Tales of a Night Walker
By Bert McKenzie
Copyright 2010

Chapter 4

"What have you told him about me?" I asked nervously.  I had been living
with Sarah for about two weeks now and was doing a much better job of
blending in to this strange new world.  Although I did have urges and
sometimes wanted nothing more than to rip someone's throat open, the
bottled pig's blood did an adequate job of keeping me nourished and
satisfied.  It was much better warm than cold, but Sarah said we had to
keep it refrigerated to keep it from spoiling.  I told her I didn't think a
little spoiled pig's blood would hurt me, as I was already dead.

My benefactress' brother would be returning from the university soon and I
worried about how the boy would cope with a vampire in the house.  "Jeff,
you worry too much," she replied as I helped her clean.  With my abnormal
strength I was able to lift large furniture items out of her way so she
could use an odd device she called a vacuum.  She dragged it over the
carpets and sucked the dirt out of them.  I remembered as a child helping
the slaves to beat our carpeting clean as it hung on a line behind the
house.  My father hated that I liked to help the slaves.  The man found
that sort of thing beneath his aristocratic children.  But it appeared that
in this new world slavery was outlawed and few people had servants to do
the work for them.  In fact, the colored men and women that I knew as
darkies were now called black (although most of them were lighter in color
than the slaves from my time) and had all the same rights as any other
citizens.  I just marveled at how times had changed and mankind had
progressed.  I watched as Sarah vacuumed the carpet and thought why would
you need servants when you had such marvelous devices as the vacuum?
Electricity was the new magic and one could perform just about any feat one
would want by plugging a cord into little slots in the wall.

"You don't mind waiting alone for us?" she asked again for the hundredth
time.  She wanted me to accompany her to the graduation, but I insisted
that this was a family time and she should spend it with her brother, not
bringing the tag along vampire.  I assured her that I would be fine for the
two days she would be gone.  She would attend her brother's graduation and
then they would return together.  David had already shipped most of his
personal possessions back home by freight.  Sarah and I had spent some time
rearranging the house, storing all of her brother's things back in his room
and converting a small attic storage room into a bedroom for her house
guest, me.  She did not appreciate my joke about the bat in the attic.  She
said it was in bad taste.  And try as I might, I was unable to transform
myself into a bat or a wolf or anything else as suggested by old legends,
stories, books or movies.  I had spent many a night watching these new art
forms called movies, motion pictures.  There were many of them about
vampires, but few of them seemed to be based in any kind of fact.  I was
visible in mirrors, and didn't seem to have any extraordinary powers other
than my abnormal strength and speed and perhaps more sensitive hearing and
eyesight.  Although Sarah thought I might have a gift of charisma that was
lacking in the average human.  Other people just seemed drawn to me on the
few occasions we had been out in public.  This gift of charisma would have
made it easy for me to find victims if I were the vampire of the movies and
decided to live by attacking innocent people.  I wondered if all vampires
had this gift.

I repeated my question, "What have you told your brother about me?"

"I haven't told him anything...yet."

"And he will come home to find a stranger in the attic.  That should
comfort him quite a lot."

"When I see him in person I will explain it."

"Oh, will you tell him a vampire rescued you from a robber and a former
lover and is now in your attic serving as some sort of supernatural
bodyguard?"

"Just keep the vampire thing quiet," she cautioned.  "I'll simply tell him
that I took in a border to help with expenses, and that you have an allergy
to sunlight."

I laughed at her invention.  "Well an allergy to sunlight certainly may be
true, but how can I help with expenses when I have no source of income?
And how will you explain the bottles of blood in your refrigerator?"

"Lots of people are on special diets," she remarked.  I just shook my head
and helped her finish her household chores.

The day arrived when she was about to depart.  She had already called for a
cab to take her to the Richmond airport.  I rode with her so that I could
at least see one of these fantastic flying machines in reality.  They
seemed too fantastic to be real, despite the images on the television.  Her
flight was after sundown, so I could travel with her to the airport, and
then take a taxi back to the house.  She briefed me on how to travel using
these conveyances, and even gave me an allowance to pay the driver.  I felt
so worthless accepting her money, but she wouldn't hear my protests.

As we rode in the back seat of the taxi, she turned to me and spoke
quickly.  "There is something you should know about David," she said,
anxiety in her voice.  "He's gay," she whispered.  "I hope that won't
bother you, coming from a different culture and all," she continued,
glancing nervously at the driver, lest he overhear.

"Why would it?" I asked.  How could the fact that her brother was a happy
individual bother me?  On reflection I realized that she must have thought
me morose.  I resolved that I would have to be more cheerful around her
brother.

At the airport I was astounded to see the airplanes.  They were huge metal
machines with stiff wings.  The images on the television screen belied
their size and grandeur.  I decided that one day I would ride in one of
them.  But then when I saw one of these great machines leaping down the
runway at breakneck speed, pulled forward by four little fan blades and
suddenly lift off the ground and sail into the sky, I had misgivings.  I
asked Sarah if she really knew what she was doing boarding such a device.
But she only laughed at my fears, kissed me on the cheek and waved farewell
as she queued up with her ticket.

After her airplane left, I returned home.  The taxi cab driver was very
chatty and asked a number of questions I couldn't really answer.  I told
the driver I was staying with a friend and unfamiliar with this place in
hopes that the man would accept that for my reticence to speak.  As we
lapsed into silence, the thought did occur to me that perhaps I was morose,
or at least my silence gave that impression.  No wonder Sarah feared her
gay brother might bother me.  I laughed at the thought.  Perhaps some
happiness was exactly what I needed.

      * * *

In two days, I was nervously waiting for my friend and her brother to
arrive.  I soon heard the taxi stop in front of the house and then the door
opened and in came Sarah and David.  I had to force myself not to stare.
Sarah's brother was a vision of loveliness.  His face was physical
perfection in a man, with deep-set, warm brown eyes, a Roman nose and a
warm, winning smile.  He carried himself with a proud bearing, stepping
into the house with his luggage as well as Sarah's clutched under his arms.
I immediately jumped forward to help with the baggage.  As I did so, Sarah
made introductions, but David cut her short.  "You must be the mysterious
stranger my sister has been babbling about for two days."

"Jefferson Smythe at your service," I said as I extended my hand.

"Wow, buddy, you've got cold hands," David said as he returned the grip.

"Allow me to help you with your things," I offered, but David wouldn't hear
of it and suggested Sarah and I go get reacquainted.  I followed her to the
kitchen where she prepared beverages for us, the bubbling carbonated drinks
for the humans and nearly the last of the pig's blood for the vampire.  She
quietly mentioned that she would go to the butcher shop as soon as
possible, and then blushed.  I became acutely aware of my difference and
would have blushed myself had I been able.  We retired to the parlor where
David met us.

"Tomato juice?" he asked, nodding toward my drink.

"Jeff is a bit of a health nut," Sarah quickly interjected.

"My sister tells me you came to her rescue and helped her dump that creep
of a boyfriend of hers.  I thank you for that," David said.

"I was merely in the right place at the right time," I responded.  "She was
kind enough to take me in as a border and provide me a place to stay."

"Border, right," he said slowly and winked.  Sarah didn't notice, but I
felt that he had tried to communicate some hidden meaning, that perhaps
David thought I was more than a tenant.  I felt an urgent need to dispel
any misconceptions he might have.

"By the way, why is it so dark in here?" David asked, glancing at the
windows where the drapes and blinds were drawn.

Sarah seemed extremely uneasy.  She glanced nervously at her brother who
just looked at her and raised an eyebrow.  "Jeff is allergic to sunlight,"
she told David.

David just shook his head.  "Wow, never heard of that one.  I guess that
explains why you are so pale.  Bet you don't get to the beach much."

"No, I don't," I responded.

David said, "Sarah tells me you were an actor.  What have you done?"

I was stunned for a moment and glanced nervously at Sarah and then said,
"Mostly Shakespeare and some Marlowe."  Sarah relaxed a bit.  It was a good
cover.

The three of us sat talking into the late hours.  David asked more
questions about my past, but I did my best to evade him with vague answers.
Eventually Sarah began to doze and the two of us insisted she go to bed.
She excused herself and did as we suggested.  David and I remained talking.

David got up and returned to the kitchen only to come back with two bottles
of ale and an apologetic look on his face.  "Buddy, I think there's
something wrong with that tomato juice.  I smelled it and I think it's
spoiled.  It smells like a cow died in that carafe."

"I fear you have been misled," I told him.  "It isn't tomato juice.  I'm on
a highly specialized diet and I think your sister was afraid of how you
would react.  As a matter of fact, it's . . . pig's blood."

"Good Lord!" David exclaimed.  "You're serious.  You would drink that
stuff?"

"It keeps me alive," I replied quietly.

"Right," David returned with an odd pause.  "You know, there was this weird
little guy I knew as a freshman in the dorm who drank pig's blood.  He got
it from a butcher shop.  He claimed to be a vampire," he laughed.  I joined
him in laughter, wondering how much I could reveal to the young man.
"You're not a vampire are you?" David asked with another wink.  I smiled
but said nothing.  "Well just don't kill my sister.  You know she's really
got it bad for you."

"Got what bad for me?" I asked in confusion.

"She's got a crush on you."

"Crush?"  I didn't understand this reference.

"She likes you... you know."

"I like her," I admitted.  "She has been a very good friend."

"Well I think she'd like to be more than just a friend."

Suddenly his meaning became clear.  My face must have shown the shock I
felt.  "Oh no, that cannot be.  She knows we cannot... I mean..."  I stood
and walked to the window, looking out into the night.

David came up behind him and laid a gentle hand on my shoulder.  "It's
okay, man.  I think I know you secret.  Just let her down gently."  I
didn't understand all of his words, but he said he knew my secret.  If
Sarah had not told him, how he could?

"Your sister has been so kind to me.  I feel a great affection for her, as
if she were my own sister," I stammered.  "To have her develop a stronger
feeling would be inappropriate."

"She always did fall for the wrong guy," David agreed.  "She had one
boyfriend who used to smack her around.  At least she'd be safe with you."

I laughed a strangled laugh.  If only her brother knew the truth as he said
he did, he would not make such a claim.  I had begun to think that I had
found a new family.  But if Sarah was indeed forming a romantic interest in
me, I should break it off quickly.  As much as I thought I needed them, I
didn't want to do anything that would hurt them.  Even if I wasn't a cursed
creature, I would not have been interested in Sarah.  She was a lovely
girl, but I found her brother much more attractive.  The old urges for
which I had been condemned so long ago still had a strong hold on me.  I
would love nothing more than to take David in my arms and press my lips to
him.  But then the image of my teeth tearing into the soft flesh of David's
neck came unbidden to my mind's eye.  I was instantly repulsed.

"Perhaps it is time to retire," I said and took David's hand to shake it.
Instead, David pulled me close in a heartfelt embrace.  It was a strong,
manly hug and instantly my body responded.  I felt the burning thirst in
the back of my throat as well as a different desire, a warm feeling in my
loins.  I gently but firmly returned the embrace.  Suddenly we heard a gasp
and we broke apart.  Sarah stood in the doorway in her nightgown, a shocked
expression on her face.

"My God, David, do you know what you're doing?" she screamed.  Then she
turned on me.  "Jeff, I trusted you.  This is my little brother."

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                    Back      Main     Next

                                                                       Discussion Forum