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Pale Trash - the first of Pique's tormented tales

Pique staff have penned three spooky stories for you this year. Curl up in front of the fire and read them by candlelight, or read them out loud to the kids. We hope you have a spooktacular night.



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In the process of researching my article, I discovered that befriending a demon who lives off the blood of raccoons and rats definitely has its downsides.

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I dropped by Brad's house early in the evening, just after sundown, to watch some football and drink some Canadian Club and ginger. When I thought he was drunk enough during the Plays of the Day later on that night, I asked him if he had a girlfriend. He grinned shyly.

"They's a couple of girls I've been dropping in on at nights, but I try not to get too attached, you know?" he said. "Bite 'em a third time and you've got yourself an immortal pain in the ass following you around forever. I just don't like to be tied down."

We'd gotten past the whole vampire thing a few weeks earlier. It was a funny story, if you don't account for the perspective of that poor deer I hit with my car on the way back from the liquor store..."

Is that why you faked your death? You don't want to be tied down?"

"Sort of," he said, pushing his wide-brimmed No Fear hat to one side of his head to scratch at his overgrown sideburns. "Vlad and me went our separate ways way back — him to Order of the Dragon, me to the Sultan, and we fought for 20 years over the same patch of ground. Nasty, bloody business.

One day I was lopping heads off in battle with my trusty scimitar, and I started wondering what the hell I was doing. I decided right then and there that I didn't want to do that anymore. I liked people. I even liked my brother, once. And I'd never even seen Paris, or been further west than Constantinople. So I packed up my shit and went for a long walk."

"You walked?"

"Yup. I seriously just bummed around Europe for 300 years until I wound up in the New World here. Believe it or not a guy can get tired of it all."

Speaking of tired, I asked him if he slept in a coffin during the day.

"Aw, hell no! That's my brother's thing. All silk shirts and "la-de-da," puttin' on that fake accent of his. Too good to sleep in a box of dirt, that one! I made my own bed, nice and wide, and lined with sand so I can really stretch out."

I changed the subject again. I wanted to know more about Dracula.

"So you didn't get along with your brother?"

"Sometimes we got along famously. Not during the big battle over Wallachia, that's for sure, but afterwards we'd meet from time to time and it was OK. He was all about castles and servants and had probably 10 wives to feed by then. He liked the high life, Vlad, and it was getting out of hand. The villagers were up in arms and everything. So I told him, Vladdy, you need to simplify — throw that Renfield weirdo off a boat and lock a few of those wives out of the keep at sunrise. Keep a low profile and you'll have less stress and live longer."

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