Inspired by my good friend Jeff James, who’s been writing great little bits of sudden fiction lately over at Full of Words, I decided I wanted to try my hand at a few creative writing exercises. As I’ve been working on all kinds of other stuff for about eight months on end now, my creativity has needed a bit of a shot in the arm.

So, I decided to run with a small idea I had and let it go for about 1000 words or so: a boy returns to bury his father and finds a secret. There are vampires involved, and Assassin’s Creed 2. It should be noted I’m not a huge fan of the vampire trend, but I thought the idea was a fun one and jumped on it. I’m pretty pleased with the results. Feel free to let me know what you think.


I first learned that my father was a vampire hunter two days after his funeral. Or at least, that’s when I found the storeroom full of his weapons. I could tell which murderous tools were his favorites because of the initials scrawled into them; handles for blades and daggers, stocks for rifles and the old school crossbow. He did the same thing to all of his non-lethal possessions. After the funeral I sat in his rocking chair on the porch and let my fingers trace the contours of the letters. Then I picked at them until they were unrecognizable.

The underground cellar was hot and muggy, the kind of sticky heat that gives you a bear hug and won’t let go. I stood there for awhile as the dust cleared, unsure of what to do. The will never stipulated anything about this room. And I was sure one of my sisters was going to call dibs on that crossbow.

I suppose I should have been shocked, appalled or otherwise affected by the discovery of the deadly killing instruments. But really, all I could think about was video games. There was a scene in Assassin’s Creed 2 where Ezio Auditore found all of his father’s assassin things, including knives and a snazzy outfit. It was more like a Renaissance Bat Cave than it was an underground shack in East Texas, but you get the idea. In most of these stories, the father leaves a message for his son, who will inevitably stumble upon his secret. All my father left in his killing sanctuary was a stack of crumpled beer cans, weapons and a bucket o’ used stakes. Gross.

If I’m being honest, my first thought was that maybe my dad was a serial killer instead of a drunk loser. Either that, or he was just that prototypical country bumpkin with an arsenal on his property. It was a bit startling to think that maybe I came from the same stock as that cliche, but the proof was right in front of me. Why would he keep all these weapons in the first place? And wooden stakes? What was that about?

I didn’t know what to do, so I started going through the whole place. Not that it was very big. A few tool chests that came up to my midsection. A workman’s table, presumably where he sharpened or polished the weapons that needed it. It had several dark stains on it that I didn’t want to peer too closely at. The weapons were mounted on racks and fastened to the walls in various positions. Many of them looked worn from heavy use. I couldn’t recall the man ever being a hunter, so that was kind of strange. Stranger still was the shelf with crosses. Dad never seemed the religious type.

I pulled a stool up to a desk in the far corner and clicked on the lamp attached to the rough top. It cast a small pool of light that helped illuminate the shed a bit more than the overhead one, and revealed all kinds of personal carvings on the surface. Depictions of fanged creatures, snarling beasts, people burning. I was ready to jump back to the serial killer scenario when my legs banged into a secret drawer underneath the desk. That was going to leave a bruise.

“Thanks, asshole,” I muttered while I bent down to examine. A quick glance told me I wouldn’t be able to access it that way, so I cursed the man again and climbed underneath. Apparently dad had fastened a small metal box down here. It wasn’t much of a hiding spot, and it wasn’t on there very securely, either. I yanked at it pretty hard and it came off mostly neatly. I don’t think he even bothered to screw it in. He always was one for short cuts, particularly when it came to me and the girls. Us most of all.

Inside the drawer was nothing particularly striking to me at the time. A slip of paper with numbers scrawled across it – perhaps some kind of a key or a code. I wondered if there was a safe down there, too. A small booklet with more of my father’s easily recognizable chicken scratch, although the meaning of the words was indecipherable. I took it all in stride. More pieces of the puzzle that was my father.

The last item grabbed my breath in a vice grip somewhere between my lungs and my mouth: a photo of my mother, in the days before her cancer took over. Her world was full of light and smiles and laughter, and the picture reflected it. It was crumpled slightly and smudged with fingerprints. I pictured dad, hunched over this lamp, same as me, stricken with grief for the only person he ever seemed to know how to love. Later it struck me that cancer was the one monster he couldn’t fight. I slid the photo into my pocket and tossed the drawer onto the table with a loud metal clang.

Somewhere above ground, a noise followed. At first, I convinced myself it’s just an echo from dropping the drawer onto the desk. But another part of me, the annoying part that has seen too many movies was shouting that this was cause for concern. I clicked off the desklamp and crept towards the source of the noise, back towards the stairs that brought me down into my father’s shack, the place where he kept his secrets buried underground. I felt a little pinpoint of shame as I grab one of the weapons off of the wall, a spiked mace that had known better days. I wasn’t quite sure what had me so spooked, but the weapon in my hand brought a small bit of comfort. Finally, I emerged from the tomb-like cellar into the muggy damp Texas evening that awaited.

I mentioned earlier that I found out my father was a vampire hunter two days after his funeral. But it wasn’t because I found his weapon room, or whatever the heck that place was. Sure, that gave me a bit of an idea, but lots of creeps keep bizarre weaponry. No, I found out my father was a vampire hunter when I came out of the cellar and was greeted by a pair of strangers, fangs glinting back at me despite a moonless night. They were unearthly, alien, ancient and powerful. And they wanted to kill me.

I suppose they might have, too, but something took over. The weapon in my hand became an extension of my father, his knowledge, his life, protecting mine. I can’t explain it. I don’t even remember how it all went down. Everything was a spinning blur, a merry-go-round of flesh and blood, claws and snarls. All I know is that after the encounter, I stood alone in the field and sat on my ankles, the mace dangling lifelessly above what was left of the vampires, who were even more lifeless. Somewhere in there, I managed to catch both of them with stakes through the heart. It’s like somebody removed that part of the evening from my memory card.

But I survived, and I knew the truth: whatever this secret was I had stumbled upon downstairs, it was in the blood.

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