Vampires + The Emperor’s New Clothes =
The Vampire’s New Suit
by Dorlana Vann
His apartment was on the top floor of a tall building. Everyone knew he was a vampire, so no one would have bothered him even if he had been on the first floor. That was why he found it strange when he heard the knock. After opening the door, he asked, “May I help you?” but thought: Magnificent! Take-out delivered to my door.
“Excuse us, Mr. Smith,” said the first young man of two, “for dropping by unannounced, but you’re not listed.”
“There is a reason for this,” the vampire said.
The second young man said, “I’m Mark, and this is my partner, Trey.” He held out his hand graciously and, without a mere tremble, he shook the resident’s hand.
Intrigued, Smith sought to connect with the gentleman’s eyes. When Mark avoided this with skill, the vampire couldn’t help but grin, something he hadn’t done for centuries. “Perhaps you have happened upon the wrong doorstep,” he said, only because he liked them.
Trey cleared his throat and also avoided Smith’s stare, except with less sincerity. “We’re new to town; however, we do know … who you are.”
Mark said, “We believe we offer a service that may very well interest you and benefit your particular situation.”
“Hmm,” Mr. Smith said. “Is that right? Well, in that case, do come in.” It had been a long time since the vampire had guests—who were alive at any rate—and he found that he was quite enjoying the change of pace. Suddenly, the mundane lifestyle that he had become accustomed to became clear: sleep, eat, and watch TV. He had been doing the latter before the interruption and used the remote to click off the early evening news.
“Please, have a seat. I’m afraid I do not have any refreshments that you would enjoy.” He couldn’t ignore the sudden sound of Trey’s heart as it pumped a refreshment of its own. He licked his lips, knowing the evening could only get better.
Mark cleared his throat. “Perhaps we should come back another time?”
“Don’t be silly. There is no better time. Perhaps you should state your business.”
“Of course.” Mark pulled Trey down beside him as he sat on the couch. “Our company, of which Trey here is a new recruit, provides a unique service to, shall I say, our nocturnal clients. We understand and sympathize with the fact that you’re a prisoner in your home from sun-up to sundown. We have developed a fabric that is solar and flame resistant but extremely lightweight. We design and produce clothing made of these exclusive materials.”
Mark reached inside his bag and pulled out a black swatch. Handing it to the vampire he said, “This is the most popular with our clients, but we do offer many different colors. All we need to get started are your measurements. As you can imagine, this discreet service is not cheap. It’s company policy to receive half—” he stopped when he lost his audience.
The vampire had walked into his modest kitchen and turned on the stove. After all, he wasn’t born yesterday. He put the little piece of fabric over the flame. Nothing happened. He was impressed, already imagining the possibilities. The thought of walking outside during the day after so many, many years was very enticing.
The young men took out their tailor tools, a small catalog, and more fabric samples. In no time, Mr. Smith had chosen a dark gray, pinstriped suit with a high collar, black gloves, and a hat complete with ear and neck coverings.
As the weeks passed, the vampire actually became fidgety. He thought about all the wonderful things he would be able to do during the day. He could even do lunch—if he were to be so bold.
He began to amuse himself as he pondered curious things that didn’t have to do with feeding. He wouldn’t have to hide in shadows. Maybe he would see a matinee. He could walk among the mortals, saying, “Good afternoon.” He picked up the catalog the young men left behind. He thought that next time, he might even buy khaki. He would almost be … human.
Finally, the knock came at the door.
Mark held up a black garment bag. “I have your new suit,” he said with a smile.
The vampire moved out of the way and let him enter the apartment. “Where is your friend?”
“Trey told me he had a previous engagement,” he said and then winked. “Between us, I think he’s a little afraid that you no longer need us.” After giving the vampire ample time to answer, Mark said, “You know, I am your personal tailor, and the only way to get more of these, is through me.” He put the bag on the couch and unzipped it. He pulled out a handsome, well-tailored suit.
It was just like the one in the catalog. Mr. Smith couldn’t hold back his excitement and snatched it out of Mark’s hands.
Mark winced from the sudden pain the vampire’s nails had caused. The amicable mood immediately transformed into intense as they both stared at the red blood slowly escaping its safe haven.
For the first time, the vampire caught and held Mark’s stare. It was so surprising and so challenging that it seduced the vampire into wanting to win. It had been a long time since he had such a tough challenger. But of course, the mortal was no match in the end.
The vampire dropped the suit, catching Mark before he hit the carpet and carefully placed him on the couch. He grinned, his fangs hungering for the taste of such a satisfying victory. Nevertheless, he looked down at his new clothes. The young man would be out for a while, plenty of time for him to try out his new suit.
Although the vampire had acquired quite a wardrobe over the centuries, he had never felt the likes of the material that was against his body. It was soft, like silk, yet form fitting. He wished he could see himself in a mirror. He settled with knowing he would be able to analyze the expressions on people’s faces. Even though the glare of terror so pleased him, he was anxious to see a new expression in their eyes; one of awe and admiration. Complete with gloves and hat, he walked out his door.
“Wake up sleepy head.”
It took Mark a moment to stop his dream and to realize he was asleep. He opened his eyes, took in a panicked breath, and sat straight up. When he clearly remembered his predicament, he hastily felt his neck.
Trey stood over him with his arms crossed. “You’re clear. Even if I am a rookie, I know the rules. If he had bitten you, you would’ve stayed asleep forever.”
Mark nodded, feeling truly foolish. In all his years of being a slayer, he had never allowed himself to be hypnotized by one of them. “Mission complete?”
“Poof,” Trey said, his eyes wide with excitement. “You should have seen him. Oh, that’s right; you decided to take a nap. Anyway, it only took him a second to trust the suit before strolling down the sidewalk like a man about town. When I realized you weren’t right behind him, I knew what I had to do. But don’t worry; I waited, like you taught me, until he hit the mark. I was shaking so bad, but I managed to grab the pull-tag before he even noticed me. But when he did see me, he knew something was rotten and went for my throat. I ducked and ran like hell. What a rush! When I was far enough away and got the nerve to turn around, I saw him still standing in the same spot with nothing on but a frown. But then a second later…” Trey put his fist up by his face. He popped his hands open wide and whispered, “pooffff.”
“Did you gather the catalog and the rest of the money?”
“Yeah, all right here.” Trey held up a white envelope. “You know, I still don’t understand why we just don’t clean them out.”
“I’m not in this for the money. I only charge what is needed to fund our operation. Otherwise, we could turn into the bloodsuckers.” Mark stood up, still feeling a little woozy. “Speaking of bloodsuckers, who’s next on our list?”
“Female,” Trey said. “What I hear is that she’s really young-looking, smart, and smokin’ hot. Hmm. I don’t know. We may have a problem, seeing as you let this repulsive ancient dude get to you.”
“Funny.” Mark grabbed the envelope from Trey. “Just give me the details.”
The Vampire’s New Suit is one of the short stories in my collection Supernatural Fairy Tales. The short story was inspired by The Emperor’s New Clothes from Fairy Tales Told for Children (The third booklet). Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark:1837