Saturday, December 15, 2018

Undead For The Holidays Part 2


    "I was passing through town, of course, I decided to drive around the square." I shrug like it's no big deal. "It was great to see Samantha’s Gifts still in business.”
    “Is that where it happened?”
     I wave off the interruption. I will tell this at my own pace. “I got out to stretch my legs as I've still got a hundred and fifty miles to go. So, I walk around the lights and I'm almost back to my car when this guy approaches.” I have to stop and swallow hard. This next part is going to be harder to tell.
     “Did you recognize him?”
     “No, but he was dressed like a caroler.”
     “What does that mean?”                                  
     “You know, he wore one of those ye olde yuletide Christmas caroler-type outfits.” I see understanding dawn in Will’s eyes. “Can you believe it? I stand there smiling at him; expectantly waiting to be serenade with Jingle Bells or Silent Night.”
     If my laugh sounds bitter. It is.
     “He grabs me. Slaps one hand over my mouth and is choking me with the other arm so I can't scream." Emotions make me hiccup. "He, ah, drags me behind the bushes along the west side of the courthouse. You can guess what I thought, but he didn’t…” I trail off. It's too hard to go on.
     “Come on, Holls, tell me.”
     I barely hear the gruff demand. Without thinking I grope for his hand, and I’m pretty sure I don’t manage another full breath until our fingers link together. “He, um, I know it sounds insane, but he..oh, hell, he bites me.” A hot, burning sensation had seared the nerve endings where his fangs plunged through my flesh. Even the memory causes me to break out in a clammy sweat.
     In a show of support, Will quietly squeezes my hand. It gives me the courage to finish, “He sucked blood out of me until I thought I was going to die.”
     “Holly,” Will whispers.
     “It's surreal. I feel detached from my body; like I'm hanging in limbo. Then, when he's done, he drops me to the ground, and all I can do lie in a heap. He pokes me with his foot and starts getting agitated. I can hear him ranting about getting a steak because of me.” I try to chuckle, but it comes out pretty weak. “It was awful. I thought he was going to butcher me right then and there.
     “He said," Will pauses and tries again, "he said he was going to turn you into steak?” 
     I'm not surprised that Will sounds confused. “I swear that’s what he said. He's got to be some sort of cannibal. Why else would he drink blood and talk about eating me?”
     “I see.” Some emotion flickers deep in Will’s eyes. That, if the situation wasn’t so dire, I might read as amusement. Since I’m unable to tell for sure, I glare on principle.
     “You don’t believe me. But the guy's evil. He looked human, but he’s got fangs. Like a wolf. He drank my blood, and then started talking about getting steaks.”
     Will cups my cheek in his palm and directs my face so I meet his eyes. “I do believe you, Holly. Tell me what happened after that?”
     I hate this last part, and self-loathing clogs my voice, “It’s…awful.”
     “Then say it fast,” Will coaxes.
     I nod and do as he advises, “He, ah, slit his wrist.” I think about the long and gross looking fingernail slicing through his skin. “He tries to dribble blood into my mouth, but I spit most of it out. That made him so mad he pinched my nose shut until I had to swallow.”
     “Shit. How much did you get?”
     I shrug because I don’t know. “A few drops. Not much more than that.”
    “Okay.” Will relaxes fractionally. “How did you get away?”
    “He seemed to think I’d lost too much blood to go anyplace.”
    “It was probably more a case of underestimating you.”
    I hate how much it pleases me to hear that. “Anyway, he tells me he'll be right back and walks off. I don't even wait until he's out of sight before I'm crawling to the nearest tree. I use it to stand, and make it back to my car.”
    Thank goodness, after years of misplaced car keys, I’d developed the habit of carrying them in my coat pocket. Otherwise, I’d have been out of luck as I'd dropped my purse when the madman first snatched me.
     Will's next question is unexpected. “How did you know to come to me and not the cops or hospital?”
    That’s when it hits me. His easy acceptance of what happened strikes me as strange. Could be, he's placating an injured victim—but I’m not getting that vibe. Though it hasn't made the National News, I abruptly wonder if Will's already heard about this attacker.  
    "Hollis?" He prompts.
    “Oh, I needed someplace to hide until I feel better.” 
    “Is that all?” He murmurs cryptically. “So, you never figured it out.” For the first time he seems uncertain. Clasping both my hands, he tells me, “This is going to be hard for you to hear, but a rogue vampire attacked you.”
     Vampire. The word I'd refused to consider slaps at me, and I unconsciously wrap my arms around my middle. “So you’ve heard about this guy before? Is that what they’re calling him? The Vampire?”
    Not just call himhe is an actual vampire.” Will is completely serious. “Vampires exist, and while it’s rare, sometimes one goes rogue.”
      My brain is too foggy to understand, but Will continues to explain in a calm yet persuasive manner. So much so, that after listening to all he has to say, I’m inclined to believe him. Remembering my attacker’s fangs and how he drank my blood are the swaying factors that make it real.
     “It sounds as if he feared he’d taken a fatal amount of blood, and panicked. You see, the punishment for draining a human is death by stake. That’s why, I believe, he was attempting to keep you alive by giving you some vampire blood." He smiled slightly, "Holls, he was trying to make you a vampire, not turn you into Holly steaks.”
     I must look totally befuddled as Will reaches over and tips my chin up to shut my mouth. Then he repeats, “He wasn’t planning to cut you up into steaks. He was trying to prevent himself from getting staked.”
     I am as yet unable to puzzle this through. All I know is that it doesn’t sound possible. “I’m not a vampire.”
     “Not yet. But if you got enough vamp DNA, you're already in process.”
    “Let’s test it out.” Rising, he walks into the small adjoining bathroom.
     The moment I hear water running, I lean over to the bedside table, and flipped back the top of the towel. Wrapped inside the white terrycloth are three hospital-style bags of blood and five wooden stakes with lethally sharp points
      The weapons have me looking at the bathroom door. Just who does he intend to use them on? The faucet cuts off, and I toss the cover back into place. My hands are resting innocently on my stomach when Will returns with a small glass of water in one hand and the room’s clean, plastic-lined ice bucket in the other.
     “You need to get some fluids back in you.” He holds the glass to my lips. “Drink up.”
     In a night filled with mayhem, this is such a normal sounding request that I automatically take several sips. Instantly, my stomach instantly reject the cool water, but Will is prepared. Faster and slicker than a magician, he has the empty bucket ready as I heave every drop back up.
      I glance up and gag again. This time it’s because Will has opened his mouth, and I can see his incisor teeth elongating. Calmly, he punctures the tip of his forefinger on one glinting tip, and proceeds to squeeze several fat, red drops into the remaining water.After swirling the glass, he tries to hand it back to me.
     “Absolutely not.”
     Patiently, as if I’m a truculent patient refusing to take my medicine, Will explains, “The inability to tolerate plain water is often the first sign of impending change.”
    “Maybe, I don’t want to know.”
     “Come on, Holls, you’re braver than that,” he reproves. “One swallow made you throw up—”
     “Could be a fluke,” I interrupt.
     “One way to find out for sure is to try again. This time with a drop of my blood, vampire blood, mixed in. If you not only tolerate it but it relieves your other symptoms, I think we can safely say you’re starting to turn.”
     “Into a vampire.”
     He eyes me with kind sympathy. “Yes.”
     “Like you?”
     “But I don’t want to be undead.
     “Vampires are not undead. I don’t even know what that means except as a plot twist in a B movie. We aren’t reanimated corpses,” he chuckles. “Like every other living being, we are born into this world. It’s just that some of us are born to vampire parents. Others, like you, start as human and get turned along the way. Doesn’t matter. Birth and death remain in the cards for all of us.”
     “What about mirrors?” I can’t believe how vain I sound that my first worry is about my reflection. Or how about those stakes you were talking about?” That reminds me of the weapons he's hidden beneath the towel.
     “Come on,” he cajoles with a charming smile, “be reasonable. A stake through the heart will kill anything. The rest is garbage. You know good and well, I don’t sleep in a coffin. I go out during the day. The only things Hollywood gets even partially right is we do have an extended lifetime. Although it isn’t eternal. We’re simply a race that is a bit stronger, our senses are a little more acute, and we heal pretty fast.”
      I want to argue that no one can exist on a diet of blood and nothing else. But, before I can speak, the muscles in my back twist like a bodybuilder in a towel wringing competition. Immediately, Will’s there. He brings the rim of the glass to my lips and pours most of the contents down my throat. It sounds silly, but I’m equal parts grateful and horrified when I promptly feel better. 
     I might not want to admit it, but I guess it’s true. I am fast-tracking my way to becoming a blood-sucking monster. 
Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of Undead For The Holidays.


remullins said...

Sorry for the temporary glitch. Everything seems back up and running. Please, leave me a comment. Thanks, RE

Jannine Gallant said...

I'm enjoying this so much, Robin! And it's turning out just as I suspected!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Though not a vampire fan by nature, I'm thoroughly enjoying this story. Good, bad or otherwise, Wills is a keeper for sure. Something tells me Holly needs him in her life. It is a life, right?

remullins said...

Margo, every paranormal author creates their own vampire world. Mine happens to be filled with very 'human' vampires. Think of them as humans with an extra chromosome or two that provides their increased senses and lifespan. Due to their long lives, I've also made them mature much more slowly. In my vampire series, they don't even reach their majority until they reach 100 years.

Leah St. James said...

I love your version of vampires! Just a heightened form of the human race. Sort of. I hope that means they can eat real food. :-) As far as yesterday's chapter, I had it partially right. I guessed correctly about Will, but not that holly was turning!! Can't wait to read tomorrow's conclusion!

Christine DePetrillo said...

What is better than a vampire story? A CHRISTMAS vampire story! Love it!

Alicia Dean said...

Ah, fabulous! I love that she's transitioning and he's there to help her. This is a great little story! Off to read the conclusion.