Friday, February 25, 2011

On The Origin Of Vampires And Werewolves: Based On Something I Told Farra Fender Out Of Boredom


(Note: Dedushka means Grandfather in Russian, and Babushka means Grandmother. I’m pretty certain Poludnitsa means She-Devil. I know Bog means God. Mudak means idiot. Belyat means bastard…I think. Drochit means ‘wank’, or ‘wanker’. I’m not sure if the old Slavs spoke what we now know as Russian, or if Transylvania even had Slavs, or were anywhere near the vicinity, but for the sake of comedy and Rule of Funny, I ignore all pretense to accuracy.)
In the gloomy countryside of Transylvania, where the wolves howl and the children of the night make their ‘vonderful’ music, sits a small village, its name lost to time. In one of the village hovels, old Igor sits in his chair smoking a pipe, gently puffing on the smoke and blowing circles, guessing to himself where they might go. As one went up to encircle the full moon outside his window, making him laugh at his own awesomeness, he heard footsteps running toward him at full speed from the rooms where his grandchildren slept. He groaned. It was storytime, and apparently Dedushka drew the short straw tonight.
“Dedushkaaaaaaa,” the children yelled as they ran into the room, shattering the peace as only insolent children knew how. “Story, story story,” the yelled and chanted, running around screaming as if they were possessed by the unholy demons that wandered the night.

“Da, Da, DA! SIT DOWN! Olga, stop jumping! Dmitri, take that finger out of your mouth, I saw you put it in your ass! Igor, behave like a human for once! All of you sit down and shut up right now or my story will be of ‘The Three Demon Children Who Will Not Shut Up And Do As They’re Told’! NOW!”
Quickly, the demons obeyed, and sat down crosslegged before old Dedushka Igor, anxious to hear tonight’s tale. Still, Dmitri, who was often clouted about the ear for his inability to shut the fuck up, spoke up, though what he said was what everyone, Dedushka included, wanted to hear.
“Dedushka, tell us a story!”
“Tell one of princesses! And their handsome knights!” Olga said, hugging a very disturbing sewn doll that would have been recalled for being too disturbing for children if sold in Toys R’ Us in modern days.
“NO! Those ones are boring!” Igor exclaimed.
Dedushka chuckled. “You say that now, boy. Wait until you be a man, doubtless you’ll tell these girls anything to-”
“Papa, none of that nonsense,” a hard voice from one of the bedrooms said. Dedushka groaned. His son had ears like a bat, most likely inherited from his mother, who could tell who had been saying things about her behind her back.
“Tell a story about monsters!” Little Igor said, oblivious to the soft moans and groans that suddenly started coming from his parents’ bedroom. Little Igor shared Ded Igor’s delight for blood-curdling tales, but right now all Ded could think of that was scary was how maddeningly thin the walls of the house were.
“What monsters, Little Igor?” Ded asked, trying his best to ignore the creaking bedsprings. “The ones that eat little children, or the ones that turn into handsome princes, or-”
“Ded, they say Babushka was a monster,” Little Igor said, and the others looked at Dedushka intently, knowing that Dedushka had made more shit up with even less prompting. This was going to be good, their hungry eyes said, black as soulless windows to Hell.
“Ah, Babushka Poludnitsa. That old bat.” Ded Igor remembered his poor dead wife not too fondly. She had a bad temper, and was even worse when she was on the rag, which it seemed like she often was.
“She was a BAT?” Dmitri exclaimed. From this it can be deduced that Dmitri was not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Dedushka took the opening, however, and put his bullshit-making gland into working double shifts. “Da! A mean, scary, wicked old bat! Oh, the horror she gave the whole village! She was terrible and terrifying, and the whole village was terrorised whenever she came near.”
“Bats have wings, Ded. Babushka never had wings,” said Olga, the oldest child and the only one of them who could even remember Babushka.
“Don’t be fooled, sweetling. Babushka looks human, but underneath all that she is a monster, through and through. Just ask your mother, later.”
“It’s true,” their mother called out from her room, no longer even pretending to gasp. Dedushka ignored her and continued.
“Anyway, your old Babushka was a mean old bat, as you’ve no doubt heard from all the villagers and your parents. As you know she sells the wheat we harvest in the market, and everyone who had dealt with her called her a ‘rotting, bloodsucking b-”
“She sucked blood?” Dmitri again. Though the lad was dumb as a sack of potatoes, he was exactly the stimulus Dedushka’s bullshit gland needed.
“And she’s rotten? Like…” Igor gulped. “Like…a corpse?” Igor loved the scary stories, but so much as point him at a grave and he wets his breeches.
“Da! They say she was dead inside, or close enough. Her heart was rotten, and she was like to suck the very blood out of your veins if you let her. But oh, it gets worse, children. Da, it is so much worse.”
The children inched closer to hear him better, as his voice dropped to a near whisper. This was better than surprising Mother and Father while they wrestled at night, their eyes said.
“Every month, during a full moon such as this one, she changes. When the sun is out, she is well enough, and you could hardly believe she is a beast. But when the moon rules the sky…she might as well be a wolf.”
“A WOLF!” Dmitri exclaimed, excited. Bog bless this idiot child, Dedushka thought.
“A bat, a woman, now a wolf! What next, Ded? Could she turn into mist?” Igor asked.
“Mist isn’t scary, mudak,” Olga complained.
“Mist gets in everywhere, even into our rooms. Babushka could be in our rooms and suck our blood before we’d even know she was there.” Igor said, trying to explain away his pathological fear of nearly Bog-damned everything.
“Oh, and could she suck…” Dedushka chuckled, unaware that the children were still listening to that. “Ah, children. During these dark nights, now, these nights were when your Babushka bled, and when she bleeds…Bog help the poor belyat who gets in her way.”
“Who?” Olga asked, not knowing what a ‘belyat’ was.
“Me, usually,” Dedushka said, taking a very long drag on his pipe. “Ah, but when she wanted a suck, why, I was of course very ready to help her there.”
“She sucked your blood?” Dmitri said.
“Sure, why not.”
“But Ded, how are you still alive?”
“She would have sucked me dry, and Bog bless her, she sometimes did. But I know how to keep the monsters away, oh yes.” It was getting late, and the creaking from the next room had stopped. Dedushka decided to cut the bullshit and let them go to bed before Igor wet himself.
“How, Ded?”
“You know garlic, yes? Even you must know it, Dmitri.”
“Garlic smells awful, Ded,” Dmitri said, “I’m not stupid, I know of it.”
Of course you’re not. “Well, I used to chew on it, just for the fun. And I noticed, whenever I did, she wouldn’t even touch me. ‘You damned old drochit’, she’d yell at me, and from that point on whenever I wanted to keep her away I’d just dangle garlic in front of her. That would drive her off soon enough.”
“Garlic,” Igor said, entranced, and Dedushka knew the lad was making sure to steal some from the larder later to keep Babushka away.
“And you know how to tame her? Silver,” Dedushka said, brandishing a silver coin dramatically. “Point some silver at her and suddenly she’s tame, like a deer caught before the hunters. Silver, children, that’s her weakness. All the villagers know this, and use it to protect themselves.”
“Silver? Why silver?” Olga asked.
“Why, it’s so shiny, you see? Babushka goes weak in the knees for anyone who’d flick a piece of silver at her. That’s why the villagers called her a bloodsucking beast at the market.”
The children eyed the silver piece hungrily, Dmitri because it was so shiny, Olga because she shared Babushka's (and her mother’s) weakness, and Igor because he hoped Babushka would burn in hell if he flicked silver at her.
“All right, you little demons, off to bed with you.” It was getting late, and the creaking from the next room had stopped. Dedushka decided to cut the bullshit and let them go to bed before Little Igor wet himself. “Enough stories. Go on, before I whup the skin from your asses. Go.” They got up and ran to their room, Igor stopping by the larder to steal a few cloves of garlic first. Dedushka sighed, and resumed blowing smoke rings.
Little did Dedushka Igor know that the children would keep the memory of this story until they had children of their own, and pass it on, though not the way it was told. Igor would tell of a wicked old walking corpse who could turn into a wolf, a bat, and of course, frikken mist, to suck your blood while you slept. Olga told of people who could turn into wolves or some shit, she didn’t really remember except for the silver part; she wasn’t exactly paying attention. Dmitri was caught with another man’s wife and was cut up and fed to wolves before he could even pass down his version of the story, which would probably have involved a woman who could turn into garlic and sucked silver coins out of bats.
And that, as they say, is that. I hope most of these jokes don’t fly over your heads. Good night out there…what ever you are.

By Hafiz Tajuddin with No comments

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