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Friday, June 25, 2010

Chapter 19 of my vampire novel

Here's chapter 19 of my vampire novel. Again, I have to thank everyone for their comments and suggestions. I am still shooting for a July 4 release of the whole novel on Amazon, but I'm having problems with generating a book cover. Anyone know a graphic artist interesting in donating some work?

(Note: you can start at the beginning of the story here. You can also find chapter 18 by clicking here.)

Chapter 19:

                        Sammy has me by the neck up against the ceiling of the limousine. He's got me by one hand. The pressure is intense and painful, like my head is going to explode. My eyes squeeze shut, as if to keep them from popping out of their sockets.
                        I could fight back, but that would just ruin our suits. He's either going to kill me or let me talk.
                        In the same way I stripped Miles, Sammy takes the pistol from me. He tosses me so I land on top of Edgar's body. Then he puts the pistol into his jacket.
                        Iris just sits there next to him.
                        "Convince me I shouldn't kill you," Sammy says.
                        I move off Edgar and onto the side-couch.
                        I look Sammy right in the eye and say, "He pulled his gun."
                        Sammy squints at me.
                        "She saw it," I tell him, pointing to Iris.
                        Sammy turns to her.
                        "I, uh, I," Iris stammers. "I did see Edgar with his gun out. Yeah, I did."
                        Sammy looks back at me.
                        "And why the hell did he do that?" Sammy asks.
                        "To tell the truth," I say. "He might have been about to shoot me, or take a shot at Curt's bodyguard."
                        "This is bullshit," Sammy hisses.
                        "It's what happened," I tell him. "I was just talking to him. Fucking with him a little bit. Then I saw him pull his gun. So I reacted."
                        To Iris, he asks, "He had his gun out?"
                        "He did," Iris says, with her eyes looking off, putting it together in her head. "I saw it."
                        I hook a thumb towards the driver's seat.
                        "What do we do about Edgar's cousin?" I ask.
                        "He doesn't know anything," Iris says. "I just told him to bring the limo around, that his cousin was having a seizure."
                        "So he's taking us to the hospital," Sammy says.
                        He thinks for a second, then points to Iris.
                        "Call him on his cell," Sammy says. "Tell him Edgar's okay, but doesn't want to go to the emergency room, so we're having a doctor meet us at Edgar's place."
                        "Got it," Iris says. She pulls out her phone, hits a few buttons, and then puts it to her ear.
                        "Jerome, it's Iris," she says. "Listen, Edgar's okay. His seizure's over...No, keep the window closed. Edgar's eyes are bothering him, but he says he doesn't want to go to the ER...No, he's insisting that we take him home."
                        I feel the limousine slow down to what must be the normal speed limit.
                        "Do you know where he lives?" Iris continues. "Good, take us there...And pull right into the garage. Not the valet. Edgar's embarrassed. He says he doesn't want anyone to see him like this...Yeah, don't worry. Sammy's having a doctor meet us there."
                        Sammy leans over and whispers into Iris's other ear.
                        "And Jerome," Iris adds. "Stay in the car when we pull up. Me and Henry will take care of Edgar, but Sammy has something he can't miss at the Gunn. You'll need to get him there as soon as possible once we get out, okay?...Good. Pull up as close to the elevators as you can. Edgar's still a little dizzy."
                        Iris ends the call.
                        "How come you don't have one of those earpieces?" I ask her.
                        Sammy glares at me and I wonder if I'm being a little too cool.
                        "I hate those things," Iris tells me.
                        "You and Iris stay at Edgar's until I call," Sammy says.
                        "Yes, sir," I say. Iris just nods.
                        As soon as the limo stops, Sammy goes out the door to keep Jerome occupied. Iris is next, with Edgar's keycard ready.
                        I come out with Edgar. I've got my arm under his shoulders, holding him upright, with his arm around my neck. His head lolls against my shoulder. It's awkward, but to the casual observer it looks like I'm helping him walk. Unless they notice his feet dragging on the ground.
                        I see we're in another parking garage, right in front of a bank of elevators. Luckily, no one's nearby, though I detect lots of movement around us. Tires squealing. The sound of footsteps. A whiff of someone's perfume.
                        Sammy is leaning in the passenger window of the limo, talking to Jerome, while Iris hits an elevator button. While we wait, I step up close to the wall to make sure no can get a look at our faces, especially Jerome.
                        An elevator opens. Luckily, it's to our right, away from Jerome. A man steps out and walks away from us without even looking around. Iris gets in and I follow with Edgar. She pushes seventeen then hits the button to close the doors. They slide shut before anyone tries to get in.
                        As we ascend, Iris types into her phone.
                        "He heavy?" she asks me.
                        "Not to me," I tell her.
                        When the elevator doors open, Iris peeks out and then motions for me to follow. Soon we're in front of a large white door with a slot above the knob, and Iris sticks a keycard in and the door pops open.
                        We step inside, but Iris freezes. The place is completely dark. I go past her, hitting a wall switch as I go by. The foyer lights up.
                        I take Edgar through the living room and down the hall to the master bedroom, where I put him on the bed. I straighten his legs and arms. Then I wrap the bedspread around him, winding it tightly by turning him over until he's completely shrouded.
                        I find Iris sitting at the dining room table, powering up her laptop.
                        "Do you think there's anything to eat in here?" she asks without looking at me.
                        "I'll check," I say.
                        I go into the kitchen and come back with a bottle of water and a bag of potato chips.
                        When I hand them to her, Iris says, "Ooh, lovely," and tears the bag open.
                        I look around.
                        The apartment is decorated with leather couches and hardwood sideboards and abstract paintings on the walls, with off-white being the dominant color. All of the windows are blocked with thick blackout curtains. Every room, even the bathrooms, has a TV in it.
                        The other bedroom is a kind of den, with a computer desk and a weight bench. Leaning on the desk is Edgar's shotgun.
                        I go through the desk and find a loaded six-shot semiautomatic in the top drawer, along with boxes of ammunition and a military-surplus ka-bar and sheath. In the bottom drawer is a shoulder holster for the gun. I take my jacket off and strap on the harness, buckling the holster just under my right armpit so I can reach in with my left hand fast and easy. I put a handful of extra shells in my pocket and snap the pistol into place. The ka-bar goes into the inside pocket of my jacket.
                        Then I sit in Edgar's chair and boot up his PC. But Edgar has a startup password, so I just turn it off and head back into the master bedroom.
                        I unwrap Edgar's head just enough to reach in with the ka-bar and, with my other hand holding Edgar's chin, I saw through his neck. I use a couple of pillowcases to wrap Edgar's head up before putting back into bedspread shroud and winding it back up.
                        Then I wash the knife and my hands and go back to the living room.
                        Iris is still at the dining room table, working. I sit at the other end of the table.
                        "Sammy says to sit tight," Iris says. "He's got a thing. He's going to be a few hours."
                        "You staying, too?" I ask her.
                        "No, actually," she says. "I'm just finishing up a couple of things here. Then I have to go meet him."
                        "So I'm stuck here alone."
                        "Well, not so much," Iris says. "I've got some girls coming. So you can drink."
                        "I thought that's what you were for," I say.
                        "Ha, you wish," Iris says. "I'm Sammy's girl and you know it."
                        "You know," I tell her, leaning forward in my chair. "My normal thing when I find another vampire's livestock is to kill it. To cut off the food supply and make my competition weaker."
                        Iris stops typing.
                        "We're on the same team," she says.
                        I laugh.
                        "Whatever team this is," I say. "Don't go thinking you're on it. You're a mascot. At best."
                        Iris stands.
                        "If you're going to kill me, go ahead," she says. "There's nothing I can do to stop you."
                        She reminds me of Yesenia right then. Of that delicious combination of terror and bravery.
                        My phone starts playing "We Are Family" again. I forgot to set it to silent.
                        It's Sammy.
                        "You do realize I can hear every word you're saying," he says when I pick up.
                        "I figured," I tell him. "Is it from the laptop? Or is the whole place bugged?"
                        "Just so we're clear," Sammy says. "We really are on the same team. And Iris is mine."
                        "I know," I say. I wink at Iris. She sits down and goes back to her laptop.
                        "I told you I would take care of you," Sammy continues. "And I'm sending enough girls over so you won't have to do anything drastic. Are we understood?"
                        "No draining," I say. "I get it."
                        "After that, the rest of my team will be stopping in to meet you," Sammy says. "And I expect you to play nice. No more incidents like with Edgar."
                        "As long as no one pulls a gun," I say. "I'll keep my hands to myself."
                        "Once you meet everyone," Sammy tells me. "You'll see why I recruited you."
                        "From who I've met so far," I say. "I've got a pretty good idea."
                        The doorbell rings.
                        "Your food is here," Iris tells me.
                        Sammy ends the call.


(Note: you can start at the beginning of the story here. You can also find chapter 18 by clicking here.)

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