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Count Dracula by Sue Baxter

Count Dracula switched off his wide screen television as dawn approached. He was bored. What was the point of this up to date technology when the reception was poor? He was becoming increasingly frustrated with life in the remote Transylvanian forest and was running out of easy prey. There had been slim pickings of late and he had resorted to hunting birds and animals to keep him sated.

It was time to retire to his coffin until nightfall where he would contemplate his future.

When he arose as the twilight turned to darkness, he had made a decision. He had always wanted to see London and it was a large enough city for him to move around anonymously. He had only been to the British Isles once before when he had arrived by ship at Whitby many generations ago.

This time he would have a proper holiday.

He discussed his plans with his man servant who offered Dracula his own passport and was happy to disguise him so that he resembled the photograph.

In reality he was happy to see the back of the Count as life was fraught when Dracula made a rare successful hunt, and the police came calling to the castle.

Dracula left under the cover of darkness several days later after his man servant had arranged a Ryanair flight from Bucharest to Stansted.

The flight to London passed without incident. He had topped himself up with blood before leaving the castle so that he would not be tempted by the young, attractive cabin crew.

The plane landed before daybreak and he took a taxi to the Regent’s Palace Hotel in central London.

After telling Reception that he worked night shift and under no circumstances was he to be disturbed during the day he drew the heavy curtains and climbed into bed just as the sun was coming up.

The Count found London a fascinating city. He explored the famous landmarks and even took a night trip on the London Eye.

As he was making his way back to the hotel after this exciting experience, he heard screaming from a dimly lit alleyway.  Although the streets were still busy everyone just scurried past ignoring the shrieks.  Full of curiosity he turned into the deserted lane where he encountered a smartly dressed man assaulting a woman wearing skimpy clothes, high heels and thick make up.

With his super strength, Dracula picked up the man by the scruff of the neck and threw him against the wall where he cracked his head and slid to the ground unconscious. The woman, unable to take in what had happened muttered, ‘Ee’s not dead is ee?’

‘No,’ replied Dracula checking to see if the man was still breathing, “But he will have a painful head when he awakes. I see your nose is bleeding. Do you need medical assistance?”

Dracula was sorely tempted to gorge on the blood pouring from the injured woman’s face, but he resisted. The woman was quite emphatic about not wanting anyone else involved and thanked him profusely for coming to her aid. She then limped off into the night.

The Count was experiencing strange emotions which he had never felt before.  He felt sympathy for the victim and pride that he had intervened, allowing her to escape any further beating.

He was however feeling peckish and wondered where he could find sustenance. Perhaps he could check google on his mobile to find out where the nearest abattoir was situated but it would mean breaking in and he didn’t want to risk being caught.

He wondered what it would be like to eat normal food like living people. After all he had been feeling human emotions after he rescued the woman which was a first since he had become undead. Maybe, just maybe, he thought he wasn’t totally undead any more.

As he wandered the streets, he passed a shop which had a sign above offering ‘The Tastiest Fish and Chips in the neighbourhood. Take Away or Sit In.’

The aroma was tantalising and without a thought he entered the cafe and sat down at an empty table, the only one left. After reading the menu he ordered the highly recommended Battered cod with chips and mushy peas. The other diners glanced up at him then carried on eating. He noticed pots of tea on their tables so ordered one along with two slices of bread and butter recommended by the waitress.

He then began to worry that he may be unable to eat the food but reassured himself that he could make a fast exit announcing he was feeling unwell. To his pleasant surprise he devoured the whole plateful to which he added salt and a brown liquid which he had never seen before, but which added flavour to the dish. He drank the tea after adding milk and two sugars.

As he was wiping his mouth, he realised that he could no longer feel the two fangs which used to protrude when he attacked his prey.

As he headed back to the hotel, he realised it was almost sunrise. Usually, he would have felt an urgency to scurry back to his dark retreat before the light could destroy him, but something had changed. Instead of returning to the Regent’s Palace he headed towards the river where he sat down on a bench and watched the sunrise. He marvelled at all the beautiful colours in the sky and as the sun came up, he wandered along the Embankment watching the city slowly awakening.

He felt mortal again, no longer undead but very much alive.

Sue Baxter.

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