Surgeon General's Warning
by Jan Wiles

circa October 1996

The Christmas holidays were not generally celebrated by vampires,
at least not in a religious sense, but sometimes even they became
infected by the warm and generous atmosphere. Nick had even
unbent so far as to invite Lacroix over for a drink and
conversation. He arrived in high good humor, with a certain dark
air of expectancy about him. Though Nick was sorely puzzled, he
knew that Lacroix would never explain if pressed; patience was
required here.

They'd actually had a good time (well, relatively good anyway).
It was about an hour before dawn when Nick heard the elevator
start up. As he rose to greet his unknown visitor, Lacroix shot
to his feet as well, eyes bright with anticipation. Nick glanced
apprehensively at him and thought, 'Uh, oh, I think I'm about to
find out what's going on!'

The elevator door slammed open and Natalie charged through. She
clutched a wooden stake in her right hand, and her facial
expression could best be described as berserk. With a feral
scream, she lunged at Lacroix with her stake raised high.
Hastily, Nick restrained her and pried the stake from her hand.

"Nat, what are you DOING? Calm down! What's wrong?" Nick
attempted to ask as Natalie struggled wildly. Dimly, he was
aware of Lacroix's mocking laughter in the background. She
continued to fight him for a moment, then subsided when she
realized that contending with Nick was hopeless.

"Why the hell are you protecting this monster??? Don't you
realize what he's done??? I swear I'm gonna stake him, then I'm
gonna pull it out and do it again!!!" Natalie raved. Lacroix
laughed even harder.

Nick was caught between worry and exasperation. "Nat, I can't
know what he did unless you tell me!" he exclaimed.

She glared up at him. "He turned Sidney into a vampire!!!"


Natalie had actually been able to leave work a little early, as
the holiday rush of drunk drivers and homicidal kooks hadn't
quite gotten up to speed yet. As she walked down the hallway
towards her front door, she noticed an envelope taped to it. She
reached for it, noting that it bore the (unfortunately) familiar
logo of The Raven. With a sinking heart, she opened the envelope
and extracted the single sheet inside.

Dear Dr. Lambert,

I merely desire to wish you happy holidays, in token of which, I
have left you a surprise gift. I know you have always wanted one
of your very own, and am delighted to provide it.

Sincerely yours,

L. Lacroix

Feeling as if she were putting her hand in the lion's mouth,
Natalie opened the front door and turned on the light. Entering,
she initially saw nothing unusual. Her cat, Sidney, darted from
the darkness of the bedroom and began winding himself around her
ankles, meowing loudly.

"Just a minute, Sidney," she responded absently, as she began
looking around more intently. As she reached the kitchen, she
simultaneously noticed another sheet of paper lying on the
counter and that Sidney's bowls were empty. Just then Sidney
emitted a meow that was closer to a growl, and in a deeper voice
than she'd ever heard him use before. Surprised, she glanced
down at him, and saw - glowing yellow eyes and VERY long fangs.
She snatched up the new paper in horror and began to read.

My dear Natalie,

As you have probably already surmised, my gift to you is a
vampire of your very own. As his current food stock is useless,
I have thoughtfully provided a few bottles of more appropriate
sustenance. With your connections, I am confident you will have
little difficulty procuring more. Have fun!

Love and kisses,


Sidney chose this moment to hiss, complete with eyes shading to
red. Natalie hastily opened the fridge and grabbed the first
'wine' bottle she saw. When she uncorked it and sniffed, she
knew she had the right stuff and quickly filled Sidney's bowl.
She watched in horrified fascination as he emptied it very nearly
as quickly as she'd poured. When he'd finished that, she kept
adding more, bit by bit, till he seemed satisfied.

Contented at last, he came over to rub his head against her in
that familiar feline caress, purring. She noted the
characteristic drop in body temperature. 'Huh, what's the use of
cuddling a *cold* cat, hmm?' she thought, sadly. She nearly wept
then, for him, for them. Then she remembered the cause of all
this, and rage filled her.

'OK, he's over at Nick's tonight; I remember that' she thought
viciously. 'I'm gonna get that stake supporting that little tree
in the garden, and I'm gonna ram it through his black heart!!'
Natalie refused to stop and think; she only wanted to act.


Nick stared at her, his horror rapidly replaced by a fury to
match her own. He remembered his beloved Raleigh, a dog he'd had
to stake because it could not control the vampiric urges forced
on it by a cruel Lacroix. 'Damn him! Natalie and her cat are
NOT toys for him to play with!!! deserved
love and care from humans, not THIS...' Thinking this, his eyes
flared red to match his rage, and his fangs emerged. Natalie's
expression welcomed his kill-lust rather than feared it. He
handed the stake back to her.

"So...shall I hold him down for you?" Nick snarled.

Surgeon General's Warning: Enraging a pet lover can be VERY
hazardous to your health!!

The End