Monday, October 31, 2016

(45) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

“Now that you know the facts of life we have to find the rest of these Vampyres and eliminate them before they get to you.”

Daniel asks, “How?”

“For starters, how did you find the one you killed?”

“The man who hired me told me where to find him.”

“Just like that? He knew where the bastard slept and clued you in? Why didn’t he kill him himself then?” I’m thinking the kid was set up. Not saying so yet.

“Not where he slept but where he sometimes went, a club downtown. It took me a while, like a week or so, but I finally tailed him to his lair.” The kid grins. Like he’s done something special.

“Who hired you?” The important question. And I’m thinking I know the answer.

“I don’t know exactly. This man found me and gave me a letter with information and instructions, and some money. He said his employer had sent him.”

Leaning back. Looking at him. Shaking my head. “Twenty to one that man was another Vampyre’s ghoul. One of the creatures wanted a rival eliminated and figured you’d be the perfect patsy.”

“Oh.” He thinks on that. Frowns. “So I do the job and his kind come after me.” He brightens up. “I could get quite a rep as a slayer if I take some of them out, since they’re hunting me.”

“Then why call me in to help you?”

“Because, well, that one was only the second one I’ve ever killed. Not that I haven’t tried but I’m not too good at finding them.”

“And you thought I could give you some on the job training. I’m honored. Not.”

“Come on Trevor, you hate them, and you’re like the best around. If you show me your tricks then that’ll be less you have to deal with, because I’ll be as good as you.”

I snort. Almost laugh. He’s such a child. But he has a point. “You’ll never be as good as me, kid. But what the hell. I’m here. I might as well teach you some things. First off, how do you know they’re even after you? Have you been attacked?”

“Yeah. Twice so far. I fought one but he got away. The other one ran when I tossed holy water on him.”

“What did I just tell you about that?”

“That it doesn’t work. But why did he run then?” Frowning again.

“Good sense of humor?” I laugh. “And unless you’re a hell of a lot smarter than you look, the one Vampyre 'escaped' because he didn’t want to kill you just yet. From what you’ve said it sounds to me like they’ve been toying with you so far.” Another thought. “Who’s you father?” He tells me. “You’re not serious.”

“Yeah. Why? Is he a someone? He’s just my dad”

“Maybe. But yeah he’s a ‘someone’. I’d give my eyeteeth to get my hands on that bastard. Sorry kid but that’s what he is. Top of the line, primo bastard Vampyre.”

Saturday, October 29, 2016

(44) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

Moving’s not happening soon. I get a message. From one of my kind. He needs help. Seems the Vampyres in his area have decided he needs to be eliminated.

Stop by where Del works. Tell him I’ll be MIA for a bit. And why. He’s not happy but…

“Trev, wear this, for protection.” He takes off a chain. There’s a simple silver cross on it. “My mom gave it to me when I was just a kid.”

“I can’t. It’s yours. I mean…”

“I know what you mean, but I want you to. You can return it when you get back.” He fastens it around my neck. “Now go and be safe.”

I kiss his forehead. “I will.”

Leave. Head to the airport. Catch the next plane out. Arrive just before dark.

The Dhampir, Daniel, is there. Takes me to his place. He lives good. Not ostentatious. But a hell of a lot better than me.

We settle down. Beers in hand. He tells me what’s going on.

“I took out one of the big ones.” He grins a bit. Sobers up then. “Seems they may be territorial but he was some sort of big wig in the local Vampyre community, the capo do capo so to speak. So the others got afraid since I was able to do that. Now they have a vendetta out against me which is making my life a bit dicey. I figured, since you have the rep for dealing with them easily, maybe you’d be willing to help.”

“I’m here aren’t I?” Tempted to roll my eyes. Maybe there’s a reason they’re after him. If he’s this stupid. And I find out he is. And more so. Or naive.

“Yeah, you are. Thanks. Look, I’m sort of new at this game. I got hired to clear an area of one, and did my damnedest to do it so I’d get paid.”

“Without asking questions first I take it.” He shrugs. “How the hell old are you anyway?” Looking at him. Figuring maybe he’s twenty-one, twenty-two tops. He confirms that. “So how’d you decide to be a Vampyre hunter? Did you watch too many Blade movies?”

He looks embarrassed. “Something like that. Plus my mom made sure I knew what I was. My dad wasn’t all that happy about it but he figured he’d at least make sure I didn’t take out any of the good ones.”

“There are no good ones. They’re all fucking bastards that need eliminating.” Not quite true. I know one who’s…decent. But not telling him that.

He gets angry. “My dad isn’t a bastard. For a Vampyre he’s not a bad sort. Not his fault he got turned damn it. Hell, he doesn’t even hunt, just uses bagged blood.”

“Kid, you got a lot to learn. Not saying your old man’s bad but never, ever trust a Vampyre. They can turn on you in a heartbeat if they feel threatened.”

Daniel shakes his head. Keeps quiet though. Moves on. “So, anyway, it’s getting a bit hairy out there for me. I’ve been pretty much staying in nights.” Looks at me hard. “I’m not a coward, but I do know my limitations.”

“Never said you were. In fact you’re being smart in asking for help. Do they know where you live?”

“Probably, but so what, they can’t come in unless I invite them.”

“You are so kidding me. You believe that crap. I thought you said you dad taught you about his species.”

He stares. Shocked. “But…”

“OK, we’ll start with the basics.” I spend the next hour teaching him. Divest him of all the shit he thinks is true about Vampyres. And wonder how the hell he’s still alive.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

(43) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

“What the…?”

I look at the baskets and then the woman holding them.

She says "Happy Thanksgiving", thrusts them at me, then takes off before I can reply.

I know her. Laugh to myself. This is so like her. She’s a ditzy chick I’ve met a few of times in a club I frequent on occasion. Didn't sleep with. Just knew her. Sweet but stone crazy. In a good way though. Naw. Not crazy really. Except maybe. Because she likes me it seems. Calls me friend. I remember her inviting me to dinner with her family for…yeah, Thanksgiving I think. Said to bring a friend. I turned her down. Not big on things like that. Family.

I lift the cover on one basket. Damn. Enough here to feed an army. I take a quick inventory. Then call Del. Hell, I can’t eat all this myself.

I tell him to get his ass over here. Well maybe not quite like that but. And don’t tell him why. Just that it’s a surprise.

When he gets here he sniffs the air like a hungry pup.

“Thanksgiving dinner?”

“So it seems. I didn’t realize that today was Thanksgiving.”

“Gods, baby, you didn’t?” He laughs. Pats my arm. “Sometimes you are so out of touch with reality. Where did this come from anyway?”

“A friend brought it over.” I tell him about her and how she delivered the meal. “And then, boom, she splits. Sorta like a blonde Santa on a mission.”

“Wrong holiday,” Del says with a laugh as he starts setting things out. Spreading it all out on my tiny table. I’m wondering if it’ll collapse. He sees my look. Laughs again.

“It’ll be fine. Now sit, baby. Let’s enjoy all this. But first…” He waits till we’re both seated. Folds his hands. Bows his head. “For what we are about to receive we thank you. Please watch out for all in need on this special day and always. And bless Trev's friend, especially, for doing this for us. Amen.”

“Amen,” I say softly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

(42) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

Del looks up at me. “Why did you show up here anyway? I thought you wanted nothing more to do with me.” 

“Now did I say that?”

He nods. “As much as. Trev, you know what I do…did for a living. And you threw it in my face.”

“Whoa, back up. You really did quit? That chick wasn’t lying to me then.”

“That chick? Oh, the girl next door, which she’s far from.” Del chuckles. “No, it’s true I did quit. And,” he’s grinning now. “I have a real job. Not anything special, just being a waiter, but still it’s legit.”

“Hot damn Del.” I grab him. Hug him. “That’s great.” Let him go. Frowning. “Do you have a decent place to stay?”

“Oh yeah.” He tells me. About the apartment. How he ended up there.

By now we’re close to a good place to eat. I tell him we’re stopping. He gives me a look.

“Pretty bossy, aren’t you?” But he’s smiling.

I shrug. “I have my moments. We don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

“Don’t back down, Trev. I kind of like you bossy, sometimes. Just don’t make a habit of it.  And what you did back at the shop… I’d never have had the nerve to talk to the clerk that way.”

“That’s what you have me…” Stopping. Here I go again. Assuming he really wants me around.

He links his hand in mine. Tugs me into the courtyard of the restaurant. Saying, “I have you around because we’re friends, Trev. I don’t have many of those and I think you have even less than me. So let’s eat and you—you stop being so unsure about us. You can’t be bossy and uncertain at the same time and I think I need the bossy part of you at times. Got that?”

“Got it.” Smiling.

“Good. And Trev.” He looks up at me. Squeezes my hand. “Thank you. If you hadn’t said what you did that night, I’d probably still be doing what I used to but now I have the start of a new life, I hope. So I owe you big time.”

“We’ve been through this before.” Kissing his forehead. “Friends help friends, though I sure went about it the wrong way. But I was pissed. It worked though which is what counts. So, no one owes anyone anything.”

Del laughs. “I know. Tit for tat. Now we have to get you moved out of that rat-trap of a place too. So…”

Things are back to normal between us. I think. I hope.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

(41) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

“Good. Then I know you’ll be in my life for a long time.” I mutter to Del. And stop. Where the hell did that come from?

He looks at me. Surprise on his face. I see the clerk grinning behind him.

Del puts his hands on his hips. Shakes his head. “You didn’t mean that.”

“Yeah I did.” Pausing. Thinking about it. “Yeah Del, I do. It’s only been two days but I miss you. I miss our time together.”

“But you just said…”

“So I lied. I’m good at that. And it hurt that you’d think that of me.”

“Oh.” He bites his lip. Frowns. “Well, maybe I miss you a bit too. But damn it, Trev, you have to stop doing this.” He waves his hand around. “I have to make it on my own merit.”

“He’s not the only one who’s been buying your art work.” The clerk tells him. “Really. Several other people have too. I mean, jeez, you’re good Mr Draper.”

“See, I told you,” I say smugly.

“Yeah. Well. OK. Maybe.”

“No maybe about it Del.” I want to convince him. I don’t have to. Someone else does. A woman and her husband. They come to the counter. Two of Del’s sketches in hand. As they pay for them they’re raving about how good they are. I grin at Del. “See.”

The man hears me. Turns to look at Del. “You did these?” Del nods. He asks, “Would you consider doing one for me of my wife, but a painting?”

“He’d be glad to,” I tell him. Before Del can shy away.

“Very good. Here’s my card.” He hands it to Del. “Call me tomorrow and we’ll set up a time for the, what do you call it, sitting?”

“Yes sir. Thank you sir.” Del looks floored but takes the card. Puts it in his pocket.

When the couple leaves I grin at Del. “Maybe I should be your agent.”

“No way.” The clerk glares at me. Turns to Del. “If we knew you were willing to do that we’d have let people know. You’re under contract to us.”

Del starts to protest. I beat him to it. “For what you have here for sale, Del is, but not for any private work he gets. Unless you want to alter the contract that is.”

She nods. “I’ll talk to the owner.”

“Good.” I put an arm around Del’s waist. Lead him toward the door. Turn back to the clerk. “See that you do.”

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Release day for 'Not Your Average Man'!

Not Your Average Man

I was an average man, not at all violent, until a bastard tricked my best friend into killing my lover, Mick. When that happened, with my best friend in prison for life, I took things into my own hands and killed the bastard.

Not too soon after, a man contacted me. The man Mick had worked for -- as a vigilante. He convinced me to take Mick's place, once I'd been trained to do what Mick had done.

I did. Now I'm a not so average man who might, just might, be falling in love with another vigilante. Coop Frost, to be exact. That is, if we can survive what comes next.

    "Why?" Carl cried out. "Why are you doing this? What are you going to do to me?"

    "Kill you," I replied coldly. "If it wasn't for your lies, Mick would still be alive and Jason wouldn't be sitting in a prison cell."

    "I did it for you," he said, curling into a fetal position as if that would somehow keep him safe. "For us. We belong together."

    "Only in your insane imagination," I spat out. I debated whether to use my knife or the gun Mick had given me a long time back. I opted for the gun. As much as I'd thought I wanted to torture Carl before killing him, I realized that wasn't in me, in spite of how much I hated the rat bastard. I took the gun from its holster, pressing the barrel to Carl's forehead.

    "You can't! You won't!" he screamed, trying to pull away.

    I gripped his shoulder and pulled the trigger -- twice. "Yeah, I can."

    I'd been afraid, when I planned this, that I might puke after I shot him. Mick had said it could happen with a first kill. "When you get that you've ended someone's life, no matter how much of a bastard they are, you'll feel numb. You'll throw up. You'll cry." He had put his hands on my shoulders, staring me straight in the eye. "Or, you'll know you did the right thing. You won't rejoice. Not if you have an ounce of humanity in you. But you'll eventually accept you did what was necessary."

    I knew for me, seeking revenge for what Carl had done had been necessary. He might not have pulled the trigger, but he had killed Mick just the same -- and destroyed Jason's life in the process. And mine, I suppose.

    I looked down at Carl's dead body with no feelings other than relief, despite the blood surrounding his head. Taking out my knife, I cut the restraints and pocketed them. "Never leave anything behind," Mick had told me. I couldn't exactly take the bullets. They were lodged in Carl's brain. I did look for the casings, and found both of them. With that done, I left the way we'd come in. The street was still dark and empty.

    I made it back to my car before the reaction hit me. I was trembling so hard I could barely get the key in the ignition. I killed him. He deserved it. But ... I closed my eyes, picturing Mick the last time I'd seen him. Carl will never fuck up another person's life the way he did ours, ever again.

    That thought helped. I was able to calm down enough to make it home without running the car off the road.

    * * * *

    How I managed to sleep, I don't know. But I did.

    I woke knowing there were things I had to do. Pack. Collect all Mick's gear to take with me. Decide where I was going. I'd thought about several places, dismissing each one for different reasons -- too small, too big, too cold, too hot. Too far away. Not far enough away. At least I didn't have anything to keep me here. Or more -- anyone. Friends? Yeah. A few of them from the club. But they wouldn't really miss me when I was gone.

    As I packed, I kept the TV tuned to the local news channel. So far, it seemed that no one had found Carl's body. Not too surprising, considering where it was. I knew that would change eventually.

    I tried eating breakfast and found it made me nauseous. A reaction to last night? Probably, I figured. Just because I'd lived with and loved a hired killer -- and even helped him with his plans -- didn't mean I was ready to fully deal with being a killer myself. Not yet.

    Thinking of that reminded me, again, of Jason and why he'd murdered Mick. He did it for what he considered the right reason -- to save me from myself and get me out of Mick's clutches. There was one unassailable problem with that scenario. You see, as much as we were the best of friends, and had been forever, Jason had never seen the dark side in me. The side that let me accept what Mick was, and what he did. Mick's logic was unassailable. "If not me, someone else will do it, and I don't kill innocents." He'd grimaced a bit at that last. "At least not that I know of, and I do check."

    Yes, at first it was hard to reconcile the man I'd fallen in love with, with the killer I'd found out he was. That happened soon after our relationship had begun. Mick had pulled no punches. Because he loved me, he'd sat me down one evening and said, "I can't be with you and live a lie." So he'd told me everything -- knowing somehow that I would keep it to myself, even if I walked away. But I didn't. Walk, that is. In fact, after the initial shock wore off, I found it exciting. That's when I knew there was another side to me. A dark side, as I thought of it.

    I proved that for sure when I killed Carl -- with no regrets afterward.

Friday, October 21, 2016

(40) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

He looks up at me. Brown eyes wide in shock. And teary. I want to brush the one tear away that clings to his lower lash. Restrain myself.  

Scowling at me now. Asking, “What are you doing here? Going to buy more of my stuff so you can do your good deed for the week?”

“Would you have taken the money any other way?” Asking. Answering my own question. “No you wouldn’t have. You made that very clear.”

“I don’t need charity. Not from you or from anyone. Get that through your thick head, Trev. I can take care of myself.”

He tries to pull away. I won’t let him. “It wasn’t charity. You’re damned good. Why shouldn’t I own them instead of someone else?”

“You lying bastard. You said you didn’t like my paintings. They ‘weren’t your style’ were your words I think.”

I shrug. “They aren’t. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them for what they are.” I let go of him. Seeing the clerk eyeing us warily.

Del stands his ground. Not moving though he can now. Staring up at me. “And just what do you think they are?”

“Pictures that show how you feel about life. Just like your sketches. Which by the way I bought most of, so you better get busy and do some more.”

“Where are they now Trev? Decorating the walls of your room? I so doubt that.”

I smile wryly. “You’re right, they aren’t. Except for a couple, now that you’re gone and can’t see them there.”

“Glad to see the back of me I suspect.” His words hurt. But his eyes tell a different story. There’s something deep down in them. Like maybe he’s glad to see me. But he won’t say it. Admit to it.

And me? I’m not about to admit that I’m really happy to see him, either. Cause it wouldn’t change anything. So I tell him, “Things are easier with you gone. My time’s my own now. Again.”

“Thought so.” He turns away. Goes over to the clerk. I hear him tell her that she’s not to sell any more pictures to me.

“The hell with that.” Striding over to them. “I’m a customer just like anyone else. Besides,” I smile slightly, “if I can’t buy them I’ll send someone else in to do it for me. She can’t turn every sale down.”

“You’d do that wouldn’t you, just to make me more beholding to you.” Del shakes his finger at me. “I’m going to pay back every cent if it takes me a life time.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

(39) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir


I got a job! It took two days of walking my feet off but I did.

I felt like jumping around and dancing down the street but I had the feeling that might land me on a 72 hour hold. So instead I headed to the Quarter. I wanted to check in at the art shop and see if any more of my paintings had sold. Which reminded me again that I had to set up my studio in what most people probably though of as the dining room in my new place. Hell, I didn’t need a special place to eat. I’d move the tiny table into a corner of the living room and call it the dining nook. I grinned at that thought. I was maybe getting domestic? Naw.

By the time I got to the Quarter I was glad I’d worn sensible clothes and not the ones I usually wore for my work. My ex-work. I had to keep reminding myself I had a new life now.

I did some window shopping while I walked toward the art shop. The things tourists will buy. Honestly. If I had expendable cash I sure wouldn’t spend it on fake stuffed crocodiles and phony voodoo dolls. Oh well.

As I walked into the art shop the clerk looked up and smiled. I’d never seen her before, but then I’d only been here once, so I introduced myself.

“Hi,” she responded. “I know who you are. Well not personally, of course, but I know your name. Your work had been selling fantastically well, especially to that one man. He seems to have fallen in love with your stuff.” She giggled. “I wish he’s notice me but he just comes in, buys two or three of your things and then leaves. He’s really awfully good looking in sort of Highlander way with that long coat and all.”

I froze. No way could it be him. “What does he look like other than the coat?”

“Tall, long dark hair, sexy lavender eyes, and he always wears this earring. It looks like a claw or something.”

“Damn you to hell and back,” I muttered, causing the clerk to look at me in surprise.

“You know him?”

“Yes, and I am so killing him next time I see him. How could he?” I was so close to tears right then and I didn’t know if it because I was furious at Trev for doing that, or so happy that he cared enough to try to help me. But why didn’t he tell me? I needed to talk to him.

Telling the clerk I’d be back again soon, I started out the door, not aware of more than that I needed to get back to my old place and find him. And ran straight into a brick wall.  Hands grabbed my arms, propelling me back into the shop.

“Where are you off to in such a rush?”

Monday, October 17, 2016

(38) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir


I woke the next morning wondering for a moment where I was. Then I remembered. I was starting my new life. That scared the shit out of me at the same time that it made me feel wonderfully happy.

“I can do this,” I told myself as I got dressed. “My artwork is selling and I can get a job too.” I kept talking to myself, giving myself a real pep talk, as I gathered up what I needed and headed out. First thing I had to do was deposit the commission check and then stop by the art shop to tell them my new address.

As I walked out the front door of the building I broke into a huge grin. There was grass and trees and people going about their daily business looking happy to be alive. So different from where I’d been just twenty-four hours ago. A block away I found some shops, a small café, and thank goodness a branch of my bank. I stopped there first, putting most of the money into my account, keeping out just enough to have some pocket money. Despite what I’d told Trev the check was enough to cover my rent for two months and let me stock up on food once I found a grocery store.

Trev. I was still very angry at him, and hurt. Probably more hurt than angry. What had I expected? That he really accepted what I did for a living? Well, had done. Not any more if I could help it. Yeah, I really had thought he didn’t care about that but obviously I’d been wrong. He’d been stringing me along, although I couldn’t figure out why. I thought we were friends and if I were to be very honest with myself I thought maybe it could become more than just friendship, or hoped somewhere deep inside that it could. Guess I was living a pipe dream.

Pushing all that aside for the moment I stopped to pick up a newspaper then went to the café. After getting coffee and a sweet roll I found a table on the patio and opened the paper to the want-ads. There were lots of places looking for waiters, the only job I figured I stood half a chance of getting. I circled those that looked promising and when I’d finished set out to start checking them out.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

(37) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir


I was so pissed I could have spit fire. I stalked, no almost ran down to my rooms, snagging the key from its hiding place so Trev couldn’t use it. I wanted to cry, or destroy something. How could he have said that? How could he have been so cruel?

After slamming the door behind me I looked around my place, seeing it the way it was for maybe the first time since I moved in here. It’s a dive pure and simple. I had to get away from it. Right then and later permanently. Grabbing a jacket I left, racing out of the building, almost knocking over one of my neighbors on the way.

It was late afternoon by then so I figured maybe I had time to look for a new place, but not around here. I flagged down a passing cab and told the driver the general area I wanted to go to. When I asked her if she knew of any apartment buildings in that neighborhood she got quite chatty. It seemed she’d grown up in that area and knew it well. Since I was her last fare for the day she even offered to help me look. When I asked her why she smiled.

“I was in the business up until a couple of years ago, honey. And don’t deny you are. I recognize the type. Anyhow, a friend helped me get out and set up in my new life and I try to pass that on to anyone else who needs it, like you. And the first thing is getting a decent place of your own.”

“I’m not quitting, I just need,” I shrugged. “I guess a change of scenery.”

“No, you’re getting out. I know that look. For whatever reason you want to clean up your act and start over.” She looked at me in the rear view mirror as she pulled over and parked. “You ready? I’ll know several decent places around here, one especially that belongs to an old friend of mine.”

I couldn’t believe it. An hour later I had rented a tiny but nice apartment. Only three small rooms and bath but all mine for less than the normal rent. The landlady was that friend of the cab driver’s, and it seemed an ex-hooker herself. She owned the building and from what she said was more than willing to keep the rent cheap until I got on my feet again. “And I mean your feet, not your knees,” she’d added with a laugh. 

The cab driver, her name was Tilly, offered to help me move my stuff right then and there. When I hesitated she said she had nothing better to do and that I should keep the ball rolling by getting everything done now before I changed my mind.

By midnight I was in my new place. I had Tilly stop on our last trip from my old place to the new one so I could pick up a bottle of wine and we celebrated my new life. She made me call my pimp and tell him I was quitting and then gave me her cell number before she left, telling me to call any time I needed someone to talk to or just hang with for a while. By then I was exhausted, too tired to even think any more. I fell into bed, very glad the place was furnished or I’d have been sleeping on the floor instead.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

(36) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

I stand there for a few minutes. Trying to regroup. Then I go after him. Down to his place. But he’s not there. Or not answering if he is. I reach for the key. But it’s gone.

Banging on the door in frustration now. “Del, let me in. I need to talk to you.”


I wait. Hoping he’s in there.

A door opens. “You looking for the guy that lives there you’re too late. He left real fast. Damned near ran me down,” the chick says. “Probably got a call from one of his johns.”

Yeah. I wish it was that. I thank her. Go back to my room.

I’m totally pissed now. At myself for what I said. At Del for not giving me a chance to explain. Not that I know how to.

So I go hunting. A new bastard Vampyre has come to town. Thinking he’ll be safe here. Idiot. I find him. Finally. Make his death slow and painful.

It doesn’t help.

Get back to the dump I live in. That Del lives in. But he’s not there. Same girl hears me knocking. Four in the morning and she’s still nosy enough to stick her head out the door. Tells me Del packed up. Moved his stuff out. All of it.

“Fucking hell he did,” I growl out angrily.

“Yeah, he did. My man says Del told him he’s quitting. Wish I could do that.” She looks wistful. Then shrugs. Goes back inside.

I climb the stairs. Slowly. Thinking maybe my words made Del think. Glad at least he’s getting out.

Toss my coat and sword on the chair. Throw myself down on the bed. Hands behind my head. Staring up at nothing.

“Be safe, Del. Be well and make something better of your life.” Whispered into the darkness. “I’ll miss you.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

(35) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

I want Del out of this rooming house. Out of the business, too.

Just have to come up with a plan. Without him knowing I’m behind it.

Money’s not the problem. Got more than enough. Dead Vampyres don’t need what they leave behind. And I sure a hell don’t spend much of it on myself.

Del won’t go for my financing him. For damned sure. Too much pride.

But. Smiling as the idea hits me.

“I like that one.” Wandering around the shop, the clerk in tow. Waited till the owner was gone. She’d have recognized me. Stopping. Studying another picture. Or pretending to. “That one too. Wrap them up.” Handing the startled clerk cash for them.

Once a week I do this. Then store the paintings. Can’t let Del know I’m his ‘angel’.

A month after I’ve started this.

“You won’t believe it,” Del bounces into my room. “My work is really, really selling, Trev.” Waving the commission check at me. Grinning ear to ear.

“Hot damn.” Grinning back. “What you going to do with all that money?”

He bites his lip. “I…I want to find a new place. A nice one.” He looks at me. Must think that that bothers me 'cause he says, “I’ll still be around here. I work here.”

Nodding. “I think you’re moving is a great idea. Couldn’t you…” Putting some hesitation in my voice. “Why don’t you quit the business, Del. If you’re making money on your painting you should concentrate on that.”

“Maybe.” He frowns. “Maybe. But not yet. I need to be sure, Trev. I’m not looking for a big place, but it’ll take all this to move in and get food and you know.”

“Yeah. I get it.” Taking a chance. “Look. I know you’re doing better now but what if I lent you some money. Just to tide you over till you really get going.”

“No way! I won’t take money from you or any man. I’m not a leech.” 

Not thinking what I’m saying. Just hurt he won’t let me help him. “Not the way I see it Del. Considering what you do for a living.”

He looks at me in shock.

Yeah, I just screwed up big time. And not sure what to do to change that. “I didn’t mean that the way it came out. Honest.”

“The hell you didn’t.” He turns away, crumpling the check in his hand as he starts for the door.

“Del. I’m sorry. Please.”

“Screw you Trev. Now I know what you really think of me. I thought…” There’s a catch in his voice. “Never mind.” He’s gone. Slamming the door after him.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

(34) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

“I know why he was after your friend,” Del says. “He told me. He was new in town and planned on taking it over. He’s heard of Trev and tracked him down. I was just a pawn in his game. He was going to keep me prisoner until Trev killed off all the competition. But he got angry when he realized he’d,” he turns to look at me, “when he realized you hadn’t really killed this Vik. I didn’t know Vampyres could fly, but he did. He came and got me where he had me prisoner and then took me back to my place. And you know the rest.” He looks away. Embarrassed I think at what happened.

I take out the needle. Scowling when Pete starts to say something. Go to sit on the edge of Del's bed. “Del, you’re reaction was normal. When Vampyres feed they can induce lust in their victims.”

He still doesn’t look up. Nods. His hands kneading the sheet. “It was horrible. I couldn’t stop it. All I could think was that you were watching and he was getting me off while he was killing me. I don’t know which was worse, the thought that I was dying, or that it was that creep doing that to me instead of…”

Behind me Pete chuckles wryly. Cuts him off. “I’ve heard that can happen.”

“You don’t know?” Del glances over at him. “But I thought…”

“Vik’s strange code of honor.” He shrugs. “OK, campers. I’m out of here. I need to see for myself that he’s really all right. Oh, just to let you know. When they deem you ready to leave they’re going to make sure you don’t know where you were. Probably by using blindfolds because that’s what they did to me when we came here.”

I arch an eyebrow. “They don’t trust you?”

“Some things they want to keep secret. I don’t fight it.” He doesn't say who 'they' are. I don't ask. He heads to the door. “Trev, thanks. And feel free to visit. Well unless you decide to break that truce you two have. Then I’ll be forced to kill you and I’d rather not. I totally understand why you hate Vampyres, after seeing those two bastards at work. The more of those kind you kill the happier I’ll be. Well, other than Vik.”

I smile. “Believe it or not I kind of like Vik so I’m not planning on taking him out. Unless of course he reverts to kind.”

“He won’t.” Pete glances between Del and me. “Take care of each other,” he says. And leaves.

Friday, October 7, 2016

'Sing for Their Supper' is out today!

Sing for Their Supper
The Press Release said it all.

Children of the street. Homeless adults. As you walk by them, have you thought about why they're there? Have you wondered about their hopes and dreams? Has it occurred to you that most want to escape living on the streets and make a better life for themselves?

Nine homeless teens and adults are doing exactly that at Tuck Williams' new Vale Lake Theater. Nine singers, dancers, and musicians, ranging in age from sixteen to fifty, have combined their talents to bring the musical Oliver! to the stage.

The musical is a reflection of their own lives on the street, as it follows one young boy from his miserable existence on the streets of Victorian London while he searches for someone who will love him. Along the way, he forges friendships with others facing the same plight--just as the cast of Oliver! at Vale Lake Theater is doing.
"Back off and leave him alone," Tuck said to the two punks, both of whom were wearing jeans tucked into heavy boots and too-tight T-shirts.

"You gonna make us?" one of the punks replied.

"No. But they will." Tuck pointed to the pair of police officers who were walking toward them.

The punks took one look and ran. Tuck went over to the kid, who was cowering against the building wall, asking with concern, "Are you okay?"

"I'll live."

One of the officers asked him the same question and got the same reply. Then he told the kid to get off the streets and find a shelter.

"Yes, sir," the kid said sardonically. "I will, as soon I can find a cab."

Given that it was almost two thirty in the morning, Tuck knew that he had a point. Busses didn't run at that hour, not in a city of this size. If it were New York or Los Angeles, things would be different.

"I'll give you a lift," Tuck said.

The kid snorted as he gathered up his backpack and the battered guitar case sitting beside it. "After I suck your dick to pay for the ride?"

The officer started to say something, shook his head instead, then went back to the squad car parked at the edge of the lot behind the building.

Tuck waited until the police had driven away before saying, "I was serious. I'll give you a lift, no strings attached."

"Why? And who are you, anyway? Some do-gooder outreach guy?" the kid asked, his brown eyes flashing with distrust verging on anger.

"My name's Tucker Williams. I'm an actor and part owner of the Vale Lake Theater."

The kid's expression lit up momentarily then went back to being wary. "Like in plays and musical theater? Or movies?"

"Real theater," Tuck replied. "Get up on stage and perform."

"Like I do when I'm busking. Performing, I mean." The kid nodded his head.

Tuck smiled. "I knew what you meant. You play that?" He pointed to the guitar case. He already knew the kid played the older guitar it held. He'd seen him around the downtown area several times in the last two weeks.

"Yeah. And sing, too. People sorta like it, I guess."

Tuck nodded. "Do you mind if I ask your name?"

For a moment it seemed as if the kid wasn't going to reply. Then he said, "Sam."

"Nice to meet you, Sam."

Sam ducked his head, muttering, "Thanks for chasing off those punks."

"Actually, it was the cops who chased them away. I just got here first. But you're welcome." Tuck gave it a minute, then said, "I was serious. I'll give you a ride to one of the shelters, if you want."

"Yeah. Sure. Not that they'll have room by now but..." Sam shrugged.

"Just tell me where to go." For a second, a smile flashed across Sam's face. Tuck rolled his eyes. "Not that way."

"I know." Sam followed Tuck around the side of the abandoned building to the street. "I really should just crash here and save you the time."

"Was that what you were going to do, before those guys showed up?"

"Yeah. It's usually safe enough if I'm careful." Sam grimaced. "Tonight, I wasn't."

When they got to Tuck's car, parked half a block from the building, Sam hesitated.

"I promise. I'm not going to do anything more than give you a ride," Tuck told him.

"How come you were down here, anyway?"

"I was on my way home. I saw those guys and it seemed like they were looking for trouble, so I decided to check it out."

"Like you could have taken them on."

"It would have been dicey, but I would have tried."

Sam eyed him. "You hiding a gun under your coat?"

"Nope. I was an army brat in my last life and my dad taught me self-defense."

"Bet he's not too happy you're an actor, now."

"I don't think he'd have minded."

"He's dead?"

Tuck nodded. "He didn't make it home from his last deployment."


"Yeah. Anyway, are you going to get in"--Tuck tapped the car--"or go back and take your chances in that building?"

Sam answered by opening the door and sliding into the passenger seat after putting his guitar case in the back seat. Tuck got in, turned the key in the ignition, then asked, "Where to?" When Sam told him, he pulled the car onto the dark street and headed north to the shelter.

"How old are you?" Tuck asked as they drove.

"Old enough," Sam replied.

"Meaning what? Over sixteen but not twenty-one yet?" Tuck figured Sam had to be at least eighteen.

"Yeah." Sam stayed quiet for a couple of blocks, then obviously relented. "I turned nineteen a month ago. Before you ask, I've been on my own for the last three years, since my folks died."

"Damn. Sorry."

"Don't be. I'm used to it."

"No other family you could have stayed with?" Tuck asked.

"Yes to family. No to staying with them. They didn't want me. I didn't want them. They don't approve of my life choices."

"Your interest in music, or, and I'm guessing here, the fact you're gay."

"Good guess. What gave it away?"

"Nothing, from looking at you," Tuck said. "It's just one of the main reasons a family doesn't want a son around. Did your parents feel the same way?"

"Yeah, but they tolerated me. Made it real clear that's what they were doing--tolerating me until I graduated high school. Then they..." Sam stared out the car window. "Remember that tornado that hit Oklahoma City three years ago? My folks were there, visiting my aunt. My aunt survived. My folks didn't."

"Hell of a way to go," Tuck said.

"And they didn't end up in Oz," Sam replied with a weak smile. "Sorry. If I don't joke about it..."
"I understand. It still hurts."

"Yeah, it does sometimes. Anyway, now you know why I'm out here, not living at home."

"Have you tried getting a job?"

"Tried? Sure. First I was too young. Then... Well, look at me. I'm not exactly dressed for success. I can't even get a job as a dishwasher."

Tuck had to admit he had a point. The well-worn jeans with holes in the knees and ragged cuffs, the tired-looking sweatshirt, the dark hair--which was in definite need of cutting--would not impress any prospective employer. He would have said as much if Sam hadn't already beaten him to it. "You don't have anything else you can... Never mind. If you did, you'd have worn it."

"No shit. That's it." Sam pointed to a building in the middle of the block ahead of them.

Tuck pulled up in front to let him out, asking, "Do you want me to wait? In case they don't have a spot for you?"

"Why? You gonna drive me all over town to try other places?" Sam immediately apologized. "I'm good. If they don't, I know a couple of spots around here where I'll be okay. Thanks for the ride. I mean it."

"You're welcome."

Sam got out, grabbed his backpack and guitar case, then hurried inside. Tuck was tempted to wait, anyway, before deciding against it. He had the feeling that if Sam couldn't get a bed, the kid would check to be certain he wasn't there before leaving.

(33) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

“He’s going to be all right, so are you.”

Words that break through the haze. Trying to figure out who. Why. Pete’s voice. Try to move. Someone holds me down. Open my eyes slowly. Everything blurry. And the pain.  

“Damn.” Muttered low. “You tried to kill me.”

Someone chuckles. “No, he saved your life. Though at the moment you may wish otherwise.”

A voice I don’t know. Then another. Talking about transfusions. Pete tells them to do what’s necessary. I feel a prick.

Come too again. This time more alert. Look around. White room. White everything. Except the bag. Blood red. A line from it to my arm. See another bed. Someone in it. Pale, even against the white sheets. Brown eyes watching me.

“Bout time you woke up. I was worried, and scared.” Del tries to smile. “Thank you.” He’s not talking to me now. Well, maybe me. But Pete too, I think, as he steps into view.

“No problem. He helped us so I just returned the favor.” He looks at me. “Sorry about the bullet holes but I wasn’t going to take the chance he and his friend would get away. You just happened to be in the way.” He grins. The man is evil.

But I understand. Nod. Try to smile. After all I’m alive. So is Del. “Where are we?”

“A safe place. I can’t tell you any more than that. The docs say you should be able to leave soon. You’re healing fast, though not as fast as Vik. By the way, he’s doing fine thanks to you. You fucking scared the life out of me there for a bit. The anger was real in case you didn’t get that. But it’s gone, now that I know Vik’s survived. Mychael said it was real touch and go for a while though. He arranged this.” He waves a hand around the room. “We owe you.”

“No. I owe you for helping me save Del.”

“Tit for tat, man. I wish we knew why that bastard was after Vik and if there are more like him out there.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

(32) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

Half hour before sunset. I’m over the wall and into the house. Upstairs. Vik sitting there. Pete and Mychael with him. I have to give them points. They have several empty bottles too. Along with the bagged blood.

I don’t say anything. In case the Vampyre is watching. Listening. Which he probably is. Finger to my lips. They all nod.

Taking out my knife. Gripping Vik’s wrist. Slicing along the vein. Pete holds a bottle under it. Blood flows. Doing the same to Vik’s other wrist. Mychael there with another bottle. It doesn’t take too long. Bottles fill. Vik pales. Weakens. Eyes closing. I touch the artery in his neck. Barely a pulse.

I whisper to Pete. Mouth against his ear. “Discover me killing him.” Pointing to the door.

He understands. Drops Vik’s wrist. Goes to the door. I hold up a hand. He waits. When I feel no pulse I nod.

“What the hell,” he shouts. Racing towards the bed.

The chase is on. Pete yells obscenities. We struggle. He lets me break free. I race to the door. Glance over my shoulder. Mychael is holding one bottle to Vik’s mouth. Force feeding him. More spills than goes in. My last glimpse. Mychael looking panicked. Pete too for a moment. Then Vik swallows once.

I’m down the stairs. Two at a time. Pete after me. Out the door. Over the wall. I catch a glimpse of a figure. Invisible to all but me. Smile as I run down the alley. Pete close on my heels. At first. Then I lengthen the distance. But not enough to loose him.

Zigzagging through alleys. Always ten, twenty feet ahead of him. Reaching mine. Eventually. My building. Slamming through the door. See Pete stop just as I close the door. Looking puzzled. Good man. He’s playing it right.

Racing up the stairs.

The Vampyre stands there. In the doorway to Del’s place. Smiling evilly.

“Too bad you didn’t complete the job. Your young friend will pay the price for that.”

He steps aside. I see Del. Lashed to a chair. Another Vampyre kneeling beside him. Blood oozes from bites on Del's shoulders. His arms. His chest. The bastard lifts Del's arm. Bites into his wrist. His other hand in Del's crotch.

“He’s having fun.”

I try to move into the room. Reaching for my sword. The Vampyre stops me. Grabbing my arms in a death grip. As I struggle he says, “He’s still alive but not for long. Watch as he drains him. He seems to be enjoying it.” He forces me to look. Del is moaning. His eyes start to glaze over. Imminent death and sexual desire combining.

“You should have killed Vik,” the Vampyre whispers. He’s pressed against me. Behind me. Holding me tightly. Watching. I feel his excitement. “Tell your friend to move away. He tries anything you’ll both suffer the same fate as the young man.”

I twist my head. See Pete just yards away. Gun aimed at the Vampyre’s head. I know the creature can’t be aware of this. Only that he heard Pete there. Felt him there.

“Shoot,” I call out.

The Vampyre starts to turn. To use me as a shield. Pete fires once. Twice. Again. His aim is true. But. Pain flares. Even as the Vampyre falls. Hot, searing pain.