The room suddenly seemed smaller. His vision was gray and sparkles of light were in the corners. He couldn't breathe in deep enough to catch air. Leon wasn't that far behind him, yet for some reason he couldn't turn away from the bed. Molasses covered Daniel as he tried to move. All he could see was Molly. She was the only color in the room. Red frilly corset on her white skin and her bee-stung lips were lush and deeply pink. She wanted him to come closer and be with her. He slid another step towards Molly and she turned her palm over; automatically he put his hand into hers. Her fingers were chilled, but then she wasn't wearing much. Her breasts tantalizingly close and she smelled of crushed rose petals. Something bitter undercut that scent that he couldn't identify. Distracted by the cascading feelings and wants he looked into her open eyes. She wanted him so badly, and he ached to satisfy her needs.
Then she pulled him on top of her. His body sang with desire as his mind screamed danger. His body won. And Molly's hand cupped his body and he surged with passion. She quickly reached into his trousers and found him wanting her. Joy raced through him as he surged more into her hand. She was more than a whore! His mouth ached to reach her lips but he was frozen with her fingers working him. It was then that her fangs sunk into his neck as she wrenched her fingers around his body and tore a major bit off of his body. His lifeblood pumped in two directions. The appeal was waning, as was his existence.
Leon was frozen in the doorway as he watched his son being torn apart. The vampire, Molly, had his neck in her mouth while her claws yanked his manhood from the root. The scream was horrifying. Leon was dying with his child. Then he remembered his duty and pulled out his blade. While Molly feasted on his son he jabbed through both bodies pinning their hearts. A quick flip of the wrist and Molly screamed and her mouth freed from Daniel's jugular. He wasn't dead Leon discovered as blood shot out of his neck over Molly.
Even while pinned to the bed Molly grinned and licked her lips as Daniel's heart pumped out his final moment over her face.
"I don't care," she hissed through her fangs. She was glowing from drinking Daniel's blood. She was pinned by both Daniel's body and the knife thrust deeply through both bodies. Swiftly Leon pulled the unused knife from his dead son's waist. Once the blade cleared the sheath Leon began speaking the ancient curses and tore through Molly's neck. Now her blood sprayed both Daniel and Leon. She laughed while quickly losing her own life.
Leon had expected something more from the vampire. In his past they struggled, they displayed sadistic and unnatural strength and toyed with him and his companions. His son's death was relatively mild for a cornered vampire. It was like Molly knew it was her time to die and allowed him to kill her. She took his son with her -- but Daniel had been half dead already. The loss of Leah was something he hadn't really fully come back from; he'd just been marking time until he joined his wife. The ancient oath taken by his family handed down rarely was broken. Daniel's inability to resist the vampire's mind games meant something had been fractured in his soul and he was vulnerable to the evil.
Molly stopped smiling, her blood stopped pumping and her eyes stayed fixed open without anything behind them. He knew she was fully dead but still had to hurry to complete the ritual. Ignoring his son he quickly began pulling things from the pockets. Gingerly he removed the small metal container with the "prairie matches" given to him by a Texas man. Carefully he struck the volatile phosphorous match and lit the candles in the room. To his relief the stick lit like promised. Moving quickly he put the candles on the floor next to the bedding. The dry sheets caught quickly and Leon sighed but knew he had to leave his son. The flames were racing around the bedding destroying the blood and murders. His son would forgive him the brief words and lack of a burial. Leon had to get to the other vampire's place. There just wasn't any time.
As he tossed the knives onto the burning bed he fled to the whore's bedroom. She was still sleeping. He found the table had a small pitcher of water for cleaning up and tossed it in her face saying, "Something's burning!" She was groggy but heard his words. She reached behind the dresser and grabbed a knife and a small cloth bag Leon gathered summed up her sole possessions.
"Well, fuck let's get the hell outta here. There ain't no fire truck here and nobody gives a shit about us working women." That was the most she'd said after telling him an amount. They ran from the room and collected the few women and men in the rooms. In the chaos nobody noticed his son was missing. Both the whores that had come up with them were too groggy to notice the missing man. The women were all clutching small bags and some sort of weapon. Nobody held much hope for the now burning building. Smoke rolled down the stairs chasing everyone outside.
"Well damnation!" A burly man exclaimed while trying to pull his suspenders up over his shoulders. Meeting Leon's gaze he tucked in his shirt while saying, "I was quite enjoying my discussion with the young lady now fleeing with my coat."
Leon didn't have anything to add but the man continued, "The same coat that contains my watch and a fair amount of coins. I sincerely doubt that will be returned." In the distance they could see some women were fleeing scantily clad towards other saloons, or as in the case of the one with the coat towards the stables. Somehow Leon suspected the man was correct with his assessment of the loss.
Once away from the burning building Leon paused in an alley to catch his breath. People were swarming in both directions. Some were running from the inferno while those ghoulish in nature were drawn moth-like to see what there was to see. Leon thought that he could smell burning flesh in the air. It was possibly a stray memory from another time he'd been forced to burn a monster but nevertheless he could swear it was scenting the skies. Determined to make sure his son's murder wasn't in vain, he pushed from the building that had been holding him upright to find two men had entered the alleyway behind him.
"Old man, just hand over the valuables and we won't harm ya." The one with a scruffy beard spit out along with a glob of some sort of phlegm. The other man had a hat pushed down on his head trying to cover the ginger colored hair sticking out from his pasty skull. Something was not quite right with one of his eyes so Leon just assumed that he was attempting to glare at him but it wasn't as menacing as he'd thought. Leon didn't have time to argue so he simply pulled out his gun and shot the one who asked for his money.
The man was surprised by the extra hole added to his skull but that held little concern to Leon. The other man's mouth fell open, "You shot 'em!"
Leon pointed his revolver at the man and arched an eyebrow.
"But you shot Peter! All we wanted was your money." The man really was a simpleton. Leon didn't have time for discussion; he aimed carefully for the middle of the robber's forehead. He really didn't want to waste a bullet. It quickly dawned on the surviving thief that his fate was going to follow dear old Peter's if he didn't run. And he ran while Leon casually left the alley once returning the gun to the holster. The warmth reminded him of his son's first shooting lessons and how the barrel had burned his palm when he went to remove the bullet casings. Sighing, he headed to where the other vampire had a room in a local widow woman's home.
The road through town was teaming with folks. Some were running with buckets and pans full of water from the creek. Most were acting as if the building wasn't blazing in the distance. After all it was on the west side of town and there was a gap of space in between that was muddy and not much was built on the land. The tents that separated the parts of town were likely to be torn down rather than risk the entire town burn to the ground. Leon was relieved there wasn't much of a wind so the likelihood of the sparks jumping was minimal. If he didn't know how much damage a pair of vampires could do he probably would have felt bad about starting a potentially horrific fire in the tinderbox town. As it was, he walked with a bit more purpose towards the woman's home. The duster had simply soaked up the vampire's blood and his shirt was dark so the stains weren't noticeable.
He well knew if he got up close to anyone for more than a minute they'd be curious as to the coppery scent. That wasn't his worry, but rather if he'd be able to kill the vampire Ned before he awoke. The scent of blood was stronger to vampires, he'd learned over time, and any cut was seductive and bewitching to the fanged set. Momentarily he worried that his pinprick of Daniel had caused Daniel to be swayed. Ruthlessly he shook the thought from his mind and called it what it was -- devil's temptation. He quickly muttered a prayer and went to the widow's home.
An elderly woman opened the door, "Yes?"
"Miss Parsons?" The sign painted roughly out front declared it the 'Parsons Home for Gentle and Kindly People' and 'Vacancy: Ask Within' let him know how he'd gain quick entrance.
"Oh, no sir. She's recently gone to her heavenly reward. I am Miss Rachel." Her face was lined and her dress impeccable. The bustle wasn't overly large and her frame was strong enough to withstand the weight of the fabrics draped this way and that. Leon felt for the woman in the heat of the day but needed to get inside without causing too much more commotion.
"Ah, Miss Rachel. My pleasure." Leon used courtly airs and knew he couldn't rush the moment. She looked to be a screamer.
"What a sophisticated accent! You, my sir, must be from Europe." He nodded and removed his hat. Rather belatedly he hoped none of the blood had struck his face. From the thickness of her eyeglasses any minor spots would be easily missed. She didn't jump back in horror so Leon figured he was presentable enough.
"You need a room?" She asked softly while looking around as if trying to protect him from prying eyes. Something caught her attention so she quickly hustled him in the house without him having to say another word.
The dust from earlier was quickly engaged and she was soon slumped on the divan in the sitting room. He tucked a blanket over her form to imply she was simply napping. The crystal had returned to somewhat normal light yellow in Leon's pocket. He felt like it should have been stained with blood and still black in the center. Light from the thin panes of glass in the sitting room refracted and rainbows danced on the walls giving lie to how the tool was used. Such brightness to discover darkness seemed obscene to Leon.
This time the crystal pulled him downwards. He wasn't surprised when it was smoky black in the kitchen. There was a cellar door in the corner and he felt the knob carefully. There was a hum of something. This vampire didn't leave his protection to others. Leon used the contents from a few other pouches in his coat to battle the traps set in the door and beyond. Time was racing as Leon finally snapped past the last trap -- he hoped it was the final one but knew there could more. With a deep breath he crossed into the vampire's room. Room was a generous term as the root cellar was still in use and there was the earthy scent of rotting fruit and molding vegetables. The household hadn't been eating from the storage area in a few months. But then the vampire probably erased the room from Miss Rachel's mind.
Leon had seen this pattern before of vampires taking over a household or in this case a boarding house and killing off the owner, installing someone less familiar with the house. A large crate was in the deepest corner. It was there Leon knew he'd find Ned. He had to act quickly for the vampire wouldn't be fully asleep once he smelled the blood on Leon.
The crate was well crafted and Leon set out all the tools he'd need to the side on one of the empty wooden shelves within reach. With a snake-strike speed, Leon whipped open the crate and staked the mammoth vampire. As he yanked the blade across the vampire's throat he stared directly into open eyes. Into his brain he heard a murmur, "Finally, it is done."
Stunned, he completed the slaying of the vampire. Neither vampire seemed shocked when he killed them but resigned. It was as if they'd just been waiting for someone to stop them. Hardening his heart, he followed the rituals and assessed the death of the two vampires. He would send word back to Europe.
They needed to train more humans. Vampires weren't just a European problem anymore. He wondered what other monsters he'd have to find in this strange open landscape. Mentally he prepared in his head the talk he'd have with Jenny so that she and Ben would join his wagon. He needed to move from this town quickly and help Nate cope with the death of his father. He would train Ben and Nate starting in the evening. But for the moment he mourned his son while finishing up at the boarding house. The quiet time was gone. He had a war coming to him.
July 21, 2007 7:32 pm