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                                             ONLY IMMORTAL

                                                                 By

                                                     Raymond Mayotte

                                                              *  *  *

 

                                                              One

 

    Autumn comes to the quiet countryside of southern France, and with it comes that time of the year when everything seems to hover in stillness and beauty between the softness of summer and the harshness of winter.  Nestled deep in a serene valley, amidst a collage of bright fall colors, a small farmhouse and barn sits alone.  Among the deepening shadows of early evening a shaggy brown rat scampers quietly under a small cover of hay that remains in the barn loft., a loft that will soon be stuffed to the rafters with sweet smelling hay that is already cut and lying in the fields waiting to be gathered.

   Quickly the rat scurries to a small hole gnawed through the boarding of the barns wall, then across a wooden beam to reach the framework of a tall silo some four feet away.  Here the beam passes into the silo to the far wall to crisscross another beam that helps support the silo walls.  It is here when the silo is full of silage the rats and mice come to eat and get fat.

   Usually at this time of the year the hayloft and the silo are empty and the pickings are very slim, but aware of this the brown rat hopes it may find a kernel or two of corn that has somehow been overlooked.  Only the night before it found three kernels of corn in the ear of the dried husk that had once been a human, a husk that now lay on the cross beams high inside the silo.

   Scurrying across the beam the rat stops to peer into the silo and is unable to believe its luck, for there on the beam, beyond the dried husk of the human, sits a fat pigeon hugging the silo wall with broken wing.  The wing most likely broke in a panic when it tried to escape after being lured into the silo by the silage. Racing across the beam the rat climbs onto the dried husk of the human and quickly scampers across the body, then when it reaches the grotesque head with its gaping maw and deep sunken eye sockets it stops and crouches for a moment before lunging forward to kill the helpless pigeon.

   Nuzzling now beneath the dead pigeon’s feathers to rip off pieces of fresh meat, the brown rat is unaware of another rat that has entered the silo along the beam and is moving quickly towards him.  This second rat, which is black and much larger than the first, scurries up onto the head of the human husk and leaps onto the back of the smaller rat, where with needle sharp teeth it tears a wedge shaped piece of flesh from the brown rats neck, the pain causing the brown rat to jump back from its fresh kill and back slowly away onto the forehead of the husk.  Now, with its blood seeping steadily from the wound it peers through beady eyes watching the large black rat begin to devour the dead pigeon, and weakened from loss of blood the rat finds it is unable to move, its blood filling the eye sockets of the human husk and running down the deep wrinkles of the face into the shriveled mouth.

   Deep in the stomach of the husk minute things began to happen when the blood reaches sleeping microbes lying dormant there and awakens them.  Immediately the blood begins to rejuvenate the husk, its dried skin quickly beginning to take on a lesser paleness and become pliable.  Then from somewhere deep within a well of darkness, where it has laid hidden and dormant for so long, the mind of Ravon awakes and reaches out to its surroundings and remembers.

 

   For almost four thousand years after he was made, he, Ravon the vampire, had stalked the dark nocturnal world taking the blood and youth of many young victims.  His master Lar, one of the original twelve rulers of the ancient and mysterious island of Ur, had made him in the high hills above what was yet to become Rome.  At the time he was only a humble shepherd’s son tending his father’s flocks in the high desolate pastures, and it was there Lar had set upon him.  Soon after attacking him and draining almost all of his blood, Lar had gone off and left him helpless and unable to move.  However, In the grayness of dawn as he hovered between life and death, he awoke again to find Lar had returned and once again had his teeth deep into his neck draining what remained of the precious blood from his veins.  Only this time an overwhelming euphoria filled him causing his thoughts to become soft and distant dreams, then his mind and persona were swallowed up by a deep dark nothingness.

How long he drifted in that blackness he had no idea.  He only knew when the blackness parted and he opened his eyes he found himself sucking and gulping hungrily at the strange man’s wrist.  A wrist that had been slit open and pressed tightly to his very own lips, the blood pulsing from the wound flowing deliciously down his throat.

Like the master that made him Ravon also quickly become a blood taker and stealer of youth, then for thousands of years, although he became strong and powerful himself, he continued to do his master Lar’s bidding.

In the last two hundred years he had joined his master in a search for two other immortals named Ural and Khufu, two immortals Lar hated with a passion and had sworn to destroy.  After many failed attempts, Lar finally succeeded in trapping the immortal Ural and encasing him in a block of concrete.  Pleased with this accomplishment he went off alone to find and destroy the other immortal Khufu.  However, unknown to Lar, Khufu was already hunting them and was hot on their trail, then not long after he managed to trap Ravon in the grain silo in southern France where he now found himself.  How long he had been here in the silo Ravon had no way of knowing, but he did know that he must have more blood soon or his body would soon begin to shrivel again.

 

In a weak but sure movement his hand came down on the brown rat still sitting on his face, then like wringing a sponge of water he quickly wrung the rat of every drop of its blood.  In another swift movement he had the black rat to which he did the same, the blood from the rats a small amount but enough to bring a little more life back to his limbs.  Sitting now, his legs dangling over the cross beams, he eyed the half eaten pigeon, but could see most of its blood had already been soaked up by the dried wood of the beam.

In the darkness of the silo, in which he could see well, Ravon let himself drop down into the few remaining feet of silage on the floor far below, where with one blow of his fist he smashed the trap door of the silo from it hinges and leaped out into the night.

Immediately the smell of fresh animal blood rushing through veins and arteries came to him from the barn a few feet away.  More important he could smell the blood of an old man and woman in the farmhouse across from the barn, though his need was for young blood in his weakened condition any blood would do.

However before he could make a move towards the farmhouse the headlights of an automobile turn into the driveway, where, hidden from view of the house by the barn, the light grinding of the automobile’s tires came to a stop and the lights went out and silence filled the night again.

In the vehicle was the granddaughter of the old couple in the farmhouse coming home from a date with her young man.  A young woman who, when the lights went out, quickly slid out of the passenger side door and hurried around to the young man that had slid from the door on his side and stood waiting.  In silence she wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned back against the automobile to seductively pull his young body to her own.  In a moment of young lust and passion their eyes closed in a long hard kiss, each lost in their own thoughts and sexual fantasies.  Then opening their eyes as the kiss ended, their breaths coming in short pants, they stood apart gazing into each other’s eyes.  Without resistance the young mans hand slipped under the young woman’s sweater to fondle her breast, evoking a sigh of ecstasy from her as she made to pull him to her again.  However, before they could embrace a dark figure suddenly loomed up before them.  The figures face a frozen mask of white horror, its upper lip quickly curling back to reveal needle sharp teeth that gleamed in the starlight.

In shock the young woman drew in her breath to scream but a quick gesture of the figures hand passed before her eyes and she found she could not move or breath, the scream a huge painful bubble of air locked deep in her throat.

With unseen speed Ravon gripped the back of the young man’s head like a melon, then, unhindered by his weight, lifted him until his feet dangled a few inches from the ground.  Eyes wild with terror, the young man tried to gasp in horror as long white fangs drew nearer to him, but although his throat muscles worked franticly he could make no sound or protest.

In an almost reverent movement Ravon turned the young man’s head to the side and drew the throbbing jugular vain to him, his mind and senses filled with the pulsing of the rich blood so near.  Then with a deep sigh of contentment he pressed his quivering lips to the warm waiting flesh, the needle sharp fangs brushing the waiting vein. The slowness of his action causing deep dents in the soft white skin before the fangs punctured through and sank deep into the lumen walls of the vein below.

In a crescendo of hunger and lust the young man’s sweet blood gushed forth down Ravon’s throat, the ecstasy of it causing him to swoon and clamped his lips tighter to the wound and crush the body to him.

Moments later, the body of the young man sucked dry of every drop of its blood and youth, he dropped the husk to the ground at his feet and turned to the young woman.

Like a rag doll he lifted her under the chin so her feet also dangled a few inches from the ground.  Then, with almost gentleness, he tilted her head back onto the roof of the automobile to expose her long white neck.  At his leisure now he bit deeply into the soft waiting flesh and drained her of her blood and youth also.  Discarding the remains of the young woman, he swiped the back of his hand across his lips and glanced up at the tall silo that had been his prison for so long.

Khufu, another immortal and one of his master Lar’s arch enemies, had baited and trapped him in that silo with the live body of a young man laid across the top beam inside.  The beam had been cut through enough so when he had landed on it to claim the victim it gave away.  When that happened he had plunged into the silage and the more he struggled the deeper he sank into it and was trapped.

 

Ravon’s master, Lar, was one of the twelve immortal blood drinkers who had escaped from a distant planet before it was destroyed, their ship crashing here on earth thousands of years ago.

Escaping the crash and hungry for blood to a point of starvation they attacked the first natives they came upon, throwing the natives, who thought them gods from the sky, to the ground and ripping at the large veins in their necks with their teeth until the blood flowed freely.

It was then the immortals discovered taking blood in this manner was very pleasurable.  Not only did they gain the blood and strength of their victims, but also their youth.  Through the thousands of years that have followed the twelve’s teeth, and powers, have adapted to their needs.  However being immortal, with superhuman strength and many years later the ability to change shapes and read and control mortal men’s minds, the twelve could not stand earth’s sunlight and were forever condemned to the darkness of its nights.  Eventually the twelve adapted to the darkness and in time learned to survive like other creatures of the night.  In the beginning the immortals lived and feasted unchallenged, their subjects believing them to be undying gods who they worshiped and doted on, but this passed and in time some of the blood drinkers were destroyed, the few survivors quickly learning to become less than shadows in the night.

 

The youth and strength of his two young victims filling Ravon now, he turned away from the silo to will himself into the form of a bat and lift into the air in the direction of the nearest city.  His mind confused and full with unanswered questions, the foremost question, where was Lar and why hadn’t he rescued me from the silo.  He knew Lar had heard his call, the mental powers of the mind knowing no limitations as far as distance was concerned.  Still he had not come to help and this angered Ravon.

Fearful of reaching out mentally to Lar,s mind now, afraid either Ural or Khufu may hear his call and know he was free and come looking for him, he quietly and methodically set out to find some answers.

 

After many years of tracking Lar’s movements, Ravon finally stood one night before the huge wall of a castle on the southern most tip of Spain.  The castle, separated by a huge wall from the mainland, sat in the darkness far out on a lonely desolate peninsula of land reaching into the sea.  On one side of the peninsula swaths of white foam lined the rock-strewn shores, as huge breakers of dark seawater rolled in through the darkness of night to crash onto them in a thunderous roar.

Only a void filled Ravon,s mind now where the thoughts of his master should have been, and he needed to know if this meant Lar was in a deep sleep somewhere or his enemies had destroyed him.

For a long while he stood studying the castle his mind receiving no images or thoughts, but when he stepped through the gateway he mind was cascaded with mixed images causing him to stop and glance around nervously.

Although the grass around the base of the turret was now neat and well kept, he could see, in his mind,s image, the figure of Khufu chiseling into the huge concrete base with a huge wrecking bar, the immortals powerful blows scattering pieces of the broken masonry in all directions.

Not unlike a film running through his mind, he watched as Khufu yanked a metal casket from deep within the concrete base to set it on the moonlit grass before him.  Then nervously scanning the shadows and deep darkness about the castle to make sure he was alone, throw back the lid of the casket and stared down at the dried husk of Ural lying within.  Without hesitation he slit his own wrist and pushed it to the dried lips of Ural, then seconds pass and Khufu’s powerful blood awoke the microbes in Ural’s body that suddenly began to stir and return to its normal state.  Minutes later Ural sat up and hungrily pulled Khufu’s wrist tight to his lips and gulped deeply, a short time later Khufu withdrew his wrist and the duo moved off into the darkness of the night.

In an explosion of red, these thoughts were shattered from Ravon?s mind by the fury of Lar’s lingering thoughts.  Evil thoughts that clung to the area around the castle, which when Ravon read gave him the answers he had been looking for.

For the remainder of the particular evening when Khufu rescued Ural, Lar searched the castle, the city, and the towns for miles around looking for some sign or trace of them, but to no avail.  The following evening, his rage eased enough so he could think intelligently, he realized Khufu and Ural together may be too powerful for him alone, so he fled north vowing he would find them again one day and destroy them both.

With these images in mind now, Ravon was able to follow Lar’s trail leading away from the castle and some months later arrived at an old burned out winery in northern Spain.

The heavy stonework of the winery, which had boasted a two-story bell tower, was covered in black soot from a fire that must have licked the walls with a tremendous heat.  Here once again, as Ravon stood between the soot black buildings of the tower and one of its warehouses, a cascade of lingering images flooded his mind and he was able to read the whole incident.

 

Discovering the winery tower where Lar had made his lair, Khufu and Ural quickly made plans to destroy him there while he slept.  Minutes before dawn, as Lar slept in the form of a bat between the heavy wood planking of the bell tower ceiling and stone roof, Khufu entered through a broken window to a room below the tower.  Inside the room he set fire to some alcohol soaked excelsior that he and Ural had spread there earlier.  However before he could execute his plan and escape back out through a small hole the alcohol exploded.

Having changed to the form of a bat to climb out through a broken window when the explosion occurred, the power of it shot him out with a tremendous force against the wall of the building across the way.  Stunned he had fallen between the buildings where his human form returned and the early morning sunlight crept nearer.  Seconds before the light reached Khufu’s naked body the window in the building above him exploded outwards.  When in a daring rescue from the still semi darkness of the warehouse, and putting himself in great danger, Ural leaped to Khufu’s side.  Before the shards of glass and wood from the broken window could reach the ground, Ural had scooped up Khufu’s body and leapt back into the darkness of the building.

 

Among the many thoughts that lingered and flooded Ravon’s mind now, as he stood staring up at the burnt out tower over the winery, he heard Lar’s final cry as the fires consumed him and he was no more.

Quickly Ravon fled from the winery knowing in his mind he would never again hunt Khufu or Ural, with his master Lar destroyed he had no reason to.  He also knew that together they were much to powerful for him.  Fear gripped him now when the sudden realization came to him that he was alone, knowing for sure that Khufu and Ural would surely hunt him down if by chance they found he still existed.

I must be very careful, get my strength back, and get far away from this part of the world as soon as possible, he thought, not knowing if Khufu or Ural were nearby or not.

 

Three months passed since Ravon,s visit to the soot blackened winery and being careful to keep hidden and not to leave any telltale evidence of him self, his strength returned.  Softly and undetected he walked the predawn streets and avenues of Paris, France, where, since the days when Paris was only a small village, he had spent many years and knew every nook and cranny in the city.

Among the rich, the poor and the dead, he had hundreds of hidden lairs that mortals would never be able to find, but he knew Khufu or Ural could.  With these thoughts ever in his mind he was always careful not to leave evidence of his passing, feeding after dark and then carefully disposing of the remains of his victims. Always keeping in mind the smallest slip could bring the wrath of his two enemies down on him.

One evening, his steps silent and his movements only a shadow, he was crossing a small bridge over a slow flowing river somewhere near the outskirts of Paris.  Lanterns hung on high posts lighting up the walkway, were almost obscured by a thick mist from the river.  The mist, which had hid the bridge and river for most of the evening, now beginning to lift but still low enough to obscure the lights.

For as far as his eye could see on either side of the bridge, a light swirling mist hung above everything like a low white ceiling creating an alien scene and the feeling of some other time or place.

At the top of the bridge he stopped to lean over the railing and study the enchanting scene and the dark waters flowing below.  Suddenly his senses came alert and he quickly scanned the dark banks along the river to find, hidden secretly in the darkness among a stand of trees, two lovers entwined in each others arms.

Swiftly, no more than a dark shifting shadow, he sped along the riverbank to the trees and stood above the couple unseen, having all he could do to hold him self back and watch them for a time.  The pounding of blood racing through their veins in the heat of passion exciting him, but he would wait.   He would wait until they climaxed, then at that very instant he would bite deep into the pulsing neck of the male and allow the racing heart to pump the arteries dry of blood before stopping.  Seconds later, when his victims drew near to climax and he made ready to step out and take them, a dark shadow fell onto them from the trees above and took them both.

Startled and shaken by this unexpected event, he realized how careless he was and quickly drew back and fled from the river.  It didn’t matter if it was Khufu or Ural who took the young couple he knew luck had been with him.  If the immortal had waited another instant before falling on the lovers, and not been so engrossed with the two victims, it surely would have detected him.  After that it would not have mattered if he escaped this time or not, his enemies would know about him and begin to track him down.

Immediately he moved eastward away from the coastal countries of Europe, stopping only long enough to fill a large suitcase with a kings ransom in gold and jewels from some of his many caches.  In Germany, after much deliberation, he made preparations to leave the continent of Europe and go to the United States of America.

 

 

                                              Two

 

 

Dropping below the heavy cloud cover of O’Hare Airport in the United States, a huge continental jet prepares to land.  The roar of its mighty engines increasing their thunderous din as the planes many wheels touched down onto the rain swept tarmac of the runway, the sound echoing off heavy clouds and reverberating through the damp Chicago, Illinois night in a deafening roar.

Storing the suitcase holding the gold and jewels in one of the airport lockers, Ravon moved quickly out into the city and the remaining darkness.  The flight leaving Germany in the early evening had pressed him for time and now, many hours later with dawn threatening to break in the east, he needed desperately to feed.

A short time later, in the form of a bat, he dropped gently onto a small garden terrace on one of the tall buildings rearing high above the city.  Changing to his human form he entered a suite of rooms through a pair of open French Doors.

Inside he quietly passed through a large living room to a bedroom beyond where he sensed a young man and woman asleep.  A shadow among shadows he stood for a brief time staring down at them, the couple’s naked bodies covered with only a small section of a white sheet, which lay mostly in a wad at their feet.  Dropping to one knee he pressed his eager lips over the warm flesh covering the jugular vein of the young man and bit deeply, the man’s young body jerking only once in a light spasm as the blood, with its rich sweetness and warmth, gushed forth down Ravon’s parched throat.

Suddenly a silent cry of anguish exploded in his mind as he knelt with his lips glued to the young man,s neck, the last gulps of blood still in his throat.  In shock he glanced up to see the young woman awake and gaping up at him in horror from where she lay on the pillow a few inches away.  Wide eyed with terror she jumped from the bed and began go draw away, backing out of the bedroom into the living room as Ravon took the last of the young man’s blood.  Rising swiftly from the remains of the young man, which was now no more than an unrecognizable husk, he slowly approached the young woman who turned and fled out onto the terrace where she found her self trapped with nowhere to turn.  The woman standing with her back pressed to the low railing and her hands clasped tightly to her mouth in fear.

 

When the naked form of Ravon came onto the terrace towards her, his lips still dripping the blood of his victim, she tried to lean back even further.  However with her hands held out in front of her to ward him off, her feet suddenly slipped out from under her and she tumbled back over the railing to the street many stories below.

A soft snarl escaped Ravon’s lips, when, like a wild animal deprived of its prey, he leapt to the railing and stood glaring down at the woman’s body on the sidewalk far below.

Turning away from the railing he returned to the bedroom to pick up the remains of the young man, then with the ease of a spider he scaled the building to its rooftop.  There he stuffed the remains into one of the many airshafts hoping to conceal it, ten minutes later he was across town where he crawled to the top of a maze of pipes in the darkness of a buildings sub-cellar to sleep.

 

For months Ravon easily hunted the busy streets and Malls of Chicago, selectively picking each of his victims, some of which he stalked for hours.  The hunt becoming a cruel game with him thriving on the fear and terror emanated from each of the victims minds.

Occasionally he would trap one in an alleyway or some cul-de-sac, then play with them like a cat plays with a mouse in the darkness.  On these occasions he would leap out of the darkness to confront his prey, lips drawn back and fangs bared menacingly, then suddenly draw back and allow the victim to escape into the darkness.  Just when the victim thought it had escaped the horror and was safe he would drop down and terrorize it again.

The evil game usually continued until he tired of it and by then the victims blood was rocketing through its veins, pumped viciously by the adrenaline, sopped heart.  It was then he would envelope the victim in his arms and drink deeply of its blood.

In time he began to shun the city for the quiet suburban areas out side of the city Loop.  Out here it was much easier to dispose of his victims, the hunt itself always a little more daring and challenging.

Often times he entered into the bedroom of some young couple and drained only one of them, the temptation to leave the horrible husk on the bed so the mate would find it exciting him.  Of course it was out of the question, because to leave the husk of a body anywhere would be like leaving his signature.  In the back of his mind always lingering the thought of Ural and Khufu.

 

One evening, seeming near enough to reach up and touch, a large harvest moon hung low in an autumn sky.  The silver light emanating from it falling on a small two-story mansion nestled on a low hill close to a stand of trees.

Across the face of the moon, its leathery wings pumping leisurely, the outline of a huge black bat moved towards the house where it landed softly on a bedroom windowsill.  Inside, unaware of the black bat forcing the window screen in on one corner, a young couple lay deep in sleep.

Even when Ravon entered the bedroom and changed to his own naked form the young sleepers did not stir.  Its wasn’t until he gently lifted the young woman to him and bit deeply into her jugular vein that he realized the young man, who should have been asleep under his spell, was awake and staring at him.

With a fearful shout the young man lunged from the bed to grab a large hunting knife from a nightstand drawer, then in almost the same movement he leaped back across the bed to attack Ravon.  In that instant two things happened, the young man landed where Ravon had stood, the sweep of the knife finding only empty air, and the door to the room burst open.

Framed in the open doorway stood an older man and woman who for an instant stared at the naked young man holding an ugly knife in his hand.  Only when their eyes shifted down to the young woman lying on the bed did a gurgling sound fill the silence of the room, when the last of the young woman’s blood flowed from the deep wound in her throat to soak into the sheets below her.

 

Twenty six year old Paul Straford stepped into his drab prison cell for the first time, which, by order of the judge who tried his case, would be his home for the rest of his life.  Although Paul was not a large man, only five feet eight inches tall and weighing about one hundred and eighty pounds, the cell felt small and cramped, and when the guard slammed the heavy barred door closed behind him a dreaded feeling of claustrophobia washed over him.

For a few minutes he stood quietly in the locked cell with his eyes closed waiting for the feeling to pass, while at the same time listening to the footsteps of the guard diminish away down the cellblock before he opened his eyes again.

Against the wall on the right a thin rolled up mattress sat on the end of a low metal cot, while at the far end of the gray painted cell a toilet, bare of a seat, sat beside a small sink.  On a shelf over the sink he caught his own reflection in a small mirror, the image of a drawn and scared young man starring back at him.  Quickly he turned away from the mirror and ran a hand through his curly brown hair, a gesture he often made when he was nervous or confused.  Then after a few minutes he unrolled the mattress and sat down on the cot.

 

   Life in prison without parole had been the sentence handed down to him by the court.  The sound of the judges gavel as he pronounced the sentence still echoing in his ears, as he sat thinking of all that had happened and the strange life fate dealt him.

No one believed him when he tried to explain how a naked stranger came into their bedroom, and bit deep into his young wife’s neck to drink her blood.  In the end, and after repeatedly telling the story of the stranger, Paul was lucky the cell he ended up in was not padded.

 

His own mother, Lynn Straford, had died giving birth to him while she was a patient in a mental institution.  She had still been young and beautiful at the time of her death, a death caused not from the trauma of his being born, but from a combination of many other complications.  One of which had been LSD and other drugs she had taken during her teenage years, when, as a flower girl in the early sixties she lived like a Gypsy out of her Volkswagen van.

One day, and for no apparent reason, she seemed to have found her self and did a complete about face and dramatically changed her whole way of life.  Soon after she found secretarial work and a small apartment she continued to work steady for the next ten years.

In the beginning most of her earnings went into a savings account at a near by bank, until one day she met an old friend she knew from her earlier days who had also found himself. The man now a stockbroker in a well-known brokers firm in the same building she worked in.  A few weeks after their encounter she withdrew her savings from the bank and gave it to her friend to invest in some stocks he suggested. Then as time passed and after letting her friend reinvest any profits she made through her stocks, the investments grew into a small fortune.  Having no use for any of the profits the money continued to grow as the years passed.

About the time Lynn Straford’s stocks reached millionaire status she began having strange hallucinations and hearing voices.  In the beginning she brushed the incidents aside thinking nothing of them, but when they began to occur regularly and stronger she made an appointment to see a doctor.  However when she explained to the doctor how she sometimes had the ability to read other peoples minds, he referred her to a psychiatrist.  Then after many months of sessions with the psychiatrist her condition turned for the worse and not having anyone to care for her she was admitted into the state mental hospital.  There, with the doctors unable to diagnose the problem, she was kept under sedation a good part of the time.

 

The wings of the state hospital were all constructed alike, so that on entering through a steel mesh door patients rooms lined either side of a long corridor leading to a large day room.  In the day room many of the patients were able to watch television, play games, or just sit and visit. On days when the drugs left Lynn’s mind clear, she often visited and chatted with other patients in the day room.  It was here she met a man about ten years her senior, a big quiet man who treated her kindly.

Sometimes she would sit for hours listening while the big man told her exciting stories of when he worked for the government, the fact that he was a professor of many degrees, and taught at different colleges, impressed her greatly.  The whispered gossip about the big man was he delved too deeply into quantum Physics and went mad.  No matter Lynn liked him anyway because he was always kind and gentle to her, until one Sunday afternoon something happened while she lay resting in her room.

It having been one of her better days she sat for most of the morning in the day room enjoying the warm sunlight streaming in through the huge windows.  After lunch, and in her hospital Johnny and bathrobe, she returned to her room to rest.  Snuggling deep into her pillow she closed her eyes and began to drift off to sleep, however before this could happen she heard a rustling sound by the door and glanced up.

There with his back to the closed door stood her man friend from the day room, who, in a sign to be silent, placed his finger across his lips.  Then yanking loose the cord holding his robe together, the robe fell open to reveal his nakedness and aroused manhood.

Before she could protest he was across the room and had mounted her.  She did not want this, but in the time she hesitated to call out, not wanting to get him into trouble, he was inside of her with his loins pumping franticly.  Already she knew it was to late and with many years of pent up passion she held onto his buttocks.  Seconds later, like the eruption of a volcano after many years of being dormant, she arched her back in a low moan of pleasure.  In her passion lifting the heavy man with ease and driving his manhood even deeper as the whole world exploded around her.

 

Months passed before anyone at the hospital knew Lynn was pregnant and by then it was to late for an abortion.  The drugs and alcohol she used in her younger years had all but destroyed her kidneys and liver, not to mention her stomach and other internal organs.  More than once through the nine months of pregnancy she came close to losing the fetus.  When the baby was finally born, her body weak and unable to handle the stress, Lynn passed away.  The state, unable to find any relatives or friends to take care of the baby boy, sent him to the sisters of a local orphanage.  For eighteen years Paul knew of no other way of life except what the sisters at the orphanage had taught him. However, with the exceptional intelligence inherited from the man that had sired him, he breezed easily through grade and high school.  On his eighteenth birthday he was surprised when a corporate lawyer came to the orphanage to see him.

 

   You may call me Mr. Carson, the lawyer informed Paul as he reached out to shake his hand.

   “I’m an old friend of your mothers, he said in a gentle voice, while at the same time motioning for Paul to sit across the table from him.  Then for the next two hours Mr. Carlson told him about his mother and how years ago, in their ”Hippie Days” she and he had been very close friends.

   A short time before you were born, your mother gave me, and another stockbroker friend of hers, power of attorney over her fortune.  Her wish was that we continued investing and handling the money until you became eighteen years of age, at which time everything would be handed over to you.  The time is now Mr. Carson ended, a warm smile playing across his lips.

   You mean I have some money coming to me?  Paul asked with a note of surprise in his voice.

   You are really a very wealthy man, Mr. Carson explained, as he opened a briefcase lying on the table beside him and began taking out official looking documents from it.

   “I...I’m filled with so many different kind of emotions right now I don’t know what to say, Paul mumbled.  Of course I never knew my mother or even if she had any relatives, I had resigned myself to struggle through my life alone.

   Believe me, you will struggle very comfortably Mr. Carson assured him, then he became very professional as he laid the papers before Paul and took time to explain each one before either of them signed it.

By the time Mr. Carson left the orphanage he had signed over to Paul all checks, bonds, papers, and other properties making him an instant millionaire.

Still it took him a few weeks before he fully realized what a complete turn around this meant in his life, when the realization came to him he could do just about anything in the world he pleased.

His first act was to donate a large sum of money to the orphanage and the sisters who had always been so good to him.  At the same time he arranged to keep a couple of rooms at the orphanage until he finished college.  With money being no object now he could relax and live any style of life he chose, but his insatiable thirst for knowledge would not allow it.

Through most of his eighteen years of life he had always been afraid of the secret voices he so often heard, voices he tried to hide by burying them deep in his subconscious.  Voices he never told anyone about.  His biggest fear was to be sent away to an institution like his mother for the rest of his life.

However it was not until recently he began to realize they were not just voices he heard, but other people’s thoughts.  When he first discovered this he was even more terrified, thinking he was possessed by one of the demons the sisters often preached about.  He never told anyone of this and used all of his will power to keep the voices from his mind, but still some managed to slip through.

 

At the end of his second year of college Paul met a lovely young woman he would one-day end up marrying.  It all happened in the hushed silence of the old college library, in one of the dim lit isles between the shelves, when he was looking for a particular textbook.

Engrossed in his search among the long row of books, he never noticed the young woman who stopped beside him in the aisle until they both reached for the same book.  In one quick glance, as their hands came together only inches from the book, he was taken aback by the beautiful face before him, a face framed in ringlets of jet-black hair barely reaching down to cover her ears.  While at the same time two deep sparkling gray eyes held him locked into them for a time.  Through all of this dazzle and beauty he could still smell the mustiness of the old wood and books which always hung heavy in the library, the odor seeping through to mingle with her delightful fragrance.

A light laugh escaped the young woman’s bow shaped lips, when the suddenness of their encounter passed and her face lit up in a heart-wrenching smile.

   “Oh I’m sorry, she apologized, the sweetness of her voice and smile keeping Paul unable to answer for a time.

As it turned out the textbook they were both looking for was the last remaining in the library on the subject they needed, so they agreed to share it.  Then for the next couple of hours they worked side by side among exchanges of small talk.  When Paul finished his research and made ready to leave, he shuffled his papers and books together two or three times hoping the young woman would look up from her work and say something.

   “Would you care to stop after for coffee and ...?” he finally blurted out unable to finish the sentence, surprised at his own forwardness and sure his face was beet red when she looked up at him.

Kelly Canty, looked up from the notes she had been jotting into a loose-leaf binder and hesitated a few seconds, her oval face caught perfectly in the overhead light hanging from the ceiling.  Again his breath left him as he gazed down into her gray eyes and pouting lips waiting for an answer.  For a brief moment it seemed that the library and everything else in the world ceased to exist and he and Kelly existed alone in time and space.

   “I think that would be nice, she finally replied, a warm smile dancing across her lips, the sound of her voice wrenching his mind back to reality.

   “I only have a few more paragraphs to finish, she explained, turning back to write in her notebook for a few more minutes.

 

The clock in the high tower above the main building of the campus was striking eleven o’clock, when Paul finally said goodnight to Kelly at the door to her dormitory.  They had sat for over three hours in a small coffee shop talking and comparing notes and in general getting to know each other better.  Paul was happy to learn they were both taking the same courses, but unhappy their classes were at different times.  A problem he would soon rectified by changing his own classes.  For the first time in his life Paul found someone he really loved and cared for, then as time passed, and after meeting her parents, he began to think of them as family.  In return Kelly doted on him like a mother, always making sure he got plenty of rest and ate right.   During all of this time they fell deeper and deeper in love, Paul knowing in his heart no other woman could ever interest him or could compare with Kelly.  All he wanted in life now was to always be with her.

College had a different meaning for him since he found Kelly, but still there was so much to learn.  On many occasions he was late for his meetings with her, his excuse always that he was in some experiment or class project.  Usually after one of these occurrences happened he would buy her some expensive gift to make up for his thoughtlessness.

Quickly time passed and after three years of being almost inseparable Paul and Kelly graduated college and made plans to marry.  Even then it seemed he could not do enough for her and continued to shower her with expensive gifts, one of them a house on the outskirts of Chicago.  In truth, the house was a small mansion sitting on a secluded hill surrounded by a huge grove of trees, the only access to the mansion being a long driveway running up from the street below.

For the wedding Kelly’s mom and dad flew up from their home in Florida and stayed in one of the guestrooms of the mansion.  The attendance of the wedding and reception, held on the enormous lawn surrounding the mansion, was very small.  The main reason being most of Kelly’s people lived in Florida and Paul knew only the sisters at the orphanage and Mr. Carlson.  Still it was a beautifully catered wedding and everything came off perfect.  When the reception was over Kelly’s mom and dad returned to Florida and Paul and his bride went off to Europe for a two-month honeymoon.

 

 

                                      Three

 

   For the next year and a half things went well for the newly weds, with the exception of Paul’s insatiable need for knowledge that always kept him on the go.  Sometimes he went away for weeks at a time on some journey or other to investigate something, or meet others that seemed to be possessed with the same strange afflictions he had.  On many of these occasions Kelly was left at home alone to fend for herself. To ward off the boredom at these times, she began to attend parties her ex-college friends held and began drinking heavily.

One evening she was introduced to a young man named Norman, the younger brother of a well to do friend.  Being an adventurer and having recently returned from a mountain climbing expedition in Europe, he held Kelly captive with his daring tales of adventures.  All evening Kelly found herself dancing with Norman or by his side, then at the end of the evening, and after many drinks, she allowed him to escort her home.

However she was shocked the next morning to find her self in bed with him, but with the damage done she continued to see him in secret even after Paul returned home. The tempting of fate becoming an exciting game of intrigue and danger, once stripping naked on the lawn, in the full light of the moon, and having sex with Paul asleep the bedroom above.

On Paul’s birthday Kelly arranged to have a party for Paul and invited many of her friends.  However with most of her friends knowing of her relationship with Norman, the party turned out to be a big mistake and almost the end of everything for her and Paul.

Never would Paul reach out to read Kelly’s thoughts or let her thoughts enter his mind.  In his heart he believed her thoughts should be her very own and private.  In fact, it was by practicing different methods of keeping her thoughts from entering his own mind, he learned to close his mind to others.   With this newly developed talent he was also able to keep his mind closed to the other voices and thoughts haunting him for so long.  On occasion he opened his mind to reach out and practice with, what he now thought of as his skills, and it became like a private game to figure out which person around him a thought had come from.

On the evening of his birthday party they greeted each of the fifteen or sixteen couples as they arrived, then later mingled with them in the large ballroom.

Soft music of a stringed quartet filled the big room as many of the guests danced, while others stood around chatting and sipping drinks.  Midway through the evening Paul was standing in a small alcove before a set of French doors, which opened out onto a veranda and the garden beyond.  Glancing around the huge room, and pleased with himself for finally managing to break away from a young couple that had cornered him, he wondered where Kelly had gone.

Across the room he noticed the young woman who had come to the party with her brother, the one Kelly introduced nonchalantly as Gloria and her brother Norman.  He also noticed how Gloria’s eyes darted around the room nervously when she saw him glancing around, so he glanced around to see who the young women’s brother might have paired up with.  However he could not see the man anywhere and when he glanced back to the young woman, he found her staring at him with a strange look in her eyes.

For a brief instant he opened his mind to learn what she was thinking, unprepared for the ugly images of Kelly and Norman he found there.  Slamming his glass down on the nearby piano in a fit of rage, he glanced around the room again.  The pain filling his chest like an arrow through his heart, continuing to deepen as he opened his mind further and found most everyone in the room knew of their intimacy.  Then the most crushing blow of all came to him when he felt the passion and lust of two people entwined on the floor of the gazebo in the garden.

In seconds he was across the lawn to the gazebo to stand silently above the entwined pair on the floor, who amid groans and sighs their passions mounted and they climaxed with a shudder.

   “Kelly..! Paul cried uncontrollably, the couple parting in a blur of motion, in their nakedness jumping to their feet to grab for their clothes.  For a while he stood staring into Kelly eyes reading there the many times she and Norman had been together, and then without a word he turned and walked from the gazebo and disappeared down the driveway.

 

Miles from the mansion he hailed a cab to down town Chicago, where he walked the streets of the city for many hours.  On one occasion he even entered into a bar and ordered a drink, but alcohol never one of his vices he left the bar without touching the drink and continued walking.

On the second day after walking away from the gazebo, the early morning sunlight found him entering a park where he all but collapsed onto one of the park benches.  The throbbing pain in his legs almost matched the pain in his chest, because he had walked continuously through the night and then all through the day, then through another night.  Now the warm rays of the sun lulled him to sleep and it seemed only seconds later a policeman woke him and asked if he was okay.

It was noontime and he had slept the morning away curled up on the bench.

   “I came by here this morning and saw you lying there, the policeman told him.  “I could tell by your clothes you were not a vagrant so I let you sleep, but when I returned a few minutes ago and found you still here I became a little worried.  I’m glad your okay, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to sleep here in the park,” he finished, then with a smile he turned and moved off down the parks walkway.

The ache in Paul’s chest had not eased in any way, but he knew he must pull himself together and get some food into his stomach.  Outside of the park he hailed a cab and asked to be taken to the nearest YMCA.

 

In his thirst for knowledge, which encompassed almost everything, Paul’s favorite subject had always been Egypt and its surrounding countries.  It was there he spent most of the next eight or nine months digging in the sand, looking for old tombs, with a young archaeologist acquaintance he had known since college.

The ache filling him when he thought Kelly in the arms of another man like a heavy weight carried on his shoulder, no matter where he went or how he tried he could not dislodge the pain.

With each passing month he found the weight easing a little although he knew in his heart he was not getting over her, he was at least able to sleep nights without her constantly in his dreams.  At times he even found himself engrossed in his work with no other thoughts in his mind.

Six months passed and one day the museum his archaeologist friend worked for ordered them to a new sight along the banks of the Nile River, where some workmen building a new road there had uncovered some ancient ruins they wanted team to investigate.

After a few weeks of digging at the new site the crew of workmen exposed what proved to be the four or five thousand-year-old house of a very wealthy man, the site yielding up many ancient artifacts.

Early one evening, the sun already having set in the west and coolness already dissipating the heat of the day, Paul sat alone amidst the jumbled pile of masonry that had once been the walls of the house.  The workers had gone home for the evening and a stillness filled the air, while above a millions stars lit up the vast night sky.

Images of Kelly started to enter his mind, but he was able to push them aside and glance around into the semi-darkness of the night.  In his mind he tried to reach back in time and imagine the people who lived and died in the house once standing here.  Almost seeing, in his minds eye, the many servants moving about the large house doing chores and their masters bidding.

Tiring of this he climbed from the masonry to return to camp, however only a short distance from where he had been standing a strange thing happened.  When in his minds eye came the strong image of a small chamber filled with treasures of gold and jewels, the image causing him to stand unmoving wondering what it could mean.

However when he began to move away the image disappeared from his mind like snapping off a light switch. For a few moments he stood there puzzled before stepping back a few feet to find the vision flicked back into his mind.  Experimenting, he moved in one direction then the other to find the image of the treasure room came to him in only in a ten or twelve-foot area, and from under the pile of stone masonry he stood on.  What he was able to envision was a mystery to him, but he was certain below all of the masonry and rubble was a room containing treasures that boggled the mind.

Hurrying back to camp he informed his archaeologist friend of his experience and in the morning led him to the spot.  By noontime of the same day the crew had moved the masonry and dug down less than six feet into the sand, where they unearthed a stone room filled with treasure.

 

For months, constant pleas from Kelly and her parents, by way of mail and telephone calls, followed Paul wherever he was in the world.  Until one day he agreed to return home and try to reconcile his marriage with her.  The year without Kelly had been hell for him and although she had been untrue to him, he still yearned to hold her close again.

 

The day the taxi drove up the long driveway to the mansion and stopped by the front door, he climbed from it excitedly and tried to quiet his jumping nerves.  Still he was unprepared for the feeling overcoming him when Kelly opened the door and stood before him.

In that instant his heart began pounding wildly and his legs threatened to give away under him, having all he could do to keep from taking her in his arms and crushing her to him.  However it would be days later, and after many hours of talk, before anything like that would happen.

When he finally did take her into his arms, it was on a warm sunny afternoon when the two were out walking in the woodland area behind the mansion. Talking in soft tones they turned down the pathway through the trees to the small-secluded pond behind the house where Kelly again begged for his forgiveness, swearing he was the only man she ever loved.  But Paul remembered the memory of those first painful months, and although in his mind he wanted so much to take her in his arms and crush her to him, he could only watch as she let the light summer dress she was wearing slip from her shoulders to the ground.  Then for a brief moment stand there like a naked goddess before diving into the cool waters of the little pond.

For a while he stood in the tall grass staring after her as she swam lazily in the cool water.  Then, like a swimmer testing the water before jumping in, he opened his mind to hers for an instant.  What he found there was a deep honest sorrow and a longing for him that filled him with excitement, then again he opened his mind and let her thoughts and memories tumble into his own.

Ever since the night in the gazebo, a memory she tried to wipe unsuccessfully from her mind, she had become a recluse.  Not only would she not attend any of her old friends parties, she would not even associate with any of them refusing their calls. What she done to Paul was an evil thing and she hoped and prayed God and Paul would forgive her.

After reading these thoughts in her mind and knowing her sorrow was genuine, he splashed into the pond fully clothed and quickly gathered her into his arms.  Later, after making love in the tall grass beside the pond for a time, returning to the house hand in hand to inform her parents of their new vows.  With the heaviness lifted from his heart he felt light and full of happiness, celebrating by taking Kelly dinning and dancing almost every evening for the next couple of weeks.

On the last evening before Kelly’s parents were to return to their home in Florida, the four of them remained at home to have a quiet dinner.  When the evening wore on and bedtime approached, they said goodnight to her parents and retired to their own bedroom.  After making love in the privacy of their bedroom Paul kissed her good night and eventually drifted off to sleep and dream.

In his dream Paul had somehow fallen into a deep black pit and was struggling franticly to climb out of it, but each time he clawed his way to the top some evil in the darkness below pulled him back.  Yet whatever was pulling at him could not seem to get a good grip, its claws passing through him like he was a phantom without substance.

Tired and worn he emerged from the blackness and opened his eyes to find he was in his own moonlight filled bedroom, but unable to believe his eyes.  For there hovering over the naked body of his Kelly was the dark figure of a naked man.  The man had bitten deeply into her neck, while around its lips, which, pressed tightly to her flesh, a small amount of blood seeped and dripped onto the white sheets below her.  With a startled cry for help, he leaped to his feet grabbing for a hunting knife he kept in a bedside stand.  Then knife in hand he turned and lunged back across the bed, the knife flashing in an arc towards the dark intruder.

For a brief instant in time everything seemed to pause, when the door swung open and Kelly’s parents stood in the doorway gaping at the grizzly scene before them.  Their eyes taking in Paul as he stood there wild-eyed and naked holding the knife in his hand, then to the bed, where, with a gapping wound in her neck and the last of her blood gushing onto the already saturated sheets, lay their daughter Kelly.

 

Paul’s murder trial lasted a grueling six months and although he hired the best attorneys and detectives money could buy, no one was able to find the mysterious dark stranger he claimed was by his bed that evening.

Anguish and pain filling him, his thoughts in a constant turmoil over the loss of his Kelly, he knew the figure he seen in his bedroom was no figment of his imagination.  Still, no matter how he tried he could not explain how the figure vanished so abruptly. When the jury pronounced him guilty and the court sentenced him to life in prison, he vowed immediately he would somehow find the answers.

The newspapers and television media had a field day at Paul’s expense during the trial, most naming him a modern day Jack the Ripper.  The latter starting when the coroner testified that, “although the bed-sheets beneath Kelly’s body were blood soaked, a large volume of blood was unaccounted for.”  After that statement the prosecutor for the state tried to convince the jury Paul had drank most of her blood.  Although he vehemently denied it the thought had already been planted in the jurys mind and had a lot to do with his conviction.

 

Paul’s first three weeks in prison was spent laying on his bunk going over every aspect of the trial in his mind.  In time he was able to remember every word uttered in the courtroom.  Realizing with much dismay, with the evidence against him the prosecutor and jury had no other choice but to find him guilty.

In the months that followed he lay each evening in the darkness of his cell listening to the many thoughts of the prisoners around him.  After a while learning to screen out thoughts he did not want as the mind reading became a game with him.

Often times when the prisoners were in the exercise yard he picked up a single thought from someone’s mind and looked around trying to find which person the thought came from.  By the end of the first year he developed and fine-tuned his mind reading abilities. No longer did he need to see where the thoughts came from, because with each controlled thought came the image of that person and that persons immediate surroundings.

It was only by accident in the prison exercise yard one afternoon, he realized he could project his thoughts and will with a marginal success into the mind of another person.  The incident happened when an older prisoner, seated on a bench with his back to some horseshoe pits talking with friends, was unaware of a misguided steel horseshoe, which slipped from one of the players hand, hurtling towards the back his head while Paul looked on horrified.  Knowing the horseshoe would strike before he or anyone else could warn the man, the thought for the old man on the bench to turn his head away leaped into Paul’s mind.  The incident was over when the horseshoe whizzed by the old mans head leaving only a grazing streak of dirt across his ear and cheekbone.

The old man, his back to the horseshoe pits and unaware of the steel missile hurtling towards him, had involuntarily jerked his head away in time.  Everyone witnessing the incident shrugged it off as a stroke of luck on the old mans part, but Paul knew different.

Something had happened here, something he would study and nurture and if possible hone to a fine edge.

 

Six months later, with the help of his mind reading ability, he managed to wrangle himself a job working in the front office where prisoners met their visitors.  His duties here were to keep the large visiting room clean and when a prisoners visiting time was over, and they returned to the cellblock, he was to wipe down the table and straighten the chairs for the next set of visitors.

   “Straford!  Get another chair for that empty table, the next prisoner is allowed three visitors, a burly guard barked across the visiting room at Paul, then glanced again at the visitors pass before turning to unlock the heavy barred door and let the three visitors in.

So!  They have special passes for three visitors, Paul mused, quickly entering into the guards mind to see what the pass looked like before the image of it faded from his mind.

Half an hour later, while rearranging other chairs, he glanced up in time to see a different guard getting ready to unlock the gate to let in more visitors.  As was the norm the visitors handed their pass through the bars of the door before entering the guardroom.  The guard would then read the name of the prisoner aloud and another guard sitting at a nearby desk telephone into the cellblock for the prisoner.

Now will be a good a time as any to make my test, Paul thought, quickly reaching into the guards mind as he read the visitors pass.

The pass showed the prisoners name and number on the first line, below this, in a box labeled number of visitors, a number two was stamped.  Beside the number was the name of the two visitors.

What you are seeing is the number three in the box and three names beside it, Paul projected into the guards mind, then stood watching while the guard read the pass over a couple of times.  It seemed to Paul the babble of voices from the prisoners and visitors filling the hall all afternoon had suddenly come to a hushed, perspiration running down his armpits as he waited.

   “Straford!  Put another chair at the next table, the guard called to him, looking down at the pass bewildered when only two people entered and took a seat at the table.

?Never mind, the guard called back, after Paul withdrew the thought from his mind and the guard looked at the pass again.

I have you now; Paul glowered to himself, when he realized how easy it had been to plant the thought in the guards mind, already his own mind racing and making plans.  On visiting day two weeks from today I’m walking out of this place, he promised himself.

 

As a trustee Paul was allowed to wear black pants and a white shirt while he preformed his duties on visiting day, and this day to weeks later was no different.  The two weeks just passed seemed like months, but now that it was here the morning flew by and he was here in the guardroom amidst the babble of voices and people.

Usually cool and comfortable, the huge guardroom seemed warm and sticky this day and some of the visitors removed their suit coats.  Paul watched carefully when one particular visitor removed a sport-jacket and hung it over the back of his chair.  All afternoon Paul had been watching the gate where the guard let the visitors into the guardroom, waiting for more than two people to enter at the same time.

Finally the guard received a three-visitor pass though the barred gate and read the prisoners name to the other guard.

When that visit is over these three guys are going to have trouble getting out of here, Paul chuckled to himself waiting to see which table the guard led the visitors to.  However when he glanced up and saw the guard sitting at the desk staring at him he was shocked, for a second his confidence beginning to collapse.

Keep calm, he told him self, quickly reaching into the guards mind to find the guards thoughts were on something else entirely.

For the next half-hour Paul had all he could do to keep his mind from what he was about to do, then when the time came and it began to happen he found himself covered with perspiration.

Told by the guard their visiting time was over, a few of the prisoners moved to the rear of the guardroom to be let back into the cellblock.  The visitors, seven of them from different tables, approached the guard at the gate and again showed their passes as they passed out of visiting room.

Paul?s blood pounding in his veins, pumped up by fear and excitement of what he was attempting, he moved quickly between the tables and snatched the sports coat from the back of the chair and slipped it on.  When the seven merged at the gate he was among them instantly starting a conversation with one of the men.  When the guard read the pass, which the man Paul was talking to handed him, Paul willed him to see the number three where two was and the names of three visitors.  Then by the time they passed through the gate and reached the driveway at the front of the prison, Paul’s cloths where soaked with sweat and his legs threatened to give way beneath him.

Climbing aboard the bus waiting to carry the visitors to the parking lot away from the prison, he put the memory of him self in the drivers mind so he would not question him.

   “I’ve done it, he thought, sighing to himself, laying his head back against the seat, while his body went limp and weak from exhaustion as the bus pulled away from the prison.

 

In the proceeding months before his escape, Paul arranged with Mr. Carson to sell all of his stocks and bonds.  The cash, a vast fortune, was to be place in different accounts around the country where Paul could readily get at it when needed.

Some months after his escape from prison, his hair grown down over his ears and sporting a beard, Paul was able to move about freely.  In his wallet he carried a forged drivers license identifying him as Greg Morrison, a writer.  Under this name, and by depositing large amounts of cash in certain banks, he was able to get credit cards and checking accounts.  In one of the high-rise buildings in the busy city of Chicago, he leased an expensive apartment.  Then from there he started his search for the killer of his wife who he now was beginning to believe was a Vampire.

 

 

                                        Four

 

 

   On that first night Ravon came to the mansion and forced the window screen to enter the bedroom, he found a naked young man and woman asleep on the bed.  Naked himself, after changing from a bat to human form, he moved like a silent shadow to the bedside where, with a wave of thought that should have put both the naked figures into a deep sleep, he leaned close over the form of the woman.

With practiced deftness he clamped his lips tightly to the soft skin over the young woman’s jugular vein, his sharp fangs easily puncturing through the soft flesh to enter the walls of the huge pulsing vein within.

A silent sigh of ecstasy and contentment washed over him as the woman’s thick warm blood spewed forth down his throat.  Only once did her body convulse before, with a swoon like sigh, she surrendered to him and lay back on the pillow in silence.  Drinking deeply from the font beneath him his eyes casually lifted toward the young man laying only inches away on the bed, a man that should have been in a deep trance under the spell he had cast.  To Ravon’s surprise he found the man awake and staring at him as he hovered over the naked woman.  Shocked at this turn of events he ripped his fangs from the victims throat, the swift movement tearing open the flesh of the wound and allowing the remaining blood to spew out onto the sheets below her.

With a cry of alarm the young man leapt from the bed to attack him with a knife, but with unseen speed Ravon moved away and exited the room the same way he had entered.  Then for a while he hung outside the windowsill watching the young man standing there and looking around the room dumfounded.

Almost instantly the door to the bedroom flew open and an older man and woman stood staring into the room.  Suddenly a wail of anguish filled the room as the woman rushed to the bedside where she lifted the body of the young woman to her bosom, the older man rushing to the telephone to call the police before turning to stare at the naked figure of Paul clutching the ugly knife.

   “What have you done to my daughter?” the older man cried out, beating against the young man’s chest with his fists.

Dumbfounded the young man could only stand there naked and unmoving, remaining there until the police arrived.

 

Tiring now of the goings on in the bedroom and angry for loosing his victim, Ravon dropped from the window and with a few lazy sweeps of leathery wings moved away from the house into the darkness.  In the back of his mind was some concern about why the young man was able to resist his command to sleep, but try as he may he could not push the thought from his mind.  The incident had surprised and amused him, yet from somewhere deep inside a warning nudged the edges of his senses.

 

Two and a half years passed since the incident with the young man, the memory of the incident stored away, with millions of others, in the back of Ravon’s mind.  As usual he existed and hunted at his leisure, always making sure the dried husks of his many victims were carefully disposed of.  It was a rare occasion when someone found the hidden remains of one of his victims and a small article appeared in the back pages of the newspaper.  The article told how the dried corpse of a very old woman was discovered in the airshaft of an abandoned warehouse by a homeless derelict.  The police having no idea who the woman could be or how her body ever ended up there.

However Paul, who studied the newspapers carefully everyday looking for strange happenings, read the article two or three times unable to connect it in any way to what he was looking for.  Then three weeks later another article about the same corpse appeared in the newspapers again.

It seemed the city had not been able to find anyone to claim the body found in the warehouse, so the body was turned over to the state medical school for the students to dissect and study.  It was there some strange things became evident about the corpse, when outside of the fact the body was bloodless, the organs showed no signs of the usual aging.  In fact the organs were much like those of a twenty-year-old woman.  The incident caused quite a stir at the medical school but to this day it all remained a mystery.

Reading the article over a few times, Paul thought it might give him some clue to the Vampire’s trail and he quickly moved to follow it through.

At the county court house he obtained the police records of the incident and learned who the homeless man was that found the body, also where the warehouse was located.  Later that same day he secreted himself in the huge, abandoned, warehouse to watch and wait.  Knowing if the homeless man, whose name he had found in the court records to be William Murry, came into the warehouse from any side of the building he would see him.

William Murry, the man the newspapers referred to as Bill, was a decorated war hero of the Viet Nam Conflict.  Like many other veterans of that era he came home from the war to find his peers jeering and heckling him.  Then unable to find work, like many other veterans affiliated with the war, he went off somewhere to be alone, and like many of the others he turned to alcohol for solace.  Bill was an orphan like Paul, but he had gone straight from the orphanage into the army where he believed he had finally found a home.  Two years later the Viet Nam conflict started and Bill’s unit was one of the first to go.

 

It was early morning, before dawns light and after a long fruitless night of waiting, when Paul sensed someone nearing the warehouse and quickly opened his mind to his or her thoughts.  As Paul hoped, that someone turned out to be the vagrant Bill and he could sense Bill’s wariness and fear as his eyes scanned the warehouse carefully before entering it.

For one fleeting instant, through Bill’s eyes and memory, Paul saw the darkened fourth floor interior of the warehouse.  Then there in the blackness of the night, with only a small amount of moonlight seeping in through many dirty and broken windows, he saw a dark figure move noiseless in the moonlight at the far end of the warehouse.  Leaning forward among the pile of empty cardboard cartons where he slept, Bill watched the figure that was only a black silhouette as it passed by the windows.  Then when he glanced toward the next window opening expecting to see the figure pass by again, the only silhouette he saw was that of a bat exiting out through the empty window casing.  For a while he stared after it out through the open window until finally the effects of the wine overtook him again and he passed out.

 

Now Paul withdrew from the depths of Bill’s mind, as Bill pushed the dark thoughts from him self and entered the dark warehouse.  For a few minutes he stood inside the doorway glancing around nervously unable to see Paul who was sitting in a far corner, before disappearing into the stairwell to the second floor, the sound of his footsteps echoing loudly throughout the empty building as he climbed the stairs.

Only when he reached the top floor and his nest of cardboard cartons, did the footsteps stop and soon after he was fast asleep.  Not long after Bill’s accent to the fourth floor Paul left the warehouse and returned to his apartment.

It was mid afternoon before Paul returned to the warehouse and parked his car across the street from it, then again entered the building to take up his vigil.

When he had left the warehouse earlier that morning he was Certain Bill would sleep most of the day away, knowing this he relaxed when he reached his apartment, took a hot shower and had breakfast.  With this done he leaned back onto his bed pillow to mull over the events of the morning.

Bill has seen something in the old warehouse.  Something that frightened him enough so that he doesn’t want go near the place again after dark, he mused.  It must be more than that one incident I saw in his mind that’s bothering him.  I guess the only way I am going to find out is to somehow engage him in a conversation and see what its about, and with this last thought fading from his mind Paul drifted off to sleep.

 

The next morning, in old clothes bought from a second hand thrift store, Paul waited by the abandoned warehouse for Bill to appear again.  Then around noontime the scraggly figure of Bill emerged from the building and shuffled away.

Hanging back, so as not be noticed, Paul followed on foot to a small hole in the wall restaurant.

   “Cup of coffee,” Paul said, nodding to a man behind the counter wearing a dirty apron over his street clothes, as he slid onto one of the squeaky stools beside Bill.  Then, with the old clothes and a scruffy beard helping his disguise, he turned to the unsuspecting Bill.

   “Mind passing the sugar?” he asked, gesturing with a flip of his hand towards the glass sugar shaker sitting in front of Bill, then with a quick snap of his hand caught it when Bill slid it down the counter to him.

   “Had some luck and scored a quart of Muscatel this morning,” he mumbled, while pouring some of the sugar into his coffee.  Then with a grin glanced up at Bill and patted a paper sack he had tucked into the pocket of the old army fatigue jacket he wore.  “Care for a swig or two?” he offered.

Much later, as the afternoon shadows began to grow longer, he sat with Bill on a park bench sharing the bottle of wine and swapping stories.  During this time reaching deep into Bill”s mind to learn what he could.

On many occasions Bill had looked for honest work trying to straighten him self out, and many times refused work when the employer found he was a Viet Nam Veteran.  On one occasion he did manage to land a job as a shipping clerk in a small manufacturing firm, and for those three months he stayed away from the bottle.  Near the end of the three-month period the manager of the firm, an anti-war Activist, somehow discovered he was a Viet Nam Veteran and let him go.

   “The company has no need for killers like you to be working here,” the manager told Bill out of earshot of anyone.

After a few of these experiences Bill climbed deeper into the bottle, after always reeking of alcohol and refused any kind of work.  Now he existed on the small check he received from the government each month, for the Purple Heart medal he was awarded and carried hidden in his pocket.  A small token of the country appreciation for the wounds he received while saving the lives of five men in his squad.

Learning all of this, and much more about Bill’s personality, Paul liked what he learned about the man, but continued to search his mind for more memories of the warehouse. Then buried deep the depths of Bill’s mind he found two other frightening memories of the warehouse.  These memories were so horrible Bill rated them above the ghastly and appalling images he witnessed in Viet Nam, images he tried to keep hidden deep in his mind but which all too often emerged like a bad dream to fill him with terror.

One evening around the first of the month, after he received his government check, he returned to the warehouse to sleep off a bottle of wine he had purchased and drank.  Sometime in the early hours before dawn he awoke, his mind in a hazy stupor from the alcohol he had consumed, and saw a dark figure carrying something across the floor of the warehouse.  It was not until the figure stopped near one of the windows, where the moonlight flooded in, that he was able see that the object the figure carried was a young woman.  The last memories registering in Bill’s alcohol sopped mind before passing out again, was of the young woman’s head lolling back to expose a long smooth neck and the figure drawing her close to him self.

It was then Bill thought he lost all reason, when to his horror the lips of the figure pulled back to reveal two long teeth.  Then to confuse his mind further the figure inserted the long teeth deep into the white neck of the young woman, her lips issuing a deep sigh and then silence.  In the misty fog like sleep, before he passed out again, he saw the figure lift a grate from one of the old air vents and drop the body down into it.

When Bill awoke late the next day the sun was streaming in through the warehouse windows.  And although his head ached and was full of cobwebs from the wine he consumed the day before, he somehow remembered what he thought was a bad dream and quickly glanced across the warehouse.  When he saw the metal grate of his dream in the floor, a chill ran up his spine and he sat for a long while staring across the warehouse at it.  Then finally he rose to his feet and gathered enough strength and courage to approach the vent and look down into it.

Another cold chill enveloped him when he peered into the darkness below and saw the outline of a body, then he quickly stumbled away from the warehouse to the nearest police station.

 

For weeks after the police recovered the body from the warehouse vent, Bill dared not go anywhere near the place.  Then early one afternoon, after sharing a bottle of wine with a friend, he returned to the warehouse to sleep off the alcoholic stupor.  Only meaning to sleep for a few hours and get away from the warehouse before dark, he was surprised when he awoke much later in the darkness of night.  Quickly he sat up among his nest of cardboard boxes trying clear his mind, and wanting to get up and hurry out of the dreaded warehouse as fast as he could, but it was already to late.

At the far end of the warehouse bedside the old elevator shaft, which was covered by two steel doors, one of the windows not only had the glass broken from it but also the wooden sash.  The moonless night made the darkness of the warehouse almost complete, but in the few minutes he sat trying to clear his mind the pale light of dawn began to fill the empty window casing.

With the realization he slept the whole night through he made a move to get up from among the cartons and flee the warehouse, but that very moment a movement in the open space of the window caught his eye and for a few seconds something dark hung in the opening.  At first he thought it was a large bird coming in through the window to nest, but his fears deepened when he realized it was not a bird but a huge bat.

In a quick flutter of leathery wings the ba’s form began to change and fill the open space of the window frame, seconds later a naked young man stepped lightly from the window frame to the floor of the warehouse.  Then ignoring the rough wood and broken glass spread over the floor, the young man moved quickly to the steel elevator doors.  Quickly catching his fingers tips in the tight seam between the two doors, he easily pulled them apart and disappeared into the darkness beyond.

For a long while after the figure disappeared into the elevator shaft, Bill sat unable to move, while even through the numbness of his stupor he could feel the evil that had emanated from the dark terror.

 

Withdrawing from Bill’s mind Paul leaned back on the park bench in deep thought.  Although he had learned all he could about the warehouse from Bill’s mind, he now felt close to him and could not leave him here alone like this.

“How would you like a good paying job?” he suddenly asked, standing and taking the open bottle, still wrapped in the paper bag, from Bill, while for a few seconds Bill stared up at him from where he still sat on the bench.

   “Who’d give me a job like that?” he mumbled, reaching for the bottle in Paul’s hand.

   “I would,” Paul said, turning away and gesturing with a wave of his hand for Bill to follow, then after tossing the bottle into a trash barrel beside the bench moved off down the walkway.

For a while Bill sat staring after him with a look of indecision on his face.  Then with a shrug of his shoulders he got up and began to follow, his eyes glancing only once toward the trash barrel with the half full bottle of wine in it.

   “I guess I really don’t have much to lose by following you except that bottle of wine back there,” he told Paul, pointing backwards over his shoulder with his thumb.

   “You could do a lot worse,” Paul assured him, as together they continued out of the park.

   “I’m not really a derelict,” Paul told Bill, stealing a secret sideways glance at him to see his reactions before he went on.  “I am really a writer and I come down here dressed like this to get material for a novel I am working on,” he lied.

   “Then what would make you want to hire a guy like me?”  Bill asked, and then as an after thought turned to him and said, “I’m nothing more than a homeless drunk.”

   “Listen,” Paul told him, stopping in the middle of the street they were crossing and looking Bill in the eye.

   “I need someone to help me that I can really trust and depend on, someone who will do what I ask without asking a lot of questions, I just have a feeling you’re that person,” he finished.  Then turned away again and walked along in silence until they came to his automobile parked almost across the street from the warehouse.  All the while the conversation was going on Paul was reading the emotion and turmoil going on in Bill’s mind, the gratitude Bill felt toward him for offering him the work.

   “Climb in,” Paul said, sliding in behind the steering wheel and reaching over to unlock the passenger door.

   “I’ll be darn,” Bill quipped, slipping into the passenger seat beside Paul. “Your not kidding are you?” he said, shaking his head and glancing around at the interior of the automobile.

“No I’m not,” Paul assured him, noticing when he started the engine to drive away, how Bill cringed and studied the dark windows of the warehouse.

 

 

                                        Five

 

 

   Every day for the next three weeks, before sunset, Paul returned to the warehouse and carefully hid himself among the cardboard cartons on the fourth floor.  Hidden in the darkness he watched and waited through each long night hoping to catch a glimpse of the dark figure Bill had seen, hoping to prove to him self the creature that had taken his wife Kelly and ruined his life really did exist.  Many nights as he sat there he fought to keep the painful memories of Kelly from his mind, still the memories seeped into his conscious thoughts and brought with them the pain and sorrow for the time they were separated.  With all of his being Paul hated this creature, this Vampire who cheated him of his happiness just when he and Kelly were about to start anew.  Somehow, someway, he would find him and exact his revenge, at the same time prove to the world he did not kill his beloved Kelly.  Sitting there in the darkness his thoughts wandered back to the terrible night and the months following Kelly’s death.

While the trial was still in progress he had Mr. Carson set up a dummy estate for the mansion and lands around it and all his holdings.  Behind the mansion, among the grove of trees at the end of the garden, he ordered a white marble tomb erected to house Kelly’s remains.  The familiar ache filled his chest now as these thoughts came to him and he glanced around the warehouse trying to shake the memories from his mind, however nothing stirred in the darkness so he bowed his head again and the memory of Kelly’s funeral passed before him.

In manacles and leg irons, guarded by two burly deputies, he attended Kelly’s interment in the tomb behind the mansion.  With her casket lowered into the hollowed out block of white marble in the center of the tomb, and the heavy marble cover closed and sealed over it, he broke down.  Sighing now at the heart-wrenching memories, he shook the thoughts from his mind and peered into the darkness of the warehouse again.

Suddenly from somewhere down at the far end of the building, just for a fleeting instant, he heard a light scraping sound and peered into the darkness where he could barely make out the dark doors of the old elevator shaft.  The windows on either side of the shaft empty of glass or sash, starkly framed in the darkness by the hazy light of the night sky.

Now another sound reached his ears bringing him to full awareness as he struggled with great difficulty to keep from reaching out with his mind to find out who, or what, was causing the sound, but he knew opening his mind at this time could be very dangerous.

The hazy light of the window next to the elevator shaft suddenly looked like the serene enchanted doorway to another world.  However the image was soon shattered when a quick movement was seen at the bottom of the window, which he quickly identified as a hand reaching up over the windowsill from the outside.  Then in the blink of an eye a tall dark figure swung up and filled the window opening before stepping lightly to the rough wooden floor.

Immediately Paul knew this was the vampire creature that robbed him of his love and his life, and now that he found him he feared the creature would hear the pounding of his heart racing wildly in his chest.  Out through the window behind the vampire he could see a faint band of light in the eastern sky heralding the coming of dawn, but the rays that would fill the warehouse with sunlight and drive the creature to his den were still minutes away.  Then much to Paul’s horror the vampire lifted a bundle it was carrying to its lips and Paul could see the victim was a young man.  In vain the victim struggled to escape the vice like arms locked around him, but with ease he was drawn to the vampires turned back lips and hideous fangs.

Quickly the fangs entered deeply into the victim’s neck and with a sigh he stopped struggling and gave himself over to the creature.  Seconds later the vampire and his victim vanished into the elevator shaft, the doors closing behind them with a dull thud that reverberated lightly through the empty warehouse.

Only after the sun was high above the horizon filling the warehouse with bright sunlight did Paul dare to move, then on unsteady legs he hurried from the dreaded warehouse to his automobile and sped away.

 

For the next two days Paul remained in his apartment mulling over what he saw at the warehouse with his own eyes.  Bill, who he let move into the spare bedroom of the apartment, was fast becoming his right hand man and Paul kept him busy running errands and gathering supplies they would need.  On the morning of the sixth day, with bright sunshine streaming in through the dirty and broken windows, Paul once again entered into the warehouse and climbed the stairs to the fourth floor.

The old elevator in the warehouse had been broken and unused for many years and the doors on the first three floors were boarded over, only on the fourth floor were the rusted doors to the shaft still accessible.  Here before the metal doors of the old elevator Paul stopped and withdrew a curved wrecking bar from a canvas bag he carried.  Then after a quick glance around he nervously turned back to the doors and wedged the wrecking bar between the seams to pry them open.

Still, with the advantage of the bar and using all of his strength he was only able to open them about eighteen or twenty inches, wedging the bar under one of the doors to keep them open.  With a wide beamed flashlight, which he also took from the canvas bag, he approached the opening and glanced down into the dark shaft.

Far below, on what was the open flat floor of an old freight elevator, he saw what looked like a half dozen bags of rags lying in a heap, the one glance enough to tell him the vampire was not in this lair and he pulled away quickly.  Yet something about the scene below bothered him and he glanced down into the shaft again. Only this time when he leaned in to look a breath taking odor filled his nostrils and the scene below caused him to lunge back, yanking the bar free and letting the doors slam close on some kind of a counterweight.

Still he was not fast enough to escape the horrible stench reeking up through the shaft to his nostrils, the stench from the rotting bodies below he first thought were bags of rags, and for the next ten minutes he leaned with his head out of a window losing his breakfast.  Although new at hunting vampires, he knew the elevator shaft had to be only one of the creature’s lairs.  It could be tomorrow, next month, or next year before the vampire returned here again, realizing he would have to be patient and spend many nights waiting and watching for its return.

Finally, three long weeks of patiently waiting in the dark warehouse each night paid off.  When on an exceptionally dark morning, minutes before dawn, a figure suddenly appeared in one of the open window frames and stepped to the floor.  Only a dark shadow, the figure hurried to the elevator doors and then disappeared into the shaft.

Anxiously Paul waited for sunlight to fill the warehouse, fighting hard to keep his mind closed and his thoughts from the wooden stake and mallet he carried in his canvas bag.  Deep in his groin a huge knot of fear pulsed and churned in keeping with the weakening of his muscles and he found his breath coming in short gasps.  When morning finally did arrived and the bright sunshine flooded the interior of the huge warehouse, he again approached and attacked the metal doors with the wrecking bar.  This time he worked the tip of the bar under the doors until he managed to get a four-foot opening between them.

By the time he finished opening the doors a cold sweat was seeping from his pores and the putrid odor wafting up the open elevator shaft took his breath away.

Quickly he placed a number of mirrors from the canvas bag in strategic places around the open door, each mirror catching the direct rays of the sun and reflecting the light downward to fill the shaft with sunlight.  With this done he found his breath coming in shallow gasps, not knowing if it was caused from excitement, fear, or the putrid stench beginning to fill the warehouse.  When he reached into the bag again for some rope and moved to tie one end of it around one of the many support posts of the warehouse, he was surprised to see how much his hands where shaking.

After taking a few deep gulps of air by an open window he managed to tie the rope off and lower the other end of it into the shaft, then from the canvas bag he took out a mask and slipped it over his nose and mouth hoping to ease the stench from below before glancing down into the shaft again.

Far below, still beyond the direct rays of the sunlight from the mirrors, he could see a figure curled up in sleep beside the pile of bodies, so with a last gulping breath, and before he could change his mind, he stepped over the lip of the shaft and began to lower himself down the rope into the semi darkness below.

Hand over hand he moved deeper into the shaft keeping his eyes cast downward for any movement of the dark figure, his ears alert for the slightest sound. The sunlight bolstering his courage he dared try to enter the vampires mind but found it sealed to him like a steel box, also even with the mask the terrible stench managed to seep through to his nostrils and almost gag him.  After what seemed like an eternity his feet touched the floor of the elevator and he fell quickly to one knee beside the sleeping figure.

In haste, with a wooden stake and mallet he carried with him, he rolled the figure onto its back and set the stake point over its heart ready to strike with the mallet.  In that half second he knew something was very wrong, because beneath the hand holding the stake he felt the firm breast of a woman.  Then an agonizing scream escaped his lips, his body almost collapsing, when he glanced up into the face of the vampire.

There below him, the mallet poised and ready to drive a stake through her heart as she slept, laid a young woman.  The dried blood smeared on her lips and chin in no way marring her familiar beauty.  Then to add to the nightmare the sleeping eyes of the female vampire opened and stared up into his own, the dried blood accentuating the shape of her pouting lips as she smiled.

   “Hello Paul,” the deep sweet voice of his departed Kelly whispered.

 

One fall evening a lone bat flew lazily through the moonlight above a grove of trees on a hilltop, while among the trees below, which in daylight dazzled the eyes with their brilliant array of autumn colors, sat a lone mansion.  It had been months since Ravon hunted these particular suburbs and now on seeing the mansion below recalled the memory of the young man that resisted his command to sleep, a young man who inadvertently cheated him of the final blood of a young woman and caused him to flee from the scene.

Now at the rear of the mansion, beyond the garden, he saw a gleaming white marble structure that had not been there before.  Being curious he landed softly in front of the structure and changed to his natural form to study it.

Immediately the memory of the young man’s trial returned to him, remembering how the news media made so much of the young man having the tomb built for the woman he murdered.

For a while he stood staring at the tomb and as he did a thought awakened deep in his mind and raced to the surface.

Here in this tomb is the body of a young woman I have taken blood from.  Although she died from loss of blood, not all of which I my self drained, her body has my microbes.  Even now while I stand here they are dormant in her body that is neither dead nor alive.

For a few moments longer he stood in thought, then, with a casual glance towards the mansion where a lone light showed in one of the back rooms, he stepped forward and easily forced the lock of the tombs steel door.

In the middle of a fifteen by fifteen foot marble room, sat a huge block of white marble hollowed out to hold a casket.  On top of the block sat a twelve-inch thick slab of the same marble, polished smooth and sealed around its edges.  Deeply chiseled into this lids curved surface was the name Kelly Ann Straford.

An excitement arose in Ravon now as he stood with his hands pressed lightly against the cold marble lid staring down at the deep carved letters before him.

   “In all of my existence as an immortal I have never done what I am about to do,” he mumbled to himself, and the more that he thought about it the more it accelerated him.

With the greatest of ease he shoved the heavy marble lid back ripping it from its seal and exposing the casket within, then with a flip of his wrist reached in and opened the casket lid to reveal what had been Kelly Ann straford.   Even after all these months her body had in no way started to decay, the immortals microbes that entered her blood stream when his fangs tore into her jugular vein had changed her metabolism, and although her body would continue to dry and shrivel from lack of moisture it would never die.

Now but for the lack of a few drops of my blood she can exist with amazing powers and walk the nocturnal nights with me seeking warm human blood, which flows freely in the many fonts of youth that are mortals. This will be a good thing, he thought, as he continued to stare down into the casket.  Slitting open a vein in his own wrist with his fingernail he pressed the wound to the dried lips of the corpse.

For the first thirty or forty seconds nothing seemed to happen before the immortal microbes, exhilarated by the fresh blood of another immortal, woke in the corpse and quickly began to regenerate the dried flesh.

Seconds later Kellys eyes snapped open and she reached up to grasp the blood-spewing wrist to press it tighter to her sucking lips.  A few more seconds passed and Ravon tore his wrist away and commanded her to climb from the casket and stand before him.

I am your master and maker, his thoughts entered into her mind, then pleased with his newly acquired minion he took her by the hand and led her away from the tomb.  Somewhere in the darkness of the nearby metropolis, spurred on by his command, Kelly avidly took her first young victim and drained its blood.

 

The horror and anguish filling Paul as he knelt on one knee ready to strike the wooden stake through the vampires heart, caused him to drop the stake and mallet to the floor of the elevator.  The noise disturbing the quietness and startling him even more.

Quickly he leapt away from the abomination before him and groped for the rope he swiftly began to climb, his only thoughts were to flee the shaft and the evil that it held.   Come back Paul,” the sweet familiar voice of Kelly cried out to him several times before he reached the opening, but her plea fell on deaf ears.

Gasping for breath Paul reached the fourth floor and in his weakness had all he could do to pull himself over the lip of the shaft onto the floor.  For a second or two he lay exhausted and too weak to move, but the thought of the evil below spurned him on.

With one quick glance back over his shoulder he jumped to his feet and kicked out the bar holding the elevator doors open.  The last glimpse he had of the deep shaft before the doors slammed closed was of the dark figure, which in life had been his beloved Kelly, reaching out with her arms to lure him to her.  The image he received emanating from the mind of the thing was of her sharp teeth entering into his neck.

It was late afternoon by the time Paul finally returned to his apartment that day.  He had spent most of the day walking the streets of the city aimlessly trying to calm him self enough to get his thoughts together.  The hatred he held for the vampire who did this to his Kelly ran through his veins like liquid fire.  He knew that finding and destroying the creature was the only thing that could quell the burning inside of him.  He also knew the thing that had been his Kelly must also be destroyed, but the thought of harming her himself, even knowing what she now was, was out of the question.  With these last thoughts in mind he returned to the apartment hoping to enlist the help of his newfound friend Bill.

Dark shadows of evening crept into the corners of the living room by the time Paul finished explaining to Bill who he really was and all that had happened.

   “I won”t blame you if you get up and walk out of here,? he told Bill, then sat back and waited patiently for Bill”s answer.

For a time Bill sat staring out through a set of open French doors, his mind in deep thought.  Again, in his minds eye he could see the evil dark figure in the warehouse drinking the blood of the young woman and without any doubt he believed all Paul told him.  Paul had taken him, a worthless alcoholic and bum, and given him a new chance at life and he was thankful for this and the friendship Paul had shown him.  Of course he would help, for Paul he would do just about anything in the world.

“I’m with you all the way,” he said, reaching out to shake Paul’s hand.

 

Certain now the vampires would franticly search him out and try to take his life now that he knew of their existence, Paul and Bill hurried from the apartment to buy equipment they would need to protect them selves.

When they returned a short time later, they were loaded with packages, many of them containing sunlamps, which they quickly set up around the apartment.  Later, and for the remainder of the night, they sat amid the sweltering heat of the lamps carefully laying out plans for the future.

 

Sure enough when Ravon heard of Kelly’s incident at the warehouse and how close Paul had come to destroying her, he became enraged vowing to find and destroy him.  However it would be weeks before he found Paul and by then it was already too late.

Paul had arranged to have a mobile home set up for their living quarters in the center of a huge deserted airplane hanger he purchased six or seven miles outside of the city limits.  Around the huge hanger a tall chain-link fence was installed and along the fence a bank of huge sunlamps lit up the area between the fence and the hanger.

Inside the walls of the hanger were more sunlamps, these, the last ring of light and safety from the vampire, were powered by two huge gas generators ready to kick on immediately if the electric power failed for any reason.  When the work around the hanger was complete Paul and Bill moved into the safe haven ready to start the search for the Vampire.

 

   “There he goes,” Paul told Bill, five days later as they waited in a parked car near the entrance leading up to the mansion.  Their patience being rewarded when an automobile he recognized as the caretakers, came down the driveway and turned away down the road.

Quickly they climbed from the vehicle and hurried up the long driveway to the edge of the woods behind the mansion and stood before Kelly’s tomb.

“I guess this is it,?” Paul sighed, pausing for a few seconds before the door.  Then reaching out he found the door swung easily open to his touch, the lock and hasp already torn from its casing by Ravon, making a light scrapping sound as it dragged against the granite door frame.

A foreboding feeling came over Paul as he stepped inside the stone structure, the memory of Kelly’s casket, sealed in the tomb, flashing before his eyes.  The pain and mental wounds, which had subsided somewhat after all this time, reopening with the shocking experience in the old elevator shaft, now as he again stood before Kelly’s tomb a cold sweat broke out over his body.

“You okay?”  Bill asked softly, his footsteps echoing in the empty stone tomb as he quickly crossed the floor to stand with Paul before the marble block holding Kelly’s casket.

“Ya! I guess I’m okay,” he replied in a soft broken voice motioning for Bill to give him a hand.  Then using all of their strength, they strained to slide the heavy thick marble lid back and look down at the casket inside.  Again Paul hesitated, his forehead beading with cold moister and his back and under arms soaked with sweat.

Finally, with a sideways glance at Bill who held a sharp stake in one hand and a heavy mallet in the other ready to strike, he reached down and threw back the lid of the casket.  However there was no need for haste because the casket was empty.

“My God,” Paul cried out, staring down into the empty satin lining of the casket, his breath, which he had been holding unknowingly, slowly escaping through partly clenched teeth as a feeling of vertigo washed over him.

There before them in the empty casket he could see the imprint where Kelly’s head had laid for so long on the little pillow, causing him to wonder where it laid this day.  Closing the casket and struggling to get the heavy lid back in place they hurried away from the mansion.

“I should have realized she wouldn’t return to her tomb for a while, it would be too obvious,” Paul mumbled, glancing up in the direction of the mansion before climbing into the automobile and driving away.

“What now?” Bill asked, glancing over at Paul and then down at his own hands that he found were shaking.

“I don’t know.” Paul replied,  “But I’m pretty sure we won’t have to go looking for them anymore.  When that sun goes down tonight they’ll awake and know what we tried to do today and come looking for us.”  Then no one uttered another word until they drove into the safe compound inside of the airport hanger where Paul sat for a time staring out through the windshield with a far away look in his eyes.

“Twice now I’ve tried to destroy the thing that was Kelly and both times I’ve failed,” he mumbled.

“Were not going to get many more chances at it,” he went on, giving Bill a quick glance before sliding out from behind the steering wheel.

 

 

                                                Six

 

 

   When Ravon heard about Kelly’s incident in the old elevator shaft with Paul he become furious.  Now on hearing of Paul’s intrusion into Kelly’s tomb and lair he was beyond raged, almost to a point of madness.  The thought of this mere mortal becoming a threat to him, or his minion, infuriated him to a point of being reckless.  That very evening he took the first four victims he came upon and left their husks where they fell.  However in the early hours before dawn, when his anger subsided, he realized how his actions made their existence perilous.  Any mention of ether of them in the news could bring the wrath of Khufu and Ural down upon them and he shuddered when the thought of Lars fiery destruction came to mind.

I must quickly remedy what I have done, he thought, swiftly moving to the alleyway where he had taken his first victim.  Relieved to find the husk of a young man still lying undisturbed where he dropped it, and quickly disposing of it before hurrying to a lovers lane to find two other bodies he had drained earlier.

The last victim, a young black women about eighteen or nineteen years of age, he came upon as she and some friends left a movie house and walked home.  When she said good night to her friends at the entrance of the apartment building where she lived, then stepped into the dimly lit hallway, the dark form of Ravon enveloped her and quickly drained her blood.

It was to this apartment house he now hurried, however he was disappointed when he arrived and found a jumble of blue and red flashing lights and a crowd of people around the front of the building.  Knowing someone found the remains, all he could do was stand and watch as the Coroner loaded a black body bag into an ambulance.

Already it has begun, he thought, his rage building again as he watched the ambulance move away from the curb and drive off into the night.  Quickly he stepped into a nearby alleyway where he changed forms to a bat and took to the air to follow the ambulance.  Only seconds later catching up with the vehicle and flying along above it, as the vehicles siren wailed and the red lights flashing as it thread its way through the maze of streets below.  After another few blocks, he realized the situation was out of his hands now and he could do nothing to retrieve the victim without further exposing himself.  With this in mind he turned away to continue his search for his mortal antagonist Paul, certain he would find him and exact revenge on this mere mortal who trifled with him one too may times.

Still, it was two and a half weeks before he finally did locate Paul in the hanger sanctuary outside of the city limits.  He found Paul’s mind closed and sealed to him, but the mind of Bill he found open and easy to read.  So he quickly scanned the deep recesses of his mind to learn of there past actions and future plans, surprised to learn they knew he was a vampire.

When he finally converged on the hanger refuge as a bat, he was surprised to see it awash in a pool of bright light.  Immediately he swooped down intending to land inside the fence near the hanger, but when he tried to enter into the compound he found the light from many sun lamps searing his flesh and he made a hasty withdrawal.  His anger piqued even more now, he retreated into the darkness of the nearby woods to hide and mull the situation over.

He is so near and yet so far, and so darn clever, Ravon thought, studying the brightly lit compound and surrounding area.  Then his eyes fell on one of the tall metal towers carrying the power lines and electricity to the burning lights.

Now we will see who is clever my mortal friend, he mumbled, and with one amazing leap landed on top of one of the metal towers.  There, with a sardonic grin of triumph dancing across his lips, he reached down and yanked out the heavy power lines bringing electricity to the compound and hanger.  Then in an instant, before darkness filled the compound, he leaped from the tower and raced to the mobile home and the two mortals.

I have you now, he mumbled, reaching for the door handle.  However in that split second, his hearing being such that he could hear the sound of a raindrop running down a windowpane, he heard the click of an electrical relay.  Then somewhere behind the mobile home an engine started and the hanger was again flooded with light.

Escape into the darkness, was the only thought filling his mind, when searing light began burning his flesh, and an instant later he was over the fence into the darkness of the woods beyond.  But it was to late and he found his body blistering with welts from the sunlamps.  Then as, he moved further away from the compound he saw the welts begin to turn black and split open.  Although he could feel no pain from his seared body, the rays from the lamps had sapped his strength and left him weak and unable to change forms.

The sunlamps have done their job well, he thought, studying the disfigurement and damage that was done to his body, If it had been the direct rays of the sun I would be no more.  Then for a short time he studied the brightly lit compound from the darkness of the nearby woods.  The only thing he could gather from Bill’s mind was confusion and wariness of why the lights suddenly went out.  A few minutes later he turned away from the compound and moved off into the darkness.

An hour later, not being able to move any faster then a mere mortal because of his wounds, he emerged from the woods near a small town.  The town was still asleep at this time of the morning with four street-lamps lighting up a short stretch of stores and businesses along its main street, the only other lights from a small diner near the edge of town.

It was to the rear of this diner he now moved and quietly melted into the dark shadows behind a Dumpster to wait.  Through the windows of the diner he saw two men moving around inside cooking and making ready to open for business, but in his weakened state he dared not enter to take them.  He needed them both for strength, then after he gorged himself on their blood he would find somewhere cool and damp where he could sleep safely for a number of weeks until he healed.

A band of silver gray light began to fill the horizon in the east, before the young man finally emerged from the back door of the diner carrying a carton of rubbish.  When he neared the Dumpster to drop the carton into it a cold hand clamped onto the back of his neck and lifted him from his feet.  The hand drawing him into the dark shadows behind the Dumpster, where in the faint light filtering through the diner windows a blackened and split face drew towards him.

The scream caught in his throat by the grip of steel like fingers was let loose, as was all his body functions, when the charred lips of the horror before him parted and revealed two long fangs.  Before the young man could draw another breath the fangs pressed against his throat, then with little resistance punctured through the skin into his jugular vein.  His blood pumping furiously, by the rapid beating heart, gushing freely from the wound as his conscious thoughts melted away.

Drained of its blood, Ravon let the remains of the young man drop to the ground and quickly moved across the small alleyway to the back door of the diner. Where, in response to the younger mans cries the older man hurried out to see what was happening, when he did Ravon took him as well and drained him.

Placing the bodies inside the diner, Ravon set fire to it and quickly moved off through town to a graveyard high on a nearby hill.

At the graveyard a rusted metal door, that had not been open for years, boasted the presence of an old tomb.  However on closer inspection he could see the door hung askew leaving a space at the top that would allow sunlight to enter.  Searching further he discovered a new grave at the rear of the cemetery with most of the flowers on it still alive.

This will do fine, he thought, then with one last glance towards the east, and the rapidly widening band of light that was dawn, he dropped to his knees and began to burrow into the soft earth of the grave.  Deep under the earth he reached the grave liner and casket and crawled in on top of the corpse to sleep.  Here in the cold dampness of the earth, in the silence of death, his ancient body could rejuvenate itself.

 

For weeks during the daylight hours, Paul and Bill searched every deserted building and graveyard where a vampire might make his lair.

“I know we’ve just began to scratch the surface of the places he could be hiding,” Paul told Bill one evening as they sat watching television in the safety of the mobile home.

   “I guess where doing the best we can, each place we do eliminate brings us that much clos... he started to say, when suddenly all of the lights around the compound blinked and went out.  Seconds later the generators kicked into action and the lights came back on again.

“Well what do you suppose caused that?”  Paul asked nervously, glancing at Bill and not really expecting an answer, before picking up the telephone and calling the Power Company.

 

   “It was the strangest thing,” the man from the Power Company was telling Paul, the next afternoon after fixing the power.  “It looked like the lines were just yanked apart,” he explained, shaking his head before climbing into his big yellow truck and driving away out of the compound.

“I think we had a near miss last night,” Paul informed Bill, as they stood watching the truck disappear down the road.  “Thank God for the generators.”

“Let us hope were so lucky the next time,” Bill replied, turning away to stow the equipment they would need for the next day into the trunk of Paul’s automobile.

 

Each morning their first priority was to check the elevator shaft in the old warehouse, then Kelly”s tomb behind the mansion.  Bill always stood ready with the stake and mallet in his hand while Paul threw open the lid of Kelly”s casket, but so far there had not been any trace of the caskets lining being disturbed.

As of late they had become brazen enough to drive the automobile up the long driveway right to the tomb, but only after the caretaker left each morning.

“I think maybe we should search this area today,
 Paul was saying to Bill, as he pointed to a circled area on a map he had laid out on the hood of the car.

Once again they had checked Kelly’s tomb and found it empty and not expecting the caretaker to return for some time they stood leisurely by the tomb pouring over the map.

“I know that area well,” Bill said, “when I was bumming I use to get back door handouts from a couple of restaurants along there.  It was a...!  Bill started to say.

   “Can I help you?”  A man’s voice interrupted.

Startled, they glanced up quickly to see the caretaker, clad in a pair of clean overalls and a blue work shirt, approaching them with a questioning smile on his face.  Although the man, who’s name Paul knew to be Lenny, worked for him, Paul had never met him before.

“Hi!  You must be Lenny,” Paul said, greeting the caretaker and stepping forward with a smile on his face to shake the man’s hand with enthusiasm.

“I?m Greg Morrison, a cousin of Kelly’s,” he lied, nodding towards the tomb.

“I and my associate here, William Murry, are visiting from the west coast, and being as close as I was with Kelly,” he continued to lie, “I thought I might come by and pay my respects.  When we couldn’t find anyone at home in the house we just came along to the tomb, I hope you don’t mind?”

“Oh no!” Lenny assured him, shaking his hand now like an old friend.  “If you’re Mrs. Straford’s cousin then you’re family and you have all the right in the world to be here.  You just come by anytime you like,” he assured them.

“Well thank you Lenny, you may very well see us around here at times, most likely in the mornings,” he informed him.  Then he turned back to Bill and the map while Lenny ambled off towards the back of the mansion.

An early morning summer sun had moved above the trees to the east and was beginning to warm the damp morning air, in turn the warm air quickly evaporating the wet dew of the grass.  So like watching time-lapse photography Paul could almost see Lenny”s footprints disappear from the grass, as he moved away.  Gazing for a moment at the fading footprints, his nostrils filling with the sweet scent of pine and green growing things of spring, Paul reached out to read Lenny’s mind.

“Well that solves one problem,” Bill quipped, nodding his head towards Lenny, his grin quickly disappearing when he saw the somber face of Paul.

“What is it?” he asked, in a concerned voice, his gaze shifting from Paul to the distant figure of Lenny ambling away.

“I’ve just learned some very interesting news,” he said in a soft voice.

“It seems that our friend Lenny there,” he said, pointing with his thumb to the back of the mansion where Lenny had disappeared, “has seen some strange goings on near the woods behind the mansion,” he said, then went on and explained to Bill what he learned but not how he learned it.

He had slipped into Lenny’s mind for any information he may unknowingly have.  What he found there had both surprised and startled him.

Lenny’s two rooms at the rear of the mansion were totally separated from the rest of the house and had their own private entrance.  The living and dining room consisted of one large comfortable room, while the bedroom, though much smaller, was more than large enough to hold two chests of drawers, a night table, and a bed.

It had been when Lenny crawled into bed early one evening and glanced out the huge bedroom window, that he saw a dark figure moving around near the tomb.  On another occasion he saw a shadowy figure join the first, this one coming from the direction of the tomb.  Not being a brave man, he only watched until the figures moved away, then pushed the memory of them from his conscious mind.

 

“Lovers meeting in the dark or Vampires?”  Paul wondered aloud, later that evening when they settled comfortably in the sanctuary of the compound.

“Its hard to say,” Bill said, his mind imagining the two dark shadowy figures coming together behind the mansion like Paul told him.

“If it is them,” he said, nodding his head up and down in thought, “they may have their lairs near the mansion somewhere,” then as an after-thought muttered, “maybe somewhere in the cellar of the mansion itself.”

 

The next morning they again drove up the driveway past the mansion to the tomb.  For the sake of Lenny the caretaker, who they knew had not yet left the grounds, opened the trunk of the automobile and took out a large wreath of flowers.

“Good morning,” Lenny called to them, hardly a minute later, as he shuffled towards them from the rear of the mansion.

“Morning,” Paul said, returning the greeting casually.  “Beautiful morning isn’t it?” he added, closing the trunk of the car.

“See you have some flowers there for Mrs. Straford’s tomb,” Lenny remarked, nodding his head in approval before going off on a different train of thought.

“I’m going to be leaving the grounds for a couple of hours now, is there anything you need I can help you with before I go?”  He asked.

“No thanks Lenny,” Paul assured him, “but we would like to take a walk around the grounds if it is no problem.”

‘No, no, you go right ahead and walk around as long as you like,” Lenny offered, waving his hand around in a gesture that was meant to imply all of the grounds.

A short time later Paul and Bill watched Lenny’s old Chevy disappeared down the driveway and drive away.

“Nice to have permission for a change,” Bill chuckled to himself as he followed Paul into the tomb carrying the wreath of flowers.

Again, after removing the heavy marble lid and making sure the casket was still empty, they moved outside to search the area around to the rear of the tomb and the woods beyond.

At the edge of the woods, half way between the mansion and the tomb, they came upon the footpath leading through the woods to the little hidden pond.

“I know this path well,” Paul told Bill, as he turned down the path towards the pond, his mind flooding with past memories of Kelly with each familiar rock or tree he passed.

 

“You’re sure this is the only cave around here?” Bill asked of Paul, a short time later after they emerged from a small cave they searched and now stood overlooking the pond.

   “Yeah I’m sure, I know just about every rock and tree on these grounds,
 Paul assured him, as they started back up the pathway to the mansion, where they checked the cellar windows and found them all locked.  Even going as far as to crawled beneath the porch where they found only spider webs and a few field mice.

At the rear of the mansion, below Lenny’s windows, the ground sloped down to a rear cellar door.  Inside they found a huge room surrounded by walls built of granite blocks.  The room was a combination tool shed and supply room where Lenny kept his tools and supplies.  The only entrance into the room the door they had entered, the only other opening into the cellar a heavy wooden door on the side away from the tarmac driveway.  This door had a wide dark metal band across the top and bottom and was made of solid oak, or some other hard wood.  On closer inspection they were able to see the metal band was bronze that had tarnished through the years and turned almost black from the weather.  Three quarters of the way up the door was a small barred window, the window sealed off on the inside with what looked like a plate of the same metal.  The doorway itself sat in a deep well with more than half of it below ground level, the dirt and mud that had splashed against it through the years filling all the cracks around its edges.  This, along with the unused hinges and handle, made it easy to see the door had remained closed for a long time.

“If the vampires have been meeting behind the mansion it seems they would have a lair nearby,” Paul said, later that evening. “I’ll be darned if I can figure out where it could be,” he ended, shaking his head in disgust.

“What we really need,” he said, sitting up excitedly from where he had been laying on the bed, “is to spend a couple of nights in Lenny’s room.”

“I think its time Lenny had a well deserved vacation,” he mumbled to himself, but loud enough for Bill to hear.

 

 

                                             Seven

 

 

   A couple of days later Paul again stood on the tarmac driveway of the mansion holding the keys to Lenny’s rooms in his hand.  This time he was waving goodbye to Lenny as he drove off on a two-week cruise to the Bahamas at the expense of the family of the estate.  Once he was gone Paul and Bill spent the rest of the morning bringing equipment they would need into Lenny’s rooms, the latter part of the day they set the equipment up and checked it to make sure everything functioned properly in case they needed it during the coming night.  Among the equipment was a small electric generator to power the sunlamps they would set up around the bedroom in case the vampire attacked otherwise the bedroom would remain in darkness while they watched over the tomb and the area at the edge of the trees from the window there.

The afternoon sped by quickly and soon the shadows of the trees behind the mansion began to grow long, darkness already approaching when they sat on the edge of Lenny’s bed to keep watch over the woods behind the house and tomb.

“It’s pretty dark out there,” Bill whispered, straining his eyes to see deeper into the darkness outside, where a bank of dark clouds moved in from the west shortly after the sun set causing a well of darkness that envelope everything.

“Only for a few more minutes,” Paul assured him, glancing up in time to see the last of the dark clouds racing across the face of the moon.  Then almost before he finished saying it moonlight lit up the whole area in a mystical silvery light.

 

After almost a year of separation from Paul, and months of her parents interceding with him for her, Kelly and Paul were finally together again.

Paul had returned to the mansion over a week ago, but it was only after they talked for two or three days that he finally let himself take her in his arms again.  It all happened when they were out for a walk to the little pond behind the mansion, where she again pleaded with him to forgive her.  Still he hesitated, however a few minutes later as she swam in the little pond, and for some unknown reason, he jumped into the water clothes and all to take her in his arms.

Thrilled at being back in each other’s arms again, they doted on each other night and day like a couple high school lovers, Paul taking her dining and dancing almost every evening.  On the last evening before her parents were to return to their home in Florida, Kelly and Paul spent a quiet night at home with them.

Elated, and believing her life may turn out okay after all, Kelly said good night to her parents and retired to her bedroom down the hallway.  There for a while she and Paul made love before she drifted off to sleep with a warm glow of happiness filling her, in her heart thankful Paul had forgiven her and promising her self to do everything in her power to make him happy.

However a sense of foreboding filled her dreams that night, when a dark shadow enfolded her into its black swirling void.

In the dream she was walking down a long dark tunnel holding Paul’s hand, the blackness so complete only a small point of light was visible in the distance the blackness so thick it seemed to be holding them back.  It was like trying to walk in water up to one’s neck, no matter how hard you tried to move forward the light never seemed to draw any closer.  Suddenly her grip on Paul’s hand loosened and a wave of terror filled her as his fingers slipped away and she was alone.

Quickly she felt the darkness enveloping her and began to drag her down into an even darker abyss.

In a timeless void of darkness her awareness awoke and she felt the blackness surrounding her.  She had stopped falling now and sensed she was moving upwards as the darkness around her softened to gray, then became lighter until it was no more and she opened her eyes.

Staring down at her was a strange young man, the man’s features distorted in an evil grin revealing long teeth that glinted in the strange light around them.

Then a wave of terror and revulsion washed over her when she glanced away from the young man and became aware she was lying inside a casket.  In addition, and for some reason, the young man’s wrist was pressed tightly to her lips and she was gulping hungrily, only to find, when he pulled his wrist away, it was his blood she was drinking.  The rich taste of it lingering on her tongue and warming her belly, and her knowing she wanted and needed more.  However for an instant her thoughts returned to the casket and the block of marble, then realizing it was a burial vault she quickly climbed from it and stood before the young man.

Again without thought, she took the wrist he offered and drank from it again for a short time, before it was withdrawn again.  Uncaring about the smeared blood now covering her lips and chin she gazed about the marble tomb.  When her eyes fell on the heavy marble lid with her name carved deeply into it, she gasped and backed away from it glancing questionably at the young man.

Suddenly the realization came to her she was standing inside of her own tomb, in pitch-blackness able to see and read everything clearly, her senses so clear her nostrils filled with the keen scent of everything inside and outside of the tomb.  She could even hear the whisper of nocturnal insects moving about in the grass and the distant sounds of the city miles away.

The young man, whose name she somehow knew to be Ravon, now taking her by the hand and leading her away from the tomb, where with uncanny speed they moved across the expanse of lawn and down the driveway. Quickly they left the mansion far behind, the darkness cloaking their movement, and arrived among the tall buildings of the city where they moved down one of the dark city streets and entered an alleyway.  It was here they came upon a pair of young lovers entwined in a doorway.  Where Ravon quickly drew the young man to him to drain his blood, the young woman, her hand to her mouth to stifle a scream, backing deeper into the doorway and looking on in horror.

“Take her,” an unspoken command filled Kelly’s mind, as she stood silently watching.  Then with the command came an overpowering urge to take the cowering young woman and drink her blood, and Kelly found herself salivating from the memory of Ravon’s blood she had tasted earlier.  Before realizing she had even moved, or could resist the command, she stepped forward with a strength she did not know she possessed and lifted the young woman from her feet to pull her close.  What happened next she would remember for a long time.  When almost mesmerized and her mouth all but drooling, she nuzzled the woman’s white skinned throat with her lips and ran her tongue over her newly acquired fangs.  Very clearly she could smell the fear emanating from the woman and hear the rapid beating of her heart, a beating that sent the blood pulsing through her body like an angry river at flood time.  Through all of this she heard the woman’s baleful sigh of terror and for a time hesitated, but the command came to her again and her will to resist crumbled.

Like a slow motion dream, she drew her lips close to the pulsing white skin of the woman’s throat, the essence of her fear like a rare perfume filling her nostrils to a point of excitement.  Gently she brushed her fangs against the soft white skin covering the huge pulsing vein below and a strange lustful passion flooded her body, as like needles passing through soft flannel, she felt her teeth enter into the tender flesh of the woman’s throat.

A fantastic explosion of light and rapture erupted into Kelly’s mind, causing a delicious sigh of indescribable ecstasy to overcome her, when the warm blood of her victim pulsed forth into her mouth and down her throat.  After what seemed like an eternity the ecstasy passed and she found her lips sucking wildly at the victim’s throat.  Some of the young woman’s blood had seeped from the corners of Kelly’s mouth and smeared her chin, but like in the tomb it went unheeded.

Now with a shrug of revulsion she threw the husk to the floor of the doorway and backed away, only to bump into Ravon who had been standing close by watching.  When she turned to him aghast at what she had done, he nodded in approval wiping the blood from his own lips and chin with the back of his hand.

You have done well, his thought filled her mind, then without another word he picked up the husk that had been the young man and draped it over his shoulder before walking out of the alleyway.

For a time, Kelly stood watching after him until he was out of sight, then she also turned back to the husk of the young woman lying in the doorway.  The remains shriveled and dried like an Egyptian mummy was a disgusting thing to look at, Kelly finding it hard to believe a few minutes ago it had been a beautiful young woman.  No matter, she knew she must hide the body somewhere.  How she knew was a mystery to her, but from somewhere deep inside, where Ravon had planted it, the command came and she would obey.

An overwhelming feeling of guilt passed through her as she pick up the husk and carried it to a construction site a few blocks away.  There burying it inside of a concrete form by covering it with a layer of dirt before moving off into the darkness of night, the guilt of what she had done weighing heavy on her shoulders.

In her mind she kept seeing the terrified face of the young woman, knowing her vitality and essence of life, which she was so filled with only minutes ago, was now gone.  The absence of the young woman’s life in the world felt wrong to Kelly and now she felt unclean at what she had done.

For the rest of the night she roamed the city streets where, more than once, she was approached and propositioned by men, also by a couple of woman surprised to see her walking the streets alone.

In the early hour before dawn she returned to the mansion and walked the grounds aimlessly, a few times taking the path to the little pond where she tried to wash some of the uncleanness from her.  Then when the first light of dawn showed in the east a command, she knew came from Ravon, urged her to return to her tomb and casket to sleep.  But she rebuked the command horrified at the thought of being in the casket again.

A short time later, huddled in the woods behind the tomb, she watched the silver gray of dawn slowly changed to gold when the sun began to rise rapidly over the nearby trees.  Suddenly her eyes began to sting like they were splashed with toxic acid, her flesh burning and blistering.  In seconds she found her self inside the tomb climbing into her casket, where without any hesitation she quickly slid the heavy marble lid closed above her.

 

Again Kelly awoke to find herself in a pit of darkness, but this time she remembered where she was and knew another day had passed.  With little effort she reached above and slid the marble-lid aside and stepped from the casket.  Immediately her senses filled with the world around her and she could smell the night and hear all its hidden sounds.  By the edge of the woods behind the mansion she heard footstep she knew belonged to Ravon, so she hurried from the tomb to meet him.

I am pleased with you, he told her, the thought coming into her mind from the naked figure standing before her.  You must go and hunt alone tonight and practice your newly acquired skills, the thought continued.

“I can’t do that again,” she cried, the spoken words sounding loud in the stillness of the night, the memory of the look on the young woman’s face filling her thoughts.

We will see, he said, giving her no command to do so and leaving it to her own choice.  Then with a shrug of his shoulders his human form shuddered and began to change, seconds later he lifted into the night in the form of a bat.

For a long while she stared after him waiting to see if any commands would come to her, but there were none.

I’ll just remain here on the grounds, she thought, glancing quickly towards the mansion before turning down the path to the little pond, where for hours she sat in the darkness by the shore.

In the beginning it was easy for her to keep her mind only on Paul, remembering the day he jumped into the little pond, clothes and all, to tell her how much he loved her.  She wondered where he was now, the only presence she felt in the mansion was the old caretaker and her senses told her Paul had not been there for a long time.  However as night wore on it became difficult for her to keep the memory of the young woman, whose blood she had drank the night before, from her mind.  Then as her hunger grew she remembered the light pressure as her sharp teeth pierced through the tender skin and the warm blood flowed freely into her mouth.  To her horror she found herself salivating again, an undeniable passion and lust filling her as it had the night before.

Many times through the long night she fought to push these thoughts from her mind, restlessly roaming the grounds of the mansion.  Finally, less than an hour before dawn, she could stand it no longer and hurried down the long driveway and walked off down the road.

A few miles from the mansion she was passing a row of neat little houses, when an automobile came up the road and turned into a driveway.  A young man, apparently coming home after a night on the town, climbed from the automobile and stared at her as she passed by on the road.  Even in the darkness he could see what a beauty Kelly was and glanced up and down the road to see if anyone was with her.

Satisfied she was alone he approached her, wondering in his mind why anyone like her would be walking alone, along the dark road, at this time of the morning.  He also thought how great it would be to take her up to lover’s lane for an hour or two.

“Is there a problem Miss?  Do you need some help?”  He asked, staring down at the cleavage between her full breasts where the buttons of the white silk shirt had come undone.

The suddenness of his thoughts entering her mind caused Kelly to stop and step back, amazed how like a movie in her head the thoughts of the young man came to her.  In his thoughts he had her in the back seat of his automobile, her clothes torn from her body, having his way with her.

“I didn’t mean to startle you miss,” he assured her, when he saw her step back.  “I was just wondering if maybe I could drop you somewhere?”

Again another thought of himself fondling her naked breasts flashed through her mind.

“I mean, I have my car right here,” he said, waving his hand in the direction of his automobile in the nearby driveway.

For a time she stood staring at him sensing the excitement in him at the thought of touching her.  The excitement causing his heart to beat faster, so she could see and hear the blood pulsing through the vein in his throat.

Finally nodding in agreement, she let the young man lead her to the passenger seat of the automobile and then hurry excitedly around to climb into the driver seat and drive away.

In a small park, not far from where he had picked her up, the young man pulled to the side of the road by a small grove of trees.

“Okay if we stop here for awhile?” he asked, his breath now coming in short pants as his excitement mounted.  Then when she offered no resistance he carefully slipped a hand behind her head and pulled her to him in a long kiss, the other hand deftly slipping inside of her silk blouse to fondle her breast.  Getting this far gave him courage and he laid her head on his shoulder, her lips only inches away from the huge rapidly throbbing vein there.  Still finding no resistance he began to explore up under her skirt by massaging her thighs and caressing the soft place under her panties.

Now an excitement also washed over Kelly, but not from anything he was doing with his hands, but the sound and smell of the thick blood pulsing through the vein only inches from her lips.  With her will to resist gone, a low moan of pleasure escaped her and she nuzzled his neck with her tongue and quickly bit through the flesh to the nectar inside.  Again an explosion of light and wonder filled her as the blood gushed forth into her and she drank deeply.

 

You have done well, Ravon’s thoughts sounded in her mind again the next evening when they met behind the mansion again.

“I didn’t mean to take the young man’s blood,” she started to say, then was surprised when before she could utter the words Ravon responded.

You will get used to it, he assured her, then again took to the air and left her standing alone.

Not yet strong enough to change forms she started down the driveway towards the city again, her speed making her almost unseen to the human eye.

In the weeks that followed she took increasingly more young blood, each night the routine becoming easier and at times taking more than one in a night.

At a local library she learned the reason why Paul had not been to the mansion for so long, when she read about the trial in old newspapers there.  Somehow she really didn’t have any interests in him anymore, surprised at how distant her thoughts of him had become.

One evening, almost two years after her human death, Kelly stood on a small high-rise terrace watching into a bedroom where a couple was making love.  For a long while she watched, then only after they fell asleep did she enter the room and drain them both.  By the time she disposed of the bodies the sun was threatening to rise over the horizon, so she hurried to a near by lair in the city.

Minutes later she neared a deserted warehouse, where with one powerful leap she grabbed onto a windowsill on the forth floor of the building and pulled herself up.  With a quick glance around the huge empty place she stepped down onto the floor and moved quickly to a set of steel elevator doors, where with ease she parted the doors and stepped inside the dark shaft to drop to the old elevator floor stories below.  Here amid husks of victims, she covered herself with a dark shawl and was soon asleep.

Sometime later she was awakened, when someone rolled her onto her back and very clearly she could hear, and smell, the blood of a mortal kneeling close.  When she tried to reach up and grab onto the mortal she found in her stupor of sleep, she could hardly move, the elevator shaft flooded with sunlight sapping her strength and movements.

Terror, which she had not felt for a long time, filled her now, when a shaking hand cupped her left breast and she opened her eyes to see the hand held a large pointed stake poised over her heart.  In the mortals other hand, held high and ready to strike, was a large wooden mallet.  Quickly she reached out with her mind and was shocked to find the mortal was her husband Paul, and to learn he had no idea whom she was.  In that instant he glanced up into her eyes and then leaped back in horror, the mallet and stake falling to the floor forgotten.

“Come to me Paul.” she called out to him several times, before he escaped up the shaft and closed the doors behind him. Surprised there was no response and she could not enter his mind.

Although he meant nothing to her now, not anymore than any other fount of blood, she could not help but wonder how, of all people, he was the one who found her.  She also realized how lucky she was it had been him and his weak human trait of love saved her this time, but for how long she wondered.

All through the day she lay at the bottom of the shaft unable to move, expecting any moment for the elevator doors to open and let the sunlight in again while mortal men entered to destroy her.  None ever came, so when the sun finally set in the west she swiftly left the elevator shaft and warehouse to hurry back to the mansion.

 

 

                                              Eight

 

 

This time when Ravon heard of the happenings in the elevator shaft and Paul’s attempt to destroy Kelly, he vowed he would search each night until he hunted him down and drained him of his blood.  To expedite the search he commanded Kelly to do the same until they found him.

Yet, it was weeks before he found them in their hanger sanctuary and moved in to make the kill.  However he was in for a surprise when he stepped in to the lighted area of the compound and suddenly found him self burned from the array of sunlamps.

With his flesh seared and blistering he fled from the lamps before his body became a flaming torch.  A short time later, after glutting himself with blood, he looked for a damp cool place where he could sleep and heal until his body repaired itself.  He knew he underestimated the mortal Paul and swore to himself it would not happen again.

The evening after Ravon dug him self into a grave to sleep, silver moonlight bathed the lawn and woods behind the mansion making the white marble of Kelly’s tomb glow with a radiance of its own.  Behind the laced curtains of Lenny’s bedroom Paul and Bill watched and waited patiently.  Within the hour they saw the thing that was once Paul’s beloved Kelly, emerge from the darkness behind the tomb.

Effortlessly she moved across the lawn to the edge of the woods where she stood waiting expectantly, her head tilting this way and that as if listening for something.  After a few fleeting moments she gave a glance towards the window where they sat in the darkness, then turned and whisked away down the driveway.  Her swift, smooth, movements making it appear as if she was floating inches above the ground.

“That was about the eeriest thing I’ve ever seen,” Bill uttered softly, a shudder skipped down the bumps of his spinal cord.

“That’s for sure,” Paul agreed, in a soft whisper, “and the way she looked up at the window makes me think she knew we were here,” he added, getting up and going over to flip the light switch on.


   “Lenny was right about someone being out there by the trees,” Bill offered, then as an after thought. “I wonder how come she was alone?”

“I have no idea,” Paul replied, “maybe he’ll show up tomorrow night,” then glancing around the room to make sure everything was ready for the next evening he switched off the lights and they hurried to the car, both anxious to get back to the sanctuary and safety of the hanger.

Each evening, for the next two weeks, they watched and waited from the seclusion of Lenny’s bedroom window, and each evening shortly after sunset Kelly came to the edge of the woods behind the mansion and stood for a few minutes waiting.  Never did she come from the same direction two evenings in a row, one time coming from behind the tomb, while another up the path from the little pond.  However like clockwork she did this each evening before turning away from the woods and disappearing down the driveway, always giving a quick glance towards the window where they sat.

The day Lenny was due home from his vacation they removed the equipment from his quarters, replacing everything exactly as it was from pictures they took for that purpose.  Paul had duplicates made of Lenny’s keys, so on the evening Lenny returned, and with Lenny asleep in the room above, he and Bill slipped into the supply room below Lenny’s apartment.  Under their arms, carrying cartons containing sunlamps, which they quickly set up around the storeroom and then connected to the main switch just inside the door.

“If we have to use these lamps they’ll only last as a deterrent for a short time,
 Paul reminded Bill, when they finished running the wires and stepped back to admire their handy work.


You know that with his strength even ten more like us would be no match for him,” he went on, glancing at Bill to see his reactions.

“Listen, I won’t hold it against you if you want to opt out of this,” he offered, laying his hand on Bill’s shoulder in friendship.

“No way man!  I’m in this all the way with you no matter what happens,” Bill assured him, then turned to glance out through the high window at the encroaching darkness.

“Look, we can climb up on this workbench to the window and see above the ground level towards the woods” Paul informed him, turning a bucket over so he could step up on to it and then onto the workbench to look out.

Days stretched into weeks and then months, each night Kelly returning to the woods behind the mansion looking for her master Ravon, and each night her master not appearing.

On the second evening of the forth month, Paul stood alone on the bench in the storeroom watching the sunset beyond the trees behind the mansion.  On this particular night Bill was off looking into a strange occurrence that happened in Boston Massachusetts.

It seemed some workmen in Boston found the mummified remains of two very old men their bodies stuffed into an old air vent in one of the harbor tunnels.  The thing so strange about the discovery was the wallets found on the bodies carried the identification of two young men that had been missing for only a couple of weeks.

All the while Kelly was coming to wait each night for her master behind the mansion, and Paul and Bill kept watch through the storeroom window, Ravon was sleeping in the damp darkness of a grave.  A sleep where images filling his mind were not dreams but memories.

 

Again Ravon was the young son of a shepherd living in the hills of what had not yet become Rome, all alone on a high plateau where he tended his father’s sheep.

 One evening shortly after sunset, he came upon a very old man he thought to be sick or set upon by robbers.  The old man was naked and looked very frail and weak, but when he approached to help, the old man pulled him to the ground and bit deeply into his neck.  Quickly the old man drank most of Ravon’s blood and left him lying on the ground weak and unable to move.

However when the old man stood up away from him now, Ravon only saw a young man of his own age that quickly turned away and moved off in the night.

Lying helpless among the sheep the cold night passed, and shortly before dawn he was surprised when the young man returned to attack him again.  This time blackness swallowed him for what seemed like an eternity, when the blackness faded he opened his eyes to see the face of the young man hovering above him.  Then from somewhere nearby a sucking sound filled his ears, a sound he soon realized was coming from his own mouth pressed tightly against the young man’s wrist.  The wrist slit open to let the blood pulse forth down his throat as he gulped deeply.

When suddenly the wrist was taken away he leaped up to take it back again, the wonderful taste of the blood the only thing mattering now.  However, with what looked like a gentle shove, the stranger pushed him away and he flew through the air to land twenty feet away.  Unharmed by this sudden event he jumped to his feet ready to attack again, but stopped when the young man held up his hand and commanded him to follow him.

For a time Ravon hesitated, glancing around for the first time and realizing it was evening and he had been unconscious the whole day.  Finally with a shrug of his shoulders he pushed off from the large rock he had been standing on, surprised when he landed twenty-five feet away.  Then in a few more leaps he caught up with the young man that he somehow knew was called Lar.

In the blackness of the night he could clearly see the hills, trees, and each blade of grass around him.  While at the same time each nocturnal sound filled his ears even to the smallest insects in the grass where he passed.

Coming upon a shepherd’s cabin further down the mountain, the stranger motioned him to follow and silently entered.  Inside they came upon an old shepherd and his wife, a son, and two young daughters fast asleep.  Without hesitation Lar took up one of the sleeping daughters and pulled her to him, quickly draining her blood.  Without any qualms he threw her remains into a corner and reached for the second daughter, then in an unspoken command ordered Ravon to take the young man and drain him.

For a long while Ravon could only stand staring down at the young man asleep before him, the memory of Lar’s wrist and the warm bloods delightful taste filling his thoughts.  Blood, like the blood he could now hear and smell, pulsing in abundant through the young man’s arteries.

Suddenly a powerful impulse of pleasure and rapture filled him and seconds later he found himself hugging the dried empty husk of the young man.  With a shrug of revulsion he threw the remains to the floor and turned to follow Lar down the mountainside towards the sleeping villages below.

Months passed and he quickly adjusted to his nocturnal life, soon becoming a ruthless killer like his master Lar.  Then one evening Lar informed him he was leaving and was not sure when he would return. Although Ravon knew he could go along with him he if wanted, he chose to remain behind in the mountains he knew.  Below an empire was being built that would attract thousands, and he knew here he would not want for young blood.

For hundreds of years he continued to plague the city of Rome and its outlying villages, often feeding off young Roman soldiers or the many slaves and gladiators.  Then one evening Lar returned and commanded Ravon to follow and they moved northward, away from Rome, up into the heart of Europe.

Here for many more years they existed around the Carpathian and Transylvanian Mountains.  When they tired of this they moved eastwards towards the more civilized countries along the coast of Europe.

In Europe, about two hundred years before the present time, the memories blocked from Lar’s mind for thousands of years returned, and with the memories came a powerful hate for two immortals named Khufu and Ural.  These immortals he was driven to find and destroy had been his hated enemies for over five thousand years, and although it was Ural who made Khufu five thousand years ago his hate was for them both.

 

It was in a time when Lar was still a young mortal and lived on the island of Ur before it sank beneath the sea.  The island had been ruled by twelve immortals who, when one of them was destroyed, had to pick one of the inhabitants of the island below to make an immortal so the twelve would be maintained.  To do this all of the chosen ones family and friends had to be destroyed, the belief being that the newly made immortals only family then would be the other eleven immortals.  At the time Lar was chosen to be an immortal he had a young wife who was pregnant with their first child.  In an attempt to escape the immortal’s decision to make him an immortal, Lar fled with his mother and pregnant wife to the mainland and hid with them in a small cave. That same night two of the immortals found them, then while one of the immortals held him the other drained Lar’s old mother and then his pregnant wife.  With this done he threw her limp body with the unborn child still within against the cave wall where it slumped to the floor.  When the immortal that did this deed turned to walk out of the moonlit filled cave, Lar saw for the first time the face of his hated enemy Ural.

Through these last few hundred years Lar had found Ural a couple of times, but both times failed to destroy him.  He had also found and trapped Khufu twice but the attempt to destroy him also failed.

One of the times was in a small cave along the English Sea shore where he trapped and sealed him in a small cave, but as luck would have it Ural came to his rescue.  The other time was in the New Word when he buried Khufu deep in a mineshaft, but once again he survived.  However in the end Khufu and Ural ended up destroying Lar, Ravon being no match for both of them fled to the New World.

 

Four months passed since Ravon’s run in with Paul’s sunlamps in the hanger refuge.  From deep within the darkness of the grave, where he shared a casket with a cadaver, he awoke and clawed his way out through the soil into a late fall evening.  His flesh had healed well but he was weak and in need of blood and unable to transform himself into a bat.  Brushing much of the soil from his clothes he quickly moved down the hill towards a source of music he heard wafting up from the little town below.  Minutes later he neared the source of music coming from a small Grange Hall, where he moved to a small stand of nearby trees to wait for a victim.

He had not waited long when a young couple emerged from the side door of the building and stood kissing on a small veranda, a couple of minutes later they moved from the veranda towards the trees where he lay in wait.

Melding into the dark shadows and becoming one with them, he watched the couple approach until they were far enough among the trees not to be seen from the dance hall, where they sank arm in arm to the ground and began kissing and petting.  Suddenly their passions came to an abrupt end when Ravon’s hand reached out from the darkness and his long fingers wrapped themselves around the young mans neck.  With ease he lifted him like a doll and drew him close, at the same time placing his foot on the women’s chest so she could not move or scream.  Hungrily he drained the youth then took the young woman and did the same.  Now with some of his strength returned, but not enough for him to change shapes, he moved towards the city and his minion Kelly.  Sometime before dawn’s light, and after taking two more victims along the way, he reached one of his many lairs and slept.

Tonight I will meet with my creation behind the mansion, he thought, as sleep overcame him.

 

For many evenings Paul watched the thing, which had been his Kelly, glide up the driveway or come through the woods to the mansion.  Always stopping by the edge of the woods where the skeletal like branches of the trees, now bare of leaves, swayed and clicked together eerily in the quickly fading dusk.  On one particular evening when she reached the edge of the trees, another form suddenly appeared and stood before her.

At last I finally see my enemy, Paul mumbled to himself, reaching out to their minds while at the same time trying to keep his own closed.

... in the basement over there, the mind of Kelly was finishing a thought, then to Paul’s shock she pointed to the storage room window where he stood in the darkness.

By the time he read the thought in Kelly’s mind and reached for the light switch, Ravon was across the distance between the woods and house and thrown open the door to the storage room.  At that very instant the light from the sunlamps, which Paul had barely time to click on, flooded the room and caused Ravon to leap back away from the door, and for an instant Paul read fear in the vampire’s eyes.  Fear of the sunlamps that had burned and blistered his flesh in the hanger sanctuary, burned him so bad he had to go under ground for months to heal.

I will leave this mortal for another time, the vampire’s thoughts filled Paul’s mind, as he turned and fled into the darkness.

Quickly reaching out to read Kelly’s mind again Paul discovered she was also gone, and with a sigh he leaned back against the wall of the storage room in the full glow of the lamps his body shaking with fear.

Fifteen or twenty minutes passed before he gathered the strength, or dared to shut off the sunlamps and leave the storage room.  When he did he all but ran to his car parked on the street below the mansion, knowing he was safe as long as the automobile was moving, and more than once patting the pocket of his jacket holding a crucifix and a vial of holy water.  Wondering if they would have helped and unable to relax until he pulled into the sanctuary of the hanger compound.

 

“I found out what we wanted to know,” Bill informed him the next afternoon when he returned from Boston.  “With the help of a couple of fifty dollar bills I was able to see the bodies that were found in the harbor tunnel air vents and they were exactly like the bodies in the warehouse.”

“I find it hard to believe these vampires would travel that far in one night and return,” Paul pondered out loud, “ I also have an idea where the male has been for the last four months,” he added.

“Do you suppose there could be others?”  Bill asked, looking Paul in the eye and hoping for a negative answer.

“Why not?  If these two are possible then there could be a whole army of them out there somewhere.”

“Jeeesss..!  I hope not,” Bill murmured, sitting down at the table while Paul served the dinner he made.

“I think it’s time we notified the police about the bodies in the elevator shaft at the warehouse,” Paul said.  “We have checked that lair every day and found no trace anyone has returned to it since we began our crusade, so it won’t make any difference.”

“Ya!  And we won’t have to waste our time checking it out every day,” Bill quipped.

The next morning, after making an anonymous telephone call to the police, Paul and Bill watched from among a group of onlookers across the street while the police and coroner moved the bodies from the deserted warehouse.  Then for the next couple of weeks the newspapers and televisions had a field day with the findings.

Knowing it would be dangerous to return to the storeroom below the mansion, they waited out on the street in their automobile each evening.  When the thing that was Kelly came down the driveway and moved off towards the city, they tried to follow but would always lose sight of her within a few blocks.

However when she failed to show up evenings, Paul decided to take the chance and start hiding in the storeroom again.  This he had to do alone because if Bill were present the vampires could read his mind.  Still, as Paul had suspected, the vampires never showed up behind the mansion either.

“They have got to be meeting somewhere else,” he told Bill, one morning after returning to the car where he was waiting for him.

“What do we do now?  Both places where we at least had some kind of contact with them are useless to us now and we really don’t have any clue where to start,” Bill said, shaking his head in disgust.

“I guess we will just have to start all over again and see what develops,” Paul sighed, then was quiet for the rest of the ride back to the hanger refuge his mind going over and reviewing all that had happened.

If these things, these vampires, he thought, simply move away from the area, or out of the state or country, no one else may ever know they exist.  They will be able to continue to prey and exist on the blood of the young and no one will ever know or understand what is happening.  This thought chilled him and he tried to shrug it from his mind.  What he did not realize was, like an animal, Ravon had staked out its territory and having done so would usually fight to the death for it.

 

 

                                              Nine

 

  

   In an alleyway of the city between two boarded up old apartment buildings and piles of reeking filth and rubbish, a large brown rat screeches and runs off of a rusty metal sewer cover as the cover begins to move.

With a heavy scraping sound the cover slides open and the thing that was Kelly emerges from within.

Day has passed and the sun is already set in the west leaving only a lingering gray light on the horizon.  For this short time between day and night everything seems hushed and quiet for a time, then from somewhere in the distance, among the streets of the city, a siren gives its lonesome wail.

With a light kick of her foot, the heavy metal cover slides back into its place and she turns and strolls out of the alleyway towards the busy part of the city where victims are plentiful.

By the time a starlit darkness fills the sky three young men approach her on the sidewalk near a large park.

“Hello sweet thing!” one of the three men wearing a denim jacket, to match his denim jeans, coos and steps in her way.  “What’s a lovely thing like you doing all by her self?” he continues, taken aback by her beauty.

With a practiced shy look she glances into the man’s eyes and then at the other two men standing on ether side of him.

“What do you say honey?  They call me stud and I am sure you can figure out why,” he teased, running his index finger down her neck to the deep dark cleavage between her breast, then finding no resistance from the beauty before him he turns and waves off his two friends and with a grin steers Kelly into the park.

“Can you imagine anyone that beautiful, and that stacked, being such an easy mark?”  One of the two remaining young men says to the other, watching Kelly and the young man disappear into the darkness down the walkway of the park.

“Maybe we’re not going to be first but we sure can be second and third,” the other young man said smiling, and with a nod of approval they hurried down the dark walkway after them.

“This looks like a good a place as any,” the young man in denim tells Kelly, when they stop by the shore of a small pond deep in the park and he pulls her to him.  “I know you’ll like this,” he assures her, his nervous fingers undoing the buttons of her blouse and lifting her bra to let her breasts slip and hang free of it.

“I know I will, you really don’t know how much I need you,” she whispers softly in his ear, her lips all but touching his ear lobe.  The soft words inflaming the young man and causing him to pull her to him again to fondle her and then reach under her dress.

For a few minutes she lets him have his pleasure as she waits for the other two men, who she knows are following, to settle in the nearby bushes.  When they draw near and she can hear their heartbeats quicken at the thought of having her, she turns her attention back to the young man fondling her.  By this time his blood is pounding through his veins, the sound echoing in Kelly’s ears with a loud roar as she gently pulls him closer, then teasingly she nips at his neck with her sharp teeth while reaching for his manhood.

In that instant, his lust and passion reaching its highest apex, she sinks her teeth deeply into the flesh of his neck, instantly an explosive burst of blood gushes forth down her throat with such a force she cannot swallow fast enough and some of the precious fluid runs down her chin to spill onto the ground.

Nearby in the bushes the other two men, who are struggling in the darkness to see what is happening by the water edge, suddenly find them selves dangling in the air held up by Kelly’s powerful hands.  Then, like two large symbols, she slams the men together and then at her leisure feasts on their unconscious bodies before washing the blood from her face in the pond.

Sensing the pond had at one time had been a quarry and is more than sixty feet deep, she glances around before stripping off her clothes.  Quickly now she gathers the remains of the three under her arms and disappears beneath the water.  There she works her way to the bottom and builds a cairn of stones over the remains so they will not float to the top, minutes later she strolls out of the park looking for another victim.

 

In the following week Paul and Bill read every newspaper and watched each newscast they possibly could and still found nothing, it seemed the city had gobbled up the vampires.

Late one afternoon Paul stopped at a supermarket to pick up some supplies they needed.  Before he could get through the checkout lines and back to his car the sun had set.  When he finally did step outside he nervously glanced up and down the sidewalk that ran the length of the mall.  Finding the walkway busy with shoppers he quickly glanced into their minds, then finding no apparent danger shifted the bags under each arm and moved quickly out into the dimly lit parking lot.  However when he opened the trunk of the car and set the bags into it, he again scanned the walkway.  Suddenly the hair on the nape of his neck lifted when his eyes fell on a beautiful young woman standing at the far end of the walkway.  Her back to the darkness behind her where the lights from the mall did not reach and she was staring directly at him, then when he tried to reach out to read her mind he found it closed to him.

A churning started deep in his groin now and a weakness flashed through him to settle in is legs threatening to collapse them under him.  Somehow, across the distance he could clearly see into the woman’s dark beautiful eyes, which where not entirely human but did not show any malice.

Quickly, his hands shaking enough so he almost dropped his keys, he unlocked the car door and slid in behind the steering wheel.  Not once taking his eyes from the woman as he started the engine and screeched out of the mall.  The last glimpse he caught of her in his rear view mirror, was when she stepped quickly back into the dark shadows and was gone.

Later, when Paul finished telling Bill of the incident at the mall, Bill stared at him for few seconds in thought.

“You know,” he mused, “when I took the flight back from Boston the other night there was this strange young man sitting across the aisle from me on the plane, and more than once during the flight I happened to look up and caught him staring at me,” Bill said, a shudder running through him when he thought of the young man and what he could have been.

Quickly Paul reached into Bill’s mind for the memory and the face of the young man and found it was not anybody he had ever seen before.

II think we should go back to only leaving the compound during the daytime,” he suggested.  “I don’t know about the young man, it could all be just a coincidence, but I am very suspicions of the young woman,” he finished, in his own mind remembering the young woman staring directly at him and his inability to read her mind.

 

Ravon stood dark and unseen among the shadows of the trees behind the mansion.  It was the first night he would meet with his minion Kelly since he dug into a grave and shared the casket with a cadaver for four months.  Although there was a winter’s chill in the air the moon still hung low in the sky, its brightness making the long shadows of the mansion look eerie as they stretched out towards the trees.  When Kelly did arrived up the driveway, he stepped out and for a few minutes they stood face to face in silence.

I have been away on other matters; he lied, blocking the truth of where he had been from her in his mind.  Not wanting her to know how he had been out smarted by the same mortals he was out to destroy.  The conversation between the two done mentally and in the silence, as she filled him in on everything that had transpired since she had last seen him.  It was then she told him of the strange presence she felt each evening coming from the cellar of the mansion and finished by pointing towards the cellar where Paul stood alone in the darkness watching them.

Quickly Ravon reached out with his mind to the presence in the cellar and, although he could not reach into its tightly sealed mind, he knew the presence to be Paul.  In a fit of rage he was across the space between the trees and the mansion and threw open the cellar door, but in the same instant the room was flooded with light from a bank of sunlamps.

Instantly he leaped back throwing his arms up before his eyes backing away from the doorway and the mansion itself.  He had just recuperated from an incident with these infernal sunlamps and he was not about to repeat the mistake.  For a short time he stood among the trees staring at the open cellar door and the bright light flooding from it, the light trying to reach him and again burn and blister his body and sap his strength.  Adding this to the hatred he already held towards this mortal Paul, he took to the air in the form of a bat and flew away towards the city.  There will be another time and place where we’ll meet on different terms, he thought, climbing higher into the night sky away from the mansion.

 

After Ravon’s swift departure Kelly turned away and moved quickly down the driveway to disappear in the direction of the city.  Sometime later, after feeding on a young man she lured into a dark alleyway, she disposed of his remains in a sewer and moved out into the hustle and bustle of the city.

In the early hours before dawn she came upon two young men entering an alleyway.  When the men climbed a metal fire escape to the roof of a seven-story apartment building her curiosity got the better of her, so she followed to see what they were up to.

Quickly she climbed to the roof of a nearby building and hid in the darkness to watch.  Surprised when the two men jumped across the span of an open alleyway to the roof of the building she was hiding on, then entered into a stairway and disappeared.

Unseen she followed them and found their thoughts bubbling with excitement at the thought of raping a young woman they had been watching and stalking for days.  Only the night before they followed her home and found she lived alone in this apartment building.  Although the building was secure and the front door to the hallway always locked, it was an easy matter to come across the roofs to get inside.  The drugs the men were taking made the dangerous jump across the alleyway seem like child’s play to them, when in truth they were both cowards.

On the second floor they stopped before the door to one of the apartments where one of the men, in needed of a shave and most likely a good bath, pulled a long blade knife from his pocket, the other drawing a wrecking bar from under his shirt.

“This is her apartment,” he said softly, gesturing with the bar towards the door and quiet as possible levered open the lock on the door and entered the apartment.   Inside they moved stealthily to a small bedroom where the young woman slept, the man with the knife clamping his filthy hand over her mouth to stifle any scream she may try to make.

“Be quiet and do not give us any trouble and we won’t hurt you,” he told her, while at the same time holding the long blade of the knife to her throat.

Meanwhile the other man, who was much taller and thinner than the first, but looked just as dirty, snapped on a small lamp on the beside table.  With a leering grin he turned and yanked the bedclothes from the trembling woman and tossed them on the floor.

Squirming and kicking, in an attempt to escape the terror to which she was awakened, she stopped when the man jabbed the point of the knife deeper into her flesh until it drew blood.

“If you scream or kick again I’ll drive this knife straight up through your jaw,” he threatened, his face only inches from hers, his foul breathe adding to the horror of the situation.  Then tying her wrists to the head board with two pieces of rope they had brought for just that purpose, the smelly one tied a gag over her mouth with a piece of cloth he tore from the pillowcase.

Eyes wild with fear she could only lie there while the men stripped her of her nightclothes, then after having there fill of pawing her young body each mounted her repeatedly.  With there sex drives sated the two began beating her with their fists until she was a mass of unrecognizable flesh and blood.  With this done they went through her pocketbook and apartment taking money and anything else they could sell for drugs.  Satisfied with their evil work, the two quietly closed the door to victim,s apartment and left confident no one saw them.

What they were unaware of was another beautiful young woman watching the whole episode while hanging outside the window by her fingertip.  A young woman who, when they came out of the stairway onto the roof, stepped out to confront them both.  For a time the two men froze in their tracks at the sight of Kelly standing before them, but when they realized she was alone the smelly one stepped close to her and reached out to grasp her breast.  Meanwhile the tall one had quickly moved behind her to block any retreat she may try to make, but to their surprise she made no move to get away.

This ones not even tied and I’ll bet I can still do anything I wantwitho her, the smelly one thought, reaching around with both hands to grab onto her buttocks and pull her to him.  To his surprise her arms encircled his neck and her head fell forward onto his shoulder, for a brief instant he thought she had succumbed to him.  Suddenly a searing pain ripped into him as her fangs tore open his jugular vein and she drank deeply of his blood.  When he was weak and near death she let his body drop to the rooftop and reached for the taller man behind her.  This one she also draining until he neared death and like the smelly one left him conscious enough to know what was happening to him.  From somewhere inside the thing that had been Kelly, the episode she witnessed in the bedroom below struck an old memory in her.

I’ll keep these two alive for a time, she thought, and with one of the men over each shoulder she climbed from the building and moved away out of the city.

Deep inside the grounds of a secluded cemetery she entered a huge tomb and laid the two men, still conscious and unable to move, on the stone floor in the darkness, then climbed into one of four caskets to sleep the day away.

The day passed into evening before she climbed from the casket to drained more blood and leave them lying on the floor terrified.  In the morning she returned ignoring them completely by stepping over their carcasses to climb into a casket to sleep again.  That evening she drained more of the men’s blood and left them conscious and teetering on the edge between life and death, then stuffed them into one of the caskets with a cadaver and left the tomb never to return.  In the early hour before dawn of the next day, she took a young couple making love in a parked car and by the time she disposed of their husks the sun was threatening to come up over the horizon.  Pressed for time she quickly slipped into an empty railroad boxcar among some empty cartons and was soon asleep.  When she awoke that evening she found the train had moved and she was more than five hundred miles away from the city and her master Ravon.

 

 

                                               Ten

 

 

For the third evening in a row since his return Ravon waited for Kelly behind the mansion, and for the third evening in a row she did not show up.  Repeatedly he reached out to check the cellar of the mansion with his mind and found no one there, the only presence in the mansion being that of Lenny the caretaker.

That same evening he took a victim at a truck stop just outside of the Chicago loop, later disposing of the husk in a barrel at a rendering works like he had done many times before.  This time a worker at the rendering works discovered the body and for the next few days, the story filled the news media.  Angry with himself for letting this happen he swore in the future he would be more careful, remembering he could pay for his being so reckless with his existence.

A few evenings later he lay in wait for a victim by the platform of an elevated train.  The weather, which had been wet and nasty for the last couple of days had not changed, filling the air with misty cold rain that just would not quit.  The rain keeping almost everyone inside, except for the few that had business to attend.

Quietly, with his thousands of years experience, he blended into the dark shadowy mist keeping his senses alert, while at the same time letting his mind linger on his minion Kelly and her where about.  The fact she had not met him behind the mansion for all these weeks meant nothing to her, but by right she should have normally return there each evening to search him out.  Only if he had commanded her not to meet him, or if she had broken away from him, would she not have been there.  The only other reason he could imagine was that she was unable to return and in trouble somewhere and he was unable to reach her with his mind.

These thoughts were suddenly pushed from his mind when a train approached the platform where he was hiding, the dampness on the track causing an electrical short to light up the surrounding county side in a bright flash.  In that tenth of a second he thought he saw a dark figure high on the roof of a building across the tracks watching him, in the same instant only a void filled the space where Ravon had stood.

Fleeing the area and leaving the city far behind, he moved outside the loop to a small cemetery in the countryside.  Here in the darkness, hidden among the gravestones, he ran the incident over in his mind again and again not sure if he had seen a dark figure on the roof or not.  In the glare of the flash he had reached out with his mind towards the figure and found nothing, but if an immortal had been there he would have had his mind sealed tight.  He was worried in his mind, remembering his master Lar’s fiery death and his own entrapment in the grain silo which only by luck he escaped.  Glancing around nervously he wondered if his old enemies had finally found him and were closing in on him, or if finding the husk at the rendering works alerted them.

Could this be what has happened to Kelly?  Had this dark figure destroyed her?  If so why had he not felt anything?  If she were no more I would know her passing.  Bewildered even more by these thoughts, he dug deep into a nearby grave where he knew he would be safe and slept.

At sunset he dug his way out of the grave to find the ground covered with an eight-inch layer of snow, so taking to the air in the form of a bat he circled once over the cemetery and then darting off towards the city.

Was his mind playing tricks on him or did he see a shadow among the trees near the cemetery?  No matter, he dared not circle again to find out and with all speed he flew straight towards the city and quickly disappeared among a block of closely built apartment houses where he had a well-hidden lair.  Here for the remainder of the night he lay hidden, although he needed to feed he was afraid to leave the lair.

 

All this time Kelly was moving northward towards Chicago and her master, the winter weather not effecting her as she hunted and fed along the way in no particular hurry.  Some nights she traveled fifty miles while others only a few.

One evening, a blinding snowstorm blanketing the area, she approached a small-secluded lodge along a cross-country ski trail.  There to her delight she found the lodge occupied by a woman and two young men on a four-day skiing jaunt along the trail.  Dressed as she was for the occasion, in a ski suit and boots she stolen from a sporting goods store, she banged on the door of the lodge amidst the cold driven snowstorm.  The trio inside were shocked to see her standing there alone, and dressed as she was it was easy for her to convince them of the story she was about to tell them.

“Hi!  I am Kelly,” she said in a shuddering voice, to a young man staring at her from the doorway in disbelief after answering her knock.  “I’m sorry to bother you but somehow I got separated from my skiing party late this afternoon and managed to get myself lost,” she lied, shrugging her shoulders and feigning she was cold.  “I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t seen the light from your lodge.”

“Oh my God!” the young man said when he saw her standing there, quickly offering her a seat by the huge fireplace where gold, red, and yellow flames licked hungrily at some logs set in it, the heat from it warming the room.

“Wrap your self in this,” the young woman insisted, helping Kelly remove her jacket and laying a warm blanket across her shoulders.


The storm is not suppose to abate until early tomorrow morning,” the second young man told her, “so you may as well relax and stay the night and you can ski out with us in the morning,” he offered, turning away to lay another log on the fire.

“That would be wonderful,” she said, thanking them but refusing the hot drinks and food they offered on the pretext she was not feeling well.

Much later when the fire burnt low, they climbed into the bunks to sleep, the women on one side of the room and the men on the other.

Patiently waiting for the fire to burn lower, the only light in the lodge being the glow from the hot coals, Kelly slipped from her top bunk and slid in close to the young woman on the bunk below.  Immediately the woman stirred and opened her eyes, for a startled instant gazed questionably at Kelly who lay so close their noses almost touched.  Before she could make a move or sound Kelly?s teeth were deep into her throat, the woman’s legs kicking only once or twice before her body shriveled to an unrecognizable husk.

Quietly moving across the room Kelly clasped her hand over the mouth of the young man on the top bunk, pulling him to the edge of the bunk where she drained him also.

At her leisure now she sat on the bottom bunk beside the last young man, who was asleep and had no idea of what had happened, and gently began to rub his chest.

“How about waking up big guy?”  She whispered seductively close to his ear, watching as he opened his eyes to look up at her.  Startled for a second he gazed up into the beautiful face hovering over him and when recognition finally dawned on him he realized she was stoking him with her hand.  Without hesitation he pulled her to him kissing her long and hard on the lips.  When he released her from the kiss she responded by snuggling deep into his shoulder, her lips pressed tightly against the softness of his neck.  Just for an instant he felt the pressure of her teeth, then a quick prick as her fangs puncture through to the pulsing blood inside the huge vein.

A short while later, after pulling some of the hot coals from the fireplace onto the wooden floor, she stood on a high hill watching wind whipped flames consume the lodge and leap high into the snow filled sky.  Turning away from the flames she hurried over a snow-covered rise to stand looking out over a vast expanse of woodland.  Not until tonight had she ever had the strength or the will to change forms.  However, this night, from the blood of the trio she had left back at the lodge, she felt more powerful than ever before and was able to will her self to change.  A short time later, after a few futile attempts, she rose into the air as a bat and was soon lost among the falling snow.

A few evening later, less than a hundred miles from Chicago, she approached to a young woman standing out side of a dance hall.  The woman wearing only a light party dress had stepped out onto the veranda in the cold winters night to catch a quick breath of air, for a few minutes looking out into the clear moonlight filled night.  When she turned to enter back into the auditorium through the door she just exited, she was shocked to see Kelly standing close behind her entirely naked with a strange smile on her face.  Suddenly a strong hand clasped over her mouth as Kelly’s powerful arms locked her in a vise like grip.  Then to her horror she could only watch when Kelly’s fangs drew near and bit deep into her neck and she drank deeply.

At that very instant the door to the auditorium opened and three young couples stepped on to the veranda, only to stop and stared in shock at the macabre scene before them.  Which was a naked young woman, her arm encircling another young woman from behind with her lips clamped tightly to the woman’s throat.

In the flick of an eye the naked woman was gone and the young woman’s body, with still a trace of life left in it, fell to the ground while the remainder of her blood gushing onto the white snow.

For the next few weeks the new media was full of the incident the young people swore they witnessed.  A couple of them even appearing on the news too graphically tell their story repeatedly.

 

Two weeks passed since Ravon saw the figure on the rooftop, or at least thought he did, and although he was reluctant he was forced by hunger to leave his lair and hunt.  When he did, he traveled to the far side of the city away from his lair being very careful not leave any trail that could be followed.  However as the nights passed with nothing out of the ordinary happening, he began to relax thinking maybe what he saw that night was truly only a shadow.

Now he again returned each night to the woods behind the mansion searching for Kelly, always carefully searching the mansion with his senses for the mortal Paul.  The time had come for him to find Paul and rid himself of the mortal that had caused him so much grief, but first he must find his Kelly.  Yet, it would be days before Kelly showed up again, and when she did she informed him of all that had happened to her.  When she related the incident about draining the blood of the young woman at the dance hall, he flew into a rage and threatened to destroy her there and then.

Like switching off a light bulb Kelly was gone, and when Ravon reached out to grab for her he found only empty air.  Quickly he reached out with his mind to tell her he wasn’t going to destroy her, he only wanted to scare her so she would be more careful.  However she had closed her mind to him and he found only emptiness.  For a long while he stood alone in the darkness waiting for her to return, while the cold winter wind howled low among the naked branches of the trees and high overhead tiny points of light, that where distant stars, twinkled in the deep cold blackness of space.

Alone again, he thought, knowing in his mind it would be useless to search for her now that she didn’t want him to find her.  With these thoughts in mind he took to the air in the form of a bat and moved towards the hanger compound where Paul and Bill had their refuge.

Stopping long enough to feed and hide the shapeless husks of his victims, he reach the brightly lit compound and circled high above it.  Far below he sensed the presence of Paul and Bill, but remembered the damage the sunlamps had done to his body the last time he tried to enter the compound and stayed far from it.

Paul’s mind he could not read, but Bill’s mind was like an open book to him and for a time he entered Bill’s mind and learned many things that had transpired since his first sighting of a vampire, which of course was him self.  When he learned of the encounter Paul had with the strange young woman at the shopping mall, Ravon became very nervous and quickly dropped from the night sky to hide among the dark shadows of the trees.  From here he could still watch the compound while at the same time remain hidden from view, knowing whoever the young woman was at the mall it was not Kelly.  Surely Paul would have recognized her and taken some other kind of action.

Maybe I was not seeing things that night on the station platform, he mused, nervously peering deeper into the shadows surrounding him and keeping his senses tuned to their highest pitch.

I wonder who the young woman could be. He thought, his mind racing to all kinds of conclusions while at the same time trying to recall the memory of the figure on the rooftop.

Surely, the figure on the roof had to be either Ural or Khufu, that means the young woman is one of their minions, he calculated.  Then again he reached out to enter Bill’s mind and learn of Paul’s plan to return to the basement of the mansion the next evening.

 

In the early hours before sunrise Ravon returned to the cellar of the mansion and quickly disconnected the sunlamps from the switch by the door, leaving the wires running under the switch plate so they looked intact.  That same evening, as the last sliver of sun faded from the horizon, he returned and hovered high above the mansion.

A dreary grayness filled the night sky as he fought against a cold dry wind that kept trying to blow him away.  From this height he could see the mansion and woods beyond, in the other direction the long sloping driveway and road that led off towards the city.  On the road a vehicle parked by the curb he knew must belong to Paul who was already secreted in the basement of the mansion.  Gloating, but forcing himself to wait until full darkness covered the land, he dropped to the lawn area before the basement door and quickly changed to human form.  Inside he could sense the presence he knew to be Paul, and wanting to taunt him before draining his blood, stood for a few seconds in plain view where Paul could see him.

When he finally approach the door he did so with slow deliberate movements then threw it open with a force, the door slamming back against the cellar wall and hanging askew with the top hinge busted loose from the casing.  Inside the cellar hearing the sound of the light switch clicking on and off, as Paul flipped it on and off in a panic attempting to turn on the sunlamps.

Then to Ravon’s delight he could clearly see Paul’s panic stricken face as he stared at his dark figure blocking the doorway.

Now I shall rid myself of you, he thought, making a move to step into the basement and take this worrisome mortal.  Suddenly a powerful presence made it-self known, and a split second later Ravon was in the form of a bat a racing wildly away from his victim and the mansion.

When Ravon was out of sight a dark figure stepped from the darkness of the tomb and for a time stared into the dark sky where he had vanished.  Finally with a last glance at the open doorway, the dark figure of Ravon?s enemy Khufu, also changed shapes and flew off into the night.

 

Late that afternoon Paul had parked his car at the curb and hurried up the driveway of the mansion.  Although dressed warm, the cold winter?s wind came howling down the driveway to turn his face red with cold and almost hold him back like a giant hand trying to keep him from reaching his goal above.

On reaching the sunken basement door he quickly stepped inside and closed the door behind him, thankful of the warmth filling the room from the overhead ducts that brought heat to the rooms above.

Quickly now he removed his coat and laid it on the back of an old chair, then climbed up onto the workbench by the window to look out over the lawn.  From here, he was able to see the tomb and the woods beyond, where, for a few minutes the sun broke through the clouds and shone through the naked branches of the trees.  The long dark shadows of the branches reaching across the snow and up the mansion walls menacingly before they began to fade, then minutes later disappear into the darkness that filled the world.

Quickly Paul’s eyes adjusted to the darkness and he was able to make out the edge of the tree line and Kelly’s white tomb.  Suddenly a wave of fear shot through him when a dark figure appeared from nowhere only a few feet from the building.

For a time the figure stared towards the basement window where he stood causing the hair on the back of his neck to stand on end.  Then slowly the figure moved down the small incline to the basement door and flung it open with a tremendous force.  Paul’s hands shaking with fear as he reached for the light switch and clicked it on, then for the barest instant he thought his heart would stop when the room remained in darkness.

A cold sweat washed over him now draining his body of strength as he franticly continued to click the switch on and off, while at the same time staring into the darkness at the outline of the dark figure standing in the doorway.

At any moment he expected the figure to be upon him, a small prayer passing quickly through his mind.  Suddenly, for a fleeting instant, he felt the powerful presence of someone else nearby, and to his complete surprise the terrorizing figure before him blinked out of existence and was gone.

It was an hour after the dark figure disappeared before Paul could, or dared to, move from the spot where he stood, then without a backward glance he rushed to his car and sped away from the mansion.

 

The next morning he returned again, and after parking his car in the street hurried up the long driveway to the rear basement storeroom.  Here he found the doorway to the basement still hanging open on one hinge as he left it, approaching and entering the storeroom with caution.

Inside he inspected the light switch and wires running from the sunlamps, but not until he removed the cover to the switch did he find the wires disconnected inside.

This was a set up by the vampire, he now realized, and somehow he knew I was coming here last night.  Then realizing he had not made the decision to come to the mansion until the night before, he knew the vampire was most likely watching the compound and reading Bill’s mind to learn of his plans.

 


   “I wonder how much more he knows?” Bill mused aloud, later that day when they returned to the compound and Paul told him what happened.

“I don’t know,” Paul replied.  “But I’ll bet its enough so we will have to change most of our plans,” he finished.  A shudder passing through him as he remembered the few seconds, which at the time seemed like an hour, the vampire stood only a few feet from him in the doorway of the dark basement.

“If he’s done it once he can surely do it again,” Bill quipped.  “I think it may be a good idea for me to get away from here for a while, what do you think?” he asked of Paul.

“I am afraid your right,” Paul agreed, knowing in his heart he would miss him, who in the short time they had been together had become like a brother to him.

That very afternoon he drove Bill to the airport where he boarded a jet for the sunny beaches of Jamaica.  With this done he drove back to the city and the old warehouse where he had his first encounter with the thing that was his Kelly.

All of the windows on the first floor of the warehouse had sheets of plywood over them now.  However at the rear of the building he found one of the plywood panels loose and swung it aside easily.  Glancing around nervously, he moved the plywood and climbed in through a window.  With the doors and windows covered over semidarkness filled the first floor of the warehouse, the only light coming in was a small amount leaking in from around the boarded up windows.  When he climbed the stairs he found all the other floors above still flooded with sunlight.  The light pouring in through the many broken windows along with the freezing cold air and snow which now covered the floor in many places.

On reaching the forth floor he produced a bar from under his jacket and pried at the metal doors of the elevator to open them.  Soon having them open enough so he could shine a flashlight down to the old elevator floor below.  He found no vampire’s here, but he did find two dried husks that told him at least one of the vampires was still using this lair on occasion.  Quickly now he hurried away from the warehouse, the memory of the night before filling his mind.  The thought of how helpless he had been before the vampire angering him, and swearing he would find a way to defend himself.

In the hour before sunset he checked the tomb behind the mansion before hurrying back to the compound.  He was still pondering how he could protect himself from the vampire when Bill called from Jamaica and Paul told him what he had found.

“I’d like to keep watch for him at the warehouse,” he explained, “but if he sees me again I have no defense against him,” he sighed, a sound of distraught in his voice.

“Listen,” Bill said, after a short pause while he thought. “I know bullets won’t harm this thing because its already dead, but I do have an idea of what may.  If I can get my hands on one,” he mumbled to himself.

“Let me call you back,” he told Paul, “it may be in the wee hours of the morning but I may have the answer for you, okay?”  Bill finished.

 

 

                                            Eleven

 

 

True to his word Bill called in the early hours before dawn and Paul answered it sleepily.

“Hi Paul, its Bill and I’ve been making calls from here to all over Chicago since I talked to you earlier.  Boy I’d hate to see your telephone bill because I charged them all to your account,” he chuckled.  Then in a more serious note he said, “I did get in touch with an old army buddy of mine that was in Nam with me, the guy will be knocking on your door sometime tomorrow morning with a package for you and he is going to give you a quick lesson in how to use what is in the package.

Now listen Paul!  This guy is down and out but he didn’t hesitate when I asked him for this favor.  The package he is going to give you will cost you about five hundred bucks but slip him some extra cash, okay?  He has to do some hustling and running around and deserves it,” he finished.

“Don’t worry I’ll be sure to take good care of him,” Paul assured him, then after a few more words hung up the phone.  It took him almost an hour to get back to sleep after the call, his mind wandering of in all kind of directions wondering what Bill’s friend had for him.

Late the next morning an old pickup truck drove straight inside the hanger to the mobile home where the driver climbed from the truck and knocked on the door, nervously stepping inside on Paul’s invitation and setting a small gym bag he was carrying down on the table.  After assuring himself Paul was who he said he was, the man introduced him self and drew out the contents of the bag.

“This sweet little baby here will stop just about anything,” he informed Paul, handing him a strange looking weapon about eighteen inches long, the weapon having a short barrel of about an inch and a half in diameter.

“This fires these little tank stoppers here” the man went on, reaching into the bag to hand Paul a clip of three shells that were over an inch in diameter. “These things will stop a tank in its tracks,” he said, continuing to explain more about the rocket-firing handgun he was delivering.

“This piece here,” he explained, pointing to the front of the rocket like shell, “blows a hole through whatever it comes into contact with and allows the rest of the shell to enter inside and explode.  Its a piece of ordinance used very effectively just recently in the Gulf War,” he went on.

“This will do nicely,” Paul assured him, hefting the weapon, which to his surprise did not weigh as much as it looked like it would.

“The clips for these things usually carry five shells, but all I could get my hands on were these three and I was damn lucky to get them,” the man add, then once more went over how to load and fire the weapon with Paul.

After a couple times of running through the mechanics of using the weapon, Paul handed the man a thousand dollars in fifty’s and twenty’s and the man was out of the door and gone, leaving Paul alone to practiced loading and studying the weapon until he felt comfortable with it before slipping it, along with the clip of three shells, into the shoulder bag he always carried.  The bag having become so much like a part of him that he wouldn’t think of leaving the compound without it.

Now I’ll be able to go places after sunset I wouldn’t dare go before, he thought, already making plans to start at the warehouse where he would again wait from sunset to sunrise for the vampire to show.

Maybe if I do things right and have a little luck I’ll get a chance to use this thing, he mumbled, patting the bag with the weapon in it.

 

Sensing the rage in Ravon’s mind the first night she returned to the woods behind the mansion, and after her unexpected train ride, the thing that was Kelly became frightened.  Then when he threatened to destroy her she became terrified and took the form of a bat and fled eastward away from him and the mansion.

Not once since she first climbed from the tomb had she felt so alone and frightened, and now after flying on for hours without stopping her only thoughts were to get as far away from him as possible.

The week of being alone after the train ride proved she could survive without him, so now she could find a place far away and be on her own safe from his threats.

Feasting when hungry and disposing of the remains, she left no telltale trail Ravon could follow, each morning before dawn searching for a lair for the day and each evening awakening and moving eastward again.

One evening she dropped down into a little college town along the Connecticut River, were she took a young couple making love in an automobile.  After draining the two she buried the remains in the nearby woods, with this done she moved up from the river to a quaint little town near the college it self.

The college’s campus covered acre after acre of land swallowing the town up, while about the town and campus hundreds of young students went about their business.  With her youth and beauty Kelly was eventually able to mingle with the students and become one of them, at her leisure picking victims of her choice.  The little New Hampshire town, with its abundant supply of young students, pleased her and she decided to stay for a time.

In the following weeks she would often let some young man, who thought her one of the student, come on to her as a lover.  Almost always they ended up parking along the river on some deserted road, the snow covering the ground at this time of the year keeping them from driving deeper into the woods.

Here out of sight of anyone she would drain the unsuspecting lover of his blood and dispose of the remains.  Often breaking through the ice on the river to burying them under a cairn of stones beneath the water, or carrying them deep into the woods to bury them.

In time she began to hunt the small towns away from the college, a few miles away discovering a bustling business area lined with malls and restaurants.  Here again she found herself surrounded by hundreds of young healthy men and woman.

However it was only a matter of time before the many victims she took began to cause a stir in the area and the news media became involved.

 

Once Again Paul entered the semi-darkness of the old warehouse, quickly hurrying up the dark stairway to the forth floor where he hid among a pile of empty cardboard cartons, and minutes later the sun began to set and darkness quickly approached.

Not a soul around for blocks, he thought, after searching the area with his mind and finding only a derelict asleep in another empty building nearby.

As dark shadows filling the far corners of the forth floor made the two metal doors of the elevator becoming like deep squares of blackness.  So he drew his canvas shoulder bag to him and slipped his hand inside, the coldness of the newly acquired rocket launcher giving him courage, when the memory of the vampire trapping him in the cellar of the mansion causing him to be uneasy.

I’ll never know why the vampire turned away and left so suddenly, he mused for the hundredth time, recalling the shock that filled him when he flicked the switch to the sunlamps and nothing happened.

He was standing less then five feet away from me in the doorway and had me cold.  In fact, he was so close that even in the darkness I could clearly see his young face.   Someone must have been watching over me, he thought, never knowing how close to the truth the thought was.

That someone was Khufu, the second most powerful immortal after Ural, and little did Paul know the beautiful young woman he saw that evening at the supermarket was Khufu’s mate Karen.  Both knew of Paul and his plight with Kelly and his determination to destroy Raven.  They themselves where after the same end and tracked Ravon here through the news media, but they would be happy to stay out of the picture and let Paul finish what he started.  If he succeeded they would return obscure to their quiet existence.  Meanwhile they would keep a watch on things.

 

The night passed and the darkness outside the windows of the warehouse gave away to the grayness of dawn.  Inside Paul jerked himself back to a sitting position from the slouch of sleep that had overtaken him and he quickly glanced around nervously.  Finding nothing amiss, he sat with his back against the brick wall to watch and wait.

I had better not do that again, he thought, reaching out with his mind to search the area around the warehouse, then again finding nothing leaned back against the wall to relax.

Suddenly he sat upright with the feeling that he missed something, once again letting his mind reach out.  Again he sensed no one near, his mind seeing only a void, but as he searched deeper he discovered a void within a void.  Aware now of this deeper void, he watched with his mind as the void moved closer to the warehouse.

A few minutes later a dark figure leaped into one of the empty window casings and stepped to the wooden floor.  Immediately Paul knew the deeper void he saw in his mind was the vampire masking his presence, and his breath came in short pants as he slowly laid his shaking hand on the cold grip of his weapon.  Not once while he drew the weapon from the bag, did he dare take his eyes from the vampire as it moved to the elevator doors and began to pry them open.

Suddenly in a whirl of unseen motion the dark figure turned and stared directly toward the cardboard cartons were Paul sat, but before the figure could move the weapon in Paul’s hand seemed to fire on its own.

Like watching a slow motion movie Paul saw the trail of the explosive rocket as it leapt across the length of the warehouse to miss the vampire by inches.  The rocket continuing on to tear through the steel door of the elevator and explode inside the shaft, the blast blowing away the steel doors and walls of the elevator shaft in a loud orange and red ball of flame.  In the flick of an eye he saw the vampire glance back at the destruction behind him and then disappear out through the window in a blur of movement.

The morning sun flooded the interior of the warehouse before Paul realized he was still sitting with the weapon resting on his knee, his eyes staring out through the void where the elevator shaft had been.  When he was finally was able to move he arose and hurried from the warehouse and sat for a long while in his automobile, his hands still trembling.

I don’t think I’d care to go though that many more times, he mumbled, when he finally quieted down and started the engine to drive away.

 

Dawns grayness was edging into the eastern sky when Ravon took his last victim for the night and hid the husk away deep in an old storm drain.  Quickly he moved along some railroad tracks to an old abandoned warehouse where he kept a lair, and once there he leaped easily up to the forth floor window and stepped inside.  For the last few weeks his mind was occupied with the loss of his minion Kelly and the recent encounter with the mortal Paul.  He would surely have taken Paul the night he had him trapped in the cellar and been done with his interfering, but he had suddenly sensed the strong presence of another immortal nearby and fled.  The presence had been very powerful and he knew it was either Ural or Khufu who both wanted to destroy him.

With these thoughts occupying his mind he stepped to the floor of the warehouse and moved to open the elevator doors, suddenly he felt a presence in the warehouse behind him and whirled around like a cornered animal, his fangs bared and ready to give battle.

Hidden in the far corner he spied the mortal Paul, while in the same instant heard the click of a metal lever followed by an explosion.  Before he could react a small missile hurtled towards him from the direction of the mortal and roared by his head only inches away.

With ease the missile exploded through the steel doors of the elevator behind him and then again inside the shaft, the explosion blasting away the steel doors and most of the walls.  Before the light from the blast died away he was already out the window racing swiftly away.

By this time the sky to the east had already turned to gold, the sun threatening to peak up over the horizon at any second.  Still he flew on for as long as he dared over a chain of warehouses.  In the last minute before the sunlight filled the sky, he swooped down into the opening of a large chimney.  There he dropped down though to an old furnace deep in the cellar, and here in the darkness among cinders he curled up to sleep, his mind raging with hatred for this mere mortal who dared challenge him.  In all his existence he never once encountered a situation like this, knowing this mortal, with the abilities to read minds and close his mind to him, was somehow different.  Three times now he had attempted to destroy him and each time failed.  After this last encounter with the exploding missile he began to think maybe Paul was not worth loosing his existence, and with these last thoughts he drifted of to sleep.

That evening he rose from the chimney of the old furnace and a few minutes later took a young man he found walking along the railroad tracks, dropping the husk down the same chimney he had exited earlier.

Later that evening, cloaked in the darkness of a moonless night, he stood high on the mansion looking down at Kelly’s tomb.  Each evening he came here to watch the edge of the woods where he and Kelly had always met, where each evening he reached out to her mentally with his mind.  He knew Kelly must be far away, but nevertheless he came each evening hoping maybe she would change her mind and return.

This evening as he stood waiting the memory what happened when he had Paul trapped in the cellar came to him and he shuddered at the thought of what had happened.

From out of nowhere he had felt the presence of another old and powerful immortal in the nearby tomb, fearfully he quickly turned away and fled the area.  He knew the immortal to be either Ural or Khufu, which one it did not matter because they were both his archenemies.  What did matter was the fact they now knew of his existence and would surely come to hunt him out.

Sorting through these thoughts he came to the decision that Paul and his persistence did not matter any longer.  He would rid himself of this Paul by going off somewhere to another part of the world for forty or fifty years, when he returned Paul would be either an old man or dead.  His only concerns now must only be of Ural and Khufu whose threats were imminent and long lasting.

Taking all of this into consideration, he moved away from Chicago and in no particular hurry moved eastward.

 

The cold biting wind of winter had eased and the welcoming warmth of spring filled the air when Ravon finally arrived in New Hampshire.  Along a strip of businesses and malls that ran on for more than a mile, he selected a young male victim.  After stalking and trapping the victim, he drained the body of its blood and then built a cairn of stones over it beneath a nearby river that separated New Hampshire from Vermont.

Later, wearing the clothes of his victim, he mingled among throngs of shoppers filling the malls and stores, then in the morning, as a band of light filled the eastern horizon heralding the coming of dawn, he took a young woman returning to her automobile by an all night market.  Sated and finding a lair for the night in a nearby cemetery he slept the day away, that evening on awakening taking a young man he found hitchhiking along the highway.  Disposing of the husk deep in a nearby quarry, he moved northwards to a college town and began his search for Kelly.

A few nights passed, until one evening while sitting in a small park like area in front of the college town offices, he suddenly came alert when he saw Kelly walking down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street.  She was dressed in a pair of denim shorts and a tee shirt and looked like any of the other students, her arm linked through a young man’s arm as they strolled along.  In an instant he was on his feet following the duo as they crossed over to his side of the street and then entered a large bookstore.  Moving to a place across the street from where he could watch the entrance to the store he became restless and reached out with his mind to the young man Kelly was with.

To his surprise he found the young man was nowhere in the store and quickly learned from the minds of others of another entrance leading to a side street behind the building.  Seconds later, from high above and in the form of a bat, he spied Kelly and the young man walking along like lovers towards a bridge that crossed the Connecticut River into Vermont.

However at the foot of the hill, just before the bridge, they turned into a small recreation area and moved to a park bench beyond a small boathouse near the river.

Quietly, his mind sealed from Kelly’s, he landed in the shadows of the boathouse and watched as she drained the blood of her would be lover.  Minutes later she arose from the bench to strip herself of her shorts and Tee shirt before taking the remains of the young man under her arm and disappearing below the waters of the river, a short time later emerging to dress then move out of the park. It was then Ravon stepped from the shadows of the boathouse to confront her and they stood in the dark silence conversing with their minds.

Why do you shun me? He asked, and before she could answer he went on.  I only meant to frighten you into being more careful when I threatened to destroy you.

You did a good job of it, she snapped back at him.  I was frightened when I first left you, but now I find I do not need you anymore, she said, moving to walk around him.

Wait!  He commanded, then quickly added, please wait.

What is it you want?  She asked, hesitating before him but ready to spring away if need be.

I want to communicate with you and for you to stop running from me.  We need each other, he told her.  Then after some thought, that is the reason I made you.

Well I don’t need you, she said, and this time she stepped around him and moved away from the boathouse and out of the park.

Please meet me here tomorrow after sunset, he pleaded, but she was gone.  For a long while after she left he stood in the darkness going over what he had learned.

While Kelly opened her self up to communicate with him, he had delved deep into her mind and what he found there frightened him.  She had become hard and callused now taking her victims without any remorse.  Often times taking one just so she could watch it squirm with terror as death approached, which she now enjoyed with a hungry passion.

 

                                   Twelve

 

 

Three evenings passed before she bothered to return to the boathouse to meet her maker Ravon.

I have had other things to do, the thought snapped back at him when he asked where she had been these nights.

For a long while he stood staring down into her beautiful face, which even in death turned the heads of many men, and wondered in the back of his sealed mind what he had created here.

We need to be very selective and careful of any victims we take from now on, he finally went on to tell her.  The news around this area is full of stories about the missing young people and the locals are all up in arms.  It could become very dangerous for us, he warned.

You can cower from these mortals if you want to, she spat back at him, but I am above them all and I have the strength and power to let them live or take their measly lives.  Compared to them I am like a goddess and for me to take the blood of one of them should be an honor to the victim, she boasted, again moving away quickly to disappear over the trees in the form of a bat.

In humiliation and anger he left the boathouse area and moved up the hill towards the campus to wait in the parking lot behind one of the dormitories for a victim.  Less then an hour later a young man came out of the rear door to the dormitory and hurried to one of the automobiles parked in the lot.  Quickly he opened the trunk of the car and retrieved a small suitcase, then closed the lid and turned back the way he had come.

Suddenly he was confronted by a tall naked figure blocking his way, stepped back in shock to stare at him.  The look of surprise filling the young man’s eyes quickly turning from question to fear, when the hand of the stranger clamped itself over his mouth and he was lifted like a baby and carried away.

In a speed that made the trees a blur as they passed, he carried the young man zigzagged down the hill through the woods until he reached the boathouse by the river again.  Here he set the terrified victim on his feet and stepped back to expose his evil canines.

Gripped with unbelievable terror the young man stumbled backwards and fell to the grass, the menacing evil towered over him.  For a time he lay trembling, then with the strength of the adrenaline pumped through his system he leaped to his feet and fled past the boathouse towards the road.  Ahead through the trees he saw automobiles lights passing up and down the road, while with quick backward glance saw that the naked figure still standing beyond the boathouse.  Hope bolstering him now he increased his speed to get through the last thirty feet of trees to the road, however the elation was soon shattered when with only a few more strides he collided with the naked stranger who suddenly appeared before him again.  Rebounding from the figure he fell back onto the ground again, glanced up to see the fanged smiling face of his tormentor.  Again the he leaped to his feet to run off in the direction of the boathouse and the trees, but the figure was there before him and he knew in his heart all was lost.

This time the figure clamped a strong hand around the young man?s throat and lifted him with ease towards his grotesque mouth.  Quickly now the sharp fangs were positioned tightly over the large throbbing artery on his neck, then with a light pressure they entered the flesh to the nectar below.

Later that evening, from high on the clock tower over looking the quadrangle of the college campus, Ravon watched as groups of men moved among the buildings searching each yard and alleyway.  From the minds of these men he learned they were searching for more bodies, while at the same time hunting for whoever was responsible for the strange deaths of their young people.

Although the men had no idea of what they were looking for, all of the towns for miles around were up in arms looking for some answers.  Having been warned by the news media not to venture outside alone, and rather than sit at home huddled in fear, the people reacted.

By chance a lone hunter found the hidden remains of a victim in the woods.  Not long after two others where found in an abandoned well.  At first the bodies seemed to be very old, but closer inspection of the clothes and identification on the bodies proved them to be the missing college students.

An old fear welled up in Ravon now as he watched the men below, the long forgotten memory flooding his mind making him cringed back into the darkness of the tower.  The memory of another time and place where mortals were up in arms in almost the same kind of a situation.  Although it was hundreds of years ago the fiery images and wails still filled his mind as vivid as if they were yesterday.

 

High in a particular section of the Carpathian Mountains the number of immortal blood takers had increased to almost a dozen.  For many years, and from the deep caves where they had made their lairs, the immortals preyed on the small villages and hamlets in the valleys below.  With the need to keep their youth the immortals took only the young and healthy, leaving the children and very old alone.  However when the supply of young adults dwindled and they started to take the young children, the villagers would take no more.

Putting their fears of the vampires aside the villagers acted, then for the next year they methodically combed the caves during the daylight hours.  In time the villagers had eventually found and burned all but two of the vampires, it was only by luck he and Lar escaped over the mountains.  Never would he be able to forget the wailing and pain broadcast to him mentally by the unlucky one’s as they were set afire.

Now with these memories renewed Ravon hugged the deeper shadows and climbed from the tower to flee into the darkness.

 

A couple of days later he was awakened by movement around in the cellar of the college dormitory where he slept.  They would have had him if the crate he made his lair in had not been in the rear of the cellar.  It was only by luck the group tired and moved away.  From information he quickly gathered from the searcher’s minds, he learned in the last two days they found the remains of six more bodies.  Two of them deep in the woods to the north of town, the others buried beneath the river.  Earlier that same day three more bodies turned up in an old rusted water tower slated for demolition.

Confusing everyone was the fact that on each of the bodies, which resembled mummies, the identification and fingerprints proved them to be bodies of the young people who were missing.  When this came to light a clamor went out across the countryside and groups of self appointed vigilantes began hunting for more bodies and the diabolical person, or persons, responsible for their deaths.

Ravon now became more frightened than ever, not only had Kelly’s actions alerted and aroused the people, but must have also attracted his enemies Ural and Khufu who would soon come looking for him. Somehow he had to find a way to stop her from going on with this madness or he must flee the area himself.

That very evening Kelly came to the meeting place by the boathouse, a warm light rain, washing over their naked bodies they stood silently facing each other.

We must flee this part of the country immediately, he warned her mentally, then went on to explain what he learned and seen and how his lair was almost discovered.

I have seen this kind of hysteria before and have come close to being destroyed by mobs like these, he said, urging her to hear his plea.  However he could read in her mind she had no intention of leaving.

I will leave you and go away my self, he finally said, however I will wait to the south in Massachusetts for a time, not Boston, but one of the cities west of there, with this he changed and took to the air in the form of a bat and disappeared into the rain filled night.

For a long while Kelly stood staring after him, her mind assessing the things he had told her and wondering if maybe he was right.  However at that very moment a band of the searchers turned into the park like area, the beams of their flashlights reaching out towards the boathouse and illuminated her naked figure standing there.  For an instant a few of the searchers stared at the wet gleaming image of the naked goddess standing in their light beams, then she was gone.

 

It was into this situation Paul entered the college town, taking rooms in the hotel overlooking the huge park like quadrangle of the college.  From the window of his rooms he could see the classroom buildings lining the streets around the quadrangle, while across the way, on the far side of the quadrangle, he could see a tall clock steeple reaching high into the summer sky.

On the same morning his shot missed the vampire, blowing away the elevator shaft in the old warehouse, he sat for a long while trying to quell the shaking and fear racking his body.  When he finally managed to quell his nerves, he hurried back to the safety of the hanger where he fell onto his bed in a deep sleep.

After that particular night many weeks passed with no new developments, it was then he decided to visit a small college town in New Hampshire where news came of a number of young people where mysteriously disappearing.

 

When he arrived in the town he was surprised to find mobs of vigilantes searching the countryside like an army of militants.  Not only where the mobs searching the woods, but every nook and cranny of the town where anybody could hide.  He spent most of the first day watching out through the windows of his hotel while groups of the men gathered at the far end of the huge quadrangle, most of them carrying some kind of a weapon and all flocking around the back of a flat bed truck.  The back of the truck mounted with a microphone and speakers, where two or three men stood by waiting to say something over them.

With a last check of the sunlamps he installed around his hotel room, Paul shrugged into the straps of his shoulder bag, carrying his weapon and other equipment, and hurried outside to join the men on the quadrangle.

The group had swollen to over a hundred men by now, all facing the back of the flat bed truck used as a stage.  On the truck a couple of police officers armed with rifles stood behind a man dressed in a dark suit and tie who was giving the men a pep talk.  Paul was to learn later the man was the town’s mayor.

“Remember,” the mayor was saying, “the search we are making is for our friends and neighbors sake as well as are own, no rough stuff.  If anyone refuses to let you search their homes or property, notify the police and they’ll handle the situation.  By chance if you come across anyone, or thing, looking suspicious, be very careful.  We have no idea what we’re dealing with here and don’t want anyone to get hurt,”  and with this the man stepped away from the microphone and one of the police officers stepped forward and began to issue out different areas for groups of the men to search.

Buy this time Paul had mingled deep among the group of men and stood leaning back against a tree, his mind reaching out to different men in the group to see what he could learn.  In a short time he knew most of what happened in the area, each man’s thoughts and memories a trove of information.  Suddenly he started and came alert to stare in the direction of one man in particular.  In the man’s mind Paul had seen the image of a naked young woman standing in the darkness.  The woman’s hair hanging down in ringlets to a place below her ears, framing what truly looked like the face of a young goddess.  While raindrops ran down her firm breasts, each drop reflecting in the beams of many flashlights as they continued down over her flat stomach and long legs.  Only for a brief instant did the glare of the flashlights enhanced the vision and then it was gone.

Kelly!  The thought exploded in Paul’s mind, the image of her beauty opening all the old wounds in his heart.

Quickly now, his mind jumped from one to the other of the men in the group, he found three more who were near the boathouse and saw Kelly that evening.  Minutes later as the meeting came to an end and the groups began to disperse; Paul approached the man in whose mind he had first seen Kelly.

“How’s it going Dan?”  He asked, having read the man’s name in his mind and now reaching out to shake his hand.

“Not bad,” the man replied, taking Paul’s offered hand and shaking it.  “Sorry but I can’t recall meeting you before,” he honestly told Paul.

“You haven’t,” Paul said.  “I was talking to one of the other guys over there,” he lied, pointing over his shoulder with his thumb. “He tells me you saw a naked young woman by the river the other night, would you mind telling me more about it and where it was?”

“No, not at all,” the man said, and then went on to tell Paul what he had seen and where.

Later that afternoon Paul stopped in the dinning room of the hotel for lunch, knowing with all the commotion going on he could be up most of the night and may need food and rest.

Less than two hours later a sharp rap on the door awakened him, and when he stumbled from the bed to open the door he was more than surprised to see his big friend Bill standing there with a grin on his face stretching from ear to ear.

“How’s it going Paul?”  Bill exclaimed, taking him into his arms in a friendly bear hug. ‘It’s so great to see you again.”

“Well this is a pleasant surprise, but what are you doing here?”  Paul asked, returning the hug.  “I thought you were in the tropics living it up.”

“Not anymore,” Bill replied, stepping aside to introduce a pretty blond woman standing behind him in the doorway.

“This is my good friend Lisa,” Bill went on, laying his arm across Lisa’s shoulder and pulling her closer to him in a show of affection, “we met the first week I arrived in the islands and have been together ever since,” he finished, watching Paul’s face for some sign of approval.

“Well it is certainly a pleasure to meet you,” Paul told her, then embraced her like an old friend.

“Any friend of Bill’s is always more than welcome,
 he finished, closing the door and offering them in to take a seat by the window.

A glow of happiness filling Paul when he thought how far Bill had come since they first met, and the fact that now he even seems to have found a mate.  However the happiness quickly passed when he remembered the situation and fear haunting the surrounding countryside.

“Are you aware of what’s been going on here?” he asked, glancing from Bill to Lisa.

“Sure! I’ve been on top of everything that’s happened since I left,” Bill assured him.  “Of course I don’t know what’s been happening here in the last few days, but I’m certain you’ll fill me in,” he finished; catching the glance Paul gave Lisa.

“You don’t have to worry about her,” Bill said, nodding towards Lisa.  “She knows everything and wants to help.  In fact she helped me get this,” he said, pulling an over sized automatic from under his light jacket.

“This here baby fires exploding shells,” Bill explained, snapping the thick magazine from the handle and popping one of the six shells from it.

“As you can see these shells are about one and a half times the size of a normal forty five slug, and this elongated nose is filled with explosives.  Unlike the weapon you have,” he continued, “this shell explodes on contact and will stop a charging bear dead, in its tracks.  What do you think of it?” he finished, the grin returning to his face.

“Nice weapon,” Paul exclaimed, taking the weapon in his hands to heft it and check the weight.  “I like the idea of being able to carry it under your jacket, where did you manage to find something like this?” he asked.

“Lisa managed to talk one of her ex-army buddies out of it,” Bill explained, nodding towards Lisa.  Then he went on to boast, “Lisa here was an ordinance expert in the Gulf War and can take apart and reassemble almost any weapon you hand her,” he bragged.  Then laying his arm across her shoulder pulled her to him.

“Now that I have this protection I’m back to help,” he said in a serious tone, his hand coming down on Paul’s shoulder in a sign of friendship.

For a few seconds Paul stared deep into Bill and Lisa’s eyes before turning to gaze out through the window.  For a time his thoughts flashed back to the incident at the warehouse where the missile he fired missed the vampire, again seeing the leering face of evil and hate before him.

“I don’t know,” he mumbled in a low voice, while at the same time shaking his head from side to side in a slow motion.  “Things have changed, and the reality of everything seems to have come much closer.”

Then after a few more minutes he turned back from the window to face Bill.

“I can’t ask you to get involved in this any further, now that you have Lisa with you it becomes even more dangerous.”

“Listen!  Lisa and I have already discussed all of this and have decided its what we want to do, so your stuck with us,” Bill replied, a sheepish grin curling the corners of his mouth.  “Now stop wasting all of this time and tell us what your plans are and what we can do to help.”

 

“So you know for sure Kelly’s around here somewhere,” Bill stated, a short time later when Paul finished bringing them up to date on everything.

“I’m sure of it,” Paul replied. “I’m not sure about the male vampire, he’s much more illusive then Kelly and as of yet there are no reports of him.  But I do have a strong feeling he’s somewhere nearby, or was.”

“I think it would be a good idea for you two to hang around the police station and try to collect any information that comes in.  If you find out anything you can call me on this,” he said, handing Bill a small two-way radio.

“I’ll be down near the river where she’s been seen,” then as an after thought he added.  “Remember there may be two of them now so you’ll have to be twice as careful.”

 

 

                                          Thirteen

 

 

The heat and humidity of day had not eased when the sun went down, so the coolness of the dark boathouse, which Paul had to force the lock to enter, was a welcome treat to his sweat soaked body.

Sometimes it is the little things that mean so much, he thought, as he entered and quickly moved to a small window from where he had a clear view of the river and the entrance to the small park.

For one brief instant, the amount of time it took to blink an eye, he opened his mind to scan the surrounding area and finding nothing relaxed and moved a small barrel near the window to sit on.

Turning the beeper of his two-way radio off, he set it on a crate nearby where he could see if the red light blinked and Bill was trying to call him.  Next to the radio he set the canvas shoulder bag and unzipped it, gently laying his hand inside to feel the reassuring cold metal of the weapon inside.

Would I really be able to fire this thing at Kelly if I had to? He mused under his breath, in his mind seeing the image of Kelly’s sleek body and the thought of what one of the rocket shells would do to it.  Quickly he shook the image from his mind and tried to change his thoughts.

I wonder what her feelings are now and if she remembers her mortal life? Another thought came through, and with this came visions of her lying in his arms responded to him with such tenderness and love.  Although there were some problems near the end of their marriage, in the beginning it was all love and bliss.  Kelly had always been like a goddess to him, her perfectly body melding with his own when they were together like that.

For a while he sat mesmerized in these memories until a movement by the river snapped him back to reality, where something in the water was moving towards near the boathouse.  At first it looked just like an object floating in the water, but as watched he could see it was moving across the current towards shore.

When it neared shore and arose out of the water and he could see it was a human head followed by the body of a naked woman.

“Kelly!”  The name resounded in his mind, reverberating as if it was coming down a long empty chamber.

For a few seconds the figure stood by the rivers edge shaking water from her dark hair, while beads of water clinging to her naked flesh sparkled in the faint starlight as it ran down her sleek body.  Nonchalantly she glanced around the small park then made to move around the boathouse towards the road.  Suddenly she stopped and stared into the blackness of the boathouse window where he had been sitting.

Paul’s shirt, which had been damp with perspiration before, was now sopping wet, as he stood pressed against the wall beside the window.  While with all his will he struggled to keep his mind sealed from the probing of the thing outside.  Yes the thing, the beautiful body and persona that was his Kelly’s now only a force of something dark and evil.  I have to remember this or I’ll surely be lost, he reminded himself, a wash of fear passing through him.

For a long while he remained in that uncomfortable position before realizing if the thing outside had seen him, or knew he was there, it would have already charged into the boathouse to destroy him.  Trying now to settle his nerves and reflexes that were strung to a high pitch, he edged to the window and peered out.  The grassy area between the boathouse and river was deserted; the lonely chirp of crickets the only thing outside disturbing the stillness of the night.

For a while longer he stood motionless staring out to the spot where Kelly had stood, until a signal of pain managed to get through the tangled of thoughts to his brain.  Glancing down he found his hands still clutching his weapon in a vise like grip, and with a sigh he loosened his grip and moved cautiously out of the boathouse into the night.

 

Kelly had stood belligerent the night Ravon warned her about the dangers of staying in the area of the college town, then watched as he flew off leaving her to fend for herself.

I have no need for you anyway, her mind lashed out at him as he flew away, as she moved away towards the campus to find another victim.

A few nights later she entered into a deserted ski lift shack high on a mountain a few miles from the college campus.  The shack was sitting near the top of a mountain, abandoned now until the winter’s snow began to fall and cover the countryside in a soft blanket of white again.  In the form of a bat she was able to squeeze inside the through a small knothole.  The one window the lift operator used to watch the skiers unload when it was in operation, boarded over, as was the one door.  A precaution taken after the shack had been broken into one year and some of the lift equipment damaged.

The hot dark interior of the shack was heated to an unbearable degree by the summer sun beating on it, but the heat having no effect on her she thought the shack made a perfect lair.  Built into the rear wall she found a large empty tool locker that reached from wall to wall, the tools and equipment usually kept inside the locker removed for the summer.  Here, as natural as climbing into bed, she climbed into the empty chest, closed the lid, and was soon fast asleep.  A couple of hours later she was awakened by a ripping sound, as the nailed plywood was pulled from the door of the shack and minutes later the door was thrown open to let in the sunlight.

“Nothing in here,” a young man’s voice announced, as he stepped inside the shack to glance around.  Then moving further inside he sat on the tool locker and waved in four other men who were standing outside the door.

Two more of the men stepping inside to sit on the tool-chest beside the first man, the fourth setting a cooler he was carrying down on the floor and taking a seat in the one chair.  The last of the five standing in the doorway where he began sucking on a cold bottle of beer one of the others handed him from the cooler.

Somewhat awake and terrified now, Kelly had all she could do to lay quiet and be thankful the small amount of sunlight, seeping in through the cracks between the boards, was not enough to harm her.

“Ain’t  nothing up here on this friggin hill,” the man sitting in the chair cursed, laying his weapon, a sharp two-headed axe, against the wall.

“The sheriff said we can expect to find the killer, or killers, anywhere,” the tall man in the doorway said.

“Ya!  They could also be hundreds of miles away by now,” one of the men sitting on the locker replied.

“Who ever it was must be long gone,” the man in the doorway added, nervously shifting the shotgun he carried from one arm to the other.

“That sheriff doesn’t know anymore about this than anyone else around here,” another of the men sitting on the locker started.  “We don’t even know who, or what, were looking for.  Maybe we’ve already found and talked to the killer and don’t even know it, he could be somewhere nearby right now laughing at us,” the man finished.

“Well I don’t know about you guys, but its to damn hot to sit in here for very long,” the first man said, quickly draining his beer and throwing the empty bottle into the corner before pushing past the man in the doorway to step outside.  A couple of minutes later the rest of the men left the shack and their voices slowly faded away as they moved back down the mountain.

All of this conversation Kelly heard through the lethargic haze of sleep, then for the rest of the long she slept in fitful naps.  As soon as the sun set far enough to the west so the shadow of the mountain enveloped the shack, she burst from the tool-chest and raced down the mountainside.  She dare not take to the air because the last rays of the sun remained above the trees.  She was also afraid of another young woman who had followed her to the mountain and who she had barely escaped.

In a quickly darkening pine grove at the foot of the mountain, she fell to the ground and sat huddled against the bole of a tree her legs pulled up to her chest.  The bravado she had boasted was gone now, replaced by a cringing fear as she thought of how close she had come to being discovered and destroyed.

As a blood taker, with all her strength and power she had always felt so far above any mere mortal, but now she realized it was only by night her powers could help her.  By day she was weak helpless, unable to move and easy prey to even the weakest mortal.

In the darkest of the night she finally lifted from the pine grove as a bat and fled from the direction of the college moving southward.  Ravon her maker had been right and she should have listened to him, she would find him now, tell him so, and ask his forgiveness

 

Two nights later, as a bat, she landed on the granite ledge to a window of a five-story brick building that was a dormitory over the state line from New Hampshire into Massachusetts.   The building was one of three in a walled in compound of a large private girls school and being mid summer and vacation time most of the girls were gone home.  However several of the older girls stayed on campus, some of them taking a part time job in town.

It was one of these young woman Kelly had selected and stalked, following her to the campus after meeting and striking up a conversation with her in a small bar and restaurant where she worked.  In the course of the conversation she read in the young women’s mind how twenty-five of the girls remained in the schools dormitory through the summer.  The only deterrent keeping their young men visitors from the dormitory was an old housemother whose rooms were on the first floor.

Now in the form of a bat she pushed in the corner of the window screen and slipped inside, when she touched the floor she materialized into her natural form and quickly studied her surrounding.  Finding her self in a long corridor running the length of the dormitory, each side of the corridor lined with numbered doors of the student’s rooms.  To her right a red Exit sign hung over a set of swinging doors leading to some stairs, at the far end of the corridor she could see another Exit sign over another set of doors.

Moving down the corridor she found a sigh that read, SHOWER ROOM, and she stepped quietly inside.

Warm moist air, which filled a large tan colored tiled room, washed over her as she entered and quickly glanced around to find she was in a locker room.  Here long wooden benches fastened to the floor sat before a long row of lockers standing against the wall.  Across from the lockers an open doorway led into a long open room of showers.

Moving silently into the shower bay she saw white wisps of steam floating lightly in the air near the far end of the room, where a shower sprayed out hot water in a steady hissing sound.

Under the shower closely entwined were two young women completely unaware of her presence.  When they finally notice her they quickly parted causing beads of water running down their naked bodies to sparkle from the overhead lights, then for a moment they stared at Kelly’s nakedness and was surprise when she approached and embraced them both.  But their surprise and pleasure soon turned to shock when powerful fingers clasped the back of their necks and lifted them from the floor, then in one quick movement Kelly banged their heads together to stun them into silence and at her leisure drained the blood from each of them.

Cramming their husks into a couple of empty lockers she dressed in one of the girls clothes and moved back out into the corridor.  Sated for now she was not looking for another victim, nevertheless if one of the girls stepped from her room as she passed she would take her.  However the corridor and stairway remained empty and a few minutes later she exited the building through the front door and walked off the campus heading south again.

Sometime later she found Route 12 south, all but deserted as she walked down it through the humid summer night.  In the past hour, except for the light from the stars in the velvet sky above, she had only seen the lights from two cars, both cars coming along the road headed in the wrong direction.  Suddenly her luck changed when the headlights of a car slowed behind her and a big late model Buick pulled up beside her and stopped.  A couple of seconds later the window on the passenger side of the Buick rolled down.

“Can we give you a ride somewhere dear?” the soft voice of a woman came from inside the dark interior of the car.

Leaning down she glanced into the Buick and could see the offer came from a sweet old woman sitting in the passenger seat, a friendly smile of expectation on her face as she waited for an answer.  In the drivers seat, with both of his hands on the steering wheel and his foot poised above the accelerator pedal, sat an older man, most likely the women’s companion or husband.  The man nervously scanning the woods along the road and repeatedly glancing into the rear view mirror, suspicious of why a young woman would be walking along the dark deserted road alone at this time of the night.  It was obvious he was afraid of her being some kind of a trap for some unwary traveler.

“Oh thank you!”  Kelly cooed, opening the door and sliding into the rear seat of the air-conditioned Buick.

“I’ve been walking for hours and I’m completely exhausted,” she feigned, lying her head back against the seat.  “I have been trying to locate my aunt and uncle who live here in Massachusetts, all I know is they live in a large city west of Boston,” she lied.

“Well that sounds like it could be the city of Worcester,” the old man informed her, relaxing back into his seat now that the Buick was moving again. “We’ll be going through Worcester but not until tomorrow afternoon, were expected at a relatives home in Gardner just a little further down the road here, but its less then an hour away from Worcester,” he explained.  “If you would like to stop and spend the night we’ll be glad to take you the rest of the way in the morning,” he offered.

In her mind Kelly already knew she would not harm this old couple, but to wait for them until the next day was out of the question.

“I thank you for the ride,” she told them a short time later when the man brought the Buick to a stop and she climbed out.

“Oh how I hate to see you out here on the highway all by your self at this time of the morning,” the old man said, as she slid from the back seat and closed the door behind her.  Then as an after thought, “could you use a few dollars dear?” he asked.

“Oh no thank you,” she told him, “and please don’t worry I’ll be very careful,” she promised.  Then turned and walked off down the dark highway, the sound of the Buick’s engine fading away as it moved off in a different direction.

 

About three thirty in the morning and five miles further on down the road from where she had been dropped off, another set of car headlights came from behind and stopped beside her.

“Need a ride babe?”  A young man driving an eighty-four Plymouth Reliant asked, while at the same time seductively looked her over.

“Get into the back seat,” he said to a young women sitting in the passenger seat beside him, motioning over his shoulder with his thumb.

“Please don’t do this Bobby,’ the young woman pleaded, when Kelly moved towards the car and reached for the door handle.

“You get into the back seat or so help me I’ll toss you out here on the road,” he threatened, giving the young woman a well placed, backhand across her face.  Then with the red mark of the handprint on her face and tears streaming down her cheeks, the young woman opened the door to stepped out of the car.  Then pulling the seat forward she climbed into the back.  A few minutes later the Reliant moved off again down the highway with Kelly sitting in the passenger seat beside the young man, the fragile young woman laying on the back seat sobbing.

“Where you headed babe?” the young man asked, laying his hand on Kelly’s leg to give it a light squeeze.

“I’m going to my aunt and uncles place in Worcester,” she lied.  “The bus I was riding on left the rest station in New Hampshire without me, leaving me behind with out my purse or suitcase.  I’ve been walking most of the day,” she ended.

“Well don’t worry babe you won’t have to walk any more,” the young man promised, his hand now high on her thigh.

A few miles further down the highway he brought the Reliant to a stop at a crossroad and opened the door.

“Come on Sally,” he told the woman in the back seat, pulling the back of his seat forward so she could get out, while at the same time making that same motion with his thumb pointing over his shoulder.

“Please do not leave me here Bobby, its dark and I am afraid,” she pleaded, another gush of tears streamed down her face.

“You only live a couple of miles down the road,” he said, pointing down the road then reaching in to pull her from the car.

“You’ll be fine,” he assured her, as he slid back into the driver’s seat and closed the door before driving away.  Then as the fragile figure of the young woman standing alone on the dark highway crying, dwindled in the rear view mirror, the young man’s hand once again reached over to run under Kelly’s light blouse.

Some miles later, with a bit of coaxing from her, he pulled the Reliant off the road into a parking place near a large reservoir.  Without hesitation he turned off the engine and reached for a worn plaid blanket in the backseat, then hurried around to Kelly’s side of the car to open the door for her.  When she stepped from the car he all but dragged her to the water edge where he haphazardly spread the blanket on the grass and pulled her to him.

With a knowing smile she allowed him to push her down onto the blanket then watched as he unzipped his pants and let them fall to his feet.  Now, with his manly confidence larger than his man-hood, he dropped down on top of her expecting to take her any way he pleased.  To his surprised she received him with open arms and quickly rolled him over so she was on top.  For a few seconds pleasure washed over him as she nuzzled the soft flesh of his neck, but was quickly forgotten when she bit deep into the flesh to the jugular vein and commenced to drink deeply.

Shortly after she stood over the corpse studying the band of light on the eastern horizon heralding the coming of dawn, then quickly took the remains under her arm and walked into the water of the reservoir.

Deep beneath the surface she hurried to pile stones over the husk so it wouldn’t float to the surface, but in her haste she did not cover the body as completely as she usually would.  Surfacing from the water minutes later, she quickly changed shapes and flew the last few miles to the city.

Dawn was almost upon her with the sky already turning from gray to silver, when she reached the city of Worcester, it allowing her only once to circle and find a lair for the day in the cellar of an old warehouse.

There she curled up to sleep under a large empty crate and opened her mind to scan the city for any sign of Ravon but found none.  Not that she expected to, the shielding of his mind after all these thousands of years a natural thing for him.

Then again, we all make mistakes sometimes, she thought, as she drifted off the sleep.

 

 

                                          Fourteen

 

 

About the same time Kelly drifted off to sleep a state police car pulled in behind the abandoned Reliant at the reservoir, then after carefully approaching the car sitting with both of its doors wide open and after finding it empty he made a searched of the area.  On nearing the edge of the water he came upon the plaid blanket spread on the grass, with a woman’s skirt, blouse and under garments on it.  Nearby he also found a pair of men’s dungarees and loafers and his first thoughts were of suicide, as was the thoughts of his superiors who quickly arrived at the scene after he called them.

After a careful search of the area a team of scuba divers came to search below the deep waters of the reservoir, then a short time later they found the remains of the young man deep below the surface, under a huge mound of rocks.

“Some thing is not right here,” the diver who found the man’s body informed his superior, after he and two other divers returned into the reservoir to search for the woman’s body and found nothing.

“When I found the mans body it was under a pile of rocks like someone trying to hide it, if his foot and arm had not been sticking out I would have never found him,” the diver told his superior, shaking his head in bewilderment.

By noontime of the same day more divers came and for the rest of the day they searched for the woman’s body.

 

The same night Ravon left Kelly by the boathouse in New Hampshire, he flew southward away from the college town and the danger that was inevitable there.

Traveling all through the night, and stopping only once to feed, he arrived at a small town just south of the Massachusetts boarder.  Here in a cemetery on the outskirts of the town he dug his way into a newly filled grave and slept the day away with the cadaver.  When he awoke that evening he again began moving southward and by the early hours of the second day circled high over the city of Worcester, Massachusetts.

On his third pass over the city he descended onto the top of a clock tower of an old stone building.  The building, one of four, that sat within a fenced in compound on a high hill over looking a long lake below.

The compound of buildings enclosed by a high, chain link fence, protected with barbed wire stretching across its top.  The fence running from one side of clock tower to circle around the other four huge buildings before returning to the opposite side of the clock tower.  Each of them constructed of huge blocks of gray stone, their size and structure demanding awe and respect from any that looked upon them.

Although the windows and doors were covered with sheets of plywood the buildings still stood proud and majestic, a lasting tribute to its long dead builders.

Inside the compound grass and weeds grew wild between the buildings attesting to the fact that they were abandoned.

From his high perch on the clock tower, Ravon probed the area in and around the compound with his mind and found nothing stirring except a few rats and an occasional bat.  Sensing the buildings were part of an old insane asylum, abandoned for many years, he decided the asylum would be a perfect place for his lair and studied the area again.

Where the road passed by the front of the clock tower then turned down the hill, some newly constructed red brick buildings stood, a sign in front of the buildings proclaimed them to be Bio-Tec laboratories.  Further down the hill at the bottom of the valley, and close to the long lake, sat a huge gray hospital building, and even as he watched a helicopter came in over the lake to land behind it.

On either side of the hospital were two large parking lots, beyond them a heavily traveled road came up from somewhere beyond the valley to cross a bridge over the lake, before coming up the hill far to the right of the tower.

The hour was late and Ravon knew he must feast after his long flight, so for a while longer he remained atop the clock tower studying the hospital building.

At this time of morning the working staff at the hospital were the only mortals awake in the building, yet a few minutes later he saw a figure leave the side door of the hospital and move to one of the well-lit parking lots.  Quickly he dropped from the tower to catch some of the humid air beneath the leathery wings of the bat he turned into, then silently circled above the parking lot.  When the figure he now saw was a young woman, climbed into an automobile and drove away, he followed high above.  For a while the vehicle zigzagged through the city streets until it finally pulled into the unlit parking lot of a residential building a few miles from the hospital.

Parking the vehicle and turning off the lights and engine, she opened the door to step out.  Before she had time to lift her foot and set it out onto the tarmac, Ravon’s naked figure loomed up before her and shoved her back onto the seat.  Her first thoughts were Oh my God he’s going to rape me, however the thought soon passed when the man clamped his lips to her neck and she felt two pinpricks in her throat and the man began to gulp deeply.  In seconds a light haze clouded her mind and she drifted off into a deep sleep never to wake again.

Sated now, he tucked the woman’s husk under his arm and sprinted out of the parking lot down the road.  On more than one occasion stopping to hide behind a parked automobile or dash into some yard so he would not be seen.  On one of the wider streets he removed a manhole cover from a sewer drain and dropped the remains down into it, then hurried away again in the direction of the clock tower.

In one easy leap he cleared the eight-foot fence and moved to the building away from the clock tower, quickly scaling the walls of the building to the roof.  With a last glance to the east, where dawn’s light was fast seeping into the darkness of the night sky, he moved to one of the window dormers to pull the plywood loose and disappeared inside.

Inside he found himself in a huge, dusty, attic cluttered with old iron bed frames and a few old wheelchairs, most of the wheelchairs with one or both wheels missing.  At the end of the dark attic a flight of stairs led down to the next floor where he found a locked door that flew open with a shove of his hand.  Here he found himself in a deeper darkness, the plywood covering the windows not allowing even the slightest ray of light to enter.

Perfect, he thought, glancing around, the darkness not impairing his vision at all.

He was in a huge room with many tables and chairs, the area most likely some sort of a day room.  To the rear of the room, looking towards the back of the building, a heavy grilled gate blocked the entrance to a long corridor.  On both sides of the corridor a line of doors opened into small rooms while down at the very end of the corridor, facing towards the day room, stood a single door.

With a light kick the gate blocking the corridor slammed back against the wall and he moved down to one of the doors.

As I thought, padded cells, he mused, pushing back one of the heavy doors with its small slot like window to step inside.

Any one of these will make a good lair, he thought, his senses telling him outside the sun was already climbing high into the morning sky.  Then another thought struck him and he stepped from the room and stared at the single door at the far end of the corridor.  For some reason the door with no slotted window in it intrigued him, and he moved down the corridor towards it.  When he reached for the handle of the door he saw it had no lock on the outside, then when he stepped inside and found a fourteen by twelve foot long room he knew why.

The room was empty except for a long table sitting in the middle of the floor, secured to the table’s top were leather restraint straps where patients could be strapped down.  Under the table a Chrome handle release lever would allow the table to tilt upright, if necessary and on the far wall hung a number of electrical gauges and wires.  For shock treatment he was sure, noticing the locks were on the inside of the door.  This is most likely the only room in the compound with a lock on the inside of it, he mused.

For a few minutes longer standing in the darkness studying the table before turning to glance back through the open door to the long corridor beyond.  Finally with a shrug of his shoulders he closed the door behind him and curled up on the table to sleep.  As usual he opened his mind for an instant to probe his immediate surroundings, but what he found caused him to bolt upright and sit on the edge of the table.

Although the room was empty and had not been used in years, the walls of the room oozed with long forgotten memories of torture and pain.  The visions were of both men and women patients strapped naked to the table convulsing with pain as electricity shot into their bodies, the electricity coming through wires running from the panel of gauges and switches on the back wall.   In almost all of the visions the same two attendants were administering the treatment, their faces beaming with pleasure and lust as they watched the torture, their expression showing how much they enjoyed their work.

Some of the visions were about another kind of torture, the kind when the attendants took a young female, or sometimes a young male, into the locked room and had their way doing unspeakable things to them.

What I do to survive is not so bad, he thought, after seeing what happened in many of the visions passing through his mind, now lying back on the table to close his eyes and sleep.

 

A few evenings later, light rain fell from thick clouds hanging over the city for days, a rain that not only dampened the city but also everyone’s spirit.

On this evening Ravon stood in the semi-darkness of a doorway, near a downtown shopping mall, from where he could see the main entrance to the busy mall.  From here he would pick a victim from the many mortals bustling in and out of the place, but as usual he was in no hurry and stood watching.

Across the street from where he stood was a city park about the size of a city block.  The park crisscrossed with walkways under a canopy of trees. The only mortals moving about the deserted park at this time of the night an occasional bum or homeless person, most likely kicked out of the dryness of the mall.  In the short time he was around the city he found this to be one of his favorite places, often coming here early just to watch shoppers as they hustled in and out of the mall.  Often waiting until the hour grew late and the crowds diminished before choosing a victim to follow home, or at least away from the center of the city.

This night was to be no different than the others, so when the customers ceased to hustle in and out of the stores he had only to wait until the clerks left the mall and choose a victim from among them.  His victim this night a young man, who on leaving the mall stood for a time talking with two young women in front of the mall.  A few minutes later a vehicle pulled up to the curbside and the two women climbed into it and it drove away.  Alone now, the young man crossed the street to a bus stop and waited out of the rain in a small glassed in shelter.  A few minutes later the bus arrived and he boarded it and Ravon followed high above.

Somewhere near the outskirts of the city the young man stepped from the bus, then waited until the bus pulled away from the curb before hurrying across the street to enter a gateway leading up a long up driveway.  The driveway leading up to a complex of dormitories and other buildings that were part of a large college campus, and here each side of the dark driveway was line with huge trees.

 

Dropping into the darkness of the trees Ravon waited until the young man was less than a few feet away before he was ready to step out and take him, suddenly another figure stepped from the shadows nearer the man and enveloped him.  For a fleeting second Ravon turned to flee into the night, the image of the other figure barely having time to register in his mind, suddenly he stopped and turned back.

You followed, he said in a thought, when he recognized the naked figure of Kelly as she finished draining the blood from the young man.

Startled, she dropped the remains of the victim and turned crouched and ready to defend herself.

I didn’t know you were so near, she responded in her mind, when she saw Ravon, at the same time straighten up to compose herself now that she knew it was him.

Have you come to me because you realized how careless you have become, or because you had to leave? He asked, watching the muscles in her jaw to see if they would give away her answer to the question.

No matter you are here now, but I must tell you this, you cannot continue your actions or feel superior to mortals here.  Compared to our numbers the mortals here are like grains of sand on a beach, if you push them eventually they will find and destroy you.  For thousands of years now we have existed in the shadows of the night silent and unseen among them, our very existence depends on it.  For you to flaunt your superiority over them is only courting disaster.

I now know you’re right, she conceded, I’ll do better this time I promise, she said, picking up the young man’s remains and draping them over her shoulder before moving off into the night to find somewhere to hide it.

Meet me tomorrow when you awake, his thought reached out to her, flashing the image of where they were to meet into her mind.

 

Later Ravon dropped down onto a stone tower in a wooded area from where he could see the city lights in the distance.  His interest here was not the view but an automobile parked near the bottom of the tower.

Through the vehicles open windows he could hear the grunts and sighs of pleasure from a young couple entwined inside.  Minutes later when the sighs and grunts ceased, and the vehicle stopped rocking, a young woman open the door and stepped out.  Quickly she moved around to the back of the tower where he stood, where she lifted her skirt to squat and urinate.

Glancing around nervously she wiped herself with a napkin and stepped into a pair of panties she had carried in her hand.  Pulling them up and shifted her hips a couple of times until they felt just right, she made ready to leave.  However before she could make another move, Ravon dropped down behind her and clasped his hand over her mouth before tucking her under his arm to sped away among the trees.  Swiftly he crossed the busy nearby avenue and traveled from yard, to yard unheard and unseen.

When he reached the clock tower he leaped the high fence and scaled the stone building without effort to reach his lair.  Swinging the plywood on the dormer window aside he stepped inside, quickly descending the stairs and moving to the room at the end of the pitch-black corridor.

In the darkness he removed the terrified girl from under his arm and strapped her to the table, deep sobs of fear and anguish the only sound filling the empty black void.  Then with an evil grin hidden by the darkness, he stepped from the room and closed the door behind him, confident no sound would escape the room.

Again he exited out through the dormer window, then a few minutes later again landed on the top of the stone tower from where he had taken the girl.

The automobile she had gotten out of was still below and although all that transpired had only taken a few minutes, he could sense the young man in the car below becoming restless.  A few minutes later he climbed from the vehicle and hurried in the direction the young woman had taken, anxious to see what was keeping her.

Again, Ravon dropped down from the tower, this time to land behind the young man who he quickly lifted from his feet and turned to face him.  Lifting him from his feet shocked the young man, but not like the terror filling him when he saw the barred fangs draw close.  Seconds later it made no difference, as his blood drained from him and his body began to shrivel.

Disposing of the remains in a shallow grave, in the small wooded area surrounding the tower a short time later, returned Ravon returned to the compound.

Here again he stood high atop the clock tower, this time letting a warm rain that had started, wash down over his body until dawn’s light began to brighten the eastern sky.  In the last seconds he leaped across to the building where he made his lair and disappeared inside, quickly moving to the room where he had the terrified woman strapped to the table.

The sobbing had long ceased now and she lay with her eyes wide open trying to peer into the blackness.  His footsteps no more than the sound of a snowflake gently falling to the ground, she was unaware he stood close to her and sensed her anxiety and fear as she struggled to keep alert and awake.  Because of her ordeal fear pumped adrenaline to her heart causing it to beat unmercifully sapping all of her strength.  Now, with all of her energies used up she could only lay in the darkness placid and exhausted unable to free herself.

The scent of her rich blood filled his nostrils and although he was sated, he was tempted to drink from the font lying before him in the darkness.  Instead he passed a hand over her eyes and willed her into a merciful sleep then curled himself up on the floor beside the table and slept the day away.

When evening drew near he awoke and stood over her again, her heart beating with the rhythm of natural sleep where she would remain that until he awoke her.  Now only a light sigh passed her lips as he leaned over to drink lightly from her font.

 

 

                                            Fifteen

 

 

I will make my lair here also, Kelly informed Ravon, later that evening when they stood face to face on the tarmac road before the clock tower.  “I’ve been moving from place to place and as of yet have not found anything as suitable as this, she continue, making a small gesture with her hand towards the clock tower and compound beyond.

Then for a second, she hesitated.  I sense a mortal inside that building, she told him nodding towards the far building in the compound where he had his lair.

It is my early evening feast and none of your concern, he informed her, changing forms and then flying off into the night.

If you make your lair here you must be more than careful, his last thoughts warned, as she made ready to lift off to hunt.

 

In the midst of the city Kelly came upon another college campus spread out beyond the main buildings in every direction, the campus covering many of the streets in a six, block area.  Almost behind the main classrooms were a series of four, and five, story dormitories, the buildings housing both male and female students.  It was to the third floor window of one of these dormitories she was drawn to, where from a windowsill she watched the goings on in a room.

Inside a young man stood in an open doorway leading into a corridor beyond the room, while on the bottom, of a set of bunk beds, sat another young man and woman.  The two on the bunk were talking to two other young women sitting at a small desk.  After a few minutes the conversation in the room broke up and the man in the doorway and the couple on the bed left the room.  A few more words passed between the two remaining women, then one of them rose and took a robe and pajamas from the closet and headed down the corridor to a bathroom.

Silently now Kelly pushed in the corner of the screen covering the window and slipped into the room, still in the form of a bat she dropped to the floor and waited.  When the young woman remaining in the room stepped to the closet to get her own nightclothes, Kelly reared up in her naked human form and wrapped her powerful arms around her.  Quickly drawing her close she exposed the smooth flesh of the young woman’s throat, then in a moment of passion and excitement drove her teeth deep into the waiting flesh.  Wave after wave of delightful ecstasy washing over her as the warm blood flowed from the woman, the enchantment fading as the loud rhythmic pounding of the woman’s heart slowed and then stopped.

Quickly placing the remains of the young woman under the blankets of the lower bunk, she stepped into the closet to wait a few minutes until the second woman returned from the room.

“You could have at least left the night light on for me,” the young woman scolded as she closed the door and moved to the desk to snap on a small night-light there.

“Oh! I see you’ve climbed into my bunk,” she added, her voice changing from a scolding air to a sultry voice.  “I’m happy you’re in that kind of a mood,” she purred, setting the clothes she was carrying onto the desk so she could rub her hands over the butt of the shape under the blanket, a moment later rising again to hang the clothes into the closet.  However when she swung open the closet door the dim light of the night-light fell on Kelly’s naked form standing inside, her evil fangs and chin still dripping blood.

Before the young woman could scream or move, Kelly had her by the throat in her powerful fingers and crushed her windpipe.  In the time it took the woman’s starving lungs to effect the oxygen in her blood stream, her blood was drained and she was no more than a dried corpse.

Dropping the young women’s remains from the window, Kelly leaped down beside them.  After a quick glance around she lifted the bodies to her shoulder and scaled the building to the roof, where she stuffed them both into a small compartment of an air conditioner

Before dawns early light filled the sky she again stood before the gray stone building of the clock tower.  High above she could see one of the large golden hands was missing from the clocks face, the small hand remaining in the same position as it had for years; like it was frozen in time.

Changing forms she flew up to the louvered vents above the clock and pushed in on a heavy screen and entered the belfry.  Above the old clock’s works, which were covered with droppings of hundreds of pigeons through the years, sat more pigeons that had entered through a small hole.  The pigeons cooing nervously and shuffling around at her intrusion, until she moved to a narrow stairway and descended from the tower into the darkness of the main building.

The top floor of the building was lined with a number of holding rooms, each of the heavy doors having slots in them so the incarcerated patients could be watched.  On each of the next two floors she found reception rooms, and on the floor below, which was the first floor of the building, two large offices equipped with huge oak desks and chairs stood empty, the furniture sitting in the inky blackness as if waiting for the occupants to return.

At one time this had been the main floor entrance, where a flight of granite stairs came up from the front of the building to a huge, stone arched, veranda.  The rooms in the basement below were used for storage, a few of them still stacked with old desks and furniture.

It was in one of these large roll topped desks that she made her lair, the inside having plenty of room to lie out in after she rolled the roll top down.

 

Paul sat across from Bill and Lisa in the dining room of the New Hampshire hotel.  It had been four weeks since the encounter with Kelly at the boathouse, in the four weeks since nothing new happened around the college or any of the near-by towns.

“I have a feeling the vampires have moved out of the area,” Paul informed his friends, when the waitress serving their meals moved away from the table.

“Every day I’ve checked each newspaper carefully, listened to all the news on the radio and TV, and up until last night I have heard nothing.  This morning I found these items in a newspaper from Massachusetts,” and with this, he laid the newspaper clippings in front of them.

One of the clippings, almost two weeks old, described how the police found, what looked like, the dried husk of an old man.  The husk was buried under a pile of stones beneath the waters of a state reservoir.  A few days later two more husks in the same condition turned up stuffed into a couple of clothes lockers at a private girl’s school.  The most recent clipping told of two bodies found in the air vent of a college dormitory in Worcester, Massachusetts.  The clippings went on to describe how fingerprints taken from the bodies at the girl’s school, match perfectly with those of two young students that have been missing.

“By God I think you’re right,” Bill agreed, handing the clippings to Lisa, “but how can we be sure they have both left?” he added, glancing at Paul.

“Good question,” Paul replied, “but it doesn’t matter because we at least know one of them has moved south, so now we’ll have to make some kind of a move.”

 

That same evening Paul again sat beside the window in the boathouse.  He had spent many nights here since that first evening he saw Kelly step from the river, her goddess like body dripping water.

Repeatedly he ran the scene over in his mind, wondering if she did see him, and remembered, would it have made any difference to her.  However in the scenario he set up in his mind, she came hurtling through the window to rip his throat out.  For that very reason he sat each night like he did, the weapon in his lap and his hands clasped to the grips.

Since the night he saw her, only two students were reported missing, then for almost two weeks now there has been nothing.

It could be they are both gone, he mused, trying to keep his mind from the thought of Kelly, or the male vampire, coming at him here in the boathouse.  The thought of how it would end up running through his mind, with the creature lunging for him and he raising the weapon to blow it away.  With this came the memory of the vampire standing before him in the old warehouse, and it was good he was sitting because his stomach turned queasy and his legs became weak.

Half and hour before dawn he made the decision to reach out with his mind to find out if either of the vampires were near, then finding nothing, and knowing they would only opened their minds when necessary, he left his mind open and searched. In fact for the next day or two he kept his mind open, knowing if any mortal around the college saw anything he would be able to read the terror in their mind.  At the end of that time he was sure both vampires were nowhere in the vicinity and made up his mind to follow their trail.  The next day he asked Bill and Lisa to remain for a couple of more weeks to keep watch on the chance he may have miscalculated.

 

On his journey down country Paul stopped in a small Massachusetts town just over the Vermont boarder. It was the town where the remains of two schoolgirls were found and he wanted to talk with the Chief of Police.  Later he also stopped in the town by the reservoir and talked to the chief of police there.  The man very helpful after Paul lied and told him he was doing a story for a magazine, the chief showing him pictures of the young man’s remains.

“Funny thing,” the chief said, “we have never found any trace of the woman.  I mean her shoes and cloths were there on the blanket, even her under garments.  It seems if someone else had come along and picked her up something would have turned up,” he ended, shaking his head in bewilderment.

 

At the Police Station, in the city of Worcester, Paul found the situation somewhat different.  When he approached the day officer at the desk and asked about the remains of the collage students found in the air conditioner, he soon found himself in the company of two detectives who questioned him repeatedly.  The detectives wanting to know what he knew about the incident and why he was so interested in it.

As things turned out it was a very narrow escape.  If he had not convinced them he was a writer doing a story on the incidents, they surely would have him found out.  What saved him was his suggestion the detectives call the police chiefs in the other towns where he had stopped, otherwise they would have taken his fingerprints and found he was an escaped convict and locked him up for sure.  As it was one of the detectives became very congenial after that, offering to help him in any way he could.

After the narrow escape at the police station he took a room in a down town hotel almost directly across from it.  An hour later he sat reading through a stack of newspapers he had the bellhop run out to buy for him.

Scanning the newspapers his interest turned to an article about a missing young woman.  The woman, a local nurse working the night shift at a near-by hospital, disappeared in the early hours of morning after finishing some private duty at the hospital.

Witnesses say the last time anyone saw her she was walking to her car in the hospital parking lot.  Later they found the car in the lot of the apartment building where she lived.  Police believe someone may have followed her home and then picked her up there.  However, as of yet, she has not returned to work or contacted her family.

Three times he read the article while shaking his head knowingly, then on the next page he found another story that also interested him.  An automobile was found abandoned, its keys still in the ignition, at lover’s lane at the Bancroft Tower, a wooded park area in the city.  When police traced the registration to a young man, they discovered he was missing for a couple of days along with a young woman he was seeing.

“Now this gives me somewhere to start,” he informed Bill, a short time later as they talked on the phone, hen he filled him in on what he learned. “I am almost positive these disappearances are related to our vampires,” he finished.

“Do you want us to come on down there now?  We could be there in a few hours,” Bill assured him.

“No, you keep watch up there for a while longer,” Paul suggested, “I’m going to do some looking around down here.  It may be a good idea if you check in at the hotel every couple of hours, if anything turns up here I’ll call the hotel and leave you a message.”

After a late breakfast the following morning, Paul stood at the base of a small stone structure that was know as the Bancroft Tower, and watched the taxi he had taken drive away.  For the last few weeks the weather had been a scorcher, the weather forecasters predicting the rest of the week would continue to be a record breaker also.

He was surprise to find the lover’s lane he was about to search was so close to a well traveled avenue, and beyond some trees and brush he could even see a few nearby houses.  With information the detective gave him he located the place where the abandoned auto stood, then for a long while stood on the spot hoping some image or vision might come to him; but he drew a blank.

A huge padlock, holding a chain wrapped around an iron gate, blocked the stairway leading up to the top of the tower, so for a while he walked back and forth around the front of the tower hoping for some sign; but found nothing.  Then not really knowing what he was looking for moved around to the backside of the tower.

Here he came upon a place where the ground was soft and held the small heel imprint of a shoe.  The print so small it belong to a child or a woman, and for a time he stood staring down at it before glancing around at the wooded area surrounding the tower.

Getting down on one knee he gently laid the palm of his hand over the heel print hoping for some sign or image, closing his eyes and clearing his mind he waited until what he did receive shocked him.

He sensed and felt the stillness of the night, then suddenly he was aware of a flutter in the darkness and a strong sense of fear, the whole incident lasting less than the blink of and eye.  When nothing else came to him he walked around the tower four or five times but received nothing more.

By now the humidity caused his clothes to stick to his body, while swarms of little black flies hung in clouds around his head and darted into his eyes and ears.  After another half hour of walking in an ever-widening circle with no results, he was about ready to relinquish the area to the flies.  Suddenly he came upon a place where some of the leaves on the ground were disturbed.  Excitedly he kicked the leaves aside and found the soil beneath loose where someone had dug into the earth.

“Ten to one there’s a body or two under there, “he mused, and satisfied now he moved out of the woods and down the road to the avenue.  Here he hailed another taxi and returned to his hotel room to take a much-needed shower.

Later that afternoon he drove to an electronic shop and purchased an expensive pocket scanner to monitor police calls.  With this done he called the police and anonymously informed them where the remains were buried near the tower, then drove to the residence where the young missing nurse lived.

It does not take long for someone to fill in the void, he thought, as he moved into the parking lot and found another automobile already assigned to the woman’s parking place.

Nearing the automobile he moved around it and stopped by the driver’s side door.  For a few seconds he closed his eyes and shuffled his feet around, hoping he may be able to find just the right spot where someone might have stood and he would receive a vision.  Suddenly he sense darkness again, followed by a fluttering sound in the darkness along with a flash of terror from a young woman’s mind, then nothing.

Three or four more times he moved around the vehicle, then decided he better leave when he saw an older woman watching him through a window of the apartment building.

On his way back to the hotel the police scanner lying next to him on the seat crackled into life.  The call was the police detail sent to follow up his lead about someone buried near the Bancroft Tower, asking if the coroner could pick up a body.

“Only one?” the dispatcher asked.

“So far that’s all we’ve found,” the reply came back.

“We have quite an area to search here and the bugs are driving us crazy, I think you had better send us some help,” he finished before signing off.

 

 

                                   Sixteen

 

 

Well they’ve found the remains of a body so I don’t need much more proof the vampires are here, Paul thought, turning his vehicle into the parking lot of the huge gray hospital by the lake.  The lot was full, but he drove into it anyway and stopped before a car parked in the general area of where the missing nurse’s car had been.  For the next ten minutes he walked in and out among the cars parked in the area hoping for an image, but he found nothing.

I thought I might find something here, he mused, then for a few seconds leaned back against his automobile and glanced around the area, unsure of what his next move should be.

Over the trees to his left he could see some new red brick Bio-Tec Labs on the hill above him.  From there his eyes scanned upward until they fell on a gray clock tower standing high at the top of the hill behind them.

Studying the gray tower a strange tingling sensation tugged lightly at the edges of his mind, a few minutes later he climbed into his car and drove to the top of the hill.  Here the road leveled out for a short distance passing along side a high chain-link fence, the fence running from the front of the clock tower to circle a group of huge stone buildings before it came back around to the clock tower again.

In a small parking area in front of the tower he parked the car and climbed out to walked back and forth in front of the building a few times.  After he walked on past the tower to where he could study the gray stone buildings in the compound behind it, the temptation to reach out with his mind to scan the place was almost impossible to resist.  However he was afraid if one of the vampires was sleeping there and sensed him, the element of surprise would be lost.

No, he thought, I will have to do this the hard way, and with this he climbed back into the automobile and drove away.

That evening just before sunset, he returned to the hill below the clock tower and parked among some other automobiles in the lot behind the Bio-Tec buildings.  From here he could clearly see all of the buildings in the compound and he sat back to watch and wait.

Earlier he returned to his hotel and slept for a couple of hours, making sure to leave word at the desk for a wake up call.  When the call did come he barely had time for a hot shower, then on his way out of the hotel he stopped at the desk to pick up a large brown paper bag the clerk had ready for him.  The bag containing sandwiches, donuts, and two large thermos bottles full of coffee, one of which he now opened and poured coffee into a cup while munching on a donut.

Before long the sun started to set behind the hill, causing deep shadows to fill all the nooks and corners around the huge buildings.  Undaunted by this he donned some night vision binoculars he had purchased earlier and continued his surveillance.

Only a few minutes passed when one of the plywood coverings, on one of the dormer windows high on the roof, swung aside and the naked figure of a man step out onto the roof.  For a time, the figure stood staring out towards the lake in the valley below, his head tilted back so the light from the stars fell on his features.

For the fourth time Paul looked upon the features of his hated enemy.  The first time in his own bedroom when he awoke to find this fiend standing over Kelly’s naked body, then again in the cellar of the same mansion when the sunlamps failed to light and the vampire stood in the doorway trapping him inside.  To this day Paul could not figure out why the fiend had run off instead of taking him.

Then there was the old warehouse in Chicago where the vampire ran off again, but that time it was because Paul had barely missed it with a missile that blew the wall of the warehouse out.

Then there is now, he thought, surprised to find his hands shaking and not knowing if it was caused from fear or excitement, and not for a moment did he take the binoculars from the figure on the roof.  Suddenly he was aghast when the figure dove from its high loft and plunged towards the ground, changing into a bat at the last instant before flying off over the trees.

Unknown to Paul, while he watched the figure on the roof, another movement stirred under the louvers above the clock tower to his left, and a few seconds later another large bat emerged and flew away.

For the remainder of the night he kept watch, sipping on coffee and snacking on doughnuts from the brown bag to keep awake, but not really expecting to see anything until just before dawn.  The idea of finding the vampire’s lair excited him to a point where he almost shook with excitement, but when he thought what this enemy was, and what it could do to him, he knew the shaking of his hands was from fear.

In the graying of dawn he continued to scan the area through the special binoculars, until suddenly the figure appeared again on the roof of the building.  It was still to dark for him to see the bat coming before it changed forms, but suddenly there was the figure of the vampire on the roof’s edge.

For a time it stood staring out towards the long lake below, then as dawn approached, and the light of the sun began to creep higher into the sky, it swung the plywood on the dormer window out of the way and stepped inside.  Unknown to Paul, while he watched the figure on the roof, there was again another stirring above the clock tower when the same bat that flew away earlier returned and crawled back up into the louvers and disappeared inside.

Later that morning, after stopping at a small diner for breakfast, Paul returned to his hotel room to dial up Bill’s number and wait impatiently while the telephone rang on the other end.

“Hi Bill, its Paul,” he greeted Bill when he answered the phone.

“Paul!” Bill said with a sound of surprise in his voice.  “Lisa and I were just talking about you and the fact that there was nothing happening here at all.  I was going to wait until this afternoon to call you but I guess I won’t have to now,” he chuckled.

“Well that’s great because I’d like you to get down here as soon as possible,” he told him, then went on to tell Bill what he had seen at the abandoned Asylum.

“Well that’s good news,” Bill responded excitedly, then after a second added, “well you know what I mean?  At least we’ll know where he is during the daytime, now all we have to do is figure out some way to get near enough so we can get a shot at him with one of our missiles.”

“Well okay then,” Bill went on, “Lisa and I have a few things to check out around here later this afternoon, if we don’t find anything we’ll leave in the morning,” he promised.

“That’ll work out fine,” Paul said.  “I’ll plan to spend the night watching the asylum and make sure he returns there again.  I’m pretty sure its his main lair and he plans to stay here for a while, but you never know.”

After another minute or two of small talk they said their good-byes and Paul hung up the telephone and stepped into the shower.  For a long time he let the hot water pour down over his body relaxing him, his mind working out and planning all different scenarios to trap and destroy the vampire.  More than once denouncing himself for the chance he had when he missed the vampire in the old warehouse.  In addition he imagined the missile tearing into the figure of the vampire and blowing it to bits.

“Maybe this time,” he said aloud, stepping from the shower and patting him self dry with a large bath towel.

After quickly scanning through some newspapers the bellhop collected for him, he called the desk for a wake up call then climbed into bed and was in a deep sleep in seconds.  Sometime during the day a dream he was having turned into a nightmare, where once again he come face to face with the coal red eyes of the vampire.  This time when the vampire drew back his lips Paul was astounded to see every tooth in his jaw was a long fang dripping blood and saliva.  In fear he looked around for somewhere to run and hide, but suddenly found he was standing on the edge of the slate roof where the vampire kept his lair.  Glancing down he saw he had backed away until the heels of his shoes were only inches from the edge of the roof, while the creature was climbing out of the dormer window towards him. Each time Paul tried to step forward away from the edge of the roof his feet slipped backwards a little, and for the life of him he could not understand why he did not fall from the roof and hurtled to the ground below.

Suddenly the idea came to shoot the creature with his weapon, but the weapon he held in his hand was so heavy he could barely lift it.  When he finally managed to get the weapon up he found it would not fire, discovering the shell was not in the weapon at all but in his other hand.  However each time he tried to put the shell into the weapon he found it was backwards and would not fit.  After many failed attempts he jammed the shell into the weapon through the barrel and again took aim.

The thing was still trying to climb from the window to grab him but its cloak was caught on a rusty nail holding him back.  Now the weapon was only inches from the vampire’s evil face and he squeezed the trigger repeatedly but nothing happened.  Suddenly a powerful hand grabbed at his shoulder from behind and when he whirled around he found him was gazing into the hideous face of another vampire.  It was here he began scream.

 

That evening he again parked his car in the parking lot behind the Bio-Tec labs and waited.  Like the night before the plywood on the dormer window moved aside and the figure of the vampire stepped out onto the roof.  Through the night binoculars he studied the vampire carefully as it stood on the edge of the roof looking out towards the lake, the strange memory of his dream flashing through his mind.

The face and body of a twenty year old, he mused, wondering how old the vampire really was, and would have gasped with disbelief had he known it was older than the pyramids of Egypt.

Like the night before, a few minutes after the naked figure emerged from the dormer window it stepped from the edge of the roof.  Once more its form changed to a bat as it fell and then lifted into the air and flew away into the darkness of the night.  Again if Paul had looked ten degrees to his left, to the top of the clock tower, he would have seen other movements in the darkness when the large bat squeezed from between the louver vents and flew away again.

If he had seen the other bat he would have known it was the vampire’s creation.  The creation made to resemble the lovely body and face of his beloved Kelly.  Kelly, with her dark ringlets of hair barely hanging down below her small perfectly shaped ears, and her deep sparkling eyes of gray above sweet pouting lips.  Eyes that now were cold and menacing and lips that now concealed evil fangs that sucked the blood of her victims.

Unaware of the second vampire, Paul settled back for the long wait until just before dawn when the vampire should return.  His thoughts jumping from plan to plan on how he to trap and destroy this vampire, the vivid memory of his young naked body standing on the roof awakening the memory of his Kelly, or what had been his Kelly, standing by the boathouse in New Hampshire.  For a while he dwelled on her memory remembering the early days in college before they were married.

 

On the same evening he had met Kelly at the college library for the first time and shared a textbook with her, he forgot his shyness and asked her out.  Soon after they fell in love and Paul knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with this her.  She had been intelligent, kind, witty, and a pleasure to be with, not to mention the most beautiful woman he had ever laid his eyes on.  After their first meeting he was unable to keep her from his mind and his grades began to drop alarmingly.

On a prearranged meeting they met at the coffee shop where he told her of his feelings for her, it was then Kelly confessed her love for him.  In the days that followed they were inseparable, each learning more about the other as time passed.  In the beginning he shied away from telling her about his childhood at the orphanage, but as time passed and they became closer he confided in her and told her about everything; including the fortune his mother had left him.

In turn he to learned Kelly grew up in a small town in Florida where she had been a cheerleader for the home football team and chosen ?Home Coming Queen? at her graduation prom.  Her parent’s financial situation, and the scholarships she earned with her good grades in school, had decided her chance of going to college.  Even so she almost missed getting into the college they both now attended.  If it had not been for a last minute dropout she would not have and he would never have met her.

Maybe that would have been better for all concerned, he mused, turning away to pour himself another cup of coffee.  Then with a sigh lean back into seat sipping the coffee, his gaze once again lifting to the lonely outline of the clock tower rearing into the dark sky.

I cannot imagine what that part of my life would have been without her, he thought, the lone clock tower standing alone in the darkness, like a symbol of his loneliness.  Then finishing the coffee he climbed from the car and for the next couple of hours walked along the fence, which ran around the compound.

Long before the early fingers of dawn edged into the morning sky he was back in his automobile watching,

in his mind imagining himself prying the sheet of plywood from one of the first floor windows and climbing inside.  Quickly he would move to the top floor where he sensed the vampire’s lair was and there secret himself in the darkness and wait for its return.  He could almost see the look on the vampire’s face when he stepped out from his hiding place, then before the vampire could make a move squeeze off a round that would send one of the small missiles tearing into its body.

That would be all too easy, he sighed, realizing how dark it would be inside the building and knowing the vampire may be aware of him long before he reached the top floor, if not before he reached the building.

For a long while he sat studying the dark outline of the building, its dark ominous forms a darker blackness than the surrounding night.  Then for a fleeting instant he allowed his mind to open for a quick scan of the building.

Shock!  Terror!  Fear!  All entangled in an overwhelming sense of foreboding, hopelessness and despair, flooded his mind.  With it came a deep baleful cry of anguish from deep within him.  For a long time he sat staring towards the dark shape of the building unable to move, his body shaking almost to a point of convulsion, the baleful cry that had escaped him still ringing in his ears.

?My God!  He has a young woman prisoner in there,? he uttered, closing his mind, the words sounding loud in the empty darkness of the vehicle as he tried to calm himself.  Then once again, this time prepared for what he may find, he opened his mind and reached out to the mind of the young woman.

 

 

                                         Seventeen

 

 

Through a red haze of terror and despair Paul found the persona of the young woman, Marci Johnson, who was twenty years old and had lived with her mother in a small apartment on the out-skirts of the city.  Since her high school days she was a secretary for one of the larger insurance companies and for the last year in a half she had been going with a young man named Kevin Brennen.  Kevin also worked for the insurance company in a different department, and like Marci he lived with his parents and two teenage sisters.

In either of their homes was it possible for them to be alone anywhere, so at least once a week they took a drive to the wooded area of the Bancroft Tower to be by themselves.  Here within the city limits, in the little wooded area surrounding the tower, they could sit in Kevin’s car and be alone, and very often after an hours of heavy petting their lust won them over and they had sex.

It was on one of these nights Marci climbed from the car and hurried around behind the tower to wipe up and put her panties back on.  Minutes later she turned to return to the car when an arm suddenly reached around from the darkness behind her and clamped a hand tightly over her mouth.  At first she thought it was Kevin playing a joke on her and she became angry, but when she was easily lifted and placed under the arm of a strange naked man she became terrified.

Try as she may she could not shake herself loose from under the young man’s arm, the more she struggled and tried to scream the tighter the hand clasped across her mouth.

The man was running now carrying her along at a great speed, in a short time the woods giving away to dark empty streets and back yards.  In her heart stopping terror she saw a gray stone building, where the naked man scaled the wall with the ease of a spider.  Seconds later he moved some plywood aside and stepped into deeper darkness of the building through a roof top dormer window.

In her mind, which was spinning in total confusion and horror, she tried to calm herself and remember what to do if someone tried to rape her, however what followed was something for which she was unprepared.

In the inky blackness surrounding them she knew the man carried her down a flight of stairs then to the rear of the building.  Here the paralyzing fear filling her since the moment of her abduction somehow increased, when the man laid her on a flat hard surface and proceeded to strap her wrist and ankles securely to it.

Now a high-pitched scream filled the air and echoed throughout the huge building, when the man drew his hand away from her mouth.  Then she felt a hand touch her again, this time it wiped her brow and she found herself unable to move or scream, her mind and eyes open to stare into the darkness.  Realizing the hopelessness of the situation she began to convulse in fear, and coldness, like coldness of a grave, came over her and she fainted away.  Before the deeper darkness of her mind closed off her thoughts she realized the man had gone away and left her alone in the emptiness.

Sometime later Marci awoke and opened her eyes to find the darkness without was as black as the darkness within.  A heavy weight on her chest made it feel like the man who abducted her was sitting on it, the pressure almost taking her breath away.  Immediately fear rose up in her again, her heart again pounding unmercifully against her rib cage even though she knew the man was not near.

She had no way of knowing how long she laid staring into the darkness, but after awhile her heart quieted down and only an occasional shudder ran through her body.  At one point in time she thought she felt a presence near, when a light movement of air fanned her as if someone, or thing, had moved close by.  Seconds later she felt the same sensation on the other side of the flat surface she lay on, which she realized was some kind of a table.  Straining she listen to each and every sound she thought she heard the muffled springs of a mattress as someone moved onto it, seconds later the sound was muffled like someone lying down.

“He’s going to lay on the floor next to me,” Marci thought in terror, fighting to keep the scenarios of what might happen next from her mind.  Hours passed in the dark not daring not move, afraid she would miss the sound of the springs announcing her captor had awakened.  When the sound finally came her heart started the agonizing pounding in her chest again, when she felt the fanning breeze as her captor moved to the table to stand over her.

Attempting to hold her breath to quell the beating of her aching heart, she waited in terror not knowing what to expect.  Suddenly she felt something warm and wet drag lightly across the side of her neck, then something, which she immediately identified as a pair of lips, clamped over the large artery there.  To her terror two sharp points pressed deeply into her flesh and for a fleeting instant there was pain, but the pain quickly gave away to an ecstasy like she never felt before, when they punctured though.

Since that time everything happening was like a never-ending dark dream where she was naked and surrounded by a moving blackness.  The blackness hiding ugly evil things with no form or substance, things, which reached out to scratch and pierce her body and keep it in constant pain.  Her only relief coming when she felt her captor’s presence nearby, when again an ecstasy envelope her as his lips clung to her neck and he drank lightly from her font of youth.

With a shudder Paul withdrew his mind from the horror of the young woman’s plight, then minutes later the vampire returned and he watched as it entered into the dark building though the dormer window.

 

A bright morning sun had climbed high into the eastern sky by the time Paul returned to his hotel and went to breakfast.  The waiter had no more than set the food he ordered before him, and turned to walk away, when a hand came down lightly on Paul’s shoulder.

“Bill! Lisa!”  He exclaimed happily, as he glanced around and saw them standing there.  Then standing he gave them each a friendly hug.

“I didn’t expect to see you until sometime this afternoon,” he said, motioning with his hand for them to sit down and join him.

“We finished what we had to do up there early then we thought,” Bill began to explain, then stopped long enough to give his order for breakfast to the waiter who suddenly appeared again.

“With things as quiet as they have been up there,” he continued, once the waiter moved away, “we left in the wee hours of morning hoping to see you and find out what’s going on before you had a chance to get to sleep.”

“I’m glad you did,” Paul said, going on to tell them what he had learned.  Then he informed them about the empty asylum buildings, the vampire, and the horrible discovery he had made of the young woman held captive by the creature.

It was almost noon before Paul got to bed that day, having sat around the breakfast table, to the dismay of the waiter who they later tipped generously, making plans to enter into the building to rescue the young woman.

“I think going in after the vampire leaves his lair in the evening, will be our best chance,” Bill suggested.  “That way we can concentrate on the rescue and not worry about the creature.  What do you think?”

“I’m not sure its a good idea,” Paul mused, almost to himself.  Then after some thought said.  “Listen Bill, if we go inside to rescue the young woman the vampire’s going to be alerted and know we are here, when he does our advantages will be lost.  We know where he is and what he is doing, so for once we have the upper hand.  We should be very careful not to lose this chance because it may never come again.”

“Then you think it best we wait until were ready to take on the vampire, before attempting to rescue the girl?”  Bill asked.

“It’s not only the right thing, but its the smart thing,” Paul assured him.

Later, after more planning, they decided to wait another night.  By doing it would give Bill and Lisa time to study the building where the vampire kept his lair, at the same time assure them the dormer window was the vampires main exit.

That evening Paul could feel the excitement emanating from Bill and Lisa as they watched the Vampire exited from the dormer window, then seconds leap from the roof and change forms to a bat before flying off into the night.

“I’ll be darned,” Bill said, in almost a whisper.  Then put his arm around Lisa who, after seeing what they had just seen and still not being able to believe it, had a chill etch its way up her back and caused her to shiver.  However the trio was all so engrossed in watching the vampire on the roof, none of them failed to notice another big bat dropping from the clock tower to also fly off into the night.

Waiting another ten or fifteen minutes to make sure the vampire did not return, they climbed from the automobile and moved up the hill towards the buildings and high chain link fence surrounding them.

On the far side of the perimeter they discovered an opening where the rainwater washed away large amounts of soil from under the fence, the washout leaving an opening large enough for them to crawl through on their hands and knees.

In the deep grass inside of the fence area, they glanced around nervously before hurrying around to the far side of the building.  Here in a small alcove almost hidden from the road near the clock tower, Paul took his pry-bar and began working to remove the heavy plywood from one of the lower windows.  The nails squealing and making the wood creak loudly as they came out, the sound causing him to stop often and glance around nervously.  Finally with one nail left in a top corner, they were able to swing the plywood aside and attack the heavy grillwork covering the window inside.  After a time Paul pushed the grillwork aside and they were able to step into the darkness of the building, the beams of their heavy-duty flashlights scanning nervously around the large open room they had just entered.

The room was a huge dining hall, two thirds of it filled with row after row of tables and benches reaching from wall to wall.  Everything in the room was covered in a half-inch thick layer of dust, including a long serving counter and a kitchen that took up the last third of the area.

In silence the trio moved into the darkness, each step sending up small puffs of dust and leaving deep footprints where they walked across the floor.  A heavy grilled doorway swung open easy at there touch and they ascended a wide stairway to the next floor, the sound of their steps muffled in the dust and stale air filling the interior of the stairwell.  At the top of the stairway they passed through another open gate into a much smaller room, this room evidently a day room where patients had been able to exercise and have some recreation. Towards the rear of the room, through another grilled gate, a long eight-foot wide corridor stretched to the rear of the building and was lined with heavy wooden doors.  Each them having a, slot like, sliding window in it.  At the end of the corridor another heavy door faced them, but this door was without a slot opening and stood open to a small room beyond.

On the next floor they found the same layout, the day room, the grilled gates, and the line of rooms.  When they finally reached the top floor Paul stopped on the step below the landing, then being careful not step up onto the floor itself flashed his light around.

Everything up here was the same as the floors below with the exception of recent footprints in the dust, where telltale footprints led to a narrower stairway leading up to the attic, and other prints leading back down.

“That’s must be were the vampire keeps his lair and the young women captive.” Paul whispered softly, pointing with the beam of his flashlight to the closed door at the end of the long corridor.

“I’m sure your right,” Bill replied softly, nodding his head in agreement then shining his own light around the top floor one more time before they turned and retraced their steps out of the building.  Later, back in their vehicle behind the Bio-Tec labs, the trio kept watch on the gray buildings as they sat making plans and waiting for dawn to bring the vampire back to his lair.

 

Earlier that evening, as the sun set beyond the hills to the west, Ravon awoke in the room at the far end of the corridor and came to his feet.  After a quick mind search of the building he moved around the table to where the young woman lay restrained.  In the profound blackness filling the room, in which he could see quite well, he studied the halting rhythm of her labored breathing and knew her life would leave her after his next feeding.  He had kept her strapped to the table for many days now, hers the first blood he took each evening when he awoke.  For the first couple of days she was terrified and alert, now she only stared into the darkness, her body withered and drawn and her eyes dilated and empty like her mind.

Ignoring the stench of human wastes she had excreted, he bit into her jugular vein for the last time and drank deeply.  Deep within the woman’s chest he could hear her heart skip a beat, then two, as it tried to push more blood though the all but empty veins, until with a flutter it stopped beating.  Quickly he withdrew from her dead flesh and hurried out of the room, promising him self he would discard of the body when he returned sometime before dawn.

With long strides he moved across the floor and up the narrow stairway leading to the attic and the dormer window, where with little effort he swung the plywood aside and stepped out onto the roof into a moonlit night. For a few minutes he gazed out towards the east where he could see the hospital and its parking lots, below that the long lake which in the moonlight look like a silver ribbon in the valley below.

To the far right heavy traffic moved up and down the highway, the traffic coming from somewhere beyond the clock tower to continue down the hill to pass over the bridge and the lake.  For a time he studied the effects of the moonlight on the water, then dropped from the roof edge and willed himself into the form of a bat.   Swiftly he climbed high and circled over the clock tower and compound until another bat, which was Kelly, dropped from the louver vents over the clock tower and joined him, then together they moved off over the hospital towards the east and Boston where they would hunt the larger city well away from their lairs.

In the early hours of the morning, after feasting on two young lovers, Ravon stood high on the top of a building in Boston gazing down at the Charles River below.  Here the moon was turning the waters of the river into a silver ribbon as he stared mesmerized, the scene evoking a distant memory that flooded his mind causing a strong feeling of nostalgia in him.

 

 

                                          Eighteen

 

 

The memories the silver ribbon invoked were of Rome when it was still in the process of its early growth, when in the hills around the city sheepherders tended their sheep.  In those times, fierce barbarians who lived in the hills surrounding the city often swooped down on the small villages to plunder and rape.  Always burning the villages to the ground and carrying off the woman.  This kind of terror prompted the people to move into the city where in numbers they would be safe from the marauders, this fear is what helped the city to expand and grow.

In his memory he found him self in that time standing on a high cliff staring down at the silver ribbon of a river, only this river was the Tiber River of Egypt.  His master and maker Lar, had been gone for a number of years now leaving him alone to learn and fend for himself, and he learned quickly.

Becoming almost Kin with the creatures of the night, he had been able to exist unnoticed and move among the shadows of the city naked and unseen.  On a few occasions, even with his learned skills and abilities to blend into the shadows, he was seen and his nakedness usually incited a riot.  After a few of these incidents he began to wear dark clothing, mostly just a dark cape he could discard quickly if need be.

From the high cliff now he could see the river flowing down through the valley between the hills before it snaked its way by the banks of the city.  For a few more minutes he stood gazing at the scene and was about to turn away when a movement, almost directly below the cliffs, caused him to look down.

Coming up the river below was a huge barge, and although he had seen many boats moving up and down the river he had never seen one of this size or decked out in such splendor.

Surely it must carry someone important, he thought, watching the barge pass by below and move towards the docks of the city.  Intrigued at who might deem this much splendor, he sped unseen along the banks of the river and was waiting by the dock among a crowed of villagers when the barge pulled ashore.

Immediately an escort of armed guards carrying torches hurried aboard the craft.  Then from within the well-adorned structure of the barge a handsome young man and a woman, dressed in the best finery of the day, emerged among the armed guards.  The entourage moved off through the streets, lined on both sides with guards bearing torches, and hurried to the palace.

Siblings of the king, he mused, watching with growing interest as the two healthy youth passed close to where he stood.

I will have their blood, he promised him self, and this exciting him.

Days later, after studying the palace for hours each evening, he approached it and leaped onto the ledge of a high window.  Unseen, the dark cape he now wore blending with the blackness of the night, he stood looking down into a huge room dimly lit by a single torch.  On a huge canopy covered bed, surrounded by light meshed curtain, the young female sibling lay naked, in her eyes a look of impatience and anticipation as she kept glancing at a huge wooden door set in the far wall.

The princess Kala has the face and body of a young goddess, he thought, letting his gaze move from her face and the long soft neck, to her high breasts and flat stomach and shapely long legs.  While he was making these observations, the huge door set in the far wall began to swing silently open and the young male sibling stepped inside and quickly closed the door behind him.  Quickly he moved to the bedside of his sister and parted the curtains and soon they were together on the bed.

For a long while he watched amused, before dropping lightly to the stone floor of the room and stand in the shadows beside the bed.  When the furor on the bed reached a crescendo, and their sighs of pleasure became the loudest, he leaned inside the curtain and bit deep into the throbbing jugular vein of the young man.  Deeply he drank of the hot raging blood until the young man’s body was no more than a husk, then he turned to the young woman who watched the entire incident wide eyed.

To Raven’s surprise, instead of her cowering away from him, the princess leapt forward and threw her arms around his neck pleading with him not to take her life.  Instead she offered herself to him to do with whatever else he chose, and with the points of his fangs only fractions of an inch from her throat and the blood filled vein below, he hesitated.

“What have you to offer other than the blood that flows through your body?” he asked.

“I can give you many other pleasures with my body,” she whispered to him seductively, at the same time nibbling and kissing his ear in an attempt to seduce him.

“Your wiles have no effect on me,” he assured her, pushing her away to arms length so he could study her beautiful face.

“I have no need or craving for any of your mortal ways,” he continued, the hand gripping her shoulder conveying to him the trembling fear racking her body, belying her bravado and false promise of lust.

“I... I could be your companion then,” she stammered, laying her visibly shaking hand on his chest in a gestured of friendship.

Could it ever be possible, he mused to him self, as he stared into her eyes trying to read her emotions, his ability to read minds not yet acquired.  The thought had evoked, and brought to the surface of his mind, the loneliness that ate at him and his dire need of a companion.  Even when Lar, his master, was around only a small amount of necessary conversation ever passed between them.  Lar had always seemed preoccupied with some inner turmoil, something important to himself he had somehow forgotten.

It would be pleasant to have someone I could spend some time with, he reasoned, then after a few minutes released the woman’s shoulders and she rose from the bed and stood proud and naked before him.  Her pleading posture vanished now and most of the trembling left her body.  When he turned to glance at the husk on the bed, he missed the strange glint in her eye as she turned to smile at him.

“What about him?” he asked, nodding towards the grotesque shriveled husk of her brother lying on the edge of the bed.

“What is done is done,” she replied, after staring at the husk for a few seconds in silence.  “When you leave take it with you and get rid of it,” she said, struggling to keep her eyes averted from the thing on the bed.

“Only a few of the slaves know he comes to my room each night, they will not dare speak a word of it to anyone,” she assured him.  Then she retrieved a light robe from the seat near the bed and draped it about her shoulders.  With indifference she added. “His disappearance will be a mystery that will pass.”

Ravon was well aware during the next two hours they talked, that most of her talk was prodding questions about him, questions he answered without really giving away any important information.  Later when he made ready to leave, he did so without telling her on which night he would return.

That same morning in the darkness before dawn, after disposing of the corpse he carried away from the palace, he stood atop the cliffs by the river again pondering the events of the night.  It had been many years since he actually had a conversation with a mortal, however he had enjoyed the conversation with the strange young princess immensely.

 

In the few months that followed he visited the princess often, but never at the same time or on the same night of the week.  As time passed, their conversations became increasingly congenial and he began to relax, his early found suspicions and mistrust of her dulling rapidly.

On many occasions, in the darkness of the night, the princess would discreetly leave the palace to meet him.  On these occasions he took her to the high cliffs where they could watch the moonlight dance on the river below.  He was fast becoming fond of the princess Kala, beginning to think meeting her was a good thing.  In the back of his mind he thought he might ask Lar, when he returned, to make the young princess an immortal like himself so she could be his companion forever.

 

One evening, after feasting early, he leaped to the young princess’s window and saw a lone, cloaked figure sitting by the fire with its back to him, and thinking it to be the princess he stepped down into the room.

“We must hurry to catch the first ripples of moonlight on the river as the moon rises,” he said softly to her, as he silently approached from behind and laid a hand on her shoulder.

In the instant before the figure moved, he knew something was wrong.  Then suddenly the figure leaped to its feet and turned to face him, the cloak falling away to reveal a huge soldier.

In a swift lunge the soldier swung his short sword in an arc towards Ravon’s throat, a blow that surely would have decapitated him.  However to the soldier’s surprise, as the sharp honed blade reached the place where Ravon had stood, he was already behind him sinking his teeth deep into his neck and draining him of his blood.

Now the doorway to the chamber flew open with a force, slamming back against the wall with a loud crash as more of the soldiers rushed in.  Turning away he leaped to the high window ledge, but before disappearing out through the window glanced back to see the traitorous face of the princess Kala standing in the doorway behind the soldiers.

You will see me again, he said to her under his breath, but it will only be for a fleeting moment before I drain your blood, then with these last thoughts he moved away from the palace and disappeared into the night.

 

In the months that followed the sibling princess never dared to be alone, and even when she slept or bathed, two of her guards were always present.  She had no way of knowing that during the daylight hours there was no danger and made the mistake of taking solace by hiding in darkness.  Often at night, when she was terrified and her fears overwhelmed her, she sat in one of the palace rooms in complete darkness surrounded by guards.

Often, his eyes able to see perfectly in the dark, Ravon kept watched of her from outside the window.  On many occasions he could have quietly slipped into the room past the guards and taken her blood without them even knowing.  However he saw how she was suffering, the fear eating at her innards, and wanted that pain to last.

One evening, almost a year later, he learned the sibling princess was leaving the city, when shortly after dusk a troop of guards once again lined the way from the palace to the docks with torches.

Unnoticed he mingled among the crowds lining the way to watch the procession as it wound its way to the royal barge, then when it reached the barge and the princess enter the royal quarters, which were not much more than a cabin on the deck, the barge made ready to move away from the dock.

Turning away Ravon sped to the cliffs above the river and waited until the barge moved down the river and passed below him.  From his high perch he could see the small cabin surrounded by guards, the guards standing shoulder to shoulder making it almost impossible for anyone to get past them to the royal quarters.

Although he had not yet gained the power to change forms, his agility to leap great distances and land with the softness of a feather proved most useful to him.  So now he stepped from the edge of the cliff and dropped towards the barge, silently landing on the roof of the cabin before leaping down onto the deck to enter the royal quarters.

Inside he found the sibling princess trembling in the darkness between two of her handmaidens, where with no more than a rustling of her clothing he lifted one of the handmaidens from where she sat and quickly drained her blood.  Seconds later he took the second handmaid and did the same, sitting in her place next to the princess.  For a time he sat in the darkness studying the princess and admiring her beauty, before leaning close and whispered in her ear.

?You said I could do what ever I wanted to with your body,? he whispered, and before she could make a sound he covered her mouth with his hand and took her under his arm.  In complete silence he stepped out onto the deck and leaped onto the roof of cabin, the guards standing with their backs to the cabin unaware of any going is on.

By now the barge had passed beyond the high cliff area and was moving along the lower banks of the farming area, so here Ravon leaped from the cabin’s roof to the riverbank and quickly melded into the darkness beyond.

A short time later he emerged from the fields and moved to the high cliffs above the river, where he set the trembling princess roughly down on the very edge of the precipice.

Ignoring her screams and pleas for mercy, he fastened her wrists and ankles spread eagle fashion to a place he had made ready on the shear cliff wall.  With deliberate slowness he bit into the soft flesh of her neck and drained most of her blood, then went off into the night.

In the early grayness of dawn he returned to the high cliffs where she hung suspended and sobbing.

“Your treacherous ways have brought you to this end,” he sneered, staring down at her, then hanging down beside her drained the remaining blood from her veins.  Quickly now he slit the vein on his own wrist and pressed it to her lips, forcing the blood that pulsed from it into her mouth and down her throat.

“You are an immortal like I am now, but before this day is out you will die a slow torturous death as the little blood in your veins begins to boil,” he hissed at her through clenched teeth.  Then with a last look towards the quickly brightening eastern sky he hurried off to his lair.

 

He never returned to that place, and now while he stood staring down at the moonlight on the Charles River he wondered how long it had been before someone found the princess’s withered body lashed to the cliff.  The incident taught him a well-learned lesson, since then he never become close with any other mortal.  Even with Lar, and Lar’s other female minion that Khufu destroyed, he was never close with.  In fact the closest thing to friendship he ever encountered in all of the thousands of years was with his own minion Kelly, and that was a very strained acquaintance.

Only of late, after her close encounter in the ski lift shed in Vermont, had she become somewhat submissive.  She stays close to him now with her own lair across the compound at the clock tower, each evening at sunset joining him when he flies off to hunt.

Up to now he was pretty certain his enemy Khufu, who made himself known that night behind the mansion when he had the mortal Paul trapped in the cellar, was unaware he and Kelly’s where about.  He also felt that as long as he and Kelly were discreet they would be safe from his detection.

However at this time he had no way of knowing his mortal enemy Paul was nearby keeping watch on him every morning and evening as he entered and left his lair.

Dawn was beginning to draw near when he finally changed forms and lifted from the roof of the high building and flew off westward towards Worcester and his lair.  That same evening Kelly waited in the darkness of the Boston Park near the small pond where the swan-boats docked.  She had been stalking two young women through the busy streets of the city for a couple of hours now, until finally they turned, hand in hand, into the lamp lit walkway and moved into the park.  When they reached the secluded area of the swan-boats, the pair approached a park bench away from the walkway and began to kiss and hold each other.

It was the last thing the two ever experience, because like a silent shadow Kelly came up behind the bench and slammed their heads together rendering them unconscious.  At her leisure, and hidden by the darkness of the park, she drained the women of their blood and buried the remains in the ground deep under some nearby bushes.  Sated after her leisurely feast, she moved back out into the city and mixed with the late theater and restaurant crowds.

 

Minutes before the sun edged up over the eastern horizon, and after her flight back to Worcester, she landed on the clock tower and slipped inside through one of the high vents.  In the blackness of the interior she changed to her own form and hurried down the stairs to the basement and her lair in the old roll-top desk.  Lying inside she pulled the roll the top down and closed her eyes to sleep, but for some reason the image of her mortal husband flashed through her mind.

Paul!  She mumbled, wondering why at this time his image came to her so strong, her mind filling now with mortal memories of him when they were still in college and happy.

 

 

                                          Nineteen

 

 

Paul had been so much fun and always showering her with expensive gifts.  On many of their weekends, instead of studying for their school exams, he would booked them on a flight to some exotic place, or country, where they would while away the weekend.  By the time, they finished college and he asked her to be his bride and they had already visited many parts of the world.

Paul’s thirst for knowledge was insatiable and in each country they visited, he had to see, every museum and library.  After their marriage they continued to travel, on many of the trips he going off somewhere to study some place or artifacts that interested him.  At times he would be gone for days leaving her alone to fend for herself, after months of this she decided to stay at home in the mansion and let him run off to do his thing.

In the beginning she was content to stay at home, then when boredom set in she began excepting invitations of young debutante she knew.  It was at one of these parties she met Norman, he was no Paul, but he was young, handsome and eager to please.  What she liked most about him was the fact that his wants were the same as hers.  No matter where they were, or whom they were with, they always found the time and place to sneak off and do their thing, often two or three times a week.

Ironically the evening Paul caught Kelly and Norman in the gazebo together, she had told Norman it would be the last time.  Although she loved to be with Norman her love was only for Paul, now that Paul promised to remain home and not go running off every week she had no desire to see anyone else.  It was true because when Paul was near she was always happy, when he went away she was alone and empty.  Kelly’s mistake was that she had been with Norman so many times in dangerous situations, she thought this one last time with Paul nearby in the house would be exiting and wouldn’t do any harm.

When Paul found her in the gazebo with Norman she had expected him to fly into a rage, but all he did was walk away and disappear out of her life.  Then for months after she tried to find him, even to the point of hiring some of the best detectives available.  It was at that time her parents came to stay at the mansion for a while to comfort and console her, also when she learned Paul was at a dig somewhere in Egypt.  However even after writing him many letters to tell him how sorry she was, it wasn’t until her mother interceded and wrote to him herself that he answered.

The letter addressed to her mother was brief but cordial, asking about the mother’s health and that of the father.  Not once in the one page letter was there any mention of Kelly, which had hurt her deeply.  Many more letters followed them some months later he agreed to come to the mansion and have a talk with her.

A few days after his return, and after many hours of talking, Paul gave in and confessed his love and longing for her.  For the next couple of days after their reconciliation Kelly was in a state of bliss the two constantly at each other’s side.

On her last night as a mortal she and Paul had made love in the privacy of their own bedroom and then fell asleep.  To her horror she awoke sometime later in the cold darkness of her own tomb with a strange face leering down at her, the face that of her master Ravon who she now obeyed and followed unquestioning.

Never in her awaken hours state did she ever think or care about Paul, however often when she returned to her lair to sleep her dreams would be of him and their happier days.  Lately these thoughts began to creep into her mind while she was awake and she had all she could do to suppress them.  In time the effort to bury her mortal thoughts took a toll on her, causing her to become enraged and bitter towards all of her mortal victims and her master Ravon.  The love she carried into immortality turned into a seething hate and she began to attack her victims with a ferocious vengeance.

On many occasions she drained the blood of more victims than she needed just to enjoy the terror and death emanating from them.  Mortals became nothing more than a lower class of species and a source of nourishment to her, any she chose for a victim she honored by taking their life.

“You’re weak and afraid,” she had scoffed at Ravon in the college town in New Hampshire, when he condemned her for killing so many mortals and being reckless.

“You don’t have any idea what you’re doing, he warned her.  You think your strength and speed make you invulnerable but there are many mortals and their numbers could easily overwhelm us.  What you are doing will provoke and make them aware of our existence and bring their wrath down on us.  More than that it will bring other immortals down on us, immortals that would like nothing better than to see us destroyed.  You must know about these other immortals, so I will open that part of my mind so you may see for your self and learn of the past and our enemies,” he finished.

A few minutes later Kelly changed forms and moved off over the trees into the night, carrying the specter and a deep fear of what she had learned of the past from Ravon’s mind.  Ural and Khufu were not just names to her anymore but things to fear, they were very old and powerful immortals whose strength would be very hard to equal.

Ever since the destruction and upheaval of their home island or Ur there had never been anyone more powerful than his master Lar, at least that’s what Ravon believed, yet Lar was vanquish by these two immortals who walked the earth with impunity.

When Kelly took Ravon?s offer and reached into his mind to receive these memories of the past, she was surprised, amazed, and fearful.  She saw for herself in his memories, which were now also her own, the beginning and end of the Roman Empire and all he was aware of that transpired since.

She also knew of his joys, triumphs, and fears, also his loves, hates, and desires, most of all was the fear that hung over him like a dark shadow.  The fear named Ural and Khufu, who were now the hunters instead of the hunted, those which he and his master had pursued all over the world.

Yet Ravon also remembered the years before his master became obsessed with this madness to destroy the two, the good years when the Roman Empire was still like a baby out of the womb.

Up until two hundred years ago they lived like gods in great palaces with hundreds of servants and slaves, none but the healthiest and strongest brought before them to feed on.  However the madness came upon Lar and they began their unending hunt for his two enemies.

Ravon himself stumbled across Ural’s lair one morning minutes before sunrise, where knowing his master wanted him destroyed dragged the casket far out into an open field and threw the lid open.  The act of doing this casing his own flesh to be seared by early rays of the morning sun, but in the last few seconds he managed to speed back to his own lair.

However luck was with Ural that day.  When only minutes after Ravon escaped to the safety of his own lair, thick clouds obscured the sun.  His flesh seared and his body weak, Ural managed to climb from the casket and find refuge in a small nearby cabin where he found an old man whose blood he drained for strength.

Later when Ravon told his master how he found Ural and attempted to destroy his body, Lar became enraged threatening to destroy him.

A few days later when Ravon dared approach his master again, Lar commanded him to never attempt to destroy either Ural or Khufu again.  If he ever found them again he was to inform him immediately and he would deal with the matter personally.

Some years later his master made another minion to help in their search, this one, a young woman, he sent to America to continue the search there.  It was also there they found Khufu existing among the Indians in a cave high on a mountain.  When Lar heard of this he hurried there to capture or destroy him, but Khufu managed to elude him and escape.  Another time Lar’s minion, the young woman he called “The Searcher,” called for him to come to America where she had found Khufu again.

This time Khufu was making his lair in an old mine shaft dug into the side of a mountain.  There, and after some careful planning, Lar managed to explode a mountain down on top of Khufu while he slept, but again Khufu survived and some years later managed to trap both Lar and The Searcher in pyre of flame.

Scared badly by the flames, Lar managed to escape the blazing inferno but not the Searcher.  Some years later, the scars from Khufu’s flaming trap healed, Lar managed to trap Ural and in-case him in a block of solid concrete at the base of a castle turret.

Meanwhile, in his search to find and free Ural, Khufu found Ravon and tricked him into falling into a silo full of silage where the more he tried to escape the deeper he sank.

 

Many more years passed before Khufu was able to locate Ural in the block of concrete where Lar had trapped him, then after freeing him they set a well-planned trap and destroyed Lar in a plume of fire and he was no more.

Meanwhile, unknown to Ural or Khufu, Ravon had escaped the silo and managed to flee to America.

Learning all of this from Ravon’s mind, Kelly now understood why he was so insistent on keeping his existence secret and she also became afraid.

How can they know of my existence if they are unaware of Ravon? She surmised.

A few evenings after Ravon flew southward and left her in the college town alone, Kelly became involved with a group of students from the college.  Having seen her around at times walking arm in arm with one, or another, of the male students, they accepted her as one of their own.  After this she found selecting her victims much easier and she enjoyed the pretense and anticipation.

The group she mingled with this evening consisted of four males and half a dozen female students that had walked together from the campus to a beer and pizza restaurant in town, where some other students had already got together.

Like a bear to honey she lured an intended victim to her with innuendoes and unspoken promises of her body.  On many of these occasions she sat in one of the booths petting and kissing with her victim, often allowing his hands to roam over her at will.  When the time was right, and he was fired up enough so he’d follow her anywhere, she’d whisper some promise in his ear and off they would go to be alone.  In the state his was in the victim not caring about the warnings not to go anywhere alone.

On this particular evening she sat deep in one of the high backed booths with her back to the wall and a young man’s head on her shoulder.  Suddenly she felt something pricking at the back of her mind and nervously she peeked over the young man’s shoulder to glance around.  Some of the students were standing by the jukebox picking selections of music, while out on the dance floor three other couples danced to the selection being played.

Most of the booths were filled with students except for one in the far corner, where, deep in shadows cast by the high back of the booth, she saw a beautiful young woman staring directly at her.

At first Kelly was amused and thought it to be one of the young man?s sweethearts, however when she gazed back into the dark eyes of the woman she saw and felt something ominous and dangerous.  Without hesitation she shoved the surprised young man aside and dashed out of the restaurant, then in the darkness of a nearby alleyway changed shapes and fled into the night.

Glancing back she spied another form rising close behind her, her terror becoming absolute.  With all of her strength she sped on until she was over the nearby mountains, there she swooped low to the ground and flew among the trees until she was almost positive no one was following.

For many hours she sat hiding among the branches of a pine tree, where, for the first time since she became immortal, she did not feel invincible.

Visibly trembling with fear she remembered Ravon’s words.

Not only will you bring the wrath of mortals down upon us, but also the wrath of other immortals who are constantly seeking to destroy us.

With her bravado gone now, she realized how much she did need Ravon and vowed to find and ask for his forgiveness.  He was really all she had, and all she would have for all of eternity.

When dawn approached she nervously slipped inside a ski shed and climbed into a storage chest to sleep, having no idea the young woman who pursued her was the immortal Karen, Khufu’s mate, who would have destroyed her without hesitation.  Not only had Kelly made them aware of herself and Ravon, she had unknowingly moved into the area of Vermont and New Hampshire where Karen and Khufu existed undetected.

 

In her lair inside the roll top desk, Kelly now fidgeted and wondered why these memories came to her at this time.  Then the harder she tried to wipe the images of Paul from her mind the clearer the images became, like Paul was suddenly getting closer.

Suddenly the scene in her mind changed and she saw Paul, and another man and woman, walking towards a huge gray stone building, a building she realized was the building Ravon kept his lair in just across the compound.  In a blinding rage she burst from the desk shattering the roll top into many pieces and dashed to the nearest window.  Pieces of wood from the rollup desk were still scattering and hitting the floor when, with one powerful blow, she shattered the plywood covering the window and leaped out.

Her speed across the compound was such that the early fingers of sunlight had no time to harm her, when again, with a powerful swipe of her arm, she tore the plywood from the window of the building where Ravon slept and disappeared inside.  Her only thoughts now to protect her master, the vivid thought of being alone for eternity sharp in her mind.

 

 

                                           Twenty

 

   Dawn’s light began to fill the morning sky before the vampire returned to his lair in the gray stone building, when it did Paul sat alone in his car watching as it entered the building through the dormer window.

Earlier he had driven Lisa and Bill down to the hospital where they would wait in the lobby until he picked them up again, once the vampire had entered his den and was asleep.  The logic of this, Bill and Lisa did not able to close their minds to any probing the vampire may make as he approached the buildings.  In the hospital building they were only two other minds among hundreds and it would take an extensive search to sort them out.

Shortly after Ravon returned to his lair, Paul picked them up and they hurried around the compound fence to the place where they crawled under it.  In the early light of dawn they moved in silence across the opening to the building, their footsteps leaving a telltale trail in the dew-wet grass.  Then in the same alcove they used before, partially hidden from the road, Paul set his bag down and began to pry the already loose plywood from the window again.

“I’m glad to see the sun coming up,” Bill said in a hushed whisper, the whisper sounding loud as it broke the silence causing him to look around nervously, and the grip on his weapon tightening.

“In a few more minutes sunshine will be flooding the compound,” Lisa whispered back, not worried about the sound of her voice after the plywood had come away from the window with a loud ripping sound.

After another tense minute of waiting to see if the sound had alerted the vampire, Paul slid the window open and leaned in with a flashlight to peer around the interior of the first floor.

“Everything seems okay,” he said softly, turning from the window to take the small rocket launcher with a flashlight strapped to it from the canvas bag.

“I’ve only got two shots in this thing,” he reminded Bill, tapping the top of the weapon with his hand.  “You better stay close so you can back me up,” he said, handing Bill another flashlight he also took from the bag.

“Don’t you worry pal I’ll be right behind you,” Bill assured him, laying his hand on Paul’s shoulder as he made ready to climb in though the window.

“Lisa honey,” Bill said, turning to her and giving her a quick kiss on the forehead, “you stay here and keep watch.  If anything goes wrong and we don’t make it back, you pull the ring on this canister, toss it in the window, and then run like hell.  You have to promise me you’ll do it,” he told her, handing her the incendiary canister that was about the size of a thermos bottle.

“I promise I’ll do it,” she said, her eyes full of tears as she threw her arms around Bill’s neck and hugged him before he turned and climbed in through the window behind Paul.

“God watch over them,” she prayed, watching through the window until the beams of their flashlights moved across the large dinning room and disappeared up the stairway.  By this time the sun was above the horizon, its warm rays quickly drying the dew from the grass and dissipating any small trailers of morning mist hanging in the air.

Ready with a forty-five in one hand and the incendiary canister in the other, she leaned back against the gray stones of the building letting the morning sun wash over her to take the morning chill from her body.   Suddenly one of the plywood-covered windows in the basement of the clock tower, across the compound, burst outwards with a loud shattering sound, then from the darkness within the figure of a naked young woman emerged and sped across the compound, with amazing speed, to the building Paul and Bill had just entered into.

Without hesitation she crashed though the plywood covering one of the basement windows and disappeared inside.  All it happening so fast Lisa hardly had time to raise her forty-five, but she knew what she seen was the other vampire, the one that had been Paul’s wife.

Quickly, and without any thought of her own safety, she climbed in through the window and ran to the stairway they had disappeared into.  They were armed and ready to take on the male vampire, but completely unaware of the female vampire coming up behind them and she had to warn them.

Paul and Bill entered the stairway with all the stealth they could muster, where in the thick layer of dust on the steps they saw the footprints left on their first visit.  In the beams of their lights little puffs of dust lifted into the air with each silent step they took, while an unnatural silence hung threatening in the still musty air filling the stairwell.

Added to the dust and old wood filling their nostrils, was the sting of their own perspiration beading on their foreheads and running down into their eyes.  Repeatedly Paul stopped to wipe the stinging sweat from his eyes, until worried the sweat may blur his vision at the wrong time he stopped and tied a handkerchief around his head like a sweatband.

On each floor the two men stopped on the landing to listen and scan the area with their lights before moving forward.  The darkness inside the building so thick it seemingly pressed against their bodies, the beams of their lights struggling to make a seeable path through it.

When they reached the top landing Paul motioned for Bill to stop then listened intently, then for a brief instant his mind reached out to the room at the end of the building.  However nothing came to him, not even terror from the young woman that had been the Vampires prisoner.

Her thoughts are gone so she must be dead, he reasoned, wondering now if maybe they could have saved her when they were here the first time, and with that a feeling of guilt washed over him.  Brushing the feeling aside he again reached out for the mind of the vampire and again found nothing.

“He must be asleep,” Paul whispered carefully into Bill’s ear, then stepped softly up onto the floor and moved to one side of the large day room.   Quickly Bill followed Paul’s lead and moved to the other side of the room across from him.  Now with both beams lighting up the hallway to the rear of the building, they could see the door at the far end was closed.  Certain now the room behind that door was the vampire’s lair; they cautiously began to move towards it.

Suddenly the sound of footsteps coming swiftly up the stairway behind them shattered the silence.  In an instant Bill swung his light and weapon toward the stairwell, while Paul kept his light and weapon pointed towards the door at the rear of the hallway and they crouched tensely as the steps drew nearer.  Then Lisa burst up out of the stairwell out of breath, her arms waving and shouting something about another vampire in the building.  She had no more than reached the top step when, in a blur of motion, the figure of Kelly came up the stairs behind her.  Before either Paul or Bill could fire their weapons, and in the light beam of Bill’s flashlight, Kelly yanked Lisa’s head back and bit deeply into her neck and drained her quickly.

In a wail of anguish Bill leapt forward and fired his weapon three times as Lisa’s dried husk fell to the floor.  The first impact blowing the right shoulder and arm completely away from the thing that had been Kelly, the second disintegrating it’s left hip, the third hitting it square in the chest and shattering body parts in all directions.   All of this happened in a split second before Paul could turn his attention back to the rear of the hallway where another figure flashed into the beam of his light, the figure lifting Bill from his feet like he was a baby and driving long teeth deep into his throat. In seconds Bill was no more than a husk and the vampire dropped him to the floor and turned towards him.

For the second time Paul stared into the face of the vampire creature as it came at him.  Although he had been almost paralyzing with fear before, when the vampire took Bill something happened in Paul’s mind and in a millisecond the fear passed.  Suddenly a cool calmness came over him and he squeezed off the two rounds left in his weapon.

Like watching a slow motion movie he saw the first shell whiz past the charging vampires head and exploded into the wall behind him.  The blast taking out a huge section of the wall and letting the morning sunlight fill the huge room.  The second shell flew true and entered the region of the vampire’s rib cage, the explosion that followed spraying minute pieces of the vampire everywhere.  Nowhere could Paul see a piece of the flesh larger than a golf ball and he knew the vampire was no more, but at what price?  Both of his companions lay dead on the floor before him and once again he found himself alone in the world.  An overwhelming wave of grief came over him, his tearful sobs filling the empty building.

How long he stood by his friends remains, he no idea, but awoke from the trance when the sound of police sirens drew near.

Most likely coming to see what has cause the explosion and taken out part of the wall, he mused.  Then glancing down he found his hands still gripped the handles of the empty weapon and had all he could do to pry them loose and let the weapon fall to the floor.  Finally with one last heart-wrenching glance, he viewed the remains of his two friends and moved out of the building and away from the compound.

A short time later Paul found himself standing on the bridge crossing the long lake, where he turned to stared back up over the trees to the gray stone clock tower standing high and lonely against the blue of the morning sky.

?My quest is ended, he mumbled, then after a few minutes of silence shook his head.   Maybe not, if there were two of these creatures there must be more, and with this thought, and a sense of duty to destroy them, he turned and walked off.

The End