by Ryder W. Miller
It was raining earlier in
the morning on that Fall day, and now at noon the skies were still gray. The young teenager stood in the lobby watching the
gray clouds float through the sky. The air was moist and chilly. His father would be joining him soon to take him for a walk
and then lunch.
"And who might you be?" asked
Victor did not know what to
"I am Victor," he muttered.
"Are you new to the building?"
"I will be living with my
dad here. I moved in with my dad."
"And who might that be?"
"Vincent. My dad's name is
"Oh Vincent Philoblude. Welcome
to the building Victor."
Victor did not know what to
say and then muttered "Thank you."
"And what about your mother?
Will she be joining you?"
"No. She wanted to live in
a town where it was easier to be a vampire. Dads tired of being a vampire. I will be living with my dad now. That’s
one of the decisions I will be able to make."
The doorman smiled.
Victor took a few steps towards
the door to see how cold it was outside. Not much later Vincent was stepping out of the elevator.
"Are you ready for lunch?"
he said to Victor across the lobby.
"Welcome to the city Victor.
We will do something special. If the rain lets up I can show you around."
Vincent nodded in acknowledgement
to the doorman and they were on their way out the door and down the street. It was windy and chilly. Victor shivered despite
his black coat and orange scarf.
"I will need to buy you a
new coat. It is colder here than it is in Dankerville. Wait until the winter. It gets much colder then."
"Is mom going to move back
"I don't know. She seems to
be happy with that other guy and that other town."
"I wasn't smart with mom.
I want to be smart."
"What does that have to do
"You have to raise me so I
will be smart. I want to be smart."
"I will try."
"I need to be smart."
"Okay. What do you want for
"I want hot dogs."
"…and French fries."
"We can do that."
But before them down the street
was a small crowd. They were looking up at a man who was standing on the roof yelling. The building was only six floors high
and even his facial features could be seen.
"What is going on there?"
"Let's go an see."
The crowd was busy watching
the spectacle. The man on the roof wore a flannel shirt, blue jeans and brown boots. He was white and had short brown hair.
He was standing near the edge of the roof yelling.
"I cannot take it anymore.
I didn't do it."
Some in the crowd were laughing.
"Stop laughing or I will fall
on you," he yelled.
A man in the crowd yelled
"Why don't you do us a favor and jump?"
"Jump you dumb bastard."
Vincent looked annoyed and
said to Victor "Let's go now and get something to eat."
"I want to watch."
"You shouldn't be watching
such things. You are a little young for this."
"I have never seen this happen
"If you want something to
eat you have to come with me now."
"I want to hear what he sounds
like when he hits the ground."
"Next time Victor. You are
Victor was annoyed and reluctant,
but Vincent took his hand and gave his a slight pull. Victor smiled and started walking again with his father.
"I want to end it all. I am
sick and tired of it," the man on the roof was yelling, but soon they were out of earshot.
As promised, Vincent took
Victor to a deli. There wasn't much of a crowd and they found a seat fast.
"Things are going to be different
here in the city. Not everybody will be nice. We all have to compete much harder here because there are so many of us. This
city does not understand our kind. Most former blood suckers now just go to the supermarket for food. We are all scrunched
together here. You will have a room here until you are ready to go to college."
"You promised that I would
"I will try, but it will be
up to your teachers also."
The meal went well, but Vincent
gave Victor a tip on how to order food.
"You want to be smart?"
"Well when you order the food
make sure you say ketchup in a strong way."
"So people will know that
you are serious. So they will know not to mess around with you."
The waiter arrived with a
"What can I do for you today?"
"Hot dogs, French fries and
blood, no ketchup buddy," Victor said loudly highlighting the word ketchup and buddy.
"Do you want sauerkraut for
your hot dog?"
"Of course I do. And mustard.
Ketchup for the fries."
The waiter looked slightly
"The same for me," Vincent
said with a smile.
After the waiter had gone
"You let that man know that
you meant business. You need to let people know that you mean business when you talk with them here. You did it once. He is
not likely to bother you again. Be polite next time with him."
Victor smiled and said thank
you to the waiter when they were done.
"Thank you for the cool ketchup."
"He thinks he wants to be
a vampire when he grows up," said Vincent smiling.
The waiter smiled and said
come back again.
That day Vincent showed Victor
the city. He rented a car and drove Victor around the city in the rain.
"This will be your new haunts
By the time he went to school
the following week Victor had a new black coat. He kept his orange scarf which he wore frequently. The school session had
already begun and Victor would be behind on his studies for most of the term. He sat in class angry, not always understanding
what was being taught. When the classes were over for the day he would meet with tutors who would help him catch up on his
studies. Victor was angry that he wasn't doing well on his tests and decided to talk with his teacher about it.
"I wasn't here the whole term,"
he said angrily.
"You have to compete like
everybody else Victor."
"It isn't fair. I better not
"You better not call me stupid."
"Okay. I will give you time
to catch up."
"I have to work harder."
"Yes, you have to work harder."
"This is so stupid."
"We won't be calling you stupid."
Victor decided not to talk
with his father about this. He would leave school at school when he could. Vincent and Victor instead joked about how Victor
was a sponge, sponging off him. Vincent was okay with it because he was a parent and Victor was so smart about it. Vincent
met most of Victor's demands. Victor would get his vampire suits on Halloween, and when he was ready to graduate he would
probably get his own car.
Most of the kids at school
and the neighbors grew wary of Victor because he was so forthright. Even though he was much smaller there was such passion
in what he had to say. He didn't always ask for things. Most of the women thought he was scary enough. He was known at school
for drinking fruit punch which he would often call blood. They laughed at his last name Philoblude. He would also haunt the
city staying out to almost eleven and sometimes he would wake up early and go for walks before the sunrise. He was a loner,
but most were extra polite with him around Halloween.
Victor liked this time. Victor
liked The October Country, but things had gotten so much darker since Ray Bradbury wrote his classic. In some places it was
cool to be gothic or a psycho killer. It was stylish. But not everybody was into that scene, and not everybody belonged. Since
Victor was a loner he did not have any role models to emulate. He would have to go dark all alone. He decided to create a
dark personage which was only interested in death, pain, shit, and blood. Occasionally he would talk about urine because some
of his classmates were already drinking. Since he was a vampire, and not a killer, he would eat his hamburgers extra rare.
Sometimes he would buy hamburger meat at the restaurant and just eat it rare. Victor skipped beer and went strait to red wine.
He would also go out of his way to get extra attention in October. In November the cool winds would sanitize the city, but
he would revel in the darkness before the cold month began. In October he would gear up for the dark night. His father Vincent
was even wary and would lock the door to his room before he would go to sleep. Everybody knew that it was a joke-that he was
joking-but Victor was enthusiastic and he had the energy of youth. He was dark enough, but many of the girls found him too
scary. If there was such a thing as vampires, he and his father, who also had a taste for extra rare hamburgers and steaks
were probably the real thing.
Victor tried to think of a
nickname for himself, but most people just called him the Halloween Child. The teachers would allow him to do a skit in front
of the class about Halloween because he was so inspired. The first year he explained why he liked the taste of blood. The
second year he explained how he would like to kill people. As a senior he was going to get a car and drive to hell with it.
A bicycle would not go fast enough to take the inter-dimensional leap. There were a hell of a lot of jobs in hell Victor would
Everybody knew that his birthday
was around Halloween, but it was not their natural inclination to say happy birthday to him. He was extra wild and crazy around
this time. When he was doing his work at school they would call him terrific, sometimes terrible.
Victor devised a plot to become
a local legend and gain the affection of a girl he had met at school. Her name was Lucy Phantom and she dressed in black.
She had bright blond hair, but her fresh lips were always painted red. Her eyelashes were long and she had blue eyes. She
was slender now, but he saw her big mother pick her up from school one day in a Hearse. In class one day she explained to
the class how her father was a mortician. She had a part time job at the graveyard working for her folks.
During the Halloween season
Victor would eye her more closely, and he had watched her figure blossom over the last few years. Victor figured if he could
nab her, then maybe he could be working at the graveyard as well. If he could get a job at the graveyard maybe he wouldn't
have to go to college. He would have to be special in order to really nab her. She was into the darkness, but she would not
let another make the first move. She was also a femme fatale so she could kill someone if they needed to kill someone. Victor
would be the one saying that the person was stupid. Lucy didn't have a boyfriend at school yet, and every body knew that she
was saving her virginity. A lot of girls did that at school. But Victor knew her well because they often sat next to each
other because of the spelling of their names. They were in the same Pre-Med Program at school and they had sat near each other
for a number of years now. Lucy didn't usually find him scary.
"You are terrific my boy,"
she often said to him.
She would pepper him like
that, but she did not think she needed to around Halloween. Lucy also did not go out with other boys. One asked once and she
convinced him if he bothered her again that she might kill him and bury him. She never showed that kind of attitude to Victor
who she treated like a friend. Some day they would throw a party at the graveyard that all sorts of things would attend. If
things worked out they would not need to rent out hotel rooms during the warm half of the year.
For Victor, High School passed
quickly sitting next to her.
The senior prom was not far
away, but he had to somehow raise his status so she would be impressed with him. She might say no if he was just Victor, but
what if he was the Halloween Child because he was born on Halloween? He would say that his mother said he had a different
birthday so he wouldn't be so strange or scary. He would tell his mother that he was doing this. Once he announced it at school
everybody would remember him. He decided he would talk it over with his father first.
When they needed to have a
man to man talk they would often go up to the roof.
"Dad, I am going to tell everyone
that my birthday was on Halloween."
"You can't do that."
"Why can't I say I was born
"Do you really want to?"
"Yes. Nobody would know I
"I am taking artistic license.
People lie all the time."
"You do seem to fit the role.
Mom would be extra proud of you."
"That is also why people leave
me alone. It also works if you want something. Being forthright. My birthday is close enough."
"You want me to think of you
as a Halloween Child."
"It has a nice ring to it.
Victor, the Halloween Child."
Victor wasn't sure at first
how to let his classmates know. He decided to write a paper about it which he would read in class. The paper detailed how
his mother changed his birthday to keep him out of trouble, but he embraced the dark side and how he read in All The King's
Men by Robert Penn Warren that goodness sometimes comes out of badness.
"Man is conceived in sin and
born in corruption…"
The English class was shocked.
"If I know bad, I can probably
be good. I am this way because of my stars. I was destined to lord over this time."
Lucy was goggling.
"Terrific Victor, terrific,
The Halloween Child," the English teacher said.
The class applauded.
The next day Lucy brought
some cookies from home that her mother had cooked and passed them around. The word had gone all around the school that Victor
was born on Halloween. Most people had a smirk for him when they saw him in the hallway, but some were scared, and few petrified.
"These are good cookies,"
Victor said to Lucy.
"You terrific bastard. What
are you doing on Prom Night?"
"Will you go with me to the
"Yes Victor I will go with
you to the prom."
Victor was beaming. Lucy had
a smile like a siren, but he would look through it knowing that she would be tender to him at times. They would also be able
to exchange blood. He now knew her well enough. She would probably be true and her mother could someday teach her how to cook.
But Victor had to have a talk
with his father before Prom Night. Things were uneasy on the roof that afternoon. Often they would just talk there, but today
they were closer to the ledge and there was a crowd below them.
One guy yelled, "When are
you two lovebirds going to jump?"
"I am going to kill you someday,"
Victor yelled down at him.
They both decided to step
away from the ledge and the usual crowd dispersed.
"What about all the things
I did not have?"
"What do you want Victor?"
"I could have been smarter."
"Well I did not like all these
talks on the roof."
"I want enough money to buy
a second hand hearse. I want to bring a girl to the prom in it."
"Well I don't want to give
it to you for free."
"Well I am sorry for being
scary. I was that way so people wouldn't treat me like I was dumb. You also were scary."
"You need me son and you will
continue to need me."
"Won't that change when I
am with Lucy?"
"You will learn from her,
but you will need me around."
"So that I can be smarter?"
"Yes, you would be dumb to
get rid of me. You will be entering a scary time."
"Do I get the hearse like
"Yes, but I will need you
"In case I am being dumb,
and when I get older."
"I will be in town dad. Lucy's
family has this dream house which borders the cemetery. It is only seven miles out of town."
"You are a handsome boy."
"A deal dad. Do we have a
"Yes. Remember we will need
each other. It will be how we can take on the rest. How we can be smart."
"Like you said, we will need
to fight for what we want."
"Especially if others are
fighting as well."
"Yes dad we have a deal. Would
you like to go to the deli. It is my treat. I convinced them to serve fruit punch and wine."
The two men walked down the
stairs to have dinner. There was no crowd when they walked out into the street towards the deli. Vincent was sad that Victor
would be leaving, but he would be sleeping easier now that he had the whole apartment to himself. He would now be free to
find another, but he would not want to have another child.
Victor would be remembered
as The Halloween Child by his whole graduating class. He would be remembered as a handsome lad by the teachers. He had shown
a capacity for flexibility and perseverance. He understood a range of ideological perspectives and could send a warning when
the leaves began to change. Lucy had found and cultivated her dream man who would help her family at the graveyard. Men like
this were hard to find. He even supplied them with a hearse for deliveries. They would aim for another Halloween Child by
having their Dark Honeymoon in February.
They all lived terrifically
W. Miller 2006