Ellen Denton is a freelance writer living in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and two demonic cats who wreak havoc and hell on a regular basis (the cats, not the husband). Her work has appeared in Underground Voices, Perihelion Science Fiction and Horror On the Installment Plan.br> br>
John sat at the far end of the bar nursing a gin and tonic. Only he, among all the New Years Eve revelers, was somber, quiet, and alone.
Every time people entered from the street, he looked up and studied them carefully, finally turning to the full-length mirror behind the bar, trying to catch a glimpse of them there, or to see the absence of them where a reflection should have been. Vampire lore always claimed they weren't visible in mirrors.
It was three years ago, also on New Years Eve, in this very bar, that John had first seen the one he was now looking for. It was only for a moment, because the noxious creature fled through the restroom window when John came bursting in to find his beloved Annie blood-drained and dead on the dirty, white tiled floor.
He couldn't let her live an eternity as some haunted, cursed creature of the night, so as a final act of love, he took care of her. The stake through the heart thing really did work, just like it did in the movies. There was one last thing he needed to do on Annie's behalf -- get revenge on the parasite that had sapped her life. He had returned here each New Years Eve since in the hopes the creature would too.
He turned to the mirror and gazed at his own sickly reflection. He was haggard looking, with dark circles under his eyes and pasty skin. A grim smile appeared on his face.
At 11:48, a group of men and women clinked glasses together and began singing a drunken, off-key version of "Auld Lang Zine." Just then, hearing the jingle of the front door open, he looked up sharply. It was him! He recognized the creature from his furtive stance and the shape of his long head.
The Vampire slouched slowly through the crowded, smoke filled room, his gaze sweeping back and forth. He then, apparently not seeing what he wanted, slipped into the hallway leading to the restrooms, just as he did that fatal night with Annie. John swung off his bar stool and hurried to close in on him in the hallway; a sharp, pointed object was well concealed in the pocket of his long coat.
The creature turned at the sound of Johns footsteps behind him, a glint of delight in his predatory eyes at finding someone alone. He moved swiftly toward John, who at that moment, removed a long butcher knife from his coat.
He made a deep gash with it in his own arm. When the creature got close enough, John flung out the cut arm so that his blood flew into the creature's face. The vampire, with a slimy and supercilious smile, licked John's blood off his own lips and swallowed it.
John nodded with satisfaction, knowing the vampire, having ingested his blood, would likely now live an eternity in a forever declining, but never ending physical hell. John was HIV positive.