The Cool Type of Supernatural
©2019 Kassie N (dear-llama). All Rights Reserved.
Happy Halloween! This was written for a short story contest by Support Indie Authors with the prompt: blind date with a supernatural being.
"How could you?" I demanded, the moment the click on the other end and Tina's cheery greeting let me know that she had picked up.
"What are you talking about?" My best friend – although at this moment she felt more like my worst enemy – sounded suitably innocent.
"It's a ghoul!" I whispered furiously into the phone. "That's not even the cool type of supernatural!"
Turning around, I darted a look back through the window and saw that the ghoul in question was still sitting where I left him, solemnly folding over his napkin. I had told him I had an emergency work call to make and escaped out back for a short while. I still hadn't decided if I was going back into the restaurant after chewing Tina out.
On the other end of the line, Tina was laughing uproariously. "And pray tell – what's a cool type of supernatural?"
"A vampire, a werewolf," I reeled off, "Heck, even a genie would be better than a ghoul. They're flesh-eaters! Monsters!"
"You are a flesh eater," Tina pointed out.
"I'm a meat eater," I corrected her. "There's a difference. I don't go digging around in graveyards for fresh corpses to eat."
"Ben doesn't, either," Tina informed me in a superior tone of voice. "We live in civilised times now - ghouls aren't the way they used to be, you know. They can live on raw animal meat, too. He's not going to eat you, if that's what you're worried about."
"You mean - they can stay undead," I corrected her. "They're not alive. And yes! I am worried about that! Dates who have the ability to eat me aren't my type."
Tina huffed. "Listen, can you shelve your prejudice for a minute here? He's not going to eat you – at least, not unless you're already dead and he's been starving a week. Ben is a nice guy, and nice guys are your type. Give him a chance."
"He's a ghoul," I repeated, scowling at the facade of the restaurant as if I could magically imprint her face on the stone wall. "Supernatural is not my type and never will be."
"Never say never," Tina warned in a sing-song voice. "Anyway, I have to go – the kids need seeing to. Enjoy your date! And remember – no faking an emergency and leaving him high and dry."
"That's the only way I'm going to leave him," I said dryly. "Fine. I'll stay and see this dinner through, but I'm leaving straight afterwards."
"Okay, okay," Tina's overly perky voice piped in my ear. "A chance is all I ask. He's a nice guy, I promise. Chace wouldn't be friends with him otherwise."
That's right – the ghoul was friends with Tina's vampire husband, Chace. I pressed the palm of my hand to my forehead, closing my eyes briefly in exasperation. How had I not guessed? I would never have agreed to it, had I had the slightest inkling that my blind date would be a supernatural.
Tina thought that just because she found her happily-ever-after with a supernatural, everyone else should do the same.
I shuddered as I clicked off the call. No, thank you. Supernaturals were not for me. I very much preferred my guys ordinarily mortal.
The restaurant felt unbearably stuffy after standing outside in the cool October night air. Every step back to the table filled my lungs with thick, wet air.
Or maybe that was just the smell of ghoul at the table.
I settled back into my seat, clearing my throat and flashing the ghoul a close-lipped smile. "Sorry about that," I said. "Just had a quick call I had to make."
My date didn't smile back. He cocked his head and waited a long moment before he acknowledged my statement. "It's okay," he said, shrugging one shoulder jerkily.
I waited for him to say something else, but he didn't.
"So..." I said, letting the word drag itself out. The ghoul – Ben, was it? – didn't make an effort to help. He sat in his chair across from me, watching me with unblinking blue eyes. The obvious red veins practically glowing in the whites of his eyes were characteristic of ghouls – I had once read that it was due to all the raw meat they ate.
I barely suppressed a shudder.
A ghoul. Tina owed me for setting me up on this monstrous date.
I cleared my throat and looked away from those bloodshot eyes. "So... have you thought about what to order?"
He smiled, sharp little teeth bared to reflect the light from the candlesticks on our table. "What else? Raw meat."
The skip in my heart could have been attributed to either fear or frisson – I wasn't sure. As it was, I found myself clearing my throat and reaching for the menu laid out before me. "Well... I meant – which dish? The steak tartare?"
That was the usual dish for ghouls at fancy restaurants like this one.
He shrugged, but picked up his menu as well. As I flicked through the pages, I saw that this was an all-inclusive place – every dish had a 'raw meat' or 'bloody' option. There was even a vegetarian option for humans.
"I don't like tartare," he said. He sounded almost surly. Did he really hate the dish that much?
"Okay... What do you like, then?"
He shrugged again.
I tried to add some pizzazz into my voice. "I'll probably get the steak."
"You're a meat lover, huh?" There was the ghost of a dry smile by his blue-tinged lips that pinched at a nerve in my neck.
"Well, yeah," I said, tossing my head as if to try to shake off the uncomfortable weight that has settled on my shoulders. "No vegetarian food for me. I couldn't survive on that."
"We might not be so different, then," he said, watching me closely. "I'm getting the steak too – except completely raw."
Jerking away from the hold of his intense look, I cleared my throat, casting my gaze around for a waiter. "Great. Shall we order, then?"
His only answer was a short nod.
After ordering, we fell back into silence. I found myself fiddling with the cutlery – touching one finger, then two, to the cool metal. Then I took my finger away and started the process all over again.
What did one say to a ghoul?
He didn't seem to be keen on speaking. I wondered if Chace had tricked him into coming as well.
"So... I heard that you're friends with Chace."
"How long have you known him?"
He finally spoke. "We grew up together." His voice was low, deep, and smooth. "We lived in the same neighbourhood and us supernatural kids would always play together."
That was rare. The different communities usually kept to themselves. Especially the vampires – they tended to be snobs, thinking themselves above all the other supernaturals.
He seemed to read my mind, even though it couldn't have been possible. That ability was a myth. "Chace's family is cool. They're different."
That I knew to be true. Most vampire families wouldn't have been as welcoming to Tina as Chace's had been.
"They treated me like family." He was almost smiling. They really were close.
"That's nice," I said, "to be such close friends even now."
"What about you? How do you know Tina?"
"She's my best friend," I said. It was my turn to smile at the memories. "We went to school together."
Forgetting myself for a moment, I grinned at him. When he looked startled, I explained, "You said the same thing I did about your friendship with Chace."
His eyes shifted, a sign that a ghoul is recalling something. Then he smiled, too. "That's true."
We were still smiling at each other as the food was served.
I breathed in the aroma of my food greedily. "This smells so good."
"Mine smells better," Ben said.
I looked over at the lump of raw red on his plate and crumpled up my face. "No way. Does it even smell of anything other than blood?"
"It has a few distinctive smells," he said. "Beef always does. This is fresh too, so it smells particularly good."
"If you say so," I said, not without a hint of doubt. My human sense of smell could pick up nothing of the sort.
He picked up his fork and knife. "Bon Appetit."
"Bon Appetit," I echoed, mirroring his actions.
The only sound at the table was the light tinkle of cutlery against plate for a while, as we both focused on our food.
"Isn't raw meat all stringy and hard to chew?" I asked eventually, in between mouthfuls.
"Maybe for human teeth," Ben said. "We have sharper teeth for this purpose."
"I guess that's necessary for your diet," I said. "It would be tedious for you if you had teeth like mine."
He smiled, and I saw the rows of sharp little teeth again. "Thanks to evolution, I guess."
"Isn't it funny to think," I said, "that in the past, people didn't even realise that supernaturals existed? It seems so silly to think that humans were the only species in the world."
Ben shrugged. "People were stupid."
I leaned forward, as if preparing to share a secret. "Some still are."
"No," he said. "A lot of them still are."
I laughed. "I suppose that's the only thing that's stayed the same throughout the ages. The stupidity of humankind – wait, that's an exclusive term. The stupidity of all beings."
Ben was looking at me, the corners of his eyes smiling. "I don't think inclusivity is meant to be used in this way."
I stared. All of a sudden, I had lost my train of thought.
The waiter meandered over, breaking the spell. I looked away quickly, like a guilty child reaching for the cookie jar.
After that, the ice was broken. I found myself telling my supernatural date all about myself, my family, and my hobbies. In turn, he told me more about his own life and the way ghouls lived.
Even after our food was finished, we sat at the table for a long time, talking over our mugs of coffee. It turned out that ghouls did drink coffee as well – it just didn't give them as much of a kick as it did humans.
Eventually, a waiter came to our table to inform us that the kitchen was taking last orders. As he cleared our empty plates, he asked, "Would you like some dessert?"
Without meaning to, I found myself seeking out Ben's gaze. Almost at the same time, we shook our heads.
I almost giggled. We had been sitting here long enough.
"No, thanks," Ben said. Even he seemed to be smiling a little. "Could we have the bill, please?"
"Of course, sir."
Ah, yes. Here came the most awkward part of any date – figuring out who should pay.
I dug in my handbag for my purse. But when the bill arrived at our table, Ben sent it away with a tap of his credit card. He had moved so quickly that I hadn't even had time to open my mouth.
"It's okay," he said. "I don't mind paying."
"I thought ghouls always split the bill," I blurted out.
He shrugged. "But you're not a ghoul, are you? You're human and this is a date."
"These are modern times. The woman can pay, too."
"I wanted to pay." The tone of his voice brooked no further argument. Even so, I began to protest, until he added, with a cautious glance at me, "You can get the bill next time."
My mouth closed with a snap.
The next time?
Ben rose from his seat, the chair sliding smoothly out behind him. "I'll walk you home," he said.
"You don't need to," I said, even though I wouldn't mind if he did.
He shrugged. "It wouldn't be polite."
Something in me clenched at that. "You don't have to do it just to be polite. I can find my own way home."
He fixed his bloodshot eyes on me. "I'm not doing it to be polite. I want to walk you home."
The knot in my throat dissolved. "Oh," I said. My heart was suddenly beating fast. "Well... okay. If you don't have anywhere else to go after this."
"Where else would I go?"
"I don't know." I shrugged. What did ghouls do with their time? I knew nothing of their lifestyle or habits. "Maybe you're tired or something."
"The night is young," he said.
"The Summer Set," I quipped, before I could think the better of it.
He blinked at me.
"It's a band," I explained, feeling the blush creep up my cheeks. Of course he wouldn't have heard of it – it was an old, human song. Nothing like the supernatural music that was trendy these days. I'd heard that, due to their hearing, supernaturals tended to find human-made music flat. "They have a song called The Night Is Young."
"Somerset?" he asked.
"The Summer Set," I repeated. "You know, summer, as in the season. Maybe they called themselves that because they liked playing sets in the summer."
Ben seemed to be thinking it over, his eyes shifting absently. When they finally refocused on my face, he smiled. "That's funny."
The warmth of satisfaction brought on by his words was unexpected. I unconsciously touched a finger to my face.
Ben kept pace with me throughout the whole journey back to my apartment. He didn't attempt to continue the conversation, so I spent the time surreptitiously studying the side of his face under the yellowed street lights.
I had to admit – he was a pretty good-looking ghoul. Yes, he still had the bloodshot eyes and blue-tinged skin characteristic of his species, but they didn't bother me so much as they first had.
Maybe I was getting used to him.
Strange – getting used to someone just as we were meant to part.
"This is me," I said, as we come to the door leading into my apartment building.
"Here?" He trailed to a stop beside me. I could see him looking up at the building, taking in the full pink walls and messy balconies.
"Okay, then." But he made no attempt to leave.
I fiddled with my keys. "This was nice. I had a good time tonight."
"You sound surprised."
"I honestly wasn't expecting to be on a date with a supernatural," I admitted.
"Yes, I know," he said drolly. "And I'm not even the cool type of supernatural."
My mouth moved silently for a few moments before I managed to get my blush under control. "You heard that?"
He cocked his head. "I have supernatural hearing," he reminded me, almost gently.
"I am so sorry." My vocal chords were clenching, squeezing my words into a squeak to rival the sound of chalk on a board.
"It's okay." But the tight smile lingering on the corner of his lips told me it wasn't okay.
"No," I shook my head. "I was rude even before I even got to know you. I didn't give you a chance."
He shrugged. "It doesn't matter. I'm a ghoul, after all. I know what people think of us. We're the monsters. Vampires, werewolves... They're the cool ones."
"That's not..." I snapped my mouth shut before the hypocritical protest could escape. Hadn't I been one of those who had judged him before knowing him?
Remembering the things I had said about him to Tina, I cringed. I wouldn't have said them if I had known he had been listening.
Or maybe I shouldn't have said them, regardless.
"You're not what I expected," I told him instead.
"I know," he cut in dryly. "I'm not your type."
"If you would shut up for a moment and let me talk," I huffed, but without much heat.
He went quiet and gestured for me to continue.
"As I was about to say..." I cleared my throat and ducked my head, feeling another blush come on – for a different reason this time. "It wasn't what I expected – you weren't want I expected – but I'm glad I came on this date."
There was a pause, before I heard him say lowly, "I'm glad, too."
"I'm sorry for everything I said about you at the beginning," I found myself staring hard at the silver glint of my keys as I was saying this. "I definitely won't be doing that the next time we meet."
I chanced a look at his face and saw the wide grin spreading across his face.
I let my lips curve into an answering smile.
A/N: A really short story for Halloween. Thought I wasn't going to finish this in time, but I made the deadline! I wrote it as an entry for the short story contest at and decided to post it here as well. It was nice to write something else for a change, since I've been focused mostly on only one story these couple of months.
For readers of my current WIP, Somewhere Else, I'm sorry but I haven't had time to write lately. I'm still jet lagged, among other things that I will update about together with the chapter update. Please bear with me for another week!
If you read this, please review and let me know what you think!