Black Petals Issue #95 Spring, 2021

BP Editorial Page
BP Artist's Page
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Blue Meet-Fiction by George Aitch
Dark Alleyways-Fiction by Adam Phillips
Iris' Vanity-Fiction by Tristan Miller
Scalp Cleanse-Fiction by Kajetan Kwiatkowski
The Muscus-Fiction by Alice Stone
The Wrong Place-Fiction by Ante Caleta
Things That Happen-Fiction by Guido Eekhaut
Tidal Horror-Fiction by Sal Braden
Two Martinis In-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Vampire-Fiction by Gene Lass
Hypnic Jerk-Flash Fiction by Vismay Harani
Speed Dating-Flash Fiction by Alexander Condie
Step Out-Flash Fiction by Ed Nobody
The Packing Bay-Flash Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Trophy Kill-Flash Fiction by Eddie D. Moore
Occupational Hazard-Flash Fiction by Doug Hawley
The Definition of Crash-Poems by Paul David Adkins
Ghost: A Working Definition-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Vampiric Threnody-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Leelanau Lake Monster-Poems by Richard Stevenson
Ballast-2 Poems by Angelo Letizia
Pit Bull-3 Poems by Pete Mladinic
Shadow of Sleep-Poem by Teresa Ann Frazee
Microcosmus-3 Poems by Daniel Snethen
The Higher Dimensions-Poem by David C. Kopaska- Merkel

Art by Michael D. Davis 2021


By Gene Lass


          It turns out vampire hunters are still a thing. I blame reality TV, which anyone with a sliver of intelligence knows is about as real as professional wrestling. Each may have been real at some point, but that was long, long ago. You can believe what you want, and they may be more real than full-on fiction, but “Ghost Hunters” and “Paranormal State” are not weekly documentaries. Now everyone with a phone, cameras, and a voltage meter thinks they can explore the unknown.

          Which is about the category of vampire hunter I’ve encountered. Douchebags with unconsecrated Bibles and objects, plus a little holy water. Mostly they make good eating. I like when they think they have me cornered or defeated and then they find out they’re wrong. Sometimes I even act scared to play up the drama, cowering and hissing a little. It’s a good time every time.

          That’s why I stick to Canada and the US. It’s a good comfort zone to be in. Sure, there are priests and rabbis here who can put up a fight and make things difficult, but far fewer than there are in Eastern or Central Europe. There everyone’s grandma knows how to watch for and handle any kind of supernatural problem, just as well as they can make their own family recipes. It’s probably handed down at the same time.

          This vampire hunter who has been chasing me started out as the garden variety modern kind. About 28, works some office job during the day plus a side job at True Value hardware. One weekend he tracked me down while still wearing his store uniform, which was laughable, but he usually comes armed with things that can actually hurt me, and he has grown tedious. He already has kept an eye on blood banks and enlisted friends to help him with that, the bastard. Whatever. This is my town too, and it has been since the 70’s. I’m not about to be hunted down by some pup with a posse.

          Problematically, this guy started to figure out where I live. He must have read his Richard Matheson. “I Am Legend” is like a manual for your modern vampire hunter, and thankfully few who can do anything about it have read it, they’ve just seen the movie with Will Smith, which is more about plague zombies anyway. No, Hardware Boy figured out how to use a map and look for things like dark windows. He built himself a little network of spotters and made it clear he would keep at it until I’m gone, or he proves I exist, and for all I know he’d follow me if I leave the city. My city. Fuck him.

          I’ve seen him three times in person. Once at a blood bank, when he was wearing his True Value uniform. Another time on a bike path near the lake, where I would sometimes pick up joggers or bikers in the evening. He almost got me, then. I nabbed a biker and pulled him with me into the bushes and was met with an air horn, a spotlight, and a spray in the face with some sort of garlic-infused pepper spray. That shit hurt. Then there was the third time. He was standing on my block, on the corner, looking down the street when I came out of the house at sunset. I knew he was waiting for me. He knew where I was, just not which house, and he wanted to throw down. He was standing at one end of my block, which is a dead end street, and there was a van idling at the other end of the street, probably full of his friends. A clear pincer attack.

          I strolled out of my house calm and cool, crossed the street, and watched him watch me. Then I poured on the speed, ran between two houses and hopped a fence. Behind me I heard the van roar to life and heard him say, “Go go go!” I smiled. I’ve clocked myself running, doing laps on high school tracks. I can jog at 30 miles an hour. I can move for short bursts at over 60 miles an hour. I was on the other side of the neighborhood before that van got to the end of the block.

          But he had his spotters out in force. They dogged me all night long, clearly fencing me in, cutting off any place to hide or blend in. He kept it up until dawn, going for the kill, wanting to finish me himself. The sky was getting light, and he was approaching me from down the block, smirking. He looked behind me and pointed at the sky.

          “Hey bloodsucker, do you see what I see?”

          I turned and saw the cross on top of St. Josaphat’s Basilica, poking over the top of the houses. I groaned, covered my face, and dropped to the ground in a ball.

          Crosses and stars of David, blessed ones, hurt. If they touch me, yes, they burn. Especially silver ones. But when I see one, it’s not as much a physical pain. It’s shame. It’s like God looking right at me, making me feel what I’ve done.

          I’ve killed hundreds of people. Literally hundreds. I’ve lost the exact count. It may be a thousand by now, probably is. About a person a week, sometimes two, for more than 40 years. And when I’m faced with a blessed cross, I feel the weight of each of those souls on mine, dragging me down to Hell. There’s no hope for me and I know it.

          But at the same time, I’ve made peace with it. The piker used the wrong thing as his hole card and secret weapon.

          I turned, smiled, and was down the block before he could blink. I drank blood straight from his heart.


Gene Lass has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in all areas of publishing, from books and magazines to blogs. He has released four books of poetry to date, including the most recent, Delta, with art by Jennifer Paige Davis, published in October 2020.  His fiction and poetry have appeared in Electric Velocipede, KSquare, The AlbatrossCoffin Bell Journal, Schlock, and Every Day Poems. His short story, “Fence Sitter” was nominated for Best of the Net 2020.

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