Sunday, August 31, 2014

A STRANGE HEARSE ... 9/1/14

They quietly walked to the edge of the great, wooded, forest-like necropolis known as LAUREL HILL (a real place) and waited for 'the man' to come. Its hard to get around. Travel is dangerous. Bandits and street vigilantes are everywhere. People hole up at night around hand cranked flashlights. They hide behind blackout shades eating cold cans of soup and tuna fish when they can get it. Lot less cats than there used to be. And you got to have those little tablets that purify water. Some guys rig up labs to make them. But they have to be real careful. If word gets out... if they sell to many, or somebody talks... BOOM! You know a warlord's gonna grab them. Keep them locked up. They got places. Make them work. Make them cook up a whole mess a them tablets. What? You think they ain't rediscovered slavery yet? Warlords control all the drugs. Bad drugs, good drugs, they got them all. You pay. You live. You don't pay. You die. 

But that's another thing. Right now, we're waiting for 'the man.'... Tomas doesn't say a word. Nobody does. Street's empty... deserted. No more traffic lights. No more street lights. The absolute darkness of a medieval night. Sometimes you hear somebody mumbling in the blackness. Don't go that way. Just don't... Marianne took his hand. She's 'elferina.' She's vampire. So are the others. They can see... a little. They can fly... true flight. Elferinos and elferinas can do that. They can pick him up, Tomas, I mean and take him there. But they can drop him too. So they don't take the chance.

They stand there waiting. Heartbeats go by. Then off in the distance they hear something... wheels clattering.... hard wheels... iron rimmed wheels. But no sound... no engine... no hoof beats... nothing..... Then rat noises, as even the vermin run from it.

Soon they see something... the fleeting glint of starlight on polished, lacquered ebony... silver bits.. trimmings... glass. Eyes glow in the darkness... hard eyes... 'animal' eyes. They hear panting. Steam rises from unseen backs.

Marianne whispers - Here, follow me. Put your hand on my shoulder... She leads Tomas to the back of the vehicle, opens the doors and helps him climb up into what seems like a large, upholstered cabinet. Satin... he feels satin. The doors lock. He can't get out. Albion strikes a match, just for an instant. And Tomas sees him. He sees him through the wall of the conveyance. It's glass. The walls are glass. He's in a hearse... a great, black, nineteenth century hearse. But where are the horses? What pulls this thing?

Then they're off. Twelve, huge, midnight, third caste werewolves (human intellect, but always in lupine form) streak through the night, bearing their precious cargo out through the city toward a bridge, a steel and concrete artery
spanning The Delaware. Are bridges patrolled? Of course they are. But few confront true lupines. In a time of chaos, old fears die hard. Even warlords pretend not to see. And the guards cower in their guardhouse, as the fearsome 'meat wagon' speeds by.

<coming next time - Tomas reaches the Pine Barrens and reunites with Edith, the 'witchy' woman>

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