The bubbles fizzed like carbonated tonic water around my battered body. I slid down so that my dark auburn mane was fully submerged. The hair haloed my head like spirits raised from the dead. I always liked that feeling of being fully submerged in water. Maybe it was the feeling a fetus had when in its mothers womb; safe, secure, and unaware of the violence of the outside world. I sometimes wondered why God hadn’t made me a mermaid instead of a vampire hunter.
I came up out of the water with it dripping into my eyes. I looked down at the murky, pink liquid. Blood and guts will do that to your bathwater. I felt my self reminiscing about the old days. When things were normal. Safe. Secure. And my life was void of all things creepy and violent.
Chapter 1: Professor
That was from the beginning, and this is from somewhere near the middle:
“Professor! Professor O’Conner!”
I spun around on my Nine West, black Mary Jane’s. My hair felt heavy on my neck. Hair that fell down passed your bra strap should not normally be put into a French twist, too much weight. I clutched on to the strap of my leather briefcase for fear the inertia of my pirouette should send it flying.
As I waited I took in the scenery. This university’s courtyard was the prettiest I had seen by far. Hydrangea’s and Wisteria added purple and blue tones around every corner, and roses clung to every window sill. The grass was immaculate and almost a neon green. Not to mention the trees (willow and Oak) that sprouted up sporadically throughout the courtyard. It was beautiful. And to top it all off, every time the gentle breeze blew by there was a hint of honey suckle in the air. God only knew where that was coming from.
The young man calling my name finally caught up, panting and gasping for air like a marathon runner on his last race.
“Ms…..Professor O’Con…..” he choked out between large gasps of air.
“Look son, please, take your time and catch your breath. I do NOT want to give C.P.R. today. My morning has gone fairly well.” I said with my hand on his shoulder. I really was terrified the round little thing was going to fall out on me right there.
The poor soul managed a smile and nodded in thanks as he finally rose up into standing position. He stood only 5’5”, maybe. He was as round as he was tall. His head seemed small in comparison with his massive body. His little head held big, happy blue eyes. The blue was so blue that the irises were almost black. His carrot colored hair clung to his sweaty face. He was wearing a grey colored polo shirt that was two sizes too small with jeans that couldn’t have been much more comfortable than my outfit was.
While the student recovered I decided to take a mental inventory of my own person. I had a meeting with one of the other professors and wanted to look put together.
I smoothed the sides of my hair to make sure it didn’t look wind blown. I looked down at the light weight dress suit I was wearing. Camel colored skirt and blazer with black trim on the lapels and pockets. Under the jacket I wore a crisp, freshly dry-cleaned button down, white shirt. The Nine West heels and a pearl necklace was the topper on the cake. I smiled. At 29, I was one of the youngest professors here at the university and I was willing to bet I was also one of the best looking. At 5’7 and 142 pounds, I was curvy and toned.
I had been “the Chubby One” all through middle school and as a freshman, when I first noticed boys, I started watching what I put into my mouth, and added sports and working out to my curriculum. I was never on a diet so much as, well, lets just say I would choose the protein bar instead of the Snickers I really wanted. I worked out very hard for my figure and was proud of what I had. Life was good.
When I looked back up, the smile still on my face, I saw Ol’ Carrot Top staring me down. He hadn’t coughed or anything to let me know he was back from his cardiac arrest. He had just sat there in silence watching me appraise myself. Kind of creepy, if his eyes had not been so friendly.
“So, how can I help you mister….” I smiled politely at him and drug out the last word hoping he would fill in the blank.
“MacDonald, but please, just call me Mac.” He said with a smile and hand extended for a shake. His voice threw me off a bit; falsetto should never come out of a male mouth unless highly trained in the art of singing opera.
I returned the smile and shook his hand, “Okay Mr. Mac, how can I be of assistance to you?”
“Well the UT would like an interview to discuss your opinion on the vampire killings that have been happening in the area.”
“I have no comment. Thank you, sir.” I said in mid step. The UT was short for the University Tribune; the college newspaper.
I had gotten in trouble the year before (Also my first year as a faculty member), when I gave an opinion about an artifact that geologists thought was a relic from the time of Jesus Christ. A cup with what seemed to be blood soaked into the clay. It had a cross on the front of the goblet with the initials JC behind the cross. It looked like a coat of arms almost, and historian and scientist alike were assuming they had finally found the Holy Grail.
I had taken one look at it and determined it was a pagan chalice that was supposed to be used for raising the dead. Christians were outraged and the college had to publicly apologize for MY actions. Not a wonderful way to start your first real job, huh?
“Please, Professor. I could leave it anonymous! No one but you or myself would know who answered the papers questions!” He pleaded with me as he struggled to keep up pace, little fat cheeks jiggling with every step he took.
I stopped dead in my tracks; Mr. Mac went three feet passed me before his tennis shoes could make his ass stop moving in that direction.
He spun to face me, a glint of smile in the corner of his eyes. He thought he had won. Boy was he mistaken.
“Mr. Mac- whatever your name is,” my grass green eyes blazed with anger. If looks could kill fat Mac would be dead as a door knob right now, “with all do respect sir, I am the only professor in this school with a degree in Preternatural Sciences. If I were to answer your questions, even under an alias, who the hell do you think they’d expect said it?” My rage pulsed with my heart beat, strong and boiling.
I guess he felt scared of me, because he took a large step back from me.
I could feel myself cooling down. My lips twitched in an upward motion. I wanted to giggle at the pansy before me but I kept a solid grip on my anger. Or at least I tried to hold it.
He was scared, but once he had his personal space bubble back intact he stood his ground. Blue eyes bulged with persistence and smarts. This kid was no dummy.
“Ms. O’Conner,” He started but I interrupted before another word could escape his pinched lips.
“Professor O’Conner, Mr. Mac.”
“I’m sorry, Professor O’Conner, and please, just Mac. I just wanted an expert opinion and the regular Biology professor’s don’t hold a candle to your experience in the topic. I did not mean to offend you; you were just my first choice. I had to ask.”
He was trying to soften me by flattery and I have to be honest, it was working. But not working near enough. I managed a smile.
“Well, thank you for your consideration, but I must decline. My job is way too well paying to give it up for a small interview in a college newspaper.”
And that was the truth. One hundred and twenty thousand plus a year was way too much to sacrifice.
“Thanks for your time Professor. I appreciate you talking to me. You have a nice day ma’am. And remember me if you change your mind, please.” He said with sincerity and a wink.
He bowed with an over dramatic pause and then turned on his chubby little feet and walked away without a care in the world.
Funny how youth does that to you. Carelessness is disease in the young, which proves the saying that Youth is wasted on the young.
I took a look at my watch and realized that if I didn’t get a move on I was going to be late for my meeting. So without further ado, I turned and made my way to the History department.
Vampires, as far as any one knew was a species that had survived mid-evil times. As far as I was concerned it was the only mythical being that wasn’t extinct. Dragon bones had been discovered but that’s been it in hundreds of years. Zombies were something that needed “magic” to raise and that magic had been dead for nearly as long as the dragon. Fairies were found here and there, but they are on the endangered species list, right up there with the Panda. There were only 33 fairies in North America alone. There were trolls, and sea monsters and all those things that your grandparents told your parents, and your parents told you were all imaginary, are all real, or they were real at sometime or another.
I was the only professor south of the Mason-Dixon line that had a degree in Preternatural anything; only one of 25 in the world. I was a hot commodity.
When Vampires were “outed”, I was 16 and eager for an exciting path to travel down. Vampire studies seemed like an exciting, bumpy road to travel down. I never regretted my decision, ever.
Harold wrung his hands nervously. He was at a loss, he had no choice but to let her see what his fatherly love for her had gotten her.Damn….
That was from the beginning, and this is from somewhere near the middle:
“They are here for you, Avery.” Ruby said in a thin voice.
“What are you talking a…” Avery started to ask but was cut off by Ruby.
“They are going to take you Avery. Do try to go without a fight… They will not hurt you and Michelle will find you. Be brave.”
And just like that the small bay window exploded with a violent burst.
And loud boom vibrated the whole house. Both Harold and I jumped to our feet, gave each other a quick glance and barreled to the door of his study. It was locked and I bounce right off the damn thing.
Harold seemed to appear out of nowhere. He flew through the air with more grace than any seventy year old man should have and planted his foot on the door with a vicious karate kick. Some where in the back of my mind I knew it was a Jeet Kune Do style kick.
Harold’s foot went through the door and inch from the knob. He withdrew his loafer clad extremity and put his hand through the hole to unlock the door. It swung open to a silent house.
I started to charge out into the hush and was stopped by Harold’s arm. I turned to glare at him and he put a finger to his lips and then made a sign with his hands and again, my subconscious told me that he was talking in sign language, to be quiet and stay low.
I nodded and crouched down. Harold followed suit.
I got to the corner of kitchen and did a quick peek into the disheveled area and then dodged back out of sight. I looked at Harold and gave him the okay. He nodded, and stood walking into the kitchen with an air of confidence. I followed.
The room’s bay window had been shattered inward and part of the wall had been written on in scrawling red letters; Come and get it hunter.he thought, Damn me to hell…again…
Harold stopped dead in his tracks dropped to his hand and knees, whimpering as he crawled over to Ruby. She looked fine, other than the bloody three inch gash on her forehead. The love in their eyes for each other radiated through out the room causing my throat to grow tight and hurt.
Then reality slapped me hard. This time my eyes did well up. Avery…
Panic consumed me as I asked, “Ruby, Ruby? Where’s Avery?
“It’s okay Duckie, you’ll save her.”
Greif imploded in my chest, “Mother fucker.”
I lurched forward and grabbed Avery’s keys that still sat on the table, turned and bolted out of the house.
Harold called out to me, “Michelle, please….
I quickly interrupted him.
“Harold. I have a job to do. And now that job has involved the person I care for most in this world. I’m going to kill them before they have a chance to tie THEIR shoes.”
I turned and continued to climb into Avery’s car.
I was just putting the corvette into gear when Ruby tapped lightly on my window.
I looked at her peaceful, if bloodied face, sighed and rolled down the window.
“Michelle I only want to say, think first, don’t rush. And I wanted to give you these.” She tossed the duffle bag full of tricks that Harold had given me earlier.
I looked up at her and said, “Thanks Ruby.”
“Be brave Michelle. I know you will be successful.” She said with a knowing smile and then she stepped away from the car and waved in farewell.
I pulled out of the driveway and headed to my house. It was good to know Ruby had confidence in me. Someone needed to, because I sure didn’t.
Avery awoke in the floor of a van. Her head hurt slightly from the dose of, what she thought, was chloroform, she had smelled before she passed out. Other than the head ache she felt unscathed.
She let a sigh of relief and then decided to open her eyes. She was sorry the minute she did.
“Ahhhhhhhhh!” She screamed with a vengeance.
The brown eyed vampire just stared at her.
She grabbed at her shirt and then scrambled backwards to put her back against back doors of the van.
“Relax dumb ass. The worst has already been done.” She said to Avery.
Avery did relax. But only slightly.
“My name is Beth Ann. I’ll be your escort to your resting place for the next couple of days.” she said with an evil grin.
Beth Ann was just average. Average height and weight, average hair and facial features, average clothes. The only thing on her not average was the malicious look on her face and her alabaster skin.
Avery closed her eyes and remembered Ruby’s last words to her. Michelle will save you. Be brave.
Yeah right. She’s not the one sitting here in a van full of vampires.
And with that thought, she shed tears. Tears of anger, tears of frustration and tears of fear.
I turned into my drive way on two wheels and threw the car into park before I had fully stopped.
I ran into the house, up the stairs and into my closet.
I pulled out a leather pair of skinny leg pants and a black tank. Sat down and pulled on a pair of black Doc Martin boots that laced to the knee. I strapped the ankle knife over the left boot, and the other knife onto my left arm over my set of silver throwing stars. I put my charm bracelet on my right hand, my cross around my neck and put the brass knuckles in my back pocket. I strapped on my Kodachi’s and my gun last and was ready to roll.
Then I heard Ruby telling me not to rush and decided to sit and get my feelings in check.
I sighed and let the despair wash over me. When I opened my eyes I wasn’t in my room. I was in Lyndon’s.
Lyndon was reclined on a fancy gold trimmed high back chair. He was beautiful and his face took my breath away. I gasped for air and when I did, I saw him perk up and look in my direction as if he could see me.
He stared for a moment and then looked towards the door in his room. A few seconds later a girl vampire strut through the door. She had an attitude like she was the most beautiful girl on the planet, but I just thought she was average.
She bowed down in front of Lyndon and on her way back up she came ridiculously close to his privates. Which, oddly enough, sent a pang of jealousy through me. She gave him her best sexy smile and he waved her off. The gesture would have hurt my feelings, but she didn’t seem the least bit affected. Her smile stayed planted on her face.
Lyndon was staring at her intently. I couldn’t hear a thing so I took several steps forward. Her mouth was moving but no sound out. I was looking at her trying to memorize her face when Lyndon’s smooth voice rang through. I jumped a foot off the floor at the sound of his voice.
“You know our deal. Freedom if you survive the next three days.” he said like he didn’t have a care in the world.
He still didn’t see me so I tried to calm my speeding heart down.
The girl replied in silence and he replied back to her, “Yes, yes. I hope to see you in three.” I noted the sarcasm in his voice.
She turned and left and I just stood there taking in his loveliness.
I wasn’t expecting it when he sat up. I didn’t have time to move. I figured he couldn’t see me so I didn’t sweat it much. Or at least I didn’t until he spoke to me.
“I can feel you there.” He sighed.
I flinch and started to step back.
“Don’t.” He said with such sadness in his voice that I didn’t move.
He sighed again and gave a small smile.
“I can’t see you, but I can sense you. Do stay with me a minute?” he asked. The way he said it was more pleading than asking.
He looked into the spot which to him was a blank spot, but to me, he was looking directly in my eyes.
I raised my hand and he closed his eyes and leaned his cheek into the palm of my hand. I shivered. I couldn’t exactly feel him but I could feel his temperature. He was cool to the touch.
When I looked back up from my hand to his face, a pink tinted tear was rolling down his cheek bone. I reached with my thumb and wiped it away. He leaned back and stared at what was the tear drop on my thumb. I froze.
“My tear is floating.” He said with a hint of amusement in his voice. That’s when I saw him check his self. He straightened up and walked over to the dark solid wood bed that was covered in white satin sheets.
“Go Michelle. You need to be looking for Trent and Avery and I, not spying on me.” Lyndon said to me.
He was right, so I took several steps backwards and then turned. I had walked to the furthest edge of the room and turned again to have one last look at him. He was punching a hole the size of window into his cinderblock walls.
I blinked in disbelief, and when I opened my eyes I was in my room seated in my thinking chair.
“Damn!” I yelled at myself, “Less sleeping, more working, stupid.” I rose and left, ready and rejuvenated enough to take down the world if it meant getting my friends back.~*~*~
Chapter 13: War