Tales of a Night Walker
By Bert McKenzie
Copyright 2010

Chapter 13

I woke to darkness.  I was shivering and realized how very cold I was.  I
reached over and felt Jeff lying next to me.  His naked body was like a
refrigerator.  I couldn't understand how he could feel so cold to the
touch.  I wondered what time it was.  I slowly sat up and swung my feet off
the bed.  The carpet on the floor felt soft and plush.  No sound came from
Jeff.  He apparently slept like the dead.  I stood and felt my way in the
darkness of the bedroom, finding my jeans on the floor.  I slipped my hand
in the pocket and pulled out my watch where I had stashed it the night
before.  The glowing dial said it was 10:00 a.m.  No wonder I was wide
awake.  But it was pitch black in the bedroom.  I thought to look for a
window to let a little light in, but then I remembered Jeff telling him
about the weird sunlight allergy.  This must be why he kept it so dark.
There must be heavy blackout drapes over the windows.

I pulled on the jeans and felt around, looking for the door.  As quietly as
I could, I let myself out of the bedroom and into the hallway beyond.  It
was a bit brighter, but the house still appeared gloomy with pulled drapes.
I walked downstairs in search of a kitchen.  Finding it, I thought perhaps
I would make Jeff breakfast.  I pulled open the fridge and was shocked.
Inside, neatly stacked in rows were bottle upon bottle of bright read
liquid.  It seemed the only thing he had in his refrigerator was a very
large quantity of tomato juice, but no food was evident.  I closed the door
and then looked in the cabinets.  They were equally devoid of food.  No
wonder he was so thin.  The boy must eat out a lot.

I was about to look for something on which to make a grocery list when I
turned and just about jumped out of my skin.  Jeff was there, leaning on
the door frame, looking at me.  He had a robe wrapped around his gorgeous
body.  "Looking for something?" he asked a bit nervously.

"I thought I'd surprise you and fix you breakfast," I replied.  "But all I
can find is tomato juice."

"Tomato juice?" he asked, then seemed to realize a hidden joke and began to
laugh.  I loved to listen to his laughter, but I was a bit at a loss to see
what my lover found so amusing. It seemed that he was always privileged to
some private joke, like he had secret knowledge he wasn't sharing,
something that made what I said always sound so amusing.  "Come here," he
said, pulling me to him and leaning down to kiss me.

"Mmmmm.  Who needs breakfast?" I said, and then returned the kiss.

Jeff pulled me back from him with another chuckle.  "Apparently you do," he
said with a grin.  "I can hear your stomach growling."

How could he hear that I wondered?  I couldn't even hear myself.  "I'll
just have some of your tomato juice," I replied.

"NO!" Jeff shouted, a shocked look on his face.  "No," he repeated a bit
softer as if he realized he was too harsh.  "I think you had better leave.
You need a nutritious breakfast and I just don't have anything here."

"We could go out for breakfast," I suggested timidly.

"Um, not a good idea for me," he replied.  "Can't be out in the sunlight."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot.  Your allergy."  Something was beginning to nag at the
back of my mind.

"Well, you really should be going," Jeff said.

"But before I do," I said, leaning in with a kiss.  "Maybe we have time for
me to have a bit of breakfast here after all."  I began to unfasten the
belt on Jeff's robe, reaching inside.

Jeff rolled his eyes and smiled.  "Come on," he said, taking my hand and
leading me back up the stairs to the bedroom.  This time my lover snapped
on a bedside lamp.  It was delight to be able to see his naked body.  We
fell back on the bed and immediately began to make love.  Jeff groaned in
pleasure as I took my time enjoying myself.  Jeff's penis was unlike any I
had encountered before.  It seemed even harder, firmer, as if made of
stone.  And the temperature seemed colder than it should.  It was almost as
if I were sucking on a popsicle.  But it didn't matter about the
strangeness of it.  The reaction was just the same, if not more intense.
All too soon, he breathed, "Frank, I'm going to cum," and tried to dislodge
me.  Suddenly he moaned and climaxed in my mouth.  Eventually his
shuddering came to an end and he relaxed as I looked up at his face.  He
was looking down with a strange intensity.  "That was incredible," he said
softly.  "I haven't experienced anything like that in a long time.  Frank,
I could fall in love with you if I'm not careful."

I felt as though my heart would break with happiness.  "Don't be so
controlled, Jefferson.  I already love you," I said in return.

"Now go, before I do something I would regret."

"Oh?" I said happily.  "Maybe I need to stick around for that!"

But Jeff looked at me seriously.  "NO!" he said.  "Now go, and go quickly."
I couldn't understand the roller-coaster my lover seemed to put me on.  One
minute the man told me he loved me, and the next he was ordering me out of
the house as if we had broken some unwritten law.  I pulled on my shirt and
fastened my jeans.  Slipping into my shoes, I hurried down the stairs and
out the door into the bright sunlight.  I ran out to my car and thought to
drive home.

As I drove by the theatre, I saw several police cars and an ambulance.  I
immediately pulled over and ran to the door.  The lobby door was unlocked.
Walking inside, I saw Harriet talking with a man in a suit.  "What's going
on?" I asked.  The guy walked over to talk with some uniformed officers and
Harriet turned to me.  I could see the tears in her eyes.

"Oh Frank, it's awful.  It's George.  Someone murdered him!"

"George?"  I couldn't believe it.  "Why?  Why would anybody want to hurt
George?"  He was the maintenance man/janitor and as such was rarely seen.
He usually worked in the mornings before the artistic staff ever arrived.
Once in a while we'd run into him in the office, or catch him fixing an
auditorium seat or changing a light bulb.  He seemed to be a really nice
guy, not the type anyone could pick a fight with.

"I came early to make some phone calls, and I saw him.  He was right by the
stage door.  He was lying there as if he was asleep.  I thought maybe he
was drunk or something so I went up to shake him and he fell over...and his
throat...it was all...and the blood..."  She broke down in sobs, leaning on
my shoulder.  I wrapped a comforting arm around her.

The man in the suit came back to us and introduced himself as Detective
Stites.  He asked who I was and what business I had there.  I told the
detective who just nodded and asked where I was after the show.  Apparently
Harriet had told him Buddy and I were the last to leave the building.  Did
I see anyone or anything?  Did I see George in the building when I left?  I
told him no.  I explained that Buddy and I locked the door and went right
to the party.

And where was Mr. Smythe?  Harriet had already told the detective that Jeff
never made it to the party.  A strange fear gripped my soul and I quickly
told the man that Jeff went directly home.  How did I know that?  I
explained that I left the party, looking for him and found him at his
house.  How long was I there?  I admitted I spent the night there.  This
drew quite a stare from Harriet.  The detective said he would have to talk
to Mr. Smythe.  What was his address?  I almost felt as though I was
betraying my lover when I gave it to the detective.  I turned and looked
out the glass doors of the lobby just in time to see two paramedics loading
the body into the back of the ambulance.  It was covered with a sheet.  I
felt really creepy watching them and knowing this had been the man I saw
dumping my trash can just the day before.

      * * *

I was sitting in my office, going over some paperwork when I felt a
presence behind me.  Fingers began to rub my shoulders, and I turned to see
Jeff standing there smiling at me.  His eyes seemed suddenly filled with
concern.  "What's wrong?" he asked.

I glanced at the clock on the wall.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't know it was so
late.  I would have come to pick you up."  He should be downstairs getting
ready for the performance.

"I'm perfectly able to walk three blocks.  Does this have anything to do
with the fact that we all had to come in the lobby doors?  There is yellow
tape all around the back part of the theatre and stage door."

"George was murdered last night.  Didn't the police come to talk with you?"

Jeff stiffened visibly but looked back at me blankly.  "Who is George?"

Of course he wouldn't know George.  They would never be at the theatre at
the same time.  "He was our janitor and maintenance guy."

"The police?  Someone was knocking at my door today, but I didn't answer
it.  It was just too sunny and I didn't want to take the chance before a
performance.  That must have been who it was.  But why would they want to
talk with me?"

"Harriet told them you weren't at the party last night.  That made them
suspicious.  You know how cops get."

"What happened to him?  The janitor, I mean," Jeff asked.  He still had his
hands on my shoulders, but he had stopped rubbing them.

"Someone or something ripped his throat out, on the back steps by the stage
door."  Jeff immediately turned and left the office.

The show went fine despite the undercurrent of backstage gossip and
speculation.  We didn't get a standing ovation this time, but the audience
still seemed to enjoy themselves.  After the final bow, I went backstage,
looking for Jeff.  The actors were quickly dispersing as I got there.  I
saw Buddy and told him it was a great show.  "Great except for your leading
man," the stage manager replied.

"Why, what did Jeff do?"

"It's what he didn't do.  Last night he was friendly and joking with the
cast.  Everyone was working together and it was really an ensemble.
Tonight he wouldn't speak to anyone and he seemed to really try to keep his
distance.  When Kelly went to ask him what his problem was he told her to
get away and leave him alone.  I think half the cast is ready to murder
him.  Oh I guess that was a bad choice of words."

"Is he still downstairs?" I asked.

Buddy nodded.  "I haven't seen him come up yet."

I walked down to the men's dressing room and looked in.  Jeff was sitting
in front of one of the makeup mirrors, staring at himself.  He looked
incredibly sad.  I put on my best director face and walked up to him.
"Hey, sexy man.  That was a great show tonight."

He looked up at me in the mirror, and then turned around to stare at me.
His green eyes seemed to burn into my soul.  "It would be better if you
stayed away from me.  This isn't safe," he said in a flat tone.

"Jeff, what is it?  What's going on?  Is it the stuff with George?"

"Yes," he said.

"That was just some psychopath.  You didn't have anything to do with it.
Why are you acting like this?"

He turned and looked back at the mirror.  "I think I love you, Frank.  And
I can't tell you."

I had chills running up and down my spine.  There was something the young
actor was hiding.  I found him to be a strange character, true, but I had
fallen in love with him.  Now I worried that perhaps Jeff did have
something to do with George's murder.  After all, how well can anyone know
anyone else?  Then I saw the tears in my lover's eyes.  I reached out and
put my hands on the young man's shoulders.  "You can tell me anything."

"Not this.  It's a secret that only I can carry.  One that you won't be
able to accept."

"Don't be silly," I said.  "You can tell me anything.  I can keep a secret.
Please."  I knelt beside the chair and took Jeff's face in my hands.  Again
I marveled at how cold his skin felt.  I turned my lover's face toward me
and looked in his eyes, then leaned forward and kissed him.  "Tell me."

Jeff looked to the door, and then said, "Not here."  He stood up and took
my hand.  We walked out the door, up the stairs and out into the house.
Buddy was just preparing to turn out the light.  He noticed the two of us
holding hands, and just raised his eyebrows, but didn't say anything.  We
walked out to the lobby and around the building to the parking lot by the
stage door where I had left my car.  The yellow crime scene tape was still
visible around the stage door entrance.

We both climbed into my car and I started the engine.  Jeff didn't say
anything.  He just sat back in the seat and closed his eyes.  I drove us to
my apartment in Topeka.  It was a twenty minute drive.  The entire time
Jeff was silent.  I glanced over at him a few times, but he just sat there
with his eye closed and didn't move or say a word.  He may have been dead
for all I knew.  I didn't even see Jeff's chest moving.  It was like he was
holding his breath, but I knew he couldn't do that for twenty minutes.
When we arrived at the apartment, I got out of the car and walked around to
open Jeff's door.  He opened his eyes, and climbed out, following me up the
stairs to the apartment door, and inside.

"Would you like some coffee or tea?" I asked as I turned on the stove
placing the kettle of water on the burner.

"No, but I would take a glass of water."  I filled a tumbler with ice and
then water from the fridge.  He handed it to Jeff, and then grabbed a cup
and tea bag for myself.  We walked to the living room and sat on the couch
facing each other.

"Now what is this big secret you couldn't tell me at the theatre?"  I found
it easier to talk to my friend on my own turf, in my apartment, surrounded
by my own things.  It didn't seem quite as scary as it had before.

He took a moment, as if preparing himself, and took a sip of his water.
Then he sighed and looked at me with those intense eyes.  "Do you remember
me saying there is a world about which you know nothing?  You thought it
was just a scary story for the Halloween season."

I remembered the brief conversation in the car on the way back from
Harry's.  I nodded.  Jeff continued on.  "There is a world that co-exists
with your own.  It is a world of shadow and myth.  You go on with your
simple lives thinking everything is normal and makes sense.  And you have
no idea of the things that surround you in the shadow world."

Again I felt the chill on my spine.  "Jeff, what are you talking about?" I
asked nervously.  I wondered in the back of my mind if this young man was
entirely stable.

"I'm talking about a world of legends and fantasies.  But they are my
reality."  He took another long pause.  "Do you remember when you asked me
if our age difference was a problem and I said it was part of the problem?"
I nodded, recalling the discussion.  "How old do you think I am?"

"It was on your casting sheet.  You're 23."

He shook his head.  "I lied when I filled that out.  I'm older than 23."

I laughed.  "Well you certainly look 23.  How old are you really?"

"I'm 175 years old.  I was born on March 4, 1800."  For a minute I couldn't
breathe.  I thought my friend must be joking, but the seriousness in his
eyes said that he meant every word.  And then the fear really began to grip
me.  This man was mentally unbalanced.  I had fallen in love with a crazy
person.  And then I thought about George.  If Jeff was crazy enough to
believe he was 175 years old, maybe he did kill George.

"I can finally see the fear in your eyes," he said in his calm Southern
drawl.  "That's good.  You should be afraid of me. Frank.  I'm a vampire."






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