For her guest post, Alex gives us this quirky little play… Spot the not so subtle political metaphor for bonus points…
Scene: A bedroom, at night. Long white curtains billow at a casement window. Three candles, in a tall wrought-iron stand gutter threateningly in the draft. Our protagonist lies, in a gauzy nightgown, on the high four-poster bed. Suddenly, she awakens to a rapping at the window.
Protagonist: Who’s there? What is it? [Through the window enters a small, scruffy boy, ghostly pale with small fangs poking over his bottom lip.]
Boy: Muahahaha! I am here to suck your blood!
Protagonist: What? Who the… Oh, it’s you.
Boy: [Strikes a pose] Yes! ‘Tis I. The nightmare of your childhood! The creature who gave you sleepless moonlit hours and began your life-long fascination with the denizens of the night!
Protagonist: You’re The Littlest Vampire, aren’t you? When did you learn a word like “denizens”?
LV: Ah… you remember me!
Protagonist: Yes, I remember you. I remember hiding your book as far away from me as possible in my room so you wouldn’t crawl out of the pages and nibble on me in my sleep. I was still in junior school at the time though.
LV: [Looks pleased with himself] And since then? Do I still terrify you?
Protagonist: Are you kidding me? I used to think that sleeping with a scarf on would stop you being able to get to my neck. You were a good first introduction to the genre, but the only thing making you scary was the fact that I was a bit too young when someone gave me your book to read.
LV: [Subsides, crestfallen] Oh.
Protagonist: Go on. Go home before it gets light.
[The Littlest Vampire exits, and our protagonist settles back down to sleep, but is soon awakened once more by a knocking at the window.]
Protagonist: Littlest Vampire? I thought I told you to go home.
Sultry Voice from Outside: “Littlest” Vampire?
[At the window, David Boreanaz appears, doing his best to smoulder.]
Protagonist: Oh my… What are you doing out there?
DB: I can’t come in unless you invite me.
Protagonist: Oh yes… I remember that little bit. That’s about the first thing that stopped me being quite so terrified of Vamps. The idea that they couldn’t get at me unless I let them in. Problematic idea, really, tallying with notions of victim-blaming and bad things only happening to bad people. But it’s very much a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing, only able to be countered with a lot more knowledge. Like the time we did the Black Death in school, and I had nightmares for weeks until Mum told me about Penicillin.
Protagonist: Oh no, you’re not getting an invite. You can stay right there, mister. I remember Angelus. And your Irish accent Sucks.
DB: You’re a… fan then?
Protagonist: Oh, I used to love Buffy. Still do. It’s a cult classic. Makes me feel very old knowing it finished over ten years ago now. It was something of a defining feature of my teenage years – forget Edward or Jacob – the question was always whether you fancied Angel or Spike more.
DB: Which team were you on?
Protagonist: I was a geek. I fancied Xander.
DB: Oh. I should probably go then. See, I had this whole bit worked out about coming in, representing your every teenage fantasy, showing you how sexy vampires can be…
Protagonist: Nah. Sorry. Not tonight. Whilst it might be fun someday to revisit my burgeoning youth, I just want to crack out this article and get to bed.
DB: Another time then?
Protagonist: Perhaps. Shut the window on the way out?
[Boreanaz blows a kiss, and exits. Our protagonist again addresses herself to sleep, when a further knock on the window disturbs her attempt at slumber…]
Protagonist: Again? Really? Who is it this time?
[A tall, immaculately dressed Victorian gentleman appears at the window, incongruous only because of the small, round, black-tinted spectacles he is wearing.]
Protagonist: [Squealing like a completely star-struck fan-girl] Oh My God, it’s Garry Oldman as Dracula… Oh, this is the Francis Ford Coppola version! I remember this! I’d just read Bram Stoker’s book, and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread! My English Teacher at the time had this theory that if Stoker was alive today he would have published the book as an interactive work – just a box full of diaries and notes and newspaper clippings and “phonograph recordings” which would probably be MP3s or something these days. You’d get the entirety of Dracula on a USB stick and have to piece it all together. Wow! And I saw that film, and I was thinking, I don’t remember all those sexy bits in the book, but I was seventeen, so I didn’t care, and… and… and… Keanu Reeves was a perfect Johnathan Harker, because he has all the acting ability of a wet dishrag, and that’s absolutely fine, because Johnathan Harker is a wet dishrag – seriously, who cuts themselves shaving, watches a grown man that he’s only just met lick the blood off the razor and then hurl the mirror out of the window, and his only thought is “That’s most inconvenient, I’ll have to get a new shaving mirror.”? Oh my God, I am amazingly psyched to meet you, sir, this is fantastic.
GO: [Mildly perturbed] Are you going to be like this all evening?
Protagonist: I’m sorry, I may settle down soon, but I’m not at all certain.
GO: In which case, I think I’d probably better go. It was a pleasure meeting you. [He tips his top hat]
Protagonist: No, don’t go! See, that’s exactly why you were amazing, you showed how vampires could be suave and sophisticated, yet also menacing and creepy and sexy and… and… [realises how over the top she is being.] Ok. I get it. You probably should go. I’m really sorry, I’m not usually like this. I don’t know what’s come over me…
[Gary Oldman turns into a bat and flies away, blowing the entire special effects budget in the process. With a sigh, our protagonist once again turns to the bed. She has not long laid down when there is a clicking sound, like that of a camera shutter, and a small flash of light.]
Otto Chreik: Vonderful! Simply vonderful! Ze vay ze candlelight shines on ze flowing curtains, and ze hair spread like zat on ze pillow! Ya, ya, von more! Svoon please! Ya, more svooning, zat is perfect!
Otto: Ya? Von second please… [he takes another picture, then puts down the camera.] Can I help you?
Protagonist: Otto Chreik? Otto: Ya, ya, it is me?
Protagonist: You must be here to represent my Pratchett phase. Which, in fairness never really ended. It’s wonderful to see you. I’m so, so sorry about Sir Terry. He was a master of the genre, this must be a terrible time for you.
Otto: Ya, ya… Vell, unlife goes on, as they say.
Protagonist: Pratchett’s vampires taught me so much about the genre… Count Magpyr and his family – the fact that the worst villains are those who pretend they’re doing this for your own good…
[A spectre of David Cameron floats lazily past]
Cameron: Don’t mind me, I’m just a metaphor.
Protagonist: [after his retreating back] Now there’s a vampire I could quite happily stake.
Protagonist: Even the comic vampires – I’ve always loved comedy, wish I could write it myself, but I tend to overdo it. Comedy is the best teacher, because it allows learning to sneak in round the edges while we’re laughing. Even a character like yourself can show us that there is so much that vampires can teach us about the nature of humanity, the nature of evil – your own comic persona being just that, hammed up round the edges deliberately to seem non-threatening, because we all know where we are vis a silly accent, and we forget about the blood.
Otto: [Bows slightly] Vell, I’m glad to haf been of service. But now, I really must be goink, I haf a scoop to catch for ze evenink edition.
Protagonist: Send me a copy of the pictures, won’t you?
[Otto exits with a dramatic flourish.]
Protagonist: Well, that really must be everyone – I can’t see how…
[At this point Edward Cullen pops up at the windowsill]
EC: You know, you’re like my own personal brand of…
Protagonist: No! No, no, no, no, no! You can fuck right off! I had to read your books when I was considering writing my PhD, but that was only ever so I could rip them apart!
EC: But teenage girls love me! Protagonist: Yes, and I probably would have done so when I was fifteen, but I’m a lot more savvy now, and I’ve discovered feminism, so screw you and the dodgy paperback you rode in on! You’re as bad as Fifty Shades of Grey, what with teaching impressionable young girls that stalking is the basis of a good relationship. And I don’t even think you’re a real vampire – you’re some sort of crystalline blood-powered golem anyway. Vampires don’t sparkle!
EC: I’m only sparkling because I love you…
[At this point, our protagonist punches Cullen square in the face, causing him to fall out of the window. There are loud cheers. She then pulls down the casement and locks it firmly against any further night-time intrusions. Finally, she manages to get a good night’s sleep, though what she dreams about is anyone’s guess…]
Alex Campbell was born in the wilds of Northumbria, and from an early age cut her teeth on legends like that of the Lampton Worm, which formed the inspiration for her first book, Wyrm’s Reckoning, out later this year..
She obtained a degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick, then in a shameless attempt to avoid Real Life, followed this up with two Masters Degrees in Science Fiction and in Writing from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores respectively.
Now, she lives in Portsmouth, at what she insists on referring to as the “wrong” end of the country, with her fiance and a number of dead house-plants. She is a keen gamer and LARPer, for which she makes many of her own costumes. She is not ashamed of being a geek
You can find her on her blog: https://galacticavoice.wordpress.com/ and also on her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/AJ-Campbell/1525096601059912