They both let loose blood curdling screams as only cats and small children can make. The two monsters didn't even flinch. I now saw them with my new eyes. Both of them were no longer simply large scary men but had some strange aura around them. It was a toxic, yellowish-orange miasma that I hadn't been able to see before my conversion. Vampiric vision was pretty cool, I thought as I kicked the smaller of the two men hard in the groin. There was something there as I got an immediate reaction. I didn't wait but while he was bent over in pain I quickly followed it up with a fiercely direct chop to the Adam's apple and while clawing up the side of the monster I rolled over his back and took the time to kick the other one aside. The larger of the two was suddenly falling like deadwood at the unexpected move and the cats were on him with feral yowls of fury. They sung out their joy at the unexpected treat and began to do the same thing to them as they had to Maria.
Finally I clawed at the creature's eyes I was on top of and laughed. I felt delightful. The hell spawn had not been expecting me to act. I guess they figured they would just simply pick me up and toss me down into Hell or something. And with the yells and shouts coming from behind me neither had the gang on the porch. Harry was furious I could tell. Hell, tell I could hear him screaming at me in his head. Erika had pulled out her squirt gun and was attempting to pick one of them to shoot when Harry struck her hand down saying, "Don't you might hit Gwendolyn by mistake!"
Mistake, my ass, Erika wanted to take me out now when I was new. I heard that all the while I was slashing, laughing and slaying a giant. The cats were now getting help from a befuddled but helpful Harry. He had taken over for the cats and was shadowing my strokes and strikes with a bit more oomph than I had available, I guess being an older vampire had its benefits. I felt the power of these two flowing off and into me. Hell spawn was delightfully tasty was my thought as I supped on their fears and anger. Erika and Misty stood off to the side watching. Cinda couldn't handle watching the carnage or my happiness at the new state of being so she had let Misty watch. Misty enjoyed the show and called out unneeded advice.
I was still working out my fury. I had my mom's killer and my best friend's mom's rapist under my fingers and teeth. I so owed them some payback and was finding all the week spots on monster number two. Okay, so this was way fun. But I also was getting something else. I was feeding off their fears while avoiding their blood. I knew better than drinking from them but savored the pain and suffering I was causing. A mental click went off in my head.
"Damn it, Erika, that house is going to blow in a minute!" I shouted while tearing off an ear. One would think ears would be fastened a bit tighter to a body, I briefly thought, when it dawned on me that they probably didn't have ears in Hell or whatever otherworld they usually were slinking around on when not trying to snatch innocent girls from small Midwest towns. I tossed the ear aside and simply slashed its throat. I would have expected some sulfur smell or fizzling but it just bled and died. Somehow I didn't think these things were male and female -- just other. Banshee pounced on the stray ear and screamed out her happiness at finding a piece of the monster. El Diablo rubbed up against my leg and purred loudly, he nearly knocked me over in his enthusiasm.
Disregarding the cats, I yelled at Erika to help me toss the beast into the house. Maria had just finished dragging herself to the threshold when we slammed her back inside with the monster's heavy body. The smacking thud of wetness made me smile. Harry had finished up his slashing around the same time and threw the other one inside right after us. The larger body made a louder sound and I smiled.
We all looked at each other and began to run down the driveway. Just like a bad movie we hit the property line when the house blew up. Nobody ever talks about the wave of heat that flashes out when a bomb or something goes off. I can tell you it is amazingly hot and diving into a snow bank helps. Somewhat -- but not as much as you would think. I felt the hair on the back of my head get hot and singe off. I rolled and saw that everyone was doing the same thing. The flames shot high in the air and the snow continued to float down. Lying on my back looking up I was stunned I was still alive.
"We have to move," Harry said while jumping up gracefully from the snow bank. Struggling from the weight of the wet snow we all slowly got to our feet. We brushed off ourselves the best we could we began to walk down the driveway. Even with the chaos of the past few days I could hear the sounds of the fire trucks leaving the firehouse. I guess someone noticed the fire. The plume of black smoke identified the spot and we ran for town.
Before we reached Tina's Inn I had began to see that there was something odd happening in my town. Most times when a fire truck ran to a fire, half the town piled into their cars to follow and see what was happening. Not on this snow-filled night. Instead, I saw people fighting and arguing on their porches and behind the windows framed by flickering candles and shadows on the curtains. As we briskly walked past nobody even looked to see who was passing. That alone hit my weird meter. My town thrived on gossip and innuendo and here we weren't even meriting a glance. Three women and a man walk-running fast down the sidewalks while a fire burned in the distance. Something had flowed through the town, robbing the citizens of their curiosity.
I looked over to Harry and said, "How many have been taken?"
He didn't pretend to misunderstand but replied, "More than we can allow to live."
Cinda gulped and asked, "Can we get my mom at least?"
Harry looked to Erika. She smiled and said, "She was cleared out earlier tonight. We also took some of the old guys from the diner over to the county line for their protection."
Cinda sighed, "What about Tina and the cops?"
"They all got some calls -- nobody you two care about remains anywhere near this town. Isn't it amazing what the power of the badge can do?" She grinned widely. All I knew was I felt grateful that Erika had got them out before everything hit. And I did mean everything. From what Harry was thinking, this town wasn't going to make it until the morning.
I don't know if my knowledge that the town was cleared of anyone I cared colored my vision, or being a vampire did it, but all I looked at was dead. Maybe not just at that exact minute, but I could see it was all gone. Nobody looked or even glanced at us as we strode along the street. That alone made me uncomfortable. My town was never truly asleep. There was always somebody watching and judging. Hell, that was part of why I hid at home for most of my years. I hated the constant spying and gossiping that went on with a small town. My mom always kidded me that I was a changeling and that I belonged in a big city that never cared what happened to their own. Having met Harry, I knew now that she had only been half joking. I did belong elsewhere. It had just taken her death to bring all of the reality crashing down to make that happen. Harry was taking me with him. This was a done deal. Cinda-Misty and Erika were going too. The time was now.
We hit the Inn and ran to our rooms. No words needed to be spoken. Automatically we grabbed our basics and met back in the lobby within fifteen minutes. I noticed both Harry and Erika now sported extra lumps and bugles I associated with guns and various weapons. Cinda was quiet and Misty never even popped up to say hi. Once we were gathered, we headed for the parking lot. Words were unspoken but automatically acknowledged. We knew without saying what we had to do. Run.
Harry had a large sedan and Erika caught the keys he tossed her. Both Harry and I got into the back seat letting Erika drive and Cinda take the passenger seat. The black tinted windows made the snow filled night fade to just the four of us in the car. Make that five, with Misty riding Cinda. She had yet to show herself but still I knew she was a heartbeat away from us all. Some things went without saying.
Once on the road Harry started in on me, "What the hell were you thinking?"
Oops, I guess he noticed I had done my own thing with the monsters. I couldn't help but bite back a smile. It wasn't like the creatures were exactly good the guys. But then what exactly I was escaped me for the moment. Last time I checked vampires were low on the totem pole for superheroes much less just basic decent folks.
"Harry, it all worked out." I tried for the results versus what I had done to provoke the results. It had 'worked out' but I really had been pretty lucky. The monsters had been semi-tasty but I hadn't got to drain them for real, just the fears that pushed along them. My bloodthirsty behavior was pretty odd but it was all I knew now. Harry was less than happy by my flippant comment but couldn't deny it. It had all worked out once the house went up in smoke. Smoke and flames -- but, hey, results.
Harry sighed and looked at me. He was a damn handsome vampire but now there was this string of energy between us. I saw him as family. Cinda, on the other hand, still had her passions for him. I tried not to laugh at her wishful thinking. Harry was light years ahead of us and yet there was something about him that called us. I was content to watch and learn. Erika looked over her shoulder and asked, "Where to, boss?"
Somehow I knew she wasn't asking me where to go. She still wanted to kill me. Misty flipped over to Cinda long enough to catch my eye and nod slowly -- I guess that wasn't a huge secret over in the great beyond. But I knew something Erika didn't know.
She was expendable. I wasn't. For Seth's sake alone, Harry would keep me around, just because I was family. Erika was safety and meal. She didn't know she was little more than food to both of us. She wouldn't until it was too late. Holy water squirt gun aside -- we vampires were top of the food chain. Harry knew how to keep his prey happy. I just knew that Cinda was not going to betray me. Misty was happy to be along for the ride.
Harry looked into the rear view mirror and told Erika, "Let's head over the state line to Mitch's house."
She nodded and sped down the road. I glanced back over my shoulder to see the town fading. I knew I would never be back. My mom's body would go unburied and the town would be gone by tomorrow for all practical purpose. It didn't matter. I would miss the car. That was pretty much the only thing I would mourn.
It didn't matter in longer. I had a new family now. Harry would be the father and I would be me. Erika was our protector and Cinda-Misty our spirit side. I don't think there would be a mayor elected. Whatever was in my hometown was going to rip through it like wildfire and destroy everything it touched. Nowhere would be safe. Sure it might last a year or so, limping along pretending to be alive. But I knew it was gone. All that remained were ghosts of formal occupants.
The snow continued to blanket the road and houses lining the highway as we thumped our way out of range. I watched the smoke rise in the distance from the Winters' burning pyre. Life was draining away as we left. I could feel the energy falling from the town.
Harry caught my look and said, "It is okay. We are going to Seth's family now. They owe us."
Stunned I returned the look, "Are you sure they owe us? Why would they care if I was even alive? You said I wasn't even Seth's child."
Harry smiled, "Because the McKay family is part of the vampires of my line. Seth vouched for you. It doesn't matter who is your real family. They will hide us for now. Too much is happening to ignore."