Saturday, January 21, 2017

(86) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir



"Bad news boy," Lenny tells him, "Nothing there. Guess scavengers got there before me. Hope you weren't carrying much in the way of cash or cards."

He shrugs slightly. "No clue."

"You hungry boy?"

He thinks on that. Nods.

"OK. I gotta a bit of time still to fix you something. Eggs and ham do you?"

"Yeah. Sounds good. Got any more of those aspirin to go with it?"

Lenny chuckles. "Sure do." Steps out of view. Comes back soon with them and a fresh bottle of water. "Need help sitting up?"

"Yeah. Please."

Lenny gets him more or less upright. He was right. There is a kitchen of sorts. He takes the pills. Watches as Lenny cooks. It smells good. He realizes he's starving.

Lenny brings in a plate heaped with scrambled eggs, thick slices of ham, and toast. "Think you can feed yourself?" Placing the plate on his guest's lap.

"Hope so." He cracks a small smile. "At least the eggs, with a spoon."

"Ahh, hell. Hang on." Lenny takes back the plate. Cuts up the ham in small pieces. "Better?"

"Yeah, thanks." He eats slowly. His jaw aches like he's been punched. He guesses in a way he has been. By the bike or the ground. "You're not eating?"

"Naw. Not hungry right now. Maybe later." 

When he's finished eating, Lenny takes the plate and silverware. Washes them up. Puts them away. Then comes back.

"Time for you to sleep again," he says. "Your eyes are at half-mast." He helps his guest lie down again. Says, "I'd offer you my bed but I don't really want to move you yet. The sofa's comfortable. Many a time I've fallen asleep on it while reading."

He nods. "This is fine. I don't want to be any more trouble than I have been."

"You ain't no trouble boy. It's nice to have someone to talk to. I'm pretty much of a loner truth be told." Lenny goes to the door. Locks and bars it. When his guest looks surprised at that he smiles tightly. "Out here in the boonies it pays to be careful. Never know who might want to see what's in here worth taking. Now you sleep. Oh, wait, you need to use the facilities?"

"Yeah. But not sure..."

Lenny laughs. "I'll get you there but then you're on your own." Helps him up carefully. Trying not to joggle him too much.

He realizes then what he's wearing can't be his own clothes. Sweat pants too long in the legs. The shirt too large. "My clothes..." he asks.

"Other than the coat, which ain't it that great a shape itself, the rest are in the trash. Blood is not a fashion statement."

Lenny gets him to the bathroom. "Holler when you're done."

There's a small mirror. He looks at himself. Winces. What he can see looks like he'd crashed yeah. But... Pulling down the sweats to use the john he sees huge bruises turning yellowish now on his legs and thighs. He frowns. Lenny had said the accident had happened less than twelve hours before. Probably. He should look worse. Maybe it wasn't as bad as Lenny thinks.  

When he's finished Lenny helps him back to the sofa. He realizes he's moving not too badly, considering. Not ready to do it on his own but it doesn't hurt as bad as he expected.

"Those must be some hellish strong aspirin," he says.

Lenny shrugs. "Could be. Now you sleep. I'll wake you come evening."

"Evening?" He looks surprised.

"Yep. You slept most of the night through. But you needed to, to heal." He turns out the light. Goes to the second door. "I sleep heavy, and armed, just in case. So don't come barging in if you wake up early. Help yourself to food, not that there's that much. I don't get many visitors."

"You don't..."

Lenny holds up his hand to stop him. "We'll talk tonight if you're up to it. Right now, I'm bushed and need my sleep."

He nods. Watches the man go into his bedroom and close the door. Tries to get comfortable. Slowly drifts off to sleep again.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

(85) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir



He hears a voice. Raspy but gentle. "Do you know your name boy?"

Slits his eyes open. Then closes them tight again against the bright light. He hurts all over. Tries to move. A hand presses on his shoulder.

"Stay still. Nothing's broke but you'll have some colossal scrapes and bruises. And your bike's a total loss boy."

The hand lifts away. He hears movement. Then something cold against his lips. He opens them a bit. Water squirts into his mouth. Then something bitter joins it.

"Just aspirin, it's all I have."

When he swallows the man gives him more water. Swallows again. Thirstily.

"Where am I?"

"My place." The man laughs then. "Sorry, that tells you nothing. My house, a few miles outside of Lecompte."

"Where?" Puzzled.

"Lecompte, it's a town in Louisiana. Bit over 200 miles from New Orleans and close to Alexandria. That ring any bells?"

He starts to shake his head. Winces. Mutters, "No."

"OK, far as I can tell you were heading down the highway and spun out. You landed in a deep ditch. Guess no one saw it happen. Maybe cause it was dark. Anyway, I found you. Well, spotted the wreck that's your bike first in my headlights, then you. Shit boy, you done made a mess of it and you, but like I said nothing busted on you that I can tell. Now, like I asked earlier, do you know who you are?"

He thinks. Trying to remember. Nothing. "No clue," he tells him.

"Damn. Cause you have no ID on you. No license, no wallet, nothing. Guess it musta fell out. Now that I know you're not gonna die on me, I'll go see if I can find it." He chuckles. "You ain't gonna die on me are you?"

He opens his eyes again, slowly. Lets them adjust. The man's half in shadow but he can tell he's tall. Well built. Maybe young, maybe not. Wearing overalls. Plaid shirt. What he sees of the room looks rustic.

"I think I'll live." Tries a smile. It feels like his lips will crack. "How long?"

The man gives him another drink. He understands his question. "You been here for bout ten hours. No clue when you crashed. Like I said, probably after dark since no one saw it."

"Why here? Why not a hospital?" he asks. Frowning.

The man shrugs. "Figured maybe with that sword and all you might not want to go where someone would ask the wrong questions."

"Sword?"

"Yeah. It was in your coat. Lucky it was sheathed or you'd a bled out if it had cut you. Sharp booger that." The man looks at him. "My names Lenny by the way. Short for Leonard. Never did introduce myself."

"Hi, Lenny. I'm..." Groans when he goes to shake his head. "That didn't work. I thought maybe..." His voice peters out in frustration.

"If you answered without thinking, it would be there? Mighta been, but guess not. Now you hang in there. I'll be back soon and maybe with your ID, if it's with your bike." With that Lenny puts the bottle of water in his hand. Then leaves.

He struggles to sit up. Pain flares everywhere in him like fire trying to consume him. A second's flash of memory of other searing pain. Gone in an instant.

Managing to move enough to rest his head on the sofa's arm. Gasping for breath. Parched throat aches. Hand scrabbling to find the water then taking a long drink.

He looks around. A cabin he thinks. One large room. Two doors plus the one to the outside. Heavily curtained windows. Probably a cooking area though he can't turn enough to see. The sofa, a comfortable looking chair, small table and two chairs on one side. A stone framed fireplace. Books, lots of books. Something missing. It takes him time to figure what. No TV.

He closes his eyes for a minute.

A sound. He wakes, startled. Groans as every bruise, scrape and, he now realizes, bandaged gash lets him know he's still alive. 'Unfortunately'. The word flashes through his mind. He wonders why.

Lenny comes into view.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

(84) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir



"Did you do it, did you kill the bastard?" The man looks at me. Hope and something else in his eyes. Gloating I think.

I nod once. Walk past him. Go to get my things. He follows.

"Tell me about it. I want to know how the son of a bitch died."

I turn. Look at him. "He died easily, peacefully. I killed a good man to satisfy your hatred. Someone who deserved to live, to love. Not to die because you despised what he was." I glare at him. "He was a Vampyre but you didn't really know that did you? All you knew was that he loved your son. And because you can't accept that, a decent man is dead. And I killed him."

I push past him and walk to the door. Leave. Closing it sharply behind me. I know my words won't change him.

I ride slowly out of town. Try not to think of what I did. But the woman's words come back. That Alan always knew the ones he killed deserved it.

"Deserved it." The words echo in my mind.

Hitting the highway. I open up the bike. Try to let the wind and the speed wipe away my thoughts.

All my life I've believed in one thing. Vampyres are evil. The bastards deserve to die. Until recently nothing has proven me wrong.

Now I question.

I think of Alan. Of Vik. Of what I did and what I almost did. I believe the woman. Her words rang with truth. Known truth. Not just faith. Vik? I have come to see he's a good man too. A Vampyre with a soul. Like Alan.

Have I destroyed ones like them before? Have I become what I hate most? A creature that kills without remorse. That kills all, deserved or not. The thought stuns me. Tears at me.

That Vik is...human in his morality. Humane. I've accepted that. Thinking him unique among his kind. Now Alan. Like Vik in so many ways. How many more have fallen to my sword? Fallen because I hate. Hate the way the man did. Both of us blinded by our beliefs.

I should go back. Beg forgiveness from the woman. From the boy. Forgiveness I don't deserve.

But I don't.

The wind rips at me. Blinds me with its fury as I race down the highway. Unseeing. Lost in my guilt.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

(83) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir



I return to the kitchen ten minutes later.

The woman is standing. She stares at me. Her face is ashen. Misery in her eyes.

"He's dead," she whispers.

I nod. "You are free of him now."

Now she shows anger. Pain. "Free? I was never his prisoner. I loved him."

She attacks. Hands beating on my chest. I catch them. Holding her is easy. Feeling her agony is not.

"How could you have done that? He was a good man." Her voice trembles with emotion.

"He was a Vampyre, you little fool."

"I know." She almost shouts. "I know." Her words barely discernible now. Her eyes brimming with tears. "That did not make him evil."

Shaking her. Needing her to listen. To understand. "I watched him kill. Viciously. Like a rabid animal."

"It was a rabid animal he was killing. That's what he did. He took out people—rapists, murderers—that the law couldn't touch." She collapses against me. Sobbing.

I hold her. Stunned. Not wanting to believe. Wait until she stops. Help her to the chair then.

"This was just his lie to you to excuse his actions."

"No." She takes a deep breath. Another. "No. You see, once, he was a policeman. He lived for his job he told me. No," she frowned, "policeman isn't the right word. It was so many years ago. Not here. Not in this country even. A constable, yes that was it. He believed in justice and hated seeing the evil-doers escape without being punished." Her mouth tightens. She stares at me. "He was like you I suppose, dedicated to ridding the world of evil. But he was different than you in one way." Now her look is reproachful. "He always knew the person he was after deserved to die. He didn't assume it, he made certain. I helped him."

The woman's expression softens. Remembering. "For years that's what we've done...what...what we did, together, after he rescued me from an attacker. He killed the bastard just the way you saw him kill, I suspect. Tore out his throat in anger at what he had tried to do. He was going to wipe my memory of what happened of course but..." She almost smiles. "I was young, headstrong, and after what had just happened, it didn't scare me that my savior was a Vampyre. I talked him out of making me forget, and into letting me help him. That was a night to remember."

"That's a very good story, and I'm sure you believe that he only went after the bad guys, but I have a witness who saw him feeding from a young man here in town a week ago."

She shakes her head. "Impossible. Who told you that?"

"A friend. He saw your...man in an alley with a kid from a fast-food restaurant, feeding and then wiping his memory he said."

"Oh my god."

I think I've made my point. That the Vampyre was not the good person she thought. I'm wrong.

"That 'kid' was his lover." She sighs. "I don't care what your friend thought he saw, he was wrong. Alan, that's his name by the way. Something I'm sure you never bothered to find out." She says that reprovingly. Continues then. Softly. Sorrowfully. "Alan was my friend, my companion, my rescuer, but that was all. And the kid is well over the age of consent. They met two years ago and fell in love. He doesn't know what Alan is…was. Alan was afraid to tell him, though he hoped in time that he'd be able to. He's the son of a man who lives down the block from us, though he doesn't live at home any more. He got an apartment soon after he and Alan met."

"Whoa up, are you sure of that?" I feel like I've been sucker punched.

She nods. "Oh yes, very sure. He moved out rather than tell his father. The man's older and has heart problems. He was afraid that admitting he was gay and in love with another man would kill him."

"So he knew," I whisper. More to myself than aloud.

She looks at me questioningly. I shake my head. She's right. I didn't check. I took my...I took the man's word. He played me. Played on my hatred.

I am a fool. Worse than a fool. A murderer.

Friday, January 13, 2017

(82) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir



I dump the trash. Scan the alley both ways. Seeing no one, I turn left. Stroll casually down towards the Vampyre's house. A curtain flicks back on a window as I walk. A young child peers out. Vanishes quickly. Scary man in the alley. Chuckling.

Check one more time. Then slip into the yard of my prey. Surprised at the flowers. A garden. His ghoul must be the epitome of a little suburban housewife. Good cover I'm thinking.

Unbelievable how quiet it is. Pondering. Break in? Knock on the door? Problem solved sort of. The backdoor opens. A rather plain middle-aged woman stands there.

"This is private property." She looks down. Not quite at me. Not enough for me to catch her eyes. Shy perhaps. Or well trained by the Vampyre.

"I know. Sorry. Have you seen a small gray cat? She managed to slip out when I was taking out the trash."

I move into her personal space. She takes a step back. Most people do when you do that. She shakes her head. Still keeps her eyes down.

I tell her, "She likes to crawl in open basement windows. Could you maybe check? I'll wait right here."

"We never open them so your cat really can't have done that."

"That one's open a crack," I tell her. Backing away a bit. Pointing.

"It can't be." But despite her denial she steps into the yard. Looks. Then instinctively glances at me. Angry at my small fib. Now she's mine.

"Why don't you invite me in." An order. Not a question.

She obeys. I follow. Turn the deadbolt.

"Sit, there." Nodding at a chair. "Do not move."

She does. Mentally I reinforce the command.

"Where is your Master?"

"Asleep in his bedroom." Her speaks without inflection. But her eyes flash with fear. She knows. Understands. Just can't do anything to stop me.