Fiction, News, Columns and Reviews from Rampant Loon Press

Fiction: “Hunger Gamesmanship” by John H. Dromey

hungergamesmanshipLate one evening, the sound of fluttering wings disturbed a suburbanite who was sitting in his easy chair, reading a book.

The man got up to investigate, quickly assessed the situation, and then yelled at the top of his lungs, “Yo, Granny! Toil and trouble. A bat’s in the dining room. Come down here on the double. Don’t forget to bring your broom.”

The oversized bat folded its wings and shape-shifted into a pale-complexioned, grim-faced man wearing a cape.

“How did you get in here?” the homeowner asked.

“Your front door was unlocked,” the intruder said with an Eastern European accent.

“Don’t you need an invitation to cross a threshold?”

“I do, and I would like to thank most profusely the member of your household who was gracious enough to put a welcome mat on the front porch.”

“You got inside on a technicality then.”

“Perhaps I did, but I’m a Count, and as such I’m used to having my way.”

“In that case, Count, I don’t think you’re going to enjoy your brief sojourn in our neck of the woods. We’re not a traditional family.”

“What do you mean?”

“Take me, for instance. Assuming you prefer to feed on human beings, you’ll have to take me off the menu the instant I transform myself into a wolf.”

Although it didn’t seem physically possible, the visitor showed his disappointment by displaying an even more somber expression than before.

“I sense a strong female presence,” he said. “Is your wife at home? Is she also a werewolf?”

“Yes and no.”

“You answered my questions in order?”

“Yes.”

The bloke with the cloak stood up straighter, and although his face didn’t exactly light up, it was certainly several shades less gray.

“Keep your shirt on, Count. Don’t start counting your calories just yet. A few weeks ago Lucille was bitten by a zombie. The bad news is you won’t get any sustenance from her stale blood. The good news is, she won’t have any gustatory interest in your stale brain.”

“Do you have any children by chance?”

“No, they were both the result of planned pregnancies. Sorry to disappoint you once again, Count, but Susan and Richard are away at college studying to be necromancers.”

At that moment a mature woman slowly descended the stairs. She had more wrinkles than a circus tent crammed into a picnic basket and looked ancient enough to be Methuselah’s mother. She carried an old broom and was followed by a feral feline.

“A meal at last!” the count said. “I’m so hungry I’m willing to settle for tired blood, with perhaps a cat nip for dessert.”

“You seem to have a fatal attraction for food,” the man of the house said. “That could prove to be your undoing, Count. Unless you leave this house immediately, you risk finding out the hard way what it feels like to be a shish kebab. Granny’s broom has a wooden handle.”

The intruder stood his ground.

When she reached the foot of the stairs, Granny turned and pointed her broom at the count’s chest.

“Die, Fledermaus,” she said.

“I commend you on your clever operatic reference to ‘The Bat,’ madam, but sadly you mispronounced the German definite article. The word should sound more like dee, not dye.”

Granny shook her head.

“It doesn’t matter,” the Count said. “The end of your broom’s handle is rounded and dull. You don’t have the strength to drive it into my heart. Your grandson might accomplish the feat with his werewolf power, except in his altered state he would no longer have feet and hands and could not grip that antiquated besom with his paws.”

The homeowner, still in human form, stepped to one side and moved a high-backed chair out of the way.

“You’re cleared for takeoff,” he told the elderly woman. “Don’t worry about damaging the plaster or soiling the carpet. I’ll spackle and vacuum later.”

“What nonsense is this?” the Count asked.

“I neglected to mention earlier that Granny is a witch. Her broom can go from zero to sixty in no time at all.”

Quicker than her familiar could wink its eye, Granny straddled the broom and zoomed across the dining room. The wooden shaft impaled the vampire, temporarily pinning him to the wall like a wilted butterfly, before he dissolved into a pile of ashes.

 


John H. Dromey was born in northeast Missouri. He’s had short fiction published in Acidic Fiction, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Black Denim Lit, Gumshoe Review, Plan B Magazine, Plasma Frequency Magazine, and elsewhere, as well as in a number of anthologies.

 

Tags: , ,

4 Responses to Fiction: “Hunger Gamesmanship” by John H. Dromey

  1. John Fessler says:

    Very entertaining John, good ending.

    • Peg Johnson says:

      I didn’t get the “by chance, no planned” until I was reading John Fessler’s remark. Good job with the story.

  2. Dick Anderson says:

    Interesting & clever Good Read. I had a few vampires that came by 10/31 but, they knocked and went away with candy.

  3. […] John H. Dromey had his story “Hunger Gamesmanship” posted at Stupefying Stories Showcase. […]