Tales of a Night Walker
By Bert McKenzie
Copyright 2010

Chapter 16

Jeff jumped up grabbing the bars and struggling with them.  "Oh brother,
you aren't able to open the door or bend the bars," Armand said with a
sadistic chuckle.  "I'm aware of your 'vegetarian diet.'  Without human
blood, you just don't have the strength."  Armand said, taunting Jeff.  "I
must be on my way.  The dawn waits for no one."  He turned to go.  "I do
hope you don't mind.  I'm going to pay a little visit to some of your other
friends at the theatre."  He laughed again and walked off into the gloom.
The two men, who accompanied him, followed him to the door.  He turned
there and called back.  "I hope you're hungry, Jefferson.  Bon appetit."
Jeff threw himself at the bars again but it did nothing.  He continued to
tug and fight the sides of the cage until he had exhausted himself, then he
sank to the cold floor beside me.

"How is your head?" Jeff asked as we sat there, leaning against the back of
the cage.

"It hurts, but I'll survive," I answered.  "So that was Armand, the one who
locked us in here?  Some boyfriend you had.  I thought you said he was
dead."

"No, I thought he was dead when I first was released from the tomb.  But I
found out soon enough that Armand was still alive.  Once he found out that
I was awake and free, he began to pursue me.  At first he wanted me to join
him in killing people, but the thought revolted me.  I couldn't join him on
his bloodbath crusade.  So he decided if I wouldn't join him I must be an
enemy and should be destroyed.  He's pursued me ever since.  He killed my
first lover.  I was so afraid...when I caught his scent again at the
theatre...that..."  Jeff was unable to finish his thought.  I put my arms
around him and he continued.  "I remember what he did to David Kitterage so
many years ago, and what he could have done to you."

"And now he's snacking on our theatre company.  Jeff, we're a small troupe.
There aren't that many of us," I said trying to make light of the serious
situation.

"Your life is in mortal peril and you're worried about your theatre
company."  Jeff was not amused by the joke.  He clearly worried that I did
not accept the seriousness of our situation.

"I'm worried about who he'll harm next," I replied in all seriousness.

Jeff's brow wrinkled in concern.  "I think who he'll harm next very likely
will be us."  With that, Jeff stood and tugged again at the bars, then
began to pace like a caged animal.  "I've seen this cage before, or one
very like it.  It held Felicity.  Armand had imprisoned her after he tried
to convert her and failed."

A thought occurred to me.  "Jeff, when was the last time you drank?" I
asked.

"Yesterday when you brought me home," he responded.

"I think your friend expects me to be your next meal," I told him.

"That's ridiculous," Jeff replied, tugging again at the bars.

I looked nervously at my lover.  "Sure you say that now."  Jeff finally sat
leaning against the bars.  We could tell when dawn broke.  The morning sun
struck the high windows and brightened them up behind the coat of paint.
But there was a broken pain which allowed a bright beam of sunlight to
shine through.  It looked like a spotlight, the square of sun on the back
wall of the warehouse behind us.  As the sun rose, the beam of sunlight
began to make its way down the wall and toward the cage.  I eyed it
nervously as it got closer, worried that it would soon enter our prison.
But Jeff seemed oblivious to it as he became aware of another problem.  His
throat was burning and his stomach cramping.  He needed to feed soon, and
indeed my human body was no doubt starting to bother him.  He seemed to be
holding his breath and moved away from me, sitting as far away as possible.
My scent must be causing his thirst to become almost overbearing.  He was
able to maintain his calm demeanor for the time being, but I could feel his
nervousness as the beginnings of the desire, the vampire frenzy set in.
Would he become a raving monster, unable to hold back?  "I thought you were
supposed to be super strong," I said after a while.  "Can't you bend the
bars or snap the lock or something?"

"Not yet," Jeff replied.

"Not yet?  When?" I asked.

"After I've ingested a quantity of human blood."

"Great," I responded.  "Just what I needed to know."

"Ah!" Jeff cried out in pain.  I heard a slight sizzle sound and instantly
smelled a sickening sweet odor like burnt sugar.  Jeff had not paid
attention and the beam of sunlight had now wandered into our cage and
struck the back of his hand.  He crawled further into the corner away from
the light, cradling his injured hand.

"Oh, poor baby," I said, reaching for him.

"No, don't touch me!" Jeff yelled, pushing me away.  He could barely stand
the pain of thirst that was now starting to be a serious problem.  I knew
he wanted nothing more than to jump on me and draw that soothing liquid out
of my veins.

"Oh my gosh," I suddenly said in shock as I stuck my hand in my pocket.
"Why didn't I think of it sooner?"  I reached in and pulled out a hand full
of bobby pin that were still there from when I picked them up backstage.  I
grabbed the lock and started working on it, trying to pick it open with a
hairpin.

"You're going to pick the lock?" Jeff asked in a harsh voice.  "You've got
to be kidding.  Frank, this isn't a motion picture."

"It's an old lock.  This might actually work," I said as I continued to
manipulate the hairpin.  "I had an apartment in New York that had an old
lock like this.  Several times when I got locked out I had to pick the lock
to get back in."  I labored over it for the better part of an hour.  All
the time I knew the pain grew more intense in Jeff's throat and stomach.
He had to stop breathing so as not to smell me.  He wrapped his fingers
around the bars as if to hold himself in place.  I'm sure he wanted so
desperately to fall upon me.  He kept rubbing his eyes as if he was having
trouble seeing and the smell must be driving him wild.  Every now and then
a strange rumble would come from him, scaring me more and more.  Suddenly
there was a sharp click and the lock fell open.  "It worked!" I called out
excitedly half surprised that I had been successful.  I pushed the door
open then reached down to help my friend to his feet.

"You don't look so good," I said.  Jeff tried not to look at me.  He
stumbled out of the cage, an animalistic growl coming from his throat.

We stumbled through the warehouse to a door on the far wall.  I quietly
opened it and peeked through.  "There's an office out there with only one
man sitting at a desk," I said.  Jeff couldn't hold back any longer.  With
a growl he grabbed the door and yanked it open.  The guard outside turned
in surprise and reached for a gun that sat on the desk, but in his frenzy
Jeff was faster.  Before the man's fingers could even close on the weapon
Jeff had latched onto him and bit into the soft tissue at his neck.  "Oh my
God!" I gasped as I witnessed what my lover truly was for the first time.
The man in Jeff's arms struggled slightly, and then fell limp as Jeff
continued to suck at the wound on his throat.  Jeff continued to suck the
blood from his victim's arteries until there was no more.

He let the lifeless body drop back into the chair and stood.  He couldn't
face me, guessing what I must think of him.  "I'm so sorry," he said.  "I'm
sorry you witnessed that.  But at least now you know what I truly am."

"It's okay," I said, putting my arms around my lover.  "Jeff, you did what
you had to, and you kept me safe in the process.  It's okay."

He slowly raised his eyes to look at me, a poor weak human.  "You really
think this okay?" he asked in shocked surprise.

I spotted a box of tissues on the desk and reached for one.  "Here, wipe
your chin.  You're a mess."

"Sorry I didn't have a dinner napkin," Jeff said as he took the paper and
wiped off the blood that had dripped down.  "Now let's get out of here
before Armand comes back."

"How are we going to get you out of here?"

"I'll be alright."

"No you won't," I replied.  "It must be about noon on a sunny day!"

Jeff grabbed a long raincoat that was hanging on a coat tree by the door,
then a hat hanging beside it.  "If I keep my hands in my pockets and my
head down I should be fine," he told me.

"Well, let me see if I can at least find out where we are."  I cautiously
opened the door and looked outside.  No one seemed to be on the street in
front of the building.  I stepped outside and looked around.  It was an old
warehouse near the river in Topeka.  The front was shaded by the bridge of
the interstate.  I slipped back inside, grabbed the phone off the desk and
called for a cab.  While we waited, I looked around the office and at least
found a scarf and a pair of sunglasses.  I handed the scarf to Jeff and
slid the sunglasses on his face, obscuring his beautiful green eyes behind
the darkened lenses.  "There, now you look cool," I said.

"Well, I feel rather warm in this coat, but I'd be a lot hotter without
it."  I took his hand and examined it.  The back had a bright red mark from
where the sun had burned it, but it was already fading away.

We sat down to wait.  I had to turn my chair toward the door so I wasn't
looking at the dead man sitting behind the desk.  In another ten minutes we
heard a car horn out front.  I opened the door and peeked out to see a
yellow cab.  I hurried out and opened the back door holding it for Jeff.
The vampire dashed across the sidewalk and slid into the cab.

"What's wrong with him?" the cab driver asked as Jeff hunched over trying
to hide from the sun.

"He doesn't feel very good," I replied.

"He's not gonna woof in my back seat, is he?" the guy asked as he pulled
away from the curb.

"No, he'll be fine."  I gave the driver my apartment address.  On arriving
I paid him; we jumped out and made a mad dash for the apartment door.  Once
inside, Jeff collapsed on the couch.  This scene looked familiar.

After a minute to rest, Jeff looked up at me.  "We can't stay here," he
said.  "Armand will come looking for us once he finds we've escaped, and
he'll find your apartment."

"You can't afford another ride in the sun," I replied.

"I'll be fine," he said and stood up, tossing off the raincoat and hat.  "I
seem to be able to bounce back a lot quicker today.  I think it's the human
blood.  But Armand isn't going to be happy to find I took one of his
minions."

"And we are without transportation, since my car is probably still sitting
in front of your house in Auburn," I told him.  "By the way, how did Armand
transport us to that warehouse, and how did he subdue you?"

"You were simple," Jeff replied.  "They just hit you over the head.  They
had to shoot me with some sort of electric gun several times before I
passed out.  I'm guessing Armand has a vehicle.  I never saw it."

"Well this might be a good time to move out of Kansas," I mused.  "Where
would you like to go?"

Jeff shook his head.  "We can't go anywhere.  He has to be stopped.  If he
isn't, he'll just find me again.  I've moved before to escape him and he's
found me here.  I've got to stop him.  And besides, Armand is working for
someone else.  He told me that the last time we met.  This creature for
whom Armand works has some plan for me.  We've got to stop them both or
I'll never be free."

"Well if crosses and garlic don't work, I'm guessing wooden stakes and
silver bullets are out as well."

"Not necessarily," Jeff said quietly.

"What?  You mean some of the legend is true?"

"Sort of.  There are very few ways of killing a vampire.  But one is to
burn us.  I don't know how we are going to lure Armand into a bonfire.  The
other way is to pierce through the heart.  The wooden stake in the heart
actually works as would anything, metal, glass, whatever, as long as the
heart is pierced."

"What do you have a vampire owner's manual or something?" I asked.

"I've met up with others of my kind.  I've been told these things."

"So a silver bullet will work if you get shot in the heart?"

"No.  You see we heal remarkably fast.  That's why we are all but
indestructible.  But if you pierce the heart, with something that stays
there, keeping the wound from closing, healing, we die."

"I thought your heart wasn't beating anyway."

He gave me a look as if I were being too logical.  "I know it doesn't make
sense.  I'm just telling you how it works.  What keeps the blood moving in
our veins isn't the heart, it's magic.  But pierce the heart and keep it
from healing, and we die.  I didn't write the vampire anatomy guide.  I'm
just telling you what I've learned over the years, and mostly from others."

"Well in the movies it would be easy.  We just have to find his coffin
while the sun is up and he's immobilized.  Then a stake through the heart
would do the trick."

Jeff nodded grimly.  "I don't think you'll find Armand sleeping in a
coffin.  And if you did find him during the day, he wouldn't just lay there
waiting for the stake.  If he was asleep he would wake up the minute you
came into the room.  It's the enhanced sense of smell and hearing.  But
speaking of sleeping, you are exhausted."  He reached over and picked me up
as if I were a child, carrying me into the bedroom.  "Now get some rest.
We have several hours of sunlight before we can do anything else."

"I can think of something else," I said with a smile, reaching for my
lover's face.

Jeff grinned back.  "We barely escape with our lives, and you only think
about sex."

"Can you blame me?"

Jeff laughed, "No," and began to kiss me.  "But don't you ever get tired of
it?" he asked.

"Do you?" I replied.

"Not yet, but then I do have that vampire stamina."  Jeff stood and began
removing his clothes.

Our love making was intense.  "Oh, gently, lover," I moaned.  "I think that
human blood has given you a bit more power.  Don't rip me in half."  Jeff
eased up a bit, slowing the love making process down.  When we had finished
I sighed contentedly.  "My God, that was fantastic.  We need to lock you up
and give you human blood more often," I joked.

Jeff smiled back at me.  "Ready to take me again?" he asked.  We began to
kiss, but unfortunately, the long night and day began to take its toll.  I
drifted off to sleep in my lover's arms.

 

 

 

 

 

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