Nosferatu or Not

by Matthew Kirby

The park at night. A few runners brave the jogging paths. And here and there small groups of kids are gathered around lamp posts. On the whole, though, there's not much human activity. This is the animals' time.

In this small bit of wilderness many creatures have reverted to their wild ways. Others copy the ways of the human city surrounding them. For an example of the latter one would have to look no further than the largest oak tree in the park. A close ex- amination would reveal a small flickering light amongst the leaves. Look closer and it would become a small window. Closer still and one would see two figures seated in front of a large TV screen.

Dale was lounging comfortably in front of the tube. He was engaged in his favor- ite activity (i.e. watching TV), surrounded by a goodly supply of snacks, and even had an agreeable partner to watch with. How could he not be comfortable? His viewing partner wasn't quite as agreeable as he believed, though. Tonight's horror movie mara- thon consisted of vampire flicks. Normally Foxglove would avoid such films on prin- ciple, believing they cast bats in a bad light. However, for a chance to spend time with Dale she was willing to swallow her pride. Dale, for his part, was completely oblivious to her discomfort.

"So, are you two set for the night?", came a voice from the door way.

They turned to see Gadget in her neck-to-floor night gown. She had been up late in her workshop. Chip and Monterey had already turned in for the night and Zipper was out visiting a friend, or so he claimed. He always seemed to absent himself when Foxy was around. Though he regarded her as a friend he couldn't help feeling about her the same way Monty felt about cats.

"We're just fine," said Foxglove. "Right sweetie?"

"Hmmph mmf," Dale got out through a mouthful of food.

The bat draped a wing around him, possessively. He didn't even notice. Usually he shrugged of Foxy's advances but, right now he was blind to everything but the TV screen. They were playing all the Dracula pictures tonight and nothing short of Fran- kenstein attacking the tree was going to prize his attention away. Granted, Dale thought the series had begun to run out of steam with Dracula's dog but, TV addict that he was have watched if they showed Dracula's gerbil.

With a final wave Gadget retired.

It was around three AM that Dale started nodding. He stuffed a handful of junk food in his mouth but a small, still alert section of his brain realized it was no use. He had gone beyond the point where even a sugar rush could revive him. It was time for the heavy artillery.

"Coffee," he mumbled, climbing over the couch. Gotta get coffee."

He stumbled into the kitchen. Their coffee maker, built by Gadget of course, was a tangle of filters, plastic tubing, and copper coils. Also, following the "faster is better" philosophy she usually applied to her vehicles, it could flash brew a pot of coffee in sec- onds. One cup was enough to return Dale to the land of the living. He poured another and was headed back to the couch when he almost collided with Foxglove.

"Oops! Excuse me. I was just getting a drink from the kitchen."

"But I was just in the kitchen. You weren't there."

"Well, I had to make a stop at the little girls room too."

She took Dale's arm and began to lead him back towards the couch when a clat- tering sound rang through the tree.

"What was that?"

Foxglove's ears missed nothing and immediately swiveled towards the source.

"Sounds like it came from Gadget's workshop," she said.

"But Gadget went to bed."

"Oh, she probably had an idea for an invention and got right to work on it," Fox- glove said, still trying to pull Dale back to the TV.

"I think I'd better check it out anyway," he said, disengaging himself from the bat and handing her his coffee. "Watch this for me, will ya?"

He knew Foxy was probably right. Inspiration was as likely to hit Gadget while she slept as when she was awake. It wasn't at all unusual for the others to wake to the morning to find that she'd already been up for hours.

As he approached the workshop door he could hear the sounds of hammering clearly. He had just about convinced himself that it had to be Gadget and so was quite surprised to open the door and find Chip and Monterey Jack hard at work. In a far cor- ner Gadget kept a pile of lumber, mostly popsicle sticks and scraps of balsa wood. They had hammered together two large rectangular boxes and were working on a third.

"Chip, Monty, uh, what're you guys doing?"

The two stopped and turned to face him, staring blankly. After a moment their eyes seemed to focus on him.

"Dale, mate, shouldn't you be with Foxglove?" asked Monterey.

"But, what's with the boxes?"

"Oh, you never can never tell when you'll need boxes," Chip said, pushing Dale towards the door. "Now you get back to Foxglove. I'm sure she misses you."

Dale tried to protest only to have the door slammed in his face. Well fine, he thought, if they want to stay up all night building boxes that's their business. Dale had already overstretched his attention span, never long to begin with, and probably would have gone back to the TV and forgotten all about it if it wasn't for the next incident.

He had just passed Gadget's room when he felt a chill wind blowing on his back. He turned to find the door open and Gadget leaning against the frame. But, Gadget as he had never seen her before. Gone was the conservative floor length night gown. She now wore a flimsy, translucent negligee. There must have been a window open in her room and the resulting breeze cause the garment to flap and billow, offering tantalizing hints of what lay beneath.

"G-Gadget," he finally managed to squeak.

"Hello Dale," she breathed.

"I'm, uh, sorry if I woke you up."

"Oh, I was already awake. You know, staying up late is kind of nice. I think I'll be doing it a lot from now on."

Dale was familiar with the sensation of being lost in Gadget's eyes but what he experienced now was of a completely different order of magnitude. It was as if his mind was cleared of all thought. Gadget was here and that was all that mattered. He found himself agreeing with everything she said, although later he couldn't remember exactly what they were talking about.

By now she had backed him up against the wall. Her arms were around his neck and she was murmuring about how he was about to start a whole new life. But, some where at the bottom of his mind Dale could hear a voice screaming that some thing wasn't right. Oh, he'd dreamt scenes like his often enough, he couldn't deny that, but something was very wrong here. Gadget didn't act like this.

He tried to slip out of the embrace but her grip was like iron.

"What's wrong Dale?" she asked. "You like me, don't you?"

Dale found himself falling into her eyes again and all resistance left him.

"I can fix it so we'll be together forever." Gadget said.

She reared back and Dale suddenly saw her with complete clarity. Her eyes were glowing red. Her incisors had lengthened and now ended in two sharp points. Dale had just enough time to let out a strangled scream before she lunged for his throat. But the bite never came. A red-brown blur came between them and Gadget was slammed against the opposite wall.

"How dare you? He's mine!"

The command and authority in the voice was such that Gadget immediately fell to her knees, her head bowed in submission.

"Yes, mistress."

Foxglove, for she indeed was his rescuer, turned to face him.

"Sorry, Dale. New born vampires can be voracious and sometimes they forget their place." She addressed Gadget, "Go check on the others. Their work must be fin- ished before sunrise."

As she hurried off Dale's mind finally began putting the pieces together.

"Foxy! You're a-a-a vampire!"

"Guilty as charged," she said, her eyes glowing red for a moment.

"And Chip and Monty, they're building coffins!"

Certainly. Well, need some place to sleep during the day. Coffins aren't manda- tory, of course, we just need a safe and secure place, I guess I'm just a traditionalist at heart."

"But you can't be a vampire. I've seen you out during the day and sunlight turns vampires to dust."

Foxglove giggled. "Silly, that's just a myth. We're nocturnal but sunlight isn't fa- tal to us."

The bat advanced on him. "I'm sorry it has to me this way, Dale," she said with genuine regret in her voice. "I wanted you to come to me of your own free will. To be my equal, not just a servant like the others." The red glow returned to her eyes. "But, one way or another you *will* be mine."

Now she had him in a grip as unbreakable as Gadget's had been, only this time he knew there would be no last minute rescue. He screamed as her fangs sank into his neck and felt himself falling as if from a great height. He landed with a thud and saw Foxglove standing over him, her face a mask of concern.

"You OK Dale?"

"Get away fro me!" he yelled, scrambling back as far as he could. This wasn't very far since the couch was in the way. He looked around and saw that he was back in the TV pit.

"What's going on out here?" asked Gadget, walking in from the hall. She was once more wearing her usual conservative nightgown. "Are you two alright?"

Dale had woken up screaming from enough nightmares to know what had hap- pened.

"It was all a dream," he said, slumping to the floor with relief.

Gadget gave an exasperated sigh. "We keep telling him those movies will give him nightmares," she told Foxglove. "Of course, he never listens. And, of course, he always gets nightmares."

Soon enough Dale and Foxglove resumed Their places in front of the TV. Gad- get had returned to her room grumbling about chipmunks who never learned.

"So, what was your dream about?" Foxy asked.

"Oh, just some monster chasing me," Dale said evasively. He would have been far too embarrassed to tell her the truth. How could I have thought such things about Foxglove, he wondered. Even if it was only a dream. Foxy was such a sweet kid to. She was a lot like Gadget in that reguard. Dale was familiar enough with emotions like embarrassment and humiliation but the shame he was feeling now was an infrequent visitor.

He kept his feelings to himself but later on, when Foxglove snuggled up to him during an especially frightening scene, he snuggled back.

The End

Author's notes:

I'd just like to say that this story isn't based on or derived from Glenn Byrnes' story "Wolfsbane". Quite a while back some one posted to the Disney afternoon news group a bunch of suggestions for stories. One of them was Foxglove being turned into a vampire. I'm also sorry if this story seems a bit rushed. I was trying to get it done in time for Halloween. As always, all comments are welcome. Just bear in mind that I know it's not such a great title but it was all I could come up with.


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