This is a short story I wrote based on my novel Blood Shots and White Nails. Vlad is telling Mina a story on Christmas Eve and Arthur is being grumpy and it’s just basically stupid and ridiculous but I had fun writing it and I kinda want it to be a picture book now. But yes, here it is, I hope you enjoy.
All characters belong to me. (Except Santa Claus, obviously)
“Vlaaaad!” Mina climbed up onto the arm of Vlad’s chair and stared up into his eyes. “Will you tell me a story?”
Vlad gazed down at her for a moment before asking, “What kind of story do you want to hear?”
“A story about Christmas!” She flopped down into his lap and gazed up at him. “You’ve got to know some stories.”
“Hrm…” He slowly began to stroke her hair, a thoughtful look in his eyes. “Would you mind if I made one up?”
She shook her head, a big smile on her face. “Make one up, yeah!”
He leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “Why don’t you get Arthur to come here, too? I’m sure he’d love to hear it.”
A devious smile spread over her face and she hopped off his lap. “He’s upstairs. Let’s go up there so we can sit by the Christmas tree, okay?”
Vlad sighed softly. “Very well.” He followed the little girl up out of the basement and to the living room, where there was a large, sparkling Christmas tree. Arthur was staring at the TV while playing video games earnestly, mashing buttons on the controller.
“Arthur, Arthur!” Mina said, poking Arthur’s shoulder. “Vlad’s going to tell us a story!”
“Huh, yeah, that’s great.” He didn’t seem to care, engrossed in his game.
“Don’t you want to listen too?” she asked, tilting her head to the side.
“Kinda busy right now.” He kept mashing buttons on the controller, leaning forward in his seat, his palms sweating.
Vlad watched him for a moment then snuck up behind him and whispered in his ear, “You’re gonna die.” Arthur screamed in surprise and the ship he was controlling in the game crashed and blew up. A game over screen flashed on the TV and Vlad chuckled. Arthur scowled at him.
“What’d ya have to go and do that for? I had made lots of progress, too!”
“Sorry, I need your undivided attention. No more video games for the time being.” Vlad settled down into an armchair and Mina crawled into his lap. Arthur just huffed.
“What do you need me to listen for?”
“Oh, I don’t think you’ll want to miss this story,” Vlad said with a grin. “You’re in it yourself, after all.”
Arthur blinked. “What do you mean I’m in it?”
“Just as I said. Now pipe down and listen closely. Mina wanted me to tell her a story for Christmas, so here it is. I’ll call it how Vlad Saved Christmas.”
Arthur snorted and buried his face in his hands. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Tell it, tell it!” Mina chanted.
“Very well then,” Vlad started, clearing his throat. “Once upon a time on a chill Christmas Eve, two children lay sleeping in their beds. The little girl dreamed of presents and sweets and couldn’t wait for the morning to come. The boy slept like a rock because he was boring like that.”
Arthur made a face. “I don’t like this story.”
“Too bad, I’m not stopping now. But then they were both roused by a terrible bang coming from downstairs. They leapt out of their beds and ran out of their rooms, bumping into each other on their way downstairs. ‘It must be Father Christmas!’ the girl cried with excitement. The boy only shook his head as he did not believe in Father Christmas.
“When they got downstairs and into the living room, however, they found an awful scene. A man lie sprawled across the floor with a large sack of toys fallen beside him. The two children looked up and saw another man bent over him, with blood dripping from his lips.”
“Vlad!” Mina interjected. “Did you just eat him?”
Vlad paused for a moment then decided if Mina was going to be a character in his story he would just let her do all her own speaking parts. “Well, perhaps,” he said slowly. “But what did you expect me to do? A stranger breaks into the house and I just let him go on his merry way?”
“But it was Santa Claus!” Mina cried, her eyes wide. “You can’t just eat Santa Claus! Now how will everyone else get their presents?”
“Well, gee,” Arthur said in a dull voice, “maybe the way everyone else gets their presents; buying them for each other. Makes sense, no?”
“Shut up, Arthur!” Mina said with a glare. “You don’t believe in Santa so you don’t know the true spirit of Christmas.” Arthur just sat there with a dull look on his face. Vlad chuckled.
“There is no need to worry now, children. We can still save Christmas. I can take his place. Arthur will have to be my elf, though.”
Arthur stiffened. “Excuse me?”
Mina laughed. “Hahaha, Arthur’s an elf!”
“Why do I have to be an elf? Why can’t she be an elf?”
“She’s too cute to be an elf, that’s why.” Vlad held Mina closer. “But you’d be perfect for it.”
Arthur glowered and for a moment he actually forgot that this was just a story Vlad was weaving together for a little girl’s amusement. He almost thought this was real and they would have to go out and deliver presents. But then he remembered how absolutely ridiculous that notion was and took some comfort in the fact, even if this story was aggravating.
“But we can’t just leave the body there,” Mina said. “Someone might see, and then we’d get in trouble.”
Vlad rubbed his chin and nodded. “True, true. We’ll have to hide it somewhere.”
“Why don’t we stow it in Carfax and blame his death on Neculai?” Arthur suggested.
Vlad grinned wide, his fangs glimmering. “This is why you’re the elf, Arthur. You have such wonderful ideas.” He cleared his throat and began his narration once more. “So the two children watched as the Vampire Lord hefted the body of the ancient holiday icon over his shoulder. He asked if they’d like to come along with him. The girl said yes while the boy replied with a stern no. They both came along anyway.
“They snuck into the Carfax estate where the Vampire Lord’s son, whom he did not favor in the least, lived. They then stowed the body in the unlit fireplace and snuck back out, carrying Father Christmas’ sack of toys with them. ‘How will you know who to deliver them to, though?’ the girl asked. ‘Not to worry,’ the Vampire Lord responded. ‘I have magic of my own.’
“When they came back outside, a large black carriage was waiting for them, drawn by a team of four black horses with glowing red eyes. The Vampire Lord instructed the children to get in as he took to the driver’s seat, pulling a large whip out from under his cloak and snapping it at the horses. They set off at a fast pace down the snowy drive.”
“Are they going to start flying next?” Arthur muttered. “With some vampire magic or something?”
“Don’t be absurd,” Vlad said. “Horses can’t fly. That’d just be ridiculous.”
“Because this story isn’t,” Arthur mumbled.
“So they traveled all around the world and gave presents to all the good little children, and those who weren’t good were fed upon by the Vampire Lord, as he had not had a good fresh meal in a very, very long time.”
Mina stared up into Vlad’s eyes, as did Arthur, both of them looking a bit uneasy. Vlad gazed back at them.
“What?” he asked.
“Are you trying to hint at something?” Arthur said.
“Not at all.”
“Is that the end of the story?” Mina asked. “Because that’s a terrible ending. There needs to be conflict. Conflict always makes for good stories.”
Vlad laid his chin in his palm. “What sort of conflict?”
“Um, how about… on our way home, something crashes into the carriage and sends us all sprawling into the snow! When we get up we see it’s Santa Claus, but he’s been turned into a vampire himself! And since he was turned by a Vampire Lord, now he’s a Vampire Lord, too!”
Vlad blinked at her. “That’s not how it works, Mina.”
“Shhhh! So anyway, he’s angry at what you did to him and wants a fight to the death!”
“Vampire Lords can’t die-”
“I said shhhhh! So you both start fighting while Arthur and I watch and it’s awesome! But by the end you stab him through the heart and cut off his head! Then we put his head an decapitated body back in Neculai’s house and then all go home and have hot chocolate and open presents because the sun is rising so it’s Christmas! Hooray!”
“Um…” Arthur rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, okay. I’m gonna go back to my video game…” He settled back down on the couch and turned the game back on.
“Mina,” Vlad said slowly, gazing down at her. “Sometimes I really do worry about you.”
“What’d I do?” she asked, her eyes wide.
“You have far too much of an overactive imagination.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“Perhaps it is.” He leaned down and kissed her forehead. “You should go to sleep.”
“Aww, but why? I’m not sleepy.”
“Well, it is Christmas Eve. You never know what may happen during the night. So you should get as rested as you can.”
Mina squeaked and hopped out of his lap then ran up the stairs as fast as she could. Arthur shook his head, his eyes glued to the TV. “Santa Claus isn’t real. Why do you let her believe that?”
“What makes you think he isn’t? People would say vampires aren’t real either.”
Arthur grunted and didn’t respond, but somehow the old Vampire Lord had a way of saying things that made him wonder if they were really true or not.