THE MAN WITH THE CRANBERRY JUICE
It was late within the night. Little Stuart Mayors had long been tucked in and put to sleep. He would have stayed that way too, safely secure within his blanket, protecting him from the horrors that his mommy and daddy refused to believe were real. But no, that night was the night he decided to venture downstairs...and met the man with the cranberry juice.
It all started at exactly 4:25. Little Stuart Mayors heard a noise. It wasn't a noise that could be heard by any adults, it was a sound that children fear the most...The silent cry of mommy and daddy. A child's sense that was sensitive to those of age nine and under, Stuart at the current time was seven, at the peak of early childhood. At the climax of his 'parent-sensing ability'. He slipped out of bed with much trouble and pulled his Patrick Star plush doll with him humming the Sponge-Bob-Square-Pants theme song. He then approached the door leading out of his room and turned the handle with both tiny hands.
"Mommy? Daddy?" he called down the hall. There was silence. "Mommy?...D-daddy?"
Again there was nothing. Stuart became nervous. Clutching for dear life to Patrick he made his way down the terrifying stretch of hallway that was endless when seen through the eyes of an enfant. He built up his courage and trudged down, his feet moving unwillingly with him to the stairs. He stopped, his small ears peeling through the wallpapers of the house in searched for parental noise.
He gulped. The sound was like cupboards opening and closing over and over. "Mommy?" he tried.
The noises stopped.
Stuart grew increasingly scared.
Patrick shivered and tried to turn back but Stuart held him tight making sure he wouldn't be separated from his plush companion. He quietly tip-toed down the stairs and eyed his surroundings. It was dark, full of shadows...evil shadows that watched him hungrily as he and Patrick continued on their search for mommy and daddy. "Mommy?..."
Stuart's brain clicked. The voice had come from the kitchen. He felt a great sense of relief. They were in the kitchen. Patrick resisted and cried out silently to him. Stuart held him now close to his chest to smother the toy's ever-going shouts. He walked into the kitchen and turned on the lights. There he found his parents. His mother was hunched over the sink with the water running and his father sat bent over in his chair with his head resting on the table. Stuart froze. There, sitting on the chair closest to the door was a man. He had long wavey blond hair tied at the back, icey blue unforgiving eyes and thin bloodless lips. He wore a black suit with a red shirt underneath. He held in his hand a thin wine glass half full with dark red liquid. Was it cranberry juice?
Patrick lunged from Stuart's arms and flew at the man who caught him and set him on the table. "Hello little boy." he said calmly.
Stuart looked at the man shaking. He didn't understand why his parents weren't moving-and even more he didn't understand what this man was doing in his kitchen drinking all their cranberry juice. "Why is Mommy's head in the sink?" he asked.
"Umm, your mother came in contact with an untimely tragedy."
"The very same."
Stuart walked over to his mother and shook her shoulders. Her head flopped to one side to reveal two bite marks like fangs on her neck. The man quickly went over with a scarf, pushed Stuart away and wrapped it around his mother's neck. He then dragged her over to the table and sat in a chair.
"What happened to Mommy?"
"Haven't I told you?"
The man took Stuart's hand and Kneeled before him. "listen boy-"
"Stuart, my name is Stuart Mayors. I am seven years old and-"
"I DIDN'T ASK FOR SUCH USELESS INFORMATION!"
Stuart jumped. His eyes watered and he bit his lip. He let out a bit of a sob and looked down.
"What...? o-oh...don't...no kid no...Don't cry."
Stuart pointed at Patrick who lay limp on the surface of the table. "Patrick"
You wish to have your starfish?
"Will that keep you quiet?"
The man walked over to Patrick, picked him up and brought him to Stuart. "Now boy-"
The man raised his hand and silenced him. "Stuart, do you know what I am?"
Stuart thought for a long time gazing from the cranberry juice in the glass to his mother, remembering the two marks on her neck. "Y-you're a Vamp-"
"I see and do you know now what has happened to your parents?"
Stuart watched his mother slump further in her chair and looked back at the man. "...yeah."
"Now I must apologise." he began. "For I did not know that there would be a child present in the house-If I has I would have only passed by. I must start off with 'sorry' "
Patrick clutched to Stuart and whimpered for the child's sudden realization that he was now an orphan. The man nodded gravely. "I know this will be hard for a child of your age to understand. Your parents have died in order to keep me alive. In their own way, they have sacrificed themselves for the greater good, to sustain life...my life. You see all creatures-humans in this case need to be eliminated in order to protect the balance of life. The thing about human beings is that when one dies, it is automatically replaced. Millions and millions of humans die each day and are replaced by their children."
Stuart felt like he was going to cry again when Patrick suddenly jumped out of his hands and landed on the floor. The man shook his head sadly. "You poor child. You have no knowledge of human sacrifice do you?"
Stuart shook his head.
The man kneeled to be at eye level with him. "Stuart," he said. I'm sure that your parents will be replaced by a close relative very quickly and you will grow up to be a big strong man with no memories of your parents, all you will know is that whoever that relative is has raised you."
"You mean aunt Anna will take care of me?"
"Yes, aunt Anna."
Stuarts eyes welled up with large tears.
"Hmm? What now?"
"She hates me, she's always hated me, she never liked me! I don't wanna live with her."
The man sighed. It doesn't have to be your aunt Anna, it could be another relative. What I'm getting at is you may cry over your parents now but as years pass by you may not even remember what they looked like, the human mind is kind of funny that way."
"I don't think it's funny."
"I didn't mean it like that child, I really meant it to be queer that memories work like that within the human mind."
"Sacrifice, as I was saying is something that is valued throughout life-for without sacrifice there is no balence."
The man could see the boy couldn't understand what he was saying so he tried to be more simple. "I killed your mommy and daddy because I had to."
It was then-
Stuart Mayors, age seven-
Began to cry.
Not just cry but bawl. His mommy and daddy were gone now and this man was mean. Patrick cried too.
"Dammit." muttered the man. He first tried to ignore the boy-attempting to keep the parents sitting upright in the chairs-(both proved annoyingly unsuccessful)
But then he saw the child's tears. He won't forget this, he realized. He took the boy by the hand and quickly lead him upstairs. He put Stuart in bed with Patrick still sniffling and sat on edge of the bed. "Umm...Stuart...I'm sorry."
The boy looked at him.
"I wish you could understand...perhaps this memory of our meeting will haunt you for life...or even perhaps you will remember this and write about it, become famous, all because of this-I've already taken the liberty of calling the police so sit tight, everything's ok now." He said fixing his hair. "Farewell Stuart Mayors."
Stuart Mayors never saw the man ever again after that but always remembered that night.
He wrote a story about it.
And what a story it was.
For he would never forget the man with the cranberry juice.
He couldn't, if he tried.