It was a dark and stormy day at The House on the Hill, Modern Philosophers. I’m not just referring to the weather outside, where rain flooded the streets while fierce winds rattled all the windows. There were also storms brewing in my heart and my head.
When it gets to be this turbulent, I like to flee my home and find a place to hide.
Due to the popularity of my blog, there are very few places where I can go and be anonymous. There is, however, one place where everyone knows my name, but they will not use it when I want to be alone.
So I made my way downtown, and climbed into a back booth at Three Toads & A Wicked Lady, the popular Witch Bar owned by good friends who were always happy to offer me sanctuary. Tuesday is also Dime Witchin’ Wings Night, which meant I could drown my sorrows in buffalo wings and Snapple without the usual interruptions that kept me from having a quiet moment to simply brood.
The Witches saw that I was working on my laptop, so they kept the wings coming and the autograph seekers away. It didn’t take a vast knowledge of Magic to know when my heart was heavy, and I was grateful that my friends could tolerate a little doom and gloom in their otherwise happy little corner of the world.
“So why don’t you ever write about Vampires on your blog?” she asked in a cool, breezy voice that caught my attention.
I looked up. She was in her mid-twenties, with long black hair that cascaded past her shoulders and halfway down her back. Even a blind man could tell she was easy on the eyes, and I was a fan of the oversize glasses and the smirk parked under the nose down which the large, black rims kept sliding.
“Your bodyguards told me I could talk to you as long as I brought you this,” she informed me as she held out a silver mug, which I knew was filled with Snapple.
I looked past the attractive stranger to glance over at the bar. Maine’s three most powerful Witches: Waltzing Matilda, Ti-Diana, and Volcanica Ivy, who owned the bar and happened to be three of my closest friends, smiled and nodded that I should let my visitor join me in my booth.
“Sit down,” I invited as I accepted the mug and closed my laptop. I hadn’t been getting much writing done. I’d spent the last fifteen minutes looking at the new profile picture The Girl Who Held The Keys To My Heart had added on Facebook. She looked so beautiful, and her dimpled smile made me want to run 1,400 miles just hold her again. “Why did you ask me that about Vampires?”
She pushed the glasses up on her nose, where they obediently stayed for a brief moment. “Answer it and then I’ll tell you.” She punctuated that with the smirk.
I looked over again at the bar, but the Three Conspirators had magically vanished. I was on my own with this one. “To be honest, I don’t know any Vampires,” I admitted and sipped my Snapple. “I interviewed one for a Thanksgiving post when I first started the blog, but I haven’t really crossed paths with any others since.”
I caught the pretty stranger eying my plate of wings so I pushed them towards her, and motioned that she should help herself. The smirk blossomed into a full fledged smile, and she grabbed a Witchin’ Wing.
“So you don’t have anything against Vampires then?” she asked and then pulled all the meat off the bone with her pearly white teeth in one quick motion. I didn’t know if I should be frightened or extremely frightened by that gesture.
“Aside from Zombies and a certain imp who controls the Winter weather, I’m a huge fan of all Otherworldly Beings,” I assured her. “I’d love to have Vampire friends.”
“I’m Ana,” she said as she offered her hand across the table. I shook it and smiled. “It’s short for Anastasia, but I think that name is a bit of a mouthful for this day and age, don’t you agree?”
I was too much of a gentleman to disagree. “Ana is a lovely name. I assume you already know that I’m Austin.”
She nodded. “Even without the toga, you’re easy to recognize given your amazing resemblance to Doc Brown,” she said with a snicker.
With one carefully worded sentence, she had made it clear that she was a fan of the blog. She was definitely growing on me.
Ti-Diana materialized at the booth with a large glass filled with a red liquid. “Austin bought you this Bloody Mary, Ana, because he is both a gentleman and a Modern Philosopher. You tell him your little secret yet?”
“That she’s a Vampire?” I asked causally as I reached for my drink. “I wasn’t sure at first, but once she devoured that chicken wing, I knew.”
“Good,” Ti-Diana answered with a wink. “We’ve been meaning to get you two together for a while. You’ve been needing a Vamp for your entourage for quite some time.”
She snapped her finger and vanished in a cloud of smoke. The tourists loved that kind of hocus pocus. I knew that it was a little message to play nice, and to remember that I wasn’t anything special.
Ana noticed that I was staring at her drink. “Don’t worry, it’s not blood. I’ve checked behind the bar more than once, and they don’t carry that here. There is extra Tabasco in it, though, because I prefer a drink with a little bite.”
She had a sense of humor. I liked that.
“And you don’t have to worry about my ever trying to tap your personal blood supply,” she reassured me. “I’m totally off human blood, and get everything I need from The North Woods”.
As I’ve explained in previous posts, a majority of the Aliens that live in Maine’s North Woods have a very unique body make up that requires them to completely replace their blood every four weeks. The blood that is replaced is given to Maine’s Vampires, so they no longer need to hunt. A true win, win situation as it would be a real nuisance to dispose of all that blood otherwise.
“Do you think the fact that The All Hallows Society has banned Vampires from feasting on human blood is the reason why your numbers have dwindled so drastically in Maine?” I asked and then grabbed another wing. This conversation was making me quite hungry.
Ana shrugged and sipped her Bloody Mary. “I suppose. Most Vampires are addicted to the hunt, and can’t handle someone just handing them their meals for the month in neatly sealed packages. Personally, I’m relieved with this set up. I was not a fan of the hunt, and will take the meals on wheels arrangement any day of the century.”
I pointed to the book that she had placed on table when she’d sat down. It was Stephen King’s Under The Dome. “How are you liking that?”
Her dark eyes lit up and she adjusted her glasses again. “How can a Vampire not love a story about humans trapped under glass with no way to escape?” She laughed at her own joke. “I’m definitely enjoying it. It’s a lot different from the miniseries.”
That launched us into a long conversation about that book in particular, and then a slew of others. Turns out that Vampires are avid readers. As Ana put it, “What else do we have to do?” And that was how the black clouds finally parted on a long, difficult day for this Modern Philosopher.
It’s also how I finally added a Vampire to my entourage…