Friends Of The Moon
Grimly humorous story
In contrast to many other vampire stories Vrienden van de maan is not only exciting but also a literary feat. The story’s vampire family Morlando is thoroughly devilish. More than that it is about evil as a deliberately cultivated family trait which is seen as something to be proud of.
Van Keulen depicts the vampire countess Lucabel’s villainy in contrast to the naive innocence of her victims in all its gory detail. Lucabel’s mouth waters at the thought of the tender neck of the girl, Anneke. She kidnaps Anneke and takes her to her vampire castle to serve as bride and prey for her poetic son Landolino. There the other vampires creep around Anneke like cats who first play with the mouse before eating it up. They drool with delight at the prospect:
Such a fresh little pikelet.?/ “Such a juicy little tidbit.?/ “A little appetizer. But Anneke doesn’t panic. She tries to prolong her life by keeping Landolino talking all night: vampires don’t have any feelings but if he’s a poet then he must have feelings, mustn’t he? Landolino falls for it… and then the cock crows, which means Anneke is saved.
Van Keulen keeps the tension high by continually putting off the fatal bite and having the vampires delighting in the thought alone. In the end the bite doesn’t take place but the fact that it is constantly present as a threat keeps the reader gripped to the very end of this imaginatively worded, grimly humorous story.