by Jon Zech
His hands were cold; colder than the night breeze; colder even than his eyes. But that was the normal condition for one of his race: Cold.
His only heat was in his temperament and eagerness to be about his task. He wished that, like the legends, he could simply transform himself and with a flap of velvet leather wings be out upon the night sky, unseen by those he sought. But those were legends. Reality had him trudging through the mist-thick streets, his eyes alert for movement, his senses taught.
He looked for one as alone as he: one in no company, and with no direction. One who had the inner warmth he lacked-the heat he craved. He saw a woman. She was huddled on the alley stoop of a café, wrapped in a rubber slicker, hoarding to herself her own fading warmth. He approached making small intentional noises- a shoe scuff; a nose sniff. She would hear him coming and not be startled away. She looked up as he neared. They saw each other in the half reflected moonlight and each drew a sigh.
Neither saw the warmth they needed.
"It's a cold night," he said.
She nodded, not wishing to spend her strength in speech.
"It seems times have been hard for you, too," he offered.
"They have." Her voice was small and far away.
"They are for all of us."
She nodded again.
"Move if you can. They won't come to you. Those times are gone. Sad times now...we've got them out numbered, and our success will be our undoing. Move if you can. You'll find one."
He started to walk off.
She called after him, "If only we could fly."
Jon Zech says: I've written since I was a young teen, but seriously only for the last 20 years. I've written many dozens of short stories, two and a half novels and a few poems. Most recently my story, The Tuesday War, earned an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train's Short Fiction contest. Although I've been serious about my writing, I've been less serious about seeking publication. Now I've taken an early retirement to concentrate on further writing and focus on seeing many more stories in print.
Where do you get the ideas for your work?
Often ideas occure when I'm not paying attention. For Legend, I knew I wanted to do a short vampire story and was thinking about it when I overheard, from the next table in the coffee shop, "...yes, but what if they win?" They might have been discussing football or politics...surely not vampires. But I thought, Yes...what if they win? And there was my story.