Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blood is Thicker than Water

Hyland knocked in the front door of Marie LaVeau’s home with a shoulder, and Marie LaVeau made an audible sigh. “Sorry about that, ma’am,” Chip apologized, his ears tinging pink. “Guess I got a little carried away.”

“No matter,” said Marie. “I can add it onto the many other damages.” The rest of us followed them in. Forte cranked the gyros on his gun. Broadstead brandished a branch like a sword.

Forte glanced at him. “I’d sharpen the end of that if I were you, Hamish. It would be more effective.”

I looked around the room. I could feel Shalimar in the house, up the stairs. Where exactly I couldn’t locate. Abby touched my shoulder, interrupting my thoughts. “You really are Aunt Polly,” she said, as if she’d just come to that decision.

“Oh yes.” I didn’t show my teeth as I looked at her. That may have been a bit much.

“I’m sorry.”

“This wasn’t your fault, child. You mustn’t think so. I am to blame. I had no right to leave you. You were my responsibility.”

We were interrupted by Forte and one of his gadgets. “All the vampires out of the entry room,” he said, annoyed. “I can’t get any decent readings with some people around.”

“Are you referring to me, sir?” I was miffed.

“Yes, I am. Stupid idea to have a vampire—”

“Enough!” Father Stewart stepped in. “Polly is with us, Mr. Forte. I am inclined to think she is salvageable. Since I am your employer, that is all you need as an excuse for her presence.”

“Hey, the only good vampire is a staked vampire.”

“I hope to prove otherwise,” I said. “Otherwise, Mr. Forte, I give you free leave to kill me.”

“Dad-blamed vampire,” Forte muttered under his breath.

“Shouldn’t we be getting on with it, whatever it is?” asked Juliet.

“Of course,” said Broadstead, finished with his stick sharpening. He returned Hyland’s knife. “Bring on the aberrations!”

“Okay,” said Marion. He strode downstairs, followed by three women dressed in flowing nightclothes. Hyland was dumbfounded. Abby stomped on the cowboy’s foot, and Hyland sheepishly removed his hat. The women were regular vampires, not Shalimar’s special breed, that much I could sense.

“No problem,” said Forte, shaking his head and regaining his senses. He fired his gun. Nothing happened. Broadstead smirked at him.

“How was I supposed to know the energy pack was low?” Forte said, trying his gun and hearing a whine. Forte peeled his gun pack off his back and began turning a crank handle. “Keep ‘em busy, guys, while I crank this thing back up.”

Chip grabbed a stake from one of his belts and rushed forward. Marion became a cloud as Chip’s stake passed through him. Hyland ran through the mist, forward to engage a lady vampire. He apologized as he staked her, and she clawed at his jacket sleeve as she went down, hissing.

One of the women grabbed at Abby. Benjamin intervened. He swirled his cloak around my niece, and Abby and Benjamin were gone. I clawed the vampire, who was now clutching at air. Father Stewart backed her into a corner with his cross, and between the two of us, she was soon dispensed.

Forte’s gun throbbed to life. He pointed the nozzle at Marion and the last woman. As soon as the ray hit the woman, she powdered. The ray passed through vampire ash and shot a hole between Marion’s bushy brows. He shambled towards us.

Forte shrugged his shoulders. “Guys?”

Hyland feinted in for a second attack. Marion backhanded him and made for Juliet. Broadstead quickly crossed his path and stabbed Marion with his sharp stick. Marion, exasperated, looked at the stake in his chest. “I knew I should have killed you myself,” he said to Broadstead. The vampire fell forward.

“My hero,” Juliet beamed.

Forte smiled as he shouldered back into his gun pack. “Thank you,” he said.

Juliet ran past Forte to Broadstead. A hugged Broadstead was stunned into silence. Forte smirked. Hyland rubbed the bruise on his cheek.

“Miss LaVeau,” I asked. “Do you have an attic? That’s where I’d guess Shalimar is.”

There was no answer. Marie LaVeau had disappeared. Abby and Benjamin had yet to return.

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