INTO IT -by Ray O'Bannon
He squints at the flow of words scrawled in graphite.
"Crap", he mutters, flicking open the switchblade. The blade flashes briefly across the tip of a bright yellow No.2 pencil, leaving a wickedly sharp point. Then he gathers his thoughts, takes a breath, and falls back into the page.
The vampire seeps from the shadows like a vile and fetid oil, slithering across the ancient cobblestones. It casts no shadow as it crosses the moonlit alleyway, and it makes no sound as it approaches her. She spins around suddenly, her terrified eyes meeting the hypnotic glare of the creature. It reaches towards her throat with a claw-like hand and Luthor Hardington steps out from behind a lamppost.
Luthor Hardington? Sounds like a porn star or something. Let's make it Luthor Hawk. Yeah. And a lamppost is flimsy, let's use a carriage instead. The pencil returns to the paper, and he falls back into the page.
It reaches towards her throat with a claw-like hand as Luthor Hawk steps out from behind a parked carriage. "Back, foul demon!" he screams as he raises the crossbow. The silver bolt flashes briefly in the moonlight before coming to rest in the vampire's chest. It moans horribly and gazes at the vampire hunter who has finally defeated it.
He can't just kill the thing that fast, there's been too much build up. Let's make him work for it a bit. Graphite fills more of the page as he falls back in.
It moans horribly and gazes hatefully at the vampire hunter as it grasps the bolt. Pulling fiercely, it dislodges the dreaded silver from its chest. The bolt falls to the cobblestones with a cold hard clang, meat hanging from the tiny barbs. The vampire grins hideously and begins to leap forward. But Luthor Hawk is leaping forward also, and the two forms collide in the center of the alleyway. The twin silver blades mounted on the front of the crossbow plunge silently into the creature's heart as Luthor mutters "I never miss twice". And then the vampire is falling back into the shadows as Luthor turns to face his beloved. She reaches for his hand and their eyes meet.
"Yeah, that's not bad."
Time to give it a cutesy sort of ending to lighten all the tension. Maybe leave some little hint at the end that the vampire isn't really dead after all, but nothing too obvious. The pencil meets the page and he falls in.
She reaches for his hand and their eyes meet. Turning back toward the lamp-lit main street, they smile exhaustedly, knowing the horror is finally ended and a new day will come. From behind them comes the faint rasping of claws on cobblestone. And then she screams as the vampire seizes Luthor by the throat and hurls him into the air.
That's not very subtle. Where did that come from? That's not what I meant to write. His hand trembles slightly as he stares for a moment at the bright yellow No.2 pencil. He gathers his thoughts and falls back in.
From behind them comes the faint rasping of claws on cobblestone. And then she screams as the vampire seizes Luthor by the throat and hurls him into the air. He lands with a brutal smacking sound against the cobblestones and lays motionless. The vampire falls upon him, teeth gnashing hungrily in the moonlight. And then Luthor's throat is torn out and his life's blood goes spilling out across the ancient cobblestones, glittering wetly in the moonlight.
He jumps back from the page. What the hell is going ON here?!! That's not how it's supposed to go. This is all wrong. What's happening here? He glances down at his hand, which is now shaking badly as he grasps the pencil. The point has gotten dull, the edges of the wood beginning to scratch the paper a little. The switchblade flashes briefly before being returned to its place on the desktop, the pencil now once again menacingly sharp. He swallows the last of his coffee, grips the pencil firmly, and falls back into the page.
And then Luthor's throat is torn out and his life's blood goes spilling out across the ancient cobblestones, glittering wetly in the moonlight. The creature raises it's face to find a new figure standing in the moonlit alleyway. The man is oddly dressed, shaking in terror, and gazing all around him as though his mind has gone. In his hand is a bright yellow No.2 pencil. "You should have hung onto the switchblade" hisses the creature, leaping forward. The vampire slams this new intruder up against the hard brick walls of the alley, glaring at him with a horrible intensity. It lunges towards his neck, teeth gleaming wetly in the moonlight. And then it begins screaming madly as it lurches back into the center of the alleyway, the broken front half of the pencil protruding from it's chest, directly above the heart. It spins around wildly there in the moonlight, like a gigantic bat that's chosen to dance. But a horrible dance, a dance of anguish and torment. It's terrible screams echo through the alleyway, and the man with the broken half of a yellow No.2 pencil still clutched in his hand slowly looses consciousness and falls to the ground.
Grasping his overturned chair for support, he rises unsteadily from the living room floor. Righting the chair, he sits shaking before the graphite covered paper. "I'm back OUT!" His ragged breathing begins to slow a little. Free! Who cares what just happened as long as he's back OUT! He can almost believe it never really happened at all, that it was just a dream of some sort.
He tosses the broken half of the pencil down onto the paper, and watches it roll back and forth for a moment. He begins to wonder...if he hadn't gotten out, would he really have been killed? Would he really be dead right now? In the back of his mind he knows the answer, but he isn't ready to deal with that yet, so his thoughts turn to other things. Now that he's out...is the vampire still in there, waiting for him? Does it still exist? He thinks he knows the answer to that one, too. And then he remembers the girl.
He can't be sure if she's still in danger or not. She probably got out of the alley while he was under attack. He can't be sure. It had all happened so fast. But yeah, she probably got away. Probably.
He stares at the broken half of the pencil. It isn't very long. But maybe there's enough left to sharpen. He picks up the switchblade and wood chips begin falling across the tabletop. The sharpened stub is now barely two inches long, and he considers hanging onto the switchblade as well. But knowing deep down that it won't help him, he tosses it aside. He stares at the pencil stub, at its deadly sharp point...and at the eraser. And then he turns back to the paper, takes a deep breath, and falls back into the page.