“Who’s there?” echoed an icy, unseen voice as Zell entered the resplendent mansion.
Zell stood in the foyer of his master’s house. His master, the evil Count Straud, was still on the warpath since Zell had run away from him with someone else.
He took another deep breath, steeling himself for what he was about to do.
“Zell… is that you?” The Count emerged from the shadows, incredulous. “Has the prodigal son returned?”
“Yes, master, I have,” Zell said, somber. “And I brought you a surprise. Care to join me outside at nightfall?”
“Oh, Zell… this pleases me. Enormously,” the Count grimaced, and it was the closest the Count had ever come to smiling. “It has been awfully lonely without you, all alone in this huge estate… but I never doubted. I knew you’d come back to me. You always do.”
Night fell, a cool and crisp evening in the late fall. Moths fluttered in the street lights, and the ground smelled faintly of dampness and decay.
“Are you ready, Vlad?” asked Zell. The Count watched Zell expectantly, almost gleefully.
“Here goes nothing…” Zell pulled out the cup of his specially made drink,
-and splattered it across the Count’s face.
The Count screeched. “What is this!? You insolent fool!”
Zell’s heart filled with terror. “It didn’t work… the drink didn’t work…”
“What didn’t work?” hissed the Count. “What was supposed to happen, you cretin?”
Zell was stunned. “Why didn’t it work… ?”
“How dare you try and make a fool of me,” spat the Count, eyes full of vitriol. “I will destroy you, Zell, and put you back in your place-“
The duel was inevitable. The Count hissed, drawing out his fangs, and Zell did the same.
Their bodies rose up, hissing, and clashed-
-when suddenly Zell grasped the Count in a chokehold.
Zell let go, and the Count’s body crashed into the ground.
“-ack, how- how is this possible, Zell?” he hacked.
Zell floated down in disbelief. “I guess… you underestimated me, Vlad. I… won. I’m free. You have to let me go now, forever.”
The Count laughed. “..hah. Hah. Hahaha!” A low chuckle turned into a maniacal guffaw.
“What?” said Zell, bewildered. “Why are you laughing? You know the vampiric code. I finally beat you. I’m free to go.”
The Count leered. “You may have won the battle, Zell, but you lost the war.”
“You lost because Benji left you,” he chortled. “Benji left you, just like you left me. He doesn’t want you. That’s why we’re so perfect together, Zell. Nobody wants either of us.”
“No, stop it, Vlad-“
“Benji hurt you when he left, didn’t he?” The Count placed his hand on Zell’s shoulder. “You know what I do to people who hurt you, Zell. Come back to me, and we can get our revenge on your ex-roommate together…”
“No!” Zell recoiled. “Don’t hurt Benji! Look, I’ll make you a deal-“
Zell took a deep breath and extended his hand. “I’ll move back in with you, if you promise not to go after Benji.”
The Count paused in thought. “Ah, that’s…”
“…acceptable. Welcome home, Zell.”