Tales of a Night Walker
By Bert McKenzie
Copyright 2010

Chapter 8

The man with the accent led us to a large, black limousine parked in an
alleyway just beyond the Pink Collar.  He opened the door and indicated
that I should climb in the back seat.  After a moment, I did as the man
indicated and settled myself in the plush leather seat.  The man climbed in
behind me and one of the men who escorted us closed the door.  The two men
got in the front of the car, one of them driving, and they pulled out of
the alley and into the street.

"Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Count Rudolph Pinsky.  It seems you
have made a bitter enemy with Father.  And any enemy of Father is a friend
of mine.  I am so pleased to make your acquaintance."  He held out his
hand.  I instinctively reached for it and shook it, noticing the lack of
warmth.  He too was a vampire.

"Thank you," I said, but not completely letting my guard down.  "You
mentioned my friend?"

"Yes, of course.  You must be quite anxious.  Let me explain.  I am the
. . . what would you Americans call it... the 'boss' of this town.  I have
been here for many years and I do my best to rule the others and make sure
no one transgresses our laws.  Unfortunately a few years ago Father moved
into the city, and since that time there has been one incident followed by
another.  I have tried to reason with him, but he is...what do you call
it...a loose cannon."

"You mentioned laws..."

"Oh, you are unaware," the man said as if something suddenly occurred to
him.  "How old are you, boy?" the man asked.  He had pulled back his cloak
when we were in the car.  He appeared to be in his late 40s or early 50s.

"I'm 23," I replied.

"Your true age?" the man asked firmly.

"One hundred and fifty five," I said.

The older man laughed.  "No wonder you are so impetuous.  I am nearly eight
hundred.  When you have lived as long as I, you will attain a better
perspective.  We actually have only one law, and that is not to be obvious
or draw attention.  This younger generation doesn't remember the witch
hunts of the inquisition.  They weren't only after the witches you know.  I
have been chased many times by would-be vampire hunters.  Even now we have
to be careful of the Van Helsing Foundation.  Now to the sort.  I am taking
you to my home where you may reside until we eliminate this problem with
Father."

"Who is this father," I asked.

"I am not certain.  He only goes by 'Father' and he has a number of
children who are very loyal to him.  But they are all young, your age or
younger.  And he is an indiscriminate killer.  You don't get to live as
long as I have by being wanton.  If you make yourself known by your
actions, the humans will come after you and destroy you.  That is why we
have laws, laws of secrecy and protection.  But this 'Father' doesn't care
about any of that.  He will bring ruin to all of our kind with his wild
fury.  I had hoped the Van Helsing Foundation would take care of him for
me, but he has eluded them as well.  Now he only draws there attention to
all of us, making our lives much more complicated.  My friends managed to
rescue you're young friend, but if you take my advice, you will set your
friend up in a protected place and then you will move away from this city.
If I am not able to control Father I shall move as well.  It would not be
prudent for any of us to be around here when the human authorities come
looking for us."

The car had slowed and I looked out the window to see we had pulled up in
front of what appeared to be a large, older house on the outskirts of town
with an attached three car garage.  One of the garage doors opened and the
limousine drove inside.  Once the door was closed, we all climbed out and
Count Pinsky led the way into the house.  It was decorated much darker than
Sarah and David's house had been, with heavy velvet drapes covering all of
the windows.  The lighting was dim, the rooms mainly lit by candlelight.
"Forgive the candles," Pinsky said.  "I am sure my home appears out of time
with your modern senses, but I find in my old age I prefer some of the
trappings of my youth.  I don't appreciate electricity as you younger
people would."  I actually found the place more comfortable because of the
older style of lighting and the older furniture.  This was something I too
could appreciate.

"About my friend..." I asked again.

"Yes, of course," the Count replied and stepped to a door, taking out a key
and unlocking it.  He opened the door and spoke to the person inside the
room.  "You may come out now.  No one will harm you.  I have a friend of
yours here.  Come out and join us."  The count stepped back from the door.
I waited expectantly.

Sarah slowly stepped out into the room.  She took one look at me and then
ran to my arms.  "Oh Jeff," she sobbed as I held her.  I was trembling
along with her, fearing the worst.

"It's alright," I said softly, trying to comforting her.  "You're safe
now."

She continued to sob, trying to get words out.  "Jeff, it was awful.  That
man came.  He grabbed me and held me while the others.  There was blood
everywhere.  David..."  She broke down, sobbing hysterically.

"I can see the two of you may need some time alone," the Count said
compassionately.  "I'm afraid this is no time to socialize.  Why don't you
take her to the guest room and stay with her until she falls asleep.  Then
come back and you and I shall chat.  Montgomery?"

A tall thin man with white hair, wearing a long black coat suddenly
appeared at my side.  "Please follow me, sir," he said.  I kept my arms
around Sarah as the two of us followed the old man out of the room, up a
wide staircase and down a hallway to a guest bedroom.  "I hope the young
miss will be comfortable in here," Montgomery said.  He bowed and left,
closing the door behind him.

I led Sarah to the bed and sat with her, keeping my arm around her
protectively.  "Sarah," I said, looking deeply into her bloodshot eyes.
"Tell me what happened."

She nodded and tried to pull herself together.  "David came home shortly
after you left.  He asked me where you were.  I told him you didn't say
where you were going.  You just went out.  He seemed kind of mad and said
he was going out as well.  I went to bed and never heard him come in, but I
guess he must have.  It was really early in the morning when we heard
someone banging on the door and ringing the bell.  I thought maybe you had
forgotten your key.  I was going to the door, but David got there first.
He opened it and that man just burst in."  She began to sob again.  "He
grabbed David by the neck and...and... There was blood everywhere and I was
screaming.  Then he grabbed me and dragged me out.  He and some other men
put me in the trunk of a car.  I was there for the longest time.  Then it
opened and some other men pulled me out and brought me here."

"It's alright," I said soothingly.  "You're safe now.  Our host, this Count
Pinksy, he's an enemy of the men who did this.  He says he wants to help
us."

"David... I think he's..."  She began sobbing again.  "There was blood
everywhere, and he was lying there with his throat..."

I pulled her to me, stroking her hair.  "Don't think about it.  I'll take
care of you."  I held her until her sobs grew quiet.  I could only focus on
Sarah.  I didn't want to think about David.  In my soul I knew what Armand
had done to my lover.  I couldn't think about that now or I'd go crazy.
Eventually I could tell Sarah was falling asleep.  After her ordeal the
exhaustion was taking hold.  I gently tucked her into the bed, removing her
shoes, but leaving her dressed.  Once I was sure she was out, I quietly
opened the door, slipped down the hall and back down stairs to the living
room.  The Count was sitting quietly, reading a book.  As I walked in, he
put it aside and looked up.

"Please sit down, my young friend."  He gestured to a high backed wooden
chair.  Most of the furniture was old and wooden with little padding.  It
looked as if it had come from a monastery, and perhaps it had.  "How is
your friend?  Better I hope?"

Montgomery suddenly appeared at the Count's side, holding a tray with two
wine glasses filled with blood.  The Count took one and the butler, if that
is what he was, stepped over to me.  "No thank you," I said although my
stomach knotted in hunger.

"Please, you must be hungry by now.  Accept my hospitality."  I nodded and
took a glass.  Montgomery disappeared again as silently as he had come into
the room.  I took a sip and was surprised at the pleasant, almost sweet
taste.  The Count smiled.  "Ukrainian virgin," he said proudly.  "I have it
imported."  He noted the look of shock on my face.  "Oh, don't be so
squeamish.  It comes from a select blood bank.  No humans were harmed to
obtain this.  We of the old world have learned how to live compatibly with
the humans.  It is only the rogue's like Father who cause all the trouble."

"My friend is sleeping now," I said.  "I thank you for your hospitality and
for rescuing her."

The count waived his hand dismissively.  "Anything that will annoy Father
is worth my time.  My friends have told me that Father's people killed the
young man earlier.  I am sorry.  He was your human lover, wasn't he?"

I felt a sharp pain at hearing this mentioned so casually.  I had held a
vague hope that perhaps it was all a mistake, that David had survived.  But
Sarah's account, and then this statement from our host made it clear.
"David...he was her brother and my..."  The words caught in my throat.
"But, how did you know about him, that we were...?"

"Ah," the Count said with understanding.  "There isn't much that I don't
know involving our community.  I have made it my business to keep tabs on
my people here.  I hear things, and I have a network of people to provide
me with information."  He smiled a tight lipped smile.  "Then you are as
they say...gay."  I could only nod.  "I am sorry for your loss," the Count
said sympathetically.  "This Father and his men must be destroyed.  I shall
do what I can, but in the meantime, you must take the girl and leave.  I do
not want you or her to be harmed further, nor do I want you here in the
middle of our battle.  You may be a distraction and we cannot afford to be
distracted.  Montgomery," he called.  Instantly the older man was at his
side.  "Have Jeremy draw up the papers and make the plans.  We are sending
this young man and his human friend west.  They shall have a nice vacation
in St. Louis while we deal with the problems here at home."  The older man
bowed and slipped back out of the room again.

"Thank you, Count Pinsky, but I can't accept this.  Sarah has a job here,
and a home.  I have to find out who did this and why.  And Armand and I
have an old score to settle."

"Armand, yes I have heard of him.  He is one of Father's top aides.  I
appreciate your desire for vengeance, but it is your young blood that is
speaking.  You now must think of your friend.  The girl is fragile, as are
all humans.  See how easily her brother was lost.  You must take her from
here and protect her.  I will send for you when the battle is over."  I was
not happy, but I nodded.  I knew someone had to look after Sarah.

* * *

Apparently Count Pinsky was very well known and well connected.  The
butler, Montgomery escorted Sarah along with a body guard, to the police
station to make statements concerning the murder of her brother and her
kidnapping.  When she told them where she was staying they seemed to
recognize the name and one of them told her she was lucky to have such
influential friends.  I was extremely agitated and distraught that all I
could do was sit at the Count's home and wait for her return.  The Count
assured me that his people were quite loyal and efficient in running his
'empire' as he called it.  Several days later I found myself attending the
funeral of my lover.  Sarah arranged it to take place in the evening so
that I was able to attend.  I had some trepidation about entering the
church, but once again that appeared to be another myth.  Lightning didn't
strike and nothing prevented me from sitting in the front pew with my
friend, the two of us supporting each other.  The church wasn't very full.
Sarah wanted a private ceremony and most her and David's friends had called
earlier at the funeral home.  She had invited the Count but he said he had
attended enough funerals over his long life.  He did however provide a car
and driver as well as the ubiquitous body guards to ensure our safety.  We
had continued to stay with the Count during the criminal investigation and
once Sarah's house had been cleaned and cleared by the police, she didn't
have the heart to return.

During the daylight hours while Sarah was attending to all the details of
the funeral and the aftermath there was little for me to do but sit around
in the dark old mansion.  Rudolph as the Count insisted I call him, and I
had become close friends.  He almost seemed the father I had always wanted
and had never known.  He spent hours telling me of his many long years.  He
also educated me in the ways of being a vampire, telling me things I had
not known, and giving me valuable information about our kind.

"Jefferson, when all this trouble is past us, perhaps you and Sarah will
come back here," he said as we sat in the parlor going over some of his
'empire.'  I had taken an active interest in helping him where I could and
he found I had a quick head for managing things.  It was the training I had
received in my youth to prepare me for managing my father's plantation.
Although I had no great desire to be a business person, I was certainly
capable.  "I would love to have you be a part of my organization.  You are
a gifted young man and a natural born leader."

"Thank you, Rudolph, but I'm not sure I'm really cut out for this sort of
business world," I admitted.

"I know," he said with a sad smile.  "You have the soul and sensitivity of
an artist.  You would have made a great performer, perhaps on the stage.
But not in the cinema.  Our kind are more suited for the stage, performing
at night in a theatre under the illumination of artificial suns rather than
in front of a mechanical device under the real sun."

"An actor?  Oh I don't know that I have that sort of talent."

The Count chided me.  "Of course you do.  I have heard you recite those
speeches from Shakespeare.  But you can't afford the fame.  Humans would
notice if you didn't age over the years."  I just laughed.

* * *

Sarah had taken a leave of absence from her job, and in another week I
found myself accompanying her on a night flight to St. Louis.  I had
finally gotten to ride an airplane.  I found the process totally unsettling
and vowed to never ride in one again if I could help it.  The count had an
agent of his meet us at the airport.  He picked us up and took us to a
house the count owned.  Apparently in eight hundred years one could amass
quite a fortune and the old vampire spared no expense in providing for his
friends.  We were told to enjoy ourselves on our vacation.  We spent some
time visiting the local tourist attractions, at least those that were open
after dark.  But soon Sarah grew discontent.  She began going out during
the day, and one evening she returned home excited.  It was the first time
I had seen her in a good mood in a long time.  "I have a job!" she said
enthusiastically.

"A job?"  I was surprised that she had been seeking employment.

"It's a private school.  They needed an elementary ed. instructor for the
first grade and they were a little bit desperate," she said cheerfully.
"Well I certainly have the qualifications.  I can teach on a temporary
license until I get certified by the State of Missouri.  I just have to
have my credentials forwarded from home and take a test."

"Sarah, are you sure you want to do this?" I asked.  "You're kind of
putting down roots here.  Are you sure you want to make this your new
home?"

"There's nothing for me back there," she responded.  "That house was where
I grew up, but it's also where my parents lived before they died, and where
David was murdered.  I don't want to go back there.  I can ask Count Pinsky
to have one of his people sell it for me.  We can look for a place to buy
here.  It's not a bad place to live."

Sarah called Rudolph and he agreed to take care of things for her.  He also
informed me that Father and his henchmen seemed to have disappeared.  He
suspected they had gone underground because of the pressure his people as
well as the Van Helsing Foundation agents were exerting.  Father had
apparently become too visible for his own good.  Before he rang off Rudolph
said he would be sending paperwork for Sarah to sign to take care of her
affairs and that we were welcome to stay in his house in St. Louis as long
as we needed to.  He again asked me to come back to see him when Sarah was
settled as he was insisting he wanted me to be a part of his organization.
It seems he had developed a fondness for me that matched mine for the older
vampire.

Within the month Sarah had a large check from the sale of her former home
and she and I began hunting for a place to live.  It didn't take her long
to find the perfect home.  She rolled her sale money over into a hefty down
payment and we were about to move from the Count's house to her new home
when we received the disturbing news.  Montgomery arrived in person.  He
seemed quite stoic and unmoved as he spoke with the two of us.  "Count
Pinsky is dead," he said.

Sarah thought he was joking, and laughed.  "Yes, we know.  So is Jeff
here," she replied.

"No Miss," Montgomery said quietly.  "His very long life has come to an
end."

"What happened?" I asked in shock, understanding the implications at once.

"I'm not sure.  It may have been that man, the one who goes by Father."
Montgomery sounded angry, the first emotion he had ever betrayed in our
presence.  "Or it may have been that crazy Van Helsing cult.  I was
shopping, doing the marketing when they struck.  It was during broad
daylight.  Someone set a bomb and blew up the house.  Of course the Count
had a safe room and apparently had time to make his way to it.  But after
the explosion they went into the rubble and found the remains of the safe
room.  They tore the door open and pulled the Count out into the sun.  I
arrived just as that happened.  I had to witness..."

"Oh Montgomery, no," Sarah said in shock and horror.

"He just burst into flames.  Poof and then it was over.  There was nothing
but ashes and dust."  The old man began to weep.

"Montgomery, I'm so sorry," Sarah said and took him in her arms.  I gritted
my teeth, angry and wanting to do something, but I wasn't sure what.  These
may have been the very people who had killed my lover, and now they killed
the old vampire who had almost become a father to me.  These people needed
to be punished.  They did not deserve to live.

After a time, the old man was able to control himself, drying his eyes on a
handkerchief.  "I apologize, miss, young sir," he said.

"Don't be silly, Montgomery.  We're your friends," I said.  Sarah made him
a cup of strong tea and we sat in the darkened drawing room of the house.
"What will you do now?" I asked.

"Well, sir, I was hoping to be able to serve you," the man said.

"Me?  But I don't have any income; I'd have no way of paying you.  I don't
even have a place to stay.  This house was..."

"This house is yours, sir," the man said.  "I have the documents all here.
I think the master thought something like this time might come.  He had
everything drawn up and taken care of.  You are his sole heir."

I just sat back with a look of astonishment on my face.  "Me?  I don't
understand, why me?"

"The master had lots of people work for him over the years, but he never
had real friends other than myself if I may be so bold as to say that.  He
never had anyone else he was close to.  There were other vampires he was
associated with in his dealings, but none could be called a friend.  They
are rather cold and selfish, pardon my saying, sir."

"But, me?"

"You became his friend in the short time he knew you.  I think he felt a
kinship, almost as father to son.  You see, he didn't have any other
family, but he looked on you as his family.  He saw something of himself in
you, in your spirit and determination to live within the human world,
rather than abuse it.  Please, sir, I ask that you honor his memory by
accepting his wishes."

"The first thing I'd like to do is to find this father character and pay
him back for what he has done," I said.

"Jeff, no," Sarah said in fear.

"No, sir, please," Montgomery added.  "The master specifically told me that
if anything were to happen to him, and again I say I believe he had a
premonition of this, he asked me to find you and entreat you not to try and
find these people, but to live your life to the fullest as far away from
them as possible.  I ask you for myself, sir, may I please stay on and
serve you?  I'm not as young as I used to be and I am only human.  I don't
want to find myself out on the street applying for Social Security.  And I
don't want to lose anyone else to these insane people because of some
foolish vendetta."

"Of course you can stay, Montgomery," I said quickly.  "But please stay as
my friend, not my servant."

Sarah moved into her new home without me.  I felt obligated to stay with
Montgomery, whose health did not seem to be holding up so well after this
recent shock of losing Count Pinsky.  As Montgomery grew older and more
infirm, I waited on the old man in a complete role reversal which made
Montgomery appear quite annoyed, but which I suspected actually pleased him
to no end.

* * *

Five years had passed and I, still all of 23 years old found myself sitting
beside Montgomery in a church watching Sarah get married.  She had insisted
on an evening wedding, much to the chagrin of her fianc‚ and his family.
They also didn't understand why she would want her younger cousin to escort
her down the aisle and give her away, but her not having any other living
relatives, made me the natural choice.  Montgomery sat at a table enjoying
his punch while I was able to dance with the bride.  "I still remember you,
that night you first came into my life," she said as I whirled her around
the floor.  "You were so lost and yet you saved my life."

"And you saved mine," I said as I kissed her cheek.  "Thank you so much,
Sarah.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your family."

"Speaking of family," she replied.

"Yes?" I asked expectantly.  "Do you have something to tell me?"

She slapped my arm.  "Don't be crass.  I know this isn't the 1800s, but I'm
not that kind of a girl."

"Well then?"

"When are you going to find someone?"

"Sarah," I said with a sigh, rolling my eyes.

"Don't you get all 'I'm a vampire' with me, mister," she whispered.  "You
deserve some happiness too."  But at this point her new husband came to
take her away for his dance.  I returned to Montgomery's side where the old
man was nodding in his chair.

Four years later I found myself at another evening funeral.  "Why is it
your family always wants things to happen at night?" Brady asked.  Sarah
just turned to her husband with a look.  "I mean, you'd think you were
vampires or something," he joked.

"Not funny," Sarah whispered back, poking him in the ribs.

After the short graveside service, we returned to my house for a brief
reception.  "What are you going to do now?" Sarah asked me.  "You don't
have Montgomery to take care of anymore."

"Actually," I replied.  "I'm thinking of going traveling."

"Where?" she demanded.

"To everyone else you may be my older cousin," I chuckled in a whisper,
"But I'm still your very much older brother.  Don't be such a mother hen.
I thought maybe I'd just go hiking.  I want to get away from people for a
change.  I'm kind of tired of humanity," I said.

"I thought you were running this big time corporation or something?"

"We have a lot of financial holdings.  Mostly it's there to help people,
and of course supply me with what I need out of life.  But I have a good
staff.  They mainly run themselves out of the New York office.  They won't
miss me, and I'll check in with them from time to time."  She arched her
eyebrows.  "And I'll check in with you as well."

It took me several months to get my affairs in order to be able to take
that little hiking trip.  When I left I stopped to say goodbye to Sarah.
That was the last I saw of her for several years.

 

 

 

 

 

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