Happily Jerry Cooper looked around the small home for anything that they'd need in the capturing of Ben Richland. Nothing really called to him, he'd decided. It was going to have to be more along the lines of a total mind rape rather than a physical altercation because the storm would hamper any sort of bodily shoving and roping the vamp. He didn't want to slay the vampire outright, tempting though it was. A challenge to say the least -- but with all of his new skills it wasn't going to be hard. They just had to stage the coup carefully and make sure to get the vampires. That meant not only Ben, but also the envoy sent by the Vampire Council, not to mention if that creature called Maxwell tagged along with Ben as backup, it too must be either captured or slain. That was something that Jerry wasn't certain about yet, but on his list of things to figure out. He continued to look around, but as far as he could tell, the home didn't yield anything that caught Jerry's eyes as particularly worthy of being brought along for the confrontation. Julia came back from the bedroom with a sparkle in her eye and a slight bounce in her step.
"Sire, that was intense! I mean wow. Those clowns will probably sleep for the next eight or nine hours and wake up very sore. I don't think either of them has ever worked so hard in all their days. The man will more than likely be shaking like a leaf with the DTs, but I pushed in the idea that he's now allergic to alcohol and is suffering from the flu. The woman found out that she loves cleaning now and making a nice home for her husband. And yes, that fire extinguisher was from her to him. She had him so whipped!" Julia slowed down as she saw the grin on Jerry's face.
"Glad you had some fun. But we need to head down, I think, and figure out where to ambush the vampires." He commanded. From the quickly hidden surprised look in Julia's eyes he'd probably been a bit abrupt. Mentally he shrugged, as he didn't see any purpose in coddling her -- because the next few hours were literally going to make or break her. He was hoping on the making of her. She was proving to be quite resourceful and intelligent. His infusion of blood still lit her cheeks with light spots of color and her dark hair had a luster to it that came from good grooming in a well-fed vampire.
They made their way outside through the ill-lit building. Many of the tenants had long fled and the deathly silence of their homes wasn't being echoed outside as the storm continued to slam into the structure. The winds whipped through drafty doors and improperly installed windows and shutters. Jerry heard the ominous creaking of bolts and screws giving under the pressure of the wind melded with the sound of metal twisting and turning in the forceful winds. Soon the ground below would be littered with more than stray pots and palm fronds. A loud explosion of sound that came from a home caused Julia to start.
"What was that?" She asked of Jerry, her eyes a bit wild and her fangs automatically out. She was definitely exhibiting fight not flight responses to things quickly. Jerry was more than a bit proud of her.
Jerry cocked his head then chuckled, "Despite it sounding like cannon fire, it was in fact the sound of a coconut being shot through both sliding glass door and a fair amount of furnishings." The wind was immediately howling its way inside the fractured door and possessions that had not been taken by the inhabitants when fleeing were instantly airborne in the home. From out in the hall they could easily hear the thumping and banging with the vortex of wind and rain lashing around the home that just had coconut cannonballs flying through.
"It's really a bad storm." Julia announced.
Jerry laughed and guided her past some furniture abandoned in the complex's hallways either by departing residents or thieves -- given the times it was a toss up which.
She stopped dead, "It's not a bad storm?"
She was puzzled by Jerry's amusement.
"Child, these are the best of times and these are the worst of times. It all depends on how you view it. A bad storm it very well may be but honestly, only time will tell. The panic of the news reporters causes even more delightful fear and terror than simply waiting to see what nature brings." Jerry had seen his share of bad weather in the centuries and decades. The over-reaction and manipulation of media to the events in current society was amazing. The stores loved watching supplies fly off their shelves while the lumber yards were equally excited when anyone on the Eastern Seaboard even said the word hurricane or tropical depression. There had been some horrendous storms that had made landfall within the past decade, but not since he'd ventured south. His memory of white-out blizzards in the Great Lakes region was more recent while he vaguely recalled some hurricane and tropical weather affecting the Michigan territory. Still whenever a small storm started out in the Caribbean the news reports brought up every event over the past hundred years with solemn faces and snapshots of disastrous scenes while intoning how it was possibly going to be the 'worst' ever. And then afterwards smiling plastic faces with perfect hair proclaiming that the weather models were thankfully wrong, and yet again cataclysmic world-ending weather had missed the coast. Naturally the sunny faces and insincere relief didn't happen before they'd beat the topic to death from five am until after eleven pm not to mention the news runners across the local channels with various watches and possible warnings.
Julia nodded at Jerry's words but couldn't help jumping a foot when something crashed through the sliding glass door of a nearby home as they were nearly out the door. A burly man was holding onto the exit door swearing as the winds pulled him every which way. The large man was thick with a head of curly brown locks plastered to his forehead. He was darkly tanned and wearing a tight blue t-shirt and cut-off jeans. His feet were shoved into thin flip-flops that weren't offering him much in the way of purchase on the slick cement outside. His face was screwed up tight and he turned towards them and yelled, "This way is nearly impassable. You'd better head to the back exit. Some idiot has double parked his piece of shit car and not returned so the main driveway is blocked."
He screamed out, "Ernie, get your sorry ass over here. I need to keep folks from making this lot a further cluster fuck. I'm taking my truck and going to shove that loser's car out of the way and up onto the lawn."
The vampires stood fascinated by the whole scene. Ernie appeared and they saw that he wasn't more than five and half feet tall and was completely dwarfed by the burly man who was well over six feet of determined muscle. The huge man let Ernie hold the door while pushing himself into the wind against the blowing winds. The man's dark hair was plastered even tighter against his head while his shirt was nearly ripped from body by a sudden gust. The wet shirt and shorts left little to the imagination as the wet winds continued pounding at the man. He bent nearly double and disappeared from sight.
Ernie looked at Jerry and Julia still in the hallway near the main entrance and said, "You two like fucking deaf? Didn't you hear? Bob said to use the back exit. I mean fuck this is a major hurricane and if you don't get your asses off the island you won't be able to leave. Those damn drawbridges are sketchy at best but hell with a hurricane they are fucked beyond all belief. Damn loser. I know that piece of shit car is the drunk upstairs with his foul-mouthed bitch of a wife. Dumb ass probably forgot he left his car in the middle of the damn lot and went up to drain the lizard."
The man's mouth was still working as both Jerry and Julia's ears were still ringing with all the swearing and non-stop talking. That he had the audacity to say the woman was a foul-mouthed bitch was beyond ironic. He was very vulgar and happy to be so. Jerry wanted to punch a few holes in his neck and drink him dry just to keep him from breeding.
Julia saw the look on his face and pulled her Master down the hallway, calling back, "Thanks. We'll head out the back."
Jerry allowed her to lead him away from the tempting treat because it wouldn't do for him to get distracted so close to his true goal. He had the upper hand and there wasn't much chance for Ben to actually realize how physically close he was to Jerry. Add in that Celina's body was in the digestive tract of the troll, and with the approaching storm possibly a hurricane, it wasn't likely that anyone would notice that she was necessarily missing. And even if her coworkers missed her, there wasn't a corpse to discover. As far as Jerry knew her minions and fledglings were in the wind -- possibly quite literally -- and as he'd drained the collective vampire pool around the area, he hadn't felt a trace of Celina's fledglings or any of her associated bloodline. She hadn't been dead true death for more than twenty-four hours and her taint on the vampire community was already diminished. Jerry took it as a good portent of the evening to come. Celina hadn't left her mark other than whatever bits and pieces of her were scattered around the business park where the troll disposed of her, quite literally.
The back exit was deserted. Completely. There weren't any cars in the alleyway nor any humans running like chickens with their heads cut off. Their vehicle was in the front parking area so they looked at each other and sighed.
"Do we really need a car?" Julia offered.
"No, let's walk towards the bridge and see if we notice any vampires." Jerry acknowledged. They had a few hours until the meet and the rain had let up. The winds still smacked into them but they weren't human so the strong gusts barely rocked them in their journey.
The streets were completely empty. End of the world kind of empty. Well except for the tell tale beats of some rare unseen human hearts in homes hiding from the hurricane coupled with the all-too-intoxicating scent of terror and fresh wet blood in the winds. The local vampires hadn't really had much choice given Jerry's rather thorough draining of the universal vampire pool of energy and skills within more than five hundred miles. The usual glamour employed when dipping into a human's mind and veins wasn't available, so fangs flashed deep into the throats and hearts of prey, and the vampiric speed was gone as well as the mind-to-mind pushing. With all the changes the local vampires were nearly feral, trying to feed to get back their talents, and humans were paying a blood price of epic portions. The vampires in the area that had been affected by the ritual were little more than sun-sensitive humans who perhaps had been around a tad longer than their neighbors. The infusion of blood was necessary for them to gain any of their skills back. They had begun preying on the scared humans, drinking the terror and the blood. The scent was rich and thick with the promise of more to come.
The hurricane was going to be the least of the damage discovered after the storm was gone. Jerry wanted to be far, far, far and away before that time. But first he needed to snag Ben and whoever he met that had been sent by the Vampire Council. He had yet to sense any vampires within range. From the scents on the winds there had been some vamps feeding in the street during the mass exodus but they too had fled.
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