Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Wednesday Briefs: Dracula #9 (3.1)

  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.

While keeping an eye on the village blacksmith to keep him from finding out about Dracula and his wife, Avram converses with his friend, Father Gunther. But something isn't quite right and Avram knows it. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Dracula. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Dracula #9 (3.1)

Gunther fell silent. Tendrils of anxiety wrapped about Avram’s heart.  Why was it beating so fast? Something was wrong. and whatever it was it was about to get worse. Someone dropped a glass, which shattered, and he visibly flinched at the explosion.

 This was no time to panic, and no time to borrow trouble. He forced himself to take deep breaths. Maybe he should step outside for a moment. He needed to think, but without all the noise. He glanced across the room. Bogdan was still there. One less worry.

He started to rise, but Gunther’s hand on his coat sleeve stopped him. His friend leaned across the table, speaking in a low voice that necessitated Avram’s full attention. “I’m afraid they’re beginning to talk, Avram.”

“Who is? What do you mean?” He slid back into his chair and moved it closer, keeping a suspicious eye on their nearest neighbors, although he didn’t think that’s who he meant. Whatever Gunther was about to say, though, he knew it wouldn’t be good.

The tavern door blew open unexpectedly. Avram jumped again, then reprimanded himself for his skittishness as one of the villagers entered and slammed it shut behind him. All sound ceased for a split second. “Watch out for the stafi,” the newcomer announced before joining Bogdan’s table.

Avram shivered. Not because he believed in the Romanian equivalent of the Irish banshee, but he knew these people did… and more. He turned his attention back to Gunther.

“I mean the people of the village. They notice things, some of them. Such as how young Dracula looks. Still

“How young he looks? He is young,” Avram bluffed. “How old do you think he is? Older than me, yes, but…” He gave up that losing argument before it was even truly begun. Despite his many years of existence—Avram wasn’t even sure how old the vampire was, to be honest—he looked to be no older than a man in his thirties, while Avram was already forty.  A well-preserved forty, to be sure.

His lips had turned suddenly dry. He picked up his ale and drank. How was he going to explain this?

“Some of the older people still remember his father and they say he looks exactly like him.”

“Is that surprising, that a son should look like his father?”  Of course that wasn’t true. Dracula’s father died centuries ago, none of them had ever seen him. And of course, Dracula resembled his “father”, as he was both father and son. How else to explain his many years as lord and master of the castle other than by changing his name on a regular basis so the villagers would not suspect his actual longevity? His ruse had worked for many ears. This was not good.

Calm down and listen. He lightly strummed his fingers across the brim of his hat on the table before him and waited.

“Avram, you’ve been my friend ever since we were little. I understand that you feel you owe him a debt. He took you in after your parents died. He’s been like a father to you, when most of the village turned its back on you.”

“Not your parents,” Avram pointed out. “Or you. Your family has been nothing but good to me. And things here have improved.” He ran one hand through his too curly black hair, the bane of his existence. ”Mostly.” Some people could never forgive him for being Jewish.  “And yes, I do owe Dracula my life. I don’t know how I would have survived without him. So please can we have no more of this nonsense?” In his heart, Avram knew he should hear more, learn what was being said. But he was suddenly more afraid than before that something truly bad was about to happen and he could do nothing to stop it.

“I don’t want to see you get hurt because of him.” Gunther paused, as if searching for the right words. What, was there something worse than what he’d already said? Avram grew more apprehensive as silence stretched between them, until at last, the words were spoken. “The old stories are being revived.”


Avram didn’t bother to ask which stories Gunther meant. He knew only too well.

“Old wives’ tales, nothing more.” His lies fell limply onto the table between them like wounded birds… or bats.  Perhaps it was time to go abroad. There were women in other countries who would love nothing more than to see their favorite Count once more… women with money, which they badly needed. Not to mention, there was a certain Parisian publisher who was waiting for more material of the erotic kind that Avram wrote so well, even if Dracula did take the credit for his writing. That was a practicality, since it was easier to sell his books if people thought they were being written by a mysterious handsome nobleman than by a Jew.

“I’ve known you for a long time, Avram. You’re my best friend and I would do anything for you. Are you in any danger?”

The question caught Avram by surprise. Danger? Him? “From what?” His hand stilled on the hat brim, his brow furrowed as he met his friend’s gaze.

“I think you know what.” Gunther patted Avram’s hand. “You’re a good man, a very loyal friend. I just worry for you, that’s all. Worried that you’ve given your allegiance to someone who doesn’t deserve it.”

Avram forced a chuckle he was far from feeling. “I appreciate the sentiment, Gunther. I think you are a good man too, perhaps a little naïve. I mean, to believe such tales?” He clucked his tongue and shook his head, as if to dismiss the very idea.

“What are you saying about my wife?” An angry roar rose above the hubbub of the alehouse. All heads turned toward the source of the disturbance. It was Bogdan, who else?

Avram had a bad feeling all hell was about to break loose.

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!

Cia Nordwell

J Ray Lamb



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