Looking for something tasty to sink your teeth into? Sometimes it’s a candy bar and sometimes…something else. This episode of Spine Tinglers, we welcome Dean Haglund (The X-Files, The Lone Gunmen, Hellacious Renovations) and he delivers. If you’re not missing The X-Files already, you will. “Incident in a Drugstore Parking Lot” imagines a near future where vampires live openly alongside humans, until one man has an uncomfortable late-night encounter. #XFiles #Vampire #Horror #Fangs #Scary
Incident in a Drugstore Parking Lot By Lisa Morton “That’ll be $2.76,” says the vampire behind the drugstore counter. As I dig the money out of my wallet, I swear I can feel his eyes on my neck. He’s a kid, barely legal, was probably a college junior or senior before the wars. I would think, Poor kid, but, after all, he’d rip my throat out and drink my blood if he thought he could get away with it. I hand him the bills. It’s after midnight, and I don’t see anyone else in the store. As the kid counts out my change, I see the tips of his fangs poking out over his lower lip. “Do you need a bag?” he asks. I tell him I don’t, pick up my soda and candy bar, and head for the exit. The parking lot outside is empty. I’m not sure why I parked so far from the entrance to the drugstore, the only 24-hour business in this block. While I cross to my car, un-wrapping the candy bar, I give in to anger over the kid and his situation. When the vampires started to appear three years ago, that boy was probably like me: laughing at the early reports, and then panicking as we realized it was real, that there really were monsters out there who had returned from the grave to suck the blood of the living after the sun went down. They were incredibly strong and everyone they bit also turned and they could only be killed by wooden stakes through the heart, but in most respects they weren’t anything like the old movies and books – they couldn’t turn into bats or mist, they weren’t afraid of crucifixes, and they weren’t driven only by bloodlust. They were more like desperate people who had a weird disease. But war broke out anyways, a war that ended only with the Treaty of ’26: the vampires and humans would no longer hunt and kill each other, as long as every able-bodied human donated blood once every two months and the vampires lived on that. It had worked out just fine: humans liked the extra money the government gave them for the blood, and the vampires turned out to be cheap labor for the late-night jobs that nobody else wanted to do. When the kid in the drugstore got off work just before the sun rose, he’d probably go home to his cheap apartment with the blackout paper taped over the windows, play a videogame until he fell asleep in his futon, maybe sext his vamp girlfriend. I was thinking about all that as I chewed my candy bar and was halfway to my car when I heard the voice behind me: “Excuse me…” It was the kid, following me out of the drugstore, across the empty parking lot. I’d heard the rumors about this kind of stuff, just like everyone else had – the rogue vampire killings that got hushed up, the ones where they lured some idiot by getting them alone somewhere, getting them to turn around so they could launch themselves at your throat – I wasn’t about to turn around. Instead, I walked faster. “Uh, hello – excuse me, your wallet –” I was almost at my car. Just a few more yards. How close was he? I could hear his footsteps on the asphalt, getting closer and closer… Heart hammering, I walked faster. I almost ran, but I was nearly at the car. I threw the candy wrapper aside and pulled out my keys. I punched the button that would open the trunk. “You left your wallet –” The trunk lid popped up. I tossed the can of soda in, and grabbed the crossbow in there, spinning now to face the kid. I forced myself not to fire right away. I wanted to savor the look on his face for a second, the shock that spread across his pale features as he saw what I had and knew what I was about to do with it. “No, c’mon, hold on –” I fired. All the practice with the crossbow had paid off; the arrow went straight into his heart. He was dead before he hit the pavement. I returned the crossbow to the trunk, closed the lid, and then went over to get the wallet I’d deliberately left on the counter. The bolt stuck straight up out of his chest, the six black stripes on it visible even in the sodium lights. They’d find it in the morning, just like they’d find the other 150 vamps that other members of our militia had killed tonight with similarly-marked arrows and stakes and bolts, and they’d know that some of us were done donating blood six times a year just to keep these assholes alive. We’re reclaiming our rights to our own blood. Look out, bloodsuckers – the war is back on.