It happened a few years back. I was coming home from a friend’s place and it was really late. I didn’t have any other mode of transport save my lovely bike back then. So I hit the road. It had totally slipped my mind that it was Friday the 13th! Not that I really believed in ghosts and other paranormal creatures…till that night, that is.
On my way home, there is the biggest graveyard in the city. I have crossed countless times and when people said things like it was haunted, I just laughed it off! I had been there myself out of sheer curiosity and had never found anything even remotely scary. So I never believed the fact that ghosts of various kinds inhabited that patch.
That night, my bike just went dead right in front of the gate of that cemetery and 1.30 in the night, the bike going dead in the middle of the road can be quite annoying specially because there definitely wouldn’t be a mechanic around at that ungodly hour unless I decided to dig up the grave of a dead mechanic and wake him up from his slumber. Had absolutely no intention of doing that. So I started tinkering around with the bike, aided by my limited knowledge of engines and automobiles. This, needless to say went in vain.
Suddenly I heard a voice. “Hey buddy, need a hand?” said the voice. I was pretty startled by a voice coming out of nowhere. I turned around to discover a really tall gentleman standing behind me. I mean really tall because he was a good foot taller than me and I myself stand more than 6 feet above sea level! “Err…sir my engine seems to have conked off and I really don’t know where to find a mechanic around” I said…still a little surprised seeing the kind of clothes he was wearing and his general appearance, even besides the height. He wore a red and black cape with a high rise collar, a frilly shirt and pretty tight trousers. Looked like he had either stepped out of a period film or was headed for a theme party. But this was too late for someone to be HEADED to a party. Maybe he was going back home and like a good citizen, had stopped by to help. But then, he looked pretty well off and definitely not like a person who couldn’t afford the luxury of a swanky car. So in the name of sweet Jesus was he doing here at this hour of the night. Didn’t look too old either…maybe 30…not more. Anyway, I had other things to worry about so for the time being I decided to let it be.
He started poking and clanking around the engine and grunting when he came upon a jammed screw or bolt. Meanwhile, I was thirsty and there was no other place with the possibility of finding water so I stepped into the cemetery and looked around if there was a caretaker or anyone else around. There wasn’t a single living human soul around. But then I saw an earthen pot of water and a glass beside it. The water was pretty clean and the thirst was getting to me so I really couldn’t wait for mineral water. Hence I poured some into the glass and drank. The water was surprisingly refreshing. Looked around for a place to sit because I was bored and didn’t want to disturb the stranger in his work so I apologized to a grave and sat on one end of it. I lit up a cigarette and glanced around the whole place. A little mist and the rustle of leaves but nothing really unusual so I moved a little further up and leaned against the headstone. Was quite comfy and I almost started to doze off when the same voice scared the moonlight out of me suddenly! I mean come on, it was halfway through the night, I was sitting in a cemetery and here I had a guy who an unusually husky and hollow voice! I had every damn reason to be scared.
“I tried repairing it but it didn’t work! You will need a modern mechanic. They make machines so complicated nowadays! I remember, when I bought my car in 1832, I could repair it all by myself! Those automobiles were wonderful. They were simple and as wise people have truly said, beauty is simplicity” he said in an extremely preachy tone. I would have ignored what he said had it not been for the year that he mentioned. Did he just say 1832?!
Then it happened…”Oh and let me introduce myself, I am Vampire Lord Sipper”. My first reaction was to burst out laughing thinking it was a joke. He clearly didn’t like the idea of me taking his serious introduction as something to be laughed at so he promptly changed into a bat, circled around me twice and changed back to his human form again. I was, needless to say, shell shocked. “Now do you believe me?” he asked calmly. Did I now? I wanted to run but it felt like my feet were glued to the ground! So much for not believing in ghosts. “Oh and I think you should get off Wimpy’s grave. He really doesn’t like it and he can be a pretty nasty guy at times”. “Thanks Sipper, for getting this guy’s butt off my face. I owe you one bro!” came the sound from inside the grave.
“You look scared boy! Don’t worry, I wont dig my fangs into you and drink every drop of blood that runs in your veins till you run dry. I have turned vegetarian. You’re lucky and besides, I do not have a taste for smokers anyway!” he said casually with a grin. So much for comfort! “So, lad, tell me your name! It’s been really long since I have spoken to a human and since you two wheeler is not going to be repaired before morning anyway, let’s kill some time talking”. Great! I was sitting there with a vampire and now I was expected to entertain him till sunrise. But I had little choice so I listened to him ramble on. I have to admit, the chap was pretty interesting and had loads of things to talk about. The places he had visited, the people he had converted into vampires, his family, friends etc.
I couldn’t hold my curiosity any longer. “I have a couple of question mister err…what do I call you?” “You can call me Sipy! That’s what my friends call me!”
Awesome. Now I had befriended a vampire. I wondered how I managed to achieve such distinguished feats! No point so I moved on with my question.
“So Sipy, tell me something, what’s your blood group? I have always wondered!”
“Good and unusual question. All of us vampires have the same blood group. AB+ because when we drink blood, it is not really possible to segregate people based on their blood group. Hence it makes sense to be the universal receiver! See? Simple logic!”
Whoa! Even vampires had logic!
“And, if you don’t mind telling me…err…why exactly are you a veggie Sipy? I mean…no offence…in fact, I am glad that you have given up your blood thirst. It is indeed a wonderful thing. But I was just curious why”
Even as I said this I could hear an adage ring in my ears…CURIOSITY KILLS THE CAT.
Sipy looked hurt for a moment and then smiled “I will tell you. A hundred years ago, when I was in Germany, I had rented a plush apartment in the vampire locality of Berlin and right next door, my neighbors had this beautiful and seductive daughter named Isabelle. I loved her with all my heart. She was one gorgeous woman and made men, both mortals and vampires swoon over her! This liking of mine landed me in a brawl with her brother Kirsten one day. In that I lost my fangs so I went to Dr. Fixit, the most acclaimed dentist in the vampire community. He told me with a grave face that there was nothing that he could do for my fangs because they had been injured permanently at the roots. And you know, technology wasn’t all that developed back then. He had to perform a root canal on me and trust me, when you’re a vampire, root canals are extremely painful! Isabelle flatly refused to date a vampire sans the fangs because that would make a laughing stock out of her! I didn’t blame her though I was left heartbroken. I left Germany for India. Here, bought a little coffin, a small patch in this cemetery and ijust wanted to live in anonymity for eternity. To satiate my thirst, I tried drinking blood from the blood banks but that cold blood gave me a sore throat and I had to run to Dr. Peter Khopdi who’s in the fourth grave from mine. After a point of time I decided to give up blood in favor of fruit juice. Oh…that reminds me…here…take this…Real orange juice. I am sure you will like it. No preservatives and sugar…just pure juice!”
As he said that, he pulled out two one liter bottles from under his cape and handed one to me. Wow! This guy here could actually be the brand ambassador for Real!
“But there is another thing that bothers me…why do you turn into bats of all things? I mean…not a tiger, ostrich, chicken, blue whale, eagle…nothing! Just a bat?!” I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me again.
He grinned. “Look my boy, first of all, it’s easy, free and quick transportation. Second, who on earth doesn’t love to fly?! It is everyone’s fantasy! Plus since we generally live in dark places and anyway can’t allow even a drop of sunlight to touch us, so the sound waves help us find our way around. Otherwise we would have been quite accident prone! And since bats are scary looking creatures, it also adds to the scare value!”
That was an interesting piece of information! He asked me things that made him curious, like why were we humans scared of ghosts and what made us donate something as precious and delicious as blood? I answered to the best of my abilities and before either of us realized, the Sun had begun to rise. He hurriedly took leave and disappeared into his grave. I waited till the human mechanic opened his shop and I got my bike fixed. I also bought a few flowers and placed it on Sipy’s grave. May the nice chap rest in peace…till sunset. Don’t know, maybe somewhere, someday I will bump into him again.