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January 23, 2023

Strange Bedfellows 39

By Lydia Manx

Harry slowed for another fog drift on the nearly empty Pacific Coast Highway. The Lexus braked well and I didn't even feel the slip sliding from the wet roads. We were about ten miles from his place but the thick fog was slowing us down. The surfers were still stripping by the roadside anticipating a huge set of waves from all indications. Surfers had little modesty and tended to drop their clothes freely in the quest for catching waves. They change in or out of their board trunks and wetsuits with little more than possibly a car door to block their nudity. I saw that the surfboards they waxed were short with two or three fins so I knew that meant big surf. And I did appreciate the view.

Harry laughed, "Natasha, pull your tongue back in your mouth. After all, you just ate."

I laughed. He was right; we'd had plenty of blood donations from the take-out Harry had brought with us on the fast flight from Kentucky. I appreciated the tasty young minions. I guess they weren't really minions but calling them 'take-out' wasn't exactly polite. I grinned back and shared my nonsensical thoughts with him. It took me a minute to realize that I hadn't been completely alone with Harry in a few days and surprisingly I was nervous. I'd drunk from his veins, savored his blood and tasted the energy from a strong Master. Not that I knew anyone Harry had made into fledgling vampires, but nevertheless he was an old vampire with an amazing amount of power.

"Well, calling them 'take out' is true, but I know what you're getting at. I usually just call them by their names," he dropped speed in the Lexus to a near crawl as a car pulled out in front of us from a side street.

Laughing I said, "Okay, smart ass."

The car that'd just cut us off braked hard and Harry came to a stop in order to avoid slamming into the back of the vintage Detroit rust bucket. There then was loud screeching of brakes from a car that had been right behind us. I felt the bump from of the grill of the auto that had just rear-ended us, effectively boxing us in, on the foggy coastal highway. I felt a chill when I saw four vampires were running towards my door from the beach side of the road and five more vamps were cutting across the highway going towards Harry's door. We'd been ambushed.

I didn't recognize any of the vampires and Harry calmly reached into the back seat and plucked out the two Civil War swords Renee had given us. Fortunately he'd stuck them into the car at the airport. They would even up the odds for us if we got free from the Lexus.

"Well, this should be fun. Anyone you know in this crowd?" Harry pulled his phone out and hit a key. I looked at the nearing fanged faces not recognizing anyone at first glance.

"We need some help. There are a few vampires that have pinned us between their cars and are currently hammering on the windows." He paused and was asked by a soft female voice where exactly were we. "We're on the coast highway and just cleared Del Mar heading south. Right before Torrey Pines State Park. I think you can get here from the freeway and cut over to the coast either in Del Mar or the next exit where the new fifty-six freeway ends." The calm voice on the other end asked how many assailants.

"I see at least nine vampires but I think the cars were being driven by humans. Neither driver has gotten out of their cars." Harry flipped the cell phone shut as the vampires' fists shattered the windows. Bits of safety glass rained in with the creeping fog. The attacking vampires laughed excitedly and pulled at us. Because they were all eager to get us, they were bumping into each other -- disorganized in their attack -- not that it mattered, given their fangs were flashing and they had serious claws. I was starting to get angry. I wasn't overly worried about humans seeing us because the heavy coastal fog that blanketed us. The surfers that had littered the side of the road on our trip down from the airport had suddenly disappeared from our sight in the cocoon of white and gray. I could hear the surfers still talking and their hearts beating slowly. From their apparent calmness I knew that nobody could see us being ambushed.

The vampires were rapidly working out the conflicts and we were operating under the restriction of being hemmed in on both sides. Not that I found it restrictive once I looked at the windshield. Without asking I pulled my legs tucked into my chest and quickly kicked out the front window. Snatching up the sword I flipped over the front hood and to the ground. Harry followed and laughed. The misty air invigorated me nearly as much as escaping the front seat.

The vampires were surprised by our maneuver since they still had their arms in the Lexus. Now that I had the freedom to move I took advantage of that and my faster vampiric speed. I could hear Harry's blade make contact with one of his assailants. Vampires don't like swords for a good reason -- once our heads are separated from our bodies it wasn't like we could drink down a pint or two of type AB positive and heal.

The vampires were much younger than me and not nearly as ruthless. They were all male and had the soft features of men not yet defined. I didn't sense deeper ages of an older vampire coming from any of them. The humans in the cars were their minions and under the strong power of the vampire -- donor blood tie. Both drivers had sustained some minor injuries from the accident they caused and I could smell their blood freely flowing. The driver in the front car was female and the one behind us an older male. They'd yet to move so I knew the vampires who'd supped from them had also planted specific tasks that they were compelled to follow and getting out of their cars and exchanging insurance information with Harry hadn't been part of the plan.

As Harry and I sliced and diced our way from the trashed Lexus through the attacking vampires we laughed. It was refreshing to actually be able to do something for a change. The blades were sharp and deadly in our skilled hands. We'd been attacked without warning by unknown vampires and we were enjoying the exercise.

I felt the claws of one of the remaining males from my side of the car and spun. He'd caught me with his nails under my right ribs tearing into me a little. That'd leave a mark. I growled. His face was contorted and full of raw emotions. His fury at watching me hack the heads off the three vampires who'd attacked me was intense. Harry called out, "Natasha, save that one for questions."

Smiling with my fangs full and my eyes glittering with excitement I said, "Not a problem."

Shifting my blade and pulling my swing I simply opened up the young vampire's stomach. I sliced through his ankle-length, black leather jacket and tight black t-shirt quickly and his skin parted easily. The sword opened up a five-inch section of blue-white flesh. His taunt abdomen did little to resist the sharp edge and he screamed while he clutched his gut uselessly. Black-gray entrails slipped through his white fingers and he paled as he watched his blood follow.

Harry and I had been quickly dispatching the attacking vampires and the last one I sliced was naturally the noisiest. He wasn't even dead -- yet -- but had made more noise than any of the other eight vampires combined. His high-pitched scream was attracting attention.

Glaring I put my hand over his mouth and said, "Knock that crap off or I'll finish it."

His eyes bulged and he nodded. He was busy unsuccessfully attempting to shove his entrails back inside his skin. He wasn't healing so it had been too long since he'd last fed. Sucked to be him.

But it was already too late, I could hear various surfers calling up and asking what was wrong. Tossing my blade to Harry I growled as I scooped him up and tossed the freaked out vampire in the back seat of the car we'd run into during the staged accident. Harry saw what I was doing and simply asked the driver to leave. The blood I'd smelt from the inside of the car was from her face. She'd cut the bridge of her nose on the steering when she'd braked and we'd slammed into her. At Harry's command she nodded and promptly wandered out into the middle of the fog-laced highway.

Harry called her back saying, "Go to the car back there," he pointed to the one that had smashed into our back end adding, "and tell him take you to the hospital right now."

She had been well drained by the attacking vampires and was easily pushed by the stronger vampire. Since the surfers had yet to reach us from the beach we simply left.

Harry said, "You drive us home and I'll work with this."

'This' being the now cowering vampire huddled in the back seat trying to stuff his body back into one piece.

I saw that the keys were still in the ignition and pulled away quickly. The fog covered our exit while Harry pushed the vampire unconscious. Harry bit his fingertip and traced his blood across the vampire's wound. It raggedly healed. Harry hadn't completely healed the vampire on purpose. He was leaving the raw injury as a visible reminder and something we could easily reopen if needed to get information. Without taking in blood the vampire wouldn't completely heal.

Harry pulled out his cell phone and called in the incident to whoever had been covering our asses for the past few weeks. Hell, who was I kidding, Harry had his group covering him and his for a long time. Dawn was quickly approaching and the morning rays would make short work of the vampires left by the roadside. They were young enough to turn to dust in the wind at the break of dawn. The fog was still thick enough to prevent anyone seeing the phenomena of vampires and death.

The mist let up once I crested the top of the highway by Scripps Hospital. I pushed the crappy car as best I could while trying to ignore the burn smell coming from underneath the hood. Thankfully, we didn't have far to go and soon I was pulling into Harry's driveway. He rolled down the back window when we got to the gate and punched in a code allowing us access to his house.

Parking in the middle of the driveway I felt an odd washing of awareness rolling over me. There was something different from the last time I'd been at Harry's but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. The burst of adrenaline I had from the excitement of the ambush had worn off and I was feeling tired and a tad edgy. The fog was wispy and growing lighter as dawn approached. Shaking my head at my musings, I watched as Harry wrestled the spare vampire from the backseat. Harry had released him from the sleep command and he wasn't grateful in the least. The punk vampire had grown sullen and still was bleeding lightly from my slicing and Harry's partial healing. I wanted to shove him into the ocean for the local sharks but Harry said we needed him.

I looked at the creature and shook my head. I wasn't in favor of keeping the vamp around us any longer than necessary. I just wanted to get my feet up and relax once we got inside Harry's place and the added company wasn't needed, in my book.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-05-24
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