I stood outside pacing as I watched to see if anyone, or anything, emerged from that abandoned house across the street, and I realized how strange that must have looked to my neighbors, so I decided to do something less creepy as I waited for my vampire league to arrive. I opened my garage door and started painting some wood I got to fix my fence, but that was dreadfully quiet, which only made me more nervous as I hyper-focused on that sinister building! I used my phone to turn on a radio app, and my favorite music did the trick! For a while anyways… A song about a jilted lover came on, and it made me think of Lilith. I tried not to obsess over my parents’ disapproval of our marriage, but of course, my mind kept going back to that. I was torn between believing that Lilith would never come back, which would hurt me but make my folks happy, and imagining that she would return with the knowledge of how my family would feel about that reunion. Both thoughts bummed me out, but, on the plus side, it distracted me from getting overly anxious about facing Damon and any of his possible demonic friends…
“I like that song!” Phoebe chirped. I had been so lost in contemplation that I hadn’t noticed her coming up the driveway, so her presence made me jump! “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you!”
“You didn’t scare me,” I lied. Once my nerves cooled down, the substance of what she said sunk in for me, my heart pounded wildly to know that this goddess shared the same taste in music as me! I elatedly commented, “Oh, you like classic rock too!”
Phoebe delightfully responded to me, “It’s the best! Nothing beats the pure, raw talent that came out of that era!”
I agreed with her, “Absolutely! It’s the best! It always puts me in a better mood!” Speaking of putting me in a mood… Her fervor for something I felt passionate about drove me crazy enough to inwardly say, “Lilith who?” And not to get too crass, but her use of the word raw set off a series of colorful fantasies for me!
“Hey, I wanted to talk to you about something…” Phoebe brought up in a more serious tone.
“Oh? What about?” My spirits instantly deflated. Instead of picturing some choice scenarios, I now feared the worst! I was so sure that she would condemn my attempt to kiss her yesterday, and a surge of disappointment coursed through me as I anticipated her gentle rejection.
Phoebe explained, “Well, I keep thinking about what happened at the blood bank last week. It seemed like you held back ‘cause you weren’t sure where to strike, am I right?”
Relief washed over me to hear her say that! I still didn’t know whether she didn’t catch on to what I meant to do or if she just didn’t care, but I was glad that she didn’t have any ill feelings about that event! I definitely didn’t want to have anything disrupt the work we were doing to rescue those missing kids, so I vowed to show more caution from then on! “Yeah, I didn’t know where to drive the stake! I would’ve hated to have missed his heart and have him… I don’t know! What would he have done if I got the wrong place? He can’t die like we can, so…”
“Well, I did some research, and I can show you the exact spot to hit next time.” She walked up to me and requested, “Do you mind if I touch you?”
“Not at all!” Yeah, that vow I just made got thrown out the window at that moment! How could it not when she got close to me and put her hand on my chest?
Phoebe instructed me, “Do it right here.” I don’t think I need to explain what went through my head when she told me that! She didn’t immediately remove herself either, so I wondered if she was giving me a certain signal…
From the end of the driveway, I heard Ginger bark, “I’ll be fine! Don’t worry!”
Darn it! I couldn’t help but feel upset by not seeing how that situation would have played out, but I reminded myself that we had something important to attend to! I gazed out to my front yard, and I could see that not only did Ginger not come in her usual vehicle but someone else was in the driver’s seat! As Ginger approached my home, I could see the pretty lady who rode with her stared at Ginger with grave concern. Ginger apologized to us, “Sorry! Brielle was worried about me walking around at night, so she insisted on coming here with me.”
“You invited your partner to go with us?” I questioned. It’s not as though more help wouldn’t have been appreciated, but it was my understanding that we were trying to limit the amount of people who knew about our vampiric knowledge! It was a fairly far-fetched concept to regular citizens, so if someone’s relative knew about our plot, I feared that he or she would have tried to talk us out of it! It never occurred to me what my colleagues would tell their loved ones about all this- I lived alone, so I didn’t have anyone to answer to! My curiosity began to surface though as I pondered what she might have relayed to her to convince her that we weren’t nuts for doing this! “Does she know about…?”
“No, of course not!” Ginger assured me. “I just told her that since the police weren’t doing their job that a bunch of us teachers volunteered to look for our students. She insisted on being here as a lookout ‘cause it could get dangerous! Actually, she’s completely right, but she has no idea why!”
I empathized with Brielle about worrying for her girlfriend’s well-being, but her company just added to my list of things that made me anxious! If we got too close to Damon, he could lash out, and Brielle more than likely wasn’t equipped to defend herself properly against him! Before I could discuss any of this though, the rest of our crew arrived, and Ginger wasn’t the only one to have taken a family member with them! We all gawked at Fletcher’s large bloodhound who accompanied him to my property, and Ellie inquired, “You brought your dog to do this?”
Fletcher replied, “Obviously! Does he look like a stray I picked up on the side of the road?”
Ellie seemed skeptical about the concept of him tagging along, but Aleck opined, “Well, he may be a useful tool! This breed is known to be good hunters!”
“Oh, I doubt he’s got any skills there! He’s usually pretty lazy! But I figured he would come to my aid if I was in real trouble! Huh, Spike? You’d help Daddy out, wouldn’t ya, boy?” he tried to buoy his pet up, but Spike just yawned and laid down on the concrete.
“Yeah, I’m sure a blood hound would do well to protect you against bloodless creatures!” Ellie quipped.
Fletcher clearly didn’t care for her remark, but before an argument could ensue, bats flew out of the abandoned house! They all beheld that eerie sight with mounting apprehension, so I suggested, “Well, it’s not gonna get less freakier, so we may as well get going!” And with that, we warily began our trek.
I had such a strong feeling about finding evidence of Damon’s wrongdoings that it truly stunned me to discover nothing significant after quite a bit of walking! We all traveled together as a group, but we managed to cover quite a bit of ground. After an hour of walking, Spike got too tired to move, so Brielle had to come find us and drive the dog back. She gave us another hour- if we didn’t’ return, she was going to come find us again. I don’t think any of us expected to last that long, but after almost sixty more minutes of fruitless traversing, all we managed to unearth was a possible guitar teacher for Ellie’s nephew based on a somewhat rained on flyer she saw while we took a breather. It devastated me when we decided to give up and go back to my house- I was so sure we’d stumble across something that night! None of us deemed this as a practical method of tackling this problem anymore either, which made me feel even more uneasy… I was certain we were on the verge of a monumental win, but I couldn’t reasonably sell them on continuing this practice any further until…
“We could try hanging around the cafeteria and see if we can hear any students talking about what Damon’s up to,” Aleck proposed.
“Like they’re gonna be honest with a bunch of adults hanging around!” Ellie criticized that tactic.
As they all quarreled over our next move, I hung my head in a bitter sorrow. Everything just seemed to be falling apart at once! My marriage, my relationship with my parents, my house was literally falling apart, and now I worried that we would lose more innocent children to this monster! Before I could completely give up hope though, Phoebe put a sympathetic hand on my shoulder. She didn’t’ say anything in front of the others, but the empathetic twinkle in her eyes expressed all I needed to gather right then! I swore I detected something in her that revealed her desire to make me feel better in another way, and I started to think that maybe all was not lost…
I saw a shadow of a figure behind Phoebe, and every craving that stirred in me got paused as I quietly commanded to everyone, “Hold on!” Everybody halted their gait and silenced their voices, and a chill went up spines as we heard the sounds of footsteps behind us! I dreaded the thought of fighting Damon in a way, but in another weird way, I felt alleviated to think that he may have been trying to confront us! I would have felt so much better to face him sooner rather than later, so eagerly anticipated this showdown! Everyone slowly turned around with bated breath, and we were all shocked when we saw…
My next-door neighbor was heading back to his house with his two little sons! We all grew crestfallen as our adrenaline emptied out, and it really stung me to feel the excitement of nearing a solution get so violently sucked out of my body! Damon never struck me as particularly brilliant, but I began to think he may have outwitted us until we heard the younger boy whining, “But Papa! That one in the park looks so fun!”
“No!” my neighbor put his foot down. “It’s so grungy, I don’t trust it!”
“That’s just ‘cause it’s new!” the older son argued. “Come on, Papa! It’s almost Halloween, and we’ve already seen every other haunted house in Terra-Belle! Why can’t we-?”
My neighbor cut him off, “Because I said no! Besides, it seemed like it was mostly for older kids. I only saw teenagers heading there! I’m done discussing this, end of story! And don’t bother me again ‘til after I meditate!”
Fletcher puzzled, “He lives across the street from a haunted house, why would he wanna see more?”
“Uh, ‘cause real haunted houses are dangerous to bring children into!” Aleck kidded. He then less amusedly asserted, “Children and adults really…”
“Guys! You’re missing the important part of that conversation!” I pointed out. “The haunted house in the park is new and has a bunch of teens going to it!” Everyone’s eyes grew wide, and all at once, we raced towards the park.
We hadn’t put much thought towards the neighborhood park before because the newly erected structure wasn’t visible from the street, and once we delved deeper into the area, we kicked ourselves for not exploring this place in our previous excursions! Honestly, I saw a sliver of it from the sidewalk, but I just kept thinking that the city hadn’t update their public restrooms in ages! It never occurred to me that it was new! Furthermore, in the daytime, it didn’t bring in such a crowd, so it didn’t rouse anyone’s suspicion. Its boxy appearance didn’t particularly scream “amusement,” and its shoddy material made me believe that Damon had put it together in a hurry. Just from the outside, it didn’t give off any indication that Damon may have been lurking there, but after a family exited the attraction muttering how lame it was, I felt certain we had found his latest scheme! There was no way he was clever enough to entertain the masses, and obviously, that wouldn’t have been his intention anyways! “They probably would have found it more thrilling if they knew real vampires were in there!” Ginger stated.
Phoebe warned her, “Shh! We don’t wanna let him know we’re on to him! He might be able to hear us right now!”
We didn’t’ see any sign of him, and the only employee to this establishment was just a bored dude selling tickets. He didn’t look like a vampire, but he didn’t seem particularly pleasant, so it wouldn’t have surprised me to learn that he wanted to help that fiend with his diabolism! We kind of just stood and stared at him for a minute- I know time was of the essence, but we didn’t know how to get the ball rolling. Seriously though, how do you ask someone if their boss is a vampire? He eyed us strangely and queried, “Can I help you?”
We all hesitated, but then I shakily probed, “Could you… I mean, what… Can you tell us what’s in here?”
The guy denied my request, “Nope! If you wanna know what lies inside of here, there’s only one way to find out! Tickets are five bucks each!” He held out his hand fully expecting us to pay up, and we all turned to each other for prompts on what to do…