Tales of a Night Walker
By Bert McKenzie
Copyright 2010

Chapter 33

Okay, I guess I accept that this guy is a vampire.  I've actually seen him
drink hot blood.  He microwaves a bottle of it right out of the fridge.
It's kind of creepy, but Grams was right.  He really is an alright guy.
And he's quite a fox too.  If he was a little younger, or I was a little
older...What am I saying?  He's only 23, that's like a five year
difference.  Then again he says he's really 210.  That is way out of my
dating range.  Who am I kidding?  He'd never be interested in a guy like
me.  I'm just too much of a...nerd, geek, loser, take your pick.  If I was
normal I'd have friends and I'd be staying with one of them.  Besides, a
vampire wouldn't be interested in me for anything other than lunch.  That
would be too weird, dating the guy who used to date my great uncle about
sixty years ago.  I didn't even know they had gay bars back then, of course
they probably didn't call them that.

But for the time being, I've fallen in the lap of luxury.  He seems willing
to buy me anything I want and to do anything for me.  I guess he feels he
owes it to me because of Grams.  They were really tight once.  He's even
talked about paying my way if I want to go to college.  He said it was
something he never had the chance to do.  I told him with his looks he
could still go and fit in, but he just laughed and said, "Yeah, night
school."  That's the one weird thing about him.  He just can't go anywhere
in the daytime.  Oh, that and the drinking blood thing.  But then I guess
I'm kind of weird in the not eating meat department.  When everyone else
was having burgers, I had to just eat the fries and a side salad so I
didn't throw up all over McDonalds.  Ralph, my one sort of friend in Kansas
City asked why my family never took me to a doctor to find out why I
couldn't eat meat, but my mom always said I was too healthy to go to
doctors.  Personally I think she was just too cheap to pay for it.  But
that's cool.  I don't think I've missed anything by avoiding the American
medical community.

Yesterday, Jeff showed me a real cool thing.  In the middle of the living
room there's a bookcase on a wall.  It's really a secret door that only
opens if you know how.  Jeff showed me.  Once you open it there's a small
curved stairway that goes down between the walls and through the basement.
I mean if you go to the actual basement you wouldn't see it because it's
inside the foundation wall.  Anyway, it leads to a tunnel that runs for a
long way underground.  It finally opens up in the woods, hidden by some
rocks and bushes and underbrush.  You'd never find it if you didn't know
where to look.  I thought it was really cool, but Jeff made me promise
never to let anyone know it was there.  He said that was our escape route
if we ever needed to get out in a hurry.  I thought why would we need to
get out in a hurry, but then again I guess vampires are naturally paranoid,
always afraid werewolves are after them.  I mean, I've seen the movies.

Tonight he said he wants to have a long talk with me.  I'm figuring here it
comes, the old "Gee I like you kid, but you gotta move on," speech.  Well I
knew it was too good to be true.  Kicked out by my drunken step dad.
Abandoned by my real father.  The only one who ever really loved me was
Grams and she had to go and die.  I ought to just leave before he has a
chance to kick me out.

* * *

I've been thinking about it all day and I have to tell Willow about his
father.  He read part of Sarah's diary, but I'm pretty sure he didn't read
all of it, at least not the part about his being part fairy.  And if he
did, he'd probably not understand or believe.  But after my experiences
years ago with Jayron and Flesar, I know they do exist.  All these years he
probably thought his father abandoned him, but it might have had more to do
with what the man was.  I can't believe the man would have willingly left
Willow, but who knows what happened.  I have to tell the boy.

He's not really a boy.  He may be only 18 but he's all man.  His body is
beautiful and his face is handsome.  If only he was a bit older...What am I
saying?  This is Sarah's grandson.  How can I have thoughts like that about
Willow?  He's totally innocent.  Of course he told me he was gay, but that
doesn't mean he's fair game.

"The mail's here," Willow said as he came into the room.  He handed me a
small envelope and then sat down, actually slumped in the chair, as if
waiting for something bad to happen.  He looked like he expected the
executioner.  I haven't seen him this depressed since he was telling me the
story of his step father.

I glanced at the envelope, thinking I would open it later, but it was
addressed to Jefferson Wesley Smythe III and I recognized the return
address.  It was Craig Langston in New York.  I turned it over and saw he
had written 'URGENT!' on the back of the envelope, right where it was
sealed.  I hadn't heard from Craig in a long time.  I slipped my finger
under the flap and ripped the envelope open.  I quickly scanned the letter,
and then read it again slowly, my anxiety increasing by the minute.

"Willow, how fast can you pack some bags?"

"I knew it," the boy said looking up at me with anger smoldering in his
eyes.  "I should have packed this afternoon like I thought and saved you
the trouble."

"What are you talking about?"

"What do you mean?  You're kicking me out.  Well, no prob, dude, I can be
gone in an hour."

"I'm not kicking you out.  I don't know where you got that idea.  But we're
both leaving as soon as possible.  It will be dark in about three hours and
we've got to be gone long before then.  Now get moving!"  The boy just sat
there with a dumbfounded look on his face.  "Come on!" I shouted, grabbing
him by the hand and pulling him to the stairway.  "I'll explain while we
pack."

Willow went to his room, leaving his door open as he began to throw clothes
into a bag.  I was right across the hall from him grabbing clothing, cash
and a few mementos like Sarah's diary.  "There's an organization out there
called the Van Helsing Foundation.  It's a radical cult of people who know
about and hate vampires.  They are sworn to eliminate us from the face of
the earth.  I've run across them before, a long time ago.  Anyway, that
letter I just read.  It's was from a friend of mine who actually works for
me.  He said they have found me, probably through the internet and he is
pretty sure I'll be targeted.  We have to get out of here as quickly as
possible.  He said the American Vampire League, an underground group
working against the Van Helsings have infiltrated them.  They sent a list
to Craig and it had my name and address on it, along with several other
vampires.  He's contacted all of them as well, but he's got an escape route
planned for us if we can get to it.  I just don't know why he didn't call
me on the phone instead of writing a letter."

"You weren't going to kick me out?" Willow said in the hall.

"Why the hell would I do that?  Are you done?"

"I don't have that much, just my clothes and the lap top you bought me."

"Then let's go.  If we can make it to Chicago tonight, we'll be okay."

"Hello, the sun.  It's still daylight outside."

"The windows on the car are special glass to protect me form the UV rays.
It will be okay if you get the car and drive it up to the front door."

"You're gonna let me drive that?"  Willow was obviously very surprised, and
pleased.

"Yes, now if you've got everything let's..."  I was interrupted by the
sound of breaking glass.  We both froze.  Then we heard it again and again.

"That's not good," the boy said.

I started down the steps but could already smell the smoke.  Flames were
leaping through the living room and dining room.  "Come on," I yelled.

"Shit, the house is on fire!" Willow yelled.  The front door suddenly
flared up.  They must have doused the outside in gasoline.  Smoke was
rolling everywhere making it hard to see and harder to breathe.
Fortunately I could just hold my breath indefinitely without a problem, but
Willow was already starting to cough and gag.

"Follow me.  Come on." I urged.  I leaped through the flames that crossed
the doorway and made it into the living room.  The drapes were blazing up.
"Willow, hold your breath and come on," I ordered.  He jumped and was
standing beside me, but I could tell he wasn't doing very well.

"We're gonna die!" he screamed as panic took over.  I reached for the catch
and pulled the bookcase open and shoved him toward it.  He suddenly
realized the value of the secret exit I showed him just the night before.
He threw his one bag down the stairs and clutching his computer bag to his
chest ran into the narrow passage.  I was right behind him, pulling the
bookshelf closed and then triggering another catch that would slide a brick
wall into place so that when the bookshelf burned, it would appear that
this was just a solid wall.

Willow was still coughing as he reached the bottom of the long stairs and
fell to the floor in the tunnel.  I fell to my knees beside him and rubbed
his back, then took him in my arms.  We held each other for a moment, both
of us trembling.  "Are you okay?" I asked, pulling his face up.  It was
smeared with grime partly from the sweat and ash from the fire and partly
from the dirt of the tunnel floor.  His eyes were filled with tears and I
could see the fear written in them.  "It's alright.  We're safe for the
moment."

"I...I was so scared," he gasped.  He was still holding tightly onto me.
"We could have been killed."

"That was their idea," I replied.  We were still sitting at the base of the
stairs, our arms around each other.  It felt so good to have someone to
hold, and someone holding me.  But there were crackling noises above and I
could smell the smoke.  "I think we should move on," I said.  "The house is
gone and pretty soon it will all come down on top of us."

"Did you bring your cell phone?  We could call the fire department or
something."

We slowly stood up and brushed the dirt off us, picking up our bags.  "I'm
afraid there isn't any fire department that makes it out to here."

"Well, do you want me to try and sneak back to the house and see if I can
get to the garage for the car?"

"Willow, I'm afraid it's too late for that plan.  They are undoubtedly
surrounding the property to make sure no one gets out alive."

"Jeez, these people mean business."

"Yes, I'm afraid so.  You see, being a vampire definitely has its
drawbacks.  Now let's get away from the house and head toward the woods.
When it's dark we can slip out of the tunnel and make our way toward the
highway.  Maybe we can catch a ride to Chicago."

We began walking down the tunnel.  It was about two miles long.  "So you
built this escape route just in case anything like this happened?"

"No, actually this was part of the old underground railroad.  This tunnel
has been here for 160 years.  But it sure has come in handy."

Willow was quiet for a while, and then said, "Jeff, can I ask you
something?"

"Sure."

"If you weren't going to kick me out tonight, what did you want to talk to
me about?  You sounded pretty serious, so I figured it had to be bad."

I felt so sorry for the boy, to be that gun shy.  "Willow, you are part of
my family now.  I love you and you'll have to accept that.  What I wanted
to talk to you about was your father.  But I think maybe that discussion
should wait till we are out of this mess."  We were almost to the tunnel
opening into the woods.  It suddenly occurred to me that we had been
walking for some time in utter darkness.  To my enhanced vision it wasn't a
problem, but Willow was able to easily keep up with me.  I thought it must
be the fairy side of him that increased his ability to see in the dark
almost as well as a vampire.  I looked back and saw that tears were
streaming down the boy's face.  "What's the matter?" I asked in concern as
we stopped and sat down on the tunnel floor to await the setting sun.

"You said you love me," he said, his voice breaking.

I reached out to him, taking him in my arms.  "Yes," I whispered, holding
him close.  "You're very special to me."

"I...I love you too," he said between sobs, and buried his face in my
chest.  We sat together for a long time.  "Jeff," he finally said, not
looking up at me.  "I gotta know.  Do you love me like a friend of the
family, or like a man who feels sorry for a dumb kid?  Or do you maybe love
me like a guy could love someone who he could have a relationship with?"

Now what do I say?  I didn't want to frighten him by telling the boy I was
having lustful thoughts about him.  But I was pretty sure I cared about him
more than just because he was Sarah's grandson and she asked me to watch
over him.  As I was trying to think of a tactful answer, he looked up into
my eyes, and I was lost.  I could read all the hope and pain written there
in those liquid blue eyes.  "I know how you feel about me," he said as I
saw the hurt cross his face.  "I know I'm just a kid you feel responsible
for.  And I know this will just gross you out, but I think I love you in a
different way.  I started falling in love with you last week when you said
I could stay, and it's just gotten worse all week long."  He turned away,
wiping his eyes on the back of his sleeve.  "Jeff, I'm in love with you.
I'm sorry, I know you don't feel the same way, but I can't help how I feel.
I love you and I want to be with you, any way you'll let me, even if it's
just some kid tagging along."

"Willow, I don't know what to say."  I hesitated a moment, but I couldn't
let him think I was rejecting him.  He had been hurt enough.  "I have very
strong feelings for you, and I'd like nothing better than to have a special
relationship with you, but I'm afraid you are just infatuated with me and I
wouldn't want to take advantage of you.  That just wouldn't be right.
After all, I'm one hundred and ninety two years older than you."

The boy turned around quickly, his eyes looking into mine, almost as if he
could see into my soul.  It was like the sun had appeared inside him, the
way he began to light up.  "Then you really do care about me that way?  Age
doesn't matter.  You're twenty three and I'm eighteen.  Oh please, Jeff,
please take advantage of me."  Before I could say anything, he was on top
of me, kissing me passionately.  Our lips blended together and I felt that
familiar stirring in my body that I had ignored for fifteen years.

With an incredible amount of will power that I didn't think I had, I was
able to push him back.  "Let's take this a little slower," I managed to
say, even though I could feel my arms trembling as I held him.  "We just
escaped a fiery death, and are in the middle of nowhere.  If you still feel
like this tomorrow, then we'll talk.  Meanwhile we've got to get out of
here somehow."  I was also concerned because I could feel the burning in
the back of my throat, and it might be quite a while before I had a chance
to feed again.

My sensitive hearing picked up the sound of someone in the forest outside.
The tunnel entrance was only about five feet from us, but was still
shrouded in darkness because of the thick underbrush and the way it curved
through the stones of the hillside.  But someone was definitely out there,
walking through the brush.  I could hear footfalls in the leaves that had
begun to fall from the trees.  I looked up in concern and saw that Willow
also could hear the sounds.  He was sitting next to me, and vibrating with
pent up energy.  He wasn't sure if he should run or just wait for the
inevitable.  We both suspected it was the Van Helsings.  Who else would be
out there, only two miles from the burning house?

A voice suddenly came to us.  "Shit, it's got to be around here somewhere.
The map shows it.  Jeff.  Jeff, where the hell are you?" came a harsh
whisper.  I recognized the voice.  It was my friend Craig.  I hadn't seen
him in fifteen years.

"Craig!" I shouted toward the opening.

"Thank God you're still alive.  Where the hell is the opening to this damn
tunnel?  I can't find it.  But don't come out yet, the sun isn't down."

"He's a good guy," I told Willow.  "The man who sent us the warning letter.
Go show him where we are."  Willow jumped up and slipped out the end of the
tunnel.

I heard Craig's voice.  "Jeez you scared the shit out of me.  Who the hell
are you?"

"I'm Willow," I heard.  "Right this way.  Jeff is in here."

In a few seconds Willow came walking back into the tunnel followed by the
man I remembered, looking only slightly older.  He carried a flashlight
with him, which was probably for the best since he didn't have the enhanced
vision that we had.  "Jeff, man you can't know how good it is to see you.
I thought if you survived, this is where you'd be."  He grabbed me in a
bear hug, and then we all sat back down on the tunnel floor.  "I tried to
call you, but none of the lines were working.  I don't know how they
managed it, but it was like they had a way to block the cell phone signals.
I sent that letter as soon as I knew what was going on.  Then I hopped the
next plane and rented a car.  You really aren't easy to find.  And I had to
make my way here without being too obvious.  I didn't want the crazies to
know I was planning a rescue."

"Thanks, Craig.  This is the third time you've rescued me."

"Well, besides the fact that it's my job, I kind of like you.  So who is
this kid?"

"Willow, this is Craig Langston.  He works for me.  Craig, this is Willow
Granger.  He's the grandson of..."

"Wait a minute.  Willow Granger?  You're Sarah Brewster's grandson."

"Yes," Willow said in surprise.  "How did you know?"

"It's all in his file," he said, nodding toward me.  "You'd be amazed at
all the little bits of trivia about this old guy's life we've amassed over
the last fifty five years or so."

"Cool," Willow answered.  "I'd like to know everything, especially all the
kinky stuff."  Craig laughed and I grew worried.

"Okay, so you've rescued me.  What's the plan?"

"I've got a car, but unfortunately I had to leave it parked at one of your
neighbors' houses.  He seemed like a nice guy and I told him I was doing
some research on the ground water in the area for the state agriculture
department.  I told him I would be back tonight.  It was a hell of a long
walk here from there.  And I had to be really careful to avoid being
spotted by the crazies.  They are completely surrounding the property, even
out here in the woods.  I guess they didn't want you to get out alive.
Most of them were wearing crosses and carrying long wooden spears."

"Crosses, wow then they would be protected and you couldn't touch them,"
Willow said in amazement.

"No, that's just another myth.  A cross doesn't have any effect on me.
It's a religious symbol and what I am really doesn't have anything to do
with the devil nor is it against any religion.  There are about as many
myths and prejudices about vampires as there are about gay people."

"Well, if we can make it back to Chicago.  I've got airline tickets to New
York for me and for my friend, Raymond Harrison," Craig added.

"That's great, but we've got to get another ticket for Willow."

"The airlines are kind of weird these days, but I'll see what I can do.  Do
you have a picture ID?"  Willow nodded.  "Good, then we should be able to
secure a third ticket.  No one will be looking for Willow Granger.  Jeff
Smythe is another matter.  But I've got your ID with your picture on a New
York driver's license as Ray Harrison."  By now the sun had set.  "Let's
go," Craig said, "but be quiet.  We don't want to get caught by any of the
Van Helsings if they are still around."

"That won't be a problem for us," I said.  "You as a human will make more
noise than either of us."

"Hey, don't forget, he's a human too," Craig said, looking at my young
friend.  "Or did you do something I should know about?"

"No, I just forgot," I said, quickly covering my mistake.  Willow just
stared at me with a curious look in his eyes.  "But the Van Helsings
shouldn't still be here," I said, trying to change the subject.  "That
isn't their usual style.  They go in for a quick kill then disappear before
any police or other authorities can come in to catch them in the act of
whatever they are doing."

"Times have changed, my friend," Craig told me.  "These people seem to be a
lot more determined and organized.  For example, we are sure they are
locating vamps on the internet.  I think that's how they found you.  If you
have any records at all that are searchable they can track you.  And let's
face it; you were pretty visible, making that movie fifteen years ago."

"Yeah, I saw that," Willow added.  "You were cool.  Grams even had the DVD.
You should have done more."

"And he'd be even more exposed to the Van Helsings," Craig responded.

We were walking through the woods, whispering and trying to make little
noise.  Craig was the loudest of the three, but he was doing a remarkable
job of stealth for a human.  We were almost to the property line when a big
shape jumped out of the brush and tackled him.  Craig went down under the
weight of his assailant.  The man was very large and looked like a
professional wrestler.  He pulled out a sharpened stake and plunged it
down, but Willow was closer and jumped on him at the same time.  The stake
missed Craig's chest, but I heard him gasp in pain so I knew it hit
somewhere.  I leaped into action as well.

The big man threw Willow off easily and stood.  He shouted, "I found..."
But that was as far as he got.  My teeth tore into his jugular and the rest
of his cry was lost in a burbling sound.  I quickly sucked, drinking the
hot blood from my kill.  I knew it would help me since it had been so long
from my last feeding.  I dropped the corpse and turned to look back at
Willow.  He had never seen that before and I worried about his reaction,
but he just dropped to his knees beside Craig.

"He's hurt," Willow gasped.

"Let me see."  I dropped down beside my friend.

"It's okay," Craig said.  "Just a flesh wound.  He got my shoulder."

"Hold still, this is going to hurt...a lot," I said, gripping the
protruding shaft.  I held him down with my left hand and yanked with my
right, pulling the wood out of his shoulder.  I examined it and the shaft
was smooth so I hoped there wouldn't be much in the way of splinters and
contaminants.  But Craig was still bleeding profusely.  Even though I had
just fed on his attacker, my throat was aching and I wanted more.  I pulled
off my jacket, ripping it into strips to create a makeshift bandage.

"Jeff, I can hear others in the woods.  They must have heard him.  It
sounds like they are coming this way," Willow said in an urgent tone.  Of
course his sensitive hearing would pick them up.  I could hear them as
well.

"We've got to get out of here.  Willow, how fast can you run?"  I hoped he
had some other elfin skills.

"I can run really fast."

I still doubted that he could keep up with me, but still we might be able
to outrun the Van Helsings.  I bent down and lifted Craig, who groaned in
pain as I jostled his arm.  "Hang on buddy.  Willow, do your best to keep
up with me."  I took off, sprinting quickly through the woods toward the
roadway.  Willow wasn't nearly as fast as I was, but he was much faster
than any of our human pursuers would be.  My biggest fear was that there
may be more of them ahead of us rather than just those coming from behind.
Sure enough I spotted a couple of men in the woods, not far from the
roadway.  They were carrying crossbows with wooden shafts.  Apparently they
still believed the stake was an effective way to eliminate us.  I quickly
darted to the left and Willow followed.  I would have been a lot faster if
I wasn't holding back because of my companion.

"Hey, there's something moving over there," I heard someone shout.  A
wooden bolt went flying between Willow and me as we ran.  I think this must
have inspired him because he suddenly caught up with me and I just poured
on a bit more speed.

We cleared the trees and saw a wooden fence ahead of us.  "Jump!" I shouted
and we both flew over the fence without breaking stride.  In a few moments
we were standing by the side of the road.  "Where from here?" I asked
Craig.  He seemed to be barely conscious and I worried that he might have
lost too much blood.

"Left," he said in a hoarse voice.  "Second farm on the left, a blue
Subaru."  We took off running up the hill to the left.  In another ten
minutes we were standing next to a blue Subaru parked on the driveway
leading to a farm house.  I gently put Craig on the ground and searched his
pockets.  I found the car keys and unlocked the vehicle.  Willow helped me
put him in the back seat.  We then climbed in the front, buckled up and
took off.

"What are we gonna do?" Willow asked.  "We left our bags back there where
he was hurt and you killed that guy."

"Willow, it's only stuff.  It can all be replaced," I said.  I could feel
Sarah's diary still tucked inside my shirt next to my chest.  It was the
one irreplaceable item.  We drove off into the night.

 

 

 

 

 

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