Robert Whiting In search of awesome

The Winery


Richard looked up from his book and listened. Silence stretched except for the sound of the crackling fire. He stood up, traded the large wood-bound tome for a .45, and walked to back porch. The sweet smells of a blooming garden filled his nose.

The vineyard stretched far down the hill, lit by a beautiful harvest moon. He smiled as he surveyed the hillside. Years of back-breaking work and study yielded some of the best wine in the valley.

The chilled wind picked up again, he put the .45 in his belt, and turned to go back inside. But there it was again. Voices. They were coming from the winery–a large building toward the bottom of the hill. He started to walk down the hill between two rows of vines.

He slid in the back door and carefully made his way through the back rooms–filled with boxes of supplies, unused equipment, and older wines. He could hear at least two voices, and they became more clear as he crept up behind some stacked barrels.

“What’s taking you so long? Is it enchanted, or isn’t it?” The first voice was commanding, quick, and rough.

By contrast, the other voice replied slowly and almost overly articulated, “Enchantment is not the only way he could be modifying the wine. One does not simply take a swig and intuit all the properties. Get me a sample from that barrel there.”

Low grumbling followed the sound of footsteps down away from Richard’s hiding place, where he risked a look. The large front door to the winery let in a beam of moonlight that illuminated a man in dark robes at the top of a ladder, reaching toward a barrel with a wineglass and wine sampler in his other hand.

The only other light came from a single candle at one of the tasting tables. Sitting behind 5 glasses of wine sat a man with a beak of a nose and piercing eyes–red eyes.

Richard reached up to a table and grabbed the basket, retrieving a comment form and pen. He scrawled, “Vampires in the Winery. -R” before folding it into a square. Holding his breath, Richard’s eyes clouded white, then he whispered, “Bilby, come!” He took a deep breath and looked around.

From under a barrel, a grey rabbit stuck out his head, and seeing Richard, slowly hopped forward, sniffing the air. Richard handed the rabbit the square-folded note, “Take this to Jim Featherwood. Quickly.”

Bilby took the note and nodded, then bounding off the ground, he opened his wings and flew toward the back door before winking out of existence just a few feet from it.

“Creol!” An unfamiliar raspy voice broke out. “A wolperting just teleported from here.”

“What?” The articulate voice replied. There was a scramble, and one wine glass hit the ground.

Richard pulled out the .45, concentrated on the amulet under his shirt, stood, and pointed at the werewolf in the doorway, “Superŝutita!” The werewolf collapsed.

The shorter vampire lept from the ladder, threw the werewolf onto his shoulder dashed out the open door.

The other vampire, Creol, gathered his notes from the table, “You make a good wine, Mr. Firestorm. But you’re starting to mess with the natural order of things. Human’s aren’t mean to remember, and you best leave it that way.”

“Would it surprise you if I told you that you’re my inspiration? You twisted dark soul-thieves wouldn’t stand a chance if you were exposed for who you really are.”

Creol’s mouth twisted into a sickly grin. “You don’t know the half of it. But if you insist on messing with the prey, maybe it’s time you disappeared.” With that the vampire leapt toward Richard with incredible speed.

Richard fired 5 shots into the vampire’s chest before the creature slashed him across the chest, knocking him back into a barrel. Richard fell forward onto the floor, grasping at consciousness, but he felt himself slowly slipping off the cliff into the darkness of his mind.

A bright light. Movement. Yelling. Footsteps. In the distance, he heard a familiar voice, “Richard! Richard, are you alright?” Who was that? He was so tired. Shuffling, “Help me put him on the table over there.” Darkness.