Shopping Maul

To say that he had 'screwed things up' was an under -estimation. To be completely honest, the creature was a bit confused as to why they were so upset with him. It was the holidays, and the season dictated that presents or tokens of affection should be showered upon those most dear to him. Thus, he bestowed most wonderful and appropriate gifts to the two most important women in his life. It should have brought joy , praise and endless bouts of shagging, yet it only got the poor vampire an ashtray thrown at his head, and screams echoing off his chambers.

On Christmas Day, Alucard had brought his Master and servant their respected presents. Both were wrapped in cheery paper and laced up tight with ribbons. A group of rouge vampires, filthy monsters, had been reeking havoc for the past few weeks, that is until the Hellsing troops had cornered them and Alucard gleefully finished them off. The corpses of the two leaders had been delivered over to the No Life King. Originally, he was going to drain and dispose of the bodies when a marvelous idea hit him...

Apparently he was the only one who thought so.

When Seras received the liver and kidneys of one, she shrieked and dropped the package with a start

"But you always like the kidneys that Walter puts aside for you in the kitchen!" he stated.

"Those are COW parts, or other bits, that, oh, ugh, I'm going to be....." the poor girl turned green and ran out of her master's quarters with her hand over her mouth. Alucard shrugged-silly, little vamp . Ah, he still had a present left, and he was sure that Integra would have the good sense to appreciate hers.

When he approached his master, his mate, he bowed and displayed the silver box to her like a hunter with a prize trophy. The woman paused in her paperwork and smiled, slowing pulling off the wrappings. Her look of joy quickly morphed into one of horror.

"Dear Lord! What on Earth have you given me!" she yelled. She thrust the box back into his hands .

"You can mount it- or we can put it on a pike...," he began.

"Alucard- get that out of here immediately!," she roared. When her vampire tried to protest, a cut-glass ash tray nearly took out his nose. Sulking , he tucked the severed head in his coat for safe keeping for later. As he stalked back to his dungeon, the family butler could not help but notice his dower mood.

"Why so glum?," Walter asked

"Apparently, my gifts are not festive enough.," he grumbled. The old man stroked his chin and thought for a moment.

"You brought back bits, didn't you?" The vampire nodded. Walter sighed-some things never changed.(He remembered when the creature attempted to court him back in '46....it wasn't easy explaining to the staff why there were so many blood stains up in his room...Allie liked to bring home 'presents'.) "Why don't you try something that they'll both enjoy- tomorrow, they'll be having all sorts of sales in the stores after the holiday-why don't you go and pick up some gifts to improve their spirits."

"And where, pray tell, should I go to?" Walter grinned with a near-evil glint in his eyes....

Alucard had faced the mass graves of the battlefield, walked through the festering corpses of the war-slain, and beheld the rotting meat of the impaled. Their stench was nothing compared to this-

"Hi, welcome to Bath and Body Works.," the bright young thing from behind the counter chirped. She was a perky girl with dark skin and short, little braids that corkscrewed out in every direction. Her name-tag read MANAGER , "JAMIE" and the mega-watt grin never left her face, though Alucard could sense nervousness radiating off her. The mall was almost ready to close, though he had spent the entire afternoon just searching for the damn place.

"Can I help you find something today?", The store itself was a bit -overwhelming. Dozens of scents, some chemical, others natural bombarded his senses. He attempted to describe them all, but the vampire's head swam with all of the notes. He felt as if his nose was about to implode in on itself and somewhere in the place, the reek of theme and rosemary made his eyes water.

"Are you looking for anyone in particular? One or more people? ", The little bird in front of him was determined-good, so was he. Alucard leaned down and cast one of his most bewitching smiles.

"Two as a matter of fact...I need two separate gifts for two, very special women."

"Oh, that's great-we have all kinds of sales going on today-"

"Price is no option, young lady." Jamie beamed and brought him over to a section with Christmas-themed lotions and perfumes. The over-whelming essence of peppermint burned his sinuses as Jamie began to babble about gift baskets and soap. A whiff of something a bit darker pricked up his senses. He tried to detect the source of the dank smell .

"Who are you shopping for ?", his focus was broken my her question. " Is your first gift for your Mom, friend, girl- friend, wife, or co-worker?"

"Co-worker? I guess that could describe her, but she's more like family, quite honestly."

" Oh, that's nice. And the other?" Alucard paused. To call her 'master' would confuse the girl, but if Integra ever heard him call her 'wife', in spite of their commitment and nearly twenty year relationship, she would smack him in his 'husbandly' bits. He merely winked, and curled out a devilish grin that sent the salesgirl's cheeks flushing.

"Oh, that kind of present. Well, we have our massage lotions over here and scented bubble bath always sets a romantic, relaxed tone. And you can't go wrong with candles..." Candles, oil, potions? Was this meant to get her in the mood or to sacrifice her to the Dark Arts? The girl began to fill a wicker basket up with all sorts of bottles and tubes.

"Lavender, she likes lavender.", the creature stated. Jamie began to switch the light, ivy- green scent out, and replace it with a bright, airy fragrance of lilac and lavender. In spite of the joyous atmosphere, something was a miss. Alucard glanced around the store. It was getting quite empty, the customers beginning to filter out. However, he did notice another sales person; a middle-aged man, looking quite ill. He was deathly pale and had dark bruises under his eyes. The scent of sickness and decay wafted off him that could not be masked by all the cologne.

"What's wrong with your salesman over there?", he asked.

"Oh, I'm sorry, but a few people have had the flu the past week- I think Pete's come down with it, too. I'd send him home, but we're short staffed. He's such a trooper. The other night, he even got mugged, but he came in the next day"

"Mugged?"

"Yeah, right before the Holiday- one guy bit his arm as he was trying to get his wallet back- so sad how desperate some people are." She held up the stuffed basket triumphantly. "Here you are-sweet and sexy. Now, how about your co-worker's present? Would she like something cute- how about a Lambie?" Jamie wiggled a little, stuffed lamb in front of Alucard, oblivious to the fact that freshly turned zombie was lurching towards her, mouth gaping and eyes bulging out. Lightning quick, the vampire pushed the girl aside and tackled the ghoul

The pair rolled around on the floor, knocking several tables of lotion over. A cardboard ginger-bread house collapsed, crushing a toupe of toy soldiers. A dozen jar candles fell and shattered. The creatures rolled over the glass, crunching it deep into each other's backs. Poor Jamie merely huddled against the counter , unable to believe the scene before her. The zombie attempted to take a chunk out of Alucard's shoulder, when he shoved his hand in his open mouth and snapped his rotting jaw. Blackish, sludgy blood sprayed out turning the snow-white coverings gory. A sickening tearing sounded as the vampire tore off the mandible and then severed the base of the spine. The creature twitched violently, and then became very still. Calmly, the vampire stood up, wiped the sticky blood off his hands and brushed his suit and jacket down.

"Damn ghouls, I thought that I got them all...," he muttered to himself. Alucard cast his gaze on the girl, splattered with a combination of coagulated blood and Moon-Lit Path Body Wash. Slowly he leaned down and extended a hand. Jamie let out a scream and balled herself up, trembling in terror. Alucard bent his face down and began to whisper.

"This was a good evening , I helped a nice man find presents for his wife and student. I will ignore the bloodstains on the floor and give all of my employees a Holiday bonus...." Her eyes began to glaze and calm, and the girl rose, steadying herself on his arm, ignoring the decapitated corpse oozing at her feet.

"Would you still like to get her a Lambie?", Jamie asked with a smile, not missing a beat.

Later That Night-

"Oh Master, thank you so much-it's sooo adorable!", Seras squealed as she cuddled the little, stuffed lamb."And the bubble bath and cremes- they're wonderful ! I love brown sugar !"

"You're going to smell like a bakery.," he teased, but patted the fledgling on her head, much to her delight.

"Master, any reason you got me a black one?" Alucard sneered.

"It hides the bloodstains better, my dear." With that he left the girl to enjoy her gifts- he still had a few more to pass out tonight. He phased right through the door of his master's study. Integra barely paid him any mind, as she puffed away on a thin cigar, tallying up a budget. Gently, the vampire crept behind her and brushed a thick strand of honey-blonde hair from her shoulders. Cautiously, he leaned in and placed a peck on the side of her neck.

"What do you want?," she asked flatly.

"I have something for you....."

"If they're severed hands, ears, or toes, I've got plenty of spares in the pantry-no more surprises." The woman did not even look up from her paperwork to see her vampire's response . However, it was the delicious aroma of lavender and vanilla that caught her attention. Integra glanced up to a bottle of massage oil and a seductive grin.

"Perhaps, I should take a break, just for a while...." she stated, pulling her servant into her arms.

Rosemary and thyme are also used as vampire repellent in addition to garlic and wolf's bane in Eastern European Countries.

Happy holidays to all- especially those working hard in the retail field this season- ah, I remember the horror-I mean, the good old days.... I did a near decade of retail to help put myself through a B.A. and M.A. degree..... CHEERS!