My Halloween party was in full swing. I had gone all out this year and rented an old crumbling, reputed-to-be haunted mansion for the evening's Dionysian festivities, and all the invited guests were present and accounted for. The music was blaring, food and various other ingestibles abounded, libations flowed copiously, and Bacchanalian spirits were exceptionally high.
Just as the battered old hall clock solemnly chimed the last stroke of midnight, a sonorous knocking at the front door rang out above the din. Who could it be, this late arrival, I wondered as I shouldered my way through the crowd of gyrating couples in various stages of costumed undress. Surely not trick-or-treaters at this late hour, out here on the very outskirts of town.
I opened the door, and there on the veranda stood a bizarre figure in vampire drag par excellence. Tall, stately, dressed almost entirely in immaculate black, looking every inch a gentleman, or possibly even a prince. But in the wavering porchlight, his skin seemed to take on a strange sort of phosphorescence, and for a split second, the mischievous thought flashed through my mind that if I suddenly turned off the light, he would continue to glow in the dark like a firefly. His complexion was beyond pale and almost perfectly matched his silvery white hair. He appeared gaunt, to the point of emaciation, and his skin was horribly pallid, almost bloodless, as if he suffered from terrible afflicting anemia. But, despite his pallor, his lips were, amazingly, a deep, dark crimson, like old dried blood. He was, frankly, quite dazzling in his ghastly beauty. His eyes were frighteningly magnetic, beyond all cunning, and when he smiled at seeing me, I thought I caught a glimpse of two overlong, sharply pointed incisors.
He did not speak, but in my mind it seemed I could hear his voice sweeping over me with a kind of predatory keenness. "Invite me in!" it commanded. "I am hungry, terribly hungry."
"Hey! Great costume, man!" I cried as I stepped aside and bid this stranger come in and join the debauchery.
As he gracefully entered, I almost thought I detected a flickering trace of wistful sadness in his glittering eyes. And then again that imagined voice inside my mind, "Even a vampire", it explained, "may suffer a twinge of remorse at breaking a covenant. For the cost of sustaining immortality is high, but worth it when only the souls of the not-so-innocent are the price."
As he gazed hungrily around the room, I suddenly realized what a terrible mistake I had made by inviting this preternatural creature inside. So I mustered what courage I could and said to him, "Look, dude, I don't want to appear to be an ungracious host, but I really don't know you, and this is a private party, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't send an invitation to an actual vampire, but since you're here, you may as well stay for maybe one drink. There's this one chick here that no one likes very much, anyway. But, FYI, these shindigs are strictly by invite only, RSVP. And from now on, just to be on the safe side, probably BYOB, as well!"
Happy Halloween, Poetry Soup!
Copyright © Jim Slaughter | Year Posted 2022