SHORT STORY FOR THE WEEKEND: Chips, Seagulls and Dracula by Rick Haynes

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Here is the latest in the series of short stories written by members of the 390-strong Portsmouth Writers’ Hub

I am sitting on my favourite bench watching the sea slowly swallow the sun for another day.

I really love this view, especially now that the day trippers have gone home.

The breeze is cool, yet no goosebumps have arrived on my exposed arms. I am content.

My mind is wandering aimlessly over the deep green, urging me to close my eyes and to dream of exotic lands far, far, away.

Alas, the screeching kings of the skies have other ideas. I know I shouldn’t have bought this bag of grease with chips, but, with an empty stomach begging for sustenance, the smell from the mobile fish and chips van had been too hard to resist.

I take one bite of a golden brown chip, and immediately the fearless birds swoop down.

Looking upwards reminds me of a scene from an old Alfred Hitchcock movie, for the seagulls are moving in for the kill.

The first avoids my swinging arm by a wing beat. The second, bolder than the first, is flying straight at my face but I manage to slap its head aside.

I grin, and congratulate myself on a small victory, but my smile vanishes in an instant as the third digs its beak into my neck leaving behind a trail of blood.

A sharp, stabbing pain quickly follows, so I shake my fist in anger, both for the pain and for my chips that are now scattered all around me.

The screeching deafens me as the huge white birds descend en masse to gobble up my meagre supper, and as the last gull flies away, a huge dollop of bird droppings hits my right ear and drips onto my shoulder.

A picture of a double-barrelled shot gun instantly appears in my mind and I see images of dead seagulls all over the boardwalk. If only, I think to myself.

I slump back onto the wooden slats of the weathered seat, as my head is swirling around like a washing machine on fast spin.

Holding my hands to my neck confirms my suspicion that blood is running down my neck.

I press hard, trying to stem the flow. Concentrate, I tell myself, but only random thoughts appear.

Yet, like my favourite film that I’ve watched many times, I see once again the car crash, the body, and the river of blood spreading over the cold tarmac.

I wasn’t to blame for the accident but the horrors still haunt me, so I close my eyes and wish my imagination to take me elsewhere, but, alas, only shadows welcome me.

A loud noise makes me jump. My eyes open and dart from side to side.

I spy a shadowy figure behind me. The man moves slowly as he walks around the bench and sits down, his movements as silent as a snake before the strike.

My brain urges me to turn my head away, to run from this man dressed in black, but as hard as I wish, my muscles refuse to comply. I force myself to try again but the phrase ‘resistance is useless’ comes to mind.

I feel a cold wetness spreading down my back and my body is trembling. I begin to believe that trying to escape is as futile as the seagulls returning my chips.

Breathing deeply, I clasp my bloodied hands together, and pray.

The man in black moves closer, his hands are brushing my face. Is that a hot tongue on my neck, a tongue now licking the blood flowing from my wound?

Despair washes over me like an incoming tide as I smell the reek of his fetid breath. I scream.

‘Don’t move. Stay where you are.’

My mind registers the command, my body also, for I continue to sit and stare at the man.

I see a cloak of finest satin around his shoulders and evil intent in two ruby red eyes.

Images of a vile creature with sharp teeth cross my mind and the word Dracula refuses to disappear from inside my head.

‘I will look after you.’

Too frightened to speak, I can only listen to an array of words inside my head.

My voice wants to shout ‘leave me alone’, yet my lips stay shut as cold hands caress my neck.

‘Soon you will feel no more pain. I promise.’

Like an explosion of light flashes of my past rush around inside my head.

I hear other voices, calling me to the land of no return, but still I resist.

I have never believed in vampires until now. Yet, while I can still control my brain I will fight with every ounce of strength that I have left.

And then I hear it: a high-pitched sound coming ever closer, the noise ear-piercing. However, I know my time has come as I fall into slumber and oblivion.

‘Oh thank god you’re here. Take a look at that neck wound. He’s lost a lot of blood. Paramedic?’

Rick Haynes is a published author and award-winning drabblist. His passion is writing medieval fantasy but he also writes short stories and drabbles – stories of less than 100 words – in many different genres. His motto is ‘Ever upwards, never stopping, the staircase to the heavens awaits all those wishing to dream...’

Send your short story to the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub via e-mail at hubinthenews@gmail.com. For more information check out the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub on Facebook.