________Lost Souls_______
Oh, Bats!

by Stephanie Simpson-Woods

            The clouds shifted their white, weightless selves across the starry skies. Ricky Davis approached Samantha's porch stoop, anxious to see her pretty face. The couple had been dating for a week and during their nightly meetings after English 151, which they both took at the community college, he had become smitten with her.

She was smart, her humor was sarcastic and her blue eyes looked as if they had been stolen from an angel. Tonight he wanted to take the relationship a bit further, perhaps finding a nice secluded spot where the two of them could cuddle and talk about a long-term relationship.

Since he was 16, he had always had trouble with women. They were always too stuck up, too infatuated with themselves to care about anyone else, or him at that matter. Samantha was different. She always asked about his feelings and seemed to care about his future goals. When he was down, she would magically lift his spirits with nothing more than a smile.

He rang the doorbell and waited for her to open it.

            "You're right on time," she said, flinging the door wide open. "I'd invite you in, but my Dad is still asleep and I'd hate to wake him. He can be quite a grouch sometimes."

"It's O.K. I have other plans for us."

"Looking down at his flashlight," she grinned. "Are we going camping? I don't see a tent."

"No, but I do have something neat planned. It's a surprise."

"Hmm, I'm not much for surprises."

"Do you trust me?"

"Of course I do," she replied, biting her bottom lip.

"Good, then come with me."

Samantha followed him off of the porch and down the street. When she was close enough to him, she took his hand into hers and analyzed his face. Ricky wasn't the most attractive guy she had ever dated. Then again, she had been out with many men, most of the very attractive ones only interested in one thing. He was different. He was more cute than handsome. His brown, puppy-dog eyes drooped when he kept a straight face and creased when he smiled. He had two perfect dimples, one on each side of his face and his blond hair was shoulder length and shaggy like the lead singers of those new garage-rock type of bands.

They walked about a half-mile to a rocky, secluded area, which was hidden behind the community college. She had been there many times before and had no idea that anyone else had known about the place.

Their hands still tightly clasped together, Ricky helped her over the rocks and led her to a dark, secluded cavern.

"Oh, a cave," she mumbled as her heart sank.

"Yeah! Isn't it neat? I thought we would go exploring, have a little adventure or something."

She starred at the cave. This was not her idea of a date, by any means. Was she ready to crawl into the dank darkness with her latest suitor? She didn't know. She really liked Ricky, but her fears of what would happen if they entered the cave ate away at her. She couldn't help but wondering if he was just like the other guys she had dated, them wanting to get her alone so they could have their way with her.

"I don't know if we should go in there. It could be dangerous."

Ricky frowned and turned on the flashlight, aiming it at his face so it would freakishly light up while he responded to her. "Where is your sense of adventure?" he cackled.

"I just don't think we should be climbing around in there at this hour. Who knows what could be in there?"

"I will protect you," he assured her, aiming the flashlight at her face, her brown hair glowing around it.

Shuffling her feet over the rocks, she nodded her head and the couple continued towards the cave. When they reached its entrance they both stopped and Ricky pointed the flashlight inside.

"See, there is nothing in there."

"If you say so," she mumbled under her breath.

Grabbing the side of the cave, he led her inside. His flashlight bounced off of the cavern walls, lighting it up just enough for them to easily find their way within its rocky walls.

"It smells in here," she laughed, holding her nose.

"Maybe there is a dead body in here, left over by a hungry bear," Ricky said, in a deep, frightening voice.

"You aren't funny! We should go."

"Listen." He motioned for her to be still and did the same. "Do you hear anything?"

Her ears were left soundless. "No."

"See, everything will be just fine. Let's go."

They went deeper into the cave, until they reached the middle.

Ricky waived the flashlight around, viewing the beautiful spectacle.  They were no longer between the tight walls they had previously been stumbling through. They had reached a wider part of the cavern. Its ceilings stretched high above them and sand stood below there feet instead of rock. There was enough room around them for 20 people to stand comfortably.

"Wow! Isn't this amazing?"

"Yeah. Neat." She tried to sound surprised, but she had been there many times before with other dates. Are you ready to leave yet?

"Are you still scared? Watch." Ricky took his hand out of hers and walked to the center of the area. Stretching out his arms he yelled, "Hello! Is there anybody in here?"

His voice echoed throughout the cave while Samantha covered her ears.

"See?" he asked, confidently.

As he walked back towards her, he heard a flapping sound in the distance. He turned his head in the direction of the sound and watched the strange dark object float towards him. Rubbing his eyes he watched it, it almost moving in slow motion, its wings spread and flapping their way directly at him.

"Bat!" he yelled and ducked down into the sand.

The bat hovered above him, squealing loudly as if it had been disturbed and was pissed off about it. Samantha stood on the side of the cavern, her stomach in knots.

"Back up, Samantha," he whispered and stood up in front of the furry little nuisance. Flashlight in his grip, he swung at it repeatedly until it fell to the ground, its squeals silenced.

Samantha's eyes widened as she looked down at the bat. Her eyes shifted into Ricky's direction and began to change from blue to red. The angelic face he had admired took on a grotesque shape, her mouth snarling, her flawless skin wrinkling.

"That was my cousin, you asshole!" she yelled lunging towards him, pinning him to the ground, the flashlight falling from his grasp.

"What?" he yelled, his voice muffled by the sound of more bats squealing and flying in his direction.

15 bats hovered above him, then landed next to him and Samantha. They sat on the ground for a few seconds and then slowly grew, their bodies getting taller and taking on the shape of men, women, girls and boys.

Ricky's face grew pale while they walked towards him and leaned down over his shaking body. Their red eyes barred down on his, saliva dripped from their red lips and onto their jagged fangs.

"I told you that we shouldn't come in here," Samantha reminded him and then dove her face down towards his and latched her fangs onto one of his perfect dimples. She pulled the flesh from his face while the rest of her family gnawed on other parts of his body, sucking the life out of him.

He had become just like the others, the perfect late-night snack.

Copyright Stephanie Simpson-Woods 2003

Stephanie Simpson-Woods is a freelance writer and the author of the new-age Vampire tale, 'I.M. Internet Message'. For more information on this author, please visit her website at www.stephaniesimpsonwoods.com

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