VANHEL SINGH 3

We’d met on Tinder. She seemed clean and although I couldn’t zoom in on her pictures, I was reasonably sure she had cut her nails. She looked Greek.

I had taken all the standard precautions in case she was a vampire. I’d brushed my teeth with garlic, rubbed my armpits with garlic, worn my garlic necklace on top of my silver cross necklace. I’d even picked a vegan restaurant for our date so there’d be no blood on the menu and at a time that we’d still have daylight.

She arrived. She still looked Greek.

“You still look Greek,” I said.

“Oh……. Well thank you. I think! I’m actually Italian by decent. You must be Vanhel. I’m Gloria,” as she put out her hand to shake. Her nails were short! It was safe.

She followed me to the table inside and as I stopped abruptly to scope an escape route in case she was a fraud she knocked into the back of me.

“My, I’m sorry. I’m so clumsy sometimes,” she insisted. She then began sniffing. Her nose crunching in disgust as though she’d licked a lemon.

“What’s the matter?” I tested her quickly. Does something smell? Is it me? Do you not like the way I smell?”

“Oh, no, no. I was just had err. I was just had an itchy nose.”

She smiled and we sat down. It was a strange smile. Sort of timid. She kept staring at me and her eyes were magnified by her glasses. Why should anybody stare so much? It was unnerving me and if the food hadn’t of come and distracted her gaze I’d of thought she’d of wanted to eat me.

Despite her disturbing focus on my eyes, I was disarmed by her very nice hair. It was brown. My favourite colour and it was cut into into the shape of a bowl. My favourite piece of crockery.

As we ate I put her through subtle test after test.

“Do you like biting people Gloria?”

“Oh!” She seemed startled. “No, I’ve never tried it….. It’s not really my thing. But, but if you like I can try I suppose.”

“No,” I said, quite contented. “That won’t be necessary.” And from there I relaxed, allowing myself to fall into the most beautiful evening wrapped under her charm.

She told fantastic jokes.

“What did the cheese say to itself in the mirror? Halloumi!”

She was clean.

“I hate mess. I have to have order. I even iron my bra and panties.”

I was becoming fond of her.

“Oh and I loved that bit you put on your profile about no vampires!” She said snorting on her wine. “My ex-boyfriend never left the house and practically lived in the dark playing those stupid video games. Now that’s what I call a vampire.”

“Without a doubt,” I nodded. Was she a kindred spirit I thought? Perhaps even an ally against the night crawlers?”

We left the restaurant hand in hand.

The final test loomed as we walked back to mine. Could she cross the threshold of my house without being invited in? Many had failed and just stood there on my doorstep, expecting me to usher their entry, only to find a stake through their heart.

We had only to cross the bridge and cut through the park and I was I admit, guilty of a butterfly or two. She said she was cold. Being the perfect gentleman, I immediately took off my jacket and went to drape it over her shoulders when my night was shattered.

There, at the nape of her neck was a tattoo of a pentacle. How had I been so blind?

“What’s that on your neck,” I asked casually as we walked across the bridge.

“Oh, nothing,” she turned to me sheepishly, hunching the collar of my jacket higher so I couldn’t see it properly anymore but her reaction was all the evidence I needed.

“It was just a stu…..”

But I’d seen enough. I quickly picked her up and threw her over the bridge. Her scream was bitter and confirmed my worst suspicion. I didn’t wait for her to fly back up because in truth I’d never fought a witch before and after the spell she’d obviously cast over me that night I was a little afraid her magic would be too much for me so I ran home.

It had cost me a jacket.