Tales of a Night Walker
By Bert McKenzie
Copyright 2010

Chapter 20

The curtain rose for our bows.  The audience was almost full, in part
because the show had turned out to be very popular and had word of mouth
publicity spread rapidly and in part because of the scandal of the murders
that had apparently surrounded the theatre.  Harriet seemed oblivious to
it, but I was aware that some of the people attending were gawkers, only
coming because they read about the murders in the newspaper.  Instead of
catching another gruesome death on stage, they actually saw a really good
production of Hamlet.  Maybe they would come back for another performance
of something else in the future.

This might have been one of the happiest times for us had it not been for
the shadow of death that hung about, the loss of friends and coworkers.
And then there were my landlords.  I received an eviction notice.  The
company who managed the apartment complex was upset that they had to
replace the door from when the police kicked it in.  They cited a few
clauses in my lease about such disturbances and decided I had to move out.
Well it wasn't as if this was the absolute best place to live in the world,
but it had been my little corner for the past two years and I was really
disappointed.  But I supposed it was time to move on.  "You will stay in my
house," Jeff said firmly.  "It is in Auburn so you will be close to your
place of employment.  There is plenty of room, well at least more than at
your apartment."

"I don't know," I replied hesitantly.  "Moving in, that's kind of a big
step in a relationship."

"I had not thought of it that way," Jeff said.  "After all, I've been at
your apartment almost every night since we started keeping company."

"Keeping company?  Is that what we are doing?"

"What would you call it?"  He looked at me curiously.  I swear sometimes he
sounded like he came from another time.  Oh, but I guess he did.

"So, do we have a relationship or not?" I pressed.

He just laughed and took me in his arms.  "Well of course we have a
relationship.  I just don't know what kind of a relationship we can have.
We are both men."

"Jefferson Smythe, you come from another era.  We can have the same kind of
relationship anyone else can have.  We're dating, we're in love, we can be
living together."

"We can't get married."

"We might not be able to get a piece of paper that says so, but we can
still make a commitment to each other that is just as binding as any
marriage."

He sighed.  "But we're both men."

"There are places where that doesn't matter so much.  The arts community
has always been very accepting," I told him, but he just looked at me and
then turned away.

"So you really want me to move in?"

"Yes of course...if you want to.  I know with my condition it will not be
like living with any other lover..."

"Will you stop with the guilty vampire routine?" I demanded.  "I love you
and that's the end of that."

"If you truly love me, then that is only the beginning," he replied.

I had my few measly possessions ready to go in no time.  The next night
after the performance, Jeff helped me load up a little trailer I had
rented, and we left the apartment for the last time.  The next day, I would
drive back to drop off keys and make arrangements for change of address at
the post office and that sort of thing.  But Jeff kept me up most of the
night arranging his house to accommodate me.  His bedroom contained a small
closet which was pretty full of his clothes, so I took over the closet
space in the second bedroom.  I assured him I did not mind stepping across
the hall to dress.  He just laughed and grabbed me, throwing me onto his
bed.  "There won't be many times you'll be wearing clothes here anyway," he
said, and immediately began to pull my jeans off.  I tried to protest, but
it was all a sham.  I wanted to be naked with him as much as he wanted me.
I could easily spend the rest of my life with this creature.  "I love you,
Jeff," I said cuddling up to him as we settled into bed beside each other.

"I wish I could give you more," he replied.

"More what?  I can't keep up with you sexually as it is.  You don't need
any time to recharge between orgasms."

"It's not just the sex," he said.  "I truly wish I wasn't what I am, so I
could live a long life with you as your companion, maybe even be a husband
to you.  I just am not sure how a human and a vampire can live and love as
two human..."

"Don't worry about it.  I love you, despite your vampire limitations.
You'll just have to love me despite my human ones."

"My friend May told me a story of a magical land," he said, thinking back
on his friend in the Ozarks.  "She said it was a story from her Celtic,
Irish heritage.  There is a magical land where night walkers become human."

"I never knew the Irish had vampires," I said as I listened to his soft
voice, telling me the perfect bedtime story.

"Every culture has vampires.  We are part of the human myth, the darkness,
the monsters of the night."

"Yeah, yeah, big scary monster.  Tell me about her magical land."

Jeff smiled at me and continued his story.  "May said it was the fairy
land.  Every culture has its stories of fairies too.  And the fairy world
at magical times can intersect with the human world.  May said that in the
fairy world night walkers turn human.  When we cross that threshold we
become human, able to eat and drink normal food.  Our hearts begin to beat
again and we can be out in the sunlight, but only in the fairy world.  I
told May it was just a myth, but she insisted that such a land existed,
hidden in magic.  She wished she knew the spells so she could send me
there, where I would be a real boy."

I laughed sleepily.  "Well Pinocchio, until the blue fairy comes I guess
you'll just have to stay a vampire."

"I guess so, but at times like this, I wish it was true.  I'd give almost
anything to be human with you."

I got up the next day and drove back to Topeka to take care of all the
stuff I needed to do.  I changed my address with the post office and turned
in a forwarding request.  I dropped off keys and left other information
with my former apartment managers.  And I picked up some groceries because
the human had to eat real food.  Then I returned to Jeff's house.  We spent
the afternoon arranging things and making plans for a vacation.  We decided
I would take Jeff to New York.  I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for
everything, since I have not been the most conservative when it comes to
disposable income.  If I have money, I usually spend it.  But Jeff assured
me I should not worry.  He pulled out a couple of credit cards from his
wallet, something I never realized he had.  This part of the 20th century
he seemed happy to embrace.  He said that he had managed to amass quite a
bit over the past twenty years or so, and anything I wanted, we could
afford.  I phoned the local travel agent and had her book a flight to New
York and hotel accommodations.  I made sure it was a red eye flight,
leaving Kansas City at 10:00 p.m. and arriving in New York at 3:30 a.m.  I
wanted to make sure there wouldn't be a problem with our traveling in the
sunlight.  The hotel allowed twenty four hour check in so we were set.

As dusk hit, we left for the theatre and our final performance of Hamlet.
After the show the cast and crew all banded together to strike the set.  We
divided into crews and took the set apart, cleaning the stage and making
the theatre ready to start rehearsals for the next play.  I spent the
greater part of strike in the office completing reports on the show,
attendance, box office numbers, and so on.  Later I found that Jeff spent
strike on the light crew.  Since he seemed so familiar with the light
gallery, he was assigned to taking down the lights that where hanging high
over the house.  Not very many people liked to perform that job as it
seemed a bit precarious, but nothing seemed to faze my vampire lover.

Once strike was over and the theatre was clean and empty, we all headed
into town for an impromptu cast party at Harry's.  We were sitting at our
regular table when Jake, the man who had played Horatio came over and
clapped a hand on Jeff's back.  It was obvious that he already had a bit
too much to drink.  "Jeff, old buddy, I'd like to buy you a beer," he said,
"but I see you still have a full glass sitting in front of you."

Jeff smiled and replied, "Thanks, Jake, but I do.  Perhaps next round."

"There won't be a next round," Jake said loudly.  "I've watched you and you
never drink your beer.  You always get a glass along with the rest of us,
and you sometimes even put it to your lips, but it never goes down, so you
must just be pretending to drink it."

Jeff just laughed self consciously.  "I drink," he said.  "You just don't
notice."

"Oh no," Jake continued, now catching the eye of several people at our
table.  "One night I even saw you exchange glasses with Frank so it looked
like you drank yours, but actually Frank drank it for you.  Are you just
too good to drink our beer or what?"

Everyone was staring now, and I was really worried about how Jeff was going
to get out of that one.  "The truth is," Kelly started to say, and then
stopped.

"The truth is, I'm an alcoholic and I can't drink or it would be a
problem," Jeff said.  "I just get the beer to be one of the gang."  Several
people quickly offered Jeff their support and congratulations on his being
so brave about his condition.  A couple even admonished Jake for pointing
it out and being such an asshole to put Jeff on the spot.  But ever the
gracious performer, Jeff defended Jake and even paid for the next round of
drinks.

"That was close," I whispered when we had a chance to talk semi-privately.
My lover just smiled and nodded.

Once we got home, we immediately started packing for our vacation.  We
wanted everything to be ready the next evening for our trip.  I was excited
about returning to New York.  I hadn't been there in about three years and
was hoping to show Jeff all the sights, as well as introducing him to a few
of my old friends.  They would be so jealous.  Vampire glamour or not, he
was still an incredibly good looking man.

We slept late and then spent some time in bed, making love.  Finally, we
got up and got ready for our trip.  At dusk I drove us to the airport in
Kansas City.  We had a 10:00 flight to LaGuardia in New York.  We arrived
around 2:00 a.m. and took a cab into the city.  I had already made all the
arrangements, so we had a room at the Hotel Edison guaranteed and waiting
for us not far from Times Square.  After a very early morning check in, we
went to bed.  But it was our first night in New York, so of course we had
to make love.  Jeff insisted on opening the drapes and having sex with the
beautiful view of downtown Manhattan in the background.

The dawn woke us early and I had to jump out of bed to draw the drapes.
While it was exciting to sleep with the view of Manhattan out our bedroom
window, one had to remember to close that view off before the early morning
sun burned my lover to a crisp.  I got up and dressed, kissing my lover and
then promising Jeff I would find a butcher shop that morning and see if I
could stock our in room fridge for his appetite.  The concierge was very
helpful.  He pointed me in the right direction to find the nearest butcher
shop.  I was able to pick up a small plastic cooler and several plastic
containers of pig's blood for my lover.  We then made plans for the
evening.  I called some of my old friends who were still living in
Manhattan.  They were actors that I knew from the time I lived here.  Of
course they were all living as waiters, but that was pretty typical.  An
afternoon nap seemed in order, and then once it was sundown, Jeff insisted
we take a trip into the business district.  He surprised me by taking me to
an office building and up in an elevator to a non-descript office.  He had
a piece of paper and was following directions from it.  Once at the door to
the office, I was surprised to see, painted on the glass door, Smythe, Inc.
We went inside and Jeff stepped up to the desk where an attractive older
woman sat.  She looked up at him for a moment, then her eyes widened.
"Mr. Smythe, we had no idea you were coming!" she said and pushed a button
on an intercom.  A few minutes later we were sitting in a comfortable
office chatting with an older man.  He was the senior accountant who ran
the corporation of which Jeff appeared to be the head or owner or whatever
you might call it.  These were "his people" as he put it, and they were the
ones who were responsible for helping out when he had been arrested back in
Kansas.  Apparently he did have holdings and a very capable staff to manage
things for him.

After a brief visit at his office, we spent the evening taking in the
sights, visiting all the touristy places that were still open.  I met with
Vinny, Sal and Rita at a little restaurant and introduced them to Jeff.  We
all seemed to get along well.  They spent quite a bit of time catching me
up on the New York scene, and kept Jeff laughing at stories of some of my
earlier misadventures when we all roomed together in the East Village.
Part way through the evening, Jeff excused himself, saying he had forgotten
his wallet at the hotel and would be right back.  I thought that very odd,
since Jeff never seemed to forget anything, but then perhaps he was feeling
the urge and had to nip back to the hotel for a quick drink.  He soon
returned and we visited for a bit more, but then eventually went our
separate ways.

Jeff and I stopped by the half price ticket booth in Times Square to pick
up some cheaper tickets to a couple of shows.  We got tickets for two
musicals and a play on succeeding nights.  We saw Neil Simon's "California
Suite," "Pippin" and "Chicago" with Gwen Verdon.  I loved the musicals
while Jeff preferred the play.  All in all it was a wonderful vacation.

On our last night in the Big Apple, we took a ride around Central Park in a
horse drawn carriage.  "You see, this is how I used to live," Jeff
whispered to me.  "The world seemed more civilized before the introduction
of motor cars, and certainly cleaner and less crowded."

We decided to take the subway back to the stop closest to our hotel.  In
the subway before we even boarded a train a scruffy looking man, actually
more a boy than a man, stopped us and asked for money.  I was familiar with
these pan handlers and started to move on when he drew a switchblade and
again insisted that we hand over our money.  "You really don't want to do
this," Jeff warned him.

"Shut the fuck up and give me your wallet or I'll cut you, man," the kid
said swinging his knife close to Jeff.

My lover stood his ground and emitted a deep growl from his chest, more
animal than human.  The kid suddenly froze, not quite sure what to do.  But
his moment of indecision was brief.  He lunged toward Jeff with his knife.
Before he had even moved a few inches, Jeff reached out with his lightning
quick reactions and grabbed the boy's wrist.  He easily twisted it until
the boy dropped his knife and cried out in pain.  Jeff pulled him close,
and growled again in the boy's face.  The kid seemed surprised as he looked
up into Jeff's glow in the dark eyes.  "Hey, man, what are you?" he
screamed in fear.

"Your worst nightmare," Jeff replied with an evil grin.  He gave the boy a
push who fell on the concrete at our feet.  The boy sat there for a moment
and Jeff growled again.  The kid got up and ran as quickly as he could, up
the stairs and off into the street.

We boarded the subway train and rode back in silence to our stop, and then
returned to the hotel.  The whole time I kept replaying the scene of the
almost mugging in my head.  "I guess you are good to have around in a
crisis," I said.  But Jeff didn't reply.  For a minute I thought perhaps I
had somehow offended him.  As we rode up in the elevator to our floor, Jeff
suddenly asked me how quickly I could be ready to travel.  "Why?" I wanted
to know.

"While you took a nap this afternoon I made some further arrangements for
the next phase of our trip," he replied.

"Oh?  What are we doing next?" I asked.

"That is my surprise," he said as we walked down the hall to our room.
"Now quickly check the room to make sure everything is packed and ready.
We leave in just a few minutes."

We paid for another night since the check out time was noon, but we were
checking out in the evening.  This was a surprise that Jeff had designed
for me.  He had rented a car and had it delivered to the hotel.  At 10
p.m. we loaded our bags into the rental and drove off into the night.  I
had no idea where we were going, but once we were off of Manhattan Island
he headed north, then east.  We were soon driving along the ocean.
Although Jeff literally was keeping me in the dark, it was a pleasant
drive.  He had apparently obtained explicit directions on how to get where
we were going with the help of the hotel concierge and the folks at his
office, so there was nothing for me to do but lean back in the car and
enjoyed the trip.  We chatted and I drifting in and out of sleep as he
drove through the dark night.

"Where are we going?" I asked for what seemed like the hundredth time.

"It is a vacation.  Can't you just enjoy it?  Part of the fun is the
journey."

"I'm sure whatever you have planned will be fun," I assured him.

"Were you serious about wanting to spend your entire life with me?" Jeff
asked.

That question coming out of the blue threw me for a minute.  "Where did
that come from?" I asked him.

"Then it isn't true?"

"Well, yes, it is true.  I'd love to spend the rest of my life with you," I
said.  "I just thought we had covered that and you seemed kind of reluctant
to make a commitment."

There was another long pause.  "I have been reluctant to make a
commitment," he agreed.  "I always thought that because of my condition I
could never be close to anyone, let alone build a life with someone I cared
about.  In truth, I didn't think I would ever care about another person
again."

I reached over and took his hand.  It was cold to the touch, but I kept it
between my hands.  "I'm glad I proved you wrong there.  Jeff, I have fallen
in love with you.  I never thought I'd make a commitment either.  And now
I'm in love with an immortal."

"Not necessarily," he laughed.  "I can be killed you know."

"Oh, so when I'm done with you, I should just stake you and move on?"  I
laughed.

"I'm serious, Frank.  Do you really want to spend the rest of your life
with me?"

I could tell he was thinking some deep thoughts.  "Yes I do."

"If we make a commitment to each other, would you be serious about changing
to be like me?"

"Become a vampire, like you?  I never thought about it," I said slowly.

"I only ask because I just don't think I could stand to see you grow old
and die," Jeff said.  "But we don't have to do anything right away.  You
could still enjoy your life for several more years."

"The sooner, the better," I finally told him, making a snap decision.
"What about tonight?"

"No, I think we need to think this through and prepare for it.  But only if
you really are serious about an eternal commitment."

"Okay, what more do you want me to do?" I said, being a bit flip.  After
that Jeff lapsed into silence.  Again I drifted off as he drove on into the
night.

It was about 4:30 in the morning when we finally pulled to a stop in front
of an old colonial style home.  "This is the place," Jeff said as he
stopped the car and roused me.  I looked up at the big house.  Jeff opened
the door and then pulled out our bags from the trunk.  "Come on," he said
as I slowly climbed out of the car into the chill air of the morning.

"Where the hell are we?" I asked.

"Provincetown, Massachusetts."

"Provincetown?  What are we doing here?"

Jeff just laughed.  "We're on vacation.  Now come on.  I told the innkeeper
that we would be arriving early in the morning, around 4:00 a.m.  He said
he would be up to let us in."

We hefted out bags out of the car and walked up the steps and then along
the winding sidewalk to a wide veranda.  Stepping up onto the porch, we
stopped at the front door and Jeff rang the doorbell.  In just a few
moments an attractive young man opened the door.  "Welcome," he said as he
held the door for us.  "You must be Mr. Smythe.  I'm Tom.  We spoke on the
phone."

We all shook hands as he welcomed us to his bed and breakfast inn and I
apologized for our early morning arrival.  He didn't seem to mind at all
and grabbing a couple of our suitcases, led us upstairs to the guest rooms.
We spoke in whispers so as not to disturb the other lodgers, and he showed
us to a lovely old bedroom furnished in antiques.  "Make yourselves at
home," our innkeeper said, and told us that breakfast was available from
7:00 am to 10:00.  Jeff told him that because of our late arrival, we would
probably sleep in today and he doubted we would be up before evening.  He
just smiled and told us whatever our schedule would be was entirely up to
us.  He gave us some information on mealtimes, and things to see and do in
the area and told us if we had any questions or needed anything at all, to
just ask and he'd be more than happy to help.

After he had gone, Jeff locked the door and turned to me.  "Isn't this a
much nicer place to stay?" he asked.  "I feel more at home, surrounded by
the trappings of my own time, a more civilized era."

"Yes it does look like a room right out of the 1800s, except for the phone
on the desk, and what do you think is in this cabinet?"  I opened the doors
on a tall antique looking cabinet.  "Why, it's a color TV."

"You just can't give up your 20th century, can you?" my lover asked with a
crooked smile on his face.

"I'm just teasing you," I said.  "It is very nice."

"You know how you said you were willing to make a commitment and spend your
life with me?" Jeff asked.

"Yes."

He dropped to one knee and took my hand.  "Frank Williams, will you marry
me?"

I was at a loss for words.  At first I thought he was joking, but I could
see the seriousness in those green eyes.  This was totally unexpected.  I
thought he wanted us to live together and possibly to make me a vampire as
well, but to marry him, that was nothing I ever thought.  "I ... I don't
know what to say."

Jeff reached in his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet covered ring box.
"You could say yes."  He opened it and held it out to me.  Inside was a
beautiful gold band, plain and elegant.

"When did you get this?  Where?"

"When you were chatting with your friends at that restaurant.  Remember how
I went back to the hotel because I thought I had forgotten my wallet?
Actually I slipped down the street to a jewelry store."  He smiled at me.
"In my time, two men would probably be hanged if they were found having
sex.  But in this time, we can at least commit to each other.  It may not
be a legal marriage, but we can have everything but that piece of paper.
You just have to say yes."  What else could I do?  I nodded as I blinked
back the tears.  "I'll accept that," Jeff said and stood up, grabbing me in
a bone crushing hug.  He slipped the ring on my finger and kissed me
firmly, and then said, "There is one other big difference in our marriage
from what I might have expected in my time."

"What's that?" I asked.

"In my time, I would not be expected to have sexual relations with my
fianc‚ until after we were wed.  In this time, it seems that two people
most likely would not think of marriage until after they have had sexual
relations."

"Well, we want to make sure we are sexually compatible."

Jeff laughed again.  "I am pretty sure you and I are sexually compatible."

"I'm not so sure.  Perhaps we ought to test it out just to make sure."

Jeff laughed and replied, "You already said yes.  You are mine now.  We
will just have to begin our honeymoon."

As we held each other we chatted about our plans.  "Did you just get the
ring for me?  I don't have one for you," I said.

"No, I picked up a matching pair," Jeff told me.  "What about our names.
Do you wish to be Francis Smythe, or shall I become Jefferson Wesley
Williams?"

"A lot of married couples today retain their own names," I told him.  "I
think it might be a lot less confusing to stay with who we are.  Unless you
think changing your name would help avoid detection by your father."

"No."  Sadness crept into his eyes.  "I'm sure he will find me no matter
what name I may use."

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bring that up."

"We shall put it behind us for now," Jeff said as he pulled me closer to
him.  "Where else would you like to go on your honeymoon?" he asked me.

"I'll go anywhere in the world as long as you're there."

"Well," Jeff thought a minute.  "I've often thought it might be interesting
to see Chicago."

"Then Chicago it is.  I'll book us a night flight and we'll spend some time
examining the windy city."

We spent the next few days shopping and seeing the sights.  It was a quaint
town and lots of fun, plus very gay friendly.  We never managed to have
breakfast at our bed and breakfast, but the dinners were exquisite even if
I was the only one eating.  We got to be on a very friendly basis with the
owner and his lover.  They congratulated us on our commitment to each other
and wished us the best in life.  After a few days of enjoying all that
Provincetown had to offer, the two of us headed for the airport in Boston.
It was just a two and a half hour drive, but I couldn't help but feel the
excitement.  I was part of a committed relationship.  I had a permanent
lover.  I knew it didn't really change anything, but it meant something
special to him and to me, and that was all that mattered.

We arrived at Logan in record time and went to check in.  Jeff and I were
seated in the waiting area for our late night flight to Chicago.  I leaned
over and gave him a kiss on the cheek and told him I would be right back.
I had to use the restroom.  He smiled and leaned back in his chair while I
stood and headed down the corridor to the men's room.  I had thought how
convenient it was for him, never having to go to the bathroom, or at least
not on the same schedule as humans did.  I stepped into the stall and
relieved myself, then walked over to the counter of sinks and washed my
hands.  I looked up into the mirror and saw an odd older man staring at me.
He was tall and thick set with long bushy grey hair that stuck out as if he
hadn't bothered to comb it in some time.  He was watching me intently.  My
first thought was that he was some old letch trying to pick up a trick in
the bathroom.  But as I turned he stepped closer to me with an ominous look
on his face.  "Oh no," I thought, "He's going to try and rob me."  I
wondered if I could dart past him or yell loud enough to draw attention to
us.  But before I could even make a move he swung his fist faster than I
would have believed humanly possible.  I felt the intense pain in my jaw
and fell back, my head crashing into the tile wall and then everything went
black.

 

 

 

 

 

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