Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I recently submitted a short story to one of my Goodreads groups, Gotta Have Paranormal Romance with a Kick. The requirements were to write a short story about what it would be like to be Mrs. Dracula. No word count minimums/maximums. So I sat down, hammered something out, and won! Squee! I got a $25 gift card to AllRomanceBooks.com, plus an e-copy of Being Mrs. Dracula by Faith Marlow.
Of course, my version of being Mrs. Dracula includes Wiccans, environmental issues, and an unexpected twist at the end. Interested? Read below and let me know what you think!
“Mrs. Hun, your rebuttal, if you please.”
Melinda nodded at the moderator, and turned to face the cameras. Lights bore down on her, and she hoped her makeup held up to the heat. A bead of sweat rolled down the back of her neck. She ignored it, trying to focus instead on the audience behind the media.
“Although my opponent’s environmental goal is admirable; it simply isn’t enough. As Ohio’s newest senator, and duly elected representative, I intend to support the push for nuclear energy.” Melinda waited for the uproar to die down. Her announcement wasn’t unexpected; in fact, anticipation of the announcement is what led to such a large turnout. She leaned closer into the microphone, speaking above the crowd, “Nuclear energy waste is miniscule to what we produce now. A coke can’s worth per person’s lifetime compared to 68 tons solid waste and 77 tons carbon dioxide.”
There were shouts from the audience, both for and against.
She continued, “A nuclear plant takes up less than a square mile to produce the same amount of energy a wind farm on 200 square miles produces.”
From behind the cameras, someone yelled about weapons of mass destruction. Melinda did something her campaign manager strictly prohibited. She responded to the criticism, “Nuclear war is an exaggerated fear, fed to you by Hollywood and the media.”
She looked over at her opponent, candidate Daniel Kelley, and swallowed hard. A small, knowing smile crept up on one side of his face.
As the debate ended with a clear winner, the two candidates shook hands in front of the camera. He leaned into her, “Good luck with the rest of your campaign, Mrs. Hun.”
She nodded, “And to you, Mr. Kelley.”
He glanced over at the empty seat in the front row, “I look forward to meeting your husband.”
Melinda looked down. Her husband had yet to appear at a public event by her side. “Mr. Hun is busy with work.”
Daniel narrowed his eyes, “Well, I hope he is around to at least take care of your injuries.”
Melinda gasped, touching her eye. The tips of her fingers came away tinged with beige cover-up. Her makeup was running. She immediately adjusted her hair over her neck, hoping no one had spotted the bruising there.
Daniel smiled, leaning in further, “Makeup, hair, and high turtlenecks can only cover so much.” He bent the rest of the way, kissing her on the cheek, then straightened and winked at her. Daniel Kelley disappeared into the maelstrom of media, prompting a new frenzy of flashing lights.
Melinda closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. The campaign, relatively free of mud-slinging so far, was about to get ugly.
* * *
Melinda entered campaign headquarters with her manager and several aides, “How is my California colleague’s campaign going?”
The youngest aide, a recent college grad, answered, “He leads the polls.”
“And Louisiana?” she asked.
“The same,” the manager said. “Barring any unfortunate disclosures regarding religious affiliations, your fellow wiccans will be sitting at the capitol next year.”
Melinda nodded. Discussions on how to effectively change America’s environmental policies began within her small coven ten years ago. With a lot of hard work, and equal amounts of luck, they managed to ensconce a handful of loyal wiccans within the US political system. This was just the beginning. Between the congressional race and well-paid lobbyists, they were going to slowly oust the large corporation stronghold within US politics, and guide the country to vote on policies that were environmentally responsible. America would no longer be run by the highest bidder.
“Melinda,” her campaign manager stopped her with a hand on her arm. “Are you going to be okay?”
She furrowed her eyebrows at him.
“Your husband returns tonight?” He pressed. “This is a situation your opponent would love to exploit. We can’t afford that kind of press. We are behind enough in the polls as it is.”
Melinda fidgeted with the hem of her shirt, uncomfortable with this kind of attention. “What my husband and I do behind closed doors is no affair of yours.”
“Of course – yet it will soon become the affair of the entire nation, if you’re not careful.”
She cleared her throat, and met his eyes, “I will be in my private suite the remainder of the evening. Text if you need anything; otherwise I’ll see you before 9 for our flight tomorrow morning.”
He sighed, looking at her with sad eyes. The matter was not closed; next time he would approach it with more care.
* * *
Melinda took the elevator below ground to her private suite. There weren’t many buildings in Columbus that went this far underground, especially so close to the river. Melinda wasn’t keen on spending so much of their campaign money on a lease, but Mr. Hun was insistent. She crossed their spacious living room, removing her jacket and high heels along the way. She looked at her watch, he would be waking soon.
At the floor to ceiling bookshelf, Melinda pulled on the copy of Bram Stroker’s ‘Dracula’. One click, and a panel opened inward. Melinda squeezed through the small opening. Inside was a large pentagram. Lit candles placed at intervals around the circular room provided the only light. Several men and women in robes waited on their knees, obediently keeping their heads down.
Melinda cleared her throat. One rose, walked over to her, and handed her an iced cocktail. She sniffed it, raising her eyebrows at him.
“It is the usual infused herbs, mixed during an incantation, Melinda.”
“And the blood?” She asked, peering through the clear glass.
She nodded, throwing her head back and finishing the cocktail in one swallow. She handed the empty glass to the robed man, along with her cell phone and campaign badges, “I am ready.”
He set her belongings down on a small table and pulled a lever just above it. The center of the pentagram opened, and a large bed rose into the room, gears underneath squeaking with the strain. Melinda held her breath, heart stopping for a moment as it always did upon his awakening.
The form on the bed stirred, pulling the chains that bound him tight. A slow smile crept onto Melinda’s face, “Settle down husband, you will fly tonight.”
He turned, gray eyes boring into her, “You have another name for me, witch?”
The vampire sat up in the bed, his bare chest heaving in anger, “One of these nights, I will break your curse. I’m too old; lived far too long to bend to the will of a human.”
Melinda stepped forward, removing her turtleneck and revealing her bruised throat. A small price to pay. The vampire did need to feed after all, “The day may come,” she said. “But it will require something strong enough to break the bond of marriage.” She wrapped her hand around one of the chains, pulling it tight. The vampire was yanked down again, flat on his back. “And something stronger still to break these bonds. Not to mention the curse.”
Melinda crawled onto the bed, straddling the vampire. She felt his whole body go tense. “We’ll be performing the Great Rite before I release you,” she nodded to the robed man and he took his place back in the circle. “We’ll need to make sure the curse holds while you fly free. I want my little bat to return home by dawn.”
She stroked the side of his face. He bared his fangs, but couldn’t bite into the healthy, throbbing pulse at her wrist. Not without her permission; one of many stipulations enforced through the curse.
Dracula closed his eyes, frowning. “I suppose this must be my penance.”
“Penance?” Melinda scooted down on the bed, making herself comfortable in between his legs. “It’s for the good of the country.” Her smile was all too malicious, “I’ll make a true patriot out of you yet.”