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September 19, 2022

Strange Bedfellows 44

By Lydia Manx

Harry pulled out another item from his black leather bag. It was a large, empty hypodermic needle. With DB nearly dead, Harry did something unexpected. He turned to me and said, "Natasha, may I?"

I was confused for a second, then understood he wanted to draw some blood from me. Tensely I put my trust in the vampire and gave him my right arm. He slid the needle in softly and pulled out an inch of blood into the vessel. Simon stroked my spine again and I felt the murmuring inside my soul of his appreciation for my calmness. He well knew I was faking it. His vampiric essence flowed over mine and I actually found a taste of serenity.

My fledgling could smell my drawn blood and struggled unsuccessfully against the stakes. The large vampire drummed his heels against the flooring trying to find purchase to literally pull himself free from the stakes -- it wasn't possible. Had he been able to free his body the four stakes surrounding his heart would have probably instantly killed him. Harry took the full syringe and squirted a bit of my blood out of the tip. Damson's thin, nearly black, tongue slid from between his lips and he rasped out, "Give it to me."

Chuckling Harry let a few more beads of my blood escape and fall wasted to the floor near DB. Damson's fingers clawed at the spikes in his palms. The pinned vampire moaned and cursed softly. If I hadn't hated Damson so much I probably would have felt bad for the dying vampire, but as it was I didn't feel anything but disgust.

"Let's try this again. Which clan of vampires did this and how did they get you?" Harry dribbled a bit more of my blood out off the tip and dripped uselessly onto the wood. DB wasn't able to resist spitting out his vile hatred, "Fuck you, Natasha, for making me and holding me back from the true glory I deserved."

He was delusional about how he would have risen in the vampire ranks. His sociopathic mentality would have had him staked at dawn long before a decade passed because he had no friends and made enemies quickly. I knew that I had been too soft on the vamp but then I hadn't been given permissions to kill my creation. I often wondered if parents of serial murderers ever had the same thoughts. Shaking the dark thoughts free from my mind I watched DB struggling with his options.

"Fine. It was Kenyon and his clan." His eyes slid off when he spoke the lie.

We could all hear the bullshit lacing the declaration. Harry's response was to push the plunger with his thumb and allow more blood to dribble and fall. DB was shaking and trembling. His tongue poked in and out and his lips moved as he tried to choose his words. No sounds came from his mouth and we waited. An early bird called out to its mate breaking into the silence. The sun was well over the horizon but the fog still spun its delicate webbing over everything, muffling the outside. Being so insulated from the world was haunting us all. Time was slipping away from us so quickly and even if Harry gave DB those few drops of my blood it truly wouldn't do that much for him -- but then DB never had been one to over think a situation and his current mess reflected that to me pretty clearly.

"No, I don't think so. Try again." Harry tapped the remaining blood in the syringe as a visual clue to DB what was at stake -- as it were. I wanted to kill DB and crawl into any available bed. My exhaustion was making me nearly lethargic and yet still I would be happy to hack off Damson's head and worry about sleep later. The implication of charred figure on the floor definitely was making me edgy -- somebody knew where Harry's guesthouse was and how to get inside -- and DB's hunger was further pushing at us all. It was creating a dangerous energy.

"It wasn't Kenyon." The rough admission cost DB another second of his remaining life. Even as he neared death Damson was still trying to scheme his way into a better place. What he failed to recognize was that neither Simon nor Harry would give anything to save the dying vampire, which I found very reassuring. "Granted. So who was it?" Harry asked again. His voice was calm and didn't reveal how important the answer was. We all knew that DB's presence was due to more than a good spot to dump a vampire. Harry's security had been compromised as well has his trust. Damson's answers were important.

"It was this vampire chick from Arizona I'd met. Cynthia. She had a group of vampires with her that were supposed to kill or kidnap you." The admission cost him something. His life was edging away quickly. DB still thought he could survive this but it was readily apparent to the rest of us how crazy the notion was. I didn't see Simon slicing open a vein to feed DB and I certainly wasn't going to save him.

"Okay, that's good to know. But how did you get here? Who staked you?" DB's eyes bounced around as if he was looking for an answer. Harry pushed a bit more of my blood free.

Finally it was dawning on DB that he needed to give Harry some answers quickly. Damson was still under the mistaken impression that Harry would be allowing him to survive to fight another day. Simon and I knew better. Harry had only promised him a quicker death. I didn't see the purpose in cluing DB in on the truth. It wasn't like he'd ever been honest with me. Since he'd come down to Southern California allegedly to help Simon and me find out what Kenyon had been doing DB had been growing more and more distant and operated on his own initiative which had resulted in his latest misstep.

DB began to frantically fill in the blanks. His words were nearly overlapping in his haste to get them out of his mouth. I could see he was fading fast and it had finally dawned on him that he was truly at death's door.

"I met Cynthia and her clan a week or so ago. She said that they were here to make an alliance with Kenyon and his werewolves. They'd arrived in town right before Jessie and Buddy were killed. Kenyon told me to act as his representative. So last night I met up with them just outside Dark Whispers and was told that we'd be capturing you two today." He looked a bit confused as it sunk in that Simon, my Master, was also standing in the house and we weren't captured or killed. I, also, found it curious that Damson hadn't even put together Jessie and Buddy's deaths and the arrival of the new clan of rogue Arizona vampires. He knew as well as I did that Jessie had been one of Simon's favorites. The werewolves I'd discovered in the past few days equally mourned Buddy's death.

"Geoffrey is Cynthia's fledgling and he and I went out to feed before we were supposed to meet up with Cynthia. He had two hookers lined up that he said were out of this world." For DB that could mean a variety of deviant opportunities and I didn't bother to ask what it was precisely that tempted DB to go off with Geoffrey -- a vampire he'd just met. I also didn't bother to explain that earlier I'd killed Geoffrey.

"The hookers were in a bedroom of an abandoned house somewhere over in the downtown area. All the smoke from the fires in the East County was making it hard to see very well so I was confused where we exactly were. Geoffrey had driven and we got lost a few times so I was pretty turned around by the time we were in the house." This seemed to be an important point for DB to explain so we didn't interrupt him. Harry caught my eye and lifted an eyebrow -- he was as confused as I was why Damson was rambling.

"Once we got inside the house Geoffrey led me to the back bedroom where the girls were. I quickly figured out that they both had been doing some serious recreationals before we got there." Simon looked puzzled and I whispered, "Recreational drugs -- illegal drugs or drugs they don't need." He nodded and we both waited for DB to continue.

Damson cleared his throat roughly and sighed, "So they were both pretty much out of it. Geoffrey told me which one was mine. They were heavily perfumed and all the smoke had scented their clothes. I didn't notice anything was wrong until I'd sunk my fangs into the gal's neck."

We all froze as we waited to find out what the Arizona vampires had spiked the hooker with to cause him to zone out enough for them to stake him down on Harry's entryway floor, not to mention that he'd been burnt nearly to a crisp. There wasn't that much that could knock us to our knees. A thought fluttered across my mind and DB spoke it aloud.

"The chick was a witch and had been dosed with some damned type of fey magic. There was a bang and flash of fire that exploded from her and all over me. I was quickly covered in flames and on fire. I fell back and was frozen while the blaze slowly burned me with this weird green fire. The supposed hooker I'd been given wasn't on fire but she wasn't going anywhere. I think she fell to the ground unconscious. Not that it mattered because once Geoffrey finished off drinking from his girl he casually snapped both of their necks. I remember how he laughed at me taunting me for drinking from a tainted whore. The magic was unexpected and stronger than anything I'd ever felt before and since." He laughed at his unintended humor because the odds of his feeling any magic in the near future was pretty much zero.

"I was pretty much a charcoal puppet once the flames burnt out and I wasn't able to move. Geoffrey easily carried me down to the car. A few other vampires met us and they brought me here. I couldn't move until sometime yesterday and discovered that there wasn't any way to escape. It only took them a minute to stake me and they then took off saying they'd be back with you guys in a few days." DB had spoken more in the past few minutes than I ever heard from him. His behavior around me tended towards the silent, sullen and angry type of immaturity usually seen in teenagers. But he was still mistakenly thinking he'd be able to talk his way out of dying.

"How did you get inside?" Harry asked softly.

"Oh, some vampire named Peter was on the phone with Geoffrey telling him exactly how to get inside, where there'd been put a spare key and the code for the security system." That confirmed the name of Harry's compromised vampire from another source. Harry tightened his lips and unconsciously pushed the plunger of the syringe releasing more of my blood. Damson groaned at the loss.

Simon looked to me and said, "My child, is there anything you want to know from Damson?"

"Yes, why did you try to kill me at Kenyon's club?" That still rankled. I knew something of how much he hated me but that my own creature tried to do it in front of a variety of werewolves and vampires just added to the pain. The loss of my minion wouldn't be a bad thing in the end because he hadn't been very helpful in an extremely long time. He was constantly scheming and trying to make me do something wrong so Simon would lose faith in my abilities.

"Because Kenyon promised me money and my own pack of werewolves once you were gone." Pretty straightforward answer but it pissed me off that much more.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-06-28
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