Authors: Paul A. Cagle
“No, but it is possible that against all the odds of the universe, you are something different.
Alec, I know what I saw tonight.
You took on two full vampires and beat them.
You also dodged the second vampire’s blows so quickly that I never even saw you move.
The other vampire was fast, but I saw his punches.
I never saw you move.
You just…weren’t in his way anymore.”
Alec just looked at him.
“A lot of vampires will either see you as a tool they can use or see you as threat to their way of life and their existence.
You’ll either be used or killed if we aren’t very careful.”
“We?” Alec asked, raising one eyebrow.
Marcus rolled his eyes.
I told you I’m your friend.
And believe it or not, Silas is trying to help you too.”
“But what can he do?
vampires are killed…”
“Well,” Marcus said drawing out the word, “he could argue that you aren’t actually a vampire and that our laws do not pertain to you.”
Alec considered that.
“From what you’ve told me though, others will still try to use me.”
“Possibly,” he said shrugging.
“But he could also argue that you are something new and an entity of your own and maybe new rules would need to be put into place.
A lot depends on what Doctor Schubert determines about you.”
“You think this might wear off?”
Once you go through the Change, you don’t un-Change.
Once you are a vampire, there is no turning back.
Your body has changed, your blood has changed and your organs have changed…well mostly.”
Alec just grunted.
“If Silas can convince the council that Doctor Schubert is studying you and that he doesn’t see you as a threat, then maybe after awhile things will calm down.
But right now Alec, and this is very important, every vampire with an agenda out there will be after you once they hear about this.”
“Great,” Alec said sounding tired and defeated.
“Silas is a good man to have on your side, Alec.
He’s fair and honest and most importantly he’s on the council so he has a voice and a vote.”
Alec shook his head.
“I just can’t believe that I would be killed just because Clarissa turned me…or almost turned me…whatever.
I didn’t ask for this.”
And trust me, I agree with you.
But it’s not up to me or people like me.
It’s way above my pay-grade.”
“So listen, later this evening when I get up I’ll get you some clothes.
I have a TON of them and don’t wear all of them.
We are about the same size.”
Alec hadn’t really thought about it but they actually were about the same size. He thought of Marcus as ‘well built’ and now he was almost built just like him.
This was insane.
I don’t really do well at picking out clothes.”
“What you have on now isn’t bad at all.”
Alec looked down at his blue cargo pants and black T-shirt.
“I just bought these.”
“They look good on you, but your shirt could be tighter.
I have some you can try on tomorrow.
We’ll see what you look hot in.”
He winked at Alec with a gleam in his eye.
“Then after that,” Marcus continued, “you have an appointment with Doctor Schubert and then with Silas.”
Alec nodded, feeling tired.
What time was it anyway?
He felt like he’d been up for days.
“Oh, while I’m thinking about it…” Marcus reached into his left pocket and pulled something out and handed it to Alec.
“Why are you giving me your cell phone?” he asked confused.
“That’s not mine, it’s yours. Mine’s in my pocket,” he said taping his right pocket.
“I don’t understand.”
“You don’t have a cell phone but you’re going to need one for when Silas, or Doctor Schubert or I need to talk to you, or vice versa.
So Silas got you a phone.
He has a whole bunch of them.
When he needs one he has it activated.
It was my idea,” he said winking.
“I can’t pay for this.
I don’t even have a job now.”
Silas is paying for it.
He’s also taken care of your hospital bill, your college tuition and your apartment, etcetera.”
“Well it is one of our kind that got you into this.
And he’s trying to keep you safe.
You can’t go back to work or be running around out where someone could grab you.
You are safe here.”
I’m not used to all this.”
“Don’t worry about it.
Silas has more money than God.
Alec just laughed and shook his head.
“Okay, well it’s almost sunrise and time for me to take my happy ass to bed, so to speak.”
“If you need anything just use the Service phone,” he said pointing behind him.
“I will be up and running by about 7.
I’ll check on you then.
Oh and one more thing.
Please don’t email or call anyone for help.
We don’t want this situation getting any more out of control.”
He looked at Alec to make sure he understood.
Alec followed him to the door and saw him out. He locked the door and then turned off the lights in the sitting room and used the light shining from the bedroom to navigate cross the sitting room.
He closed the bedroom door and stripped off his shirt and threw it at the bottom of the bed.
He kicked his shoes off and laid back staring at the ceiling and digesting what he’d just learned.
This was the most insane shit he’d ever heard.
How did he get into this?
He pondered for a few more minutes before his eyes drifted shut and exhaustion claimed him.
He hadn’t even bothered turning off the light.
Alec was burning alive.
He couldn’t breathe.
The heat and smoke were burning his lungs and choking him.
He writhed in agony as the flames consumed his body.
He tried screaming but only a hoarse croak came out of his seared lungs.
Around him he could hear deep, maniacal laughter that echoed and reverberated through his skull.
Slowly a face started forming in the flames.
Deep-set eyes in flame colored skin stared at him cruelly as the creature laughed.
Horns sprouted from the being’s forehead, wicked and sharp.
Alec drew in another breath to scream.
Alec awoke with a start covered in sweat and struggled to remember where he was.
It slowly came back to him and he laid his head back on the pillow.
A buzzing sound to his right drew his attention and he realized there was a red light blinking on the Service phone.
He leaned over and picked it up.
“Get your lazy ass up and open the door,” Marcus said from the other end.
“Okay, I’ll be there in a sec.” He put the phone back into the cradle and rolled off the bed.
He’d made it part of the way to the door when he realized he’d forgotten his shirt and shoes.
He ran back and grabbed both.
On the way back to the door he dropped his shoes off at the couch and slid his shirt on.
He stopped at the tray of food Marcus had brought the night before and grabbed a wedge of sandwich and stuffed it in his mouth.
With shaking hands Alec reached the door and unlocked it.
On the other side stood Marcus, bouncing up and down on the soles of his feet.
“About time,” he said flashing a cocky grin.
Alec stuck his tongue out at him and as Marcus walked past him to enter the room he leaned into him and said, “Don’t stick it out unless you mean to use it.”
His voice was so deep and serious it sent shivers down Alec’s spine.
They were so close that their chests were touching.
Then Marcus broke the moment by smiling and walking away.
“Did the kitchen bring food up?” he said peering at the tray.
“No, that’s from last night.
I was so tired I didn’t get a chance to eat any of it.
Help yourself if you want anything.”
Marcus made a face and looked at Alec.
“Oh, yeah, sorry.
I wasn’t thinking.”
Marcus just chuckled.
You’ve had less than twenty-four hours to adjust to all this.”
Alec walked over to the tray and grabbed a can of soda off of it and the other half of the sandwich wedge.
He figured it was cheese, lettuce and tomato and probably hadn’t gone bad while he’d slept.
When he gulped that down with a mouth full of soda, Marcus said, “Ready?”
I haven’t showered yet.”
He sat on the couch and put his shoes on.
Marcus just shook his head and said, “You can shower in my chambers.”
“Chambers?” Alec laughed.
As they left the room, Alec grabbed his cell phone and stuffed it in his front pocket.
He didn’t even bother trying to lock the room since there wasn’t anything of his in there anyway.
Marcus led him down the hallway and back down the staircase.
They headed back towards Silas’s sitting room, but instead of going that direction or going towards the area where Schubert had his lab, they turned right and went down the other hallway.
There was an elevator at the far end and Marcus pressed a button and when it arrived, stepped inside.
Instead of buttons for floors, there was a keypad, and Marcus pressed a sequence in and the elevator started moving down.
Alec noticed It didn’t go far, but it went down, and then stopped and the doors opened.
When they stepped out, they were in a well-lit hallway with doors on each side.
Marcus walked down to the third on the left and typed in a series of numbers on the keypad.
Alec heard an audible series of ‘clicks’ and Marcus turned the handle and stepped forward and invited Alec in.
“I have a question,” Alec said frowning.
“Mmmm,” was all Marcus said.
“What’s up with the invitations?
Inside I mean.”
“You have to invite a vampire in.
We can’t just walk into your house or apartment.”
Alec looked perplexed.
Just one of those…rules.”
Alec shook his head.
When Marcus had stepped through the door a light had come on and illuminated the room he had entered.
Alec saw that he was in a large sitting room with several couches in the middle of the hardwood floor.
There were also several wardrobes and chests, some of which looked ancient, placed against the walls.
On the far left wall Alec saw a tattered red flag that had seen better days.
There was some sort of creature in the center and something written in Latin that Alec couldn’t really read.
Beside that was a dented oblong shield painted a dark reddish bronze. In the center was the creature from the flag.
And next to that was a sword that Alec recognized as a gladius from his D&D days, not that he’d ever played, but he’d studied all the books.
It looked well-kept and very sharp.
The rest of the room had various chests, objects, statues and just stuff scattered about.
It wasn’t messy at all but it was a bit crowded.
Marcus went over to the wardrobes section of the room and opened several, revealing shirts, jeans, dress pants, cargo pants, under things and such.
“Boxers, boxer briefs or briefs?” he asked opening several drawers in the bottom of one of the wardrobes.
“Uh, none of the above.”
He looked embarrassed at admitting this.
Marcus just raised one eyebrow and looked at him.
“Don’t be embarrassed.
I don’t wear them either.
Back in my day they weren’t really an option.
I keep these just in case I have to wear dress pants.”
Before he moved over to the next wardrobe, he grabbed a carrying box that was sitting there and threw several pairs of socks into it.
He then set it down and kicked it in front of the next wardrobe.
“What size pants do you wear?”
“32 32’s,” he said.