Wednesday, September 24, 2014


He found an old harmonica... a toy really, crumpled up in a faded plastic sack, all mixed up with the remnants of a little boy's lunch... ball of tin foil... old juice box. Kids used to come here on school trips. Guide took them through the more or less 'explored' and opened part of The Pines. Showed them snapping turtles, frogs, beaver dams. Kid probably bought the harmonica at some souvenir-snack bar. Then he lost it. Now a vampire has it.

Tomas found the snack bar.... a dried up fake cabin with rustic toilets. No food now, 'cept maybe for the termites.  He went in and stretched out on one of the tables, a regular picnic table. You know, with attached benches and all. Moonbeams tickled their way in through desiccated shingles. Tomas liked the moon. Moon like a god to some vampires. Yeah, they got the religions they were born with, but moon's special... the sun for the sunless. Guess second hand, reflected light don't count.

He held the harmonica over his face, examining it like an artifact. Made him think about music. Tomas (also known as Jonathon) likes music. Remembers it from his boyhood in Al Andaluz. Played the oud back then... guitar too. If you gave him one he'd still know what to do with it. But the way things are now, who's gonna give him one? ... Civilization is on a vacation. You remember how it is in the city. You know.

Then he blew in it. Reeds still worked. 'Mouth organs' are simple. You can't ruin them. Found the scale. That's not hard to do. Sure, not the Judeo-Arab scale he knew from centuries ago. But, you have to remember, he's lived in 'the west' a long time too. Played 'Teddy Bears' Picnic.' That was his theme song. Used to quietly whistle it when he prowled the streets looking for prey on cold winter nights. 

Vampires like the winter. Nights are long. Sixteen hours of darkness. So many shadows to explore. So many lives to devour. Some never saw him coming. But he had this thing he'd do... fall in behind a victim, maybe ten or fifteen yards behind. He'd match his steps to theirs. Then, after a bit, to up the ante, he'd whistle --- When you go out in the woods tonight, you're in for a big surprise.

They'd stop and turn around. Maybe some mortals like the darktime too? Some would look, see him there, a stylish 'eighteen' year old boy and go on their way. If he felt like it, he let them live. But only if he felt like it. Lots of places to kill a person in the city. Philadelphia had these park-like squares... Washington Square... Rittenhouse Square... Fitler Square... trees, bushes, benches, small fountains, statues.  Tomas liked doing it near the goat, a stalwart, life size bronze, billy goat. I don't know why. He just did. Some deserved to be 'culled.' That was his word for it. Tomas tried to be a responsible vampire. And most of the time he was. But sometimes he'd forget... Bite through the trachea, scoop out the voice box. They'd go into shock, but they were still alive. How wide-eyed and trembling they'd be. He loved that. Like kittens about to be drowned. Sometimes he'd eat the eyes... suck them right out of the sockets. Optic nerves were a bit grisly, but night-folk teeth are sharp. Quite a watch collection he had too... gold ones... diamond bezels. Who knows where they are today.

Tomas puts down the harmonica, thinks about those nights and smiles. The first full night of fall this is... the autumnal equinox.... aahhhh.

How nice to be deranged. Maybe latter the pain would come. Maybe later he'd realize. But now he didn't care, or at least he pretended he didn't care. That's almost as good. Civilization is on vacation and he is too.

So he got up, left that desiccated ersatz cabin and made for the city. 

Vampires always know the way. 

What a hunting ground the ruined, or almost ruined Philadelphia would be. A free agent. Lord Death... Like Charon on The River Styx, ferrying souls from this world to the next...

Too bad you don't have eyes in back of your head.
Too bad you can't see him coming.

Well, too bad for you...

And he whistled his special song, as he soundlessly made his way through the night.

<the tale goes on>


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