The seconds ticked on with this deranged man looking at me like I was dinner. I felt so ashamed for a moment there. That’s how I look at people. I know that look intimately. This is how it feels to be on the other side. I stopped thinking about the fear that crept into the eyes of my prey a few years ago. I made my peace with being a vampire and knowing that like a frightened doe, they would have no choice but to tremble as it slowly dawned on them that they were in the midst of living out their final moments.
I could almost see, like a movie playing on a silver screen, visions of their lives flashing by before their eyes and the sudden regret that leave their faces contorted and marred after I’ve enjoyed my meal. Poor schmuck you should have done more when you had the time. I’d write people off like that.
Well, who’s the schmuck now?
Here I am trying to decided which arm to let him chomp on first as I try to keep what’s left of Lilli safe and I let my eyes wander from the man, to the woman sauntering in behind him, to the clock on the wall so that I’d know in my own mind what time it was that I may have actually been defeated just in case I’m not able to fight off an entire village of deranged and hungry people without exposing the fact that I’m a vampire. Then of course Primus would have me hanged for revealing our secret and I’d have to go into hiding. One way or another, my life as I know it is over anyway without Lilli whole and standing next to me.
And all I could feel was anger. The kind of anger that I knew would overwhelm me. The only peace I found within myself was knowing that I was going rogue anyway and that even if Primus wanted my head for what happened today, he would have wanted my head anyway for what I had planned for tomorrow.
So, I jumped. The man and woman clamored below me as I steadily balanced on the rafter across from where Lilli and I had been strung up like a couple of lackies in the mob being beaten for information or disobedience.
I made my way to the ceiling carefully and did the best I could to keep Lilli’s body more or less upright so the blood wouldn’t drain from her head into solid clumps on the floor beneath me. The media would have a field day with the blood samples if an extraction team didn’t make it here before they did to clean this mess up.
Either way. I’m leaving here as a deserter. I can only hope that Lilli’s memory remains unaffected from this coma. I would hate to think that when she does awaken she wouldn’t know me, or know that she loved me, or want to make the same sacrifices that I do and leave this life. There is a good possibility that when she wakes up, she’ll look at me like a kidnapper, a stranger, and be pissed off that she will probably have a desertion flag and kill order hanging over her newly reattached head.
Such thoughts ran through my head as I hoped it hadn’t dawned on anybody outside to get ladders and climb up to the roof and get me. But, once I was outside, I saw what no untrained eye would see.
V-150 Knights were creeping in. I was suddenly furious. Primus knew that he was sending us into such deep shit that the V’s would have to come and extract us. Lilli and I were as good as bait. Expendable. He knew her life would be in danger. Why would he put us in such danger? I mean even if he knew I was planning to desert why take it out on Lilli?
The knights crept in quietly from the surrounding field and moved like shadows across the crowd knocking them out as they went. Off in the distance, a staunch half mile away, I could see a helicopter landing and Maribel Jones getting out of it. She’s the hypno-freak.
She proclaims to be this doctor of psychology or whatever, but Primus chose to have her inducted into this life and placed firmly on the council because unlike so many humans, she could influence thought and feeling without effort. A trait that was severely amplified by vampirism.
She’d have these zombie crazed people convinced that they were kittens in a pet shop inside of two minutes.
I waved at her and she nodded in response, by which time the knights had completely cleared the area. Although I knew that the protocol would be to give Lilli to a medic immediately to begin the reattachment process I had a better idea. And whether Dr. Jones knew it or not, she had provided my way of escape.
Nothing like a helicopter to get the hell out of dodge. I’m going to play the distraught and stressed out boyfriend who volunteers to take Lilli’s body to the VampCare team myself. But, really, I will just disappear.
I have to find the immortals. They are the only ones who will know how to wake her up and make her whole again. That alone is worth what treason will cost me.
As bad as things were, as I strode through the field towards the copter not having to work up tears because they streamed steadily down my face as Lilli’s head swung from my belt still encased in a sack, bumping my leg with every step. The pilot looked at me ruefully and told me to wait inside. I cradled her body as he locked us within so that he could assist the team as part of the mission.
Now, I’m sure he thought he was doing me a favor by allowing me to cry in private and lock me in there with my grief alone with my girlfriend. And I’m sure I’ll get a punch squarely in the jaw for taking advantage of his kindness. But, once I saw the pilot and the rest of the team clamoring over the villagers who had been knocked out as they were forming them into a line for Maribel’s memory purge… I quietly slipped into the pilot’s seat, started the engine and began to lift off. They could have run after me to stop me, but probably thought better of it and assumed that I was being impatient and could not wait to get Lilli some help. I’m sure they fully expected me to send a replacement copter so they would not be stranded here.
But, I couldn’t quite wipe the grin off my face at how easy it was to desert the life of blood and pain I had been living for the last decade now. Thoughts of how I would not have to tell my family good bye washed over me and the thought of regaining my humanness seemed to perk me up from my current sullen state. And all I have to do is wait for Paul to succeed. I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that no one suspected that I was leaving for good.
Then I felt an arm wrap around my neck. Not to choke me, but more like how Lilli would sneak up behind me in a half hug.
Was I really that stupid? Did I not notice that someone else was on the helicopter with us? I was sure we were alone.
“Hi there.” I said trying to play it off and act as though I really was following protocol. I was just grateful I hadn’t said any of what I was thinking out loud so unwanted ears would not hear how I had planned to escape this life.
There was no answer. So, I dared to look.
And there she stood. Lovingly half hugging me like always. Lilli’s handless arm, splattered with her own blood around my neck, and her body leaning into me as though she were whole again.
Except she wasn’t. Her headless body was embracing me and her eyes glowed brightly, that eerie green, and lit up the sack her head was still in.
Well, at least she wasn’t trying to strangle me. But wtf?