Black Petals Issue #88, Summer, 2019

Blood on the Riviera
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Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A Place of His Own-Fiction by Dorian Sinnott
Blood on the Riviera-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Chapter 13-Fiction by A.M.Stickel
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Chapter 14-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Chapter 15-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Conclusion-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Red Dress-Fiction byTrisha McKee
The Dead Are Not Lonely-Fiction by A. L. Hodges
The Taxidermist is Hatching-Fiction by Michael Mulvihill
This Isn't You-Fiction by J. David Thayer
Love River Forever-Poem by Hicham El Qendouci
Fire Rages from Her Fingertips-4 Poems by T. B. Kelley
Sheepsquatch-3 poems by Richard Stevenson

staked.jpg

Blood on the Riviera

 

By Roy Dorman

Or 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, right?”

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 him.”

“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 small smile.

 

“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 blackberry jam.”

“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 bumpkins.”

“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 the floor.

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.

You, Corbin?” 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 return.”

“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.”

 

The End

 

 

Roy Dorman, roydorman@yahoo.com, 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 Man 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, Cheapjack Pulp, 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.

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