"Honey didn't tell me there would be an adult party up here." Hank's voice, while still trying obviously to maintain control, was confused and drifted to the three vampires and human frozen in the upstairs hallway. It wasn't an ideal spot but they hung in the doorframe anyways. The alcohol and blood loss wasn't helping Hank's brain functions at all. The sight of Jim suspended in the bedroom upstairs had dashed Hank's misguided hopes of there being a teenager in lust just waiting all alone for him to come and play with her. Charlotte was very happy that she'd given the fool a fake name; what took her by surprise was that he still remembered it. She wondered about the cameras in the room running and also what else the stupid human had babbled out when he was supposed to be shutting down the remote online viewing party. She'd never figured him as a chatty type, but fear did unusual things to humans.
Charlotte shrugged at Eddie's raised eyebrow as he mouthed, 'Honey?' to her with a grin. Of course he knew it was her Hank was talking about and she gritted her teeth. He hadn't bought her shrug of confusion.
It wasn't like she had time to explain. It could have been worse, like she could have used something like the stripper name Cinnamon. She'd had a fun time as the vampire called Cinnamon. Eddie picked up her memory of her Cinnamon persona and he smiled back -- he'd been around during her Cinnamon Cherry nights. She'd fed but didn't kill the lust-filled men that came to the dance halls to leer and try to touch her. Stripping was a great way to make money and drain humans undetected. Not like the man was going to go home to his wife to explain his loss of money and some blood because of a stripper. It was a win-win situation as far as she had been concerned. Well, until that damn lawyer showed up in the strip mall fiasco. She sighed, as the irony of that little twist hadn't escaped her.
Kegs put a large forefinger to his lips in the easily recognized 'shush' sign. Then he slowly pantomimed the universal visual charade motions for movies involving a cupped hand to his eye and a round cranking motion with his right hand. Once he saw that he had their attention he held up three fingers on his left hand. With his right hand he bent his thumb down in a jerking motion. The hitchhiker thumb's up gave them the bad news. Kegs then whipped up four fingers on his other hand and flipped his thumb over motioning downward. Charlotte gathered that Hank had taken out four of the room's web cameras and three remained. She was relieved that Hank didn't know her real name. With seven cameras and a talkative human there was no doubt in her mind that Hank would have said it repetitively probably while giving details of what he thought about her. That would have been hard to explain to the vampire council. It was doubtful if Hank had heard much less knew Toby's name so it wasn't likely he'd called him by name, but probably something like 'dude' if anything.
Kegs' finger walked that Toby was inside which they'd figured out and completed his pantomime with his hands covering his eyes and with that he let them know that Toby was hidden from the online camera view. Kegs' hands pulled away from his face and he raised his eyebrow. It was Eddie's turn at charades. He tapped his left wrist twice where most humans wore their watches and asked Kegs nonverbally how much longer with his hands tilted upwards and with his fingertips waving. Charlotte was pretty impressed by the boys' charades. Kegs understood and lifted his large shoulders in an elaborate shrug.
Eddie thought at Charlotte, "So what's your human's problem?"
Biting back a loud sigh Charlotte reached into Hank's jumbled thoughts. Hank wasn't 'hers' in any way. Suppressing a shudder at the thought of him being one of her humans she concentrated on looking into his head. All of the alcohol he'd had earlier fueled his rather bizarre fantasy about a young girl waiting upstairs just for him and the loss of blood readily fed into his elaborate and misguided sex scenarios. Her suggestions for the cameras had mostly been handled but his rather loose handle on reality was quickly unwinding. She hadn't counted on him having enough internal reserves to battle her vampiric manipulations. Yet if she pushed him too hard with specific directions he might suffer an embolism and die before all the cameras were covered or switched off. That could be disastrous to say the least. It also wasn't very pretty -- all the twitching and legs strumming with the death spasms.
She arched an eyebrow at Tim's back and had Hank involuntarily call out, "Tim, you want to come here and help me?" Some times she loved being a puppet master. She grinned at Eddie.
Hank wanted explanations so he didn't fight the suggestion from Charlotte but welcomed the mental help. He sort of recalled the name Tim but it wasn't something overly challenging to his brain, so there was no resistance to the words she'd fed him. Toby had been pretty much blurred in his view and his erratic mind hadn't completely worked through the variables, so Tim's help was necessary. Leastways that's what Charlotte had nicely pushed inside the brain before she got out. His mind really was more of a cesspool than anyone knew.
Tim shuddered then stiffened his back. Carefully avoiding physically touching Kegs as he passed the biker, Tim went to see what Hank needed. It wasn't like he didn't have an idea, but with three rather old vampires in the hall and only one inside the room free he figured -- mistakenly -- he could possibly escape through one of the bedroom's windows. Nobody needed to read his mind. His fears and false expectations were widely broadcast for all to hear. Tim really would have made a lousy vampire. He had little ability to block their automatic mind readings. His fears made him tasty bait for anybody close.
Eddie flashed Charlotte back with his toothy grin with a wicked gleam dancing in his eyes. He pulled her to his side and they crowded in with Kegs on the threshold. The four bodies currently inside filled the room rather well.
"Hey, Tim, where's the hottie?" Hank snarled at Tim while gesturing to the suspended Jim. For some reason the cluster of vampires at the door didn't register in Hank's brain. And they were doing more than just filling space, Charlotte noticed and stepped back into Eddie's body as Jim's eyes rolled open and found hers.
For some reason nobody had thought to gag the nearly dead vampire. Tim immediately noticed that Jim was now awake. All the crosses he had put around the vampire earlier were no longer draping over his hostage but obviously Hank had pulled them off and dumped them into a corner by the bed. A pillow had been dropped over the stack pretty much muffling the power they held -- symbolically and visually. Tim's spike in fear scented the small room like a rotten perfume. Toby remained in the shadows -- unmoving. He wasn't really able to do much until the last cameras were safely removed or shut down.
Kenyon's mockery of the bondage set up haunted Tim's eyes as he suddenly recalled his master's cautioning what could and would happen if Jim got loose. Hindsight aside -- Tim was pretty much screwed. Frozen in the doorway the three vampires were powerless to stop what happened. They all were well aware that the cameras were still rolling. Jim yanked the hand closest to Hank free first. The chains pulled from the ceiling effortlessly and the cheap hardware fell to the floor with a noisy clatter and accompanied by bits of drywall and white paint. The newly unchained hand fastened onto Hank's skinny wrist. A fast jerk and they all saw the forearm bend then snap with bone and blood released suddenly from the violently ripped open skin. Hank's eyes went huge and shock set in before the screaming began. And Hank screamed like a little girl.
Raw death fears were in the first wave of emotions for them all to feed from while Jim was busy working to fang into Hank before he pumped out what was left of his life before them all. The three other chains were still holding him but he was thrashing as he began to feel stronger. Tim wasn't used to seeing vampires at their worst; that was something Kenyon saved for after the humans were turned, so the raw sight of fangs gnashing and growling was terrifying the bartender. He was rigid and scared. Yet more food for the crowd. Toby caught Eddie's eyes and when Eddie nodded for him to go ahead the silent warrior went into full vampire mode. Speed and deadly force being two of the finer qualities Toby possessed with the given permission he began to fix what he could. He sheathed his gun into a holster in the middle of his back and began to move. They no longer had the luxury of time with Jim struggling to get loose.
Lightning fast he set about smashing the remaining cameras, little finesse was needed given what would be recorded in mere minutes if they ran. Tim was in his way so he physically moved the man out of Jim's reach and into Kegs' waiting arms. Eddie and Charlotte stood back while Toby did what he was best at -- cleaning house. Kegs had his hand over Tim's mouth to prevent the now shaking man from screaming. Jim was still trying to fang in and feed on Hank. Hank's ear-piercing screams had dropped off to a sickening moan and whine.
Once the cameras were destroyed, Toby didn't have to worry about web watchers finding out what was out there going bump in the night on a site they expected to just see bumping and grinding. Sex may sell but violence brings the big money in -- just ask any Hollywood moviemakers. And what Toby did in no more than five minutes would have been on the top of the download lists for YouTube until hell froze over and beyond. Marine biologists have long admired the predatory grace of sharks in a feeding frenzy. The predatory vampire in full feeding frenzy arced beyond grace and gore and went to a basic deep primal fear of humans. There was a reason why vampires didn't let folks 'watch'. Human instincts rose to kill anything stronger or faster -- just witness all the decimation of the animal kingdom. Vampires were nearly beyond their comprehension. The reality was that much more intense and far more deadly.
Leastways for Hank and Jim.
Toby unleashed was a gorgeous death machine. He correctly figured that Hank's blood didn't need to go down Jim's fangs and given that he pulled out one of his blades and simply ripped Hank's throat open quieting the man's noise. The arc of arterial blood sprayed and pumped out drenching Toby in bright red fluids. His dark skin glistened slickly and he glowed. His eyes were icy black and white starkly framed in his face that was coated with the human's blood. Hank certainly wasn't going to last long enough to feed Jim and his fears were all but gone. Charlotte had completely pulled herself mentally free of the human the moment it all started to fall apart. She blocked him since she had no need to feel his fears and regrets ... just the few hours she'd spent with Hank made her happy to see his death.
Toby didn't stop with killing the human. Jim wasn't still either. While Toby was in motion, Hank had been ripped from his grasp literally, leaving the torn wrist and hand in Jim's. Jim tossed aside the useless part and reached his free hand down his body to pull at his chains on his feet. The time it took for him to fold himself and work his way over the pulley system and restraints to his feet was enough for Toby to finish up his killing. Hank was dead and Jim was next. There wasn't a question in anyone's mind.
Eddie and Charlotte waited to see how Toby intended on killing the captive vampire. To fang in and drink Toby risked Jim's link to Kenyon being triggered. But at the same time Toby wasn't in the mood to take any suggestions so they simply watched. Meanwhile Tim had stopped struggling against Kegs. He was well aware that the odds had shifted and silence was the best choice. He'd given up aiming for a window because he wasn't as confident he could clear the lawn before one of the four or five vampires in the house would have caught him. Some of the bravado the bartender usually gave off was missing as well with his newfound knowledge of how surprisingly fast vampires truly were. Kenyon rarely moved quickly and Toby was moving faster than humanly possible. All of that and more had finally sunk into Tim's mind.
Charlotte risked distracting Toby and said softly, "We don't have more than a half hour left."
Grinning, Eddie said, "Toby won't take that long."
Jim frantically pulled at the lightweight chain that was linked from the ceiling down to the leather binding tightly strapped around his right leg. The race to free himself and fight was lost even before it began. Toby decided to skip the simple bloodletting and go straight for the main event. A second blade joined the lethal blade he'd used to kill Hank and the new one had an even sharper edge. Crossing his forearms Toby uncrossed them severing Jim's head between the two sharp weapons. The brute force necessary to accomplish such a slaying was apparently well within Toby's means. Tim starting choking watching the casual display of brutality, but quickly got himself under control as Kegs shook him slightly reminding him not to attract any more attention. Kegs shot Charlotte a positively pirate-like grin. She was thrilled to see her friend happy -- if even for a moment.
"All well and good, guys, but anyone thought how we going to explain the bodies?" Charlotte asked drolly.
"Why, do you plan on staying around?" Eddie was amused.
"Not hardly. Damn, guess we better hit it. All the screams had to be noticed by the neighbors. One of them had to have called the cops by now." Charlotte had no desire to run around slurping down memories and rebuilding lies in the heads of any nosy neighbors on top of dodging the cops.
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