“And stay down!” I said to the old man as he squirmed beneath my boot. “Boys, take him away.”
The goblins shuffled over and roughly grabbed the man by his shoulders, picking him up and dragging him down the alleyway.
“No… please…” he whispered, blood spewing out of his mouth as he plead.
“That’s what you get,” I growled as the goblins chatted casually over what they would do to make him taste better in their soup.
“What?” I spat as I turned around.
It was Dracula.
I groaned, ready for the lecture coming my way.
“Vanessa, what did that man do to deserve this cruel fate?”
He was ancient. Almost twenty-five hundred years old. His snow-white skin was paper-thin, and his soot-black hair was slicked back neatly, as it always was.
“Does it matter?” I snapped.
I had a good reason, but I decided to forget about it and move on, though vampires technically can’t forget anything. Unless we choose to. And I choose to. The mind is such a powerful thing, especially with the venom coursing through it.
“Vanessa, Vanessa, Vanessa,” he muttered. “One more mess-up and I will have you beheaded and burned.”
Fear bubbled up inside me. Once you’re burned, you’re gone.
“But I didn’t do anything wrong, he—”
“You’re giving me a bad reputation, Vanessa! You’re practically my daughter, considering I’ve raised you since you were a baby. You’re old enough to know you have to be more careful than before. If someone goes missing, it’s more alerting than back then, and the humans actually have the technology now to track down the killer. You can’t just go around destroying people. You should know better.”
Anger rose inside of me. I’d heard that speech so many times, but that time he was more convincing, what, with the beheading and burning… as if the beheading wasn’t enough. Though I understand the threat of burning as well. I could repair myself if I was beheaded, due to the fact my venom could repair our wounds for us and our bodies die slower than normal humans, should we ever acquire a wound that bad. I couldn’t come back if I was burned. My body would be nothing but ash as the flames licked away at the venom beneath my skin.
“Okay, it won’t happen again,” I hung my head, defeated and uncomfortably stuck, unable to find any excuses, and my wavy red hair fell around me, creating something like a curtain between us.
“It better not,” he said as he waved the other two goblins over.
They took his long black and red cape off of him, muttering in crazed languages, and he stood there in the moonlight. He started to change, and, in the form of a vampire bat, took off to his—our mansion.
I groaned and collapsed against a wall, my black leather outfit not letting me move much more than a few feet over the ground.
“Sometimes I wish I’d never been turned into a vampire…” I whispered, and wedged my head between my hands.
I wanted to cry.
“Careful what you wish for!” I heard a tiny squeaky voice echo into my ear. I looked up, and there, a blue fairy was hovering, just a few inches from my face.
“Who are you?” I asked, curious.
“I am Harold, a wishing fairy.”
“But you’re a guy...?”
He sighed. “Yes I am. Why does everyone say that?” The tiny being crossed his arms and sighed obnoxiously. “I grant wishes when I hear them, if I choose to. Mortals can’t see me.”
“And I can?”
“You’re a vampire. Of course you can, you aren’t mortal.” He giggled. “And I’m supposed to grant your wish, one that would have an interesting turn of events and I’m excited to watch play out, but that’s a pretty big wish. It could ruin your life. Are you sure you want to make it?”
“Of course,” I snapped. “Dracula’s always chewing me out for everything I do. Ever since he turned me…”
Harold looked at me funny. I sighed, my mind ready to give the rehearsed retelling of my past.
“He found me on the side of the street and took me in. He wanted a family, and got one. Dracula turned me into a vampire when I was sixteen, with my permission of course, and he taught me a lot of what I needed to know about having to be one. But he’s gotten more strict over the years because he’s afraid I’ll get caught, or give him a bad reputation, or something like that. It’s ridiculous.” I crossed my arms, continuing into the complaints territory taking up most of the space in my brain. “You know, I learned how to kill from him, and I hate it. Every time I do it, it sends a bad feeling to the pit of my stomach. But I can’t stop. It’s the frenzy and the vampire inside of me, and I… I hate it! Nothing is what it seems anymore… This isn’t how I wanted to turn out, but I can’t help it anymore… I really do wish that I had never been turned into a vampire.”
“If you insist, I shall grant it...” Harold sighed.
“I do insist! I really do! I wish you’d have come by sooner.”
With one more sigh and a slight chuckle, Harold said, “Okay,” and he granted my wish.
A flash of blue light had swept over me.
Now I stand in a large forest. I can hear carnival music playing in the background. The air smelled of sap and soil, and the humidity pressed on me as if it was trying to force me to implode.
I look down at my clothes, which felt no longer tight and restricting. I have on a raggedy peach dress and with navy blue stripes. The colors are really faded, and I can feel bloomers cutting off the circulation in my legs. My cold feet rest inside faded blue stockings riddled with holes. My red hair is pulled back in two braids, and the world around me has a strange dullness to it. This would be my new life, whatever it was. What was I doing out here in the trees?
I start walking toward the music. In the clearing, below the hill I’m on and behind the edge of the trees that split open like a curtains, sits a carnival, the tents almost seeming to glow with sunlight. It seemed magical, and absurdly out of place. What year is it?
“Rochelle! There you are!”
I turn to where the voice is coming from. A fat lady rushes towards me and hugs me tight, crushing my lungs. She sets me down and I try to catch my breath, holding myself back from strangling her where she stands.
“Rochelle, I looked everywhere for you,” she wheezes. “Where in the Sam’s Hill did you go?”
“Well... uh, I was... um...” I stutter, not knowing where I actually am this particular moment. I can see I’m in a forest, but where? Where had the wish landed me? I can tell it’s in the past, but how far into the past had I gone?
I feel dizzy.
“Oh, bother—never mind. We have no time!” She waves her hands in the air in a panic and grabs my arm, pulling me down to the carnival site. “The show starts in thirty minutes. Goodness, gracious, you’re all dirty! Oh, he’s not going to be happy, not at all.”
“Who?” I ask.
“Who?! The Ring Leader! The man who raised you, dear child,” she laughs over her shoulder as she continues pulling me to the carnival.
“Wait—I live in a carnival?” I shout at the large woman.
“Why, yes. Oh, dear, did you catch amnesia or something?” She asks, running her hand over my forehead, as if to check my temperature. “Don’t let the Ring Leader know, or he will put you on the road again.”
“Al-alright...?” I say, partially scared.
We enter the entrance to the carnival and rush beneath a large umbrella by a carriage, a tall, scary looking man greets us. He wears a hat that hides his eyes in darkness and a black and white coat with tails. His black pants make his legs look longer than they really are, and a red tie hangs loose around his neck.
“Hilda, you found her!” he says dramatically, stretching an arm wide and leaning on his cane with the other one. His smile seems troubled and looks almost like a sneer. “Now, I shall get the show ready for all the guests. And if you try to run away again, Rochelle, the Ring Leader—” he pats his chest, “—I, shall have your head cut off.” He smirks, trying to make it look playful, but it twitches, and something inside of me tells me to get away from him. “Run along, you must get ready.”