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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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Page 5 of 6

He looks me in the eye and says, "When the time comes, buddy, you'll know. I can promise you that."

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Brad calls it "the thirst," and says it's worse than being drunk. "Sometimes," he says, "It feels like I'm not the one in charge. So I head out into the woods and God help anything I stumble on."

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Two hunters are missing about ten clicks north of Pine Grove, a father and son from the city. It's entirely possibly they drowned, their boat was found upside down in some reeds. I join the search team and guess what I find? A battered No Fear hat snagged onto a bush.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

I awake to find Brad sitting in my trailer, facing me. He looks awful. His face is haggard and his clothes are stained brown in patches.

"What are you doing here?" I ask, trying to keep my voice calm. "What's up?"

He takes a swig out of a bottle of whiskey. No mixer.

"Remember I told you that I don't like to be tied down? That I never met anyone I'd like to spend eternity with?"

I ease my hand under my pillow, feeling for the silver letter opener I stashed under there. It was the cheapest silver thing I could find that could be used as a weapon. But it was gone. I do a quick scan of the room and see it on the table beside Brad.

Why, I ask myself, didn't I put a crucifix under there? I closed my eyes for a second and sighed.

"I remember you saying something like that," I answered, trying to keep my voice calm.

"Well that's not exactly true," he says to me. "A man needs a few friends around. Mine keep dying on me."

"Look, Brad—"

But that's all I get out, and suddenly he's on me. I try to scream but he jams a hand over my mouth. I try to throw him off but he's so strong. So incredibly strong...

The last thing I hear before I lose consciousness is Brad, speaking quietly, his breath on my neck. It smells like pickled eggs and whiskey.

"Hold still buddy. This won't hurt a bit."

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

That was October. It's December now. Brad and I have decided it's time to leave. Pine Grove is a little too small to hide two vampires, and it's been a while since he's seen the Carpathians.

Brad is good company. He's in such high spirits now that he's found a friend to spend eternity with.

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