"Who is this?" Finally, Kenyon asked. The traffic was still heavy and he couldn't see any obvious surveillance from the other cars yet there was something about the unknown vampire nagging at his brain.
Obviously there was more to this caller than meets the eye or the ear, Kenyon thought while still trying to find some essence of the vampire that was familiar with no success.
"A new friend, Kenyon. And you need all the friends you can get since yours are dropping like mayflies at the end of the day." The voice was serious. Again Kenyon felt like he was missing clues being scattered in the call by the obviously amused vampire.
"Okay, friend, why is it that you are calling me?" He dropped his speed and let a small sports car that just got on the freeway take the point in the fast lane. The vampire was right he didn't have time to waste talking his way out of a speeding ticket. Soon there were a half dozen cars traveling along in the traffic with him but he could see that he was the only one talking on a cell phone.
Feeling somewhat secure that the fellow vampire wasn't one of the occupants of nearby vehicles Kenyon relaxed a bit. He stretched his senses a bit further and established they were all normal enough humans. The one old man leading the pack was a weenie shaker over at his granddaughter's grade school. Kenyon had no compassion for humans who preyed on children. Ingrained into vampires was the respect for children because they liked their humans pliable and raised like free range cattle with no fear and the illusion of freedom.
"Just to give you a little warning that nothing is what it seems anymore. Be careful and I will be in touch." And the vampire hung up.
Kenyon slipped the cell phone back into his front pocket slightly confused. There was nothing he could do but wait for the mysterious vampire to call him again. He defiantly picked up more speed and aimed for the holes in the traffic. Racing down the road he felt the rush of humanity flitting by and enjoyed the licks of fear from the drivers he cut off. The adrenaline kicked up and he missed a small convertible that had been leading the pack driven by an old man by mere inches. The guy nearly had a heart attack and his death fear filled emotions washed over Kenyon. Grinning at the tasty emotions the vampire headed off the freeway to find Tim's aunt's house.
Suburbia gave Kenyon chills. There was something decidedly offsetting about the unseen rules and regulations that dictated to humans how to groom and decorate their homes so they were all nearly interchangeable. He had no clue how they could tell the difference in the dark. They were so cookie cutter similar that he was careful to read the numbers before pulling his car into a driveway. It wouldn't do to break in on boring a human mom and dad sitting in front of the TV watching the late show instead of Tim's aunt in flannel or whatever it was she wore. Not that she should be home. He just hoped that Jim hadn't drained Tim and moved on to stalk and slay Charlotte. He was under no illusion where Jim would head if free.
He double checked the number and slowly got out of his car feeling mildly uncomfortable. The itch between his shoulder blades told him some humans were peering out from their darkened windows watching him approach their neighbors' home. With a fast vampiric sweep he then checked inside the house and found Jim. That issue solved he headed up the walkway and knocked briskly on the darkly stained wood door. The core was solid and it made a satisfying thump underneath his closed fist. He straightened up as he heard and felt a human approaching. The door flew back opening into shadows. His vampiric vision quickly adjusted. It wasn't Tim responding to his knock.
The woman who answered the door was certainly not dressed in flannel. But rather a satin red push up bra with a sheer black blouse somewhat covering her overly full attributes and her legs were encased in skintight jeans. The black heels she tottered on added a good four inches to her already tall frame. A nasty feeling ran through Kenyon as he processed who this had to be. 'Tim is an idiot' topped his list of immediate reactions. Patiently he waited to see how it would play out.
"Fuck, you must be Kenyon." She was smoking a cigarette while holding a full tumbler of alcohol. A plume of smoke accompanied her pronouncement. Kenyon was thankful he didn't have to breathe.
"Well, don't just stand out there looking stupid. My neighbors already think I'm a whore, your sort won't help my reputation much, now will ya?" She gestured with the deeply amber colored drink for him to come inside. A haze of smoke clung to the woman and the home. Kenyon was stunned. Tim had brought his vampire to this woman's house? And obviously she was still here and not going anywhere.
"You're Tim's aunt?" Kenyon shouldn't have sounded so shocked but his bartender was pretty much a normal enough vampire wannabee while this alleged relative looked like she didn't fit the neighborhood rules and regulations in any shape or manner. Her reputation decidedly was already in question without his arrival. The lady was in her mid-forties. Her hair was in casual disarray not artfully from a hairdresser's skill but more like she just stumbled out of someone's ill kept bed.
"Sure am, so you going to get your skinny ass inside or share with the neighbors what's up?" She arched a well-plucked eyebrow while tilting her head towards the inside of her home. She had a knowing smirk on her lips and took a deep gulp from the plastic tumbler.
Trying to not sputter, Kenyon nodded and let her close him inside the house. A shudder ran down his spine at the final sound of the bolt sliding as she shut the door. Shaking his head, he headed to familiar territory of a near master vampire. He pushed into her brain with his vampiric powers. Nothing. Literally nothing solid in there to push.
Stunned he looked at her and said, "What are you on?"
"Why you got something better for me?" She was thoroughly stoned out of her brain on some exotic mixture of pills besides being half in the bag from mixing the pharmaceuticals with hard liquor. Normally Kenyon could find some fissure of humanity to toy with and feed from but with the amount of alcohol and drug use that had permeated her head he didn't stand a chance. Unlike his club patrons it wasn't casual weekend use of the various mind-altering substances or liquids but decades of daily over use. He was amazed she was even cognitive of his being there much less knowing his name.
"Sorry, not with me. So where's your nephew?" The bizarre situation was nearly surreal. Kenyon normally was in control but this woman was so far out of control he was at a loss what to say or do.
"Timmy, your friend is here!" She bellowed upwards without moving from her spot by the front door. Turning Kenyon saw the staircase leading upwards was lined with picture frames. Inside the frames were photographs representing in a mosaic pattern the identities of a time long past. The lady in front of him vaguely resembled the happy, pretty young woman scattered in the half dozen snapshots. The pictures closest to him were at least ten years out of date. From that Kenyon gathered was the beginning of the pickling process of the creature in front of him.
There was angry thumping from somewhere above and Tim flew down the stairs taking them two at a time flying between his aunt and Kenyon.
"Aunt Maddie, why don't you go fix Mr. Hudson a drink?" He frantically tried to remove his aunt from the potentially deadly situation. Aunt Maddie wasn't having any of his lip Kenyon quickly figured as she spun on her nephew saying, "Fuck you! This is my house. I don't care how much money you pay me in rent. My name is on the damn deed and you can't tell me what to do."
Her anger was flowing freely and Kenyon resisted inhaling for fear of filling his face with burning cheap smoke. As if reading his mind she pulled a long draw off her cigarette and blew the smoke straight into Tim's face. Tim didn't even flinch. Apparently he was used to his aunt's eccentric behavior.
"Aunt Maddie, you said you'd say in your room. Why don't you head there since you don't want to get Mr. Hudson a drink?" The tone was nonjudgmental and calm. Tim was obviously used to dealing with his aunt.
Maddie was beginning to feel the effects of the combination of drugs and drinking Kenyon noticed as she swayed on her feet while trying to cling to her anger. Tim was torn between rushing to his aunt's side and sucking up to Kenyon. He was trembling slightly as the conflicting emotions ran over his face. Maddie made the choice for him.
"To hell with ya both. Timmy, make sure you lock up once you get these assholes out of my home. Night." She briskly patted his cheek, her cigarette still clasped between her forefinger and second finger, with her right hand. She tilted towards the hallway and stumbled deeper into the house still sipping from her cup.
"Sorry, Kenyon." Tim ducked his head towards the receding figure of his relative. The vampire didn't even know where to begin.
"Excuse me? 'Sorry Kenyon?' You stupid shit!" Kenyon casually backhanded Tim further into the foyer. Ignoring the huddled man Kenyon strode upstairs looking for his wayward vampire. Kenyon despised weak humans nearly as much as vampires who challenged him.
There were a few closed doors at the top of the stairs that looked promising. Kenyon rubbed a finger across the doorknob of the door on the right and felt nothing. Stepping to the door opposite again he touched the knob and had no tug. The third door he touched crackled with vampire electricity. It couldn't be called life energy but there was decidedly some energy surrounding vampires. This signature of power was known to Kenyon as Jim's.
"Timmy, get your ass up here now." Kenyon hissed down the stairs. His bartender didn't run up the staircase nearly as quickly as he had come down them. There was a red mark near Tim's lips and a small bit of blood glistened on the lower lip calling to Kenyon.
Kenyon ignored the blood and nodded to the closed door.
"I am assuming this is where Jim is," not really asking a question.
"Yes, and he still isn't looking very good. He hasn't moved at all." Tim was leaking fear at a rapid rate. Kenyon could hear the human's heart beating with terror. It was all Kenyon could do to not rip into Tim. But until he saw exactly how Tim had secured Jim it wouldn't do to slay the man.
Tim responded to Kenyon's slight nod towards the door and opened it up. A hiss escaped from Kenyon as he saw Tim hadn't obeyed him in how to secure the enforcer. Instead of crosses and a five point restraint system Kenyon had mentioned earlier Jim was somewhat suspended from the ceiling. The thick leather straps were obviously something from the aunt's bondage days and the chains were nice but nothing substantial. The bed was pushed to the far side of the room letting Jim hang midway between the ceiling and the floor without touching. There wasn't a cross to be seen or feared. It was no surprise Jim had been able to get Tim spooked. He was barely alive but with a little bit more fear or a vein full of blood he would've quite easily been free.
"There weren't any crosses here. My aunt doesn't believe in religion. I was going to go to the dollar store in the morning and pick up some." Tim apologized while hanging close to the doorway. Kenyon strode past the threshold with little effort. Tim was lucky to be alive. If Kenyon had left a drop more of blood in Jim's body it would have been a totally different scene.
Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-06-18