Shuddering at the thought that the 'fey' ate fresh meat -- bones and all -- I considered the two creatures that'd tried to come inside my house a few hours ago. Uncle Harry had said that they were fey. So was I on the menu?
"Okay, so were these two creatures, Owens and Hicks, involved with bad vampires?" I know that it sounded stupid when I said it but he just nodded again without making me feel bad.
"Yes, Esmeralda, that's exactly what I think. Penny dug up enough information to make that the only option." He went back to looking over the paperwork that was fanned around him on the comforter. His bedroom was huge and the bed was quite literally the focal point. I found myself looking at him with an arched eyebrow. He had knowledge I couldn't even begin to question. I didn't even know what questions to ask, if I was honest with myself.
Add in that there wasn't much I could say because I didn't have a clue what precisely these creatures he called fey were, other than not human and not to mention that just the fact there were vampires was really pretty new to me. I kept reading through the other sheets of paper that Penny had told me to grab. There was the one page with my chemistry teacher that truly bugged me, but I kept looking at the other faces in case there was another person on any of the pages that I hadn't noticed in my first pass through.
Then I saw one that wasn't a man. I don't know why I hadn't seen her earlier, but then I wasn't looking that closely and she wasn't the main picture on the page. There was a man in the top half of the page and she was on the bottom in a picture with him. She'd been a girl that lived in the neighborhood. She wasn't a friend of mine but someone I'd seen constantly in the background.
"Uncle Harry, this gal lives by me." I handed the page over and looked at him with a bit of panic in my eyes.
He quickly scanned the page and groaned, "Emma, my darling, you really have a following don't you?"
I'd never been called Emma, but hearing him say that made me smile briefly and I then answered, "Guess not, huh. So what's she?" I hadn't read Penny's notes.
"Vampire minion. Not true vampire but basically vampire-in-waiting for lack of better terms. She can walk in daylight and has other human characteristics but she's not easily killed. Once she's turned into a vampire she'd be very light-sensitive for a long time, depending on her Master," he said while flipping through a few more pages on his desk. He pulled out one of the pages he'd been pawing through and handed it to me.
There was a picture of the same girl but with a different man. In fact there were two males -- one who I immediately recognized.
"Oh, damn Uncle Harry, that's Rory. The stupid vampire from last night!" The words exploded out of my mouth even while I had already figured out that little fact was a given because he'd been with me also. My eyes flew to the top of the page.
Master Vampire Jonathan Nestor seen with Cherise and Rory. Cherise is known to be a minion with very little in the way of boundaries. She's whored herself out to a few different masters trying to be turned. Every time when she seemed to have found a permanent home some major crime happens and there's always very bloody and high body count. I think she's poison personally, Harry. Her current status is unknown -- she's been missing since the shoot-out in Miami last month, where she'd been seen the week before with Nestor and Rory -- that's where the picture was taken. Rory is still a Council favorite as is Nestor (his preferred name). They have been seen also taking meetings with underworld figures -- I don't mean mobsters but those from Death's backyard you know?
Slowly I put the paper down back on the edge of the bed as the words made it seemed tainted to me. I had questions swirling in my head but I wasn't sure what I should say and finally decided on, "What exactly is this?"
Uncle Harry smiled slightly then said, "A report Penny sent to my email before she met up with you."
Suddenly my world seemed far more complicated than it had been minutes ago. I doubted that most sixteen-year-olds had dealt with this sort of stuff literally on their birthday. Sighing, I focused and tried to express my thoughts.
Looking closely at the group shot I finally asked, "Rory looks like he did last night when he first approached me. Not like later when he flipped to his 'normal' I guess vampire fanged face."
Nodding Uncle Harry answered, "I figured that Cherise was the one who'd set him set him on your trail. But he'd had more help than that to show up at the beach last night."
Giving in, I reluctantly asked, "Uncle Harry, where exactly was that beach?"
"About sixty miles north of here. I couldn't find any records of you having ever been there, but Penny finally found that there had been a colorful vacation flyer sent out summoning one and all to visit the scenic beach pictured in sunny California, that had been littered through out Florida -- like there wasn't any sun in Florida. The flyers were heavily distributed in your neighborhood, and from what she'd discovered there were some pinned up around the various message boards around your school and all of the shops that your family frequented." He looked straight into my eyes and I felt that odd pull. There was something about Uncle Harry I couldn't explain that made me automatically respect him and want his help. Pushing that aside I wondered about the flyers.
As if he'd heard me, Uncle Harry rustled through a few more scattered papers on his bed then pulled out a glossy sheet and handed it to me. I recognized the shot. It was where I'd met both Rory and Uncle Harry the night before when I'd been thinking that I was sleeping. The exact spot where I'd first walked onto the beach.
"How did Rory know I'd be there?" I finally spit out.
"I wager that your odd neighbor Cherise had seen you pick up a flyer or glance at one and correctly guessed it had imprinted in your mind." Uncle Harry offered.
"I guess they knew my thoughts pretty well." I struggled with the thought that unseen forces had anticipated my dreams and sent Rory ahead to where I drifted.
Uncomfortable by that I asked, "Is there any way that I was pushed to the beach?"
Looking directly at me Uncle Harry admitted, "Yes, they influenced you with a spell or an object."
Still puzzled I began to try to remember handling the flyer and just like that I recalled the flyer was made with a heavy grade of paper. I turned my left hand palm upwards and I could see the faint trace of a line where the edge had sliced me. Looking at my hand Uncle Harry nodded and said, "That could definitely be where they struck."
I sighed and said, "What else could they have done to me?"
"Not much because you are very resistant to supernatural influences from what I can tell. But it was just one place they had staked out. Penny discovered another four or five spots where vampires normally didn't go that were suddenly very popular in the last twenty-four hours," Uncle Harry admitted.
"How did you know to be where I showed up?" I asked.
"I felt your pull. Time fluctuations are funny at times and I felt you reaching out to this area and just followed the impulse until I saw you and Rory." He replied.
There wasn't any way I could answer that but I figured it must make some kind of sense in my new alternate world. Reality wasn't all it had been a week ago, to say the least. A trilling sound made me jump a foot. It came from the other side of the bedroom, and abruptly stopped. I looked at Uncle Harry, puzzled. He said, "That's my other line."
Okay, so he had more than one phone line, not unheard of but pretty odd, given the normal phone feature of call waiting and other assorted options. Angus came thumping back into the room holding a small phone.
"Harry, you might want to take this one." He shoved the phone at the vampire while moving quicker than I'd thought possible for a man his size.
"Thanks, Angus." Uncle Harry called out after the man while pushing a button on the face of the phone.
"Hello?" His tone was very brusque.
He didn't hold the phone out from his ear so I could listen in, but still I could hear the voice on the other side, and it wasn't Penny but some man. From the angry voice, the man was pretty pissed off at something. Uncle Harry arched an eyebrow at me while he listened.
"That's all nice, but it's not up to you, now is it, Nestor?" His voice was calm but I could see from his face he wasn't happy getting a call from the vampire Nestor. Because Nestor seemed to be mixed up with the Rory incident I already didn't like the vampire.
More irate screaming came from Jonathan Nestor's side of the call and this time Uncle Harry did pull the phone from his ear, but I don't think it was for me to listen in but rather to protect his hearing. The words, "Don't fuck with me, Harry. You aren't untouchable you know. I think you better just let me take Esmeralda off your hands now and maybe you won't end up with your fangs ripped out and a stake through your heart."
Nice, really nice, I shook my head at the venom-laced rant.
Uncle Harry hissed back, "Nestor, you are talking far above your station now. You don't have the balls or the fangs to touch me. Stop with the threats now and I'll let you live to see another moonrise."
Chills raced up and down my spine at the words. The anger coming off Uncle Harry was nearly visible. Something in what he said must have hit home with Nestor because suddenly there was only the sound of a click then silence.
"Guess he really didn't want to talk with me," Uncle Harry said drolly. Angus padded back into the room silently and put his hand out for the phone.
"Nestor's just trying to get you rattled," Uncle Harry added while handing Angus the phone.
Angus took the phone and said, "Well, he's got friends in low places."
Not having met the vampire in question I took his word for it. But that did cause another bit of trivia to pop into my mind, "Hey, how did they get pictures of vampires? Aren't you like ..." I trailed off as both Uncle Harry and Angus broke out in full-bodied laughter.
Finally Angus stopped long enough to say, "Misinformation, little girl. Fairy tales and movies help keep us under wraps as far as humans are concerned. So your neighbor hasn't appeared to age a day since you moved in when you were a kid -- you have pictures of him around the Christmas tree with your folks having an eggnog or three. You don't have to worry because he is in a picture right? Works every time."
I wasn't any closer to knowing what kind of supernatural creature Angus was but I knew that Uncle Harry was a vampire. I didn't have a clue what I was, other than apparently popular with all the creatures that go bump in the night.