Jarreth stared at the Christmas display in the Macy's window. His tongue played along the curve of his fang as he tried to wiggle his lunch out from between his teeth. The blinking red, green and white lights were giving him a headache. And the annoying piece of scarf he had bitten through was stuck between his canine and the next tooth over. He had taken aim on the girl's throat, but missed it by a hair's breadth and got a small strand of yarn stuck between his teeth and it was driving him nuts. He lifted his upper lip to stare into the window trying to see his reflection; however he cursed himself when he remembered he didn't have one.
Damn humans. Why can't they move to warmer climates? He wondered as he stared up at the stormy sky. The sun had been hidden all day which had enabled him to come out and play a little early. He loved the cold weather and hadn't bothered to don an overcoat or scarf like the mortals around him had done. His body chemistry kept him at a moderate temperature all the time and when he did get too cold it was his body's way of telling him it was time to eat. The girl before in the alley was just a quick snack. He needed a pick me up since he was battling the daylight hours.
A tingle of wetness plopped on his cheek and hand. He looked up at the sky marveling how the overcast horizon could make it so he could go out in the daylight even if it was every once in a while. That was why he loved the North. It snowed and the days were shorter in the winter. However, the one part of winter he hated was Christmas.
What was the big deal? Kids opened presents only to break them or forget about the gifts minutes later because something newer and more expensive was out on the market. It was the same with adults--granted they didn't have remote control cars, but they still had their toys--new golf clubs, a tennis bracelet, a new car. Anything that struck their fancy. Jarreth couldn't stand it. All the peppy, happy people gave him the shivers.
Charles Dickens was correct when he wrote Scrooge saying bah humbug to all the paupers begging him for money. The same thing had occurred to Jarreth when he saw the fake Santa's in their polyester suits ringing those God awful bells for charity. Get a job people, get a life. Stop looking for handouts. Life was a bitch and he made the most fun out of other's misery to pass the time. What else did a vampire have to do for an eternity? After the first couple hundred years or so you had to find a way to stay occupied!
He finally gave up on trying to get the nearly invisible fiber from between his teeth. It was bad enough it was making him itch because it was wool. He was allergic to the blasted stuff. Whoever heard of a vampire being affected by anything except the sun?
The vampire pulled down his lip and stared at the window display once again. At last check there were still twenty-two shopping days until the big holiday. However, the department store industry started marketing even before Halloween had a chance to march out of the local drug stores. Everything had become so commercialized it turned his stomach. Granted, even as a mortal, he had never liked the holiday season with all of its camaraderie and kissing up to get gifts. Over the past century, he had watched Christmas move, from a major religious holy day, to one splashed across every headlining sale. The holiday was used to entice the interests of those who wanted to buy chocolate covered radios or some other nonsense.
The scene in front of him was a quaint, old-fashioned winter scene with girls wearing muffs and fur trimmed hats mechanically skating on a cardboard cutout wrapped in aluminum foil to appear like a frozen pond. In the background, a boy hid behind a snow fort getting ready to pelt them with a snowball. His skates rested neatly against the cotton ball and chicken wire fort. Paper snow confetti drifted down from above making it the perfect tableau of what family life was like when he was a child in the eighteen hundreds. He might have only been two centuries old, but he was starting to feel his age.
Jarreth sighed, his days as a mortal were never as happy as the captured scene in front of him. He had to fight tooth and nail even for the smallest scrap of food amongst the litter of brothers and sisters his parents insisted on having. His stomach turned as he thought of his mortal days. Baking in the sun, sweating like the pigs on their farm trying to coax crops from clay baked soil. He was the middle child of thirteen and when he was old enough he escaped the humdrum of country life and made his way into the city. Starting off there was exciting for a fifteen year old boy. He started pick pocketing at first and then worked his way up into honest thievery by purloining jewels and such right off of women's necks all the way into high society as he lulled the old and gullible into false love affairs. That was how he met the woman who had stolen his heart. It had been right around this time of year. However he was never expecting to be the sheep in wolf's clothing.
I have to find something better to do with my time, he thought as he tried to block out the echoes of Jingle Bells blaring through his ears from a store three blocks away. This time of year was not the best to have heightened senses. Maybe I should lock myself away in the house and come out when this is all over. Then it might be safer.
Then again that was not the best idea ever. His new neighbor had moved in a little over a month ago. She was single, quiet, and kept to herself. All the qualities he adored in a human woman. She never had any company except maybe the occasional wild animal and had not come knocking on his door asking for sugar as women were prone to do when they realized a single, attractive guy lived close to them. From what he could discern she was also unhitched and worked most of the time. The closest thing he had done was said hello. He had no idea what she looked like. All humans were the same to him some just had different color wrappings as far as he was concerned.
However things were going beautifully in his quiet neighborhood until one night he awoke to the blasting of O Come All Ye Faithful coming from the house next-door. To his horror his neighbor's yard now looked like an overgrown, over decorated Christmas card with animated snowmen, fake elves climbing up the side of the house to help the plastic Kris Kringle on the roof who had accidentally lost his toy sack. A smattering of reindeer looked on joyfully at Rudolph who was harnessed into the sleigh Santa was in. If all that wasn't bad enough the explosion of lights stapled onto the front of her house and fence could have been seen from space it blinded him through his heavy curtains. Evergreen wreaths with big red bows hung on every window and there was a massive one above the two car garage. He hoped it would fall down and crush her small VW bug which was also decked out in Christmas gear. Her black mailbox had been transformed into a demented candy cane and there was an angel instead of the little red flag.
Once Jarreth had seen all of this, he knew his neighbor was nuts. It had taken all his strength not to go over to her house and decimate the front lawn, rip off Rudolph's antlers stuff them in Santa's mouth, make the elves start doing naughty things to one another and go bowling for the snow men. Terror lived in him at the thought of what his new neighbor now had on the lawn as something new appeared each day. Each night it was more tempting to do something, but he held in his temper.
Humans are insane. He finally came to the conclusion her parents must have dropped her on her head when she was a child or something. With nothing else left to do and not wanting to go back to the house he decided he would head to the local café. Granted there his sensitive senses would be assailed with the Christmas cheer, but at least he could surf the minds of the humans around him and take in their fears. Besides doing that he could fuck with them. He always liked to do that. It was like being in a zoo and dangling a steak in front of a lion. They get pissed after a while, but if the lion can't see you causing the havoc why not have some fun.