Larelle sank into her armchair by the fire, cosy and pleasantly drowsy. The kids had been a riot today, and she was smashed. Thank heavens it was Friday.
A knock sounded at her apartment door and, staring into the flickering blue-orange flames and glowing embers, Larelle called out, “Come in!”
The door creaked open. Larelle waited for Jason’s footsteps, but they didn’t come.
“You’re early,” she said, pivoting around to the door, thoughts full of languid disappointment that she hadn’t had time to change.
Her heart skipped then double-pounded. The figure smiling toothily on the near side of the threshold was not Jason. Partially because Jason wasn’t six foot three with long, dark hair and muscles like something out of a firemen’s calendar—but mainly because Jason couldn’t leer at her with jet black eyes and pointed, gleaming fangs.
“Actually,” the vampire-apparent said, “I believe I’m exactly on time. I do like to eat dessert before my mains. Bad habit, I know.”
“Better for the digestive system,” Larelle said reflexively; her Year 3 students had been studying the digestive system recently. Not that she’d told them the bit about dessert first, of course. She wanted permanency, not a civil lawsuit from parents. “And can’t you only enter houses when invited?”
“True,” said the vampire, and he licked his fangs. “And it was so sweet of you to invite me in.” He rubbed his hands gleefully. “Shall we begin?”
Larelle’s chest constricted as the fatal words played through her mind: Come in.
Idiot. She’d even had a peephole installed in the door right after that werewolf had attacked old Mrs Franklin, but did she ever bother to use it? No. Too much effort.
Well, you know what else is a lot of effort? she asked herself scathingly as she stood and paced towards the vampire. Stalking predators. Next time, just use the bloody peephole. She grinned toothily, revealing the flecks of iron in her teeth—fillings she’d had done specially.
The vamp’s cocksure smile slipped a little before he covered it with a grin even wider than hers—too wide, she thought. He’s covering.
“Oh yes,” Larelle said, raising the iron-and-hardwood-and-silver poker from the fireplace—the ultimate multipurpose weapon against the supernatural. “Do let’s begin.”
The vampire lunged, but Larelle had done more than the basic training required by the government. She went down on one knee. He grabbed over her head. She stabbed upwards with the poker. He died a fast, gurgling death.
She hoped it was painful.
Someone knocked at the door. Probably this was now Jason, but Larelle pulled the poker from the vampire’s chest with a wet schlurp, wiped it off on his shirt, and headed to the peephole. She wasn’t making that mistake again.