Escape From The Castle Doom #blogbattle #shortfiction

‘I’m sorry to keep you hanging around, Mr Acula. It’s been one of those days,’ Geraldine Gelatine proffered a smile which she just knew would be pointless. This brooding pale man had the sort of face – more a countenance, she decided as ‘face’ really didn’t do justice to the way he held her gaze – well it was, if she was being honest, mesmeric. He was probably old enough to be her grandfather yet she was drawn to those juicy red…

‘I’m used to it, Ms Gelatine.’


‘Hanging around. Sort of occupational hazard.’

‘Really? Are you an estate agent?’

‘I suppose you’d describe my role as providing a personalised drainage solution. And it’s doctor. Doctor Acula.’

‘Great.’ Geraldine was sure staying positive with this man was important, not that she could say why. Just something rather cold – perhaps chilling better suited the sense she had just then – had entered the normally over-stuffy social care office. ‘I’ll make a note. My boss is a stickler for titles. I’ll get it in the neck if he thought I’d got it wrong.’

‘A man after my own heart, clearly.’

Geraldine recoiled. What she had just seen was probably intended to be a smile but somehow it made her want to find a quiet dark room. She pulled herself together and concentrated on the standard questionnaire. ‘I believe you wanted to talk about your mother. About finding her appropriate accommodation?’

‘I indicated it would need to be adapted to her needs…’

‘Naturally. We find with the elderly that mobility issues can be a trial…’

‘She’s highly mobile, Ms Gelatine. It’s more…’ Dr Acula wobbled his right hand as he strove for the right way to describe the problem. ‘More…’ he waved his hands, looking rather forlorn.

‘She has anxiety attacks?

‘Why do you say that?’

‘You were flapping your hands.’

‘Yes precisely. She’s prone to flap unexpectedly.’

‘I imagine night time can be the worst. The older clientele tend to find nights challenging.’

Dr Acula nodded. ‘Well, it’s true nights are when she flaps most though… well, I’m sure you’ll find out.’

‘Yes, right. Let’s get some details. Her name. Mrs Acula?’

‘She’s a Doctor too. I suppose you could put Mrs Dr Acula?’

‘She doesn’t have a Christian name?’

Geraldine’s eyes widened in horror as the man opposite loomed above her, his widow’s peak seemingly like an arrow pointing at her heart. Her roared. ‘WE DO NOT HAVE THOSE SORTS OF NAMES. SURELY YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THAT!’

Geraldine tried a smile but it dribbled from the corner of her mouth leaving her gawping. ‘I’m so sorry. We have had cultural sensitivity training too. I shouldn’t have assumed you’d be of any particular religion. My boss…’

‘Don’t tell me. You’ll get it the neck. Much more of this, Ms Gelatine and I might just save him the trouble.’

Geraldine watched as this strangely tense man took some deep breaths and pulled his cloak around his shoulders. When he appeared to be calm she said. ‘So your mum. She needs a new place to live? You can’t cope any more? At… is that Castle Doom?’


‘Goodness. Quite a title. Where is it?’

‘It suits my needs. It’s high up, you see. You can’t miss it? Between the new Sainsbury’s and the cemetery extension.’

‘Oh I know. They keep talking about a bypass.’

‘Do they? I’d have thought a transfusion might be more useful.’


‘Just my little joke. I don’t get out much and when I do… well…’

Geraldine really wished he wouldn’t show so much of his teeth when he tried to smile. It put her in mind of a barbecue, when viewed from the perspective of the steak. ‘Anyway, mum can’t cope at the castle?’

‘Indeed. She finds the turrets a bit of a struggle. And then there are the unfortunate drips.’

‘Oh I do understand . The elderly can become increasingly incontinent. It’s usually a simple matter of loss of muscle control. We can help with pads.’

‘Do they work? In the past you used to offer a clotting agent. Still I suppose one must move with the time.’

‘Clotting? Isn’t that blood?’

‘Of course, Ms Gelatine.’

‘Well, we cater for all types, Dr Acula.’


‘Is it that surprising?’

‘That wasn’t an exclamation. It… never mind. Perhaps we should get to the point. My mother is a vampire. Will you be able to accommodate her?’

‘We… oh goodness,’ Geraldine held her neck and wished she really wasn’t drawn to those fulsome lips. Her mother had warned not to be taken in by immortals. ‘I imagine we can find somewhere. I imagine a night facing aspect would be preferable?’

‘That would be good.’

‘And does she want it furnished or will she provide her own, erm, bespoke bedroom requisites?

‘We can provide her with the family coffin.’

‘Splendid, then I think…’

‘There is one thing.’

‘No crosses?’

‘Goes without saying. No…’

‘Garlic free?’

‘Naturally…. No we need some assistance with the moving arrangements.’

Geraldine frowned. ‘I thought you said she was still highly mobile?’

‘Well yes but she doesn’t actually want to go. And as a bat, we need a licence to move her.’

‘Surely that doesn’t apply to your, erm, people?’

‘Ms Gelatine, I know better than to mess around with bureaucracy. You know the expression: once bitten…?’

‘Yes, though not as applied to people with your heritage.’

‘Believe me, I’m not taking any risk that the old bloodsucker might find her way back. Can you help?’

Written in response to this month’s #blogbattle challenge, Castle

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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17 Responses to Escape From The Castle Doom #blogbattle #shortfiction

  1. Ritu says:

    I love the way your mind works!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is brilliant Geoff. Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: #BlogBattle Stories: Castle | BlogBattle

  4. Bleeding brilliant, o batty one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. aebranson says:

    Now that’s what I call biting humor! Great job at working in the clues so deftly, where we figure out Dr Acula’s identity long before poor Geraldine. And the ‘doc’ is quite the wit, dropping many one-liners that made me grin.


  6. Elizabeth says:

    I loved “a man after my own heart.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gary says:

    Better late than, well….never Geoff…that’s me, not you. Seem to be behind in catching up on BB stories. Apologies offered.

    Dr Acula… having missed the anagram for ages in the old Hammer films with Count Alucard one hit upon the vampiric undertone immediately. Although it’s not even an anagram now I write it down…just written backwards. I feel DOH, is the appropriate response now.

    Over time your own particular…idiom… is rubbing off. I have a yen to try something a shade more comedic too. This reads rather like social acceptance of the supernatural beasties. Why else would Gelatine stick around as opposed to exeunting like a bat out of hell in an effort to run to the hills?

    Such dry humour (yes, spelt the right way ha, ha) in our, shall we say, protagonist. Betwixt cemetery and new Sainsbury’s is brilliant. No pets allowed in the err, latter shall we say. Not much for the sound of silence there.

    But to infer even the sanguisuge have issues with relatives is a terrific spin. Our infamous Dr sure doesn’t seem keen to keep it in the family. One might even consider her being incarcerated in a temple of love under a wolf moon…. whereupon I must leave and stop dropping song titles. (8 I think in total)

    Brilliant writing demonstrating a mind that has a tick tock somewhat differently to most.


    • TanGental says:

      Gary that is a splendid comment and so generous. Writing things backwards to hide them is always simple but clever. My favourite is Dylan Thomas the Welsh poet. When he wrote Under Milk Wood for the BBC, back when they were very precious and won’t to ban the word nipple he called the village where the story is set Llareggub which, because it had that Welsh double L at the start, like Llanelli or Llandudno passed the censorious editors. Took them years to realise.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gary says:

        One merely speaks the truth Geoff. The rest of the comment is a case of it you’re going to comment then comment! It was also hot off the press after squeezing my entry in so a bit of comedic retort was inevitable. Of course the musical anecdotes were a rash impulse due to cabin fever. That said, I might do it more often if it can draw a smile in these hard times…as your posts always do.

        The Dylan Thomas thing is most humorous too. Definitely an up yours to the censor boards!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        It’s grand your using this time of imprisonment wisely!

        Liked by 1 person

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