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Marcus Speh


FAMILY


November is a lazy month. It's also the month when I recover from my brother's visit which invariably takes place on Halloween. I might just as well get it out of the way now: my brother isn't any man. He's a vampire and (if he can be trusted) he is an important vampire wherever it is that vampires can be important, since obviously they don't live among us. Except on Halloween. Very little happens on that night: my brother doesn't eat so there's no need for a meal. Mostly he asks me questions about my life and I try to answer them. We rarely finish a conversation, because when the doorbell rings, he will answer it: "I'm glad for the company," he says. His Halloween manners are impeccable: "I get to spend a lot of time with very old aristocrats," he says. It's because of him, not because of my candy, that my apartment is so popular among the children that night. The power that surrounds my brother draws them to my door in droves. Rather than remain outside to chant 'trick or treat', they come in and crowd around him. He just stands there, his tall, pale self, touching them lightly, tousling the hair on their vulnerable little skulls. He has a word of encouragement or advice for everyone of them, and he will dispense it like a medicine when he hands them the sweets. He locks their eyes, steadies their gaze and says things like: "that dream will never come back"; "it's okay to harbor a desire for your mother"; "when I was your age, I was afraid that I would never grow tall, too"; and so on. As if he knew what they were thinking. When they have received a bonbon or a chocolate or a candy bar together with a piece of advice, they turned around as if in a deep trance, their faces not smiling but wrapped in a veil of great seriousness that will last a lifetime. At some point in the evening, the steady stream of young ones turns into a trickle and finally dries up entirely. I open a bottle of wine and we both enjoy the scents that infuse the room with the sweet bitterness of prohibition. "It's lovely to fill up with memories not my own," he says, "I always forget how open children are. He looks at me: "you always worry that I might bite one of them and drink their blood, don't you," he says, and I shake my head, though it's true. “I don't know why I couldn't also be a vampire,” I say, “sometimes I think you people have all the fun.” “It only looks like that from the outside, my dear little ectoplastic brother,” he says, “sometimes I wish I could hide in a bottle or do these color symphonies you do.” I knew he was going to say that and just to entertain him I turned into an arc-shaped vaporous cloud stretching from one end of the room to the other and played my piece of sixteen thousand colors accompanied by music I had composed myself. “Bravo, bravo!” said my brother and clapped. Now it was his turn to look like a happy child. All year I'm looking forward to this only moment of togetherness in our estranged, supernatural family. “You know,” he says laughing, “we should really do something together for the kids next year.”

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Marcus Speh is a German writer who lives in Berlin and writes in English. His short fiction collection “Thank You For Your Sperm” will be published by MadHat Press in 2012. He blogs incessantly at marcusspeh.com.

 

2 comments:

  1. A most intriguing story with a deep red heart at its center.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Susan! I had fun this one. Red is right!

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