Wednesday, November 30, 2016

(60) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

Next morning. Shower. Shave. Feel like a new person. Follow my nose down to the kitchen. Bacon. Eggs. The works. He looks up from the stove. Waves towards the table. When I offer to help he shakes his head.

“Got it in hand. You can do clean-up though.” He adds that with a laugh.

After we eat I clear up. Go into the living room. He takes a chair. I settle on the sofa. Look at him.

“Ok Mr. Larkin, let’s talk.”

He smiles. “Call me Frank for starters. I stopped being ‘Mr. Larkin’ when the Home closed down.” Leans back. Sips his coffee. Thinking. “Alright. As I told you on the phone, this Vampyre is deadly. More so than most which is saying something. What I didn’t tell you was he runs one of the biggest street gangs in the city from behind the scenes. One comparable to the ‘Satan’s Disciples’ or the old ‘Blackstone Rangers’. His particular gang is well organized and into everything. Some of the top leaders are Vampyres that he made, although the rest of the gang has no clue about this.”

“Damn. How come no one’s done anything to stop them?”

“Oh the cops, and the Feds, have been. But they don’t know anything more than anyone else about what the creatures are who run it. They think they’re dealing with normal, well as normal as any gang member is, humans.”

“And you or someone else hasn’t let them in on the true facts? Why?”

“Because until just recently even I didn’t know. It was pure dumb luck that I found out. I’d heard rumors about this Vampyre, Neculai Dalca. He came over from Romania half a century ago, fleeing his maker it’s said, and vanished. I’ve been researching him, trying to find out if he really existed, and if so where he might be. And low and behold not only is he real but he’s here in Chicago.”

“You’re sure it’s him?”

“Oh yeah. I have many sources, one of them an FBI counter terrorism agent. He happens to believe there is more out there than just human enemies.” Frank smiles a bit. “No, he doesn’t think we’ve been invaded by aliens but he’s does believe in things that go bump in the night. Primarily Vampyres. Seems he’s had run-ins with a couple of them.”

“So why hasn’t he let his people know about them? Damn, Frank, we need all the help we can get.”

Frank temples his fingers. Looks over them at me. “If you worked for a group like the FBI or HLS—the ultimate in conservatism and what have you—and someone said they believed in the creatures, how would you react? You’d probably see to it that that person was, at the very least let go, and more likely you make sure they were locked away for the ‘good of the country’ so they didn’t tarnish the image of the group. He can get more done, and learn more, but keeping quiet on his views.”

I nod slowly. “I guess I can see that but it pisses me off big time that so few actually know what’s out there. They call them fairy tales, myths, or worse write cute little romances making them seem like the salt of the earth trying to survive in a hostile world. Give me a break.” My voice has risen. I know that. Anger does that.

“Calm down.” He waits a beat. Continues. “I agree with you, but there’s nothing we can do about it except to defend humans against them by eliminating them. And right now Dalca is your prime objective.”

“Give me facts. Locations. Everything you have on him.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

(59) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

Two days later. Nine hundred miles from home. Hit the Dan Ryan at rush hour. Just my luck. Pull off onto 51st heading east. My contact lives in an old house. Hyde Park area. Used to be a home for boys he’s told me. Now his place.

Arrive there just as dark’s descending.  

My contact isn’t Dhampir. But a man who knows about and believes in the danger of Vampyres. He doesn’t buy all the crap out there that makes them out to be ‘misunderstood good guys’. He also knows about my kind. Got hold of me through an acquaintance.

I pull up. Park in the drive. Rub my ass as I dismount. Maybe two days on the road wasn’t such a good idea after all. Hear a door open. Look over. My host stands there. Tall. Taller than me I think. White hair. Wire-rimmed glasses. Jeans and a T. He may be older but still in good shape. He comes down the steps.

“Trevor, I presume.” Holding out his hand.

I shake it. “Yeah. In the flesh.” Smile.

“You look beat. Come on inside, I’ve got supper cooking and beer in the fridge.”

Follow him in. Into the kitchen. Institutional looking.

He chuckles. “Never got around to changing things out since these work just fine.” Points to the table. “Have a seat, it’s almost ready.” Gets two beers. Hands me one. “Want to talk now or wait?”

I’m about to say ‘now’. Change my mind. “I think I need to eat and sleep first. Unless there’s something pressing I need to know about.”

“Nothing accelerated, if that’s what you mean, so food it is.”

Sets out bowls. Dishes out a stew. Puts a loaf of bread down. We each cut some slices. Eat. Talk some. Nothing much. Tell him about the ride up. He tells me a bit about the area. We stay off the subject of Vampyres for now.

After supper. We sit on the porch. Beers in hand. He talks about the place. How he worked here before it closed. Bought it.

“Big old house, too big for me, but I hated to think of some corporation coming in and buying the land for an apartment building. So I rattle around it, keep up with what’s going on with our mutual enemies. Let the locals know when a new one appears so they can deal with them. Okay. Sorry, I wasn’t going to broach that subject till morning. You look half dead.”

I chuckle. “I suppose technically I am considering what I am. But yeah, I’m about to fall asleep right here.”

We finish the beers. He takes me inside. Upstairs. Shows me my room. I flop down on the bed. Half asleep before he even closes the door.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Release day for 'A Deadly Homecoming'!

A Deadly Homecoming
When Spence Harden and Jeff, his writing partner and sometime lover, move into the house once owned by Spence's murdered parents, they have no idea what awaits them. First, they discover someone is stealing items from them, but have no clue who, or why. And then the unthinkable happens. Jeff is killed and Spence is framed for his murder.

Crime reporter Gregg Rowe wants to help Spence clear his name. All Spence needs to do is decide if he believes Gregg, or if the man himself is the killer. Once Gregg convinces Spence he's telling the truth, the pair set out to discover if there is a connection between Jeff's murder and that of Spence's parents ten years earlier ... while fighting their growing attraction to each other.

    The guys had finished supper and were doing dishes when Spence got a phone call. When he answered, a man asked, "Is this Spencer Harden? Do I have the correct number?"

    "It is. How can I help you?"

    "You probably don't remember me. I'm Franklin Vernon. I knew your parents. I fact ..." He hesitated for a second. "They were at our house the night they died."

    "I know," Spence replied, his hand tightening on the phone.

    "I didn't know you were back in town until I saw you walk by our house a couple of days ago. I almost came out to say hello but, well, that's beside the point right now. This will undoubtedly sound strange. I'd like to talk with you about what happened."


    "You're father said something to me that night that might relate to why he was killed."

    "I presume you told the police."

    "No. I didn't want to soil his reputation."

    Angrily, Spence replied, "Even if it could have helped find his killer?"

    "I ... I'd rather explain everything to you in person," Mr. Vernon said. "Tonight, if possible, before I lose my nerve."

    "All right. I'll be home all evening."

    "It would be better if you come here where we can talk in private, without my wife or your friend around. She's off visiting her sister at the moment."

    Spence hesitated. Something about this felt off. On the other hand, if he really does know something. "Give me twenty minutes. I need to change clothes."

    "Excellent. I'll see you then."

    After they'd hung up, Spence told Jeff what Mr. Vernon had said.

    "You're not going alone," Jeff replied adamantly.

    "Yeah, I am. If he does have information ... Well, from what he said I don't think he'll tell me if you're there."

    "I can, umm, wait outside."

    "I'm a big boy, Jeff. I think I can handle a guy who has to be at least sixty, if I remember right."

    "Drive. Don't walk."

    "A whole two blocks? Uh-uh."

    "Spence ..."

    "Quit worrying. I'll be back before you know it."

    Spence gave him a hug, went up switch out his T-shirt for a regular one, then took off. It would have been a nice evening for a walk, if that's what he was after. Warm with a slight breeze. He didn't really notice, however. He was too busy wondering exactly what Mr. Vernon was going to tell him. That Dad was in the Mob and they killed him to shut him up? He owed money to a loan shark and was killed because he couldn't pay up? Our damned books are getting to me. Still, if Mr. Vernon hasn't gone off the deep end in his old age, he might know something.

    When Spence arrived at the Vernon house, he was surprised no lights were on inside. It didn't stop him from ringing the doorbell, then knocking when Mr. Vernon didn't answer. That didn't bring any results either, so he went around to the back. There were no lights showing there either, and when he knocked on the back door, no one answered.

    "Okay, where are you? What's going on?" he murmured. Finally giving up, he headed back home.

    He'd just crossed from the path into the back yard when he realized the back door was open and something was lying on the porch steps. In the light coming from the kitchen, it looked like ...

    He raced across the yard. Jeff was sprawled down the steps, blood pouring from a gaping wound in the back of his head. Spence knelt beside him, taking out his phone. When the nine-one-one dispatcher answered he said, "There's been an accident. My ... my housemate fell, I guess, and cracked his head."

    "How badly," the woman asked.

    "It looks ..." He gulped. "Bad."

(58) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

“Why can’t I come?”

“One, because you have a job here you don’t want to loose. Two, because it’s dangerous. Three, because of one and two.” I stop packing to kiss his forehead. “I want you safe, I want someone to come back to besides the ferret.”

He smiles slightly about the ferret. Then says, “Aren’t there enough of them here? Why do you have to run off somewhere else? Let another Dhampir deal with this one.”

“Del, if I took that attitude they’d be overrunning the world. I take care of the big ones and let the others and the wanna-be Vampyre hunters handle the small stuff. This one has to be dealt with before he kills again. Or turns any more. Please understand.”

He nods. “I understand, but I don’t have to like it baby.” He takes off his cross. Fastens it around my neck. “I want this back, so you have to come back.”

“I will. I promise.” Put my arms around him. Kiss him softly. “I have a reason to now, and not because of your cross.”

Del's smile lights up my heart. “Good,” Is all he says. But his face tells me that I do have a reason.

Kissing him once more. Then finishing stuffing what I need in my pack. Locking up the house. On the bike with him behind me. I drop him off at his place. One final kiss.

Then I’m off. Heading out of the city and up the highway. I could have flown but in the mood to ride. And the bike will come in handy I think. Where I’m going.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

(57) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

Furniture. I look around the empty rooms. Sigh. What the hell have I gotten myself into here?

Call Del. First he’s surprised. Then he’s kinda pissed. Cause I got the place without his help. Then he’s laughing.

“Baby, didn’t you think about that? Guess you didn’t.” He’s still laughing. Offers to help me get some furniture.

What seems like eons later. Furniture bought. Paid for. Delivered. Not much. Bed. Sofa. Couple of chairs and a table. Even the dresser he insists I need. For what? My wardrobe ain’t that big.

We shuffle furniture around. Damn. Not like there’s that much. Finally he’s satisfied. Except…

“The walls are bare.” He complains.

I chuckle. “I have a ton of stuff by this artist I know. Now I can do something with it.”

He grins. “That could work.” Walks to the kitchen. “Trevor!”

“Now what?” Groaning.

Takes my hand. Pulls me towards the front door. “Dishes maybe? Pots and pans?”

Another eon of shopping. You ever take one dude and a shit load of purchases on a bike? Especially my bike. But we made it. In two trips.

Now he’s satisfied. Damn. Bout time.

* * * *

A housewarming gift?

“What the hell is this?”

I look down. There’s a pile of things in front of the door to my new place.

“You won’t know if you don’t look.” Del rolls his eyes. Stating the obvious.

I pick them up. Take them inside. Open the big box. “You’re shitting me.”

“Hey, don’t look at me, baby.” He peeks into the box. Squeals with delight. “Oh Trev, how cute.”

Cute. Yeah, right. There’s a cage. And something wiggly inside it. Furry. Wiggly. I stick a finger in. It comes up. Sniffs. “What the hell is it?”

He rolls his eyes again. “It’s a ferret you silly man.” He looks through the bags. “Perfect.” Takes out a leash and harness. Hands them to me.

I look at him. Then at the ferret. Crack the cage door open. Grab it around its middle. It squirms. “Damn, hold still. How do I put this on it?”

“Honestly, Trev.” He takes the harness back. Slips it on the ferret. Then hooks up the leash.

I take it out all the way. Give it a long look. It looks back. Then curls up on my arm. I wrinkle my nose. I swear it wrinkles its nose back. “Stinky.”

“Musky. You’ll get used to it.” He reaches over. Pets it. 

It is cute. He’s right. And cuddly. I sit cross-legged to put it in my lap. It snuggles a bit. Then suddenly it’s out of my lap. Races across the floor till the leash stops it. It squeaks. Gives me a look. Takes off in another direction. Slides under the sofa.

“Now I know why the leash.” Laughing.

Del goes to rescue it. Untangles the leash from around the sofa leg. Brings it back to me.

“You know you can train them to ride in your pocket or on your shoulder.”

“Like I’m going to take Mr. Wiggles here out with me.”

Del looks at me, eyebrows rising. “You are so not calling him that. Honestly baby.”

I shrug. “Naw. We’ll find a name.”

I put it, him on my shoulder. He clings there. Del and I set up its cage. Put out the bowls for food. Fill them. Then settle down on the sofa. Playing with him. Del jumps up suddenly. Looks in the big box. Comes back with a card.

I read it and smile. He asks what.

“Just says to enjoy.”

“No name?”

“Nope. But I have a sneaking suspicion I know who it came from. There’s this chick I run into sometimes at a club. She’s,” I shrug. “She’s okay, I guess. Crazy, but okay. This is just her style.” Laughing. “Maybe I should call him Chick.”

“Don’t even. Gods, Trev, we’ll come up with a name in time.”

I smile as he snuggles next to me. Yeah. Right now I’m happy. I think life is finally going to be good.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

(56) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

Blowing out a long breath. Frustrated. Maybe I’ll stay where I am. I don’t need fancy. Big fancy kitchen. Fireplaces in every room. Fireplaces? This is New Orleans. Come on.

One bedroom. Bath. OK, living room too. That’s all I need. Kitchen, I suppose, but only a small one. I mean, who cooks anyway. Not me.

And I for fucking sure don’t want an apartment complex. Told the lady that. Twice at least. Guess she doesn’t listen well.

She’s running through her listings. Again. Think she’s as frustrated as me. Gives me that look. The ‘make up your mind’ one.

I shrug. Hey, I’m paying her. She can find what I want.

Then. “That one.” Pointing.

It’s a house. Tiny. What they call a shotgun I think. For rent.

“Thank goodness.” Muttered under her breath. She gets up. Smiles tiredly but still nice. Business women nice.

Ten minutes later. She’s walking me through the place.

Large front room. Well for a small house, large. With a fireplace. Can’t have it all I guess. Hallway to the kitchen. Well not really a hall cause the bedroom opens on to it. Bath off of that. Behind the house a pocket backyard. Del will like that. Smiling to myself.

“I’ll take it.”

“You’re certain?” She’s startled I think. “You don’t want your wife to see it first?”

I laugh. “Even if I had one, it would still be my decision.”

“Now why did I think…” She looks puzzled.

Tempted to tell her she didn’t. Think that is. Admonish myself. Be nice.

“Oh well,” she continues. “If you’re sure, then we’ll go back to my office so I can check your references, you credit, get all the pertinent information. And then in a day or two I’ll let you know if you meet the criteria to rent it.”

Good luck on that I think. I have none of the above. But I’ll deal when we get to her office.

We go back. I fill out papers. She fills out papers. I look up from across the desk at her. Give a small mental twist.

“Mr. Wallace.” She smiles. “All I need it first and last and the house is yours for the next year. The lease will be renewable at that time.”

I take out my wallet. Hand her the cash. She’s surprised. Takes it anyway. Of course. Makes an entry on her computer. Prints it out. Hands me two copies of the lease. We both sign them. Each keep one. She puts all her paperwork in a file like it was all copasetic. Then she gives me the keys.

I now have a place of my own. For the next year at least. Hope I don’t regret it.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

(55) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

Del looks so sad. So afraid. I want to hold him. Tell him everything’s going to be just fine. But he’s over there and I’m here. The table’s between us. And too many other things as well. Things that friends can accept about friends but that…

I ditch that thought.

“But I can’t always be there,” I continue. “So you have to learn to harden yourself, Del.”

He straightens. Looks at me steely eyed. “I am hard. I had to be, to be what I was and what men still think I am apparently. So I spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder and hoping that one of them doesn’t appear at the wrong time and fuck my life up again. That’s just great, Trev. Just how I wanted things to be when I quit the life. Maybe I should just say screw it and go back to it again.”

“Over my dead body.” Growling angrily. “You’re out and you’re staying out. If we have to we’ll move somewhere else where no one knows you.”

“We?” His eyes widen. Surprise. Some anger too still. “Since when is there a ‘we’ in all of this?”

I’m shocked too. I didn’t mean to say that. But it’s said now. And meant, I realize.

I get up. Move to sit beside him. Not touching, but closer. No table between us. Looking at him. Scanning his face. “I think there’s been a ‘we’ for a while now, Del. Yeah we’re friends. We’ve been that since we met, almost in spite of my stupidity. But there’s more, at least from where I’m sitting. I don’t know how much more yet, but yeah, more than just friendship.”

He’s watching me as I talk. His eyes on my lips. Like he’s afraid to see the rest. Now he raises them.

“You’re serious aren’t you? You think that there can be more. Trev, you are out of you every loving mind.”

I feel like I’ve been sucker punched. That’ll teach me to let my feelings out. I pull back. About to stand and leave. He puts his hands on my shoulders. Makes me stay where I am.

“You don’t want me, baby. I’m used goods. I wish things had been different but they aren’t, and no amount of running away to somewhere else will change that one fact. Maybe no one else would know who I am and what I was. But you would and you’d never forget it as hard as you tried.”

I want to shake him. Shake some sense into that head of his.

“Do you think I give a damn about that? I’m no prize either Del. I’m fixated on one thing and one thing only. Or,” I touch his cheek. Stroke it lightly. “Or I was. Now I’m not so sure.” Put a finger on his lips. “Shush. I’m not done yet. I’ll always go after the bastards. My hate for them won’t ever go away and I know that. But being around you let’s me forget it for a bit and feel…human maybe? Or at least less inhuman. I need you Del. As a friend always, but like I said more than just that. I’m not asking you to fall into bed with me, though I wouldn’t mind if you did. All I want is for the two of us to look to the future and see if there’s a place there for the both of us together.”

He moves my hand away. Holds it in a death grip. Never taking his eyes from mine. “Like I said, you’re out of your ever loving mind.” His lips tip up in a smile. Eyes lighting up. Tearing up too. “Are you sure? Really sure?”

“More sure of this than I’ve ever been of anything else in my life I think. But I’m not going to pressure you. If you need to walk away, then I’ll let you. But realize that if you don’t, if you decide to stick around, I’m here for you. And with you, I hope, as more than just a friend now. Caught somewhere between that and lover until we know the time is right for both of us.”

“Trevor Wallace you are something else.” He’s grinning now. And crying. He leans in, kissing me chastely. Pulling back. “I’m willing to try if you are. And,” he almost glares at me. But not really. “I am not running away. This is my home now and damn it I’m done running scared.”

“That’s my boy.” I cup his chin. Kiss him. Not softly. But not passionately either. That will come later I think. I hope. For now I’ll do my best not to push him.

He gives as he’s given to. The feelings are there between us. For now that’s enough. Pulling back, he leans against the wall. Points a finger at me.

“Now, Mr. Wallace, don’t you have something you need to do?”

I cock an eyebrow in question.

“Move. And I don’t mean out of the booth. I mean out of that dingy room you’ve been calling home, and into some place decent. Because I am for damned sure not going back there to visit you.”

“Deal. I’ll start looking tomorrow.”

Friday, November 18, 2016

(54) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir


I glanced over Trev’s shoulder for a second and saw the two men he’d talked to in the restaurant were sitting at the bar. One of them was staring over at us. “Looks like you’re being followed,” I told him.

He turned and a scowl crossed his face, erasing the happy man he’d been just moments ago. “I thought I took care of them.” He started to slide out of the booth.

“Hang on Trev. What’s going on? You said they were friends of yours.”

He sank back down into his seat, shaking his head. “I didn’t want you to be worried.”

“About what?” I was frowning now as well. I took another look at the men, studying them. “Oh no,” I whispered when reality hit. “They recognized me, didn’t they?”

“Yeah, the one did.” His anger was palpable now.

“What did they say?”

“Nothing worth repeating, Del. Trust me on that one. But I need to finish what I thought I’d done.”

He was out of the booth now, heading across the floor to them. I sank low in my seat. I’d never escape my old life and I knew that now. I’d always have to be looking over my shoulder for men like them who had paid me for sex.

I watched as Trev reached the men. There was a brief discussion and then he was coming back. He didn’t look happy but the angry look was gone. Sliding into the booth he reached across to take my hands.

“There’s nothing to worry about from them, other than that they think you’re one hell of a handsome guy. That’s why they were staring at you.”

I sighed in relief but wondered… “Trev, what did you do to them?”

He smiled slightly. “I didn’t intimidate them, if that’s what you’re asking. I just took away their memories of you.”

“Oh? Oh, like in the movies where the Vampyre wipes his victim’s mind. You can do that too?”

He shrugged. “Yeah, comes with the territory, I found out. I can’t control people, or make them forget everything. But I can twist bits of memory or erase just one small part. It comes in handy when I save someone who’s seen me kill the Vampyre who attacked them.”

“Or in this case someone who remembers I was the hooker who got them off.” I pulled my hands away, looking at him. “You can’t be there every time some man recognizes me and make him forget.”

“I know Del. I wish I could be.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

(53) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir


“Is that the way it always is with your kind?”

Trevor had taken me to a local bar not too far from where I work. It’s a nice quiet place that we’ve been to before that the tourists seem to avoid. Not that this is a tourist district but they seem to be everywhere at this time of year. We found an empty booth in back and I was stretched out on one side, shoes off, feet up, resting them. He’d just finished telling me some of what had happened while he was gone.

“Pretty much, Del.” He was leaning forward, elbows on the table while he spoke softly so no one else could hear him but me. “You gotta figure that we’re born to do what we do. I suppose it’s sort of nature’s way of balancing the population by using them to create their own destruction.”

I shivered. “How awful to grow up knowing you’re going to be killing your own father in time.”

Trev shook his head. “Most of us never know who our father was. Daniel and I are pretty much the exception to the rule. But yeah, it’s not the greatest of childhoods if your mother lets you know from the get-go what you are. And, often as not, she has to, since Dhampirs have powers they’ve inherited from their fathers.”

“What if…” I frowned as something occurred to me. “What if the mother doesn’t know who or what the father was? That would be scary when she discovered that her kid was stronger and faster than all the other kids on the block.”

“She’d probably figure she’d given birth to a future football star or something,” Trev replied with a chuckle. “Hell, in all honesty I don’t have a clue what that would be like. There are damned few of us around, believe it or not. I’ve only met two others and one was just in passing.”

I had another thought and blurted it out without thinking. “Are you sort of like a mule?” I winced as soon as I’d said it. “Damn Trev. I’m sorry, I know you’re not.”

“It’s all right.” He took my hand, giving it a squeeze. “What’s past is past. You taught me that. Though I’m not sure I like being compared to a mule. I’m not that stubborn. I don’t think.”

“You have your moments.” I smiled at him, glad he hadn’t let my thoughtless words bring him down.

“Look who’s talking Mister ‘I don’t need anyone’s help, I can do it on my own’.”

“Well I can.” I gave him a mock glare.

He tossed his head back, laughing. Man he looks so different when he does that. It always surprises me and makes me wonder what he’d have been like if his circumstances had been different. Probably married with ten kids I bet, but no way am I saying that to him.

Monday, November 14, 2016

(52) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

Made it back. Feel like I accomplished something. Now to find Del. I finger the cross. Return this to him.

He’s not at his place. Probably working.

Walk into the restaurant. See him. He hasn’t spotted me yet. He looks cute in his black slacks and white shirt. On him it’s sexy even. Lean against the wall. Watching him. He must feel my eyes on him. Turns. Breaks into a grin. Holds up a finger to let me know he’ll be over in a minute.

Soon he walks across the room. Smiles. “Hey baby.” Stands on tiptoe to kiss my cheek. “Welcome home.”

“It’s good to be back. Did you survive without me?” Chuckling. I know he did.

He nods. “But barely. Are you hungry? I’m off in twenty, so if you want something.”

Tempted to give him a smart ass answer. Say instead, “I’m dying for some decent coffee.”

He takes me to an empty table. Comes back with the coffee. Sets it down with a slice of pie beside it. “On the house. I’ll be back in a few.”

I lean back. Watching him. Sipping the coffee. Hear someone at the next table.

“I know it’s him. He’s all cleaned up and all, but I’d recognize that face even if it was usually between my legs.” Nasty low laugh.

“So what are you going to do? Catch him on the way out and ask for a quickie?” Another man’s voice. I can almost sense the smirk on his face.

Turn slowly to look at them. Two business types. Eyeing Del like he was free goods. Get up. Go over. Leaning both hands on their table. Staring at each one in turn.

“If I were you, I’d get out of here now. Leave a large tip and move on before you wish you hadn’t.”

“Who are you, his damned pimp?” The one man looks me over. Sneering. “How much does he cost these days?”

“More than you can afford.” I open my coat just enough so he can see my knife resting on my hip. “Now move it before I forget myself and do you right here.”

He pales. “You wouldn’t…” Guess he gets I would. Stands quickly. Nods to his companion to follow. Starts towards the door.


He hesitates. Comes back. Drops some bills on the table. They leave. I follow. Stop them half a block down. Stepping in front of them. Catching their eyes. Tell them to forget Del exists. Reinforce that with a thought. They look dazed for a moment. Then sidestep around me. Continue on their way.

I go back inside. Del’s sitting at my table. I join him.

“What was that all about?” He looks worried.

“Nothing. Just a couple of guys I know. One of them owed me some money and I suggested he pay up. We’re free and clear now.” Smiling. Hoping he buys it.

Apparently he does. Chuckles. “Then you can buy me a drink to celebrate.”

“Hey, it wasn’t that much.” Grinning at him. “But sure. You ready to leave?”

“And then some.”

Saturday, November 12, 2016

(51) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir


I hate to admit it but I miss Trev. I suppose if I was being very honest that’s at least half the reason I gave him my cross. That way he has to come back. If for no other reason than to return it.

My feet ache, big time. I never knew being a waiter would be so hard on them. Or so hard all together. It’s not a job for a sissy I’m finding out. I like it though and I like the tips. It’s nice to earn extra just for being friendly and not because someone wants something from you. I don’t miss my old life one bit.

I just hope none of my former johns come in here. That would be not only embarrassing but it could loose me my job. My boss is a decent guy but I don’t think he’d really like knowing what I used to do. Hell I don’t like what I used to do.

I wish. I wish I’d met Trev under different circumstances so he wasn’t aware of my past. I think maybe, well probably, that’s why he’s never even suggested we become more than just friends. I know he frequents hookers. No big secret there. But I’m sure he doesn’t want one in his life on a permanent basis. At least not as more than just someone to pal around with when he’s lonely.

My studio’s finally set up, so I can paint and draw whenever I have free time, which is a lot I’m finding—since Trev’s not around. I go back to the old neighborhood too, to get ideas. I don’t think I really realized how bad it was until I left. And the people, they’re so sad. Tired, worn out street girls and guys. Punks selling drugs to them—and to anyone else who’ll buy. Pimps watching with eagle eyes to make sure their whores don’t try to cheat them out of a cent. The saddest though are the kids. Families live in the neighborhood, too, and the kids have no place to play but the streets. They look too knowing, too aware of how bad life is. It’s in their eyes and in the way they move and act. They don’t have any hope, just fear. I wish…

There are a lot of things I wish. Maybe some of them will come true someday. But for now I’m doing the best I can to keep my life in order and save enough to make next month’s rent and keep food on my table.

And wait for Trev to come back.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Release day for 'The Recluse'!

The Recluse

TV star Laird Wakefield died after a motorcycle accident--or so it was announced by his doctors to the news outlets. Not true. With his face horribly scarred, he has gone into total seclusion, living in what the townspeople call 'the haunted mansion on the hill' for the past five years.

That is about to change. On a dare from his brother Alex, twenty three year old Dev Pierson breaks into the basement of the mansion. When Laird catches him in the act, Dev is at first terrified when he sees Laird's face--and Rage, Laird's huge guard dog. Much to Dev's surprise, after he explains why he's there, Laird invites him upstairs for a drink. 

Slowly, a friendship develops between the two men. Then the question becomes, can Dev convince Laird to face his fears and end his reclusive existence--and will Laird survive emotionally if he does. 

A scream echoed through the mansion.

Devin heard it and froze in the dark of the basement, praying he wouldn't be found. There were stories about the place, about the thing that lived there—half human, half beast, or so it was said. He hadn't believed them until this moment. Even now, he wasn't certain he did.

It could be kids fooling around. Or…or someone exploring, like me, and maybe falling down the stairs. I should go see. What if they're…dead? Or dying?

He'd come to the mansion after work Tuesday night on a dare from his older brother, Alex. Sibling rivalry, even though they were twenty-three and twenty-four respectively. It had always been like that between them; the "Can you top this?" challenges.

Alex had been in town two weeks before for a three-day visit. When they'd driven through the neighborhood housing the mansion on the hill, Dev had told him the rumors he'd heard about it. Alex had immediately asked if Dev had checked it out.

"No way," Dev replied.

Alex grinned. "Scared?"

"No," Dev protested. "I'm not into breaking and entering."

"No one lives there, you said, other than some fairytale monster—as if—so that makes you a chicken."

"Damn, Alex, grow up. Would you go in there?"

Alex had thought about it, looking up at the imposing structure. Then he'd shook his head. "Nope. But I dare you to."

That had been it, not that Dev had immediately taken him up on the challenge, despite Alex's teasing taunts, during the rest of his visit, that Dev was afraid of the place. He wasn't, not really. He just had other things to keep him busy, between work and entertaining his brother. Alex had left, and Dev had figured that was the end of it. Still, his interest had been piqued, and when Alex sent him several emails about how he'd chickened out on the dare, Dev had decided what the hell.

There's probably no way I can get in there, anyway, without setting off alarms. The place has to have security up the wazoo. Then I can tell Alex I tried and that will be the end of it.

Fortunately—or unfortunately, he wasn't sure which—getting inside the mansion hadn't been a problem. After climbing a tree by the brick wall surrounding the yard then dropping to the ground, he'd begun creeping around the exterior looking for light shining through any of the windows. He was halfway around when he realized they were all covered with drapes. If anyone is in there, I wouldn't know it. That gave him pause, but a dare was a dare and he wasn't about to flake out and have Alex taunt him for the rest of his life about backing down, so he'd jimmied opened a basement window, expecting alarms to go off, giving him an excuse to leave—fast. That hadn't happened. Taking a deep breath, he'd climbed through, dropping to the floor quietly on sneaker-shod feet.

The room in the basement was dark, the only light coming from the almost-full moon shining through the windows behind him and the dim glow through the open door at the top of a flight of stairs that he could barely see at the far side of the room. Cautiously he'd started toward them, avoiding a large workbench on the way.

Then…the scream.


Laird stood in the pantry at the top of the basement stairs, smiling maliciously. His left hand rested on Rage's huge head. In his right hand, he held a small recorder. If that doesn't send whoever's down there running…

He listened for the sound of retreating footsteps, muttering invectives under his breath when, instead, they came closer. He pushed the button on the recorder again and an ear-piercing scream echoed through the pantry and down the stairs. He heard a gasp of fear.

Go. Whoever you are. You're not wanted here.

A moment later, the sound of someone hastily heading toward the basement windows made him smile with relief. Tell all your friends you heard someone being attacked. That should keep up the mythos that my home is haunted, if that's the tale at the moment.

He knew there was a chance that whoever it was might call the police. That didn't bother him in the least. The police knew he lived in the mansion and that he used Rage or sound effects to scare away any trespassers. Of course, it had taken a couple of visits by patrol officers back when he'd first moved in before they were convinced he was quite capable of handling things on his own.

One look at Rage—and at my face—and the officers knew anyone who dared enter the house would leave like the devil was after them, without help.

He started to return to his library, where he'd been deeply engrossed in the book he'd been reading before Rage's demeanor had alerted him to the trespasser. Now, a low growl from Rage stopped him. Signaling for the dog to be quiet, Laird listened.

Our intrepid explorer seems to have changed his mind about leaving.

"Stay," Laird ordered Rage under his breath. The dog froze, ready to attack if ordered to. Laird moved to the top of the stairs.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

(50) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

“You wear a cross? It can’t be for protection.” Daniel looks at it. At me. We’ve stripped down so I can teach him some fighting moves.

“Right. Not that kind of protection. A friend gave…no, lent it to me to keep me safe.” I smile a bit. Thinking of Del.

“Female friend I bet from the smile. You doing her?”

“In the first place,” growling, “if I were that’s none of your business. In the second place, well there isn’t a second place. Other than she's a he.”

He looks at me in disbelief, so I aim a swift kick to his balls. He’s startled. But avoids it. Just. The tip of my shoe grazes his hip. Comes back with two fast ones of his own. I grab his ankle on the second one. He’s on his back looking up at me. Wincing.

“It was just a question. Damn.”

I twist. He’s face down now. My knee in the small of his back. “My personal life is just that, personal. And pay attention. If I’d been a Vampyre you’d be dead now or on the way to worse.” Let him up. “Now try again.”

We continue with the lesson for a while. He improves. Fast learner. Which is good. Finally call a halt.

He goes to the fridge. Hands me a cold one. Flops back on the sofa that’s now against the wall. “You have a rep for screwing a different chick every night.”

I chuckle. “That’s reached your ears way out here? And I'll screw anything human. It's…me."

“I checked up on you before I called.” Running a finger down the bottle. Glances at me. “You got awfully defensive when I asked about that…guy.” Holds up his hand before I can say anything. “None of my business I agree but this is me. I like knowing things about…friends.” Looks at me to see if I accept that.

“Not sure we’re anything more than friends, yet, but I guess maybe…” Pace to the window. Take a long pull on my beer. Turn back. “OK. Yeah, he’s important to me but we’re nothing more than friends. We help each other out when needed. Grab a bite to eat or what have you together but that’s all there is to it.”

“Why?” His eyebrow goes up quizzically.

“Why what? Why haven’t I made it with him? 'Cause he wouldn’t want that I suppose. But more because I respect him and I think he respects me. I’m not willing to loose that or his friendship for a quick in and out.”

“He knows what you are?”

“Yep.” Go back to settle at the other end of the sofa. Take another swig of beer.

“And he doesn’t mind? That must be one hell of a guy, there.”

“That he is.” I know I’m smiling. Try turning the tables on him. “You got a chick?”

“Naw, but I’m not looking either. I need to get a handle on things first. This, my father, all of it.” He stares at me. “Trev, I’m not giving him up to you. At least not yet. So if you were thinking I would, forget it. I accept that he’s probably as bad as you say, but until I work things out in my head I can't do that.”

I nod. “Just remember, if you make the right decision and you need me to take him down you can call. And Daniel, don’t try it by yourself. He may live at home with your mom, but he doesn’t sleep there if I don’t miss my guess, at least not any more—since he sent you after his rival. He’s got the reputation for being one smart cookie and I’d bet my bottom dollar that he’s not going to take even the remotest chance that word will get to you about what he’s really like, and you’ll come after him.”

Daniel chuckles. “I think that’s the longest sentence I’ve heard you speak.” Sobers then. “Yeah, I know. I’ll be careful. I’m going to do my best to off any of the bastards I find. And thanks to you I just might succeed now.”

“No problem. You’re a quick study. You should be fine. And as I said, you need help, you call.” Finish my beer. Get up. Grin at him. “Ready for another round? It’s the last you’ll get before I leave town.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

(49) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

“You know I want your father’s head.” I stare at Daniel. Wonder what his response will be.

He looks away. Everywhere but at me. Mutters. “I know.”

“Kid, he’s one of them. And he lied to you big time to keep you from going after his kind with the tools you needed to take them on. Doesn’t that tell you something?”

“Yeah.” He finally looks at me. “But he’s my father. What would you do if you were in my place? You don’t have to answer cause I know what it’ll be.” Frowning. “Or do I? Where is your father, or do you even know who it was?”

“I know.” Tightening the rein on my emotions. Tell him calmly about the bastard. And what I did. “That’s why I hate them, why I kill them. No one hires me. I do it because I can. And because every damned one of them deserves to die.”

“There have to be some that don’t.” He’s fighting for a reason. He doesn’t want to kill his father. Despite all he knows now.

“Daniel, it’s possible that some are,” I shrug, “not totally evil. But your father’s not one of those. I won’t force you to lead me to him. It’s a decision you have to make on your own. Just realize that he’s no better than any of the others. Worse, in fact, because he used you to eliminate a rival. He didn’t even have the balls to do it himself.”

“That’s not…” He stops. Scowls. “Okay. Yeah, you’re right. But damn it he’s my father. Good or bad I still love him. I think.”

“You think? I suppose that’s a step in the right direction. Daniel, you have to make some choices. You are what you are, just like me. You can play around with it, or you can be serious and put what was given to you to good use. If you decide to truly be what you are, then I’ll do as I promised and teach you. It’s up to you.” I get up. Heading to the door. “Call me when you’ve made up your mind.”

“Trevor. Wait.”

Turning. “Yes?”

“Teach me.” He sounds uncertain still. But there’s conviction in those two words as well.

So I do.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

(48) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir

“Now we watch and wait?” Daniel asks.

“Yep. Not a bad spot. You did good.”

Daniel smiles. “I do have a brain; I just need to learn to use it.”

“So true.” I chuckle. Rest my arms on the parapet. Keeping an eye on the club. Mutter. “I hate stakeouts.”

Damned boring. Necessary though. Much later our target appears. Visible now. From our vantage point we watch. He moves swiftly down the street. Disappears around the corner. We follow. Rooftop to rooftop. Spot him again.

On the street now. Still tailing him. He must live close. Sleep close. Shortcutting down alleys. Finally. I smile when he slips through a yard. Through a door.

“Do we follow him in?” Daniel asks.

“Not till after sunup. That’ll give us plenty of time to find his lair in there. Nice house. I wonder if he owns it or is just taking advantage of whoever does.”

“They do that?”

“Hell yeah. They’ll pick a respectable place and make a den there. Sometimes they’ll even use the families to feed on in emergencies.”

“Damn.” He looks shocked.

“These are deadly predators, kid. Never forget that for a second. They’ll use whatever means necessary to survive and stay alive. They don’t care who they feed on, man, woman, child. It’s all the same to them.”

We settle in again. Waiting. The sun shows its face. No one appears. The house must be vacant. Except for our prey.

Moving silently. The door locked. Easily unlocked. Too easily maybe. Telling Daniel to wait. I slip inside. A basement. Dark. But not to me. My Vampyre side assisting me. He is a fool. Or foolhardy. A vague trail through the dust and dirt. One human eyes might not see. Ending at a blank wall.

I pause. Listening. He must be sleeping. Unless…

Returning to Daniel. “This is too easy. We’ll stay here till noon. Even an ancient will be asleep then.” Finding shade on the back porch to hide us. The kid dozes. I remain alert. Time passes slowly. Finally it’s time.

Wake Daniel. We go inside. Thin sunlight comes through dirt-streaked windows. I point to the wall. “He’s behind that.”

“And we’re out here. Now what?”

I point to a faint outline. “There was a door there once. So we find it again.” The basement was used once for many things. On one wall a workbench. Thick with dust. A few rusted tools. A crowbar. Screwdrivers. We start to work. Removing the layer of plaster. I was right. Slowly the door is revealed. By now it’s mid-afternoon.

Opening it inch by inch. We steal through. Into a small room. A bed on one side. Our prey there. Back against the wall. Sleeping. Weapons in both hands. I see why. Above us a trapdoor. He expected us to find it I suspect. To attack soon after dawn. Drop down into his clutches. Sometimes instinct pays off.

When he’s executed we leave. Go back to Daniel’s place. To sleep ourselves.