The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 21

Anton was there again at the door of Andrei’s that next day.  He stopped the front of the store before he entered, looking at the store, with its stone walls, the “Apothecary and Vampire Wares” sign swinging on its perch, and the heavy front door, built of thick beams of wood and reinforced with iron to withstand the impact of any potential vampire invader.  Anton again, as yesterday, knocked on the door diffidently and unsure.

Ileana was there to let him in and greeted him warmly when he entered, “Anton. Glad you came back.  Always a pleasure to see you,” before retreating to the other side of the long counter.

Andei was standing next to her and said, “So, I’m guessing that you’re showing up here because you haven’t changed your mind.”

“I haven’t changed my mind,” Anton said, speaking in a quiet voice.

“Are you sure?” Andrei asked.

“I’m sure,” Anton said, in a voice exactly like someone who wasn’t sure.

“Well, I’ve talked to Vasile.  He’s willing to give you a shot.  He has asked me to tell you in detail about what’s involved in this business, to really make sure you know what you’re getting into before you commit.  So, I’m going to take you back, and tell you all about what I do.  And if your mind still doesn’t change, then Vasile will take you on and show you what he does.”

Anton hopped over the counter and Andrei led him into the back, telling Ileana, “I’ll be a few minutes.”

From the back of the shop they passed through a shelf-lined hallway, where surplus quantities of medicines, ointments, balms, alcohols and vampire wares were stored.  Then the workroom opened in front of him.  The workroom had a high ceiling and like all of the shop and house, was very dark, with thick windowless walls protecting them front the dangerous forests that surrounded them.  The workroom was lit with several large torches and a few candles, which threw flickering shadows in every direction.

The room was dominated by the large cauldron where whole vampires were soaked and cooked.  As Andrei stepped up to the cauldron he explained, “When Vasile brings me a vampire, he’ll come through this door,” pointing to a thick, heavy door leading into the workroom from outside, “and we’ll put the vampire into this pot.  We have to be careful, since the vampires are infectious and none of us here are really interested in becoming vampires.  The liquid in this pot is acidic and the vampire is cooked at a low temperature to kill the infection.  I don’t really understand how it works.  My predecessor developed these methods a century ago.  Treating it this way allows us to enjoy the benefits of the vampire meat without the risk of becoming one.”

“Do you eat the vampire wares?” Anton asked.  After Andrei nodded, Anton then asked, “What’s it like?”

“It tastes unpleasant.  We have a whole range of products, which have different tastes, but none are really pleasing to the tongue,” Andrei said as he curled his nose in disgust, “You’ll have to mix it with something, or cook it into something.  The benefits are worth it, though.  They’ll make you stronger, faster, healthier, younger, and more attractive.  They’ll cure diseases; they’ll end ailments; they’ll change you.  Vasile depends upon them heavily to be a better hunter.  You’ll have to consume them too, and if you bring in vampires, I’ll be glad to provide.”

Anton listened intently as Andrei moved around the room and displayed some of his recently prepared vampire wares.  When Andrei opened one box and Anton gave it a sniff, he recoiled in disgust.

“There are downsides to the medicines, too.  You will become like a vampire in every way: you’ll start to become more sensitive to light, your skin will burn more easily, you’ll have more nightmares, and you’ll probably start to become more irritable, and,” adding the last confidentially, “between us, you’ll lose your sex drive.  These are all temporary effects and they’ll wear off if you stop taking the medicine,” Andrei explained.

Andrei took Anton through more of the shop, showing him what he was doing with the most recently acquired vampire carcass, which had been mostly processed, but with some parts still being worked, dried, fermented, ground and such.  Anton eventually cut Andrei short and told him he had to return to his father’s farm and really couldn’t spare any more time.

“You remember that you’ll not be able to keep this from your father,” Andrei reminded Anton as he left, “Don’t even try.”

Anton nodded and then left, and as he began to jog back towards the farm, he thought with apprehension about what he’d committed himself to.

His father’s farm was somewhat close to the town center, but still nearly a half league away.  He was breathing heavily when he stepped into the house to grab a bit of bread to eat and perhaps nip some pottage from the stove to make up for the lunch he’d missed.  But as he was heading back out of the house with a bit of bread in his hand, to return to work, he ran directly into his father, who stood in the door and blocked his way.

<-- Go to Part 20         Go to Part 22 -->

You can see what's been written so far collected here.

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