I stood on the back lawn gazing up at the starless night sky. The only light was the thin white crescent of the new moon. In a few nights, it would be another full moon. Would it be another painful failure for me? My mood slipped into darkness like the night. The cool air nipped at me and made me uncomfortable with my thoughts.
Vanessa would call me soon. This time of the month she seemed to watch me more closely. Her voice was low and seductive even when she called to me. And she was still beautiful after all this time. But I'd have to get the courage to ask her one of these days why she didn't show me her consuming passion like she once did.
"Harold." Vanessa's throaty call sounded like a purr right next to me. And so exciting. I wish I had a name that matched her purr, like Roger or Bentley or....ah! well.
"What is it, Vanessa?"
"Why do you always go outside and look at the night, Harold?"
"You know why, Vanessa. In a few days it will be another full moon, again."
She was indeed beautiful and alluring and seductive and, because she stopped responding to me, infuriating. Standing in the soft light of the living room, wearing a sheer, very sheer, black gown, I could see her right through the soft folds. An open robe that didn't do much to cover anything else draped from her shoulders down to the floor over lovely curved hips and long legs. The deep V of the gown revealed an expansive length of her from the shiny, smooth black hair, high cheekbones under slightly slanted eyes, glittering very red lips, long white throat and the milky excitement flowing to the loose drape of a nearly invisible fold under her navel.
She was enough to drive a man mad. The curve of her breasts led my eyes under the gown as if there were no gown. Every detail of her down to her black strap mules with the six-inch spiked heels taunted and tempted me. She was a muted, elusive dream.
"You know, Vanessa....."
"Forget it, Harold." That throaty voice!
"It's not going to happen, Harold. You know what's been happening to you. You know, but refuse to admit it." Even when she reminded me again of my failures her amazing eyes set me smoldering. "I used to like cuddling up to you when you'd get all furry. More than cuddle. I couldn't keep my hands off of you. But no more."
I still felt the same passion for her. "But I still feel that way about you. In my eyes you haven't changed a bit."
"But you have, Harold. Frankly, I'm afraid it's time to tell you, you're getting old." Pow! Just like that! "You used to be something to see....and hear...when the moon reached full. All that cozy hair to run my fingers through, that throaty growl and your bloodcurdling howl. It wasn't my duty, but you were irresistible."
"So, some little things change, Vanessa. You're older, too. You're still...."
"Harold, I'm a succubus. I don't get old. My job is to seduce good guys and, these days, good girls to do evil things and get them damned for them. It's an endless act that I'm good at. And it's in my job description that I don't get old. I'm forever."
"And I'm not?" The impact of what she was saying was beginning to creep through my delusions.
"No, Harold, you're not. You can see it happening every full moon. Worse every full moon. You're practically bald in the full moon. No furry handfuls of hair. Almost down to the skin. Yuk! And that squeak you call a howl. You used to announce terror in the night, but, now,......"
"But I still go out stalking....."
"Like the girl you chased in the park last month....and got all tripped up in your walker. You can't lope after people when you're trying to in a walker, Harold. You can't even terrify them if you're hobbling after them in a walker."
This was really annoying. Very bad for my ego. I used to be a world class werewolf, but there was no denying that the park incident happened. Embarrassing.
"And the girl even felt sorry for you. Your victim came back and helped you get untangled from the walker and sat you on the bench."
Now that's humiliating for a werewolf, for any bad guy, but so much more for a werewolf. "So, is that it for me, Vanessa? An old, squeaky, stumbling, bald, pitiful shadow of a fearsome werewolf?"
"I'd say so, Harold. When the moon turns full, I'd just stay here and hang out. Remember the good times. The furry hair coming out, the chases, the attacks, the terror. And the howls, Harold, those terrifying howls."
There was a touch of emotion in her sexy voice. I didn't know what to think of that. Emotion was not her shtick, she was a cold, calculating succubus. Even if she was hot bodied. What now? I was kind of at loose ends if I couldn't be a werewolf anymore.
"I think I'll go over and see Vlad. He should be up by now. It's after sundown."
"Harold, don't pour your troubles all over the Count. He's got his own troubles."
"He's getting old, too. He went to see the mad doctor of Fleet Street. The doctor pulled some teeth, but the Count is worried because he can't see what the doctor did to him."
"He can look in the mirror," I said. "That's pretty obvious."
"He's a vampire, Harold. You know that! Vampires don't reflect in mirrors."
"Well, then, what happened last night?"
"He was afraid to go out. He thought he might be gumming his victim and making a mess of his attack. He's starving over there."
I didn't want to talk anymore about what happens to old monsters. It was all too, too depressing. Old age has no bite. A succubus I could only look at? A silver bullet? A wooden stake through the heart? It's really nothing to howl about.
Quinn's zig-zag progress through life has involved him in some unlikely adventures. But he finds some truth even in the strangest fictions.
As with Harold in this story, it's true that we all get old. Well, maybe not a succubus. But old is a fact to deal with. Quinn has lived and worked mostly around New Jersey and Florida.and hasn't yet written the Western he promised a friend....or about running over a whale in the middle of the Pacific.