Tales of a Night Walker
By Bert McKenzie
Copyright 2010

Chapter 26

"I'm sorry, I just found him interesting," Tony said as he and I chatted
back at my apartment.

"I am surprised, since no one else I've been acquainted with can stand the
man.  But perhaps you see something in him no one else does," I replied.  I
was uncomfortable since Tony and I had to share a bedroom.  Harriet was
going to bunk in with Kelly for the short time the two of them were here.
They would do the sightseeing bit and take in a few other Broadway shows
before returning to Kansas.

"Yeah, well maybe you just haven't looked hard enough," Tony continued.

"You certainly should have found something, since you spent the entire
evening at the party talking to him," I noted.

"Well you were surrounded by your adoring fans.  I didn't have anyone else
to talk to."

"Kelly and Harriet were there," I remarked.  "And I even saw Mr. Petrov
from across the hall.  I was surprised that he was there.  Apparently the
man knows everyone in this city.  He told me I reminded him of a young
Laurence Olivier, whoever that was."

Tony stripped naked and fell onto the bed.  "Just like I said.  You had
your fans."

"I don't mean to argue," I said as I climbed into bed in my shorts and a t
shirt.  "You're certainly welcome to visit with whomever you want.  It's
just that Russ is such a creep.  And I think he's the kind of person to
take advantage of someone like you."

Tony shrugged.  "Like you'd ever notice."

"What is that supposed to mean?" I asked angrily.

"You don't even notice the people around you, who love you."  I suddenly
realized he was crying.  "I love you.  Do you know what I would give to
have you as a lover?"  The young man sobbed into his pillow.

I felt horrible.  I had no idea he had become infatuated with me.  I
reached over and put an arm around him to comfort him and he just pulled me
on top of him, kissing me.  I tried to break free but he was very
passionate and I soon felt the stirrings I had tried to suppress these past
few years.  I began to kiss him back.  In the back of my mind I thought I
really shouldn't be doing this, but my body didn't listen to my mind.


* * *

"The notices are great," Peter was saying as we drove to the theatre.  "But
I don't think it's a good idea to have an overly long run in this.  Once
your contract is up, I think we need to get you into something else, maybe
film.  I've got some offers for you to consider.  And some commercials."

"What?" I asked as I turned away from the window and looked back at the
young man.

"Are you alright, Mr. Smythe?" Peter asked.  "You seem awfully
preoccupied."

"I'm sorry," I replied.  "I'm just a little preoccupied."

"That's what I said," Peter answered.

"What did you say?"

"Nevermind," Peter replied, a little concerned.

The show went well but my heart wasn't in it.  I just kept thinking of
Tony.  He had taken a leave of absence to stay with me in New York when he
should have been back at his job in Kansas.  The current play at their
community theatre was being guest directed by someone else.  Harriet warned
me that the current board of directors at the theatre in Auburn wouldn't
wait long before replacing him.  Meanwhile, the critics loved our show and
I was instantly popular, but the producers weren't as pleased with me.
Apparently Russ had been bad mouthing me to them and someone was actually
listening to him.  They were already looking for a replacement to take over
for me when my contract expired.  That seemed to solve my dilemma.  As soon
as the show was recast Tony and I could return to Kansas.  As Peter road
home with me, we had a discussion about my future.  "You are popular right
now, so now is the time to ride that crest of popularity.  We need to keep
you in the public's eye.  When you are out of this play, we'll have to find
something else for you," Peter said.  "You might want to consider a
commercial or two, or maybe a soap opera.  We might even consider a musical
if you can sing."

I laughed.  "I've never really thought of myself as a singer.  I was in the
church choir growing up, but that was a very, very long time ago."

Peter blushed and just nodded.  "I'll find you something."

"I'm not so sure I want to do this," I admitted.  "I only did this play
because you kind of pushed me into it.  I may want to go back to Kansas
with Kelly and Tony."

Peter gave an involuntary shudder at the thought.

The next day Peter came over in the early afternoon.  "I'd like you to
consider this offer," he said as he presented the contract to me.  We were
sitting in the living room.

"A movie?  Would that mean I'll have to move to California?"

"No," Peter assured me.  "You can still live here.  You'll be on location
in Europe for a while, and then there are some scenes filmed in the Midwest
and some wrap up work in a studio in Hollywood.  But that's all just
temporary.  You will get an awful lot of money for this and it's only work
for a few months."

"I'm just not so sure," I replied but I thought if I could live here and
work elsewhere, why couldn't I live in Kansas and work elsewhere.

 "Well think it over for a few days, but we have to act quickly on this.
They will want to start production as soon as possible.  As soon as you can
get out of the play and they hire your replacement, then everything's
ready.  The movie company just lost their star and are interested in you to
take over the lead.  We can be leaving for the location shots as soon as
you're free."

"I'll definitely consider it." I agreed.  "And you think we can do this
despite my restrictions?  And a trip to Europe, that sounds exciting but
how will we manage that?" I asked as I escorted my manager to the door.

"It shouldn't be a problem," Peter said.  "There are night flights, and we
take special precautions at the airports.  We just write all this into your
contract.  These people are used to dealing with temperamental stars who
expect all sorts of special treatment.  Or in a worst case scenario we can
always have you shipped."

I gave he a shocked look.  "Shipped?  As in crated and sent as so much dry
goods?  Would I go by rail or in one of the backs of those big semi
trucks?"  Peter blushed furiously.  I could tell I had poked him enough.
"Well it's a mute point since my contract isn't up for a couple of months
anyway."  We shook hands in the hall and he stepped into the elevator.

Just as I was about to step back into the apartment, Mr. Petrov opened his
door.  "Jefferson, just the man I was about to come find.  Would you do me
the honor of coming in and speaking with me?"

"Of course," I replied and followed the older man into his apartment.

"Please have a seat," the old vampire said, indicating one of the straight
backed chairs.  "My friend Magda tells me you are troubled," the older man
began.

"Troubled?" I asked in surprise.  "I don't know what she means."

"She says you have had some difficulty with your co-star."

"Oh, well, the guy is a jerk and I suppose he has been telling tales to the
producers.  But how did Magda know this?" I asked in surprise.  Magda was
one of the red headed witch twins we had met at the dinner party the man
gave some weeks ago.

"She is very sensitive to what goes on around us," he replied.  "I want to
speak to you, Jefferson, as a man of many years' experience.  I know you
are young, so as a man of more age, let me tell you this, it does not pay
to be involved with humans.  I know you have a different morality, but
believe me when I say, they are only good for one thing...supper."  He
laughed at his own joke.

"Yes," I said smiling politely.  "I'm sure you mean well, but..."

"Please accept my apologies," the older man said, and then leaned closer.
"And please give my regards to your co-star, Mr. Neworth when you go to the
theatre today.  And please do so this evening earlier than you normally
would."

"I don't understand," I said, confused at the specific instructions given
to me by the older vampire.

"Just do as I say, child," the man said a bit sharply.  "I am old, humor
me.  Give my regards to Mr. Neworth in his dressing room an hour earlier
than you normally arrive at the theater."  The older vampire stood and
walked to the door grumbling to himself.  "If it were an earlier time I'd
just feast on the fool and be done with this drama."

Feeling very uncomfortable, I left the apartment, returning to my own and
getting ready to leave for the day.  I called Willie on the intercom to
request a cab, and then headed downstairs to go to the theatre early as
instructed by my neighbor.  A short time later I was walking through the
stage door.  The man in the back office looked up to see me and grew
visibly nervous.  "Good afternoon, Mr. Smythe," he said a bit loudly.
"You're here early.  Will you go directly to your dressing room, sir?"

I looked at the man wondering at his odd behavior, and noting the rapid
increase in his heartbeat.  I sensed fear.  "Good afternoon.  Yes, I'll be
in my dressing room."

I walked across the hallway and up the stairway to the dressing rooms.  As
I approached I heard the phone in Russ' room ringing.  It went unanswered.
I thought to stop as my neighbor suggested, but wondered why if no one was
answering the phone.  Russ must not be in.  I noticed the door ajar and I
looked inside, expecting to find the room empty, but was stopped in shock.
There on a couch to the side of the room was Russ, naked from the waist
down.  His hips were working as he had sex with someone bent over the
couch.  No wonder he didn't answer the phone.  I was about to quietly turn
and walk away when the audible groans coming from Russ' partner caught my
attention.  I looked a bit more closely.

Russ Neworth was pumping his dick in and out of a man's ass, one that
seemed to look a bit familiar.  As I looked closely, he realized the man
bent over the couch was my own current bed partner, Tony.  Russ looked up
to see me in the doorway and just smiled as he continued to hump into the
man in front of him.  Tony's eyes were closed and his face was screwed up
in a grimace of pain or pleasure, it was impossible to tell which, although
I had seen that facial expression just the night before, when we had made
love.

I turned away and walked to my dressing room as Russ began to laugh.  I
closed the door and sat at my makeup station.  I felt cold inside, colder
than I normally was on the outside.  I wasn't sure what to do.  I gripped
the front of the counter before me and tried to remember to breathe.  Part
of me wanted to return to the other dressing room and open the throat of
the other actor.  I thought about drinking the man dry, tossing his corpse
aside and then turning to Tony, biting his carotid artery.  I knew now what
Mr. Petrov meant, and I almost succumbed to the irrational desire.  It
wasn't about the burning thirst in the back of my throat.  It was about
anger and revenge.  I was strong, I was a vampire.  I could easily destroy
these stupid humans, and then leave the theatre, making a new life
elsewhere.

The loud cracking sound startled me, and I looked down to see that my
fingers had just crushed and broken part of the front of the counter.  I
tossed the splintered wood aside and stood up quickly, a bit too quickly,
the chair flying across the room.  It felt good to move, to move as a
vampire moved.  I stepped to the closed door and gave it a gentle kick.  It
flew off its hinges, crashing into the opposite wall.  I then stepped down
the hall to the next dressing room and pushed the door open.  Tony was just
pulling up his jeans as I stepped in.  "Mr. Petrov sends his regards," I
said to Russ.  The man was still standing in his costume shirt.  Tony
turned in surprised, his face registering first shock, and then fear.

Neworth just sneared at me.  "Who the hell is Mr. Petrov?" he asked.

"Maybe you'd like to meet him," I responded and moved so swiftly across the
room I appeared to disappear in one spot and appear in another.  I grabbed
Russ by the front of his shirt and lifted him off the floor.  The man began
to swing and tried to hit me, but I just ran across the room with him and
out the door.  From Tony's perspective the two of us just vanished.

Russ couldn't breathe for a moment.  Everything moved so quickly.  He then
found himself dangling from the grid, 100 feet over the stage floor.  I
crouched on the metal framework that held the pulleys and cables for the
various lines that raised the curtain and other bits of moving scenery and
lighting.  I still held Russ by the front of his shirt, dangling him in the
air.  "Don't...don't drop me!" the man screamed as he realized his
precarious position.

"Why?" I asked in a low, throaty growl.  There was a tearing sound and the
fabric of the shirt began to give way.  Russ grabbed for my arm, screaming
in fear.  It would be so easy to simply let him fall the same way Armand
had fallen those many years ago.  But something inside me made me stop.
This is something my father might do, or something Armand might do.  I was
better than that.  I slowly pulled the man back up and set him down on the
metal gridwork, releasing him.  "Go!" I commanded, and the man ran quickly
across the grid and down the wooden stairway that led to the stage floor so
far below.  I sat back, in the dust on the metal structure and wondered
what I would do next.

Sometime later, I walked into my dressing room to find Tony sitting there,
calmly in a chair.  "The stage manager was looking for you," Tony said.  I
calmly sat down and began to apply my makeup as if it was any other
ordinary performance.  "Can we talk?" Tony asked.  I glanced at him in the
mirror as I continued to apply the pancake and liner, but said nothing.
"I'm sorry, Jeff.  I just felt that I needed something...something
different.  Something more."  I stood up and began to change, hanging up my
street clothes and putting on my act one costume.  "Won't you please say
something?"

"I have a job to do," I replied and stepped out the doorway and headed down
to the stage.

The stage manager was waiting in the wings, obviously in great agitation.
"Darrin is going on for Russ, tonight," he said to me.  "We don't know
where Russ went.  He just ran out the door, saying you were crazy."  The
stage manager was obviously very upset.  "We've got everything covered, but
if you did something to Russ you better expect Equity to bring you up on
charges."

"Oh, knock it off," Patty said as she came across the stage.  "Darrin will
do a better job in the part than Russ ever did."  She stepped through the
door and onto the stage to get in place for the curtain.  I took my place
behind the door and glanced over to see the understudy in the wings,
looking at his script one last time.

The show went remarkably well.  After the curtain call, I returned to my
dressing room to find a large arrangement of flowers sitting on what
remained of the counter.  I opened the card and read it.  "Sorry," was all
it said, in Tony's handwriting.  I tore the note up and tossed it in the
trash, then leaned over the counter and let the tears come to my eyes.
After a moment I felt a hand on my shoulder.  I looked up into the mirror
to see Kelly standing there.  "Tony told me what he did," she said in a low
voice.  "I'm so sorry Jeff.  I guess I should have warned you.  He's never
been one to settle.  He's always been promiscuous, but I thought maybe this
time it would be different.  I'm so sorry.  I guess you just weren't ready
for a guy like him."  She gave me a hug.

Peter suddenly bustled into the room.  "My God, Mr. Smythe, what did you
do.  I had calls from the theatre, from the agency, from the stage manager,
from the producers.  What happened to Mr. Neworth?"

I turned to face my manager/agent.  "He almost had an accident," I growled.
I'm sure he could see the red spark in my eyes.

Peter took a quick step back.  "He's not... He isn't dead is he?"

I shook my head.  "Not yet."

"Come on, Jeff.  Let's go home," Kelly said.  I mechanically got up and
began removing my costume, hanging it back on the wardrobe rack.

Kelly and Peter left the room to wait for me outside.  But even through the
closed door, I could easily hear their conversation.  "You don't think he'd
actually...kill someone, do you?" Peter asked quietly.

Kelly replied after a moment.  "I've seen it happen before.  You know what
he is.  People shouldn't mess with him."

"Not to worry," I said as I opened the door.  They turned to find me
already dressed in my street clothes and standing with them.  "I've just
learned some valuable lessons that took me a while to digest," I said.  "No
offense, but humans just aren't to be trusted when it comes to the affairs
of the heart.  I'm in control of myself.  Let's go."

We stepped out the stage door to be met with a number of fans wanting my
autograph.  I smiled politely and quickly signed the books and programs
shoved into my hands.  We then stepped down the short steps and found a
limousine waiting for us.  I assumed Peter had ordered a car and opened the
door to step in when Peter called to me.  "That's not our..."

Hands reached out and pulled me in, the door slammed and the car took off.
I sat back on the seat in surprise to find myself flanked by two large,
well muscled men.  Sitting opposite me on the plush seat was a strange
looking, thin man with a grey beard, dressed in a grey suit and trench
coat.  "You're Jefferson Wesley Smythe the third," he said.  It wasn't a
question but I felt I needed to respond.

"Yes, I am."

"I'm pleased to make your acquaintance.  I'm Benjamin Bristol with the Van
Helsing Foundation.  We've been looking for you for a number of years."

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                    Back      Main     Next

                                                                       Discussion Forum