VAMPIRE, VAMPIRISM, VAMPIRIC, VAMPY!
A collection of short stories which explore and celebrate the vampire genre with talented, world-class writers. There’s something here to delight and horrify even the most seasoned vampire fan.
Abraham R Nox, Adrian Bond, Dennis Kriesel, Emily de Rango, Eric S. Brown, Frank C. Gunderloy, Jr., Greg Beatty, H. Turnip Smith, J.R. Corcorrhan, Jean Burnett, Jennifer Moore, Joshua Alan Doetsch, Laura Cooney, Lester Thees, Liz Williams, Lorna Dickson, Miles Deacon, Mordant Carnival, Raymond T. McNally, Richard Jones, Sheri Morton-Stanley, Stephen Minchin, T. P. Keating, Tom Phillips, Trent Walters.
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Drop Dead Gorgers
A vampire story by Miles Deacon – Featured in Fangers Inc. Volume One
Okay, people. Here we go. Let’s do it by the numbers and get it right. Don’t forget, this is going out live, and any mistakes certainly will be seen. Camera one, focus on Slippery Dick. Adjust that white balance; get that tooth glare down.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Miss Undead 2003. My name’s Dick Wetting and I am your host for this evening of old-world grandeur and tradition.
“And what an evening it’s gonna be! Never before have we seen such a glittering display of ghouls, such a cornucopia of corpses, such an undiluted, un-embalmed, underworld of undead beauties. They’re gorgeous gorgers, viewers, simply gorgeous.
“From the voodoo delights of Miss Haiti to the desiccated shuffling of Miss Cairo, we’ll be watching them all. We’ll be seeing the engraved canines of Miss Transylvania (always a favourite) and admiring the dark skin of Miss Bodmin. We’ll hear the vocal talents of Miss New Zealand and taste the culinary skills of Miss Papua New Guinea. Oh yes, we’re in for a treat tonight.”
Camera one adjust white balance again. His smile’s still too bright.
“But before the first stage of the competition starts, I’d like to say how wonderful the people of Portsmouth, England, have been during the preparations for this event. It hasn’t been easy preparing the Guildhall for daytime filming, but they’ve risen to the challenge faster than a vampire springing from his grave. Well done, you guys. And thanks for the blackout curtains.”
Camera one shift right for inset graphics. Camera two get ready for cut to Bernadette.
“I’ve just got word, viewers, that the competition is about to start. Bernadette is down by the judges at this very moment, with a surprise new entrant to the competition. Bernadette, how’s it going?”
Cut to camera two. Keep Bernadette in left side of frame and fill background with the red curtains and shuffling judges.
Wait. No. Move to the other side, one of the judge’s arms just fell off. Don’t go back to that, camera two.
Go, Bernadette. Go.
“It’s going very well, Dick. Down here on the floor there’s a kind of buzz of excitement. It’s almost like a swarm of flies has invaded the auditorium.”
Er, actually, Bernadette. There actually is a swarm of flies in the audience. Apparently, they came with Miss Evergreens to keep up the maggot supply.
Introduce the contestant, Bernadette. Get off the flies. Come on. Come on.
“Erm, I have with me the lovely Miss Donegal, a first-time contestant in the Miss Undead competitions and a relatively young banshee. Good afternoon, Siobhan isn’t it?”
Pan right and focus on Miss Donegal. Lower volume. Get ready, guys. Plug your ears. She’s about to speak…
Has she finished?
Damn. I got that full blast. Can anyone hear what Bernadette’s saying?
“… an amazing scream you have there, Siobhan. I’m sure the judges are going to be very impressed. Tell me, have you ever entered a beauty contest before?”
Cut to Dick! Cut to Dick! Camera one! Camera one!
“Unfortunately, we have to leave Bernadette there, viewers, and go to a commercial break. Stay tuned and we’ll see you in a few minutes.”
Okay. Cut to adverts. Will someone get me a coffee?
“Take two corpses into the coffin? Not me. I use Drain-n-Go, the new artificial blood warmer from Bony Systems. It’s patented heating elements and leak proof container mean you no longer have to creep around and avoid those pesky sunbeams when you feel like a midday snack. Just puncture your victims, plug in the clever draining tubes, and relax for a nice day’s feeding and sleeping. Just what every undead needs.
Daytime sucking would blow, without my Drain-n-Go.”
Coming back from the adverts, guys. Camera one, zoom in on Dick. Camera three, get ready for the Miss Sydney interview. Okay. Here we go, people. Five, four, three…
“Welcome back, viewers. If you’ve just joined us, I’m Dick Wetting and this is Miss Undead 2003, brought to you by Mushi Tushi Incorporated, the zombie friendly company.
“As you can see behind me, the swimsuit stage of the event is well underway, and Miss Sydney is showing us all her beautifully translucent skin. Look at the way the light reflects off her scarlet eyes, and the way her fangs are so even and yellow. This is what the competition is all about. A finer set of ivories you’ll never see.
“Of course, you might remember Miss Sydney from the regional finals in Australia, at the start of the year, where she dominated the stage and excited every underground journalist with her strange powers. Is the hype worth it? Has she really got such an amazing talent? Well, Sally Umpgrass is down behind the scenes and ready to interview the amazing child of the dammed as she returns from the judging stage.
Camera three, cut to Sally.
“Thanks, Dick. I’ve just been joined by Ada Hardwick, Miss Sydney. As you can see, she’s simply gorgeous. But what about the girl behind the bloodlust? What dreams does she have for the future? What will she do if she wins this competition? Ada, you obviously love competing but what do you plan to do if you win?”
“I’d like to run a school for orphans, Sally.”
“Yes. They’re easier to catch and eat then.”
“Ah. Ahahahaha. Very funny. Good joke.”
“I wasn’t joking.”
Keep it together, Sally. You wanted this assignment. You’ve got it. You’re a long way from California weather reporting now.
“And there’s always world peace, Sally. I feel very strongly about it.”
“Uh… well, that’s good.”
“Yes. I’d like to make sure it never happens.”
For Christ’s sake, Sally, pull it together! Move on to the girl’s talent. Ask her about her powers.
“So… er… Ada. Rumour has it that you have a unique power for a vampire? Can you tell us what that is?”
“Yes. I can sunbathe.”
“Really? Without bursting into flame and becoming a pile of ash?”
Stop laughing Camera three. The picture’s jiggling.
“Yes, Sally. Before I was sired, I was also a werewolf, which seems to have confused my supernatural vulnerabilities. Of course, I can only sunbathe in private, what with all the discrimination against undead people now.”
“Reeeealllly? How fascinating. How about that, viewers? A vampire who can sunbathe. Isn’t that something? Of course, don’t take our word for it. Have a little peek at this video.”
Cut to sunbathe tape. That’s it… great. Okay, when that finishes, we’ll go to another commercial break. Well done, guys. Looks like this is going very smoothly. Can I have that coffee now?
“You know how it is. Your live friends want to go to Disneyworld, and you can’t go because you have that whole undead thing going on. Why can’t you go, they ask? What’s wrong? Why do we only see you after dark these days? Can you tell them that you’re undead? Do you want to tell them about your tendency to explode in sunlight? Of course you can’t. That’s why Thermocline-Screechem have produced the All New Dark Power Confusion charm. Just take once a day and you can endure up to twenty minutes in daylight! Yes, you heard right. Up to twenty minutes! Don’t delay, see your shaman today. Side effects include uncontrollable wailing, earlobe tentacles, and visitations from your dead mother-in-law.”
Okay, Dick. They’re going to move onto the evening gown and shroud stage, so I want you to keep the smutty jokes to a minimum, right? None of this ‘I can see her thighs through that’ or ‘I’d like her to sink her fangs into me’ garbage. Just plain, professional reporting, okay? Good. Right then. Five, four, three…
“Welcome back again, viewers. I’m Dick Wetting, and this is the one-thousandth annual Miss Undead competition, held this year in sunny Portsmouth, England.
“The competition is well underway and now enters the evening gown stage where our contestants will display their beautiful designer dresses and funeral gowns to the judges. First up is Miss Haiti, a popular contestant and looking quite spectacular in her smock.
“Note the way the flaps of her skin are perfectly coordinated with the folds of her hessian? That’s the work of Mr Black, one of the world’s leaders in zombie haute couture. It cost nearly one million dollars to make, including five human sacrifices and twenty-three unfortunate chickens. Art. Pure art.
“And now it’s Miss Bodmin’s turn. Dressed in silky black, this inverse-coloured vampire has been roaming the moors for nearly three hundred years and doesn’t look a day past one hundred and fifty. Look at that jet-black skin and those burning red eyes. Who could resist her, eh? I know our judges will be keeping an eye on her.
“There she goes. And following her is Miss Maldives, a surprising entry, given that her homeland tends not to lend itself to ghouls, but still very pleasing. Look at those pointy teeth and the rotting flesh stuck between them. I know that only hours in makeup and a few raw cows can give that effect. Why I… I…”
Shit! What was that? Did someone just throw something at Dick?
“I… I… I’m sorry, viewers, but it seems that there’s a disturbance in the audience. I… can’t… quite… see from here but…”
Calm down, Dick. Security just told me that we have some pro-decision protestors down there. I don’t know how they snuck in, but it doesn’t look like there’s that many.
“Well. It seems that we have some protestors in the audience, viewers. Pro-decision protestors it seems. One of them is holding a banner with “Make up your minds, dead or alive, not both” scrawled across it. And another is shouting slogans.”
Go with it, Dick.
“Er. The audience seems to be scattering now, all the undead family, friends, and sires of the contestants are trying to get away from the pro-deciders. There’s panic as they make for the exits. Ow! Someone just had their leg ripped off! Oh, it’s okay, they’ve stuck it back on again.
“And there goes a protestor! He’s running to the stage! Two of Miss Haiti’s entourage try to tackle him. Is the camera getting this? Is the camera on this?”
We’ve lost the ground cameras, Dick. Try and commentate while we attempt a fix.
“The protestor’s jumped the zombie bodyguards. He’s carrying something in his hand. I can’t see what it is yet. And there’s the security now. Surely they can stop him before he attacks those lovely girls?”
We’ve got Sally on Camera three! Cut to camera three!
“It’s pandemonium down here, Dick. As you can see, live humans are running up and down the aisles and throwing holy water everywhere. There are loads of them, Dick. One’s throwing crucifixes at the girls. Oh my god! Miss Cuba just went up in a puff of smoke! And one-”
Sally’s down! Sally’s down! We’ve lost the feed. Camera one. Move to camera one! You’re back on, Dick!
“Oh my god. Oh my god. Someone’s thrown petrol at the curtains and lit them. Can the camera get that? They’ve lit them. The curtains are on fire! They’re on fire! Someone put them out for heaven’s sake! If they fall away from the windows, they’ll… oh no. Oh no.”
Adverts! Jesus! Go for the adverts! Don’t show this! Don’t…
“We asked owners if their henchman liked the new Poached Roach flavour from Lurchers and eight out of ten said yes. When we also asked them if they would switch to another brand of pulped insect food, they said they wouldn’t consider it.”
“Surveys show that the new protein formula leads to shinier boils and more asymmetrical humps in addition to a healthy appetite and snottier noses.”
“Go on, treat your ugly bugger today. He’ll worship you for it.”
No! Put on a cartoon or something. Find some more adverts. Anything!
What do you mean ‘you can’t find anything’? Shit! You’re all a bunch of amateurs. When this is over, I’m going to… hang on… wait a minute…
The fire’s out. We’re safe. They’ve put it out. Okay. I’ll make a call to the controller and see what we should do. Dick, we’ll put the camera back on you. Stall, okay? Good. Camera one on Dick. Go.
“Welcome back, viewers. It is with great sadness that I bring you this news. Just moments ago, some protestors invaded the Miss Undead competition and proceeded to kill the contestants, their families, and their friends with holy water, crucifixes, silver bullets, and automatic rapid-fire exorcism weapons. The most damage was done when one maniac burned down the blackout curtains and allowed the sunlight into the auditorium. Every girl in the competition was caught in that light and… and… erm…”
Keep it going, Dick. The show must go on. You’re doing well, buddy. You’ve got to be there for the fans.
“… and unfortunately perished. Reports are still coming in, but casualties seem terribly high. Once again, protestors have invaded the Miss Undead competition and seemingly killed all the contestants. This is a deeply sad day, deeply sad.”
Dick? Pay attention, Dick. The controller says the competition is still on because there’s one contestant left. The surviving judge says that the competition is still valid when there’s one girl undead, despite her physical state.
“Excuse me, viewers. We’re getting some new information.”
We have a winner, Dick. It’s Miss Sydney. She took two silver bullets, a splash of holy water, and was caught by the curtain as it fell, but she’s still undead. So, I want you to introduce Sally on the contest stage and we’ll take it from there.
“Amazing news, viewers. I just received information that Miss Sydney is actually undead still. As you know, being undead is always fraught with dangers and the competition has dealt with this sort of disaster before. So, it’s in that spirit that the remaining judge has decided to continue this event and award Ada Hardwick, Miss Sydney, the prize for Miss Undead 2003! We go to Sally on the floor for the prize giving.”
Cut to camera three. Sally do the best you can. Make it sound exciting.
“Thanks, Dick. You join me as I stand with the new winner of Miss Undead 2003, Miss Sydney. Obviously, this has been rather difficult for you, Ada. Can you tell me how you feel?”
“No, I mean, how do you feel about winning?”
“About winning what?”
“The competition. You won the competition.”
“Yes. The judge just awarded the prize to you.”
“Oh… my… god. I won? I really won? Ohmygod! Ohmygod! I won. I’m Miss Undead. I’m the winner!”
“Congratulations, Ada. You deserve it.”
Wrap it up, Sally. We’ve run out of time. Buffy is about to start.
“Well that’s all from me, Sally Umpgrass.”
Cut to camera two. Is Bernadette conscious?
“And me… Bernadette Flitwick.”
Well done, Bernadette. Get to a hospital soon. Cut to camera one. Wrap it up, Dick. Let’s get hell out of here.
“And farewell from me, Dick Wetting. This event was brought to you by Mushi Tushi, the Zombie Company who always say it’s ‘Okay to Decay’. Goodnight and good luck in all your endeavours, above or below ground.”
Roll the credits.
(c) Miles Deacon, All Rights Reserved.Featured image by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden on Unsplash