Carmilla edged the big bike into the motel lot.  The faded sign featured a happy smiling sun playing on a beach, with little starfish clustered at its feet.  She brushed rain-slicked hair out of her face, then dropped the stand and swung off.
         She made her way carefully across the rubbish and pothole strewn lot, toward the office door where only a red Vacancy sign indicated there might be any life to this place at all.  Camel bells clattered in the early morning stillness as she pulled the door open with a whoosh.  The smell of sandalwood and patchouli filled her nose instantly.  A television blathered in the small back office, while a young Indian girl glanced tiredly up at the new arrival.
         Carmilla approached the desk, rummaging in her pockets for a roll of bills.  They came out, somewhat wet but still spendable, as she put her hands on the counter and looked down at the clerk with crystal blue eyes.
         "How much for two nights?"
         "Sixty-five.  Plus tax," the girl replied laconically.  The smell of bubblegum wafting from her was almost overpowering in its sickly sweetness.
         "Ok, that'll do.  Tell the maid I'll be sleeping in this morning.  I probably won't be up before three or four.  Don't worry about changing the sheets today," she said as she peeled off bills from the wad of money.
         The girl shrugged, meaning they probably didn't worry much about changing the sheets any day, and handed Carmilla a pen.
         "Sign in, check-out at eleven, there's a pool, washers and dryer for guests use, soda and ice machines in the hallway," all said in the singsong of someone who has repeated the same phrase a thousand, a million times before.

        Drehen Sie links, drehen Sie nach rechts, Drehen Sie links, drehen Sie nach rechts…
        Go to the left, go to the right, you go to the left, you to the right…

        Carmilla shivered deeply, then glanced over at the clerk.  Her glazed eyes told her she hadn't noticed.  She laid four twenties out on the counter, watched as the girl turned to get her change.  The plaster statue of Ganesha in the corner of the small office smiled benevolently at her.  Flowers were strung at its feet. A rememberance of the dead.
         The girl turned back with her change and the key to the room.
         "Room 101.  First floor, in the back."
         "101.  That's fitting."
         "Excuse me?" asked the clerk, but Carmilla had already turned away.  The girl rolled her eyes and went back to her movie magazine.  Someday, she'd be a star, far away from this seedy motel in this little jerkwater town.  Someday she'd be somebody, she thought.
         And Carmilla, who had already been enough somebodies for five women, got back on her bike and gently edged the big machine to the back of the building, onto the porch in front of room 101.

        As always in cheap motels, there were only two kinds of light – the dim bedside lamp and the harsh bright overheads.  Carmilla didn't need to see what she was doing – she'd worked in darker surroundings than these – so she left the ceiling lights off while she checked out the room.
         The bathroom was small, with only one tiny window with a cracked pane of frosted glass.  Once Carmilla had jockeyed the bike into the room, she pulled a can of black spray paint out of her saddlebag.  First she opened the window to make sure it shut tightly.  She smiled when she noticed iron burglar bars on the outside.  Then she cranked it shut with all her strength and sprayed the glass black.
         Then duct tape and a plastic trash bag came out of the saddlebag as well, the bag going right over the still wet paint and the duct tape securing the whole thing into the casement.  The bathroom was now as light tight as she could make it.
         Turning her attention to the room, she pulled the heavy drapes shut, then, flipping the mattress on it's end, she shoved it against the inside of the door.  The desk followed it, then finally the bureau against the box spring over the window.  The curtains hadn't been in the best shape to begin with, so she was pretty sure a little bunching here and there wouldn't draw undue attention.  She stood back and surveyed her work.
        It wasn't very secure, but it was as safe as she could make it.  She whistled a small sigh of relief and slumped in the single dirty chair, reaching for the remote nailed to the nightstand.
         And froze abruptly as the figure stepped out from the corner.

        It was nearly a mirror image of Carmilla, except for the hair, of which it had none, and the teeth, same, and the fact that it was dressed in the tatters of clothes far too large for it.  Its face was bruised and blistered, and, as Carmilla watched it's skin seemed to writhe and twist, like ropes in a river.
         It stood, silent and solemn, an arm's length away from Carmilla.  It stared straight ahead, never blinking.  Its arms were held to its sides, and Carmilla could see the blue numbers tattooed on it's left forearm.  She unconsciously glanced at her own arm, where the same number, with the designator "–A" added, was imprinted.
         "Leave me alone," Carmilla's words were pinched; her throat was dry and hot.  She swallowed.
         The thing still stood.  Not doing anything, but accusing nonetheless.
         "I'm doing what you want.  I'll find him again.  I know where he is; isn't that enough for you?!"  There was anger in her voice, and fear, and sadness.  This was nothing new, she'd said the same thing a thousand other nights.

       Drehen Sie links, drehen Sie nach rechts, Drehen Sie links, drehen Sie nach rechts…

        "It's not my fault!  I did what I had to do…you would have done the same thing…" tears now flowed down Carmilla's face, but she was past all noticing.
         "Why do you keep coming back?"
         For a moment, there was a sad expression on the face – if what was left could be called a face – of the thing, then it was gone.
         "CAN'T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE??!!!"  She buried her face in her hands and wept.   Thunder crackled somewhere close by, and the patter of rain reaching her ears sounded like bacon frying.
        Or like some kind of fat, anyway…
         Gasping in a deep breath, she lifted her head.
         She was alone once more.
         She fell from the chair, crumpling to the floor like a tissue in a flame, holding her sides and weeping, great heaving sobs with no sound at all.  She could not even voice the pain, and the worst part was that this night was just like the last, and the next would be just like this.
         She curled up into a ball and rocked herself slowly, like her gamma had done when they were children.  Her lips moved slowly, as if trying to remember the words to a lullabye.  But all she could find were the words that haunted her so much…

       Drehen Sie links, drehen Sie nach rechts, Drehen Sie links, drehen Sie nach rechts…

         Half an hour later, with the sun on the horizon, she crawled from her spot on the floor to the bathroom door, with barely enough energy to shut the door behind her and stuff pillows into the cracks.  Then she stretched out in the tub and slowly her breathing stopped and she became lifeless and still.  Her skin took on the pale glow of the white porcelain around her, and the blood she had wept dried on her face, gluing her long eyelashes shut and sticking her shirt to her breasts.
         If anyone had seen her, they would have thought she was dead.
         And she was, but then again, she had been since 1944.
         Long canines slipped from between her lips, curving her smile into a predator's feral growl.
        Nosferatu, dhampir, vampire..
         The television played on all day to an empty room, volume turned down low.  The puddle of blood on the floor from her tears dried and would be unnoticeable in the dark brown carpet by the time she got up.
         The maid looked at the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the doorknob and wished she too could take a vacation in beautiful sunny Florida and sleep all day.
         Some people have all the luck, she thought, and went on to the next room.