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Leslie Paxton had that cold tight feeling in her chest again. Her lover Sarah acted like nothing was wrong.
“Its just a routine assignment,” Sarah said. “A fluff piece for Halloween, they want to bring in a younger audience, college kids love vampires, that silly Buffy movie is even being made into a TV show my editor said.”
The silly fluff piece went well past Halloween, Sarah was out at all hours of the night, she seemed tense, nervous, in a fog. Leslie wanted her to drop the story, but knew she couldn’t ask, so she offered to help, Sarah declined.
“Don’t want to share your Pulitzer?” Leslie joked.
“Something like that,” Sarah’s smiled.
It was late December when Leslie finally had enough. She jumped in her VW and followed Sarah to a club called Insomnia in Southie. She parked a few blocks away grabbed her mace and a screw driver out of the glove compartment and made her way to the brick building hidden in back of a cobble stone alley. She walked past a bunch of goth looking kids, showed the very tall pale, bouncer her ID and entered into a long red hallway. Her heart started to jump. Why was it so quiet? She slowed down as she moved closer to the wooden door that led into another room. She could hear a woman laughing inside. Leslie opened the door just enough to see Insominia’s secret.
The journals and archives of Tegan’s life were endless. Dan had secretly been accessing them through the Foundation’s library for months. He needed to know who she really was–friend, or secret enemy. He had downloaded a few volumes on his reading device and brought them on the plane.
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The ship docked in what is now known as Boston Harbor in 1630. Only five families remained alive. A decision had to be made quick. Orion wanted to kill them all. I understood his reasoning, most Christians couldn’t be trusted with our secret. He made a good argument that they would eventually turn on us and have us staked. Tegan had a better idea. She suggested, why not force them to keep our secret by turning one of their beloved family members. Make them see what we go through, make them sympathize, Orion loved it. Out of respect for Tegan’s age and stature in the vampire community we asked her to pick the family members that should be turned. The first one she wanted was Joseph O’Rourke. My first thought was that she was just looking to make Justin, her ex lover, jealous with the handsome young man. Over time however, I began to see the wisdom of all of Tegan’s choices. She did nothing out of simple spite. Every move she ever made was highly calculated and always to the advantage of our family. Joseph O’Rourke was an excellent choice.
From the Memoirs of the Vampire Gabriella Martinez
Was she friend or foe? Just keep quiet he told himself. His stomach spun. He was strong, he could take her. But she was a threat?
“By the vampire code, you must repay me for your release,” she said.
“So, you are an opportunist, what a relief.” he said. “What is your name madame?”
“I am Sarah,” she smiled, “We need to go—Wilhelm.”
“I have a safe house for you, but we need to move, fast.”
He looked around the room noticing all the other coffins.
“Where am I?”
“The De Morlais Tomb.”
He felt a sharp pain in his heart. The memories flooded back. Tegan, she did this to me—with those hunters, the O’Rourkes. He hopped out of the coffin, following Sarah toward the main gate.
The cold wind felt familiar as did the gray autumn sky. He was buried in 1945, he hoped Boston was somewhat recognizable to him.
The noise was unbearable, most of it Wilhelm couldn’t understand. He had been a prisoner for seventy-three years. It took all the strength he possessed to scratch the top of the wooden coffin. The noise was coming closer to him, pounding, thrashing, piercing his sensitive ears. His wooden prison shook.
“Stop, stop,” he cried out covering his ears. A sharp terror filled him as he realized someone was opening the top of his prison.
“Holy Hell.” He heard a woman’s voice, unrecognizable to him. “This can’t be possible.”
He stayed silent. His fear subsiding. He summoned all his strength to open his eyes and meet his new savior. Something dripped onto his mouth, it smelled of—blood. Old instinct kicked in, he licked. More and more flooded his mouth, he was being fed, freed, satiated. Alive again every cell in his being shouted. The droplets invaded every part of him, a high warm buzz melted into his membranes. Strength returned. He lifted his arm and felt his skin, it was whole again. He rose to lock eyes with a skinny blonde, young woman, holding a blow torch.
Feeling a little nostalgic today. The shelter in place in San Francisco is starting to wear on me, even though I have enjoyed the solace. It was a much needed break from the world for me, but now I am aching to travel again. So I am reposting a piece from my travels in one of my favorite places, New Orleans.
Day 4 — New Orleans, June 2015
This morning I took a city tour where I got to see St. Louis Cemetery number 3, Lake Ponchitran which was beautiful and City Park. These were all places I didn’t get to see last time I was here. After the tour I ate at Napoleon House built in 1797. Napoleon was supposed to escape exile here in the 1820s but of course that didn’t happen. On one of the ghost tours I went on they talked about how the ghost of Napolean often shows up at dinner parties there.
After lunch I headed back to the hotel to get in the pool. It was really hot today. I almost didn’t go to the bar tour I Had at 4pm but I’m glad I did, Joe our tour guide was excellent. He’s a local authority on cocktail and bar history he has even been on Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain on CNN. He told us a lot of great stories on the local places in NOLA.
The first bar he took us to was Tujagues established in 1856. It’s the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans. And its still a standing bar 200 years later. I had the best Pimms Cup there.
Joe next took us to Pirate’s Alley right next to St. Louis Cathedral. Their signature drink is 120 proof Absinthe from France by a company called Lucid. I had that the other day on another tour. Next we were onto the Court of Two Sisters a very popular restaurant and bar that has the only death mask of President Andrew Jackson in the world on the wall. One of their signature drinks, is the Golden Coconut which reminded me of a White Russian but seemed lighter. It felt like I was drinking a cloud. It was one of the best drinks I’ve ever had anywhere.
The last place we visited was Antoine’s where Joe got us access to some of the private dining rooms, like the room President Clinton dined in. Joe was the best tour guide, everybody knows him so we got easy access everywhere we went.
After the tour I walked into the Boutique Du Vampyre in the French Quarter. And met the owner Marita who is going give me a Tarot reading tomorrow. It is such a nice little shop with all things vampire.
“Look at it this way,” he said. “Dan could be an asset to us; after all he is Jon Okada’s grandson.
“We’ll see,” Jake said. “He fuckin choked out there ya know.”
“I know it was not a good first outing,” Elia said. “Please think on it, Tegan values your opinion on these matters.”
“Why would Tegan want him involved in this anyway? Hasn’t she spent the last thirty years protecting him from all of this shit?”
“Even Tegan has a superior,” Elia said as he put on his coat and headed off for the evening.
Jake tapped his cigarette against his tin lighter. He was almost conflicted. Dan froze, he probably saw the creature as human, he thought. He didn’t go off all half cocked like so many of the others that were brought to him.
He snapped back the tin lid and lit his cigarette. The first few drags usually calmed him. Jake always needed a smoke or two after a good kill. Tonight was different though. The disappointment of it swept over him giving him the chills. He needed another drag. He watched the smoke race out of his mouth.
“Bloody fucking Hell! How am I going to tell Tegan this?”
He was almost numb. The truth made his chest burn. Dan was not a born overzealous killer instead he was a man of reason….the right man for the job.
“I can’t kill it,” Dan said.
“It! I have a name,” the vampire said, “Don’t turn away from me, coward!”
The vampire tried to lunge forward but the vervain laced chains burned his skin and kept him against the cold brick wall.
Dan turned to Jake who of course was ready.
“I bet you’re delicious. What are you Japanese?” The vampire asked.
“Oh do shut up,” Jake said as drove the final stake through the monster’s heart.
The creature gasped and slowly turned to ash.
“Get your jaw off the ground, Mate. We’ve got more vamps to hunt,” Jake said.
“I … just…”
“Look I know you are a virgin, so don’t worry I won’t tell anyone you just stood there cock in hand and …nothing.”
“Fuck off.” Dan said as he walked back to the car.
“Oh I’m just fuckin with ya. You white collar boys sure are sensitive.”
Dan was not laughing. He had to get used to this, he thought. Jake was right, he froze. They look too human. He needed to focus and not forget what they did to his family.
“I have lighter fluid in the car,” she said.
Dan’s stomach hit the wet snow. She actually brought lighter fluid? Thank God, this never worked out between us he thought.
Meredith hurried back with matches as well. Dan swallowed hard as Meredith soaked Jim’s blood stained body in lighter fluid.
“Meredith this is insane? Stop.” She didn’t even look up at him her eyes seemed cold, gray, not her usual bright blue. He dropped the ax and reached into his pocket for his phone. Maybe Elia could talk some sense into her. As he began to dial he felt a pull on his left pant leg. He looked down and saw Jim Somers, with eyes wide open grasping at his leg.
“Mother Fucker!” Dan yelled. “He’s turned, kill him, kill him.”
Meredith picked up the ax and swung loping Jim’s head clean off. Dan jumped back and watched her throw a match on Jim’s body. He turned to ash within seconds.
“What the fuck,” Dan said. “Lets get the hell out of here.”
They ran to Dan’s SUV. Meredith still had the bloody ax in her hand as she jumped in the front seat.
“Um you can put the ax in back,” Dan said.
She leaned back and dropped it on the back floor. She felt a buzz in her left pants pocket. She reached for her phone. Sheriff Keane’s name popped up.
“Oh my fucking God,” Dan said as he looked at the phone. “He knows, he knows we stole the body.”
“Calm down, he could have a lead on Sean.”
“Ya or that,” Dan said. “Put him on speaker.”
“Meredith I am sorry to call so late. I have some bad news.”
What could be worse than her missing brother and dead fiancée. Dan thought.
“Just tell me, things can’t get much worse.” she said.
“Someone stole two bodies from the morgue tonight and one of them was Jim’s,” Sheriff Keane said.
“Two bodies,” she asked. “Who was the other person?”
“Well we are supposed to keep it confidential but, I think you should know it was Lana Nordquist.”
“Sean’s ex fiancée!” Dan said.
Meredith handed Dan her phone and jumped out of the car.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
Meredith started vomiting on the side of the road.
“Dan is that you?” the sheriff asked.
“Yes Sheriff, Meredith needed some air.”
“Lana was killed in the same manner as Jim,” Sheriff Keane said. “We may have a serial killer on our hands.”
“I’ve gotta go,” Dan hung up on the Sheriff. He felt a dart in his chest. He recalled how much Sean hated Jim dating his sister and then he recalled how Lana ripped Sean’s heart out when he discovered she was only marrying him for his money. Suddenly Dan had the urge to vomit too. Meredith jumped back in the car.
“Dan, I think Sean was turned during the attack. I think he killed Jim and Lana.”
Dan opened his car door and puked all over the November snow.
Tegan entered the warehouse from Oak Road. Her old friend was seated at a black marble table.
“Well, any luck?” she asked.
“He’s at a loft on Essex Street.” The old man said.
Tegan’s stomach sank. Why would Ian be here unless he was involved?
“And what of Wilhelm?”
“He is cloaked.”
She let out a long sigh.
“Alright let’s wait until dark, then we will head over to confront Ian.” she said.
“Shall I call Dylan?” he said as he pushed up his glasses.
His brown eyes widened. She could see the familiar crinkle on his forehead whenever he was concerned.
“Don’t give me that look, Elia.”
Tegan entered the building from the alley where the streetlight was out. She could smell him. She rushed up the creaky wooden staircase. His scent grew stronger. It was apartment four. She stopped in front of it, planning her entrance. Should she frighten him, be nice, which play would get the fastest result? Violence of course. She kicked in the wood door and found him, hazel eyes wide, mouth agape holding two glasses of Champagne.
“Still like it rough, I see.” Ian said.
“Where is Wilhelm?” she asked. Trying not to smile at him.
He flashed his eyes at her.
“Really? This isn’t a social visit.”
“We have a problem. Wilhelm has been released.”
Ian took a sip of his bubbly.
“You mean your House has a problem. I doubt Wilhelm knows that I had any part in your sticky business.”
She felt a heat rise in her body. After all these centuries he was still the same selfish fucker.
“Maybe you released him,” she said. “I wonder what the Board would think about that?”
“Oh, hold on, I have no use for him. He wasn’t my pet.”
She turned to leave there was no point in spending one more second in his presence. Then she realized. The Champagne, he had two glasses.
“Were you expecting company?”
“No, well Sarah….”
“Of course, Sarah I almost forgot about your new …. pet.”
He saw her from across the street. Her blonde hair flowing in chaos all over her face. This would be easy. She shoved her yoga mat into the back seat and headed toward Spring Street toward the all-night cafe hidden by old oaks. It was in the trees he would appear. He chuckled to himself, he wanted her to be scared. He wanted her to beg for mercy.
He crept behind her as her tennis shoes glided along the cobble stone. She stopped and turned jamming her fist hard into his ball sack. He lounged forward, catching himself before his pale face hit the two hundred year old sidewalk. He had to catch his breath and take her but the fire in his balls slowed him. She stood over him and kicked him hard in the head. He rolled over into the moonlight. A bell ringing through his head as blood came out his nose. I can bleed? He thought. She got a glimpse of his face in the moonlight sneaking through the oaks.
“Oh my God!” she gasped. “How is this possible?”
He looked straight at her. Her blue eyes looked soft, as if they cared. There was no time to think, she had seen him. He summoned all he had to give, leapt to his feet and grabbed her by the neck, leaned in and bit.
A long slow breath eked out of her. The first drop hit his soul. This was what it was like to be alive. A surge of electricity rose up his spine. He almost ejaculated on himself. He couldn’t get enough, he drank and drank, each drop touching a part of him he had lost.
He bathed in the warm glow of it, but knew he had to leave, fast. He felt someone coming, someone stronger. He looked ahead and saw a thick fog, that chilled him from hundreds of feet away. It wasn’t a cold fog, but it was what would emerge from it that stirred him. He didn’t have time to move her body, he just ran off into the park across the street from him. He hid in the big oaks, hoping it would pass him. He was still high on her blood so his senses were heightened. He felt cold pins go up his spine. He turned around, the fog was right in front of him, he was surrounded in its thick gray mist. He felt a hand grab him by the neck and push him up against an old oak.
“Time to go where you belong,” a man’s voice said.