Good morning and Happy Hump Day ! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.
Charlemagne isn't sure he wants to know what happened to the corpse that was in the back seat, but suddenly Tyrone is making educated guesses he needs to deflect. See what's going on in this week's chapter of An Unholy Alliance. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!An Unholy Alliance #6 (2.3)
Before I could even begin to put my suspicions into words, Tyrone jumped up like a newly sprung jack-in-the-box and lumbered toward me, shaking one finger at me as if he’d just experienced some sort of epiphany. I half expected to see a cartoon light bulb appear above his head.
“I should have noticed this as soon as you came out of the tent,” he practically cackled. “I mean, here you are, standing outside, and it’s definitely daytime, and you haven’t shriveled up or combusted into a pile of ashes. And you sure as heck don’t sparkle.”
Well, wasn’t he the perceptive one?
“Is that your best scientific observation or is that the result of having read too much trashy fiction?” I quickly shot back before it dawned on me perhaps I should have pleaded complete ignorance of what he was talking about.
“I am a scientist,” he admitted, somewhat modestly. “Although I’m not sure that’s my best scientific observation. Tell me more. I’m fascinated to actually find someone like you really exists. I mean, you’ve been a part of my family’s folklore for many years, but no one has ever met one of your kind until now. And to think I’m the lucky one! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. Beyond excited even…”
By all the gods, did he never shut up?
“Look… Tyrone.” I threw up my hands as I attempted to regain some semblance of control of the situation, steer him away from this topic of conversation and make my departure. But that entailed knowing for sure what happened to… you know who. Was there a delicate way to ask the question? I guess I had to try.
“Not to change the subject (but of course I absolutely meant to change the subject)Um… what happened to the… gentleman… we were transporting in the back seat of your… I mean his vehicle?” That about said it all, I thought, and about as delicately as I could manage. Hopefully that would distract him from any further thoughts regarding my true nature.
Tyrone didn’t seem the least disconcerted by my question. Which almost led me to believe I’d drawn a pretty wild conclusion based solely on the absence of the corpse, and that my original theory regarding its disposal was most likely the correct one. The late-but-not-lamented young man had probably been planted, most likely somewhere in the immediate vicinity, by this charitable Good Samaritan.
Until he spoke again.
“We just had him for breakfast.”
Perhaps a lesser man would have been more than a little dumbfounded… or horrified… or taken aback even… any multitude of reactions. Perhaps retching up the aforementioned breakfast would have been somewhere on the agenda. I believe that the reason I was none of these things and possessed no urge to regurgitate was because I’m a vampire. Death doesn’t scare me. And neither does cannibalism. Not that I’d ever encountered it before, but I’d heard it existed. And not just in fiction.
And frankly, I didn’t care. Maybe I was a little surprised that Tyrone was an advocate of… nay, an indulger of… this unusual practice. Honestly, I wouldn’t have considered him the type. Guess I was wrong there. But I could hardly play the shame game when I myself had set everything in motion by draining the fellow we’d just consumed of all his blood. I wasn’t exactly on any high moral ground to be looking down my nose at a little body chewing.
If anything, my opinion of Tyrone might have risen just a smidgen. Go figure.
And yet I felt uneasy. There was something tickling the back of my brain. A notion that refused to be quieted by his explanation of what had happened to last night’s dinner slash this morning’s breakfast. Something didn’t quite add up…
And then it hit me. I started thinking about how much meat we’d consumed, and it wasn’t really all that much, to be honest. A couple of good-sized steaks, no more than that. So what had happened to the remainder of the corpus delecti? More importantly, did that mean I still had a disposal problem on my hands?
“So where’s the rest of him?”
Why beat around the proverbial bush when bluntness will work just as well?
“And how did you… I mean...”
I couldn’t think of a more delicate way of asking my question, so I just forged ahead with brutal honesty generously laced with curiosity. “How did you dismember him so quickly? Just what exactly are you?” I have to admit to being equally parts fascinated and titillated by what was going down here. As long as I’ve lived—and I’ve lived for a considerable length of time, although not nearly as long as some of my kind—I’d never encountered a situation even remotely close to this one. And probably never would again. So I had to… dare I say it… enjoy this while I could.
At first I thought maybe my questions had offended him. But then his face began to split with that big wide grin that was becoming surprisingly familiar to me in such a short period of time.
“It’s my family. It’s what we do.”
That was about as clear as a foggy day in London. Come again?
I was probably staring at him with a look of utter incomprehension. He held up one finger in the universal sign of just wait, there’s more. Then he reached down to the ground beside him and held up a canvas bag I hadn’t noticed before. In all fairness, I hadn’t exactly been taking inventory.
He unrolled this bag to reveal a set of knives. And now was my cartoon light bulb moment. Those were flaying knives. From all appearances professional grade at that. But that still didn’t explain his comment regarding his family.
I held my hand, palm up, as I shrugged. And?
“We’re all cannibals.”
to be continued
Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to!