FRESH PROSPECTS IN WHITBY
Nosferatu lay in his coffin waiting for darkness to cover the land. Dusk was his favourite time. It provided him with the gift of a few moments of quiet reflection before yet another busy night of fangs and feasting. He had always considered that as a vampire his own personal form of death was surprisingly pleasant. Neither dead nor undead so to speak and so it been now for half a millennium. In fact, he considered that his lifestyle was one that many mortals, especially students at some of the world’s finest institutes of Higher Education, would envy. Sleep all day and then spend the night drinking. Only in his case blood rather than alcohol.
But as the last of the days light ebbed away Nosferatu felt no enthusiasm for the hours to come. He felt strangely listless and indeed had done so for some time now. As a cultured man of learning, albeit one who could also inspire dread and loathing, he recognised his feelings of lethargy as constituting what the French called “ennui” or what his fellow Transylvanians would describe as “plictiseala”. Finally, after several centuries of terrifying simple peasants, Nosferatu was suffering a kind of mid-life crisis. Increasingly his hours of rest were tormented by dark thoughts of failure and inadequacy. “What exactly have I achieved with all this bloodsucking and general frightfulness?” he constantly asked himself as he tossed and turned in the awful silence of his tomb. His feelings of self- doubt increasing with every dreary minute of restlessness. Emotions made worse by the inevitability of yet another night of his existence consumed by the tedious repetition of biting village maidens in the neck.
And frankly people we not as terrified by his antics as they once were. In past time if he suddenly appeared inside a young woman’s bedroom, he would find his victim deep in innocent slumber. His virginal prey ripe for corruption by his nocturnal nibblings. In recent years however he found such innocence increasingly difficult to find. As often as not his intended victim’s virtue had escaped through her bedroom window long before he had entered through it. As for scaring the locals, on a number of occasions in recent years he had arrived in some village or town square on All Hallows Eve full of evil intent only to find the streets full of mortals dressed as every aspect of the diabolical. Once sleepy simple rustic settlements were now seemingly overrun by characters with blank staring eyes, bloodstained clothing and all manner of horrific facial features. Yet, laughing, joking, feasting and completely indifferent to their own nightmarish appearance. At such moments, when the world seemed to have succumbed to creatures of humanities most fearful imaginings, he himself had moved among them virtually unnoticed. Although several times of late he had been pestered by drunks looking remarkably like him demanding “selfies”!
Could it be, he wondered, as he lay in the stygian gloom of his sarcophagus that his days as the stuff of human nightmares was finally over? Perhaps the time had arrived for some kind of career change? But what to do? What openings existed for a man of advanced years whose current and only previous employment involved preying on young females in the dead of night? Of course, there was always the old family business but was there a need for impalers in this confusing modern world? Well, it was worth consideration at least and surely better than turning up at some dwelling during the middle of the night offering discounts on double glazing!
As night finally vanquished day Nosferatu felt strength returning to his limbs and with renewed energy, he raised the coffin lid, clambered out of his refuge and reached for the glass of bull’s blood that always greeted him upon waking. His early evening snifter as he called it. On this occasion, however, it was absent. He called loudly for his manservant, hearing his own voice echoing through the cold vastness of his decaying castle. There was no response.
“Damn and blast the lazy dog!”, he shouted. His anger rising with every second his calls went unanswered. Loudly promising unbearable torments upon his tardy servantNosfaratu entered the castle’s ramshackle kitchen where two of his several brides were gorging on the still warm corpse of an orphaned child. When asked if they had seen his lackey one of the hideous feminine fiends nodded to a note on the table.
Nosferatu picked up the note and to his astonishment read, with difficulty, the barely legible scrawl. “Sorry Master but I have been offered a job with better pay and prospects in the UK. By the time you read this note, I will be starting a new life in London”
Alongside the note was a half torn English newspaper left open at the jobs section. One advert had been circled by his errant employee. Nosfaratu’s schoolboy English was somewhat rusty after so many centuries of neglect but he was able to make out the words;
“Bar Staff needed for popular historic London pub”. With the name of the pub underneath the heading and a contact number listed at the bottom of the advertisement.
“So that’s where the wretch has gone!” muttered the enraged owner of the infamous Castle Bran.
“A plague of vermin upon his prospects in Whitby”, he cursed, confusing “in” for “of”.
(A common error- apparently- for Transylvanians for whom English is, of course, the second language.)
Then his eyes were drawn to an adjacent advertisement…
“Blood Donors required urgently. The Nation Needs YOUR blood!”.
When he read those words Nosfaratu’sanger subsided immediately. Suddenly he saw his way forward and new horizons beckoning.