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vlad the impala

by Gori Roriksen Varangian

Vlad the Impala

Hi! Gori here, still busy sorting out the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies basement, but I'm definitely (?) making progress. Today I almost saw the original cellar floor for the first time, until an avalanche of neck-bolts filled the trench I'd been working on. Or in...

I took a break, trying to work out if I could dam the fear fountain and flush away a lot of the detritus, and felt a cold tap on my shoulder.

“Good day,” a solemn voice announced, but it didn't sound at all happy about it. Hardly surprising, since the speaker was a vampire, and yes, it was daytime. Nothing good about that combination.

I'd thought all the gloomy vampires had left for graveyards new, clutching jars of the shop's new and improved restorative Daylight (read my blog!), but it appears there was one left.

I asked him if he wanted to buy my light, wondering if I was about to be plunged back into darkness. But the vampire said he already had one, so that was lucky. He was very polite, if about as gloomy a vampire I'd ever seen (despite the warm glimmer I could see emerging from his open casket).

We exchanged names. His turned out to be Vlad the Impala.

Don't you mean...? I asked, but no. I'd heard it right the first time.

“You send ONE picture postcard back from your safari holiday to the Republic of Botswana,” Vlad bemoaned, “and you never live it down!”

Which was why he was hiding out in the Shop basement, asking for my help. Apparently his Vampire School was having its two hundred year reunion and he knew that he'd be the target of all their jokes. Vampires, especially ones that young, can be cruel. But Vlad figured that if he won the “best coffin contest”, then at least the taunts would be almost bearable.

I told him that the Shop above had plenty of ornaments for the discerning coffin owner, but Vlad nailed me with a vampire stare and asked if Igor was still the shopkeeper.

I didn't bother to explain that Igor usually handled the “Monster Only” shielding hours, for those monsters too hungry, too terrible, or perhaps too allergic to mix with humans, and that we had other staff for the daylight hours. Though, of course, no vampire was going to visit then. Not even with the new SPF 2000 sunblock Igor was trialling for her most photophobic customers, with mixed success.

But that, or rather she, was the problem. Vlad wearily related how he had had a run-in with Igor on a previous Shop visit. Fifty-seven years ago he'd made some unguarded comment about some trouble in Bavaria, which meant it was sure to be still fresh in Igor's memory.

So, he asked, his reddened eyes all hopeful, did I have anything I could sell him to trick out his coffin?

I looked around the piles of... stuff, as much as of glittering back in the light of my Daylight jar as not, and told him I thought I probably did.

While we fitted his casket with a dozen cursed daggers and a cloak made of material so black it didn't matter how close the daylight got, it looked like the depths of a starless night, and so cold it felt like one as well, I mentioned that Impalas have TWO wickedly sharp horns.

He knew that, of course he did. Had he not seen them in the wild? Had he not sent that accursed postcard featuring an adult male in all its horned prime?

I pointed out Vlad the Impaler only had the ONE.

He went away a relatively happy undead creature and I turned another small profit from the cellar's contents to keep Igor from grumbling about how long it was taking. Of course, I was careful not to mention who my customer had been...

Tune in to my next “Intern(ed) in the Basement” blog instalment to read what I discover next!

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