“Shhhhhh. Don’t wake him up.”
Andrew opened his eyes. Two small faces blocked his view of the rest of the world.
“Hi,” said the girl.
“I’m free. My sista is five,” said the boy, then he held up his hand, showing five fingers on one, and three on the other. “I’m her baby bruber but, but, but, I’m not a baby anymo.”
Andrew tried to speak but pain and the inability to make a sound stopped him.
“Your neck was stabbed,” the girl told him. “Daddy said he would try to save your voice.”
“Daddy said you a singer. He said you a special pire,” said the small boy.
“Vampire,” his sister corrected.
Touching is neck Andrew felt a bandage. He closed his eyes and put his head back on the pillow. Where am I, he thought. Not that it mattered. He was in too much pain to care if anything mattered.
He tried to remember the night before. Was it the night before? The week before?
“Now get along children, don’t bother the man. Go on.” The children giggled and ran out of the room.
Andrew opened his eyes again. A huge bear of a man stood in the doorway. He held up what looked like a chestnut colored tail about a foot long. “I believe this belongs to you.”
Reaching to the back of his neck Andrew felt his hair. It had been hacked off right at his collar line. He hadn’t had it that short in forty years.
“You’re no Sampson but they tried to take what was important to you. First your voice, then your looks. They would have done more damage had they had more time. It looks like they were either trying to cut your vocal cords or cut your head off. By the way, you were naked as a jaybird when we found you. My wife has gone out to find you some clothes.” He chuckled and said, “You obviously can’t wear my clothes.”
No, he couldn’t. Andrew was a muscular but slim 6’2″. This man was at least four inches taller and seventy-five pounds heavier.
Memories started to come back to Andrew. He’d been wearing his favorite Armani tux. Damn, they’d taken it, whoever they were.
That night he’d sung with the Pacific Rim Chamber Orchestra. The theme was American Romantic. After drinks with friends he’d gone home with one of the violinists. Ramona St. Marie. She had blonde hair, skin like silk and type A+ blood. Ramona was perfection all wrapped up in satin sheets. She’d been a friend of his for years – always fun but never expected anything from him. Next he’d called a cab…then…then…nothing.
Since the 1870’s Andy had found himself naked in a lot of strange beds but it was usually good. He thought of last night. At 163 he was still young for a Vampire. He had a lot of good nights left in him.
Trying to speak again Andy found his voice had completely frozen up. He tried to sit up on the bed. Benjamin held out a large hand and helped Andy, who pulled the blanket around his waist. The two children, Wren and River came running back into the room and crawled up on the bed with Andy and started to giggle and bounce around.
“Children, sit still. Wren, precious, go get our guest one of those pads of paper from my office and a pen or pencil so he can write down what he has to say.”
As Wren ran out of the room in search for office supplies, another man entered the room. He was as average height but extremely thin and pale. His hair was in an auburn man-bun in back of his head. Hornrim glasses sat on his nose in front of two pale blue eyes.
“Ruben, I didn’t think you’d make it. Andy this is Ruben. Ruben this is Andy.”
The contrast between Ben’s large dark brown form and pale skinny Ruben was almost startling.
“Ruben here is a hair dresser by trade. He is also the best colorist in a hundred mile radius,” said Benjamin.
Ruben fluffed up Andy’s ruined hair with his hands. “Looks like there is enough to work with. I’ll fix you up and still leave you looking cool and sexy.”
Wren ran in with a pad of paper and a yellow pencil.
“Wren honey, yellow is lovely but we need something darker for Andy to write with. Could you bring back a darker colored pencil or pen?”
Wren ran back out of the room. River started to jump on the bed again. “Stop it River, or I’ll send you to your room,” said Benjamin. River stopped and sat next to Andy, leaning his small form into the Vampire.
Ruben put a towel over Andy’s shoulders and pulled out a stray bottle of water and scissors. Andy closed his eyes and put his trust in Ruben.
“Open your eyes beautiful,” said Ruben when he was done. “You’ve got a lot of wave in your hair.”
Andy looked into the mirror on the wall and saw soft waves surrounding his face. His hair looked good. He looked down and saw Wren who stood holding out a pad of paper and a purple crayon.
Taking the paper and crayon from Wren, Andy wrote one word. Why?
“You beautiful boy,” said Ruben, “haven’t you heard the debates? Haven’t you read the news? They came for our people already. They’ll be coming for your people soon, and when they do there will be no survivors.”
Andy wrote on the paper, “I’ve been dealing with Vampire hunters for a hundred years. My family has been dealing with them for centuries.”
Benjamin spoke this time, “This time it will be different. They’ll get the government involved. They’ll out you big time. Then you’ll be dead, or end up like the Zombies in a relocation camp.”
“Zombies are already dead,” wrote Andy with the purple crayon.
“So are you according to the government and the Vampire Hunters,” said Benjamin.
Wren took Andy’s hand again. “You’ll stay and be our friend?”
Andy smiled, minus his fangs, and gently squeezed Wren’s hand.
He looked out the window and noticed that it wasn’t morning but evening. The sun was starting to go down. A riot of pink and yellow could be seen in the sky through the trees. The pain in his neck started to go away but his voice was still raw.
He wrote a bit then held up the paper, “Vampire Hunters are a pain in the neck. HA HA HA.”
Then he wrote, “Thank you. Owe you big time. If there is anything, and I mean ANYTHING I can do, let me know.”
Benjamin and Ruben gave each other a look then looked at Andy.
“Stay true brother,” said Benjamin, “stay true.”
“Stay true,” said Ruben.
Ramona finally came home with clothes for Andy. The jeans and tee shirt fit. The flip flops were comfortable.
“You have to go commando. I wasn’t comfortable buying underwear for a man I don’t know,” said Ramona. “Your hair looks good. I don’t trust anyone with my head except Ruben.”
They talked into the night, and in the morning Andy called his sister to come get him.
It was a rare peace he found in this house in the woods with people who under stood what it was like to hide who and what you really are. Oh wouldn’t it be grand to live in a world where nobody had to hide. Andy know that would never happen for him. But at least there were a few places where it was safe and sane, where love was unconditional and true.
“So what did you do with the Vampire Hunters?” Andy had to ask in a horse whisper.
Benjamin, Ramona and Ruben all smiled.
“They’ve been take care of,” said Ruben.
Andy didn’t ask for any additional information. He’d heard answers like that before.
Yes, there will be more adventures with Andy’s new friends… just not today.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman