a story by
Mickey Minner


She sat on a stone bench, one elbow braced on a thigh with the arm raised, her slightly tilted head supported by the back of her hand. She wore a heavy cloak pulled up over her head and draped around her body protecting her from the cool wind that played about the tombs.

Sitting on top of a sepulcher in the City of the Dead wasn’t the most likely place to think but it provided an unobstructed view of the neat rows of ornately decorated above ground vaults and, if she was lucky, an early glimpse of any unwilling victim that happened down one of the meticulously tended gravel paths.

She had been waiting a long time and she was sure it would regrettably be much longer that she would have to wait.

She sighed forlornly.

“Any chance of getting you to tone it down a bit?”

The question came from off to her right but she ignored it. After all, she was just thinking. How noisy could that be? She thought again of her fate and sighed deeply, despair soaking into every nook and cranny of her being.

“Come on. I’ve been listening to you do that for the past century. Give it a rest already.”

Still convinced the voice could not be addressing her she continued to ignore it.

“Hey, I’m talking to you. Are you rude as well as vociferous?”

She rolled her eyes to see if she could spot the speaker and the problem. Seeing nothing, she went back to her thinking… and sighing.

“Enough! Every time you sigh, you suck the life out of half the residents of these tombs. What is so wretched about your existence that you have to make all of us miserable too?”

“Huh?” She raised her head off her hand and slowly twisted around.

The only likely source of the voice was a nymph gaily dancing atop a fountain situated at the front of a marble crypt. A stone globe rested in the center of a large stone bowl positioned atop a tall stone pedestal and irregular water spurts sprayed both globe and nymph, her long hair pulled back into a bun at the base of her neck and a dove resting on her wrist.

She smiled seeing the undressed state of the nymph adorned only with a shear piece of cloth barely encircling her legs that left her upper body bare.

“Quit staring, you pervert.”


“Not much of a conversationalist, are you?” The nymph shook her hand, chasing the dove away as she stepped down off the globe and magically changed from stone to flesh. “Damn that feels good.” She stretched her back while balancing precariously on the narrow rim of the fountain’s bowl. “Whoever had the bright idea to make me dance on my tiptoes for eternity should be drawn and quartered,” she said as she stepped off the edge of the bowl, gracefully dropping to the ground. Moving slowly to allow the kinks in her legs to relax, she walked toward the tomb. “Care to share what has made you sit there and sigh deeply every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every year for the past century?” She stood at the base of the tomb glaring up at the woman.

She looked down at the nymph. Then straightening her back she turned her head, first to the left then to the right, scanning the rows of tombs. Other than herself, the nymph and a few pigeons flying about there was no movement in the City of the Dead. She looked back at the nymph. “How is it that you can hear my thoughts?”

“Just lucky I guess.” The nymph mumbled and frowned, reaching up to rub the back of her neck. “Hey, think you might consider coming down from up there? Having to bend my neck up to look at you doesn’t feel too good after being frozen in one position for so long.”

“Huh? Oh, sure. Just give me a minute to un-kink a few muscles myself.” Placing both hands flat on the bench on either side of her body, she pressed upward to free herself from the stone surface. “Guess I forgot how long I’ve been like this,” she said as her joints protested the unusual movement. She forced herself upright, teetering uncertainly on stiff legs. Shuffling to the end of the tomb’s stone roof, she stepped off into the air. Her cloak blossomed out around her and she floated lightly down to the ground to stand before the nymph. “Better?”

“Much. Thanks.”

“No problem.” She bounced a bit, flexing her knees and shaking off years of sitting motionless. “It does feel good to move about.”

“Yes, it does.” The nymph smiled holding out a delicate hand. “Banning Bailey Chadwick.”

“Pleased to meet you,” she said reaching up to brush the cloak’s hood off her head. Smiling, she gently clasped the offered hand with her own. “Sabrina Buquet.”



The women smiled shyly at one another.

“Perhaps, you’d like to borrow my cloak?” As Sabrina untied the cord that secured the cloak around her shoulders, she couldn’t help but observe the unprotected breasts of her companion and their hard nipples. “It looks like you’re cold.”

“You noticed that, did you?” Banning scowled as she nodded acceptance to the offer.

“Kinda hard not to,” Sabrina said handing the warm covering to the nymph.

“Thanks. I’ll give it back as soon as I find some something more decent to wear.”

“No hurry.”

“You like me naked?”

“I won’t say no to that. I’ve been on top of that tomb for a long time. It’s nice to see a beautiful woman again.”

“You think I’m beautiful?” The nymph’s tone softened with the compliment.


“You’re not so bad yourself.”

“But not beautiful?”

“Hard to tell, you’ve got clothes on.” Banning’s eyes roamed over the woman before her.

Sabrina wore a long sleeve silk shirt, the whiteness of the material contrasting sharply with the black leather pants it was tucked into. The pant legs disappeared behind the top of knee high black boots, polished to a brilliant shine. The outfit wasn’t skin tight but it was damn close and every womanly curve was easily distinguishable.

“But what I can see is very nice.”

“Thanks… I think. Go on, put on the cloak before you catch a cold.”

Banning wrapped the cloak around her. It wasn’t but a few seconds before the warmth of the soft dark fur began to soak through the bright red satin lining and into her chilled skin.

“Banning Bailey Chadwick is quite the name. I haven’t met many water nymphs who carried such a moniker.”

“Well you’ve never met any of my family then. We like fancy names.” Banning said, tying the cloak’s cord around her neck and pulling the warm material around her naked body.

“I thought nymphs lived under the water. What are you doing on top of that fountain?”

“Someone’s idea of a joke. So what are you? Witch? Gypsy? Lost soul?”


Banning looked suspiciously at Sabrina. “I thought vampires couldn’t be out during the daylight? Don’t you melt or something?”

“Nah. We started that rumor to keep people from looking for us during the day. If no one expects us to attack during the day, it’s easier to sneak up on them. And to be precise, I’m a vampire in training.”

“Vampire in training? I’ve never heard of that. I thought once you got bit by a vampire, you were a vampire.”

“Yes and no.”

“Care to explain?”

“Sure. But can we walk while we talk? I’m beginning to stiffen up again.”


“It’s true that you become a vampire when you get bit by a vampire-- a trainee vampire. But you have to earn your fangs to be a full vampire,” Sabrina said as the women began walking along the gravel path that fronted the rows of tombs.

“And how do you do that?”

“By claiming victims.”

“Claiming victims? You mean by sucking their blood?”

“Yuck.” Sabrina shivered. “Have you every tasted warm blood? Double yuck.”

“No. But I thought that’s what vampires did.”

“Some do.” Sabrina shrugged then shivered again. “But there are other ways to claim a victim.”

“Such as?”

Sabrina smiled. “You kiss them.”

“Kiss them?”

“Sure. You grab them, pull them close and place a whopping big smack-a-roo right on their lips. If you want to really score, you squeeze their ass at the same time.”

“Oh?” Banning’s eyes opened wide. “Sounds…”

“Like fun?”

“Yeah.” Banning grinned.

“It can be. Unless the victim is an old fat bald guy with gas and bad breath. That’s just plain….”


“Double yucky. I’d rather suck blood than kiss that.”



“So how does claiming victims earn you fangs?”

“Every victim you claim, your fangs grow a little more. I have a long way to go. See.” Sabrina opened her mouth as wide as she could and pointed at the barely visible canine teeth inside.

“Hmmm.” Banning murmured as she peered inside Sabrina’s mouth. “So what’s the problem? Find some victims and kiss them.”

“It’s not that easy.”


“They have to be afraid.”

“Of what?”

“Of me.”

“And they’re not?”


“Well, you are kinda cute.” Banning grinned. “Not to mention, a tad short for a vampire.”

“You don’t understand. No one is afraid of vampires anymore. They used to be and if I hadn’t been… interrupted, I would have earned my fangs a long time ago.”


“Long story.”

“I’ve got time.”

“It’s kind of embarrassing.”

“I won’t laugh.”

“You’ll think I’m an idiot.” Sabrina took a deep breath and let out a long mournful sigh.

“Stop it.” Banning screamed covering her ears. “Damn, that’s painful.”

“Sorry.” Sabrina bit her lower look as she looked mortified.

“It’s okay.” Banning smiled. “You can tell me. I won’t laugh, I promise.”

“I… Well… Well… One night, I claimed a victim. She was cute with a nice firm ass.”

“Ah hm.”

“Um. Yeah. Well, anyway, she had two brothers. Nasty fellows who managed to follow me and when I fell asleep they snuck up on my coffin and well… I got the old stake through the heart thing.”

“I thought that killed vampires.”

“No. Just knocks you out until the wood rots. Then you wake up. But by the time I awoke people had lost their fear of vampires. At least, most people had. I’ve been searching for victims every since. But it’s harder and harder as each year passes.”

“So why were you sitting on top of that tomb?”

“Nothing better to do. And I thought I might, sorta speak, scare up a victim or two out of the groups of tourists that come through here. If only…”

“If only what?”

“If only I had closed and locked my coffin that night. Then those two goons wouldn’t have been able to stake me and I would have earned my fangs a long time ago.”

“Why didn’t you close it?”


“Another embarrassing moment?”

Sabrina nodded. “I’m claustrophobic.”

“Ha. A claustrophobic, short, victim-less vampire in training.” Banning laughed. “Just my luck.”

“You said you wouldn’t laugh. And I’m not short.”

“I lied. And, yes, you are. I’m a nymph and I’m as tall as you are.”

“Fine. Give me back my cloak and I’ll go back to my bench and won’t bother you anymore.” Sabrina angrily held her hand out for the requested item.

“Simmer down.” Banning pulled the cloak tighter around her. She was just beginning to warm up and she wasn’t ready to relinquish the cloak just yet. “Maybe we can help each other.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I’m not dancing on top of that damn globe for the fun of it.”

“So why are you doing it?”

“Like I said, my friend thought it was funny. He cast a spell on me. I have to stay there until…”

“Until what?”

Now it was Banning’s turn to look uncomfortable.

“Until what?” Sabrina repeated.

“Until I do a good deed and…”


Banning turned away.

Sabrina reached out, placing a hand on Banning’s arm and gently tugging her back around. “And what?”

“And I’m kissed in love,” Banning whispered.



Sabrina waited behind the rock wall that encircled the City of the Dead. A tour bus had just parked at the curb on the opposite side of the wall, its passengers climbing uncertainly down the steps to the sidewalk. She glanced behind her where Banning was perched atop a gravestone, waiting patiently.

Banning smiled and, with a wink and a nod, encouraged Sabrina to concentrate on the task at hand.

The tourists were talking quietly to each other as their guide led them up to the flamboyant gate that prevented their entry. Stone pillars, rising twenty feet high, anchored either side of the passage way. Long forgotten but talented craftsmen had created the gate by twisting and bending iron bars into unique geometric patterns. Standing twelve feet high, the gate was topped by an equally impressive arch that stretched from pillar to pillar.

The guide lifted the latch and the aged gate soundlessly swung open on ancient hinges to the amazement of everyone in the group.

Sabrina inched closer as the tourists jostled through the opening. She studied each as they passed until she spotted a young woman at the back of the group. She smiled.

The woman was looking around nervously, her eyes darted about the tombs and grave stones as if she expected the occupants to appear at any moment.

“She should scare easily,” Sabrina told herself as she fell into step with the group. She had watched these tour groups for several years and she knew each tour guide and their preferred route through the cemetery. This particular guide always began his tour with a visit to the tomb of Marie St. Clair, an infamous voodoo queen that once controlled the living by casting spells, foretelling the future and talking to the dead.

The group walked along a gravel path, their shoes crunching loudly on the pebbles. Sabrina followed, keeping close to her prey. She sensed the young woman would hang back from the rest of the group when they reached the tomb and she would use that moment to make her move.

The tour guide was informing the group of Marie St. Clair’s history, his voice dropping low as he dramatically acted out the moment in time when the voodoo queen had unveiled to an unbelieving politician his unwanted future. The young woman cringed, stepping back from the others.

Sabrina inched closer, her footfalls making no sound on the gravel beneath her leather boots. When she was standing directly behind the young woman, she pounced.


Sabrina screamed, wrapping her arms around the young woman and twisting her around. Puckering up her lips, she pulled the startled woman close.

“What the fuck?” The young woman struck out at her attacker. Her arms flailed about as she fought to free herself from the arms that held her. “Get away from me.” The woman yelled.

Banning was laughing so hard she almost fell off the grave stone. As she watched, Sabrina cowered under the fierce attack of her assumed victim. The other members of the tour party rushed to the woman’s defense and soon all were yelling insults and swinging their arms wildly in thin air as they attempted to expose the unseen threat.

Sabrina sulked back to the hysterical nymph. “See what I mean?” she asked, hoping for some words of support.

“Boo?” Banning laughed. “That’s how you planned to frighten her? By shouting BOO?”

Defeated, Sabrina dropped to ground and slumped against the grave stone.

Seeing the pain in the vampire-in-training’s eyes, Banning stopped laughing. She slipped off the grave stone and sat beside Sabrina. “Hey,” she said softly.

“I’ll never be a vampire.” Sabrina sniffled.

“Sure you will. All we have to do is adjust a thing or two about you approach.”

Sabrina looked at the nymph with tear-filled but hopeful eyes. “Like what?”

“Well, first, boo is not going to cut it.” Banning looked up as the agitated tour group walked past them, many talking excitedly about the young woman being attacked by a ghost – their trip to the City of the Dead now worth the admission price. “Don’t you know you’re supposed to scream and hiss?” she asked, turning back to the distraught Sabrina.

“I’ve tried.”


“I’m not very good at it.”

“Let me hear.”

Sabrina sucked in a deep lung full of air. She opened her mouth wide, releasing the worst sounding caterwaul of screeching that Banning had ever heard. “Well?” she asked. “Bad. I know.” Sabrina frowned.

“That was… Um… It was…” Banning said, her fingers buried deep in her ears. “Have you tried it on victims?”

“A few times. But they would just stick their fingers in their ears and run away.”

“Sorry.” Banning grinned sheepishly, pulling her fingers free. “I guess I can understand that reaction.”

“It’s not a good scream, is it?”

“It’s really not a scream at all.” Banning struggled to think of the right words to describe the horrendously silly sound. “It’s more like the sound of being squeezed so tight you squeak while hacking up a hairball at the same time.”


“Double yuck.”

“Have you ever heard a cat screech at the moon or shriek at another cat?”


“Think you can scream like that?”

“I can try.” Sabrina sucked in more air and let loose her attempt. She looked at Banning for her judgment.

“We’ll keep trying.” Banning smiled sympathetically. “Let’s go find another tour group.” She pushed up from the ground.

“It’s hopeless.” Sabrina grunted as she joined Banning. “I’m hopeless.”

“No, you’re not. You just need to practice. Come on, there’s another bus at the front gate. Oh, and Sabrina...”


“No more boo.”



Sabrina’s second attempt was as much a bust as her first had been. Her newly practiced screech only caused her intended victim to look around in hope of spotting whatever pig had obviously gotten into a situation it couldn’t free itself from. Unable to see anything, the woman had rejoined the tour group shaking her head to remove the appalling sound from her memory.

“Try more anger next time,” Banning offered helpfully when Sabrina dejectedly walked back to her, boot toes dragging and leaving distinct ruts in the gravel.

“I don’t feel angry.”

“Hmm. Maybe we need to work on that.” Banning thought for a minute. “Try to think how you would feel if someone tried to take something you really cared about away from you?”

“I’ll try.”

“Good. Look, there’s a couple wandering about on their own. Let’s give it a shot.”

“I don’t know.” Sabrina hesitated.

Banning grabbed Sabrina’s hand and led the reluctant vampire-in-training in the direction of the couple peering into the dark interior of the crypt of Master Mallory Thrumball, known to the locals as the Warlock King Mihnea, who, in life, had protected the local community from unearthly threats.


“Okay, remember, anger. Lots of anger.”

“Okay.” Sabrina’s face scrunched up as she tried to conger up the level of emotion Banning suggested.

“This time, make sure you control the situation. Scream, grab, kiss, squeeze and get out.”


“Good. Now’s your chance. He just went into the crypt and she’s alone. Go.” Banning pushed Sabrina toward the woman standing a few feet away.

“Scream, grab, kiss, squeeze.” Sabrina repeated as she approached the woman. Just as she opened her mouth to scream, the woman reached into a paper sack she was carrying and pulled out a handful of its contents.

Turning in a tight circle, the woman opened her hand sprinkling the ground with small seeds.

Sabrina stopped. “Damn.” She took a step forward. Then stopped again. “Double damn.”

“What’s the matter?” Banning asked.

“Poppy seeds.”


“Poppy seeds. Those are poppy seeds.” Sabrina pointed to the faint circle of seeds that surrounded her intended victim.


“So, um…”

“Forget them and attack.”

Sabrina turned to face Banning. “Aren’t you listening? Those are poppy seeds!”

Confused, Banning scratched her head. “So?”

“People spread poppy seeds about because they think vampires can’t pass up the opportunity to count them.”

“I don’t understand.”

“People think we like to count things. The smaller and more numerous the items, the longer it will take us to count them and we won’t have time to attack them.”

“Do you?”

“Do I what?”

“Like to count?”

“No. Not really.”

“Good.” Banning looked at the crypt where the woman’s companion was still inside. “Then get going. You don’t have much time.”

Nothing happened.

“Oh, shit.” Banning turned to see Sabrina sitting on the gravel path, carefully counting as she plucked individually poppy seeds from among the pebbles and piled them beside her. “Don’t like to count, my ass.” She grumbled.

The young man exited the crypt then the couple walked away, never seeing the vampire-in-training who had come so close to attacking.


“Are you done yet?” Banning yawned. Several hours had passed and Sabrina was still collecting and counting poppy seeds.

“Almost.” Sabrina added two more seeds to her pile, now almost a foot high. “There. Finished.”

“How many?”


“How many were there?” Banning didn’t really care but since Sabrina had counted them it might be interesting to know.

“Damn.” Sabrina muttered. She carefully plucked a seed from the pile. “One…”

“What the hell are you doing? You just counted them.”

“I know. Two…”

“Oh, no. You are not going to count them all over again.” Banning walked and kicked the pile, scattering the seeds far and wide.

“But I have to count them again.”


“Because I can’t remember how many there were. And you want to know.”

“I’ll live without that information.” Banning frowned. “Come on.” She reached down, pulling Sabrina to her feet. “I’m tired. Let’s find someplace to sleep.”

“We can go to my place.”

“Where is it?”

“In town. I share an attic with Ima Missy Plame and Krissie Chickweed. You’ll like them.”

“More vampires-in-training?”

“Oh, no. They’re ghosts. They were ladies of the evening in their human lives. One night the boarding house burned down when a customer knocked over a lamp. Being occupied at the time, he didn’t notice until it was too late. He managed to get out but the ladies were trapped inside and have been haunting ever since. There used to be another, Loretta Newkirk, but she took up singing country music and moved to Nashville. Not that Ima and Krissie protested much when she left; she used to snore something awful.”

“Sounds like fun.” Banning said not at all enthusiastically. But a warm place to sleep, even if haunted, was better than sleeping on the ground. “Lead the way.”

“It’s not far.”

Banning yawned again. The sun was starting to set and she looked forward to a good night’s rest before beginning another day of trying to turn Sabrina into a true vampire. She wasn’t about to admit that she was having serious doubts if it could be done. But she was. She started to walk toward the gate that led into the City of the Dead and also led out of it. She turned around to make sure Sabrina was following.

“Leave those damn seeds alone and get over here. NOW!”

Sabrina jumped to her feet and hurried to Banning’s side. “Sorry.”

Banning reached for Sabrina’s hand. “Bed. No tourists. No screams. No attacks. And no damn poppy seeds. Just bed. Understand?”

Sabrina nodded.



The boarding house was near the waterfront and a few doors away from an old blacksmith shop that dated back to the founding of the town and was once the reputed headquarters of a band of local pirates.

Banning followed Sabrina up two flights of burned out steps and through a burned door barely hanging on to the rotten doorframe that supported it.

“Careful, the floor isn’t in too good of shape,” Sabrina warned as she gingerly picked her way around gaping holes in the wood. “The girls must have gone out. They like to walk around the French Quarter at night, plying their trade on the tourists. You can sleep in one of their beds.”

“Ghosts turning tricks? I understand having sex with a ghost is a mind-blowing experience.”

“So I’ve been told. Here it is- my home away from home.” Sabrina stood in front of a rather large, considering her petite size, solidly constructed wooden casket.

“It’s big.”

“I know.” Sabrina sat on a singed chair and began pulling off her boots. “I get a little squirmy when I sleep.”

“Plenty of room inside,” Banning said as she peered over the side of the coffin. “More than enough for two.”

“I suppose.” Sabrina pulled her shirt free of her pants and eased it over her head. She then unbuckled her belt and let her pants slip down her legs then stepped free of them. After draping pants and shirt over the back of the still smoking chair, she padded to her coffin. “Are you trying to say something?”

“I… uh… I don’t like sleeping alone,” Banning said as she turned to face Sabrina. Her mouth dropped open at the sight before her. “You are beautiful.”

“Care to join me?” Sabrina smiled. She gestured for Banning to climb into the coffin first.

Banning scrambled into the coffin, and waited.

“You’ll be uncomfortable with that on,” Sabrina said as she entered the coffin and straddled Banning. Untying the cord that secured the cloak, she pushed the heavy material away from the body it was protecting. Looking down at the nymph’s nakedness, Sabrina wasn’t sure what to do. She wanted to touch the smooth skin and run her fingertips around the firm breasts.

Banning recognized the desire in the vampire-in-training’s eyes. It mirrored the feelings she was herself experiencing. Reaching up, she slipped her hand behind Sabrina’s neck and gently pulled her down.

Their lips met and their worlds melted into one. Hands and lips explored silky flesh and legs entwined.

Banning felt the hand cupping her groin and she spread her legs invitingly. Fingers slipped into her, curving to explore and tease. “Oh, god.” She moaned. The fingers were pulled free then re-entered with more force and determination. “Oh, god.” She moaned louder, her thighs clamping down on the hand to keep it in place. The fingers curled inside her, pressing against a sensitive spot she had no idea existed. “Oh, my goooooooooooooooooooddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd.”

Sabrina was on the verge of the most intense orgasm she had ever experienced when Ima and Krissy popped their heads over the side of the coffin.

“What have we here?” Ima said as she glanced into the coffin. Even before she and Krissy had started up the stairs to the attic, they knew by the sounds emanating from the casket that Sabrina must be entertaining company. But they thought teasing the woman and whomever she had with her was a good idea. “How about we join in the fun?”

Sabrina’s head twisted around to confront the intruders.

Both ghosts stared into the blood red eyes glaring at them. Sabrina’s mouth opened and an ear-splitting, heart freezing scream filled the air.

“Gotcha.” Ima backed away from the coffin, tugging Krissy with her. “Not a good time.”


“Are you okay?” Banning asked when she was finally able to speak.

“I’m wonderful.” Sabrina sighed. “You?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Can a vampire love a nymph?”

“I think you just did.”

“You know what I mean.”

“Are you saying you’re in love with me?”

“I think so. Would that bother you?”

“Not at all.”

“Good.” Sabrina smiled as she turned to capture sweet lips with her own.

“Whoa.” Banning put out a hand to stop her lover.

“What’s wrong?”

“Be careful what you do with those.” Banning pointed at Sabrina’s mouth.

“With what?”

“Those.” Banning took Sabrina’s hand and place a finger against the sharp tip of a fang.


“Yep. Two beauties, if I say so myself.”



“That means…”

“That means,” Banning wrapped her arms around Sabrina, pulling their bodies tight against each other, “you can suck my blood any time.”

“I can think of something else I’d rather suck.”

“I’m sure you can.” Banning grinned. She reached up grabbing the lid of the coffin and pulled it down.

A loud click echoed around them when Sabrina snapped the lock, securing the women inside.


“Sounds like she finally earned her fangs,” Ima said as she and Krissy floated back toward the bright lights of the French Quarter.

“Damn good way to do it, if you ask me.” Krissy smiled. “Damn good way indeed.”



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