Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy what you find here. Whilst you may not agree with everything I post, if you respect my right to my opinion I'll respect your right to disagree with it and we should get along just fine. :)

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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

#FridayFlash: First Foot


In the village where I grew up there is a custom associated with New Year, the custom of the First Foot.

This custom at least partially explains why I’m ruining a £300 pair of hand-stitched brogues wading through the ankle-deep snow in the lane outside my parents’ cottage. It also partially explains the lump of coal and packet of salt in the pockets of my Armani overcoat, and why I’m clutching a £50 bottle of Glenfarclas 105 cask strength single malt whisky in my calfskin-gloved hands.

It does not however, explain why this is the first time I’ve been home in five years. That part of my story is best illustrated by the circumstances of my ignominious departure when I found I could no longer stand the regular beatings metered out to me by my loving father for any little misdemeanour, real or imagined.

At the age of sixteen I left, or more accurately, I threw a few things in a bag and ran, fled all the way to the bright lights of London where, as I soon discovered, the streets are not paved with gold.

Living rough in a big city must be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, even when you’ve learned a few of the tricks it’s still neither an easy nor a pleasant experience.

I spent the next two years living mostly on my wits and managed somehow to keep body and soul largely intact. I’m not saying there weren’t occasions when I resorted to less than legal methods of self-preservation, which was how I came to meet Lucien as I attempted to rob him behind the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

My story could well have been a short one had Lucien not seen something more than desperation in my eyes. He took me in, fed and clothed me and, as the saying goes, turned my life around. Soon I was to all intents and purposes a member of his family with a steady job and, for the first time in my life, money in my pocket. Within a year I was working behind the bar of one of his clubs, the same club I have been managing for the past six months, and managing it well, even if I do say so myself.

So that explains the clothes, the Rolex watch on which I have just checked that it is in fact two minutes past midnight – officially New Year’s Day, and the Aston Martin parked at the end of the narrow lane to my parent’s cottage.

It does not however, explain what I’m doing here, but I’ll get to that shortly.

My parent’s cottage is in darkness apart from a welcoming glow coming from the living room window. My parents are creatures of habit at New Year’s I think as I gently push open the garden gate - see the New Year in with a drink, whisky for my father and a gin and tonic for my mother, then off to bed at half past twelve. The lack of footprints in the virgin snow lying deep, and crisp and even I laugh to myself, on the path reassures me that I will be their first caller of the New Year – their First Foot.

It takes my arthritic mother a few moments to reach the front door after I ring the bell. I use the time to run over in my head the script I’ve been practicing all the way up from London, and then the door is open and there’s my mother, peering out into the darkness, looking right at me.

I take a tentative step forward into the light and hear my mother gasp as the hall light illuminates my dark hair, blue eyes, the same youthfully chiselled, I like to think, features that she last laid eyes on five years ago.

I hold out the coal, salt and the whisky, which my mother takes with shaking hands and a tear in her eye, the reverie of the moment broken only when my father yells through from the living room to ask who’s at the door at this time of night.

The sound of his voice brings it all rushing back as though the past five years never existed. My mother steps back and beckons me inside, but I remain rooted to the spot until finally, a note of exasperation in her voice, she says, ‘Well, come on in then. I’m sure your father will be pleased to see you.’

With that I step over the threshold, pushing the door closed with my foot. As I hang my coat on the end of the banister and my fangs slide into place, I think that I don’t really know whether my father will be pleased to see me, but that I am very much looking forward to seeing him again.



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66 comments:

Laura Eno said...

Heh, heh. It's not good to have a vamp as your First Foot.
A fine way to start the New Year, Sam!

Sam said...

Laura Eno - You're dead right (geddit?!), a vamp as First Foot has all the makings of a very short year! ;)

phonelady said...

Oh sam I still say you missed your calling my dear . I want to wish you a very happy new year and many more good posts to come in 2010.
2010 has a northern move in store for me . I hope and pray it all goes well . Please pray for all our good wishes to come true and for you sam i think you should become a novelist in 2010.

Julie (Okami) said...

Well, that was a unexpected ending.

Wonderful!! Your stories get better everytime - you've really found your calling.

Sam said...

phonelady - Thanks for those kind words. Wishing you all the best for your move north. :)

Julie (Okami) - Thanks, much appreciated. Glad you enjoyed it.

Lauren said...

Absolutely your best yet! This is stunning, lovely and conversational but with lots of emotion smuggled in. This is crying out to be part of a larger story. Congratulations on a great piece of writing.

Sam said...

Lauren - Thanks so much. You really think so? Perhaps there is some more mileage in this character after all. :)

Josie said...

Ooh goodness, I wasn't expecting that ending - a wonderfully subtle twist to another excellent story Sam, keep 'em coming. I do like the idea of the well-dressed vampire ;-)

Sam said...

Josie - Glad you enjoyed the story, just be careful who you open your door to New Year's Day, eh?! ;)

Josie said...

Well, if I wear my Doc Marten boots, I can send 'em packing without too much trouble ;-)

Sam said...

Josie - Don't invite 'em in till you've checked their teeth! ;)

Michelle said...

Great story, the ending had something unpredictable about it. Was good.

Sam said...

Michelle - Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for your comment.

Happy New Year!!

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Gee, didn't know you posted this yesterday!

Very entertaining and fun! That was a great ending! I really want to hear more! I have a lot of questions: Did he just become a vamp in the five years he was gone? I'm guessing, yes. Oh, what a surprise for mean father!

Happy New Year!!

Sam said...

Anne Tyler Lord - Yeah, thought I'd better post early in case I didn't have time again before New Year.

Glad you enjoyed the story. Yes, he was turned by Lucien in the alley behind the theatre - perhaps there's another #fridayflash story right there.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall to see what happened when he met his father again, wouldn't you?

Happy New Year!!

Marisa Birns said...

I adore well done vampire stories and this one fits in that category!

Though I'd imagine that such a surly violent father would not "taste" delicious, but a vampire has to to what it has to do.

I, too, join the others who would look forward to more stories about this character.

Happy New Year!

livloveslit said...

I'd say poor ole Dad had it coming. I wasn't sure what was going to happen, reconciliation or payback, but then his fangs slide into place ... with those few short sharp words you paint a very clear picture. Excellent. Very interesting character, I'd love to read more about him. ~Olivia

Weezel said...

I love a good vampire story for New Year's Eve. The ending was just subtle enough to make this an excellent story indeed. Bravo!

Anton Gully said...

That was VERY nicely done.

Sam said...

Marisa Birns - Thanks. No, I wouldn't expect his Dad to taste great either, though a touch of revenge may add to the flavour. Looks like I'm going to have to write more with this character.

livloveslit - Thanks Olivia, there seem to be a good few people who'd like to read more about this character. Will see what I can do. :)

Weezel - Thanks, much appreciated. I was aiming for subtle, looks like I managed it. :)

Anton Gully - Why, thank you sir! Much appreciated.

Happy New Year to all!!

Deanna Schrayer said...

Absolutely Love the voice here Sam, and what a great surprise ending! Once I got to the second to last paragraph I thought for sure he was a ghost. A vampire - even better. Great work!

Sam said...

Deanna Schrayer - Thanks so much. :) No plan with this story, just sat down, wrote it and posted all in the space of a few hours. Glad you liked the ending, guess I'm going to have to reprise this character.

Happy New Year!!

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Very nicely done Sam - the tone set by the narrator describing his life in the big smoke, and then how the twist canges it around!

Happy new year!

Sam said...

mazzz_in_Leeds - Cheers, I appreciate it. Wasn't too sure about the tone as this was, I thought, a little rushed. Perhaps I ought not to edit so much?

Happy New Year!!

shannon esposito said...

Good ole mom invited him in...lol, how nice of her. Great story! (and delicious taste in cars :-)

Happy New Year!

Sam said...

shannon esposito - Thanks! I'm not sure whether he's decided to eat Mom too or not yet.

Yes, it had to be a quintessentially British sportscar for a quintessentially British vampire, hey? ;)

Happy New Year!!

~Tim said...

Their first guest of the new year really sucked. [Sorry, I really tried to resist that.] Very nice twist.

Wishing you and all the Friday Flash crowd a happy new year!

Sam said...

~Tim - LMAO!!! Great comment, thanks. Glad you enjoyed the story.

Happy New Year to you too!!

Tony Noland said...

I loved the images and setting here, extremely vivid. And of course, the revenge that awaits the abusive father...

Great writing here.

Linda said...

Fun story - great voice! A different twist on vamp stories. HNY! Peace, Linda

Sam said...

Tony Noland - Thanks Tony, much appreciated. No time to edit this one, just write and post - seems to work the better for it too.

Happy New Year!!

Linda - Thanks, glad you enjoyed the story. Happy New Year to you too!!

Michael Solender said...

well crafted, intricate, complex and a devilishly grand reveal. well done.

Sam said...

Michael Solender - Thanks. Great comment, I really appreciate it. Glad you enjoyed the story.

Happy New Year!!

Carrie said...

Another immaculate creature. Love how you withheld the detail of umm, well the vampire-ness. right? Terrific. I like it. I almost want to know how daddy took it...probably in the jugular. Ha!

Karen from Mentor said...

I had an inkling when he waited to be invited in...still was delighted at the fangs....

maybe he knocks his father on the head...puts him in the snow for a while...and THEN feasts...cuz you know what they say...

revenge is a dish best served cold.

And this story was served up really really nicely.

Happy New Year to you and yours Sam.
Karen :0)

arcadianpoet said...

Brilliant! I read a lot of vampire stories, and I was not expecting this to be one. The tone was great, the settings described well, and the characterization wonderfully done. The twist ending was, as I said, a brilliant addition. I'm glad I came across you on Twitter, and I'll definitely be coming back to your blog for more.

♥ Ash

Jodi MacArthur said...

You devious fellow! I love how well you crafted this. It was SO vampire, but I didn't pick up on until the end. Awesomeness, Sam. BTW- Happy New Years!

Sam said...

Carrie - Yup, 100% vampire-ness. LOL, love your comment. I may have to write the second half of this encounter.

Karen from Mentor - LOL! That's not a bad idea ya know. Glad you enjoyed the story.

arcadianpoet - Thanks so much. I don't usually write vampire stories and I really haven't a clue where this one came from. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. So pleased we came across eachother on Twitter, I'll definitely be regularly stopping by your blog too.

Jodi MacArthur - Many thanks, I'm really pleased you enjoyed it. I have a feeling this will not be the last we hear of this character.

Happy New Year to you all!!

Skycycler said...

A 21 year old vampire with an Aston Martin and a familial score to settle. Sharp work, Sam!

Estrella Azul said...

What a great ending! I was a bit suspicious when waiting to be invited in instead of just going in, but it was still surprising :)
Very nice story Sam!

PS: sorry for the delay, my internet decided not to cooperate any more last night...

Chance said...

First fridayflash I read of 2010 and its a Vampire story, Great stuff! and a really smooth MC

Sarah/Saffy said...

I had a suspicion as soon as I saw the name of his rescuer though I was expecting a stiletto knife right up until the last though his youth remaining was good foreshadowing!

Thanks Sarah/Saffy

Sam said...

Skycycler - Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

Estrella Azul - Pleased you enjoyed it. I know, it was difficult to misdirect readers over the whole being invited in thing.

Chance - Thanks so much. I enjoyed writing this story, very pleased you liked it. Hopefully it was the first of many great 2010 #fridayflsh stories you've read.

Sarah/Saffy - Glad you enjoyed the story. I have no idea where that name came from, just popped into my head!

Cynthia Schuerr said...

Ha! Have a little vampire with your new year. Father is going to get what he has coming, eh?
I felt like I was on the walk up to the door right with him. Great detail!
Happy New Year to you. May I follow you on twitter?

Sam said...

Cynthia Schuerr - Thanks for your great comment, I'm really pleased you enjoyed the story.

It would be my pleasure to have you follow me on Twitter, please search for @FutureNostalgic and you should find me; hopefully I will be easy to find as I'm now following you!

Happy New Year!!

Sarah/Saffy said...

And there was me thinking it was a play on lucifer!

Sam said...

Sarah/Saffy - I hadn't thought of that! Hey, maybe I was channeling someone/thing when I wrote this story? Scary, huh?

Al Bruno III said...

Well done... and that is coming from a guy that hates vampires...

Sam said...

Al Bruno III - Thanks, much appreciated. I don't usually write vampire stories! Cheers also for the link on your blog.

G.P. Ching said...

A story with teeth! Excellent. I did not see the twist coming. Really enjoyed this one.

Sam said...

G.P. Ching - Thanks for your kind comments. So pleased you enjoyed the story.

Draco Torre said...

Very smooth; not expecting the vampire but relished in the reveal. Tasty treat.
-David G Shrock

Sam said...

Draco Torre - Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. Appreciate you reading and commenting.

Tim Remp said...

That was a great Vampire story during the season of death. My first of the new year, in fact. (like the others) look forward to more with this character.

Cheers.

http://timremp.blogspot.com/2009/12/aftermath.html

Sam said...

Tim Remp - Thanks Tim, glad you enjoyed the story. I really am going to have to write another story with this character, aren't I?

Laurita said...

Beautifully crafted! Loved the narration. I also enjoyed how he waited to be invited. Really well done!

Sam said...

Laurita - Thanks very much for your kind comments. Glad to hear you enjoyed the story.

Erin Cole said...

Hi Sam,
I've seen you around on a few blogs and thought I'd pop over and see what your writing is all about. Glad I did. I really enjoyed the voice, tempo, and unraveling of this piece.

Sam said...

Erin Cole - Hi Erin, thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the story and thanks for those kind words.

Lindsay Oberst said...

This piece has a flow that builds wonderfully. I like the part about leaving the father, nicely presented.

Sam said...

Lindsay Oberst - Thanks for reading, and for your great comments. Glad you enjoyed the story.

Aislinn O'Connor said...

Brilliant story, Sam - characters so realistic, & I never guessed the outcome for a moment. Superb!

moonduster said...

I think I'm always going to love vampire stories. You've created a very well-developed character and I enjoyed reading this. :)

Sam said...

moonduster: Many thanks for reading, and for the kind words. I'm not sure I dare take credit for this character, he seems to pop up fully-formed every once in a while, determined that I should write down details of his latest escapade. I feel like his secretarial support!

Mari said...

Ohhh! Fantastic that the fangs come out only at the very end. It seems that the father left some real bad memories, heh.

Sam said...

Mari: I'm pleased you enjoyed it, and yes, his father was a real nasty piece of work.

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