Piker Press Banner
November 28, 2022

The Complex 7

By Lydia Manx

One of the concerns Jerry Cooper had was where would be the best place to watch Ben meet with the unknown Vampire Council delegate and whether or not Maxwell was tagging along as backup. With the ritual's effect across the region, Jerry knew that the vampires would be feeling wary and vulnerable, and with good reason. Most of their talents and skills heavily relied on their vampiric powers, and those had been drained from them and dumped into Jerry to create Julia. Julia didn't have all the skills of the numerous vampires -- the ancient ritual had burned most of that energy to create her as a fledgling. Her turning was fast and sped up by comparison to how most vampires were made. The energy of all those vampires had fed the magic in effect.

Okay, not all the energy. Jerry had been the focus for all the vampires within five hundred miles at first, and as they began to feel the pull from their own natures, they in turn reached out and yanked on the threads of family connections further out. By the end of the ritual Jerry had created Julia and sustained some noticeable changes. He no longer looked like he was in his late fifties to mid sixties -- the side effect of the catastrophic hobbling of him by the Vampire Council. The silver-lined blessed coffin, along with the loss of his family and his lack of feeding aged him decades beyond his usual looks. The ritual had bathed him in pure vampiric essence and he looked like he was in his twenties. He also had some stronger skills and talents along with his usual vampiric ones. An unexpected vampire gift that was not something he took lightly.

But the best part about the entire creation of his fledgling was that none of the vampires within hundreds upon hundreds of miles had any true strength. The Council knew and hadn't sent any help, from what Ben Richland had revealed. Ben unknowingly supplied Jerry with quite a bit information through the mind of his pet vamp, Maxwell. Jerry had used his skills to drop into Maxwell's mind and see what was happening on Ben's side of the fence. A call from the Vampire Council put the blame on Ben not having his territory under his command. All in all, Jerry'd enjoyed the past few hours.

Jerry started his prowling of the Boca Raton area around the Camino Real drawbridge. It wasn't a large bridge, but one lane in each direction with a manned operator. The bridge was raised twenty and forty minutes after the hour if any larger crafts were waiting. The southwest side of the bridge had an exclusive gated community and the circle road on the west side splintered out to more exclusive communities. There weren't any easily accessible parking spots on the west side of the drawbridge, he quickly concluded, and headed back to the eastern side closest to the ocean after taking the long road around, not wanting to attract attention driving back and forth across the bridge.

"Sire?" Julia broke into his musing as he drove around the area looking for the proper location. He had to admit Ben Richland hadn't been a fool when he picked the spot to meet up with the Vampire Council's messenger. There weren't that many ways of entering or leaving the drawbridge without being seen.

"Yes, my Child," he was still driving and studying the surroundings. He knew he had an advantage by having his vampire skills heightened with the surge from dozen upon dozen of vampires that he'd yanked energy from when creating Julia. But still he wasn't thrilled by the set up.

"Is there something I am supposed to be doing?" She looked at him with huge doe-eyes.

"Just watching and listening for anything that sounds wrong." He really didn't need her for anything, but figured giving her the semblance of a job would keep her quiet and make the time fly faster. Last thing he wanted was her chattering to him while he was trying to work out the possibilities. He drove slowly down the road that was east of the Intracoastal. Spanish something -- like he even cared -- and it had a few apartment complexes on either side of the street. The power was off in most of the structures, and there weren't a lot of beating hearts in the condos and apartments. Slowing down, he turned off towards the beach and put on the radio. He took a minute to fumble with buttons to get an AM station. Sure enough, there was a hurricane heading towards the coast and people were being encouraged to leave the barrier islands and most of the coastal areas that fell into the 'cone of uncertainty.'

A smile spread across his face as an idea came to him. He swung his car back around and drove into one of the parking lots near one of the larger multi-storied complexes. There was a tattered 'For Rent' sign swinging back and forth in the gusts of wind, letting him know he'd definitely picked the right place. The apartments were overlooking the canal and bridge less than half a block from the peak of the bridge. Once they found the right apartment they'd have a perfect view of the entire area.

Jerry wasn't sure if he was going stay in the apartment and send Julia off to be the puppet to his theatre or if he'd go with her. But he did know that he wanted to get the bird's eye view before they committed to any action. He had all the time in the world, since he had his powers while Ben and whoever was meeting the vamp were little more than dead in the water. He really liked his idea. Looking towards Julia he asked, "So, you want to go watch the bridge with me?"

"Okay." She had a bit of a sparkle in her eyes as they got out of the car. A clap of thunder in the distance and a cold wind chased them and the leaves from at least a tree or two into the building. The apartments were mostly empty on the first floor and from the sounds inside, the ones with humans -- chaos was reigning. The few folks in their homes were shrieking at each other to find various bits and pieces of their humanity so they could load up their vehicles and flee the approaching storm. There weren't any televisions blaring warnings but battery operated radios were chasing them from the building.

It took him a full minute to find the right spot. They went up to the second floor and saw a couple arguing in the open doorway of their place in the dark about the treasures they were leaving behind. The woman was spitting mad, saying that they didn't need to take every single bottle of liquor for the journey, but rather they should find their wedding album and the pictures from their honeymoon.

"But honey, we don't know how far we're going to have to travel to get out of the 'cone of uncertainty' and some of the states are like, dry!" He was pleading while placing a large carton filled with half empty liquor bottles at his wife's feet.

"Don't fucking 'but honey' me. Our wedding pictures can't be replaced. You can always find a bottle to crawl into once we get out of that stupid cone shit. I swear to hell the weather folks make this stuff up while smoking crack! And the news said we have to leave now -- not after happy hour ends!" She slapped her fist into her hand to emphasize her anger. The man didn't back down, but slipped past her and went inside the dark home.

Neither human had noticed Jerry and Julia standing at the end of the hall watching. Jerry heard the man curse and yell out, "Why the fuck is this chair over by the liquor cabinet?"

The woman's voice was shrill as she spun back towards the cavern of the home and answered, "Because the fucking chair helped me get down the fucking picture of our fucking wedding!"

She was nearly bent in half as she screamed into the home. Jerry saw it as the perfect opportunity to do a public service and get them the view needed. Using his vampiric speed, he lifted the woman off her feet and into the apartment while Julia plucked the box of liquor bottles off the floor and followed, shutting the door behind them. Nobody along the hallway bothered to come out of their own homes, and the shock of being bodily lifted off her feet and sped back into her place made the woman stop shrieking.

The man was still clueless that his hollering bride had stopped for any reason other than to possibly catch her breath. He said, "Damn, you really have to stop screaming. That lady downstairs told you yesterday that she was calling the cops on us again. And fuck if I want to fill out reports and have to bail your sorry ass out of jail again." He muttered, "Shrew bitch."

"Your wife's the bitch or the lady downstairs?" Julia asked with a curious look in her eyes. Thankfully it was nearly pitch black, so the humans hadn't seen her fangs slipping down and her eyes gleaming with joy. Jerry knew if he didn't control them soon, they would be screaming loud enough that the lady downstairs wouldn't have to call the cops -- because they'd hear the screams of the couple over the storm a few blocks away at the coffee shop where the cops all hung out when they weren't 'protecting and serving'.

"What? Who?" Both of the vampires watched the utter shock roll over the man's features, while his wife was nearly hyperventilating with fright. Jerry felt the woman shaking in his arms like a small chihuahua. The trembling made his fangs tickle his gums, but he didn't let them out since he was trying to be the adult in the room. Julia's mind was filled with lush thoughts of arcs of blood flowing into her fangs and into her body. She was shivering with excitement -- not fear like the wife.

"Concerned citizens," Jerry said while dropping the woman at her husband's feet. He didn't even bother to help the woman up, Jerry noticed, which he found rather telling. Yet another strike against the arrogant human -- the list was starting to build in Jerry's mind and he hadn't even needed to peek into either of their thoughts.

Still in a ball on the floor, the woman lifted her face and said, "Who the fuck asked you?"

Julia sighed, "Wow, she's really hardcore stupid isn't she?"

"That's not very nice, my Child. She may have valid reasons for her attitude," Jerry offered while trying not to grin. It was quite amusing. "She may not be stupid at all, just damaged," he offered while looking around the small apartment. He was pleased to see the curtains were thick, but a sliver of space allowed him to see that the windows weren't covered with hurricane shutters, plywood or duct tape. That was part of what was attractive about the space. The clutter and lack of cleanliness wasn't comforting in the least, but he had an idea on how to solve that little matter.

"How the hell?" The man wasn't overly fast on the uptake.

Jerry helped him, "How the hell what? Did we get inside? Well, your lovely bride was nice enough to have the door open for us."

The man sputtered again, "Leave or we'll call the cops!"

Julia said, "Wow, matching bookends of stupidity? Are you all related? First cousins or something?"

Jerry smiled at Julia's retort and said, "Child, again, we don't know. Maybe they both drank tainted well water as children."

"You think? Seems pretty much like they are just slow." Julia was having fun now. She still was sporting her fangs but neither human had processed that little bit of reality. The man put a fist on each side of his hips and said, "I mean it. Leave!" He punctuated his command by throwing his right fist out and pointing ineffectively towards the door -- as if that'd make Jerry and Julia flee. A mad man pointing -- very scary.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-01-16
1 Reader Comments
Sand
01/21/2012
11:41:58 PM
I almost hope the vampires will drain those two morons dry, but wouldn't that leave a bad taste in their mouths?
Your Comments






The Piker Press moderates all comments.
Click here for the commenting policy.