The Romanian


© Björn Rudberg

He was among the locals and tourists trapped in that little shop when Italian troops declared curfew. An unseasonable cold front lightly dusted medieval Kotor with snow. He couldn’t remain until morning but preferred to leave undetected.

He walked past quaint hats and other curios intending to escape out the rear.

“Monsieur, stay. You’re safe with us.” The Frenchman thought he was being kind.

“I have business elsewhere,” he said in accented French.

Antonie slipped into the darkness, encountering the three soldiers patrolling the alley. Later, they’d recall experiencing sudden fatigue. No one knew what happened to the Vampiritic-looking Romanian.

I authored this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

At first, I had no idea what I was looking at. I did a Google image search but it primarily came up with salami and various cloth items. Finally, I was able to figure out they were stacks of knitted hats.

I saw the photo was credited to Björn Rudberg so I went to his blog and saw the domain country extension was .me which is Montenegro. I did more Googling (the research took longer than the actual writing) and found the medieval coastal city of Kotor among other things.

I couldn’t find a news story that interested me, but noted the history of the area during World War II and how it was primarily occupied by the Italians from 1941 to 1943. That still didn’t provide me with a complete “hook,” so I leveraged the vampire character Antoine from my Sean Becker Undead Series and placed him in Kotor when the Italians first occupied the area in April 1941. Given the snow in the background of the photo, I made up an unseasonable cold snap.

I’ve read stories (okay, Marvel’s “Dracula” comic books from the 1970s) which took a modern-day vampire and sometimes set him back in history through flashbacks/memories. I thought I’d try that with Antonie who exists in 2017 but who is thought to be very old.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit

51 thoughts on “The Romanian

    • He sucked blood from the soldiers and left them alive. As I mentioned in Emergence, vampires can feed without killing their host, unlike humans, or as Spock once said (in the 1967 Star Trek original series episode “Wolf in the Fold”), “In the strict scientific sense, Doctor, we all feed on death, even vegetarians.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Antonie is a he. “Antonie is a Dutch and Romanian masculine given name cognate to Anthony and a Southern German feminine given name cognate to Antonia,” according to Wikipedia. The most immediate destination is where he could hide during the daylight hours. After that, someplace he could stay out of the way of the war, although where that might be in or around Europe I’m not sure right now. It might make for an interesting series of stories, though.


  1. It works well. I thought maybe he’d done that vampire mind control thing on them, but sucking a little blood works. Unless he’s the kind that sucking a little blood but not killing means more vampires running around.


    • He has to drain and kill them before they become vampires and there’s a three-day incubation period. Antonie can feed taking just enough for his needs. As far as their memories as concerned, it’s unclear if mind control would be enough (vampire mind tricks) vs. taking some blood and leaving behind a chemical that messes with the victim’s short term memories.


    • I tried as much as possible not to read the other stories in order to keep their visions from influencing my own. Admittedly, I read Rochelle’s because I was desperate, and then afterward, I was able to see the stacks of woolen caps. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, you really put a lot of time into getting this story written! I did the google search and came up with salami, too. Strange. Enjoyed your story very much, was surprised to meet the vampire at the end 🙂


    • True. He is a Romanian because the most famous vampire in the world is Romanian but you’re right, most Romanians aren’t vampires. He also isn’t actually Dracula. Thanks, Balaka.


    • Thanks, yearnspinnerr. Seasons Greetings to you as well. So many different sorts of holidays one could celebrate in December. My wife is Jewish so we observe Hanukkah, though it’s a rather minor holiday on the Jewish calendar. The grandkids love it (what kid doesn’t like candles?) as well as playing dreidel and all of the yummy fried foods that are part of the tradition. Hope you enjoy your holidays (I’ll be shoveling snow this weekend it seems). By the way, I love learning new words. My daughter’s favorite word that I taught her is “antediluvian” which she loves applying to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘Genius is 99% perspiration’ – and so, by your account, is coming up with an imaginative take for FF. You had a great idea featuring a vampire in a story where hats are the prompt!


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