“There is nothing so wonderful as an attractive man in a historic costume.”
Austin thought about it for a minute. He’d wished he could take his entire group of graduate students to see Hamilton when the show came to San Francisco, but it would be a small fortune. Actually, it would be more than a small fortune.
His sister Chelsea had met her husband at the Dicken’s Christmas Faire, in full Victorian dress no less. Their wedding had also been a full Victorian dress event. Now Austin’s bother Dakota was getting married soon in a Wild West theme wedding.
The parents of the three Durant siblings had met at a Renaissance Faire and of course had a Renaissance themed wedding. No wonder Austin was a history professor.
“I’m married. Dak is getting married. When are you and Elizabeth getting serious?”
“I thought you were in love.”
“Don’t tell me it’s complicated. How complicated can it be?”
“She isn’t like most girls?”
“What? She used to be a man? She has a criminal past? She belongs to a cult?”
“No, none of that.” Austin took a deep breath and changed the subject back to Dak’s wedding.
Austin Durant, history professor, contractor specializing in historic buildings, and Vampire hunter, thought about his girlfriend Elizabeth. Sure he loved her, but she scared the Hell out of him.
Then Chelsea asked, “Have you found any Vampires lately?”
Austin almost spit out his coffee. “No. Jeeze, Chelsea, I told you not to talk about that.”
“Every time you work on a building it seems like you find bodies under the floorboards.”
“Not every time. Just most of the time.” Then he kissed his sister on the cheek and told her he’d see her soon.
He had planned on heading home but decided to stop by his girlfriend Elizabeth’s house. Well, he thought she was his girlfriend. For over a year… he didn’t know what to think. It drove him crazy. It pissed him off. It amused him. It terrified him.
The front door was cracked so he let himself. That was odd. He called her name. No answer.
Austin found Elizabeth in her bedroom. He’d found her in her bed, wearing just a tee shirt and underwear. Long, dark, blackish red scratch wounds were on the left side of her face, going down her arm, then across her ribs, and on down to her left thigh.
She lay there cold, not breathing, with no sign of a heart beat.
“Elizabeth. Wake up.”
She cracked her eyes. They were black. No bruised black but black iris, black pupils, no whites. She gave a whispered hiss and showed her fangs.
“What the Hell Liz?”
She let out a small gasp. “Demons. I ran…into…Demons.” Then she closed her eyes and put her right hand over her face.
Austin said her name again but she wouldn’t respond. He could see the edges of the scratches on her arm and face turning black.
Now what? He wasn’t a Vampire. He just knew how to kill them, not how to heal them. If he called 911 or took her to the hospital they’d ask too many questions, and she was already dead. Sort of dead. Shit, he didn’t quite know how exactly to explain it.
He called his lawyer Aaron Todd, who just happened to be a Vampire too. After Austin explained what he found there was a long pause on Aaron’s end.
Then the Vampire said, “Whatever happens don’t let her bite you. I’ll send help. Hold tight.” Then he hung up. No explanations. Typical Vampire.
Austin sat next to Elizabeth as she lay with her fangs showing and black eyes staring at nothing. He half expected Peter Cushing to come out of the closet and offer him a cross and a wooden stake.
“Hey, you must be Austin.”
Austin looked up. A well dressed hispterish looking man stood in the doorway.
The man held out his hand. “I’m Val, Aaron’s brother. He said you needed help.”
Austin took Val’s hand. It was icy cold. Of course Val was a Vampire.
Val put his hand on Elizabeth’s forehead. “Hey, sweetheart. Shhhhhh. It will be alright.” Then he looked at Austin. “The Demons have been bad lately. She must have let her guard down. They’re drawn to distraction.”
“Distraction? Like what?” Austin didn’t understand what Val was getting at.
“Like you.” Then Val smiled, a sweet charming smile, that made Austin’s stomach flip. This guy could kill him and eat him in fifteen seconds, and nobody would ever know. He brushed that thought out of his mind. He heard a car stop in the driveway, then voices and steps coming up the stairs to the bedroom.
Into the room came two teenagers. One had white blonde hair in a man-bun on top of his head. His face was almost as pretty as Elizabeth’s. His blue eyes sparkled, almost like water in the sunshine. He was wearing black tuxedo pants, a blue and purple Hawaiian shirt and yellow flip flops. The girl had long red brown curls and wore an ugly brown plaid skirt and a worn sweater with buttons shaped like cat heads. She was absolutely stunning, with cupid bow lips and large hazel eyes. They both smiled, showing fangs.
“Thank goodness you’re here,” said Val.
“Of course we’re here. Wouldn’t miss it for the World,” said the boy.
“Not for the World,” said the girl.
“We love our Elizabeth,” said the boy.
“Love her,” said the girl.
Then they both looked at Austin and just stared for a moment, then the girl sat next to Austin on the edge of the bed and took his hand in her icy hand, as the boy put his hand on Elizabeth’s face wounds.
The girl started to sing a song and stroked Austin’s hair. Val mouthed the words “Don’t say anything.”
If you’re callin’ ’bout my heart
It’s still yours
I should’ve listened to it a little more
Then it wouldn’t have taken me so long to know where I belong
And by the way, boy, this is no machine you’re talkin’ to
Can’t you tell, this is Austin, and I still love you.
She’d finished then she smiled and kissed his cheek.
The young man with the white blonde hair glanced at Austin. “Val, you didn’t introduce us. I’m going to assume you’re Austin. I am Tellias. The beautiful woman next to you is Eleora. Give us a minute with Val. You stay here with Elizabeth. Whatever you do don’t let her bite you.”
Austin could hear them speaking quietly in the hallway. It took a few seconds but he noticed they were speaking Latin. The two younger Vampires were speaking in an odd accent, an older version. He knew a little Latin, but this was odd, like old texts he’d seen while studying ancient religious documents.
Elizabeth lay as still as death with her eyes closed. Austin held her hand.
The three Vampires came back into the room.
“Can you help her?” Asked Austin.
“I will need your help young man,” said the one called Tellias. “You think I am a boy, perhaps one of your college students just out of high school. I traveled with the Roman Army before Christ as born. I met Eleora during the building of Hadrian’s Wall. We were both already old by then. We’re much older now. So we know things. We also know things about you Austin.”
Eleora sat and took Austin’s hand again. Val stood at the foot of the bed looking too serious for comfort.
“Austin,” said Tellias, “put your hand on Elizabeth’s face over the wounds. Don’t let go of Eleora’s hand. Eleora take my hand with in yours.” Then he reached out and took Val’s hand in his.
Then Tellias said words in a language Austin couldn’t understand. They were odd words in a magical tone that made his blood run cold. He was freezing, his lungs felt heavy, he couldn’t move.
“Don’t be afraid,” whispered Eleora.
“Don’t be afraid, don’t move, don’t fear, for this will pass,” said Tellias.
Then Austin felt as if an electrical fire surged though his body. Then Eleora shuttered, Tellias squeezed his eyes shut, and Val held his hand out as blue smoke came off of his fingers and the room filled with the smell of sulphur.
The black edges of Elizabeth’s wounds turned white, and the darkness of the wounds turned pink and closed, leaving dark pink red lines, rather than open wounds.
“Well, that was fun,” said Eleora.
“I think we should go swimming now,” said Tellias.
“Yes, swimming. Swim, swim, swim, swim,” said Eleora.
“We will be back,” said Tellias.
“We’re going to swim,” said Eleora.
Then they ran down the stairs, clothes flying as they went. Austin could hear a splash in the pool in Elizabeth’s backyard.
“Don’t take those two lightly,” said Val. “They might be old, but…”
“I know, they could kill me in the blink of an eye. That is what you were going to say, isn’t it?”
“No, I was going to say, they might be old, but they still know how to have fun. I have to go. Stay with Elizabeth until she wakes, which shouldn’t be long. She’ll be tired for a few hours. She’ll be shaken up for a few days, but she’ll be fine. You know what they say, Demons happen. But do me a favor and tell her to stay away from them. Please.”
“You know I’d do anything…”
“I know Austin. You’re a good man. Just be careful. Be very careful.”
Val left. Austin listened to the sound of Eleora and Tellias playing in the pool under the stars. Elizabeth opened her golden brown eyes and smiled without fangs.
“Austin, you’re here.”
“Always,” he said. “Get some rest. You need to sleep.”
As she dozed off Austin thought long and hard about Vampires, Demons, and his brother Dakota’s wedding. He didn’t want to be involved with Vampires. It wasn’t his plan. But one day several years ago he’d pulled up the floorboards of an old house and found two dried up Vampires. He killed them without a second thought. Then his attorney showed up and thanked him for taking out what he called soul-less undesirables. And that is how he became a Vampire Hunter. The Vampires here were an entirely different thing. They were something he couldn’t even start to explain. His head seemed to spin. He had the wedding, his classes, his latest building project, and now Elizabeth. What would he do with Elizabeth? What sort of future could they possibly have?
He heard someone running up the stairs and saw Eleora standing there, wrapped in a towel with her hair dripping around her shoulders.
“You’ve come to the end of your rope,” she said. “Do you know what that means?”
“No. What does it mean, Eleora?”
“It means it is time for a new rope.” Then she smiled and ran out of the room dropping the towel behind her. Austin heard a splash and the sound of the two Vampires laughing in the pool outside of Elizabeth’s bedroom window.
He knew that she didn’t mean for him to hang himself with it either.
~ End of Part 17 of the Austin and Elizabeth (The Hunter) stories.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman