Cursed by a witch in 1860, the vampire must kill five women in the final month of each decade. The curse will be lifted after 150 years if the final victim is taken on Christmas Eve 2010
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Friday, November 26th, 2010
Black Friday was over. The traditional first day of the Christmas season, as far as merchants were concerned, was a glorious day for Jenna Blackman as she counted the cash receipts and checks in her nearly overflowing register drawer. Ten minutes later, she finished the count, entered the amount on her spreadsheet, and saw that her store, Cozy Capers, in downtown Bethlehem, Pa., had shown a profit of $3,221.17. Not bad for a weak economy, she thought.
Jenna put the cash and checks into a bank bag, turned off the lights and locked the front door behind her. It had begun to snow around three-thirty, which might have kept some shoppers away, but all in all it had been a fantastic day. As she began the three-block walk to her car, she cautiously looked at the pedestrians still walking up and down Main Street. She saw a cop up the street, and that gave her some sense of security. He was only a block or so from where her car was parked on a side street. Normally, her husband Jim would be walking with her but he had felt ill, earlier in the day, so she had made him go home to lie down and take it easy.
As she passed the door of an Italian restaurant, two patrons strolled out. She caught a whiff of the food that was being prepared inside. Her stomach started rumbling; she had been too busy all day to eat, except for a hasty breakfast of half of a toasted bagel with cream cheese and a cup of coffee. She considered calling Jim on her cell to see if he wanted her to pick up something for dinner, but making a meal was the last thing on her mind. She would much rather just take a load off her feet and enjoy a glass or two of wine before crawling into bed. She hoped that tomorrow would be another good day in the store, but if the snow kept up, her profits from today could just as easily be negated.
As Jenna turned the corner at the mouth of the side street, she slipped, dropping the money bag as she fell hard on her chest. Stunned, she began to cry. Then she heard a man say, “Looks like you took a nasty spill. Here, take my hand and I’ll help you up. Is your car nearby?”
When she was back on her feet, she smiled, recognizing her white knight as someone who had spent quite a bit of money, earlier, in her store. “Thanks, but I dropped my bank bag and I need to find it.”
“Good day at the store?”
“Better than good. It was the best day we ever had. People were buying everything and I was busy as hell from opening to close. You certainly helped a lot with my day.”
“That’s good to know. I think all the merchants did pretty well. I’ve been in town most of the day, visiting the shops and eateries, and all the owners had smiles on their faces. This might be Bethlehem’s best Christmas in years.” He looked around, scanning the area. “Accuweather said we could get up to six inches before tomorrow afternoon, but I think people will still come out and – Ah!” He picked up the bag and handed it to her.
“Not at all. Would you like me to escort you to your car?”
“Yes, I’d like that. Thank you so much.”
They walked side by side, casually talking as a car came down the narrow street a little too fast and nearly slid into them.
Jenna gave the kid the finger and yelled a couple of profane words, but the kid just gave them the finger back and kept on going without even an “I’m sorry.”
Jenna shook her head. “There are kids driving cars today that shouldn’t even be allowed to ride a bike, and all the college kids drinking and carousing till all hours. I guess I shouldn’t worry so much but, since we lost Dan, I get testy real easy.”
“Dan was our son. He was hit by a car a couple of years ago. Cops never caught the guy, but I’m pretty sure it was someone Jim and I knew. I just don’t think I can ever prove it.” She grew quiet.
“I’m so sorry. How old would he be now?”
“Ten.” She looked toward her escort. “It was rough, having a baby at twenty, but Jim and I were so much in love that we were able to provide for Dan, even though we were still in school.” She fell silent again until they reached her car. “Well, here we are.” She took out her keys, unlocked the door and opened it. Jenna threw her purse and the bank bag on the back seat, then turned to thank her escort
Instead, her mouth opened and she drew breath to scream at the sight of his face, which had transformed into a mask of pure evil. His strong right hand closed over her mouth as two sharp teeth pierced her neck. Jenna struggled, but the blood was sucked from her at such a rapid rate that she lost consciousness and slid, unresisting, into death.
When the vampire had finished, he laid her body gently on the snow-covered street. “I’m so sorry, Jenna, but I couldn’t wait any longer. It had to be you.”