Mysteries Men Can Only Guess At
by Jeff Baker
The Moon was rising and the three black-garbed women at the table sipped their drinks.
“I’ll tell you, Maila,” Cassie said. “I don’t know how you put up with him for so long.”
“What’s to put up with?” Maila said. “Big-time nobleman is never there. Always running after some little chickie. Besides, you two put up with him for as long as I did.”
“I was with him first, remember?” Dolly said, the moonlight through the window glistening off her white, perfect teeth. “Then, ‘Dolengen,’ he says to me one day. ‘This ancestral castle is far too big for the two of us and the paltry servants. I am going to bring in someone else to be company for you.’ Little did I know that someone was going to be another wife!”
The three women laughed.
“I was just lucky we got along,” Maila said. “But we got to spend a lot of nights together. Talking, hunting, kvetching…”
“Lots of kvetching,” Dolly said, sipping her drink. “Especially about him. Master of the house my shroud. The first sound of wolves from the woods ‘Children of the night,’ he says, then he runs off in search of a real drink.”
“I’m amazed he didn’t have to re-introduce himself to us every time he came home to the ancestral pile,” Cassie said. “I mean, how many dirt-filled boxes does he have out there anyway?”
“You’d have to ask, what was the name of that servant he used to have?” Dolly asked. “You know, the one who ate bugs?”
Together, the three women stared at one another, then let out a loud “YUUUUCK!”
“I need a refill,” Cassie said.
“Florence!” Dolly called out, her voice echoing through the ancient castle halls. “Hey, Florence! More wine, or whatever this is!”
After the white haired, vacant eyed woman with the spiders in her hair refilled the glasses, and they began to sip, Cassie looked up at the Moon.
“You know, it was on a night just like this that he brought me here,” Cassie said. “I was just glad you two weren’t set in any two-person routine.”
“He probably expected a four-person routine.” Dolly said.
“Oh, sure,” Cassie said. “’Come with me to my ancestral home and I will make you my queen.’ Yeah, right. Queen of the rats, bats and howling wolves.”
“I’m amazed we stayed here as long as we did,” Maila said. “Why did it take us so long to leave?”
“Prestige, free rent…” Cassie said.
“Free drinks,” Dolly said.
The three women laughed again.
“Well, I never thought I’d miss someone who was hardly ever around,” Maila said. “But now that he’s gone for good…”
“I know,” Dolly said. “That’s why I came back. Not for any spousal benefits.”
“Certainly not for the luxurious accommodations,” said Cassie. “I’m not living here again.”
“Couldn’t believe he’d been careless enough to be caught after sunrise away from one of those boxes,” Dolly said with a sigh.
“Sunrise?” Maila said. “I heard he was cornered by villagers with holy water and garlic.”
“Wait,” Cassie said. “You mean it wasn’t somebody with a hammer and wooden stake?”
The three women stared at each other again, then broke out laughing.
“What was it he used to say?” Dolly said. “’Mysteries men can only guess at?’”
“Like why we stayed with him so long?” Cassie said.
“And whether he’s found a fourth to bring here?” Maila said.
“Well, I won’t be here, that’s for sure,” Cassie said.
“Me either,” chorused the other two.
“After more wine,” Dolly said.
“Children of the night, what music we make.”
The three women laughed, laughed into the night.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Obviously Dracula’s wives, all three of them. Was trying for a Mike Resnick feel. The title is a quote from Bram Stoker. Or maybe Dracula.
—–jeff baker, October, 2021.