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The Black-Caped Shadow Grill
By Beth LaBuff
I settled in my easy-chair
To dissipate my tension,
I closed my eyes then wakened in
An alternate dimension.
But surely it was just a dream.
The blame — I had a hunch,
Was caused by Beef Chipotle
That I scarfed down at lunch.
And in my dream, a neon sign
That flashed, “Open All Night.”
I clenched my collar ‘round my neck
Then peered through muted light.
Words painted on a window,
“The Black-Caped Shadow Grill.”
I entered in faint-heartedly,
Ignoring dank and chill.
My eyes skimmed the interior,
The clientele — dismissing,
The worn plank floor was gouged in spots
With many slivers missing.
Then focused on the patrons with
Red lips and black attire,
And I, the only human in
The diner of vampires—
I yielded to a shiver,
I saw their fangs and winced.
I’ve heard, “Vampires are shape-shifters.”
Frankly — I’m unconvinced.
To take the form of animals,
To flit about as bats,
I spurn the theory vampires
Can transform into rats.
Then seated near the kitchen door,
My eyes compelled to look,
Were locked into a stare-down with
The bloodstained-aproned cook.
His manner disconcerted me.
His eyetooth glinted gold.
His hairline formed a widow’s peak.
He made my blood run cold.
A menu pressed into my palms,
I welcomed its intrusion.
I scanned the list of beverages
Entitled— “Chilled transfusions.”
“We’ve drinks to please your palate,
Our patrons all agree,
We’ve even stocked ‘O negative,’
Along with ‘A’ and ‘B’.”
“Our famed, ‘Thicker Than Water,’
On-site, this beverage brewed
In our blood-pressure-cooker—
Pairs well with any food.”
“And for the youngsters, ‘Veggie-Freeze’—
The blood squeezed from a turnip—
A blend of wholesome plasma
Served frozen in a cup.”
“The meats we grill are all served rare.”
The menu’s guarantee—
“A red and juicy center,
We pledge they’re garlic-free.”
“And seared to seal the juices in,
The ‘Special of the Day,’
With coriander seasoning—
A porterhouse fillet.”
The creature sitting next to me,
His tone and manner—curt,
I heard him hiss, “One special with
“Blood pudding for dessert.”
Ten minutes passed before a
Harried waiter served his food,
I thought it looked a little charred,
That wouldn’t help his mood.
He cut into the well-done steak,
He said it tasted blander
Than any fare that passed his fangs,
“It’s missing coriander!”
He jumped up with his steak knife,
Eyes bored the kitchen door.
He started hacking wooden stakes
From off the wooden floor.
He raged into the kitchen while
Behind him trailed his cloak,
Then just before he skewered the cook,
Well, that’s when I awoke.
My wife was gently jostling me.
She said, to my relief,
That she’d be serving chicken
And not sirloin of beef.
Still settled in my easy chair,
I swear this is the truth,
A rat peered out and sneered at me,
I saw his golden tooth!
They say, “Vampires are shape-shifters.”
Although it goes against
The core of what I once believed,
But yeah, now I’m convinced!
written for a FaithWriters.com writing challenge
© Beth LaBuff -- July 2010
I had a dream that made me afraid.