Well, yes, I made a banner. Must be something more than just a smallish Halloween story…please stop laughing…you know I can hear you!
As always, thanks for reading!
Chapter 3—Both Bitten…
I like driving. It gives me time to reflect as I coax my old car along. Especially today…Nana said with the Blood Moon, I should not stray far from my own door. She also tells me that Hitler was her cousin and that when he had his cards read by her mother they said he would never rule an empire and that is why he hated the gypsies.
Every morning over breakfast my Nana tells me to consider myself blessed because I live in America and did not grow up foraging for food like she did. Also, that I can attend the university. She had to walk five miles in the snow just to learn her ABC’s and 123’s. “At least she was not barefoot,” I chuckle to myself.
It has been a long two years. I love going to school but I hate living with my grandmother to be able to afford to go to school. She is full of all kinds of folk wisdom, home remedies, distorted history, and short on a lot of scientific facts. I do not want to be like her.
So I am not! With a camera in my hand, I think I am pretty, smart, and desirable. When I not holding one, I am still pretty, smart and nobody wants to date me after they meet my Nana. That old woman whacks them with the sign for the evil eye and that is the last I see of them.
Their loss, I keep telling myself because I will not live with my Nana forever and I am a good amateur photographer. Even Dr. Reynolds thinks I have talent. And I do not have any fancy gear. Just my phone and a beat up old Nikon and a good eye and the willingness to lie in the mud to get the shot.
And that is why I am here tonight! To get the shot! I am so excited!
Oops-e-e…easy does it as I double clutch up this hill!
My photography class is at this moment on top of the library, photographing the eclipse. Losers! Those twenty plebeians will all have the same shots! But myself and five other classmates will have the moon overlooking the Tulsa skyline, reflecting in the Arkansas River! There won’t be this moon coupling with the earth for several more decades. My team made the decision to strike out on our own. Yes! I will have the perfect photo to copyright and sell and earn enough money to go to Harvard…well, maybe not Harvard…but at least rent my own place.
It is a bit of a drive up this steep road to the overlook. Since the clutch has gone out on my VW, I have to double clutch and this is a constant reminder that I have twisted my ankle at work and all the university doc could do for me was wrap it up and tell me to ice it down.
That sums it up. Wrap it or ice it. He sounds a lot like my Nana. I have no money for those type of trivial things…especially for anyone else to take a look at my Polish bones.
Yes, Drucella Dzieduszycki, that is me.
My people did not come over early enough for my ancestors to land at Ellis Island and have their name changed from Dzieduszycki to I don’t know, Jones or Smith.
When I fall in love, it is not going to be with anyone who has cki, on the end of their name. Jones or Smith is sounding oh so very good to me at this moment as I watch for the road sign that says I have arrived.
Yes arrived in the photojournalist world! And hopefully it will be in something other than this VW.
This moon…it is going to get me there. I have come prepared!
My Nana, you get her drinking Ouzo and she was a Romanian gypsy princess before she married and tells outlandish stories about the world that we cannot see!
“The Blooded Eclipse,” she would nod sagely, “’tis best to stay home out-of-the-way of the stars and let the moon rule the night. On those nights, both are bitten and bloodied,” she would whisper as she taped her cigarette and then lit it, blowing smoke out of her fire engine red lips. “This knowledge is worth more than what the ancient empires held in their treasuries,” she would tap her cigarette to knock off the ash, her red nails matching the color on her lips and the red on the cigarette butts that filled the raccoon skull ash tray.
Personally, I could use some of that treasure, but sadly, when our family fled the Nazis, they were just happy to land here with their gold teeth still in their heads.
It is lovely from up here on Shadow Mountain. Just as lovely views in the da-a-a-ay…biting down on my lip, I double clutched to a lower gear and then chugged on up the hill…light! Woof! Good job downshifting, I congratulated myself! Almost there!
I could see the intersection just up ahead. To the left was the area of the drop-off and the night was ours!
No cars. That was odd and I was getting pissed. Where was everyone? We were supposed to meet here and photograph…the…eclipse! We had scouted this area for days to find the best view of what was going to be a spectacular lunar eclipse! Instead, I seemed to be the only one present who is interested. Those fuckers! I hate doing group projects! Irresponsible assholes! Moonrise is just in a matter of minutes. I am running a bit late myself. I have an excuse…I have to work so I can attend college. I do not have anyone paying my way and buying my beer.
Damn Frat Rats and So-Whores! Damn Dr. Reynolds for just pulling names out of a hat. Damn this photography class, anyway!
Parking, I got out of the car. Cold! I was starting to shiver. I thought the jacket was enough. That cold front was not supposed to be here until midnight. The eclipse was from eight to ten. Somewhere there is a sweatshirt stashed in my car. Plenty of time to fire off a thousand photos on the Nikon, hundreds on my phone and get home before the first major winter storm of the season blew in.
As I set up my camera, cursed the no shows with my gypsy bated breath and took a couple of random shots of the cliffs, I went back to the car to look for my hoodie and I could see Phillip there, leaning against my car. He was responsible for checking out the big lens from Dr. R. His happy ass had better have it. As I approach, he is trying to say something to me. But he is a bit difficult to understand. Damn! And we had all agreed not to drink before we did this shoot. “Why me?” I muttered as I approached my little beat up Variant VW station wagon. Fucking rich boys and their mommas that pushed them out and did not strangle them at birth!
Oh well, would not be a total waste. Phil was now down on the ground and puking…good! Taking out my phone I’d get some shots of that and have some fun.
“Damn Phil, not even a senior yet and already an alcoholic,” I called out. “I see a twelve step program in your future,” I stated as fact as I snapped away.
And then I was there and there was not the smell of vomit, but there was the smell of blood…I was standing in it as his eyes fixed on me, he garbled something and then his eyes opened and he stared at me and stared and I started screaming! My phone!…where the fuck was my phone?…oh, in my hand! as I dialed 911 and was crying for help as I shook uncontrollably. “He’s dead!” I think that is me yelling. “Please help… !” and I think that is me crying. And that was when someone grabbed me from behind and started dragging me toward the side of the cliff.
It was the perfect spot to see the eclipse as I watched the moon move into the Earth’s shadow. As he bit and then tore out a mouthful of flesh, I could hear him chewing and I keep seeing the briefing how to keep yourself safe while at college running through my brain…the police can ping your phone…I remembered that slide and it became my mantra. I tossed it over and hoped that it survived.
My last thought was that I should have had the pumpkin donut. I love those and they only come around once a year.
There were flashing blue lights everywhere and the wail of sirens still coming up from the below. Officer Jesus had arrived with the first responders. “Called NOAA.
Talked to the man tracking this bitch of a system. Weather doc confirms storm will be here at midnight. We gotta haul ass. Tank, how many bodies?” Officer Jesus asked.
“Doc Jon says there is enough blood loss here for several. We have found two so far. He is working the slope for the phone. Let me check in.”
Walking over to the edge Tank yelled down, “You need me to come down there?” His voice seemed to slide down into the dark side of the cliff, where it was chewed on and tasted before it was absorbed.
“Who is the experienced rock climber?” came the voice from the darkness below, the headlamp he was wearing giving an indication of where he was. But it was a feeble light indeed against that wall of darkness.
“Found a body, female,” Doc Jon called up. “Not to her just yet. But I would say from the way her body is positioned, that no human could survive that fall.”
Well, that was a lie. He could hear her heart beat. She was damaged, severely, but this monster that had ravaged her always left one alive. Jon knew from experience that every bone in her was broken, as this corrupt thing jumped rope with her as the rope; but she was still alive.
The murdering bastard had at one time been a healer and knew his business.
If he tried to move her, the pain would be so excruciating that she would suffocate. She would die gasping for a last breath that would never come. Struggling to breath as she knew death was going to claim her.
When he reached her, her eyes were pleading with him as she gurgled out. “He wants to eat your eyes…please…” she mumbled, “end this…”
Pushing his will at her, he wanted her to remember blue skies and sunlit days that she had spent laughing and watching butterflies perch and drink the honey from her finger. Splashing her toes in the shallows of the lake as the minnows swam in the cress next to the shore.
His eyes held hers and he placed his hand lovingly on her cheek. “It’s over now,” he said gently and he was graced with a bloody smile and the terror left her eyes. “The nightmare is over now and you are safe…” as he snapped her neck. Laying her carefully on the ground, he placed her broken neck on top of the out-thrust rock. He had lost count how many times he had done this…as his own kind, he wanted to puke at that thought, had set him up to be the executioner for the innocents they had defiled.
“She’s dead,” he called up. “Send down the coroner and the basket.”
“Camera coming down,” Officer Jesus shouted back. “Doc Rollings says he cannot make it down that cliff face. Doc Jon, you have been deputized. Throwing you a rope. Tie off. Photograph everything and her phone is about fifty feet down in front of you. That storm is a go and Weather doc says it could even be early. The wind is picking up and we are about thirty minutes out before it all turns to shit. We need the body. Basket is coming down.”
As a vampire, torture was something with which he was familiar. With his job, he dealt out the punishment to those supernaturals who thought killing was a sport.
Death was a mercy for what was left behind. What had been done to that young woman was obscene. He knew the killer. The sick fuck specialized in terror. Even if they had been able to save her life, her mind would never heal.
Once the body went up, down he went. Being first on the scene, he had the opportunity to see what she had on her phone’s camera. As he flashed through the photos, you could trace her steps as she walked back to the VW. What he could see in the shadows in the woods to the right of the road was a figure.
“So he wants to eat my eyes. Take a fucking number,” he muttered as he put the phone into an evidence bag and flagged the area. “Haul me up,” Jon called out. “I resign as the deputized coroner.”
Once topside, he approached one of the best EMT’s in the business.
“And Tank, the next time a full moon rolls around, remind me of that fact. Can I tell you how much I hate having to actually find what the crazies leave for us to put back together. And was that rain or hail that just hit me?”
There were a lot of heads nodding and “Preach it doc,” being said by those in uniform as rain slickers were being pulled on.
“And now this,” he held out his hand as the frigid air and moisture began to collect there. “It is starting to feel like the morgue out here. Can we catch a break? Full moons bring out the worst in human and beast, alike. And it was a real monster who did that to her,” his voice held heat. “We may never find her teeth,” he shook his head.
All the men present shuddered just a bit and not because of the cold. They all knew that the possibility was good that she had suffocated while he raped her mouth.
“And the eclipse of the blood moon, well just fucking go ahead and put a stake in my heart,” Jon thought. Those of a perverted righteousness seemed to think that sign and wonder gave those that do not register as human certain rights to perform certain rituals. One in particular came to mind.
“So Gillmore is in town,” he growled. The good part of this stinking shit pile was the Gilly was compelled to stay for the next two nights while the moon was still considered full, regardless of cloud cover. “I do not make up the rules, I only enforce them,” he hissed to no one as he filled out paperwork. “And he killed in my town. Bad mistake. I have two nights to track him before he takes off for parts unknown. And track him I will then rip out his heart and shove it down his throat before he turns to dust.”
Hearing the zip of the body bags, his anger took control and he felt his fangs snick down. What a fucking waste! They had accounted for two of the humans. Or what was left of them. There were going to be three more. Gilly always killed in groups of five.
“They have bought in the cadaver dogs,” Jesus said as he watched the handlers.
“Good,” Jon replied. “The full brunt of the storm is just about on us,” as he zipped his jacket.
“And it saves me from pointing out where in the woods this pervert tossed the other three,” he thought silently as he watched the dogs pick up the scent.
Jon’s team loaded the two bodies as the rain began.
“Doc Jon, let’s go,” Tank called back. “Marshall, fire it up. Into the wagon so we can get back. The temp has dropped twenty degrees.”
“On that,” Jon called out. When his phone chimed he checked the caller. It was from Ellen which made him smile and gave his pause. “She should be asleep,” he eyed his phone as he hit the answer button.
When she started talking Jon wanted to curse every known supernatural in this world and the next. Ellen explained about how Reggie was in her house several nights ago and took the firing pins out of her rifles. So tonight she waited for him and did a little damage of her own.
Jon answered her questions in a calm and meaningful voice.
Then Reginald had the audacity to moan in the background.
“Oh dear, how soon can you get here?” Ellen asked and he could hear the worry in her voice, the stress going right to her damaged gut.
That was it. He was done.
“That fucking Reginald,” he said to her and because it was on speaker, he knew Reginald could hear him as well. “Because he is my accountant, he thinks he is privileged to know what is going on in my life. Good thing he has job security or I just might leave those bullets in him and let them do their worst. Fucking wizards and their nosy ways. To teach him a lesson, maybe I’ll leave just one and let him remove it himself.
Think on that, Reggie,” he hissed.
“Miss Ellen,” his voice became gentle. “I am on my way. If he gives you any attitude, put a bullet in his brain. At this moment, I really do not care where the gold is.”
Hanging up, he sat down in the back with the bodies and listened to the rain and hail pummel the ambulance. With the clipboard in his lap, Jon continued to fill out paperwork. Putting on his head-set he said, “Talk to me Tank, you too, Marshall. What do I need to know about what I missed out on topside?”
Arriving back at the ER bay, Jon pulled his hood up and was out and walking around to the front. Opening the driver’s door he leaned-in and said, “I have a Saturday night special,” as he made eye contact with both men. “I have to go.”
“Got it doc,” both nodded. “If any one asks, you were last seen doing paperwork.”
Leaving his car in the parking lot, he had some definite ideas about how to remove the bullets. None of them pleasant. His car left here meant that he was someplace in the building. It was a short walk over to Yorktown Avenue. And even shorter in flight time.
Walking up the sidewalk to Ellen’s, he knocked on the door, opened it and then announced himself with, “Ellen, it is Jon. Please do not shoot.”
“Bedroom,” he heard her voice from the depths of the house as he locked the door and made his way there.
Smelling the blood, the silver had not yet set up a caustic reaction inside of his…he choked on the word…accountant.
“Ellen,” he bowed his head to her and then bent down to the floor. “Please allow me to remove this refuge.
So tell me Reggie,” he picked him up by the lapels and held him so that they were face to face. “What the fuck are you doing in Tulsa?”
“My king,” he bowed his head, “I had not heard from you in a while and I was just checking on you,” he replied. “Those are my job protocols,” his voice was earnest. “And…and you are dripping water all over her carpet. We shall have to purchase her a new one.”
Jon was not amused. Shaking Reginald a bit and watching him wince, he thought he made his point. “Well yes,” he gave him a small smile, “and you dripped blood. And are going to drip more,” he smirked. “And according to said protocols, you do not have to have eyes on me. A phone call will suffice. So you being here is a bit of a mystery. I hate mysteries,” the words felt like Reginald was being hit with ice pellets. “So let me tell you what I know. You and Gilly show up at the same time. Either that is a gross coincidence, which I do not believe in, or you two are working together.”
“No my king,” he gasped out. “I would never. I am true! Gilly? Here? And you think I would work with him? How could you even consider that possibility?”
“Then I want to know how that is possible. Did he track you here? And now to Ellen’s?”
“No, of course not,” earnest brown eyes met the fire in pissed brown eyes! “You know that is not possible. I am a wizard of the highest rank and order. No one can track me.”
“And just how did you track me?” the King of the Supernaturals asked, death in his voice.
“Well,” Reginald cleared his throat. “My king, I have faithfully served you for an age and an age. I know what you like. Normally, when I have not heard from you, it involves a female. For your safety, I went through the hospital records, searching…” his voice trailed off as Jon slammed him into the floor.
“And what stops Gilly from tracking you electronically?” he asked, pulling him up so that they were once more face-to-face.
“My…my liege?” his voice faltered.
“Something you did not consider,” he snarled.
“My king, Gillmore is a gross character of a villain. He has not the brains, only…”
Jon was shaking him so fast the bullets worked their way out of his body and landed on the floor.
“You know this for a fact Reginald,” he snarled. “With enough money you may purchase whatever you wish. And if that wish is for a hacker of exceptional talent, you may have one.”
Ellen watched the tall man with the curly light brown hair and matching eyes hold a man of his equal size above his head, giggle him around like a bowl of Jello, and then slam him to the floor. For a moment she thought maybe Jon was going to pound Reggie into her hardwood.
Jon towered above him and had his foot placed on his accountant’s chest. “I have promised Miss Ellen that no vampire would come to her door. Now there is the possibility that one shall. And I am a person of honor. So she shall need a guard for the next two days.”
“You mean me, do you not my king?” Reginald nodded in agreement. “Of course my liege. And thank you for removing the bullets. Most effective.”
There was a low growl that came out of Jon’s throat as he removed his foot. “Do not pander to me or I’ll shove them up your ass,” he glared down at the wizard, “along with my foot.”
“I would be proud to entertain them in my rectum,” he acknowledged with a bowed head.
Ellen snorted to keep from laughing out loud.
Both men focused on her for a second and then Jon stepped back.
“Go put the firing pins back in her weapons,” his voice was now all business.
Jon watched as Reginald left and then turning to Ellen said. “I apologize for everything. Everything. This was not in any way to happen.”
“Death lurks around you,” she took the extra blanket off the foot of her bed and walking towards him, began to dry him off. “How bad was it?” she asked gently.
“Horrific,” he sighed. “The body I found, Gilmore used her as a jump rope, broke every bone in her body. Raped her repeatedly, breaking pubis bones as he went along. He pulled her teeth, probably made her swallow them before he impaled himself in her mouth. Monster,” his voice was low and threatening as she helped him off with his jacket.
“How about a shower?” she asked, as she began to unbutton his shirt. “I am sure I have a pair of Charles’ jeans and a t-shirt in a drawer.”
Slowly, he ran his hand down her face. Her warmth giving him a reason to live to fight another day, because business in the Supernatural world just sucked. “A shower would be most welcome,” he rubbed his nose against hers. “I could use some comfort, if you would not mind,” he sighed into her hair.
“I would be honored to offer you some,” she looked up into his face and brushed the still wet curls back from his forehead.