Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Danger is Not My Middle Name #5
The beautiful girl and I are on a hill at the foot of an unfinished gothic style church, which looks a little like it has a sad face on it. The wind is a live thing swirling around us. There are only a couple of hours left until darkness – something that really seems to bother Jennifer. We are lying on our bellies and very suddenly I see something so horrifying that I have to suppress a very undetective-like scream.
I will tell you what I saw in a minute…right after I explain how we got to be here in the first place.
There are a lot of things I feel guilty about in my life. But there are three big ones. The first: telling my aging father that if he didn’t keep the lid securely capped on his newly purchased memory stick that the information would fall out. The second involves a burning bag, a misunderstanding about some goats and a small but really annoying Scottish terrier and the third has to do with a girl, a quart of Newfie Screech and the careful application apple sauce.
But I didn’t feel guilty for staring at Jennifer Jonas’ gams. They were long and shapely, the kind of legs that went all the way up to her hips. She was leaning forward, getting ready to do some talking. Her face was serious and she chewed on her lower lip in a manner that could have betrayed nerves…but was starting to look really hot.
“You’re staring at my legs, Diamond. Stop it,” she said.
“…what?” I responded quickly.
“I am going to have a conversation with you. Something serious. And you are staring at my legs.”
“Well…they’re nice legs,” I said. Rakish was failing me now. Even my fedora seemed to be drooping – which is not a good thing when you’re a dick like me. I could only see her eyes, her legs, those full lips and my mind was wandering into its happy place.
“…going to get killed. A long and painful death.”
“I said that unless you focus, you are going to get killed. It will be a long and painful death.”
“Oh,” I responded quickly. “Alrighty then.”
“Are you focused?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said, trying to summon a crooked yet charming smile to my lips.
“Really?” Her voice was like silk, with an underlying purr to it.
“You’ve heard of Bram Stoker?” she asked.
“Yes,” I lied.
“Who is he?”
“Lead singer for the Rotting Maggots?” I guessed.
“Fullback for the Green Bay Packers?”
She sighed. “No. Bram Stoker wrote Dracula. You have heard of Dracula, right?”
“Everyone’s heard of Dracula,” I responded sardonically. “He invented lasagna.”
“No.” She started to speak. But I silenced her with a finger pressed against her lips, so the rest of her words sounded like “yummmfp.”
“Dracula. Transylvanian vampire.”
She nodded. “Yephh,” she said.
“I know who he was, toots,” I said. I took my finger off her lips, even though it wanted to stay and die there.
“Don’t call me toots,” she said.
I shrugged. Was there a club or something?
“Stoker’s book wasn’t fiction,” she said.
I first sniffed and then kissed my index finger, which had been pressed to her lips, even as I waggled my eyebrow her way.
“There are vampires out there?” I asked. “Undead blood suckers?”
She frowned at me and then shook her head. “No. Not like that exactly. Stoker led a very ordinary life. As dull as dishwater. Then one day he comes out with this story. Where did that story come from?”
I shrugged. So she was loony tunes…what was that to me? My heart was having a wild party inside my chest because she had allowed me to press my finger to her lips and hadn’t even thrown up a little bit.
“He was a researcher into the occult. He was a member of a small group of men, determined to find out if occult stories were based on truth…or lies.”
“Uh huh,” I responded, nodding my head slowly. Definitely loopy. That could work for me, I thought as I began scheming.
“He found vampires, Diamond,” she said.
“Sure he did,” I responded reassuringly. “Probably in an old castle, surrounded by bodies and a hunchbacked minion.”
“You’re being a jerk,” she said, refusing to pout, which made me just a little sad. She actually was doing a fairly credible job of starting to look seriously pissed.
“Real vampires aren’t anything like that. But how could Stoker communicate what he had learned to his colleagues? There was no internet…no fast post…no way to publish a text book. So he wrote Dracula and included codes and symbols only his colleagues would recognize.”
“Bram Stoker did that?” I asked.
She nodded eagerly.
“Would that be called the B.S. Code?” I observed wittily.
She sighed again and looked up at me with very tired looking eyes.
“I don’t know why I am trying to help you. But I am going to try one more time. We call the creatures he found “Stokers” since he was the one who uncovered their first nest. They don’t drink blood. They drain life. They must drain human life to live.”
“Like that face sucking thing on Star Trek?” I said. Star Trek, the TOS (The Original Series to the mundanes) was familiar ground. I could hold my own here with anyone. “Everyone thought she was just this hot babe Kirk was going to bag and—"
“Sure, sure. Whatever,” she said with a dismissive wave of one slender hand. “The point is that the Stokers are real. They exist. The group Bram Stoker belonged to, called the Keepers, is real. It exists. The man we are following is one of the key Keeper investigators. His code name is Fitzroy.”
“Uh huh,” I said, slowly processing the information. She seemed pretty level for someone who was totally animal crackers. Hot…but nuts.
“He’s going to a place called The Unfinished Church in Bermuda. It’s a gothic ruin now. We know he’s meeting someone there. Someone or something. It’s the next port we put into. We’re following him there.”
All of which goes to explain how I came to be here, standing on a windswept hill, somewhere in St. George, Bermuda, tracking the undead.
Jennifer was crouched down beside me, her body warm against the cold night and I—
“Stop it, Diamond,” she said.
“What you’re thinking. Knock it off.”
I was about to lie and claim complete innocence when we both saw something so impossible we were stunned into silence. We watched breathlessly as a dark form moved somewhere in the murky darkness. The form was big and dark, crawling down the wall of the deserted church, like a large loathsome spider. And I DO mean that it was crawling DOWN the wall of the church toward the ground in complete defiance of gravity.
“Holy crap,” I said softly.
“Yeah,” whispered Jennifer. “Holy crap.”