Tales of a Night Walker
By Bert McKenzie
Copyright 2010

Chapter 7

My head ached as I opened my eyes and rolled over.  I found myself in an
empty room, chained to the wall with iron manacles.  I tugged and jerked on
them but they held me solidly.  For all my enhanced strength, they seemed
unbreakable. Looking around the area I saw nothing that would help although
it appeared there was an iron cage not far from me.  Someone or something
lay in the corner.  I wasn't sure I wanted to know who or what the other
prisoner was here.  Frustrated I tugged on the chains again.  A laugh came
out of the darkness.  "Try brother, but you won't be able to break free.
The sad thing is, you might even have the strength to do that if you would
have just listened to me and shared my snack earlier.  But without human
blood, you just don't have the strength."  Armand had stepped into the
light closer to my prison, taunting me.

"Well I suppose it is time for me to wander on.  It's almost dawn.  If I
don't hurry I could be caught by the sun and that would be disastrous."  He
turned to go.  "Oh I neglected to tell you where I was going.  I'm going to
pay a little visit to your friends, Mr. and Miss Kitterage.  I do hope you
don't mind."  He laughed again and walked off into the darkness, laughing.
I threw myself at the receding figure, only to be stopped by the heavy
metal.  I continued to tug and fight until I had exhausted myself, then I
sank to the cold floor.

After a time I heard a rustling from the cage next to me.  Looking over I
could see someone moving in it.  It appeared to be a very dirty girl,
dressed in rags.  She crawled to the side of the cage closest to me and
looked out.  She appeared to be in her early 20s, her face covered with
grime and her hair tangled and matted.  She peered at me with a fixed gaze,
and then tilted her head with a jerk, almost the way a bird looks at
things.  Her movements all appeared jerking and disjointed.  Finally she
opened her lips and whispered in a soft voice, "Jefferson?"  I jumped to
hear my name and looked more closely.  I could see the vestiges of
familiarity in her face.

"Felicity, is that you?" I asked in shock.

"Why, Jefferson, whatever are you doing here?  I was told you were dead."
She began to laugh a strangled kind of sound.  "You are dead, and so am I.
This must be hell.  Father says so."  She continued to laugh and then
hiccup.

"Felicity, what happened to you?" I asked, although I knew the answer.
Armand had told me.  He had tried to convert her and had failed.  She was
now mad.  But perhaps there was a spark of humanity still inside her that I
might reach.  "Felicity, talk to me," I begged.

"No, no, no.  Mustn't talk.  Father says, mustn't talk to apparitions.
They will only talk back and lead me to destruction."  I saw a small mouse
crawling along the floor just beside the bars of her cage.  Felicity
spotted it too, and as swift as a striking cobra, her arm reached out
between the bars and she snatched up the rodent.  "Dinner, Jefferson," she
said.  "My darling Jefferson.  Are you going to dine with me?"  She then
brought the struggling mouse to her lips and bit into it.  I turned away,
too revolted to watch.

We sat in silence, neither of us moving for a very long time.  I could see
an errant beam of sunlight shining through a hole in the roof.  It cut a
sharp line on the floor as it traveled slowly, marking the hours.  Finally
I heard another sound, a door being opened in another part of the building.
I wondered if someone else was coming to taunt us.  Obviously it could not
be Armand returning as it was bright daylight.  Next I heard a door much
closer opening, and then a voice from the dark side of the room.  "Hello,
I'm here to read the gas meter.  Hello?  No one was in the office so I..."
A man in a blue work shirt and jeans stepped into the light, his eyes
opening wide as he saw me chained to the wall.  "Holy shit, what the hell
is going on here?"  He ran over to where I was chained.  "Are you okay?
What the hell is this?"  He looked at the manacles holding me in place.

"It's the serial killer the police have been looking for," I said quickly.
"He locked me up here.  Quick go get the police!"  I hoped the man would
find someone to help me get unshackled so I could somehow get home.  I
would find a way.  I had to.  Armand said he was going after David and
Sarah.

"Oh, my God!" the man said and started to turn back toward the door when a
movement caught his eye.  He looked over at the cage and spotted the girl.
He started to walk toward her.

"No!" I said loudly.  "Stay away from her."

"Wait a minute.  What the hell is going on?  Who's she?" the man said as he
saw Felicity looking out through the bars.  "Are you okay, Miss?"  Felicity
reached out through the bars toward the man.  He took a step closer to her.
"What's the matter, honey?  Who did this to you?" he asked.  She just let
out a pathetic whimper in reply.

"No!" I warned.  "Don't go near her.  Please!"

But the man ignored me and stepped up to the bars.  Like lightning Felicity
struck.  She reached out and grabbed him, yanking him to the bars and
snapping his neck in her hands.  Then she pulled him to her and bit, the
blood spurting out.  I had to look away as it made my stomach churn in
hunger.  She sucked and drank from the man who only moments before was
concerned with her imprisonment.  The body shook and convulsed as she
gulped down the blood.  In a matter of minutes she tossed the bloody corpse
away and leaned back, smiling at me.  "Mmmmm so good.  That was a wonderful
dinner, Jefferson.  Why didn't you come over and join me?"

"I can't, Felicity," I replied softly.  "I'm chained to the wall."

She pouted and then took hold of the bars.  "But I want you, Jefferson,"
she said.  She pulled on the metal bars and they began to bend.  She
giggled and pulled harder, forcing two of them apart.  I watched in
amazement.  Armand must have been right.  It must have been the human blood
that had augmented her strength.  Soon there was enough room for her to
slip her head and shoulders through.  She wriggled and soon slid between
them, freeing herself.  She walked over to me.  "Can we dance together as
we did before you died?" she asked in a girlish voice.

A plan began to form in my mind.  "But, Felicity, I can't put my arms
around you.  They are changed in these manacles."

"Oh," she pouted.  "What did you do wrong?  Is father punishing you?  He
punished me.  We are bad, Jefferson."

"Felicity, can you break these manacles?  Can you set me free?"

The girl looked at me curiously.  "If father locked you up, I would be
wicked to let you go."

"No, it wasn't father.  It was Armand."

"Why would Armand lock you up?" she asked, her face screwed up in a curious
puzzled expression.

"It was a game," I said quickly, trying to convince her.  "We were playing
a game and he lost the key.  Can't you pull on them and see if you can get
them open?"

Felicity smiled and reached for the metal manacle bracelets that held my
wrists.  But then she drew back.  "Jefferson, you're supposed to be dead.
I shouldn't talk to you.  Father said never talk to the apparitions.  I'm
sure I'll be punished again if he finds out."

"He won't find out, Felicity.  We won't tell him.  Just pull them open and
I'll disappear and then Father will never know you saw me."

She smiled again.  "Really?  Will you run away with me?  Can we go
somewhere so Father and Armand can't punish us?"

"Yes, we can go away," I quickly agreed.  "I'll take you away from them."

The girl reached out again and took hold of the metal cuff on my right
hand.  "You promise, Jefferson?" she asked.

"Yes, I promise."  She pulled and the metal groaned, then parted with a
loud snap.  "Thank you, Felicity.  Now do the other wrist."

"Where will we go, Jefferson?" she asked.

I was at a loss as to what to tell her.  "Anywhere you want to go,
Felicity.  Just get my other hand free."

She pulled and the other manacle bracelet snapped open.  I was free.  But
now I had a real dilemma.  What was I going to do about Felicity, and how
was I going to leave the building in the middle of the sunny day.  Just
then Felicity gave me a frightened shriek.  "Jefferson," she said as she
drew back from me in fright.  "You died.  I saw you.  I saw you in your
coffin.  You were dead."  She pulled back and ran back to the cage.  "You
can't be here.  You're dead.  I saw you dead.  I saw them carry your coffin
away."  Tears were streaming down her face as she pushed herself back
through the opening and climbed back into the cage.

"Felicity," I said and stepped close to her.

"Stay away from me, Jefferson," she cried and pulled on the bars, forcing
them back together to keep me from following her.  "Keep away.  You're
dead.  I mustn't talk to the apparitions.  Father said I must never talk to
the apparitions.  They might talk back, and then where would I be?"  She
fell down into the corner of the cage on a pile of dirty rags that had been
her bedding and then began to rock back and forth, humming a toneless tune
and staring at the floor.

"Felicity...Felicity," I said trying to catch her attention, but she
ignored me.

I turned and headed back toward the door at the far end of the room.  I
opened it and saw a small office just beyond.  I was about to cross it when
I heard a key in the door.  I quickly stepped back and closed the door to
the office to just a crack, peeking through.  A big man opened the door and
stepped in, looking closely at the knob.  It was apparently unlocked when
it should have been locked.  He looked around, then shut and locked the
door behind him then walked over to the desk and sat a white paper bag on
it.  The man was evidently our guard, but had slipped out for lunch.  The
gas man had apparently come in and stumbled onto his death at Felicity's
hands while the guard was away.  The big guard looked toward the door that
led into the room where we prisoner's were kept, and then started walking
toward it.  I was uncertain what to do so I stepped back into the shadows
behind the door.  The man opened it and stepped in.  I knew I had to get
out of there to help Sarah and David, so I did the only thing I could think
of.  I grabbed the big guard from behind and sank my teeth into his neck.

The taste of human blood filled my mouth.  It was so very much better than
the pig's blood on which I had been living.  The man struggled, but I hung
on and continued to feed.  The guard's struggles became less and less.
Soon I dropped the second dead body in this room and stepped out into the
office.  I actually felt little guilt about killing the man.  I would have
spared him if I could, but I had to escape and didn't know what else to do.
I crossed to the door and yanked it open, only to slam it shut again.  The
bright light of the sun hit me in the face for the brief moment the door
was open and I staggered back, momentarily blinded.  My face felt like I
had just dipped it in a vat of boiling acid.  How was I to get home with
this solar obstacle blocking my only exit?

I looked around and saw a phone on the desk beside the bag of food.  I
crossed to it and picked it up, quickly dialing Sarah's number.  The phone
rang and rang, but no one answered.  I wondered if Armand would have time
to get to Sarah and David's house before dawn when he left earlier in the
day.  Were my friends already dead?  What could I do?

I called the police.  I quickly gave them the address and told them I had
reason to believe the people living there were in trouble.  I said I
overheard a couple of thugs plotting to kill the people living there and
rob the house.  When the police began to question me, I hung up the phone.
I hoped the message was enough to get them to at least check on Sarah and
David.  If they went to the house, they might at least scare off Armand.  I
sat and put my head in my hands.  There wasn't much I could do except wait
for sunset.

Hours later I peeked out the door and saw that the sun was almost down.
The streets were deep in shadow.  I stepped outside and checked the nearby
street signs, then ran back to the office, picked up the phone and called
for a cab.  I knew I would be on my way home before Armand would be back at
this prison.  I could only hope that in the interim Armand hadn't harmed my
friends.

The cab showed up and took me back to Sarah and David's house.  When I got
there I dashed up the front steps and tried the door, but it was locked.
On the door was a notice posted on bright yellow paper.  It read "Crime
Scene, Do Not Enter."

"Yoo hoo!  Mr. Smith!"  I looked around and saw their neighbor,
Mrs. Bernstein waving at me from the sidewalk.  I had met her several times
in the past few weeks that I lived with Sarah.  She was the neighborhood
busy body who kept tabs on all the comings and goings in the area.  "I have
a message for you," she said.

I quickly stepped down to the sidewalk beside her.  "What happened here,
Mrs. Bernstein?" I asked quickly.

"It's not for me to say," she started out, "but the police were in and out
of there earlier.  But before they got here, that odd Frenchman took poor
little Sarah.  I told the police he was up to no good.  He said if I saw
you, I should give you a message."

"What was the message?" I asked.

"He said you should meet him at the bar.  You'd know where."  Before she
could say anything else, I was running down the street.  I should have been
more discrete.  I'm sure with my vampire speed and the human blood I had
ingested, it appeared to her that I had just vanished before her eyes.

* * *

"I'm sure Jefferson will be here soon," Armand said over the music.  He was
talking on the payphone by the restrooms in the Pink Collar.  He didn't
know that I was already there and observing him, able to hear him as well
as the voice on the other end of the line, thanks to my enhanced auditory
senses.

"Good," the voice in the phone said.  "He's been too much of a problem as
it is.  He killed Franklin and some gas meter man today.  I blame you for
that.  I had to move Felicity before anyone else came nosing around there."

"He's more resourceful than I gave him credit," Armand said in admiration.
"I really didn't expect him to ever kill anyone."

"Don't be ridiculous," the voice replied.  "He's a vampire.  All vampire's
kill, even the domesticated ones.  Just see that you either kill him or
bring him back here for me.  I'm tired of that loose end.  You're sure
he'll come."

"Oh I'm sure," Armand replied.  "In fact, I think he's here already.  I'll
talk with you again soon."  The man hung the phone back on its hook and
turned to look directly at me, instantly making eye contact.  In less than
the blink of an eye I was standing next to Armand, my fingers tightly
wrapped around his throat.  As I squeezed Armand was totally unable to
breathe, but that wasn't a particular problem for him.

"Where are they?" I demanded.  "What did you do with David and Sarah?"

"Can't talk..." Armand managed to squeak out in a strangled voice.  I
released my hold just enough to allow him to draw a breath, at least enough
to communicate.  "Jefferson, let me go and let's sit down and have a drink
like civilized gentleman," he said with a grin.  "Besides, others are
beginning to take note and it won't be long before that big bouncer comes
and makes trouble for you."

I released Armand completely.  "You will tell me what you've done with my
friends before I kill you," I said as I stepped close.  "And don't try
anything because I'm pretty sure I can handle you now."

"Ah, you must have had a human for dinner," Armand said with a smirk.
"Then follow me and we'll have an after dinner drink."  He stepped out of
the hallway and made his way to one of the tables in the lounge area.  I
followed closely behind, but kept my eyes roving, staying alert to anyone
who might either interfere or aid Armand.  But it was still early and there
weren't many patrons in the bar.  We sat at a table and Armand signaled the
bartender with a wave of his hand.  "He keeps a special stash just for me,"
Armand explained.  "It's mainly plasma with a splash of gin and vermouth.
It makes a nice dry martini."  Armand held up two fingers.  The bartender
nodded and a few minutes later he dropped off two glasses at the table.
Armand took a sip and smacked his lips.  "Try it, Jefferson."

"No thanks.  I just want to know where my friends are.  Then we'll be
leaving you alone.  Otherwise this could get ugly."

"Oh, it's already ugly," Armand said.  "Father wants to meet you."

"You said our vampire father was dead."

"Yes, our original father, but as I told you, we have a new leader who we
look to as our father.  He wants to meet you."

"Why?"

Armand shook his head.  "Must you always be so contrary?  You weren't like
this when we were children together."

"When we were children together, you didn't kidnap my friends," I replied
coldly.  "And as I recall, you were pretty quick to denounce me to my real
father."

"What did you expect me to do?" Armand said with a hurt look on his face.
"I couldn't very well say how much I enjoyed that little kiss, now could I?
Nor could I confess what I wanted to do with you next.  We'd both have been
in coffins in an instant."

"So I was in a coffin for a hundred and thirty two years while you were out
terrorizing the community."

"Oh please," Armand said disdainfully.  "I'd hardly call my occasional
snacks terrorizing anything."

"I'm waiting.  Are you going to tell me where my friends are, or am I going
to have to kill you and hunt for them myself."

"Very well," Armand said with a sigh.  "Come along and we'll go find them.
I have them safely hidden away."

I shook my head.  "I'm sure you will understand if I don't trust you.  Just
tell me where to find them."

"I can't tell you.  I have to show you."  He stood and tossed some bills on
the table.  I stood and the two of us walked to the main door.

Once outside on the street we began to walk along the sidewalk.  We had
only gone a little way when I became aware that we were being followed.
"Armand, I thought I said not to try anything," I growled, reaching out and
gripping his arm firmly as he turned to look at the two figures coming
rapidly up behind us.  That was when I noticed the shocked and frightened
look on my companion's face.  Armand broke free, surprising me, and bolted
down the street, his image blurring because of the speed at which he was
moving.

I turned to follow, but the two figures had already caught up with me,
grabbing me by the arms.  I tried to fight, but they were much stronger,
holding me in place.  A third figure appeared as if out of nowhere.  "Young
man," he said in a British accent.  "Please remain calm.  We'll take you to
your friend.  We have removed her from the custody of that one."

I stopped struggling.  "Who are you?  What do you want?"

The man with the accent said, "We want what you want.  Peaceful
coexistence, but that is not possible with these renegades.  We have been
hunting them for some time.  Now come with us and we can reunite you with
your friend."

"Friends," I corrected him.

"No, there was only one."  A cold chill settled in my chest where my heart
should be.

 

 

 

 

 

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