The Vampire from Hell (Part 3) – A Vampire on Vacation is scheduled to be released Summer 2012.
Please Note: The following sample may or may not be the final version that is included in the edition on the release date.
From CHAPTER 2 – Awaiting Judgment Day
“The usual, Rayea?”
Max Edwards, the bar owner often wore faded concert t-shirts with cut off jeans and gray hiking sandals. Tonight he was in khaki shorts, funny looking shoes, and a long button-up short sleeve shirt that had his name embroidered on the left pocket. His long white hair fell over his shoulders.
“Yeah, Max. Thank you and keep ‘em coming please. I’ve had a bad day.” After re-reading Blick’s email again and finally deleting it, I decided to get drunk. It was too much to comprehend. I couldn’t deal with it. Writing and drinking. That was my plan. What harm could it do? I’d probably sober up before Death arrived anyway. It looked like he was late already.
“How could you have a bad day? Max gathered his long strands into a tight ponytail at the base of his neck.
“Thanks for letting me sit back here, away from the windows. It’s very quiet. I can get some writing done if my friend doesn’t show up. You have a new look going on there?”
Frowning slightly at me because I ignored his inquiry, he changed the subject. “You can write while you drink?”
“Oh yeah, it takes the edge off actually. I don’t get a buzz or anything. It calms me.”
Max laughed at me half-heartedly. “What do you have to be on edge about?”
“Family drama,” I lied. It wouldn’t do for me to tell the bar owner my troubles.
Max patted me on the shoulder. “I know how that is. Bowling helps me with my stress.” He glanced in the direction of where his son Jeremy should have been near the front door, keeping an eye on things. “Will your friend be able to find you back here? What does he look like?”
I caught myself before I said Death. ‘Warmed over death’ was an Earth saying I loved. Death didn’t look like warmed over death though which I was fairly sure meant awful looking. It was quite the opposite. “Like Brad Pitt’s twin, but taller. Oh and he should be wearing an expensive business suit.”
“He’ll stick out like a turd in a swimming pool.”
“Don’t you mean ‘as welcomed as a turd in a swimming pool’?” I asked Max, trying not to burst out laughing again.
“See? You’re catching on?” Max replied.
I laughed out loud, spitting some tequila onto the table. Max had the best way of phrasing things. That was what I liked about him, he always made me smile. His bar was a place where many locals frequented. It wasn’t part of the tourist scene even if it was on the main drag of Haight-Ashbury. The Golden Skull reminded me of a biker bar, something out of a Hell’s Angels movie or Pee wee’s Big Adventure.
The Death I knew and dated in Hell would have fit in with his black leather jacket and jeans. Those were the days long ago when I knew him simply as Demetri. The Death I knew now, who worked for the House of G (as the Angel of Death) sporting his Italian suits and canvas dress shoes, would certainly be out of his element in Max’s bar. Part of me actually hoped he’d go against J’s wishes and wear his leather jacket or drive up on his motorcycle. That would be a way to go out in style, clinging to an attractive man on his bike, riding for a destination unknown. I could still recognize the sound Death’s bike made above all other bikes just by the low growl of the exhaust pipes.
Jeremy, Max’s son stepped out of the back supply room. “Do you mean Legends-of-the-Fall Brad or Fight-Club Brad?” Obviously he had been listening to our conversation.
“Snack time,” the voice inside my head mused.
“Fight-Club Brad,” I replied as I carefully eyed him, making a mental note to not let my eyes glow at him because of my insatiable appetite of late. No one in the House of G told me that my bloodlust would reach new levels while being around humans on Earth. I suppose, however, they wouldn’t have known that.
It would have been super easy to feast on Jeremy – he was young, soft, and doe-eyed, but I couldn’t do that to Max. Besides Jeremy was no longer scared of me. That was a bonus. If you recall from a previous blog entry, our first meeting when he snagged my iPhone out of my hands had left him with a dismal opinion of me. Dismal isn’t the right word. Horrified is probably a better choice. ITunes gift cards had finally won him over. Jeremy was a harmless enough guy, despite his lack of intelligence. I paused for a moment while listening to him explain to his father what items they needed to order.
What had my friend, Lynn said about him Jeremy? The tequila clouded my brain. Finally it dawned on me. She had said his elevator didn’t reach the top floor. Silently I laughed. Lynn loved to ‘people watch’ as she called. With our spending a lot of time together in the recent months, I had learned that her judge of character was actually really good. If she didn’t like someone immediately on a hunch, it was usually for a good reason. Jeremy was one of those cases. Even with his letting his hair grow out of his Justin Bieber hairdo, she didn’t like him. I told her Jeremy was harmless enough and didn’t see any reason to worry further about it.
Max glanced over at Jeremy with irritation etched on his face because he had been interrupted. “Why do we need more cases of tequila? I placed an order week before last.”
I noticed Jeremy’s hesitation. He twisted his lips in a comical frown. I had no problems reading his facial expressions. The song by Lady Gaga popped into my head. He did not have a ‘p-p-p-poker face, p-p-p-poker face.’ This time I grunted a little to hide another giggle.
“Max,” I spoke up. “I think I’m the reason you’re low on tequila.” I raised my tall shot glass, and clinked it against the skull-shaped liquor bottle that was Max’s house brand.
“I thought you were in here a lot with your friends, but cases worth? Come on?”
In the recent months I had been partying with my friends. A lot actually. I was on vacation, so yes, it was true. I had been in his neighborhood bar so much that Max considered me a regular, not a tourist. After Lynn and the others wandered home, I’d spend some evenings talking with Max in the bar until dawn or going for long walks in Golden Gate park to watch the sun rise.
Max was as smart as an online encyclopedia. He knew everything, but he didn’t come off pompous or arrogant, just knowledgeable. I had increased my overall education on Earth a great deal by getting to know him. I had been tempted many times to ask Max if he had a brother because he reminded me a lot of G, even though I knew it was a silly idea.
“I’m celebrating National Margarita Day every day…well, minus the margarita mix and salt,” I said to both of them, filling my glass for another shot.
“Sounds like you’ve already had too much. You think your friend will mind if you’re smashed when he gets here? Thank god, your place is within walking distance from here.”
I nodded, hating to admit that Max had insisted on walking me home more than once after our evening talks. I also refused to admit to him, or anybody else, that the drinking kept my mind numb. I didn’t thirst for blood when I had a drink in my hand. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t perfect and I had slipped up a time or two. Maybe that’s what I had to answer for. My sins. With not having Michael’s blood, I had figured out alternative methods. Drinking was the best I could come up with so far, with the exception of drinking human blood here and there. Nobody’s perfect, not even this vampire.
“When I’m smashed, I’m silly, Max. That’s a better alternative to my being upset,” I mused. That was a fairly true statement.
“I’d hate to see you angry, Rayea,” Jeremy interjected.
“Yeah, that’s one reason I let you do your drinking here. I can keep an eye on you.” Max said as he momentarily pulled his round blue tinted sunglasses downward along the bridge of his nose. A glint of humor quickly passed in his eyes. He shifted his heavy weight and resumed going over Jeremy’s order list.
Max wore those round blue tinted sunglasses all the time, even when wearing his bowling shirt and khaki shorts. I assumed tonight was bowling night. He was certainly dressed to ‘roll the 300’ as he put it. I had googled what 300 meant in bowling and found out it referred to bowling a perfect game, a task Max had yet to full accomplish. It didn’t keep him from trying, however. Max was very religious about his bowling.
Had I been paying attention just now, I might have been able to get a closer look at Max’s eyes to see if they were similar to G’s. He did have G’s stocky build and similar white hair, but that could be coincidence. I wondered often if they were related, if that was possible. What had he said earlier about family drama?
The voice inside my head piped up, “I think Death is gonna be a no show. We may be home free!”
I stared at the tequila bottle, attempting to recall how many shots I had had. “Could I get drunk on something other than blood? Surely not?” I mumbled. Glancing around the bar, I realized I didn’t see as many familiar faces. A few regulars sat at the front of the bar where Max typically kept himself perched by the cigarette machine. “Where is everyone, Max? Seems slow tonight.”
“It’s normal for Thursday. Most people pour in around midnight. You usually don’t show up this early, hon. Jeremy said you’ve been here since 8 pm.”
“Oh, that’s true,” I said.
“I don’t think I’m druuunckk yet.” I corrected myself, realizing I had slurred the last word.
“Right,” he agreed. “Just a buzz. That reminds me. When are you going to pay your tab? My tequila isn’t cheap.” He pointed to the glass skull bottle on my table. His ‘Day of the Dead’ brand tequila ran about $200 a bottle.
“When I sell my book, Maaahxx. I told you thhaht.” Suddenly realizing that I was waiting for a meeting with Death while drinking out of a ‘Day of the Dead’ skull shaped bottle, I fell into a fit of laughter for what was probably more than a few minutes.
“Oh my god, you are hilarious,” the voice inside my head stated flatly. “Get a grip.”
I inhaled and exhaled a few times, wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes. “Man, I’ve had fun on this vacation,” I thought to myself.
“That’s her last bottle for the night, even if her friend shows up. I’m gonna roll. It’s half price til midnight. Can you handle things for a few hours?” Max asked.
“Sure thing, Dad. No worries,” Jeremy beamed. “Rayea, I’ll bring you some green tea. Okay?”
Jeremy didn’t wait for me to answer. I smiled at Max as he returned a grimace at me and sauntered away.
Realizing my speech was failing me, I decided to not argue with Max. I knew Jeremy would give me any liquor I wanted after his dad left. He knew better than to mess with me, even if we were on friendly terms.
I glanced at my phone to see if Death had texted me. It wasn’t like him to be late.
Jeremy shoved the cup on my table and watched me for a few moments.
I took my time giving him my undivided attention. “Snack time. Come on,” the voice inside my head said again.
“I’ll take the bottle if you don’t mind. I don’t want to get in trouble with my dad. No more drinks okay?”
I had moved the glass skull closer to my side of the table, on the other side of my laptop away from Jeremy, so he couldn’t retrieve it. Casually I glanced at the bottle and then him. “Take it, if you dare.”
“Come on, Rayea. Don’t be like that. I don’t want to make a fuss. Give it up.”
Instead of unleashing my fangs on him, I wrinkled my nose and bit my lip. I decided to cut my losses and concede.
“Sure, Jeremy,” I replied. “I should be getting home anyways. It’s late. If you see my Fight-Club Brad friend, will you tell him I left?”
Jeremy cleaned off the table as I packed up my belongings. The green tea had cleared my head somewhat. Blick’s words in the email surfaced again. I’ve asked Ra to find you before Death…
Now would be the perfect time to disappear. Would they even be able to find me? Sighing loudly, I swung my backpack over my shoulder as thoughts of escape walked through my mind.
As I was turning to leave out the back door, Jeremy’s voice startled me. “How many buttons do you have on your backpack there?”
Facing him, I asked, “You wanna count em?” My fangs popped out for all to see.
Jeremy turned several shades of white and gray.
I left him standing there frozen in horror, knowing full well I had set our friendship back several notches. Knowing I may not survive my meeting with Death, I decided it didn’t really matter.
The full moon illuminated my path as I aimlessly walked home. I knew I could get there without really paying attention, so I let my mind wander. What would Ra have to tell me? Was my mother really alive? I so wanted to believe it could be true. But if I let myself imagine a reunion with her only to find out later it was not possible… No, I wouldn’t do that to myself.
I had racked up a list of ‘sins’ while vacationing on Earth if the truth be told. I had been pushing my luck, even for a vampire. That’s why the text message from J didn’t surprise me, not nearly as shocking as Blick’s email. My mother was alive? I had been an experiment? What did all of it mean?
I had assumed I would get a scolding from J or have my weapons taken from me at some point. I had ‘misplaced’ the sawed-off shotgun and machete soon after Michael and Blick moved me into a lovely renovated Victorian Home near the bar in the Haight-Ashbury district.
You’re better than that, Rayea. Words from Blick’s email filtered through my head again. You mean more to me than anyone else I know. He had signed it with ‘All my love.’ Maybe I was dense, but I had never thought of Blick with any romantic intentions. He probably just meant he loved me in a platonic sort of way, like good friends. Wasn’t that what he meant?
“Only time will tell,” the voice inside my head chimed in. “Don’t you want some furry love?”
“Shut up,” I breathed. “That’s enough from you for tonight.” I paused, waiting for the light to change. Anytime after 9 pm the Haight-Ashbury district came to life. It was a busy tourist spot, so I turned down a quieter street to be alone with my thoughts.
“Don’t get defensive with me. If you love wolfie, cool. I won’t tell anyone. Can we not worry about your overactive love life for once? I’m hungry!”
“Tell me about it. Sorry friend. We’re S.O.L. No blood tonight.”
It did make me wonder as I went over the email in my head again. Did relationships start out like what I had with Blick, or the way I pounced on the couch for a quickie with Michael, or how it had begun with Ashton only a few months ago? Star-struck puppy love? Good grief. My actions were all over the place, and my love life was a total mess. Two of the three guys in my life weren’t speaking to me currently. Talk about the odds.
And the guy I was meeting, when he found time to show up, was my ex-boyfriend. Imagine that.
(Copyright 2012 by Ally Thomas)
Feel free to leave a comment, telling me what you think of this portion. Thanks ~ally!
Other Part 3 Samples include: