Arta Harker Vampire Hunter – Short Story

Happy Dracula Day (tomorrow). Have a pseudo-sequel based on Dracula itself and one random Tumblr post that complained that everyone always makes the Van Helsing family line into the vampire hunters despite that not lining up nicely with the actualy narrative and characters in the novel Dracula, and supposing that Jonathan and Mina Harker would be more likely to raise vampire hunting children.

Meet their grandkids!

*

The house was dusty. Not the hallway, or the receiving room, there was no dust visible there. But the scent of it floated through the space. Somebody else might not have noticed. But I wasn’t somebody else.

I offered my host a wide smile. Play the part, Art. You’re a sweet young lady who has no idea about what could possibly be going on under that moustache. Why did they all end up with moustaches? Don’t get distracted, Art. Keep your persona in mind. Don’t get put off by the moustache.

He invited me to sit on a well-aged sofa. Wooden legs and back with velvet covered foam. Old fashioned in a way that, for someone else, would have been weird or vintage. But people didn’t make sofas like this anymore. And I was pretty sure the trees this wood was made from no longer existed either.

My host offered me a closed mouth smile. “Would you like a drink?” he asked.

The offer would have been bold, even flagrant if he knew who I was. But I was working under a different name for this particular infiltration.

“Of course,” I agreed easily.

My host walked too smoothly to the door, almost floating from the space.

The ominous silence that followed told the same story I’d already ascertained. This was not a human but a vampire. And I was needed here just as my family always was.

I stood from the sofa and wandered over to the window, twitching the thick velvet curtains aside to peer out into the garden through the window film. Huh. Very modern. Very clever. Impossible to see through.

Hands grabbed me from behind, wrenching my head to one side. “You think I don’t know what you’re doing here?”

I tried to wrench away but the hands were strong as steel. “I don’t know what you mean,” I offered.

My heart was pounding in my chest. Blood rushing under the cool fingers that held me still. Tempting, no doubt.

“Arta Harker,” he breathed into my ear. “Descendant of Jonathan and Mina Harker. Vampire hunter.”

“You’d only know that one way,” I gritted out.

“And you won’t be able to tell anyone else about it.”

I scrabbled for my tools, regretting ever having turned my back on the doorway into the room. I should have known better. Vampires moved fast and they moved quiet. There was no room for mistakes when hunting down vampires like this. But I had.

I’d forgotten the golden rule: always assume the vampire is ready to kill you.

My grandma Mina had told me over and over, “Never turn your back because the vampire is ready to kill you. Never assume you’re safe, even for a moment, because the vampire is ready to kill you. Never assume they will continue their deception if it no longer serves. The vampire is always ready to kill you. And they will enjoy it.”

The second thing she had told me over and over was to keep meticulous records. That, and never let anyone claim a woman was too fragile to manage in this kind of a situation. Especially one who had already lost something to it.

I stopped trying to fight the hands, going limp in the vampire’s arms. This vampire was ready to kill me. Had seen through my plan. Knew who I was and what my family did. I couldn’t use any of my normal tricks, any of my training. I had to be as unexpected as my grandmother had encouraged me to be.

#

“How you feeling?” Luke asked, glancing up from his tablet. Our sofas were less aged than the vampires had been, but still well-worn and a little battered from the three of us being raised in this house.

Grandma Mina and Grandpa Jonathan had stayed in this house. When my parents had replaced the sofas, they had complained but were all too easily worn down by the sheer comfort a newer sofa allowed for. Mum and dad, on the other hand, had retired to Whitby a few years ago now, leaving the three of us in charge of the family legacy.

I offered a groan and rubbed my temples. I halfway wanted to keep my poor attempt at the previous day’s mission to myself. But that was too much of a risk. After what had happened to Luke’s namesake.

“It went really badly.”

Across the room, Quin paused in buttering xyr toast, hand shifting ever so subtly toward the cache of vampire hunting tools we kept in the kitchen.

“I got made for a Harker.”

“Bitten?” Luke asked, surging toward me but aborting the movement as soon as his feet touched the ground. He and Quin both stood in an awkward attempt to pretend they weren’t ready to leap into action.

“I’m not sure,” I admitted. “My memory gets a bit fuzzy…”

When my siblings didn’t move I huffed out a huge breath and sank into one of the unmatching armchairs. “Just check.”

Quin and Luke shared a look, silent communication I felt too hungover to try and translate. How could I have been so foolish as to get myself bitten like that?

“How was your date?” I asked Quin when Luke finally began to approach.

Xe sighed. “It was fine.”

“But?” I prompted.

“But now I feel guilty for leaving you alone for—”

“Don’t start with your self-sacrificing streak, Q. I won’t have it. Seriously. Why was it only fine?”

Xe brought the first aid kit into the living room, perching on the arm on the sofa with it on xyr lap. “I just feel like I can’t invite someone into this.” Xe gestured wildly enough that the first aid kit started to slip.

“Why not?” Luke asked, tugging my pyjama top collar away from my neck.

“It’s weird,” Quin insisted. “I can’t ask someone to take this on. What am I gonna do? Find someone who already had a run in with a vampire and try to date them? It just…” Xe sighed again. “Do you two not have this?”

“I don’t want to date anyone, ever,” I reminded. “It’s not for me.”

“Luke?” Quin whined.

“Yeah, she’s bit.”

“Not what I meant.” Quin opened the first aid kit, pulling the antiseptic mixed with blessed water out of it and handing it over to Luke to spray on my bit wounds.

“I dunno,” Luke muttered. “If it happens it’ll happen, you know?”

“Easy for you to say.”

“I think we need to focus on this vamp that bit Art for now.”

Quin rolled xyr eyes.

I tried to suppress my laughter. Trust Luke to miss the point entirely.

“I wish grandma was here.”

“Me too,” I sighed. “She always knew what to do.”

*

In other, somewhat related news, I’m releaseing another book on 27th June 2023. The first chapter in 3 parts (because there are 3 interwoven timelines) will be appearing right here in the coming weeks, but you can find out more and get your own copy pre-ordered via the links on my website

The trailer will be up on YouTube tomorrow, so this link probably won’t work until then (but you can give it a shot if you really want)

(If you’re interested in ARCs of this or my October sci-fi release, get in touch via the contact form or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I’ve got a little bit of a backlog of stuff to get back to because I’m still in the process of moving house — yes, it is a bad time to release a book but I’m doing it anyway because of reasons I’ll be sharing later)

Anyway

If you liked this please do share it with your friends, family, or that coworker you kinda tolerate.
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and I’ll see you all next week for another Short Story.

© nopoodles 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

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