside world. Ironic, really; that it was the most easily hidden difference that got me caught in the end.
They’re on the stairs now. I guess this is it. Now or never and all that. It wouldn’t be breaking my vow, that was only about feeding, after all. And it’s the only way to have any chance of a new start.
Right, where are those matches…
“Where’s he gone!?”
“How should I know! Maybe he’s hiding somewhere.”
The mob is so worked up that nobody notices the faint smell of petrol wafting up from the floor below. And by the time it dawns on them that something is wrong, it’s already too late…
As the flames leap into the night sky, a lone bat flies low over the tree tops.
Copyright © Rainbow