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November 27, 2023
"Mes de los Muertos"

The Complex 15

By Lydia Manx

Julia's eyes rolled back in her skull as she continued to drink from Antoine, the wanna-be rapist and potential robber. Jerry looked down at his now very, dead friend and partner Ted on the concrete. The would-be thugs weren't surviving their meet and greet with the vampires. The hurricane hadn't hit the coast yet but the weather was definitely nasty, causing most of the remaining locals to hide if they hadn't already loaded up their cars and got stuck on the freeway trying to flee the storm.

Jerry Cooper could feel his fledgling growing stronger and more comfortable fanging into a live victim. Not all humans could transform easily to the vampire way of thought, and at times they had to be babied along and taught how to think. They needed to learn how to suckle at a live human versus being fed only from their Master or their vampire family. He also acknowledged that the human part of a vampire wasn't submerged simply because they'd been turned into a different creature. Jerry was getting the feeling that Julia would be perfectly fine once they got Ben Richland under control. That was something he was extremely pleased to contemplate. He hated Ben with a passion that wasn't easily dismissed. After the time Ben had spent torturing him, he wanted equal time repaying the experience. The Vampire Council had done a number on him, and Ben had been the boss of the operation.

Once Julia'd finished with Antoine she licked his neck, closing the wounds, then did something very impressive. She took his head in her palms and snapped his neck with a resounding crack, thus giving any medical examiner exploring the death of the two bits of pond scum a possible reason for the deaths; it could easily be explained as some sort of falling out between bad boys. It was perfect. Okay, maybe not quite perfect with both of them running literally on empty -- but it would be something.

"Sire, now what do we do?" Julia was glowing with the blood running through her body. On the upside, neither of the nasty pieces of humanity were going to be getting up and raping and robbing the locals anytime soon.

"I think that we should head down to the drawbridge and wait, then watch what unfolds." Jerry answered. It nearly killed him to say that. He really wanted to start tearing off the heads of any vampires within range but he knew that wouldn't help.

As it was, they had another two hours before Ben was due to show up and Jerry figured that it was better to be prepared than to be trapped again with his back against the wall. Not that Julia and he hadn't survived rather nicely, but it didn't matter, as he wanted to do the ambushing for a change, especially when it came to the Council. He'd done his time being tortured by the Council and their enforcers. That was why he was where he was at the moment. So Jerry and Julia left the corpses in the archway where the humans had tried to trap them, and walked towards the drawbridge without a backward glance. The strong winds from the approaching hurricane had died down, and there wasn't any rain so they were able to make good time as they covered the block or so from the street towards the drawbridge. Once they hit the bridge Jerry turned to Julia and said, "Into the fray we go!" "Yes, Master." Julia didn't seem to care one way or the other. She was still glowing from draining both Ted and Antoine. The predatory humans had made a mistake. They didn't know that they could easily become prey to the right predator. When Jerry had discovered that Antoine had been a victim to another vampire, it gave him pause. The brief glimpse into the man's mind hadn't yielded a face to go with the mental fang marks. But it didn't matter; Julia and Jerry were the only vampires with any power for hundreds of miles. Once Antoine had seen Julia's fangs he'd fainted and after he'd come to Jerry had flashed his and Antoine had crumpled like a tissue during flu season. Had they not killed Antoine he'd have had some serious emotional issues.

Julia followed Jerry as they walked across the bridge with gusts of wind pulling them every way. A man came out from the small drawbridge tower where he operated the manual raising and lowering of the bridge. He hailed them as they were half way across the bridge. It wasn't twenty or forty minutes after the hour so Jerry knew that they weren't trying to cross when the bridge was about to be raised. Not that there were any boats in the IntraCoastal Waterway waiting to pass. The waves were lapping up the sides of the waterway and a few stray waves crested the banks and sprayed the nearby landscape.

"You two nuts?" The man said as they approached him. The orange vest he was wearing was a bright spot against the gray black sky. Before they reached him he took a moment to turn his head and cup his hand around a cigarette he pulled from a crumpled pack in his front pocket of a pair of worn dark slacks. Using the lighter he pulled from his other pocket he hastily lit the cigarette before a stray gust could blow out the flame.

The man exhaled and the smoke was torn from his lips dissipating into the night quickly. The tower slightly protected the man from the wind but not completely. Jerry and Julia were about a foot from him when Julia stiffened. Jerry quickly peeked inside her mind to see what had startled his fledgling. The image of a silver cross resting in the gray and brown chest hairs on the bridge operator's tan chest came into Jerry mind. Julia was terrified that the cross was going to harm her.

She didn't realize that the man wasn't a true believer in anything other than making himself seem nice. The silver-lined coffin where he'd been kept back in Michigan wasn't the same as the pretty necklace pendant at the man's throat. The casket had been very carefully lined inside with icons, crosses and medallions that were all blessed by true believers, cried upon by praying humans and genuinely dangerous to supernatural creatures.

Jerry decided to defuse her worry and at the same time answer the man's hail. He spoke with a softer voice and said, "Oh, my. Our car doesn't have any gas and we need to get over to our friend's house so we can pray for the safety of all those in the path of the hurricane."

The man smiled and said, "You are Saved?" While Jerry heard him thinking very unkind thoughts about Jerry and some salaciously naughty thoughts about what he wanted to do to and with Julia. The human used the large cross as bait and wasn't above lying to get what he wanted.

Julia made a slight grunt then answered, "We have been turned to the path," not really admitting to any religious affiliation, but at the same time acknowledging that Jerry and she were different. Vampirism could be considered a path as far as she was concerned.

The man smiled, revealing tobacco stained teeth. He took another drag off the cigarette and blew the smoke directly at them. The man stepped closer and put a hand on Julia's forearm. She stiffened slightly as she could smell alcohol radiating from the man. Jerry knew that the man had dismissed him and wasn't even worried that Jerry would take offense at the familiarity.

"You are a good Christian woman. I can tell these things." His hand trailed up Julia's arm and he tapped her nose lightly as if playing with a small child.

Julia's eyes went wide and she said, "Oh, do tell! You just know that, huh?"

Taking her words for permission, the man stepped even closer into her personal space and said, "Naturally. You are positively glowing with the spirit."

He had that right but not the correct reason. Julia smiled quickly without her fangs. Jerry watched his fledgling carefully to see how she'd handle the very misguided human. The man's hand had trailed down to Julia's back and slowly down to her ass -- as if that wasn't noticeable enough, he then patted her tush saying, "Purely glowing."

Given that Jerry'd outfitted her somewhat like trollop with heavy-handed use of makeup to make her a distraction when meeting up with Ben and the Vampire Council's envoy Jerry had to wonder if the religious groups had changed that much since he'd last poached from them. Julia said, "Thank you."

She'd yet to move away from the man but Jerry stepped back and looked towards the other side of the bridge. He could feel something tickling the back of his mind and knew that a vampire was getting closer to them. He didn't yet know if it was Ben or Maxwell but he knew it was definitely a vamp. Julia's eyes flew to Jerry's as she too felt the intruder.

"We need to be heading out now," Jerry said softly while looking into the man's gaze. He pushed slowly through the layers of alcohol and stupidity and pushed. It wasn't a deep mind meeting since the guy was pretty dull, but he gave a new set of instructions. His hand fell free from Julia's body and he shuddered soul deep. With eyes brimming with passion, the man said, "Go. Just go. I need to ..." here he trailed off and stared into the dark running water beneath the bridge.

Jerry helped Julia across the rest of the span without speaking until they were on the other side.

"What just happened, Master?" She asked once they stopped beneath some foliage to the south of the street.

"I decided to make an honest man out of him. Next time we pass this way that cross may actually cause some pain." He said softly in his natural voice.

"What?" She looked utterly confused.

"I sent him back to whatever Christian group he attended to be born again, because obviously it didn't take the first time." Jerry figured that could cut down on the man's predatory nature and put in place a religiously based human at one bridge to keep the local vampires a bit more wary once they returned to their former power.

"Wow. But our car's back there." She didn't understand.

"There is more than one way on and off the island and the man doesn't work twenty-four seven." He watched her as she nodded slowly, understanding.

Jerry still hadn't decided if he was going to need Celina's head and hand but he'd cross that bridge later. If nothing else he planned on mailing the damn box to the Vampire Council with a note saying, 'Wish you were here.' That made him smile. Of course he'd have to ship the head carefully for it to arrive undetected. Maybe he'd use one of the special delivery services that cost an arm and a leg. It would be appropriate not to mention nicely ironic considering she'd given her all for the Council. So to speak.

Grinning Jerry said, "The storm seems to have blown over for now."

The winds still swept through the area but not as strongly nor was there any rain in the air. But there still was the overpowering scent of horror, fear and blood. The vampires were still trying to gather strength at fang tip using the storm to hide their work. Jerry knew it because he could feel the vampires' confusion and anger at being little more than fledglings all over again. It was a nice side effect from the vampire ritual he'd used to create Julia. He was stronger than he'd ever been while all the vampires around were weak. He was happily feeling like he was finally in control. And he definitely planned on staying that way. It was all about control.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-03-12
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