The featured free short horror story this month is “Moonlight Sonata,” which won a DemonMinds Award on that site for being readers’ Favorite Monster Tale of 2005. A love triangle that breeds obsession and betrayal is at the heart of this vampire tale. Here’s the opening scene, and if you wish to read more, simply go to the Fiction section of this website, click on Horror/Short Stories, and then “Moonlight Sonata.”
by Debbie Kuhn
Little Havana was a lively place, even on a late Sunday evening.
Pedestrians of every imaginable race crowded the walkways and Latino music filled the air, along with the excited chatter of hagglers at the shop stands. A gentle March breeze spread the scents of spicy food, cigar smoke, and human sweat.
Victoria strolled down Calle Ocho in her clingy, white silk dress and high-heeled sandals. The night gradually became quieter and her surroundings grew more deserted.
The famous street had its lonely areas. Occasionally she would hear a dog bark – followed by its master’s sharp admonishment – and sounds from a Spanish TV show would come wafting out an open window.
The stranger mimicked her pace now, not bothering to soften his footsteps. He had been following her for several blocks.
Victoria paused casually, and then headed down a narrow alleyway. She could feel the baked-in heat radiating off the brick walls on either side of her as she sashayed along, deftly avoiding the smelly garbage that littered her path.
The man turned down the alley after her and quickened his pace. She knew he could still see her tall, slender figure clearly – thanks to the illuminating rays of the bright full moon.
He was close now, so close she could hear his erratic breathing, smell his cheap cologne.
She smiled. It would happen soon.
Victoria nonchalantly removed the white silk scarf from around her neck and let it hang by her side as she walked. Under her breath, she sang the opening lyrics to You Better Go Now, a jazzy blues ballad by Billie Holiday.
That lady had serious style.
The stranger rushed up behind Victoria and put a calloused hand over her mouth. His other hand held a switchblade to her throat.
“My pretty, blond señorita, you will like what I can do.” The man’s breath smelled like the dregs of a beer bottle that had been festering in the hot sun. “There is no need to scream.”
Victoria grabbed both his wrists and pulled them down. “I know.”
She pushed the stocky stranger back against the brick wall and spun around to face him, knocking the knife out of his hand.
He stared at her wide-eyed, his mouth opening and closing like a catfish that had been yanked out of the water.
“You crazy b-b-bitch,” he finally said, lunging past her.
She whipped her scarf around his neck and flung him backwards.
“My name is Lady Victoria.” She lifted him off the ground by his throat and pinned him to the wall. “And believe me, señor, you won’t like what I can do. You won’t like it at all.”
Victoria bared her fangs and moved in for the kill.
Terror filled every crevice of the man’s swarthy face. He let out a weak, strangled cry, his arms flailing against her, vainly trying to push her away.
Victoria wrinkled her delicate nose as a dark stain appeared on the front of his faded jeans. She set his feet back on the ground and moved behind him, gripping him around the waist, pinning his arms to his sides.
The stranger began wailing in Spanish, his voice hoarse and nearly useless.
Victoria sank her fangs into the soft part of his neck, and he struggled even more desperately, kicking her shins.
She forced him to the ground. The blood, so salty and sweet, flowed into her, warming her pale skin, her cold bones. The red nectar sharpened her senses even more – and made her loneliness melt away.
The stranger soon grew limp and quiet, but his heart still struggled. It wanted to go on beating. It wanted the body to live.
Victoria drained her attacker to the point of death, and then released him. She stood and adjusted her scarf before removing the little jeweled dagger from the sheath worn on her upper left thigh.
Quickly, she bent over the man and slashed his throat to hide the bite marks. It was an ugly, gaping wound. She carefully licked the blood off the razor-sharp knife blade and slipped the dagger back in its sheath.
Victoria, my darling, I have found you again. We shall see each other soon.
Damn. She’d let her guard down just long enough to feed, but it had been long enough for the Count – her sire – to succeed in invading her mind for the second time in six months.
It was awfully bloody annoying.
She sighed, and began the long walk back to her hidden Mercedes. She could have sprinted back at preternatural speed, but she was in no hurry to return to the echoey Bal Harbour mansion she now called home.
Her evenings usually began with a drive down to colorful, trendy South Beach. Seeing all those beautiful, uninhibited humans running around half-naked and half-drunk in the Art Deco District never failed to whet her appetite. Tanned skin and sparkling gems went so well together.
Even if one couldn’t worship the sun, living in a balmy climate definitely had its rewards.
An hour later, Victoria cruised past the short, fat palm trees lining Balmoral Court and eased through the wrought-iron gates of her palatial estate. She parked her convertible in the detached garage and headed over to the Mediterranean-style mansion’s rear terrace.
She picked up Rayne’s scent immediately. He was inside, waiting in the darkness.
Smart cop. She hadn’t fooled him after all.
Victoria crossed the uneven flagstones and paused in front of the stained-glass doors. How would it feel to see him again? She had to admit she was pleased at the prospect.
No, more than pleased. She was elated – despite all the trouble that lay dead ahead.
To read the rest of the story, go to Fiction/Horror/Short Stories/”Moonlight Sonata.”