Tales of a Night Walker
By Bert McKenzie
(c) 2010

Chapter 27

"If you didn't order a car, who was that?" Kelly asked in shock.

"I don't know!" Peter said in surprise.  "You don't think Russ Neworth
hired someone to do something?"

"I hope so," Kelly replied.  "If it was him, Jeff can take care of
himself."

"If it wasn't him, who could it be?" Peter asked.

"Maybe we should call the police," she replied.

*     *     *

Back at the apartment, there was nothing out of the ordinary.  Kelly looked
for Tony but he wasn't home either.  Peter excused himself and said he
would go to his office and make some calls.  He wanted to let Jefferson's
own people know what had happened.  After a while, fearing the worst and
not knowing what to do, Kelly screwed up her courage and stepped across the
hall to tap at Mr. Petrov's door.  Boris, the old vampire's manservant
opened the door.  "Miss, the master is not in," he said abruptly.  But no
sooner were the words from his mouth than Kelly heard the other man in the
background.

"Of course I am in to her, Boris.  Let the lady enter."

"I'm ... I'm sorry to bother you at this late hour," she began nervously.

The older man, dressed in a dressing gown, came and took her hand, leading
her into the room and to sit on the couch beside him.  "What is it, my
dear?  I can see you are upset.  Has Jefferson done something to upset
you?"

"He's gone," she burst out.

"Oh?"  The old vampire didn't seem to register any surprise.

"We were leaving the theatre.  He had a rough night what with the fight and
all."

"Fight?  Tell me about it."

Kelly didn't know how much to say.  "Well, he had a disagreement with Russ
Neworth, the other actor in the show.  I guess he did something to scare
him, and Neworth left.  They had to get the understudy to go on."

"Marvelous, and did Jefferson 'go on' as well?" he asked.

"Yes, they said he was brilliant.  I got a call from my nephew.  Apparently
he ... he had..."

Her host patted her hand.  "There, there, my dear.  I know what you are
trying to say.  I have seen it all before, many times.  At least your
nephew called you.  I feared he and that other human were making an
assignation when I saw them at the opening night party."

"Yes, well," Kelly sniffed.  "We were leaving the theatre and there was a
limo waiting by the door.  Jeff and I assumed that Peter, his agent had
called for it, but he didn't.  When Jeff opened the door, some men grabbed
him and pulled him in and it sped off."  She caught her breath and paused
for a moment.  "We don't know where he is or who they were or anything."

The old vampire sat back.  "I fear I know.  This may be partly my fault.  I
should have warned the boy."

"I thought maybe Russ..."

The older man shook his head.  "No, it is just that your friend became too
noticeable.  This is why we all live sheltered lives.  If any of us grow
too noticeable, the Van Helsing Foundation is always waiting in the wings."

"The Van Helsing Foundation?  I've never heard of them."

The vampire shook his head.  "As I said this is my fault.  I knew they were
around.  I should have warned him not to be so public, so visible.  They
are a group of fanatics who are sworn to save the human race from vampires.
They make no distinction between good or bad.  They only live to kill us
off."

"Oh my gosh," Kelly said in fear.  "And you think these people may be the
ones who kidnapped Jeff?"

"I heard only today that they were in town and planning to snatch a
prominent vampire.  My foolish pride caused me to believe I was the
target."  Petrov jumped up and began to move so quickly Kelly could only
see a bit of a blur.  In a moment he was standing beside her, dressed in a
black suit and tie.  "You will go to your apartment and wait for some word
from someone.  It may be from your nephew, or from your friend.  But do not
despair.  I shall go do what I can to find out where he is.  I will call
you if I have any information."  With that he disappeared, leaving Kelly
sitting alone on the couch.  She got up and crossed the hall to her
apartment.

A few minutes later there was a gentle tap at her door.  She opened it to
find the two sisters, Magda and Olga standing there dressed in their
matching caftans.  "Vladimir asked us to look in on you," one of them
began.  "We want to make sure you are safe and have company," the other
continued.  "These are dark and trying times."

Kelly opened the door wider and escorted them into the living room.  They
made themselves comfortable on the couch and one pulled the coffee table
close to them while the other opened a bag to pull out a deck of tarot
cards.  She immediately began to lay them out on the table in the spread of
the Celtic cross.  Her sister watched intently, shaking her head and
clucking her tongue from time to time as each new card was revealed.
Kelly, no stranger to the tarot also looked at the cards, her concern
mounting.  "My darling, you need to prepare yourself for a difficult time,"
one sister began.  "The Tower of Destruction indicates a period of trial,
and the Death card indicates a traumatic change."

"Someone is going to die!" Kelly said nervously.

"Honey, considering the people involved, some of them are already dead,"
one of the women said with a laugh.

"Or undead," the other twin chimed in.

* * *

"What do you want of me?" I asked again as the two men pulled me along.  I
had struggled, but found myself no match for them.  I didn't think they
were vampires, but they were extremely strong whatever they were.  I was
pretty sure they weren't human.  At least I didn't think they could
possibly be human since I should have been able to overpower any human.

Benjamin Bristol led the way down a corridor in what looked like some old,
deserted building.  "I want what people have wanted for the last two
millennia.  I want to make sure the human race is safe.  To do that, we are
dedicated to eliminating your kind.  Our reports say that you have cheated
death a number of times already.  This time I will make sure it happens
correctly."

"But you're wrong," I said as they continued on down the corridor.  "I'm no
threat to your kind."

"But you are an abomination.  God hates abominations and it is our charge
to eliminate them," the man continued.  "According to our records you have
done our work for us by eliminating Jefferson Wesley Smythe the second and
Armand DuBois and his sister Felicity DuBois."

"I didn't kill Felicity," I said.  "Nor did I kill my father.  That was
accomplished by a friend of mine."

"No matter, they are gone.  That is the end result we wanted, so we no
longer need to waste precious resources on them."

They turned a corner leading me through two large double doors and into a
room that had no roof.  We walked to the center of the floor and looked
down into what appeared to be a well.  It was a pit with smooth sides and a
flat, concrete bottom.  Bristol pointed his large flashlight down into the
pit, illuminating it and revealing it to be about 30 feet to the bottom.
Sitting against the wall at the bottom was Tony.  "You will get to join
your friend at the bottom.  He is a collaborator, so I'm afraid he must die
too.  When you burst into flames tomorrow at noon, you will incinerate
him."  I could see that the well wasn't wide enough for us to be far apart.
It was maybe four feet in diameter.  "Now down you go," the man said.  I
suddenly felt the intense pain coursing through my body and everything went
black.

Sometime later I came to.  I was on my back looking up at the stars far
above.  I groaned and tried to sit up.  "Jeff, are you alright," Tony asked
nervously.

 "Tony, I'm okay.  Where are they?" I asked, looking about.

"They're gone.  They hit you with a stun gun and knocked you out, then
dumped you in here.  I thought they would just leave, but one of the big
guys was lowered down on a rope, and he chained you to a ring in the floor.
Then they pulled him back up and left us in the dark."

I felt around and found thick iron shackles on my legs, attached to a short
chain fixed to a ring set in the concrete.  This was getting too familiar.
This was the third time I had been chained and I was really growing tired
of it.  I realized why they had done this, because the 30 foot distance was
probably short enough for me to jump if I was free.  "This won't take but a
second," I told Tony and pulled on the chain.  I was extremely surprised
that it wouldn't give.  I tugged harder, braced my feet and pulled with all
my strength but I was unable to break it.  "I should be able to break
this," I said in surprise.

"The obnoxious little man said it was a special alloy and some kind of
specially blessed metal that even a strong vampire wouldn't be able to
break it," Tony explained.

"Specially blessed?  That's bullshit.  I should be able to break it."  I
pulled and tried again, but didn't make any headway.  "This doesn't look
good," I said nervously.  What a trap they had left.  When the sun was
directly overhead tomorrow, it would shine down in the hole and I would
burst into flame, taking care of both me and Tony.  These people would be
far away.  I kept tugging on the chain but it didn't budge.  Even with my
vampire strength I was immobilized.

The night wore on.  Tony apologized over and over for his indiscretion with
Russ.  I finally told him to shut up as he was getting on my nerves.  The
thirst was beginning to get to me as well.  It had been quite some time
since I drank, and Tony was beginning to look more and more like food by
the minute.  I wondered if I could break the chain if I had ingested human
blood.  But then that was probably part of the Van Helsing Foundation's
plan.  They would want me to kill my companion, proving I was a killer
before they had their retribution by incinerating me.  Finally we could see
the sky above change from inky dark blue to a lighter color and finally a
brilliant azure.  I couldn't look up as the brightness seemed to hurt my
eyes.  "It's daylight," Tony said in realization.  "Jeff, what will happen
when the sun shines down into here?"

"Well, when it hits me, I'll burst into flame."

"You mean, you'll die?" he asked in shock.

"No, I mean we'll both die," I told him.  "You're just too close and I'm
afraid I'll probably incinerate you as well."

"Shit!"

I finally saw the sunlight beginning to hit the edge of the well.  I
squeezed against the east wall, but I knew that wasn't going to keep me
safe for long at all.  It would only be a matter of minutes until it would
all be over.  Ever so rapidly the band of light began to crawl down the
wall making it brighter and brighter.  As the sun grew closer, I began to
see things.  The waves of heat from the concrete beside me became almost
palpable.  I tried to pull further into the shade, but I could only delay
the inevitable end by perhaps a minute.

Suddenly it was dark.  It was as if a solar eclipse had suddenly hit and
the well was again plunged into night.  Both Tony and I looked up but could
see nothing.  And then a voice came out of the darkness.  "Just hang on
another twenty minutes or so until the sun has passed the zenith and then
we can get you out," it said.  That was probably the longest twenty minutes
of my life.  Then it was light again, but not the bright light shining down
into our well.  The sun had indeed passed us by.  "What do you need?" the
voice asked

"A rope to get Tony out of here," I shouted back.  A rope dropped down and
I carefully tied it around my young friend.  "Okay, he's ready," I yelled
back up.  Slowly the rope was pulled up and Tony gradually was lifted
higher and higher until he was pulled out over the edge.

"Catch this," the voice shouted back down and a bottle dropped to me.  I
caught it and looked.  It was corked and filled with blood.  I quickly
pulled the stopper and began to drink.  I could feel the life coming back
to me.  When I had finished the bottle the voice shouted.  "Now come on,
break the shackles.  You can do it.  They only trapped you because you
hadn't eaten in so long."  I pulled at the chain but had the same result.
I then pulled on the metal shackles on my ankle.  Nothing.  "What kind of a
wimp are you?  You can't even break a little piece of metal like that?"
That did it.  The taunting made me angry and with a growl, I snapped the
metal band around my ankle.  I then squatted down and with a burst of
energy, managed to leap up, the thirty feet, catching my hands on the edge
of the pit and easily pulling myself out.

"I knew you could do it," the man said as he grinned at me.  "We just had
to get you mad enough."  He held out his hand.  "Craig Langston.  I work
for you."  The man had incredibly good looks and a winning smile.  I had to
smile back as I took his hand and shook it.

"You work for me?  I'm sorry but I don't..."

"Your office?  I work for it, doing odd jobs, kind of like this.  Actually
I am usually an accountant in your office going over your stocks and bonds,
but I really do enjoy the field work now and then."  I looked around and
saw Tony waiting nervously nearby, and then I spotted the silver tarp.  It
was erected overhead keeping the sun off of the hole and making a nice
shade for us.  The light still shined down into the room because of the
missing roof.  The man, Craig, noticed me examining the makeshift canopy.
"I always carry that in my car trunk in case of such emergencies.  Here,"
he said, as he held out what looked kind of like a silver trench coat.
"This should keep you nice and safe till we get to the car."

I slipped it on and we made a dash for the doors and the resulting darkness
of the building.  Tony and I followed the man back down the corridors until
we got to the street.  Then it was just a short dash to the car with its
tinted windows.  "How did you know where to find us?" I asked.

 "Vlad Petrov provided us with a list of addresses where you might be.  I
got lucky.  This was only the fourth place I looked.  This is apparently a
location where the Van Helsing nut jobs have taken other vamps."  Langston
drove us back to the apartment.

Willie met us in the parking garage.  "Are you okay, Mr. Smythe?" he asked.
He seemed really anxious.  "We never had any of those crazy Van Helsing
people come around here before."

"I'm fine, thanks," I replied.  "And thank you, Mr. Langston," I said to
the man who was still beside us.

"Call me Craig.  And I'm sticking with you till you're on stage.  That's
what a body guard does."

"I thought you were an accountant."

"I was also special ops with the military before I ever came to work for
you," he replied.  "During the show I'll take this young man to the airport
so he can catch a plane back to Kansas with his aunt."

"But I want to stay," Tony protested.

"I do think it would be best if you went home.  And you probably should
take Kelly with you," I said.  "It's not safe for either of you here.  But
I'm not sure I'm going back to the theater."

 "You can and you will," Vladimir Petrov said, suddenly appearing at my
side.  "You have an audience to entertain, and we are not going to run from
these crazy people any longer!"

      * * *

Kelly was sad to be leaving me, but I think she realized she had to take
Tony back or he would lose his job in Kansas, and she could also tell by my
attitude that his presence here was no longer welcome.  Although I would
miss the company, Kelly was becoming much too motherly for me.  I think she
detected a change in my attitude after this recent experience and decided
it was time to return home.  I promised to come see them when I was
finished with the movie that I agreed to do for Peter.  I gave Kelly a
brief hug, and then Craig and I climbed into a limo and headed for the
theater.  Mr. Petrov would stay with my human friends until Craig got back
to escort them to the airport.

The show went flawlessly thanks in part to the use of the understudy for
the role formerly played by Russ.  Sure enough Actors Equity had a
representative at the theater waiting for me.  There was also a lawsuit
filed stating that I physically threatened and intimidated Russ Neworth so
that he was unable to continue in his job.  Pat laughed and said she would
testify to all the times he had harassed us as well.  She was sure between
her testimony and mine, and anyone on the crew, including the stage manager
and possibly even Jason the director, Neworth would be in big time trouble.
She was sure any lawsuit or Equity charges would be dropped pretty quickly.
I thanked her for the offer, but decided it was time to end my contract and
let another actor take over the part.  I could tell I had worn out my
welcome, not to mention being a continuous target for the Van Helsings if I
stayed with the show.

At the end of the show, after the final curtain, I returned to my dressing
room and found Craig waiting for me.  Gods, he was handsome, but I told
myself I wasn't going to get involved with any more humans.  Still I felt
myself drawn to his open and witty personality.

We left the theater and Craig rode with me all the way home, escorting me
to my apartment.  He followed me in and I must have shown my surprise.
"Hey, I'm not leaving my boss alone for those wack jobs to come back.  I'm
living here until you fly to London.  I'll stay in Kelly's room."

"You may be my temporary body guard, but I am still the boss," I told him.
"So I'd like to make some decisions about my life.  First off, despite what
Peter might say, I don't want to be a movie star.  I'm only doing this
because I would like to visit Europe, and it wouldn't hurt to earn some
money.  I understand that this movie will seriously impact my bank
account."  Craig nodded.  "After that, I'm not sure where I will go or what
I will do, but I think I'm going to take Mr. Petrov's advice and go back
underground, so to speak.  This job of being an actor is a bit too
visible."

"I thoroughly concur," Craig agreed.  "Just keep a little better
communication with those of us who work for you.  I mean what's the point
of having an organization that manages your money and is waiting to do what
it takes to keep you safe if you just disappear like you tend to do?"

I agreed with him and that seemed to mollify him and alleviate his
concerns.  I then got a bottle of blood from the fridge, microwaved it a
bit and retired to my bedroom.  I sat down and turned on the television to
provide background noise, then sat and mused over the happenings of the
last two days.  I felt my interest strongly drawn towards this young
accountant-turned-bodyguard.  I wondered what it would be like to keep him
with me, take him to London and on as I made this movie, then we could find
a little place in the country somewhere, maybe in the south of France and
retire in peace for a while.  Those pleasant thoughts ran through my head
until a finally fell asleep.


 

 

 

 

 

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