This is an amateur, non-commercial story, which is not produced, approved of, or in any way sponsored by the holders of the trademarks/copyrights from which this work is derived, nor is it intended to infringe on the rights of these holders. And so it goes.


(the third and mercifully final chapter to "Vampire Dreams and Stranger Things")
by Jeff Morris

The vampire writhed inside her coffin, tossing and turning as she slowly woke from her dreamless sleep. Normally this was a slow, pleasant process for her, but this time something just beyond the fringes of her senses was continuously jangling her nerves, making what was usually a deliciously sensual ritual the equivalent of fingernails screeching down a blackboard.

Her eyes snapped open. Now fully conscious, her other senses jumped to full alert and stretched out beyond her enclosed environs, seeking out the source of her rude awakening. It took mere seconds to pinpoint it--it was music. A simple, happy little tune was playing all around her, accompanied by the constant jingling of trolley bells. She grit her teeth and tried to screen the annoying little tune from her mind, to no avail.

Now she could hear a voice singing along with a new synthesized tune...a dull, monotonous voice devoid of emotion or expression. The vampire abruptly realized that she was yawning in time to the song and quickly shut her mouth. She strained her ears to seek out the source of the singing and track him; she'd wait until she was sure he was gone before leaving her haven.

Mercifully, the music ended. She pressed her hands against the coffin lid, waiting. And then she heard the voice: "Hello, neighbor." The unseen speaker droned on, talking about this and that, how he was glad to see them, and how special they were, and how they were going to have lots of fun today...a few minutes later, the vampire stirred and realized to her horror that she'd fallen asleep again.

Unsure of the situation, she carefully opened her coffin just the slightest bit and squinted through the crack. There was an old man sitting about three feet in front of her, his back to the coffin. And though he seemed to be speaking to someone, so far as she could tell there was no one else there. This relieved her somewhat; it was always much easier to deal with the elderly and insane--they were too weak to fight and too deranged to understand the danger they were in. Emboldened, the vampire slowly lifted the coffin lid the rest of the way and cautiously slid out of her bed.

Part of her wondered why she even bothered; the old man continued to sit facing the wall and droned on to his invisible friends about death and superstition. Well, the vampire thought, permitting herself a toothy grin, this one's about to get the supernatural experience of his life. She let the toothy smile stretch across her lovely features as she crept up to her victim.

He was talking about werewolves, and monsters, and vampires as she loomed behind him. The hunger within her made her forego the usual entrancement/enslavement routine; with a soft guttural growl, the vampire plunged her mouth towards the old man's neck.

There was a long, piercing scream.

The vampire reeled backwards, her hands clutched tightly against her mouth as wave upon wave of pain roared through her. Bloody tears streamed from her face as she stumbled blindly across the room. For his part the old man just smiled and continued: "So you see, neighbors, even though people would like to believe in such things as vampires, they're really just make-believe and can't hurt you. Not one bit."

The vampire struggled to clear the pain from her mind and figure out what had happened. Her fangs had failed to even break the old man's skin; they had simply bounced off his neck--it had been like trying to pierce a petrified tree! Moaning softly, the vampire stumbled up the staircase and flung the door open wide, not even bestowing a defiant hiss upon her intended victim as she fled into the night.

* * * * *

After a series of failed break-ins, the vampire had finally succeeded in finding a temporary haven--a grade school. Sighing heavily, she sat down on a pint-sized chair and struggled to clear her mind of hunger pangs and sore teeth. "I have got to find a bite to eat," she said to herself. "Perhaps I can then figure out where I am and how I got here..."

Suddenly there was a burst of light and music, and before her horrified eyes the vampire found a huge purple-and-green...something!...standing in front of her. "HI, THERE!" the apparition boomed cheerfully.

"What the Hell are you?" the vampire shrieked, too shaken to recover any composure.

"My name's Barney, and I want to be your friend!" The purple monstrosity leaned forward. "Gee, I didn't scare you, did I? I'm very sorry--it's not nice to scare your friends!"

"I'm not your friend, and I...I..." The vampire sniffed the air and frowned. "I don't smell any blood in you. You're not real, are you?"

"Nope. I'm a make-believe dinosaur!" The creature tottered back on forth on its chubby legs. "But I love you just the same, even though we're all different--that makes us all special, and you're special too!" And then he began to sing: "I love you, you love me..."

The vampire shrieked and lunged forward.

* * * * *

A few minutes later the vampire left the school, picking absently at her fangs and occasionally spitting out hunks of purple foam. While giving in to the bloodlust had been emotionally satisfying, there was still the matter of getting something to eat.

The distant, mournful wail of a train rolling through the darkness caught her attention. Not too far away she spied the outline of a building beside some railroad tracks...and glowing like a lighthouse beacon through the darkness was the light from a window, occasionally broken by the outline of a pacing figure.

Smiling and running her tongue over her teeth in anticipation (and to make sure that all the purple foam was off), the vampire glided silently to the depot. Her cold hands gripped the old brass door knob and twisted it slowly--to her surprise, it turned without any resistance. Someone was either careless or stupid...all the better for her. She carefully opened the door and slipped inside, her smile growing into a hungry grimace.

The scent of a mortal drifted across her nostrils, causing her hunger to jump within her. But caution continued to rule her actions as she clung to the shadows shrouding the station. The ticket window was abandoned, the workroom door locked and shut. But over by a large group of dilapidated, obsolete game machines stood her victim, oblivious to her presence as he threatened and pleaded with a balky jukebox machine to play a song, any song for him. Closer and closer she crept, eyes glittering as she slowly let her hunger fill her from within. She ignored the young man's garish clothing, paid no attention to his slick, greasy hair as she moved to within a heartbeat away from him...and struck.

A few minutes later, she wiped her mouth on one of her victim's shirt sleeves, then let his body fall to the floor. While it had been satisfying to finally get her fill of blood, the vampire still could not get over the taste of his blood--it had been something like a cross between O positive and Valvoline. "Beggars can't afford to be choosers," she told herself as she held back a hiccup. She felt deliciously dizzy; the sudden cessation of her hunger now made her lethargic. She plopped down into a chair and closed her eyes.

A short burst of music came from out of nowhere. The vampire's eyes snapped open and she leaned forward into a defensive crouch, ready for anything. Then her eyes focused on the little man who was standing on the nearby table, and she wondered again just what that guy had running through his veins besides hemoglobin.

"Hello," said the little man. He had short grey hair and a neatly-trimmed beard, and was smartly dressed in the work clothing of a railroad conductor.

"Uhh...hello," she replied, too dumbfounded to know what to do.

"If I might ask, why is Schemer lying on the floor like that?" the tiny fellow asked. "And why does he have such a big, stupid grin on his face? I mean, bigger and more stupid than usual?"

"I, ahh, I made him very happy," the vampire blurted out.

"I'd say." The fellow looked around the room. "Say, where are all the kids? I heard some noises and figured they'd come over for a sleepover. But there's no one here but you and Schemer..." An evil, lecherous leer spread across his features. "So, babe, you wanna hear the seven words besides 'commercial' you can't say on PBS? Or maybe the story about Thomas the Tank Engine taking Mavis to the hump yards and becoming a REALLY useful engine? Huh?"

Dazed, bewildered, unsure of herself, the vampire decided there was only one way to resolve this bizarre situation. Before the little man could react, she grabbed him and bit his head off. Then she tilted the body upwards and drained the corpse, smacking her lips as she finished it off. Feeling much better, she let the body fall beside that of her first victim and hurried out, remembering to spit out the little man's head into the nearest trash receptacle as she left. Neatness always counted, even for vampires, after all.

* * * * *

A short time later ("That damned song ends NOW," she had said as she ripped the oh-so-cute puppet into felt lamb chops), the vampire once again found herself utterly lost amid a long row of brick brownstones. Frustrated and more confused than ever, she hid beside the stairs of one building and waited for someone to walk by. She did not have to wait long.


"Ahhh, such a beeeeuuuuuutiful night!" sang a voice in a terrible Transylvanian accent. "Look at the stars, my, one star! Two, two stars! Three, four, five..." About the time the stranger hit fifteen, the vampire lost all patience and leaped out of the shadows towards her prey. A bunch of little black things scattered in all directions and flapped into the night, squeaking with surprise and outrage as she and her prey tumbled to the ground in a heap.

The vampire looked down at her intended victim. He was made of felt and dressed in an outlandish...well, vampire costume! "May I help you?" he asked politely, seemingly ignoring the fact that she'd just attacked him. "Permit me to introduce myself. I am Count von Count, but you may simply call me...Count." He laughed long and loud, ahe could almost swear she heard thunder booming, though there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

"Where...where am I?" she asked hesitantly.

"Why, you're on Sesame Street, my dear? Can't you read the sign?" She glanced up and saw the signpost, clear as could be. "Now, you seem to be in some sort of distress. Perhaps you do not know how many of something you have? If so, I will be pleased to be of service. You see, I love to count things!" Again the laughter and thunder rang through the evening air. And this time, when he leaned back to laugh, she noticed something peculiar.

"'re a vampire?" she gasped.

"Yes, of course I am!" He showed off his felt fangs proudly.

" couldn't possibly bite anyone--not with those floppy things!"

The Count's face grew puzzled. "Bite? Why would I want to bite anyone?"

The flesh-and-blood vampire sighed. "To feed! Subsist! Blood! You know?"

"Blah!" the vampire spat. "I much prefer jelly beans and tomato juice!"

"No, no, no!" she cried. "Vampires are creatures of the night! Dark, evil things! We feed on the living! We have fangs like these!" She opened her mouth wide and displayed her own long canines.

"AH!" The Count cried in triumph. "You are a vampire as well! That means there are..." He pointed to himself. "One--one vampire..." Next he pointed at her. "Two! TWO VAMPIRES!" He started up with that crazy laugh of his again, but stopped when he saw her approaching with her hands outstretched.

"No," she said in a low, menacing voice. " vampire...."

* * * * * *

Minutes later, she kicked the shredded remains of her foe down a nearby cellar staircase and hurried off in the opposite direction. She wasn't sure where she was going, or what she would find when she got there, but sooner or later, she would find her way back home....

A vampire clone of a beautiful spy lies sleeping in the basement of a television station, trapped in a dream world of bizarre animals and make-believe creatures. A never-ending nightmare as she struggles to find her way back to the real world, a way out of...the PBS Zone....