Sluggo Snares a Vampire
By Rick R. Reed
Published by JMS
Books LLC at Smashwords
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Copyright 2017 Rick R. Reed
* * * *
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This is a work of
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Published in the United
States of America.
NOTE: This story
appears in the author’s collection, Unhinged.
* * * *
For all the nice folks
we meet online.
* * * *
Sluggo Snares a Vampire
By Rick R. Reed
They call it
catfishing—presenting yourself online as someone other than who you
you really are. Why do people do it? I suppose to the same reason a
dog licks its balls—because they can.
My mind tends to
wander to dangerous places, and from the trending hot topic of
catfishing, it went to vampires. Who knows why?
But one thing that’s
always fascinated me about vampire lore is the fact that, according
to most stories, you have to invite them in.
vampires, and taking the dangerous step of inviting your own trouble
into your own house, “Sluggo Snares a Vampire” was born.
* * * *
Sluggo had promised
himself he would limit his time on the computer to less than an hour
a day. Like many promises, this one was made with the best of
intentions and an underlying need to makes himself a better person.
So why was it that now,
at a quarter past midnight, he was lying abed wide awake? This was in
spite of re-reading the latest Sookie Stackhouse story, drinking
several glasses of red wine that Sluggo whimsically thought of as
“true blood,” and neatly cataloging, in alphabetical order, all
of the books on his living room shelves. He had his bedroom TV turned
to a comforting and—he thought—sleep-inducing low hum, tuned to
Lifetime and an old episode of Will and Grace. His aluminum
mini blinds were firmly shut against the night, and the room was warm
and dark, save for the dim glow of his sock monkey night-light that
he’d simply never been able to part with.
Sluggo’s den, off the
dining room, beckoned. Like a siren’s call, it seemed the Macintosh
within urged him to forget his resolve and conveniently not remind
him that he had earlier decided the hours and hours of time spent
online were becoming an addiction, just like crystal meth, alcohol,
and huffing computer keyboard cleaners was for the poor folks he
watched every week on Intervention. The lure of the computer
and the connections it promised forced Sluggo to put on a back burner
the worry that his time online in chat rooms and male-to-male hookups
sites was perhaps circumventing his ability to get out there and make
real, flesh-and-blood human connections. Never mind his dawning
horrific realization that he was beginning to think, instead of just
type on a keyboard, terms like vgl, brb, lmao, bb, nsa, and a whole
litany of others. And why bother mentioning the mounting amounts of
money his Visa statement detailed each month, for his high-speed
Internet connection and the monthly membership charges to various gay
male hookup sites?
Sure, he could afford
all that—no problem—especially if he subsisted on beans and rice.
He knew he shouldn’t do it, though, knew he should head instead
into the bathroom where he would brush and floss and then go to bed,
where he could lie awake, fantasizing about firm, muscular bodies
(unlike his), surly hairy alpha men with mountainous pecs, ripped
abs, grapefruit-sized biceps, dangerous facial hair (unlike his), and
huge, pendulous cocks that became erect at the slightest whisper of
sexual titillation (completely unlike his).
Perhaps, he thought,
rationalizing now and not really caring, such a man awaited his
electronic embrace on “System Up” one of the services to which he
subscribed. If he didn’t log on now, who knows what
opportunity he might pass up? When Sluggo “chatted” in one of the
rooms, he became Sir Raven, the dark-haired, wild-eyed Cuban stud
whose depravity knew no bounds and whose witty repartee would enchant
and seduce, inspiring the most fervent love and devotion.
Oh stop it now!
You’re just playing mind games with yourself, trying to convince
yourself to do what you know damn well you shouldn’t.
Sluggo did manage to
will himself into the small bathroom, with its claw-foot tub and its
makeshift shower, cracked tile floors, and paint-chipped walls. He
took one look at his reflection and despaired. He had heard all about
self-esteem and knew he shouldn’t denigrate himself so, but the man
who peered back at him was not one who could snare a beefy, virile,
and hot man. Not unless Sluggo had a huge… bank account. He never
could have snared such a creature, even when he was twenty years
younger, when, at best, he bore an uneasy resemblance to Sluggo of
comic strip fame. Now the man who looked back at him was of “football
player build” proportions (okay, fat), intelligent looking (mud
brown eyes enlarged by pop-bottle thick lenses, framed in
tortoiseshell), and his hair, in spite of trying to tempt it back
with Rogaine, comb-overs, and Propecia, was beating a hasty retreat
from his scalp, only to appear in luxurious amounts in places less
desirable, like his back.
But on “System Up,”
Sluggo could be whatever he wanted, hiding behind a barrage of wit
and verbosity, master of the clever quip and the alluring line,
perfect for quiet, private chats sheathed in the safety and security
of instant messages, his own private room (Meet me in the “Master
of the Night” room) or e-mail.
Sluggo did pick up his
toothbrush and even decorated its bristles with a ribbon of bright
Then set it back down
on the little plastic counter beneath the medicine cabinet mirror.
Okay, then, if I get
online tonight, I promise not to get online at all tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I will go out after work and go to a happy hour somewhere.
I will make myself smile and introduce myself to at least one guy. So
getting online tonight won’t be so bad, right?
He knew his
self-rationalization was flimsy and, like any addict, stuffed it deep
down into his subconscious where it could emerge later as an ulcer or
high blood pressure. The good angel on his shoulder tried to tell him
that tonight he could not afford it and that a good night’s sleep
might allow him a halfway productive day tomorrow at First National,
where he worked as a loan officer. He brushed the angel off his
shoulder with an annoyed roll of the eyes. Tomorrow, after all, was
Friday, and he would have the entire weekend to rest. So what if he
stayed up late getting to know someone new on System Up? This could
very well be the night he turned his entire lonely life around.
So it was no surprise
that within minutes Sluggo found himself in the tiny ten-by-ten
cubbyhole he called his den. He sat in front of the Mac screen,
watching as the little icons lined up as the system booted, aiming
him toward his destination in cyberspace, where life was beautiful
and unfettered by concerns about loneliness, unworthiness, and the
clock ticking relentlessly downward toward a passing no one would
Once he brought up
Firefox, Sluggo clicked on the System Up name in his toolbar. Faster
than he could think “cock and balls,” he was staring at the
System Up icon (a tiny computer with a big, Superman-like “S” on
its monitor screen). Mouth dry and heart racing, he drummed his
fingertips on the glass surface of his desk as he waited for the
prompt that would allow him to enter his screen name (Sir Raven) and
then his password (Lestat1968). Sluggo listened hopefully for the
electronic voice to tell him he had mail, and once again was
disappointed to see the closed mailbox icon, with its taunting “no
Quickly, Sluggo moved
through the screens until he was scrolling through the Member Rooms,
looking for the one called “Chicago M4M,” hoping he wouldn’t be
denied access because the room was full. He was pleased to see there
were fifteen members in the room (a good number, but not so many as
to block him out), and within moments, he was in.
The screen was blank.
Even though Sluggo knew that this only meant he was just joining the
chat, he preferred instead to imagine the whole room waiting with
bated breath for him to speak. Of course, the room was full to
bursting with muscular, naked Adonises whose only variation was the
color of their hair and eyes. They were all oiled up and stroking
cocks with a minimum of eight inches.
Sluggo readjusted his
pajama bottoms and typed, “Good evening, gentlemen,” and waited.
Within moments, another message popped up, from a familiar screen
“How you doin’,
“Looking for love in
all the wrong places.”
Hmm. This one was easy
to amuse. “What brings you out on this cold winter night?”
Sluggo waited for a
full minute and, when he got no response, typed: “I am Sir Raven,
master of the night.”
There was virtual
silence, and Sluggo had assumed his bold statement had scared
Flshsinner away. Good riddance if he can’t handle a simple
statement of fact.
A screen name Sluggo
had never seen, TepesAllure, popped up. “I thought I was
master of the night.”
Bitch! How dare someone
try to horn in on his carefully developed persona! With trembling
fingers, he typed, “I don’t know if there’s room for two
Tepes simply sent back
one of those cartoon smiley faces in reply.
Sluggo typed: “Tepes,
there’s not enough room. What do you care to do about it?”
Flshsinner joined in.
“Uh-oh, a cat fight?”
A tiny electronic gong
alerted him that he had a private instant mail message from Tepes.
“Listen, sir, I have more reason to be master of the night
than you could ever dream.”
Sluggo snorted and
responded, “What do you know of my dreams, Tepes?”
“I know they’re the
only lively thing shedding light in a bland void.”
The message chilled
him, as on target as it was, with its casual cruelty. Sluggo wasn’t
sure he should go on. Something about this one sent an icy glissando
of fear up and down his spine. He had the odd sensation he was
dealing here with someone who knew him. But that couldn’t be. His
whole persona was pretty much the exact opposite of who he really
was. Of course, this TepesAllure was just grasping at straws and
trying to get a rise out of him, but his words cut a bit too close to
“Who knows what are
dreams and what is reality?” Sluggo’s fingers rapidly caressed
the keyboard. “Perhaps my reality is the color and passion-filled
world you could only envy.”
“I have no envy for
the walking wounded, past his prime and desperate.”
Sluggo sucked in a
breath, almost wincing. The words hurt almost as much as if someone
had delivered a punch to his gut. His mouth suddenly felt dry. He
leaned back and rubbed his eyes. Perhaps this was the cyber god’s
way of telling him he should have circumvented his den tonight and
headed for the warmth and comfort of his flannel sheets, no matter
how many hours he lay awake, tracing hairline cracks in his bedroom
“Hello? Sir Raven? I
haven’t scared you away, have I?”
Sluggo caressed the
keyboard, debating whether he wanted to continue this conversation.
Shouldn’t he just exit Firefox and get his pathetic little ass to
bed? There would be time enough for all of this come the weekend.
Still, he couldn’t help himself.
“You’re a bit on
the harsh side, aren’t you, dear?”
“Harsh side, dark
side. I say what’s on my mind. And what’s on my mind right now,
DEAR, is you.”
“Why would someone
like me be on your mind, when you’ve obviously decided I have
nothing worth your interest?”
“I never said that.
Sluggo typed in the
description that had become so familiar it might as well have been
some sort of computer macro. “Buzz-cut black hair, dark brown eyes,
full lips. Ripped, muscular build. 6’2” 180. Work out six days a
week. Eight-inch cock, cut. Moderately hairy.”
“And I am the Queen
The guy was a
first-class prick! Calling himself a “queen” probably wasn’t
too far from the truth. Sluggo wondered why he was bothering; the guy
was probably reveling in his ability to get a rise out of Sluggo. And
he was. Sluggo could leave this place by merely pressing the Command
and Q key and be out of here, away from this nonsense, safe in his
bed, while visions of Gerard Butler danced in his head. Yet, there
was a strange allure to Tepes’s directness, to his refusal to
accept any of the crap Sluggo churned out, that other men ate up like
a kitten lapped up milk.
“Well, your majesty,
what do YOU look like? And BE HONEST.”
“Honesty is my strong
suit, my little lamb. I think you’d agree I look pretty good for my
age, which happens to number in the centuries. Think Brad Pitt in
Interview with the Vampire. Think elegance and grace. And
don’t worry about gym-toned bodies and steroid-enhanced pecs, thank
you very much.”
Sluggo’s hungry mind
conjured up the image: this fabulous creature at his keyboard, alone
in some city apartment (a high-rise, where the lights of Chicago’s
skyscrapers were interrupted only by the dark void that was Lake
Michigan). He realized suddenly how easy it had been to sucker in
these online men who found themselves one hand between their legs
while the other caressed the keyboard, as Sluggo played up to their
fantasies, becoming God’s gift to homos and the devil’s Tantalus
to straight women. He wanted to believe it was some strange
and evilly alluring Brad Pitt at the other end of their electronic
connection. But what was this strange business about being centuries
He typed: “Methinks
you’re a little too enraptured with horror cinema.”
“Horror cinema has
got nothing on me, my little bespectacled piglet. Horror cinema has
managed to get so few of my traditions right as to be truly
laughable. But there has been one tradition, rule if you will,
they’ve always succeeded in getting correct.”
Sluggo rubbed his arms.
There seemed to be a sudden, odd chill in the room. He glanced at the
window and saw the black night pressing against it, almost as if it
was something solid and alive. He shook his head, realizing he was
being silly, and made a note to check the thermostat. He returned to
the keyboard, wondering about the “horror movie tradition” Tepes
“And what would that
“I can’t tell you
Sluggo rolled his eyes.
Of course, you can’t. That’s because there is no such
tradition. “You’re quite the mystery man, aren’t you?”
“You couldn’t even
begin to guess.”
spine stiffened as another shiver washed over him. But this was no
chill as the result of the temperature in the apartment lowering
because of a thermostat. No, this one—Sluggo could swear—had the
feel of icy fingers caressing, just barely grazing the raised bumps
of his spine, like long fingernails moving down his back. He took a
quick glance around the tiny office, wondering where the cold came
from and then glanced up at his screen, where the instant message
from seconds ago still remained. The cursor blinked at him, almost as
if waiting for his next move. And then his heart almost stopped…
The words “bespectacled
piglet” jumped out, as if highlighted. The description,
unflattering as it was, was true nevertheless. Suddenly, the lack of
spit in his mouth impeded Sluggo’s attempt to swallow. A trickle of
cold sweat ran down his spine.
“Do I know you?” he
typed, fingers beginning to tremble, causing him to have to key in
the simple query three times before getting it right.
“We’ve spoken in
your dreams.” The words, innocent enough on their own, hung
suspended on the computer monitor. Somehow, when strung together, the
words took on an eerie menace.
pleaded in his electronic voice, the one he thought of until this
moment as throaty and seductive. The game had suddenly lost its
allure, its humor, if it had had any to begin with. Now he realized
his voice was wheedling, whining, a little too low pitched and dense
to be heard distinctly. “You seem to have picked up certain of my
physical characteristics, and I wondered if you were just a good
guesser or if you’re someone I know.” Sluggo racked his brain,
trying to recall who at the bank he might have told about his
after-hours “social life.”
And came up blank.
“I told you. We’ve
spoken in your dreams. For the last several months, I’ve visited
you there, in that gossamer world, where I found the two of us to be
highly compatible.” The fine hairs on Sluggo’s neck stood up.
“And why is that?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“What can you tell
“I can tell you that
I can see your worth.”
keyed in, rolling his eyes. There’s no reason to be afraid. This
is simply someone playing with you, someone intuitive, and they’re
having a good time at your expense.
“Would you like to
“Knock yourself out.”
Bed—with its lack of Internet connection—suddenly seemed like a
more viable alternative to what he was doing.
“I don’t think you
take me seriously.”
The word dead
floated before Sluggo’s eyes. Again, he had the prickly sensation
of cold, as if something large and icy stood just behind him, casting
a black shadow. He glanced over his shoulder and saw nothing more
than a painted white bookcase, filled with paperbacks that leaned
toward horror potboilers and pop psychology and a framed poster above
it: two tabby kittens on a red sweep, one atop the other. Sluggo
contemplated shutting off the computer and banishing this prick to
cyberspace where he could play mind games with some other
“Feeling a chill,
The room shifted just a
little, as Sluggo might imagine the movement of a room during the
first tremors of an earthquake. Seconds passed while he tried to
quell the shaking in his fingers enough to be able to type again. He
called me by my name.
“Again: do you know
“Better than anyone,
“How did you know my
name?” Nothing in Sluggo’s member profile reflected the real him,
so he knew the only answer must be—had to be—that this guy knew
him. Sluggo didn’t know how, didn’t know where, but there had to
be some way this man knew who he was. Or perhaps he wasn’t speaking
to a man at all, but one of the young girls who worked at the bank,
one of the ones who whispered and snickered when he passed by. It
would be just like them to play a cruel trick on him. Although he had
never done a single thing to harm any of them, they seemed to regard
him as an object for ridicule.
“Your name is written
on my heart.”
“Oh stop it!”
Sluggo typed back, weary now of this assault. He questioned his
motives once more as to why he didn’t just stop, but something kept
his fingers glued to the keyboard. And he suddenly realized the
reason could very well be the simple fact that for the first time, in
years, he was feeling a little excitement. For the first time since
he could remember, someone was taking an interest in him, no
matter how twisted or mocking that interest might be.
“You know you don’t
mean that. You don’t want me to stop. If you did, you would have
walked away long ago and gone to the safety of your pathetically
empty little bed.”
“Oh, what do you
Sluggo rubbed his arms
together, trying to dispel the completely unreasonable cold that
overwhelmed him. He stood and dashed into the living room, where the
programmable thermostat was mounted on the wall. It read 70 degrees.
He sat back down at the computer.
“No one knows
“I know everything
about you: all about the loneliness, all about the hours spent in
front of the computer or, barring that, the TV, or your nose buried
in some god-awful Gordon Merrick novel.”
Sluggo shut his eyes,
feeling as if a bright light had just been shined on him, exposing
everything he thought hidden from the world. “You know nothing. I
don’t know who you are, but you’re certainly not right about
anything. I couldn’t even begin to abide this creature you
describe.” And then, despair threatening to overwhelm him, typed:
“I am Sir Raven, master of the night.”
“If you’re master
of the night, honey, I’m Barack Obama.”
Sluggo barked out a
short burst of laughter. He realized he was being backed into a
corner and knew no way to escape from… what had he said his name
was? TepesAllure. Sluggo peered at the screen, thinking that Tepes
held some familiarity, but in spite of mentally searching his memory
banks, could come up with no match for the name. He wanted to ask
again who this person really was but knew he would get no less a
cryptic response than he already had.
He changed his tack.
“So what brings you to your keyboard tonight?”
“Why me? I don’t
think we’ve spoken before.”
“Not like this.”
Sluggo flashed on the
few pathetic sexual encounters he had had over the years, encounters
he could easily count on two hands—okay, one hand. All of them with
men older than himself, who followed him home, buoyed up by alcohol,
satisfied themselves, and never called again. Could this be one of
them? It had been two years since the last unsatisfying liaison;
Sluggo had bought his computer within the last year. This screen
name, even his e-mail postdated his last sexual encounter, with a
mailman from Berwyn.
“How then… how have
“Your desire speaks
to me. It reaches out. Sometimes I thinks its hunger exceeds my own.”
“I’m not horny.”
Sluggo typed, bland, to the point.
“I wasn’t talking
about that kind of desire, although that sort of exploration does
hold its charm, does it not?”
What would Sir Raven
say to that question? Sluggo wondered. And then berated himself for
being such a fool. Things had gone beyond Sir Raven. “I wouldn’t
“I’m sure that
together, we could find out. But let me tell you: your body is not
what I’m after, at least not in the sense you’re thinking.”
“What then are you
“What are you, a
“You’re very funny,
Sluggo. A hemophiliac, actually, is a fantasy partner of mine. Mmmm…
imagine, blood that doesn’t clot. Are you getting the picture?”
“You’re in the
wrong room. There’s a vampire chat room. Just go back to Member
Rooms, locate it, and double click. Have a great time. But I have to
warn you: some nights that room is really dead.” Sluggo
chuckled at his wit. Tepes didn’t seem to appreciate it.
“I’ve located what
“I don’t think you
have. I have to be getting to bed. It’s late, and I need to get up
“Don’t leave. We’re
just beginning to scratch the surface.”
yourself!” Sluggo typed quickly and even more quickly pressed the
Command and Q button to quit System Up. He hit the Return key hard
when the prompt came up asking him if he was sure he wanted to quit.
“Yes, damn it, I’m sure!” Sluggo even went so far as to power
down his computer. He tried to get hold of himself. He was panting,
his heart was racing, and a thin line of sweat had formed at his
* * * *
Later, Sluggo awakened
from a restless sleep, filled with shadowy images and strange beasts,
unidentifiable, lurking around just this or that corner, waiting to
He sat up in bed,
looking down at the silver slats created by his mini blinds and the
full moon outside conspired together. He wiped a hand across his damp
face, wondering what it was that had awakened him so abruptly.
Then he heard it.
The sound was familiar
but seemed to have no place in this restless landscape.
And then Sluggo
recognized the sound for what it was. He lay cautiously back down,
thinking the noise had to be a fragment of dream lingering just past
wakefulness. If there was such a thing as “lucid dreaming,” then
perhaps dream images, aural or not, could be a little slower in
dispersing than his waking mind could dispel them.
And finally Sluggo
realized he should have become aware of the sound long before, but
the sound was so out of place in his little night-quiet apartment
that his mind didn’t accept it. When the gong chimed again, Sluggo
arose, putting sheet and blanket warmed feet to a chilled floor, and
The sound was so
familiar because he heard it most every night. It was the sound
alerting him that he had an instant message, as part of System Up’s
“God, did I forget to
turn off the computer?” Sluggo wondered, groggy, thinking with
dread of how he would function at the bank the next day on so little
As he headed toward his
den, he knew with a certainty beyond doubt that he had shut things
down before retiring. Some sort of glitch maybe? But what sort of
glitch would turn the computer back on and sign him on to the service
The door to the den was
open. Inside, Sluggo could see the pale glow from his monitor screen,
and the memories of TepesAllure rushed back. He paused at the door,
afraid to go inside, for fear of what might be waiting. Perhaps, he
thought, anxiously gnawing at a nail that was already bitten down to
the quick, someone had broken in and was using his computer.
Perhaps it was
TepesAllure himself. After all, he knew Sluggo’s name, knew what he
looked like. Was it really such a stretch to imagine that he knew
where Sluggo lived and had come to call?
considered tiptoeing back to the living room, where he could dial 911
and report an intruder.
And then what? What if
the authorities came out to find a lonely man who had forgotten to
shut off his computer before going to bed?
Sluggo stepped inside
The den was empty.
He sat, feeling weak
and dizzy, in front of the computer, where a message flickered on the
Sluggo, the night is winding down, faster and faster, like water
going down the drain. Dawn approaches.”
“Who are you?”
“I am TepesAllure,
master of the night.”
“I thought I was…
Oh never mind. What’s going on here? What do you want from me?”
Sluggo’s eyelids burned. He needed sleep.
“I told you what I
wanted, my dear. I’m simply waiting for you to give it to me.”
“Yes, that hot,
pumping life juice.”
“Well, let me slit my
wrists to make you happy.”
“What a perfectly
mundane idea. I have in mind a more sensual connection.”
“Look, it’s late
and I don’t have time for this.” Sluggo pulled the plug from his
computer, causing the monitor to go blank. He sighed with relief, or
perhaps disappointment. But pulling the plug was the sensible thing
to do and Sluggo always did the sensible thing. It had gotten him
where he was today.
He headed back toward
Rushing back to his
den, where the interior was once more warmed by the glow of the
monitor, Sluggo froze in absolute terror, eyes moving from the
glowing screen to the empty electrical socket in the wall, back and
forth, back and forth.
“This has to be a
dream,” he whispered, a pounding starting at his temples and his
respiration coming more quickly. He sat heavily in the desk chair,
because his legs would no longer support him.
“You’re not rid of
me that easily.”
“What do you want?”
Sluggo typed again, weary and nauseous.
“Then take me,”
Sluggo typed, fingers hitting the keyboard uncertainly. “Just come
over here, waltz through the door, and take me. I’m tired.” He
looked outside his den and made sure his front door was locked with
both deadbolt and chain.
No instant message
came, and Sluggo sat staring at the screen, wondering what had
happened to TepesAllure. Perhaps Sluggo had been too direct. Perhaps
Tepes had tired of the game.
Perhaps I’m going
insane, he thought, uncomfortable with the feeling that his last
thought was most on target.
Sluggo typed. “Where
have you gone, my precious? TepesAllure, you’ve allured me and left
me high and dry. Is that all there is?”
The screen remained
blank, taunting him.
Isn’t this always
the way? Sluggo thought, shivering and snatching together the
collar of his pajamas in a futile attempt to keep warm. A weird
sensation overcame him, as if something cold and dark were moving
behind him, just out of sight.
But this time, the
chill, the presence, seemed more real. Sluggo could have sworn he
heard a whisper of movement behind him. Goosebumps formed; his heart
began to pound. Part of him wanted to turn and look, and the other
part wanted to remain frozen, staring at his unanswered message on
the computer screen.
movement, then a chill ran up his spine, like a cold draft blowing
Sluggo gnawed his lower
lip. “Please don’t make me look,” he whispered.
And then, he shuddered
because he felt what he could swear was a touch on the back of his
neck. Yet this touch—feathery and dry—did not seem human; its icy
chill seemed so far removed from human that it could make him scream.
But Sluggo was not the
type of person to scream. He was far too sensible for that.
He whirled in the
chair, thinking that at last he would dispel this late night nonsense
and return to bed. Everything would look different, laughably
different, in the morning.
A gorgeous man stood
behind him. Tall, pale, with a mane of coal black hair, the man
looked as if he had been chiseled from alabaster, a frieze of male
beauty so perfect that it appeared monstrous.
Sluggo froze, voice
caught in his throat by an unseen hand, which squeezed, squeezed
until all the air in the world vanished. Before the man came nearer,
Sluggo knew he had seen him before. Had seen him every time he typed
out a description of Sir Raven to some lonely soul out there in
cyberspace, who wanted to believe so much that he did.
And then, with movement
not even perceptible to Sluggo’s human gaze, the man was upon him,
all fangs and wild, feral eyes, biting and ripping Sluggo’s flesh,
drawing his blood from him so quickly Sluggo didn’t even have time
to scream or raise a weak hand in defense.
He heard, though, the
vampire’s passionate whisper, “You invited me in, my sweet. It
was all I needed. I’ve waited so long.”
The last thing Sluggo
saw was the impossibly beautiful ashen face rise up to his own, the
vampire’s fangs glinting in the dull light from the computer,
Sluggo’s own blood a crimson splash on the creature’s chin. The
last thing he heard was the sound his own head made as it hit the
hardwood floor—a dull squishing sound.
* * * *
He had never tried any
of the chat rooms before. He likened them to personal ads and phone
sex lines, ploys for the desperate, ploys for the unattractive who
needed to hide behind a veil of electricity to attract a suitor.
But tonight, Heath was
bored. And, as he ran his fingers through his spiky red hair, he
knew—at the very least—this would be good for a laugh.
In the Chicago M4M chat
room, he typed. “Good evening, gentlemen.”
A gong sounded. Heath
looked up to see an instant message, from someone called Sir Raven.
“I’ve been waiting
for you. In fact, I’ve been waiting all my life.”
* * * *
ABOUT RICK R. REED
Rick R. Reed is all
about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in
contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain
elements of suspense, mystery, and the paranormal, his focus
ultimately returns to the power of love.
He is the author of
dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a
three-time EPIC eBook Award winner for Caregiver, Orientation,
and The Blue Moon Cafe. His novel, Raining Men, won the
Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction. Lambda
Literary Review has called him “a writer that doesn’t
Rick lives in Seattle
with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at
work on another novel.”
For more information,
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