Monday, March 4, 2013


Conrad lived alone. A man came to see to things. He paid the bills, cleaned up and wound the clocks. Apparently he was some sort of 'familiar.' Tomas had a lot of them. And there was always money in the little brass box  in the desk. The man who wound the clocks did that too.

Annie's 'son' lived a quiet life. He slept in his specially darkened room, read books, watched some TV and wandered the streets. He liked the night. Vampire life agreed with him. Sometimes he'd find a bench, sit down and wait for a companion. Most people out that late were either hospital workers hurrying to sign in, delivery truck drivers servicing accounts, or other night addicts like him. 

He often picked a spot south of Walnut Street.... less people...hardly any at all. Those pedestrians out tried to walk as quietly as possible. Few made any sound at all, moving through the dark like breathing shadows. That's what gave them away... the breath... the vapor. Most avoided any eye contact, acting like he wasn't there at all. He didn't want to hurt them. He just wanted to talk. 

Leo, his ersatz 'brother' ran away. He disappeared right after the others left for The Revels. Didn't say anything. Didn't take anything. Just left. The man who wound the clocks knew. He contacted Doctor Franklin. The old reprobate was always there, watching and studying, but even he didn't know anything.... and that was very surprising. 

Conrad considered going over to his complex under the old Philadelphia Navy Yard (actually the reconstituted Philadelphia Navy Yard, but everybody still called it that), yet he didn't. A few nights people did stop and talk to him. Maybe they were special too? Not night-folks. Not vampires. Just sensitive, I guess. Sometimes if the person was homeless, he'd give them money. One guy got a few thousand dollars. Conrad wanted to give him blood.... just a little.... just a few drops. The guy had T.B. and you know how much doctors charge. But he didn't know how to do it. He didn't know how to go about it. And he didn't want to scare him away.  That's why he gave him all the money. Told the guy he should go 'see somebody.' And the guy did. He took his advice. Found an office. Went in. Of course he cleaned himself up first. Bought new clothes... everything from the inside out. Told the Stepford Girls out front he was paying cash. Doc ran a few tests... routine stuff. Everybody gets the same treatment. You know that. Blood tests... X-rays.... a scan.... Couple more consultations. Guy stayed in a hotel. Not a fancy place, but not a flea bag. Like where salesmen might stay. But the  money didn't last long. Doc gave him the address of a 'good clinic' and Stepford Girls gave him funny looks when he walked out.

Now he's back on the streets. Knows how bad he is. Actually, I think there's a law. When 'they' know how sick he is, T.B. and all, 'they're' supposed to document everything. They're supposed to follow up. But the doc didn't want to get mixed up with a case like that...and they got ways.

Annie's 'son' went lookin' for him. He was gonna tell him. He was gonna give him the blood. He was gonna make him drink it. But some people are good at not being found. 'T.B.' guy was one of them. I think that takes a little bit of magic too, especially when it's a vampire who's doing the looking.

Conrad does 'taste things,' though. That's what some night-folk call it. They say 'taste things.' But not about T.B. guy... about Leo. Didn't know where he was. Just knew he was out there. And he was killing people all the time. None of that 'once a month. we're still believers' crap for him. Leo had this 'thing,'.... this act. He was a panther...a big, strong, black panther. The city was the jungle and the people were like little antelopes. And he liked it. Didn't say a word. Never made a sound. Just came up, grabbed them from behind and did the deed. 

You know how many missing person's cases there are out there? You see them all the time. Xeroxed sign goes up in a super market. People look at it. They go 'tsk tsk tsk.' They talk about it a while... And then it's over. Pick up the soda. Grab the bread and you're out of there. Next time it's a dog missing, or maybe a cat.

Tomas and the rest'd be back soon. Conrad couldn't wait. He saw Johnny Jump Up the other night, standing in a church yard behind one of the tall obelisks.  You know those high, skinny, grave stones  some folks got? Look like portable Washington Monuments. Ghoul didn't do a thing... didn't even look at him. Just stood there, with his head twisted at a funny angle, watching the air. 

Ghouls are funny. Night-folks avoid them. Who knows what they are...part ghost... part zombie...part psycho. Johnny looks like an anorexic undertaker from the eighteen fifties. Tight black suit... bony face... white skin... red lips... greasy hair. If the mouth was open, you'd see the teeth.... little sharp triangles, just like a shark. Too many for a human.

They say he was buried alive. They say 'something' got inside. That's how he got out....

Cops say city heats up in the spring. More robbing. More killing. More everything. And the equinox is still about seventeen nights away.

Look, Conrad is a vampire, but he ain't brave. Besides, he's brand new. You think Johnny Jump Up don't scare him?  You're crazy. So he just walked away from the dark, shadowy church yard and left. But he turned 'round every few steps to make sure 'nothing' was there.

Boy does he wish the rest of them were back.

And now he's getting headache-dreams from 'something' called Matilda.

Seems The Pines are getting a little bit 'antsy' too... 

thank you. want to know more about our world? click on THIS ... your COMMENTS & LINKS are ALWAYS WELCOME. take as much room as you like. it's all good.

No comments: