Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mark of the Vampire, Part Two

Derek walked up the stairs to the video booths, where the large video reels were placed to play the movie on the screen below. Looking through the small window, he smiled when he saw Dave’s bald head walking beneath him, along with Monica’s flowing hair. Looking over at the projector, Derek opened the canister and blew away a layer of dust that seemed to cake the interior. The film itself seemed clean as if someone had painstakingly wiped each frame down with a cloth, but the canister was dirty and foul. Setting the reel into the projector and feeding the end of the roll of film through the proper spots, Derek took a seat upon a stool and grabbed a rag, before wiping down the canister to rid it of the grime.

“Are you going to roll the film Derek?” Dave’s voice carried up from the theater, earning a smirk from the teenager.
“Just setting it up Dave, give me a minute.” Derek said, wiping away the label of the canister. Derek ran his fingers over the old writing, repeating them as he read them. “Mark of the Vampire… huh? No date… wonder how much of a knockoff this is of Nosferatu?”
Turning down the house lights, Derek flipped the switch to have the movie reel start to roll. He listened to the warped music as it began to play, the sounds of flutes and trumpets warbling as an old ruin came onto the screen. Derek chuckled at how fake everything looked and continued cleaning the canister, before heading downstairs and doing inventory of the candy counter like Dave had asked him to do.
An hour later, Derek went back through the “Employees Only” door and went upstairs, just in time to catch the end of the movie. There, on the screen, was a creature of grey and black, hairless and nude, androgynous in nature. The legs were far apart, but spindly, with narrow feet that had pronounced toenails. Long arms, impossible long, were spread wide to show the muscular chest of the beast, one arm clutching the lapels of a man, lifting him off the ground. In the monsters other hand was a stake, perhaps a foot long.
The beast opened its mouth, revealing no teeth. “You thought to slay me with a bit of wood, did you? Bah! You and your pathetic overtures, mortal, they make me laugh.”
The beast’s voice was hollow and high, like a man shouting down a chimney chute. With unnatural speed the beast rammed the stake into the man’s chest, dropping him to the ground. Realistic blood began pouring out of the still actor, pooling around the beasts toes on the rough stone. Turning, a woman dressed in sheer night garments lay on a stone altar of sorts. The room was stone, roughly hewn and improperly assembled. The monster, presumably the vampire, moved with a liquid grace to the woman’s side and pressed two long fingers over her throat as if checking her pulse. Then the split eyes of the monster stared directly into the screen.
“You have seen what I want you to see,” the vampire said, it’s hourglass irises glowing in the black and white contrast of the film. “Now begone! Leave me to my meal…”
With that the movie rolled to a close, with no credits or sign that it ended. Turning off the projector, Derek raised the house lights and looked down at the seats where Dave and Monica were sitting.
Dave looked up with a horrified visage, his hands shaking. Monica had pulled her legs up from the floor and was holding them to her chest, and seemed to be…sobbing?
“How was the movie?” Derek asked, sticking his head out of the projector square.
“It was amazing!” Dave exclaimed, standing up from his seat. He looked at his hands. “Look at me, shaking like a leaf! I haven’t been this scared in years! Our audiences are going to flip when they see this!”
“You think so?” Derek asked, thinking back to the haunted look on the vampires face, with the goat eyes staring out of the sunken skull.
“I know so! You and Monica can go and hand out flyers tomorrow, tickets will be fifty percent off, one night only! We’ll show it ever hour and ten minutes! With no previews or credits, it’s just a horror film done right!”
“Monica, you okay?” Derek called down, smiling when she looked up at him. She’d paled considerably, her eyes mere pools of darkness in the dim glow of the theater.
She shook her head. “That was… that was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Well come to the lobby and tell me about it,” Derek said before pulling himself out from the window and carefully resetting the movie reel to the beginning of the film.
Looking at the projector, he patted the film carefully. “Dave seems to think you’re scary. Maybe you’ll scare up some more customers for us.”
Derek turned and jumped. In the darkened room it had, for a split second, appeared like a tall, lean form was standing in the shadows behind the door. Now that Derek blinked, he was able to see it’d just been his imagination. He walked out of the room and closed the door, before heading downstairs to the lobby. Coming out behind the candy counter he saw Dave already at the cash register, opening it and counting the money that was in it.
“I’ll save you the time. We’re up nine fifty. Seven for a movie ticket and two fifty for the popcorn soda special.” Derek said, shaking his head.
“What, someone was in here and we took an hour break?” Dave asked, looking at Derek like he was stupid.
Derek held up his hands. “Relax, it’s just Mrs. Jones who came in to see that new French film we have that’s three hours long. She still has forty-five minutes before she’s due to be out. Besides, I spent most of the movie down here doing inventory.”
“You mean you didn’t stay and watch?” Monica asked in a small voice.
Derek shook his head. “Nope. Just saw the opening with those ruins, and the end where he staked that one guy and told the camera to leave him alone.”
“It’s a lot scarier than that,” Monica said, shivering just thinking about it. “that guy, that thing, was subject to over a hundred and eighty hours of film, according to some text in the movie. The director offered blood as payment, and the creature accepted it. It was a child! A little girl, that he drained dry in a matter of seconds, before tossing her carelessly over the side of a cliff.”
“I’m sure it was just movie magic, y’know how they do it.” Derek said, waving a hand at Monica to calm her down.
“No! That was a real vampire! It… spoke to us a few times.” Monica said.
“It spoke to you?” Derek asked, looking over at Dave.
Dave rolled his eyes. “It must have been made with some advanced technology and made to look old, because it guessed our names and asked us questions. When we were silent it grew angry and threw something at the cameraman.”
“You mean the movie asked you questions… and you think it got made when you didn’t answer?” Derek asked, trying to keep the thought in his head.
“Well, after it got angry the first time, I answered its questions the second time it asked. We had a conversation as it reclined in a tree at night.” Dave said.
“What’d you two talk about?” Derek asked, curious.
“Well it asked me my name, or more specifically, the name of the man in the sweater.” Dave said, motioning at his own chest. “Then when I replied, he asked if my mother named me after the famed David of David and Goliath. It then asked me if I was Jewish.”
“You aren’t.” Derek said, somewhat positive that his boss wasn’t.
“I’m not. But I said I was. The vampire looked at the camera and sneered, and said it didn’t like liars, before rolling off the branch and bounding away into the night.” Dave exclaimed.
Derek shook his head. “I opened that canister; it was filthy. It had to be an old movie, no previews or credits are attached to it! And the music!”
“The music you heard at the beginning was to lure it out. Apparently vampires are fond of music. It said so.” Monica said, pulling her hair back into a loose ponytail. “I’m going to wipe down the windows and movie poster cases.”
“You do that,” Dave said, walking out from behind the counter and back towards his office. “Derek, get on the computer once the customer we have leaves and make a snazzy flyer. Fifty percent off a second ticket! Make it look like something your crowd would want to come see.”

“Sure Dave,” Derek laughed. “Sure.”

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