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Raven's Runes: Equations in Time

You Can't Buy Blood
by Greg Beatty

The gorilla stepped up to the urinal. He was still fumbling at his groin when a vampire stepped up to the urinal right beside him. 

"Great party, eh," the gorilla said.

"Love it!" the vampire said, flashing a smile. "I love to get out and mix with people like this."

"Damn, man! Great fangs! How did you…" Inside the gorilla mask, Dave's voice trailed off into silence. Like most men, Dave usually scrupulously avoided looking down when he was using a public urinal, but the unexpected stream of crimson had drawn his eye.

Following his gaze, the vampire looked down, then laughed. "You know what they say. You can't buy blood, you only rent it!"

Then he zipped up, gave a brief, old world bow, and was gone, back to the party, leaving Dave standing alone in a public restroom, still hanging out of his gorilla suit.

After a long moment of fear, Dave shook his dark, shaggy head, barked a little half-laugh, and said, "That's the most complete Halloween costume I've ever seen!"

Dave managed to convince himself that he believed it. He even laughed about it as he went back onto the dance floor, thinking how much Heather was going to enjoy hearing this story.

Except Heather wasn't on the dance floor. She wasn't at the bar. She wasn't sitting at the tiny table they'd claimed. In fact, the only sign that she'd ever been there at all was the napkin Heather had used to blot her lipstick. There, just below the kiss of her missing lips, Dave saw the two tiny dots. In the harsh light of the dance floor the spots looked dead black, but in his heart Dave knew just how red they were.


Greg Beatty suffered from writer's block for several years, and credits the great folks at the Clarion West 2000 writing workshop for restarting his writing engine. Since then he's had short stories published in SCI FICTION, Paradox, 3SF, Fortean Bureau, and numerous other publications. He's currently working on a children's picture book titled The Man Who Gave Orders to Cats.


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"You Can't Buy Blood" © Greg Beatty. Used by permission of the author.
Raven Electrick © Karen A. Romanko.