In a town someone had the decency to name but which will remain unnamed for legal purposes of this flash fiction:
Lights burn brightly in the town hall as people line up, torches in hand. Across, in another booth, is a fat woman with a scarf around her head dealing dirty in pitchforks and hoes. Her prices are ridiculous, extortionist even, but the town people are willing to pay it (some even trading in goats) because they have had enough.
All day. All night.
The townspeople wince, hearing the echo from Jumper’s Cliff.
Some moan. Others roll their eyes and mutter an intricate, profane oath.
“Hey, Bill,” Eric, the local storekeeper asks, nudging his shoulder. “Isn’t that Teresa?”
Bill scowls, a muscle in his jaw working. Someone turns around, Sherry the only female teenager in the town left with some sense, raises a pierced eyebrow. Her hands clutch a copy of Queen of the Damned as though it were the Holy Bible. Dried blood stains the frayed pages.
“I don’t do sparkly boys,” She explained once (ages ago it seems now) when someone had asked why she wasn’t joining the other girls her age.
“Mr. Tulane, isn’t Teresa your wife?”
Bill hunches his shoulders, shaking his head. “I don’t have a wife.”
No one snickers. No one sneers. Many men are in the same embarrassing situation.
The cycle never ends.
It started out innocently enough. A book was published. It exploded into international status and while good for the town’s economy, it left some people scratching their head in bemused wonderment. But, who cared? Money was coming in, the town got a mockumentary made, more money came in. Tourist buses lined up to see where “it had all happened”.
It was good.
Well. Then things changed.
People knew the world was going to end. Hell, the Discovery, History, and National Geographic channels all competed to see which one would have the most correct prediction. While they focused on climate change driven natural disasters, the rest of the world was busy with the real inevitability.
The choices boiled down to two: zombies or vampires.
George Romero fans were disappointed. Some chose, well, some hardcore fans chose to end their miserable existences early.
The rest of the Nerd World scoured Dungeon&Dragons manuals, Vampire the Masquerade handbooks, The Vampire Chronicles became bludgeoning devices, Van Helsing inspired vampire killing kits vanished off Wal*Mart shelves.
And a small town in Washington braced for impact.
Some circles prayed. Others took to writing Anne Rice, begging for answers. Witch Covens exploded into existence to “do battle with the enemy”. Mona, Rowan, Lasher, and Taltos became the most overused baby names.
It was as everyone feared. Anne Rice fans who held out hope of their very own Lestat given Dark Gift took to beating their breast and tearing their hair when reality struck. Even Voltaire followers stood in their velvet capes, waistcoats and top hats in shock.
The world now played host to a hoard of insufferable, duck lipped, pose-able sparkly vampires. In baseball caps and shirts.
It all started in the town which will remain unnamed. Deep in the forest, the first rustling began. Perfect humans with too pale skin and bright eyes wandered into the high school, making every girl’s dream a reality and spawning a new age of vampires. When the girls ran out, the vampires moved on, slithering their way into every major city across the country.
All eyes turned toward the still unnamed town. Television cameras appeared for a different reason. Hate mail poured in until the town deleted their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn pages, and email account. Eventually they deleted the internet. Wal*Mart refused to do business, pulling out of the town. Soon after, major chain restaurants followed suit leaving the town demoralised, dehumanised and completely on their own.
No Home Depot in sight.
“The Sullen family, that’s whose fault this is.”
No one could really pin it on one family. The apocalypse had happened so suddenly. But the pasty-faced Sullens were a good a target to blame as anybody. The townspeople had written letters. When the internet was available they would send emails. Nasty ones. Mean, hurtful ones that were meant to insult as much as they threatened. The Sullen family responded with hisses and snarls, showing their fangs, then blocking off their plantation house with electrified barbed wire fences.
It is there the townspeople are headed. Torches lit, pitchforks and hoes in hand, they assemble outside the old Community Centre. Leading the pack is Caleb, bare chested and tattooed with hair below his shoulder blades.
“JEDDARD! LOVE ME, JEDDARD!”
Teresa opens her arms, feeling a gust of wind lift her momentarily off her feet. All she has to do is jump. Then Jeddard will love her forever.
Caleb stands ready on a large rock, hands on his hips, full moon behind him. Clouds obscure the orb. Ominous thunder rumbles. His hair blows in the wind. His pack brothers are waiting inside the forest. Their nemesis sits in their plush house, gathering sparkly reinforcements. They sit, the bane of humankind. Humanity will thank the wolves with open arms and hot chicks. Their crusade against the sparkly ones begins tonight. Thunder booms, lightning splits the sky. Torches flare and fizzle with the first drops of rain. The townspeople trickle in, muttering to themselves, waiting for his command.
When the vampires came, God gave man the power of the wolf.
Or that crazy voodoo lady who lives on Third and Main. With the cats.
No one is really sure which.
“Come with me,” He says in his best anti-hero impersonation, changing into wolf from, slinking into the forest.
They march in line. Teresa opens her arms wider, teetering at the edge.
“I’M JUMPING JEDDARD! DO YOU HEAR ME? I’M JUMPING!”
Someone spins her around. Blank eyes gaze out unseeing in a mottled, blotchy face.
“Jeddard?” Teresa mewls.
Maybe George Romero wasn’t too far off after all.