“What now sister?” Tomas asked.
“We kill Michael Talbot , his family, and his friends and then we rule this world.” She said absently as she fingered the locket around her neck.
“You’ve got more than you could have ever asked for Eliza why not just leave him alone.” Tomas asked with concern.
“Why dear brother are you concerned for him? Do you still carry some vestiges of your humanity? Do not worry that will fade with time.” Eliza said with a sneer her canines flashing menacingly.
“You have it wrong Eliza, it is not him I am concerned about. It is us, he has shown over and over that he is unwilling to yield to death.”
Eliza struck so fast Tomas did not have time to defend himself against his sister’s slap that rocked him on his heels. “He is a pathetic human.” Eliza spat. “I will never fear him or any of his kind again! Do you understand me?”
Tomas nodded dumbfounded.
“You Tomas are now the reason that we have something to fear from him, without our help he will never die. Once his family dies and is ground into dust, we!” Eliza said pointing to him and to herself. “Will become his sole mission in life. He will blame us for every one of their deaths. No, we must kill him while he still has weaknesses walking on this planet. You Tomas, have prevented Michael Talbot from eking out the rest of his existence in relative peace.”
Tomas knew his sister’s words for the lie that they were but still they stung. “Eliza break the stone.” Tomas said pointing to the blood locket. “We can leave this world like we were supposed to lifetimes ago.”
Eliza looked at Tomas long and hard before she began to laugh, much like a wolf laughs at the rabbit before it devours it. Cold, cruelly and with no mirth. “That’s rich Tomas, for a second I almost believed you. Not that I would have done it mind you, but I almost believed in your sincerity. How cunningly perfect of you, I break the locket you rule the world unimpeded.”
“I do not want the world Eliza, I want my sister.” Tomas begged.
Eliza’s laughter encompassed his soul as he spun on his heel and walked away.
Tomas was about a city block away before the echoes of her laughter faded.
“Tomas.” Came so clearly in his head he stopped and looked around for the source.
“Mr. T?” Tomas asked.
“Tommy?” Came the question.
“He’s in here somewhere Mr. T, he…I we’re so tired.”
Michael’s heart sank from the pain in his adopted son’s voice. “Is there anything I can do?”
“Kill my sister so that I can be released.” Tomas could ‘hear’ the gasp from the other end of the connection.
“I never thought I’d hear those words from you Tommy. Does it work like that? Will all those bitten by her revert back to their former selves like in the movies?”
“No.” Tomas said shaking his head silently and conveying that gesture to Mike. “But it will release me to join her.”
Michael got the message, if Eliza were to die Tomas would join her in the afterlife. “Where do us soulless ones go Tomas?” Michael asked his fear shining through the words brightly.
“Nowhere near the garden Mr. T, it is a lonely dark place we are destined for, but even that is preferable to the hell I walk in now.”
“How charming.” Eliza said as she approached Tomas. “We will have to talk Tomas about your choice of friends, I do not think Mother would approve.”
“Eliza the pleasure I receive when I finally sever your head from your body will only be trumped by the look of shock on your fa…”
And like an old AT&T operator, Eliza severed the connection.
“I will kill him Tomas and you will help if I have to drag you kicking and screaming through the blood and guts of the mortals.”
“I’ll be there Eliza but it will only be to witness your demise.” Tomas said heatedly.
“We are family Tomas you and I, is this how you would treat one of your own?”
“Mr. T and his family are my true family!” Tomas shot back defiantly.
“Blood!” Eliza said fairly quaking. “Blood is the thickest bond Tomas it is something which you share nothing of with that mongrel!”
“I do now sister, remember I bit him.”
“You are a fool Tomas, you jeopardize everything we have and everything we can attain, for what?”
“Love Eliza, for love, the most basic and strongest of all human emotions.”
“Hate Tomas, hate is a much stronger emotion because it can burn longer, it can span generations, I’ve watched it spread across borders for no other reason than there were people on the other side of an imaginary line in the dirt. Love lasts for a few years between individuals, hate spans millennia.
“If that is the case then let him have his few years of love, there will still be time for hate afterwards.”
“You still don’t understand. There is no fun in defeating an opponent once everything he has, has been lost. Much like a fine wine it can savored as we pull him apart piece by piece.”
“Hey I’m still here. I can hear everything you’re saying about me and I’ve got to be honest I’m not all that pleased.” Michael said trying to inflect some levity in his words.
Tomas could not help but smile, shielding it somewhat from the raging form of his sister.
“How?” Eliza demanded.
“Not sure I guess it’s some sort of party line, looks like we’ll be able to stay in touch a lot.” Michael said. “Maybe I’ll be able to sing you some lullabies or a bed time story, you seem to get real cranky without enough sleep.”
Tomas had to turn so that his sister could not witness his delight, although the rising and falling of his shoulders was a dead giveaway.
Mike Journal Entry 1
“You alright Mike?” BT asked with concern.
“I’m fine why do I look bad?” I asked him with the same concern, I didn’t want to start turning into that pasty looking version of Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire, he always looked anemic although how that was possible after drinking all that iron rich blood I’ll never know.
“Well to be honest you’ve looked better but that’s not why I’m asking, you were just standing there and then this shit eating grin was spreading across your face, you looked like you had maybe just taken a shit in your pants and you didn’t want anyone to know. That sort of thing.”
“That’s pretty graphic my friend. I’ve got an idea.”
“Oh no, why do I ask? Why God?” BT asked as he turned his head up to the Heavens.
“What’s going on?” Tracy asked, the activity of the last few days was weighing heavily on her shoulders, fear for her children and now for her husband. Tracy could not gauge if BT was wailing to the Heavens or merely jesting for Mike.
“Your husband has an idea.” BT said seriously never pulling his gaze from the clouds that flew by overhead oblivious to the prayers that drifted through them trying to seek a higher purpose.
“Mike we’ve gone over this time and time again.” Tracy said placing her hand on BT’s shoulder to commiserate in the misery.
“I know I know.” I told them. “But this time it’s going to work.”
“Heard that before.” Gary said from twenty feet across the parking lot of the Big 5 sporting goods store they were in the midst of ransacking. Most everything of any value was long gone, but there were a few small caliber rifles and bricks of .22 bullets. Some camping gear, a few packs of dehydrated food and for some abnormal reason pallets of knee high socks, it looked like the World Cup was coming to North Carolina soon.
“No I’ve got insider information now.” I told them.
Tracy’s head bowed as she realized I was talking about Eliza, it was one thing to know about her, a complete other to be linked to her.
“She’s coming for us.” I told them.
BT threw his hands to his face. “Shocker!” He exclaimed.
Tracy punched him so hard in the arm he actually rocked a bit.
“Damn woman if I could crane my neck far enough down to see you I’d swat you away like a fly.” BT bellowed.
“Hey this is pretty cool, I’m usually the one in the middle of the shit storm.”
“Shut up Talbot!” BT and Tracy said in unison, and then they high-fived, well to be fair, Tracy way high fived and BT went way low, but it was the same effect.
“Okay, no shit, we all know she’s coming. But I know when and how. I think it’s time we went on the offensive.”
“I’m listening.” Brian said carrying his third load of socks up to the car. “What?” he said as he dropped them in the backseat. “I like to have clean feet, it’s an Army thing.”
“So you gleaned all this info from her?” BT asked reluctant to use her name.
I nodded maybe just a little too enthusiastically.
“Close your mouth when you’re nodding Talbot.” Tracy said, “You look like the village idiot.”
“Any chance she fed you some mis-information?” Brian asked.
“First off I think she’s probably too arrogant for that.” I said. “I think she’d tell us willingly what she planned on doing , thinking that there was nothing we could do to stop it.” I told the growing group, Gary and Justin nodded in agreement. “But no, I’m pretty sure she had no clue I was eavesdropping on her.”
“Whew buddy.” BT said rubbing his hand over the top of his head. “This isn’t solving the puzzle on Wheel of Fortune.”
I stopped him there. “BT don’t tell me you watch Wheel of Fortune?”
“What in the hell is wrong with Wheel of Fortune? Vanna White is a Goddess.”
I shrugged, I had to agree with him there. She might be a few revolutions of the globe past her prime but who among us had never fantasized about her turning our letters on. Okay poor sexual innuendo but it gets the point across.
“So you were saying?” Tracy asked BT as she pushed me to wake me up from my Vanntasy. (See that was much better!)
“No offense buddy.” BT said, “but your ideas suck ass.”
For the second time in a matter of seconds I found myself agreeing with BT. “Granted. But I’m sick of running, I want her to re-think her strategy, I want to bleed her this time.” I said with anger.
“You are not talking that last stand shit again are you Talbot?” Tracy flared. “Because if you are I will drag your sorry ass out of here by your balls, upside down!”
BT, Gary, Paul and even MJ who was not paying us any attention covered up their privates in a mutual shared sympathy.
Justin nearly split his side laughing. Travis was shaking his head from side to side not believing he had just heard his mother issue those words from her mouth.
When I felt I could safely remove my hand from my nether regions I continued, although I have to admit I had turned to a slight degree away from Tracy so as not to give her easy reaching access to my cherished jewels. “No, no I promise no John Wayne stuff, I want her to feel some of the trepidation that we do every waking second. I want her to think that maybe her next breath might be her last.”
“Mike vamps don’t breathe.” Gary said.
“Analogy brother, just an analogy.”
“Gotcha.” He said clicking his tongue and pointing at me with his index finger.
‘Well let’s get this part out of the way.’ I thought to myself. “Tracy I still want you and Meredith and the boys to head back to Ron’s. The sooner you can get MJ back there and working on his wonder boxes the better and this gambit should buy us plenty of time.”
She looked at me coldly with her battle ship gray eyes. I waited silently for the tempest within to be unleashed. It never came. “You swear to me Talbot that this is not one of your do or die stunts and I will do as you ask.”
“Really?” I asked incredulously. “I honestly wasn’t expecting that.”
“The window of opportunity is closing.” She said forcefully.
“Yeah, yeah yeah.” I said quickly. “No its not any sort of final encounter.”
“Then you teach that bitch that messing with the Talbot’s means you have hell to pay!”
“Sweet.” I told her. “Who wants to stay for the fireworks show?” I asked the growing crowd.
“Bout fucking time.” Deneaux said clapping her hands together and rubbing them briskly.
“You’re in?’ I asked her incredulously.
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” She told me dead serious.
“Huh, what a weird friggen day.” I said shaking my head.
“What do you need and what’s the plan?” Brian asked.
Like the vast majority of my plans it was long on tooth and very short on words. As I write that it doesn’t make much sense, suffice it to say it basically boils down to an ambush followed by the death of a bunch of her henchmen and if we’re really lucky Eliza catches one in that tainted melon of hers.
“Mike as the only black member of this dysfunctional group I’m truly amazed that I’m still alive. I mean I’ve watched almost every horror movie ever made, and without fail if a man of color is in the movie he dies first, now in recent years it has got somewhat better, we sometimes makes it to second killed after the ditzy blonde but I’ve got to imagine that our life expectancy in any horror setting is generally a couple of hours at most.”
“I agree with your movie assessment, BT but how does that apply right now?” I asked him.
“Alright hear me out, so me still being alive bucks that trend right?” I nodded in agreement. “But damn Mike you keep breaking the cardinal sin of all flicks.”
“The splitting up, I know, I know. I feel like the idiot that says Yeah I’ll go down to the basement alone to check out the breaker box, and I only have this one wooden match to light my way oh and did I mention that we heard suspicious sounds down there only moments earlier?”
“Yeah like that, so you know what I’m talking about.”
“Sure I do, I’m usually the one asking the characters on the screen what the hell they’re thinking.”
“Well what are you thinking?”
“Well it is dark and the basement does house the breaker box and my match is the extra long barbecue style.”
“I wonder if I could catch up to Alex?” BT lamented.
“I want my family out of here BT, if I could I’d send them to some lonely outpost on the moon to get away from this crap. Their safety means everything to me. They’re the air I breathe, the food I eat, the…”
“I get it, don’t go getting all soft on me.”
“Too much information?” I asked him sincerely.
“I’m starting to see under all that Marine Corps veneer. Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone.”
“I wonder if Alex would come back and get you.”
“You think he’s alright?” BT asked.
“I don’t know buddy but he keeps breaking that cardinal rule too.”
“He sure does.” BT said as he walked away.
“Paul are you sure about this?” I asked my best friend for the better part of three decades, damn that makes me sound so old. And then the realization of my eternity slammed into my chest. My best friend who I had shared so many experiences would be a distant memory as I strode through the world unencumbered by love. Would I bother with humanity at that point? The only reason I still interacted with people now was because of my wife and kids if she were to be gone then what? Would God forgive me? Would it even be considered suicide? I had already made my bed when I traded my soul for my family’s safety, I was pretty sure I was on the top of God’s shit list and I can guarantee that is not anywhere you want to be, just ask the ’04 Yankees they’ll tell you the same thing.
But what of Nicole’s baby I would have to stay alive long enough to make sure he or she was able to find their way through this world. And then if he/she had kids what then? When would I stop? Would I follow them through millennia much like Tommy had followed his sister? Each passing day would push me that much further away from the inevitable death I was so seeking. Banned from the Garden the alternative was excruciatingly painful if only because I had glimpsed the beauty of it all.
“Talbot we’re leaving.” Tracy said stroking my cheek, wiping away a tear. “You alright husband?” She asked tenderly. “You haven’t changed your mind on this right, no Rambo stuff?”
“What?” Gary asked from the doorway of the Big 5.
“Rambo!” Tracy yelled. “Not Gambo!”
“Gotcha.” Gary repeated with the tongue clicking and finger pointing gesture.
“I’ll be glad if just to get away from his new mannerism.” Tracy said smiling.
“I’ll miss you wife, but I promise this will be only for a couple of days max.”
“She’s that close?” She asked. “She’s relentless.”
“That’s one word, mine would be much more colorful and would end up being all those funny symbols you see in the Sunday Comics when Al Capp swears.”
“Al Capp? Nobody reads Al Capp anymore Talbot. What’s wrong with you?”
“You’d think you would have figured it out after all these years.” I said in retort.
“You know you’re nuts right?” She asked me.
“That may be, but what does that say about you for staying with me this long?” I asked her snidely.
“Oh I plan on publishing a thesis about you when this ride is over.” She told me seriously. “I’ll be famous, I’ll be up for Sainthood.”
“Tell God I said hi when you get there.” I said in jest, but it’s meaning had so much more depth than when I had originally said it. Tracy’s smile evaporated.
“Oh Talbot.” Tracy said falling welcomingly into my arms. “what are we going to do with you?” She said burying her face into my shoulder.
“There’s always the rodeo.” I told her, it was the first thing that came to my mind.
She wiped a tear from here eye and looked up at me. “You rarely think before you speak do you?”
“What I think I’d be great, those guys that get in the barrel and everything.”
“You know those are rodeo clowns right?” She was telling me.
“Clowns? I hate clowns, they are the root of all evil in this world.” I told her.
“You honestly believe that don’t you?” Tracy said. “There are zombies and vampires roaming this world but clowns rule as the supreme evil being in your world.”
“That’s rich.” BT said. “You never cease to make me wonder what the hell is wrong with you.”
“I thought the phrase was never cease to amaze?” I asked him.
“Nope.” He replied dryly.
“Hey Mike.” Paul said walking away from a very angry spouse. Why the hell he was exposing his flank to a pissed off wife was beyond me and they called me the crazy one.
“Hey buddy. Hey Erin!” I yelled over his shoulder.
She semi-waved but it looked more like she was flashing me the finger as she turned away.
“I take it you’re staying for the extracurricular fun and activities?” I asked him. He nodded in return. “And you told Erin to leave with the advance party?”
“Right on both counts.”
“She’ll get over it when she sees you’re smiling face in a couple of days.”
“You think?” Paul asked looking over his shoulder at his wife’s back.
“I’m an old pro at this you’ll be fine.”
“I haven’t gone yet Talbot.” Tracy said from her car door as she loaded an extra clip of ammo. “I can still kick your ass before I go.”I was going to comment on how good someone that a few short months ago hated firearms was now loading a clip, but then the reason of why she was so proficient at this new skill struck, I would rather her still inept than have to deal with this walking abortion we’re calling life. I reverted to “Yes dear.” Pin It Now!