The path to Bathory Castle was littered with Whole Foods coupons, bottles of room temperature purified water, and a sprinkling of low-fat almond honey granola. Mina followed the trail of gluten-free, non-GMO organic snacks, and water bottles. Hippie bait that had led scores of other all-willowy-an’-shit blondes straight to the Bloody Countess’ front door.
There were also Justin Bieber concert tickets on the ground. Virgin bait!
Was Mina about to become another victim to fall for one of Countess Bathory’s oldest tricks?
From inside, wolves were howling something oddly familiar; “Blue Moon” in beautiful four-part harmony.
Mina knocked. The Countess’ housekeeper, Penelope Weeps, put down her book, 50 Shades of Grey Matter 5 — “I love you for your mind,” and got up from her slab to answer the door. Ms. Weeps croaked and shooed the wolves away. Mina felt for the desiccated woman. Penelope Weeps, looking interminably sad, and crying without tears, silently shuffled away. Mina thought about offering the poor thing a free sample of her skin cream products
—Yeah! Like a whole motherfucking gallon of the shit!
From the cold moonlight behind Mina, a woman’s voice drifted in with the fog. It was the voice of ‘the bloody countess’ herself. “Greetings, willowy one. I stopped setting out bait for hippie girls because their hair clogs my bathtub drain. I am very interested in your products, young lady. Welcome to Čachtice Castle. I am the countess,Elizabeth. Mina was shocked by the woman’s beauty, bearing and lack of attire. A short black silk robe barely covered the tall countess’ most impressive figure. Though it was cold in the castle, the Countess seemed to radiate heat from within.
“Let me apologize for my servant’s moodiness. Poor thing. I’m afraid that Penny has been moping over her old love letters again. Eh! As we say at Čachtice, you’re always just in time for drinks.”
“Countess, the old Crone who’d sent me here told me that I too was a Bathory. My first name is Wilhelmina. Please, call me Mina or Willy or Wilhelmina.”
“I don’t like the name Willy. You’re not an orca. You look as though you could be knocked over by a bat băși!”
“A bat fart, Countess?”
“Let’s call you Mina.”
“How about a compromise then?” asked the young woman.
“Call you Hel? No. We can’t call you that, dear. That’s where my daddy works.”
“Your father was sent to Hell? I’m so sorry.”
“Daddy is the CEO, until Cheney arrives.”
“Oh, sure. I get it. Lon Cheney. You’re very funny, Countess.”
“Yes. I’m a million laughs.” Elizabeth turned to the moonlit window. A ‘Hello Batty’ patch was visible on the seat of her silk panties.” Please call me Elizabeth. You wouldn’t happen to be a virgin, would you?”
A wolf howled from a room above. “Ahhhooooooo…”
“Ah! Would you like to meet my children?”
“Ferenc with his blue eyes! Dino! Children, come downstairs and meet our new guest!”
Mina looked up. They never came down the staircase or through the hallways. She heard a loooong wolf whistle, looked down and found herself surrounded by a pack of the largest wolves she’d ever seen. One was slobbering, the next was dribbling, the third was salivating, and the fourth was drooling.
“Do not be afraid, dear,” said Elizabeth as she set martini glasses on the floor for the wolves. “They sing right on pitch, unlike those poor mangy mutts outside or your laid back friend who thinks he’s James Taylor, except with hair. My mysterious driver unloaded your coolers and they are safe in the basement where things always remain…preserved. We’ll take a few of the coolers along with us to my paramour’s. Are you warm enough? I’ll bring along an extra cape. We’ll be taking a short drive of five hundred miles. On the way will tell you about my secret formula, an ingredient that will revamp, pardon the pun, the cosmetics business forever. (sigh) I feel as though I already know you. Before we leave I would like you to meet someone. Follow me.”
Elizabeth walked toward the great mirror in the dining room where a few of her narcissistic bats hung while gleaning themselves. “I would like you to meet my great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter.”
“The only great one. In the cellar I have a few not-so-great great-granddaughters.”
“Are you talking about the bats?” asked Mina.
“No, silly. Those are my cousins.”
The stately Elizabeth stood behind Mina, placed her carefully manicured claws on the young woman’s shoulders, turned Mina toward the mirror and said, “See? There you are, my child. So pretty.” Mina only saw herself in the reflection.
Her child? thought Mina.
“Grab a few coolers, Mina, and get in the car, dear. Oh! We have to GTF out of here right away!”
Mina put her two ice chests with frozen hearts, livers, and kidneys in the backseat of the Countess’ Challenger. She was feeling a little let down as she’d figured out that the cooler’s cosmetic ingredients would likely become poochie chow.