When I was a kid, I didn’t really believe in monsters. Ghosts, sure. Murderers, yes. But monsters weren’t real because there was no evidence, and, unlike ghosts, monsters should, in theory, leave a trail.
Despite my numerous fears, vampires weren’t really one of them. Until I read an interview where someone said, “If vampires are real, I’m not going to piss them off by saying I don’t believe in them.”
And it’s not that I suddenly believed in vampires after that–I didn’t. But every time I found myself reading whatever trashy vampire novel was hot at the time, I’d find myself wondering what if? And it was that that made them scary, not the blood drinking, not the manipulation, not the bad boyfriends who so frequently characterized the genre. It was the possibility that they might exist, and that they might know that I didn’t believe in them.
Even if I never feared their revenge or their bites or anything else these imagined vampires might have for me, the what if question always lurked at the back of my mind. There are no vampires following me to my car at night, unless there are. Unless they’re too quick to see, or it’s too dark, or they’re well-hidden. A breeze was a clawed hand reaching for my ankle. A branch creaking was a poorly hidden laugh. That creeping feeling at the base of my neck was eyes on my back, telling me to run for my life.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(n.) From Slavic vǎrkolak, for wolf + strand of hair)
An undead creature similar to the vampire, revenant, and werewolf.
Vratislav clutches her locket in his fist. It’s so cold it bites, burning his palm as surely as if it were on fire. He abides this because he must.
Snow has begun to fall outside, piling on the sill and encouraging frost to spread its frozen fingers across the windowpane. His candle flickers in a stray breeze, but his eyes are on the door.
He imagines her footprints pressed inch-deep into the snow. He imagines her shambling towards his door, her white funeral dress streaked with dirt. He imagines her broken fingernails curled into her fist to knock.