By W. Woods
The vampire invited the mummy for tea in the garden room of his castle. The vampire always took great lengths to ensure that his infrequent guests were comfortable and welcome. He was especially eager to see the mummy. She was one of his most cherished friends, and he always looked forward to her visits. He created a tea of ancient spices for her and a light brew of blood water for himself.
He was, however, somewhat bothered when the mummy arrived with the witch, who the vampire was not expecting nor liked very much.
“The mummy and I ran into each other in the forest outside,” the witch cackled. “I just had to stop by and see the old castle. It has been ages!”
The vampire grumbled. “Very well. I suppose I have toadstool tea for you somewhere.” He invited them in and walked back to the pantry.
After he prepared the tea to everyone’s unique specifications, he sat down amidst the ferns and flowers of the garden room and eagerly began to discuss with the mummy the trials and tribulations of being undead. However, the witch, being fully alive, could not contribute to the discussion. She eagerly changed the topic.
“Have either of you made plans for the Halloween celebrations? The holiday isn’t too far away,” she asked. She then began to rattle off all the wonderful plans she had already made in preparation for the festivities. She carried on about her uniquely spooky décor and her incredible new costume.
The vampire sat back in his chair sullenly. His Halloween plans were the same each year, and he enjoyed it that way. He planned to sit in his study with a good book, a glass of vintage blood, and the company of his bats resting overhead in the rafters. He never did like the loud screams and laughter of the holiday and the constant headache of socializing with all those strange ghosts, ghouls, and monsters. He felt exhausted just thinking about all the idle small talk that accompanied the celebration.
He preferred more intimate conversations, especially with the mummy. He was very fond of her. She was kind and always had interesting things to say and wonderful stories to share. He looked forward to her visits. Unfortunately, she was not saying much with the witch going on and on without any sign of stopping.
The witch asked the vampire and the mummy if either would be attending the Halloween ball at town hall.
“Of course!” said the mummy.
“Maybe…” the vampire quietly replied.
“Oh you,” laughed the witch. “Always such a loner.”
The witch continued to ramble, and the visit carried on until early dawn.
“We really shouldn’t impose on you any longer,” the mummy said to the vampire as she stood up.
The witch waved her hands animatedly. “I just get so chatty sometimes. I don’t even know where the time goes.”
The vampire sighed. He then bowed graciously and led the witch and the mummy to the front door. Before leaving, the mummy laid her bandaged hand on the vampire and sweetly said, “It was so good to see you.” She leaned in a bit so only the vampire could hear. “So sorry about bringing an unexpected guest. She followed me all the way here.”
The vampire smiled, and the mummy gave a knowing wink as she left the castle. He watched from the doorway as the mummy and the witch walked down a winding path into the dark forest below. He then returned to the garden room and tidied up.
On Halloween night, the vampire considered going at the ball. He thought of all the happy faces of his acquaintances from the village. He thought of the mummy, who was probably having a delightful time, perhaps conferring with a friendly ghost or dancing with a dashing werewolf. For a moment he considered dressing in his best cape and flying down to town hall. However, something pulled him back, and he stayed that night confined to his castle. At the witching hour, as he sat with a book in his lap, he imagined the crowd hollering and celebrating. He quietly looked out of the window into the night.
Eventually, the sky turned from an inky black to a deep blue, and he knew morning would soon begin. He opened his coffin and stepped inside, feeling the warm and familiar red velvet embrace his body. It was always such a comfort after a long night, and indeed it was still a comfort, but he felt a strange heaviness in his chest.
“I am lonely,” he thought, not knowing where the idea came from. He had lived for several centuries, yet he had never experienced loneliness. He had been content for so long with his castle and his bats, impervious to any unpleasant thoughts. He wondered, as he shut the lid of his coffin and enveloped himself in darkness, if the mummy ever felt the same heavy feeling. Perhaps she felt the same as she shut the lid of her sarcophagus and settled against the ancient wood, heavy with the scent of resin and spice.
“No,” he thought as death-like sleep began to overcome his senses. “She has so many friends. She must be content, like the witch. The witch is always so energetic and happy. Same with the ghosts, the ghouls, the monsters, the goblins…” The vampire slowly muttered, feeling more and more alone with each word until he finally fell into a dreamless sleep.