on the Riviera
is that the ribby area?
“You know you don’t have to talk to me if you don’t want
to; we do not have anything to charge you with.”
“Not that you aren’t doing your best to find something,
The Inspector and his prisoner faced each other through the
iron grillwork, talking for the third time in the twenty-four hour span since
Angelique “No-Last-Name” had been brought to his jail.
“If you are what you think we think you are you could leave
this cell at any time,” said Inspector Robichaux, trying to get a rise out of
her, “and we could not stop you.”
“The boy who found me,” said Angelique, “let me talk to
“I’m sorry, but we can’t allow that,” said the Inspector.
“You may try to harm him.”
“Au contraire,” said Angelique. “I would like to
thank him; I owe him my life.”
Maurice Dupont, a lad of fifteen years, had found Angelique
beside the trail in a woods near his family’s farm. There was a stake in her
chest and her pallor suggested she might be dead.
Maurice had pulled the stake from her chest and taken her
into town in his cart to be seen by the local doctor. After examining
Angelique, the doctor, familiar with old fables about the undead, took the body
to the town’s jail.
After a few hours in one of the jail’s cells, Angelique
awoke and seemed to be in perfect health.
The little town of Peillon is a dozen miles or so from Nice
on the French Riviera. It is set on a cliff and the surrounding countryside is
made up of small family farms.
“The stake missed her heart by inches,” said Dr. Armond.
“If the legends are true, a little to the left and she would have been dead.
And by that I mean dead forever.”
“Legends,” said Inspector Robichaux. “Who believes in
vampires anymore? My mother, maybe, and your mother, but this is the 21st
century. Vampires roaming the countryside? I think not.”
“Someone believes in vampires, Inspector,” said Dr. Armond.
“And I don’t think it was my mother or your mother who tried to put that stake
into the heart of your prisoner.”
“Good point,” sighed Inspector Robichaux. “Our small town
has just become the home of both a possible vampire and a possible vampire
slayer—much more than I can handle! I may have to call Nice, or even Paris.”
“Or you could talk to your mother,” said Dr. Armond with a
“Jacques, what a surprise!” said Aimee Robichaux. “You
don’t stop to see me often enough.”
“I know, Maman, I know,” said Inspector Robichaux. “My work
keeps me away; there’s always too much of it.”
“Sit down and have some tea. I have fresh bread and
“Thank you, I will,” said the Inspector. “And please, sit
with me. I have something I wish to talk to you about.”
Inspector Robichaux told his mother the whole story. She
listened without interruption, and then sat back and stared at a spot just over
his left shoulder.
“What?” asked the Inspector, turning around to see if
someone—or something—was behind him.
“Nothing, dear. I was just thinking of a story my
grandmother told me once long ago. She was sitting in that very chair.”
“Anything you can tell me would be appreciated,” said the
Inspector. “I dread making a call to Nice or Paris, asking for their help with
a vampire problem. They can be so condescending when dealing with us country
“The boy, Maurice, do you think you could bring him here so
that I could talk to him?” asked Aimee.
“I was planning to ask his parents if I could stop in to
get a statement from him,” said the Inspector. “I’m sure they would be
agreeable to his coming here for the interview. Thank you, Mother; we’ll be
here about 3:00.”
The boy told of seeing Angelique from the trail as he rode
in his cart to town. It was still dark, about 5:00 AM, and he had wanted to be
first in line when the markets opened. He hadn’t seen or heard anyone else
before or after he had found her. He had removed the stake because “it seemed
the kind thing to do.”
“It looked so horrible stuck in her that way,” he said,
shrugging. He had left the stake where he dropped it and was willing to lead
the Inspector to the site.
“You picked her up and carried her to the cart?” asked
Aimee when the boy had finished his story. “Weren’t you afraid?”
“I did not know at the time she was…that she might be one
of the undead.”
“Is that what you think?” asked Aimee.
“My father was in town this morning and heard your deputy
say that the woman I brought to the doctor’s was in a jail cell and was fine,”
said Maurice. “She seemed quite dead when I carried her to my cart and brought
her into town, so….”
Peillon only had a small jail with two cells. For staff,
there was the Inspector and one part-time officer. Corbin! thought Inspector Robichaux.
I’ll have to talk with that idiot!
“What do you think, Maman?” he said. “Anything else you
want to ask?”
“I’d like to think about this for a while,” she answered.
“But after you and the boy have been to the place of the…of the stabbing, could
you come back for me? I’d like to go into town with you and see this woman.”
Maurice showed the Inspector where he had discovered the
body. There was no physical evidence to be found except for the stake, so the
Inspector told the boy he could go home, and went back to pick up his mother.
When they got to the jail, Aimee walked up to the metal
bars of the cell.
“Angelique!” she cried.
“You know this woman?” asked Inspector Robichaux.
“Yes,” answered Aimee, still holding Angelique’s stare.
“She was…is my grandmother’s sister.”
“That’s not possible,” said the Inspector. “Your
grandmother lived to be almost a hundred and has been dead for forty years.”
“Hello, Aimee,” Angelique said. “Was it you who staked me
in the woods yesterday? I was hurrying for shelter before sunrise and wasn’t
being as cautious as I should have been.”
Angelique dropped her gaze from Aimee and stared pointedly
at the stake the Inspector was holding.
Inspector Robichaux propped the stake against the back wall
to try and keep things from getting out of control. He then faced Angelique.
“Angelique, please tell us what you are doing in our town,”
said the Inspector. “And how soon you’ll be leaving.”
Angelique laughed and said, “I have business here in
Peillon. Once I have finished with that business, it’s back to Paris.”
“Is your business with my mother? Or myself?”
“No, but you and she know too much for me to allow you to
live. It will be dark soon. I can take care of you and be off to finish my
work.” With that she stepped through the bars and threw the Inspector against
the wall. Stunned, he slid down the wall and ended up in a sitting position on
Angelique then turned to Aimee and grabbed her by the
shoulders. Aimee stared into Angelique’s eyes and the thought went through her
mind that those eyes were the last things she would see in this life.
But then Angelique grunted and Aimee saw a bloodied point
poke out of Angelique’s chest. Angelique’s eyes first showed bewilderment, and
then flashed red with hatred before she exploded into a cloud of ashy dust.
“My aim was a little better this time,” said Corbin, still
holding the stake in both hands above the now settling cloud.
said Inspector Robichaux. “You’re the vampire slayer?”
“Yes, sir,” said Corbin. “This one was sent from Paris to
determine if Peillon was a safe place in which to set up an outpost.
“Aimee, your grandmother told my father’s brother about
Angelique and instructed him to have our family guard the village from her
“Our town owes you a great debt,” said Inspector Robichaux.
“You’re a hero.”
“Inspector, this may be the end of it for a while,” said
Corbin. “If not, it’s important that my position as guardian remains secret. I
must remain your deputy.”
“It will be as you wish, Corbin,” said the Inspector. “And
I apologize for underestimating you.”
“If that means I played my part well, sir,” said Corbin.
“Then I thank you for the compliment.”
Roy Dorman, firstname.lastname@example.org, of Madison, Wisconsin, who wrote BP #88’s “Blood on the
Riviera,” (+ BP #87’s “The Sepia Photograph”; BP
#86’s “New Orleans Take-Out” & “Not
This Time”; BP #85’s “Door County Getaway” & “The Gift”; BP #84’s
“Goodbye to Nowhere Land” & “Nobody Should Be at 1610 Maple St.”; BP #83’s
“Door #2”; BP #82’s “A Nowhere Friend” & “Foundling”; BP #81’s “Nowhere
in Nowhere Land” & “The Box with Pearl Inlay”; BP #80’s “Andrew’s War”
& “Down at the Hardware Store”; BP #79’s “Cellmates” & “Get Some
Shelter”; BP #78’s “All Is as It Should Be”; BP #77’s “Essence of Andrew”; BP
#76’s “Flirting with the Alley”; BP #75’s “The Enemy of My Enemy…”; BP #74’s
“Doesn’t Play Well with Others”; BP #73’s “A Journey Starts with a Flower”; BP
#72’s “The Beach House”; BP #71’s “The Big Apple Bites”; BP #70’s “Borrowing
Some Love”; and BP #69’s “Back in Town” and “Finding Good Help…”), is retired
from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a
voracious reader for 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school
friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious
writer. He has had poetry and flash fiction published in Apocrypha and Abstractions, Birds Piled
Loosely, Burningword Literary Journal, Cease Cows,
Crack The Spine, Drunk Monkeys, Every Day Fiction,
Flash Fiction Magazine,
Flash Fiction Press, Gap-Toothed
Madness, Gravel, Lake City Lights,
Near To The Knuckle, Shotgun
Honey, The Creativity Webzine, Theme
of Absence, The Screech Owl, The Story
Shack, & Yellow Mama.