The Stranger

The stranger strolled into the gas station. He stopped on the mat, squinting, and letting his grey eyes adjust. Rugged animal-skin coat. Shirt the color of old blood. Jeans faded by time and use. Comfortable leather moccasins. The big cashier glanced up at him then continued reading his magazine.

The refrigerators in the back of the store buzzed quietly, and the overhead lights illuminated the store with harsh white light.

The stranger walked to the salty snack section. He brushed his right hand against the bags, and they produced a crackling noise. He wore black fingerless gloves.

He picked up an 8 ½ ounce bag of Crunchy Cheetos, checked the price, and then walked to the back of the store. The refrigerator dominated the back like slumbering behemoths. They held soda, alcohol, and energy drinks in brightly colored containers.

The stranger stopped in front of a refrigerator filled with energy drinks and opened the door. The cold air curled out and stroked his face.

He reached in and picked up a pomegranate-flavored Rockstar and closed the door. He strolled back to the front to the store and placed the Cheetos and the Rockstar on the counter.

The cashier put down his Popular Mechanics magazine and looked at the items.

“Yep, I sometimes drink one of these babies when I have a pull a late night.”

The stranger smiled.

“I drink it for the buzz.”

The cashier nodded and scanned the two items. He looked up.


The stranger opened his wallet and fished out a five and a one.

“I don’t have enough money.”

“Tough luck.”

The stranger stared at the cashier.

“You couldn’t let it slide, friend?”

The cashier shook his head.

“No can do. Wouldn’t be honest.”

The stranger leaned forward and put his hands on the counter. He had a tattoo of a bat on his wrist.

“I want my stuff. I already picked it out. I always get what I want.”

The cashier shook his head.

“Don’t play the tough guy routine,” he said. “I’ve seen your type before. Won’t work.”

The stranger leaned back and smiled.

“No. I don’t think you’ve ever met anyone like me.”

The cashier stared at him for a long moment.

“I reckon I haven’t.”

The stranger peeled back his lips in a smile and eyed the cashier’s jugular vein.

“Let me see if I’ve got any extra change…,” he said.

He reached into his pockets and asked, “Just curious: what would you do if you knew you were going to die in a year?”

The cashier ran his hand through his greasy hair.

“Well, mister, that’s a tough question. I think I’d quit this job. Then I’d start going to church and spending more time with my mama.”

The stranger stopped searching his pockets. He clenched his fists below the counter but kept his voice light.

“Yeah, you’d like somebody to tell you when the Reaper comes a-knocking. But, sadly, that doesn’t always happen…”

The stranger tensed and shifted forward—

“Oh wait,” the cashier said. “I scanned the Rockstar twice… sorry about that.”

The stranger relaxed.

“Well, it’s your lucky night, my friend.”

The stranger paid the cashier. He smiled and, without looking, popped the Cheetos bag open. He maintained eye contact with the cashier as he reached into the bag, retrieved a single cheese curl, and popped it into his mouth.

“Why do you wear that cross?” the stranger asked.

“It looks cool.”

The stranger shook his head.

“The object itself is powerless,” he said. “The thing behind the symbol has the power. But if you don’t believe then it’s just a hunk of metal. Powerless.”

The cashier shrugged, “Sure.”

The stranger popped another cheese curl into his mouth, bit down, and then walked away from the counter.

“You should quit this job,” he said over his shoulder. “You’re better than this.”

He pushed through the door and walked out into the night.

When he entered the shadows, the stranger turned the bottle on its side and, with a savage movement, sank his fangs into the aluminum can. He sucked the red liquid through the holes. A vein in his throat pulsed.

He licked the holes, and the jagged edges slashed his tongue. Blood mingled with the energy drink, and he swallowed. He finished the Rockstar and tossed the punctured can over his shoulder.

“I’m so thirsty tonight.”

He smiled, revealing his long fangs.

“Time to hunt.”

The stranger started walking down the road. He popped cheese curls into his mouth as he walked. Soon, he disappeared into the night.

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  1. Thoughts? Comments? Complaints?

  2. very well done! your characterization was wonderful, even in such a short story. I could see the facial expressions like i was watching them on screen. i thought it was interesting listening to Christ being described by a vampire.. that threw me for a loop 🙂 loved the fangs in the can and cut tongue bit. that was cool. 🙂 very very good 🙂

    • Thanks! Well, even the demons acknowledge him. 😉 I hoped the can bit would be interesting. Just curious: when did you figure out what he was?

  3. Michael V

     /  January 24, 2010

    i enjoyed it! didn’t realize what he was until you talked about the fangs haha

  4. does it hurt?

  5. Anonymous

     /  February 2, 2010

    Yeah, this is spiffy awesome!
    So I know you asked lianne this, but I thought you wouldnt mind if I answered too! I first had the impression that he was a vampire when he said “No. I don’t think you’ve ever met anyone like me.” After that, when the stranger “eyed the cashier’s jugular vein,” I knew. The only thing was was that I was afraid that he would end up NOT being a vampire, so I was apprehensive throughout the whole thing… The description of the outfit was good too, especially the old-blood color…. 🙂 I loved it hermano!

  6. Kells

     /  February 22, 2010

    Basically i feel like a terrible friend since this is the first i’ve had a chance to comment on your blog entries in a while. I have read all of them before now tho, just didn’t have the time to comment…like i said lousy friend.

    so here are my thoughts:
    -because i know you, i knew he was a vampire from just the description of his clothes. :]
    -when i finished reading this i was craving more. i mean it is a good enough ending, but i wanted a longer glimpse into his life…to see what he did to nullify that thirst.
    -i want to see what happens later, but even more so i want to know why he is not only what he is but also who he is. what in his past has given him such a respect for Christ? it makes me curious
    -the character development was enthralling, i found myself watching it and not reading it

    oops comment getting too long. it was fantastic….i want more 😀


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