Season Two – Episode 6 – “High Midnight”

By: B.A. Holland

Production Notes:

Started: 6/03/2012

“Air Date” 6/21/2012

Published by: Abyssal Books

www.abyssalbooks.com

Copyright ©2012

All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer

This series is a work of fiction. Characters, names and incidences are either productions of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Chapter One

Nothing quite confirms the notion that bullies are just cowards at heart than a short, fat, brown haired bully clinging to jail-cell bars. Tears rolled out of the kids eyes as he pathetically pleaded for mercy. He cried out as if he were being sent to death row. Daniel dreamed of a cell that was made of shatter-proof glass that blocked out juvenile cries as he walked out of the holding cell area. This was the ringleader that beat the shit out of an innocent, slightly mentally challenged teenager and as far as Daniel was concerned, needed to be locked up for safety’s sake. Punishment for such crimes was a felony anywhere else in the world and he was going to actually suggest it. The one problem pressing charges was that although they had the photographs to show what he and his group of friends had done to poor Jessie, her wounds had miraculously healed overnight. Anna had since told Daniel about Jordan’s true cause for her condition and he was still stuck wondering if it was true. A vampire? One of the deputies caught Daniel shaking his head at his own internal thoughts and assumed that he was still thinking about Jerry Rodgers; Jerry was a sixty-nine year old man who had stolen Daniel’s police cruiser, and was, at that very moment, still somewhere in the state joyriding it while complaining about those damn kids.

He sat down in a chair behind an old hardwood desk that had probably been a permanent fixture of the Bancroft Sheriff’s Department since before he was born. Where a macintosh laptop lie on his desk, there were marks and indentations that showed where a typewriter once was. There were many things in the office that screamed antique but at least the computers were up to date within the last decade. He looked around at the windows that had been battered by the elements for so long that no amount of Windex could cut through the frost. The sun seemed to be filtered as it poured into the rooms patchy green carpet that hadn’t been replaced since the eighties; the walls still sported the retro panel-wood decor that were only still popular in courtrooms across America. Even his car, the one that was stolen by old Jerry Rodgers, was ancient by comparison to the standard patrol car in any other state or county. He had high hopes that Jerry would somehow manage to run that car into something more significant than the towns main cell-phone station.

Speaking of cell phone station, Daniel thought to himself.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out his flip phone. No Signal. He rolled his eyes and threw the phone on the desk with just enough uumph that it slid to a stop just before almost falling over the ledge of the bare desk. There was nothing to do in the city other than sit there. He hardly spent any time in the old Sheriff’s station unless there was actually a reason to do so. I should have remembered to dust the chair before I sat in it. Daniel smiled to himself. He thought it may have been fear that drove his marriage to divorce. Anna was always so ambitions and maybe all I wanted was a nice, quaint little job where I could sit around and do nothing, get paid, come home, and watch Jordan grow.

And now I can’t even watch Jordan grow…

As he sat there, he realized that he had lost a lot. Some of it he had lost and not even realized what he had until moments like this; moments where he had to sit in silence and ponder every decision he had made up until the point where he finally became brave enough to do something that would probably break his routine. Would it be considered ambitious enough to actually take a stand for something that would eventually put him in the spotlight of the entire town in the next few hours? Perhaps then, his ex-wife would understand that he was not a bad law enforcement officer after all. At least she wouldn’t have the ground to accuse him of being an unambitious settler that just wanted to sit on his ass all day and watch the game in his one-horse town.

“You do know that Chuck is gonna’ be screamin’ bloody murder on ya’ when he find out what ya’ did to his boy, right?” Johnny Miller, a young twenty year old know-it-all asked.

“Sounds somewhat rhetorical doesn’t it?” Daniel asked. He couldn’t wait for the only other deputy he had to show up – a young Indian that anyone could get along with. “There’s better things to worry about. Go find my car.” Daniel said. He was more or less annoyed that the boy messed up his thought process. “I’d do it myself if I didn’t think you’d let the boy go the moment Chuck came in here screaming about everything.” Daniel waved his hands toward the door like he didn’t even want the kid in the station anymore. The young, muscular deputy shrugged his shoulders and stormed out the front door as if he knew he wasn’t wanted – and it showed. Daniel knew that sooner or later he would have to get up and shut the front doors manually since Johnny didn’t bother to shut them on his way out.

Three miles away at Daniel’s house, Jason and Matthew waited patiently at the front door. Matthew, the fat dark haired kid kept pounding his fist into his hand as he thought about the other night. Jason reached out with his thin, slender arm and held onto Matt’s elbow in an effort to keep him from looking like the hulk when he gets angry. Just about the time that Jason was about to ponder painting his best friend green, the door opened to a pile of sheets.

“Jordan?” Matthew reached out to lift the bed sheets but the sound of Jordan’s high pitched growl stopped him from continuing. The two kids stood motionless at the sight for a moment until Jason finally asked her if they could come in. There was an uncomfortable pause but when the answer did come, it came slow as if she was unsure.

“Yes,” came the whisper from the sheets.

They had known Jordan since they were toddlers and it was the only thing that kept them from running out fo fear; it wasn’t because she was dressed like a ghost in sheets. There was just something off about their old friend that they couldn’t put their finger on, and it was only getting weirder. As they stepped into the house they were used to, they found that nothing was quite right. The windows either had sheets, or tin foil over them, making the once lively bright living-room look dark and foreboding. The mid afternoon ambiance of the television was missing as well as the radio that her father usually kept running on a low volume in the kitchen. It was quiet, dark, and alien to the boys that thought they knew what it was they were walking into. The place felt like a tomb. The door slammed shut, making the boys jump in unison. Under cover of darkness, Jordan pulled the sheets off of her, revealing a girl in PJ’s. Despite the dark shadow that embraced her, they could see her unusually pale white skin prominent against the darkness.

“Are you – okay?” Jason asked.

“Yep,” was the reply they got from the strange pale outline in the dark. “Remember! I had that totally weird problem with sunlight that I got? Dad told you about that!”

Suddenly, she sounded like the Jordan that they remembered. Matt breathed a sigh of relief but Jason still seemed somewhat skeptical about the situation they were in. Unlike Matt, Jason took into account the speedy recovery of their mutual best friend, Jessie, who was not only healed but somewhat different after just a few minutes of alone time with her. The first thought that ran through the young boys logical mind was vampires, and then he thought about how crazy that was – but here Jordan was, pale white, unable to be in the sun, in a blacked-out house in the middle of the daytime. She even answered the door wearing sheets over her head to avoid the sun. Jason kept in mind how crazy it all sounded. He kept reminding himself that he was sixteen now and shouldn’t be thinking about things such as vampires. He forced the thought out of his head as thoroughly as he could. It was stupid to even think of asking such a question, especially when trapped in a house with a bloodsucking vampire that used to be his living breathing friend.

My god, Jason thought. I’m not being rational. She’s still the same Jordan! No such thing as Vampires. Jason made a mental note to slap himself for thinking such nonsense in the presence of a friend that he had known for all his life and geared himself up to ask Jordan if she’d like to watch a movie like they always used to do when they were much younger. It had been a while since he had watched The Lion King, or The Sword in the Stone with her. He wasn’t sure which would be best since Matthew was with them and he wasn’t much of a Disney fan. He hoped that he would compromise with Jordan since it had been over a year since they all had the chance to sit around the television and watch a movie. So, he prepared himself to ask the question of which movie. That’s right… A movie would take the awkward moment away for sure. Jason stepped forward a moment and looked into the dark corner to ask.

“Are you a vampire?”

Jason’s eyes went wide with surprise. He couldn’t believe he had just said that when he was trying to ask her about which Disney movie to watch. Matthew, being the one to believe nearly anything, backed away and guarded his neck with his hands. Jason was quick to remedy the situation. He would tell her that he meant to say are you into Vampire movies?

“Sorry, what I meant to say was…” He swallowed hard before readjusting his question. “Are you into sucking blood?” Jason’s eyes squinted hard as he realized that he screwed up again. There was silence from the corner of the room. He couldn’t take it any more and continued. “I am so sorry! I didn’t mean to say that. I was trying to ask you if you were into vampire movies and if you – I mean…”

“Do you still like me?” There was a moment where Matt and Jason could hear sniffles from the dark corner. “… I didn’t – mean – for this…” Now they knew she was crying. Jason may have been the smart one of the group, but Matt was the courageous gentlemen that picked her away from the shadows and brought her to the sofa as she cried. Matt looked over the small girl’s blonde head and gave Jason the evil eye. Jason was quick to look down at the darkened floor.

“I’m sorry,” Jason said.

“Still friends?” Jordan asked as Matt placed her on the sofa.

Matthew stepped away and was about to punch Justin in the shoulder when Justin turned almost as white as Jordan. He looked at the sleeve of his shirt to see the blood stains. Matt’s brows furrowed a moment but he took a look at his own shirt and realized what Jason was so afraid of. He sucked in a lot of air in surprise but Matt caught control of himself enough to check under the threads of his shirt to make sure he wasn’t cut or bleeding. He lifted the collar up and checked his skin for breaks and there was none. He looked back to Jason who was frozen solid as his gaze stayed fixed on Jordan. Matt looked to her to see that she was wiping away blood.

She was crying blood.

Matthew took a few steps back and nearly tripped over the glass coffee table while Jason inched closer to her friend. He could hear his heart pounding in his ears as he crept closer to Jordan’s slender figure. He quickly turned the lamp on and their young blonde friend hid her face by pulling her knees to her forehead.

“I never believed it until now. I bet you haven’t changed a bit in the way that you act. I haven’t seen anything change beyond – this…” Jason swallowed hard and sat down next to her. Despite images of horror film’s kept flowing through his mind, he felt he was doing the right thing, even if it means sitting next to someone who might actually be from the undead. “If you’re still the same friend as you were as you left, I don’t care if you’re a vampire or not. So there’s really such things?”

“Yeah,” Jordan confirmed through a sniffle. “But I wouldn’t ever hurt you!”

“How do we know?!” Matt said from behind Jason’s back. He was trying to hide but a golf ball would have had better luck hiding behind a toothpick.

“I helped Jessie when she got beat up, duh! Are you two going to trust me now?”

“I – trust you,” Jason confirmed while cautiously reaching out to take Jordan’s hand which was now streaked red with the tears of the undead. They both equally jumped when she suddenly pulled them both in for a hug.

“You can’t tell anyone,” Jordan whispered.

“What do you do to live?” Matt asked. Jordan, in return, took their hands and placed them on her cold neck where they could feel no pulse. All Matt knew was that her skin was cold, but Jason was quick to pick up on what he was supposed to have searched for, and found nothing. His eyes went wide with shock and he took a few steps back out of reflex in order to safely process what he had just experienced – a girl with no pulse.

“Oh my god…” Jason exclaimed.

“Yeah I know, right? Her skin is cold.”

Justin’s eyes closed half way as his jaw relaxed enough to give Matthew the most exasperated look of grief he could have ever given a friend. If there had been a wooden desk to slam his head against in disappointment, he would have but his hands would have to do. He cursed through his fingers as he attempted to find a proper way to explain to him how naive he was for not thinking a little deeper. They had both been through the same classes in school so Jason couldn’t understand why his words were different from his forced thoughts. He would think one thing, and say another whenever the most inopportune moment arose. He took that into account before slapping Matt over the back of the head for not thinking deeper into his meanings.

“It’s okay,” Jordan said. “You just can’t tell anyone, okay? I figured you would get it just as soon as what happened to — Jessie.”

At the sound of Jessie’s name, Jason found his courage and spoke up firmly.

“You did’t turn her into a vampire, did you?!”

“No… If a vampire gives a human some of their blood –.”

“You turned her into a zombie slave of the undead?!?” Jason interrupted.

“NO!”

Jordan stayed quiet a moment to make sure that he wouldn’t interrupt her again.

“They heal but they don’t turn into a Vampire. I didn’t want my friend hurting like that anymore than you wanted her to be all — in pain and stuff.”

“You’re way too mean. You should apologize for calling Jessie a Zombie.” Matt crossed his arms in his best mock impression of his own parents when he did something wrong. Jordan stepped into the light and smiled as she brought them both into a hug.

“It’s okay. I would have been totally freaked, too. Do you want to call Jessie and see how she is doing? We should invite her to the lake tonight!”

“I thought your dad was coming home tonight?” Jason pointed to a fake watch on his arm. Jordan, in return, raised an eyebrow after turning a lamp on to illuminate the house that now hid from the sun.

“I thought you would search for any little excuse to see Jeeessieeeee…” Jordan giggled and hugged Jason playfully. She could smell a twinge of fear emanating from his skin and although it made him tasty, Jordan wouldn’t dare sink her teeth into him. Justin pushed her off of him and blushed. Jordan thought he was so cute when he blushed. She always liked how smart he was and thought that Jessie was always so lucky have taken the spotlight of his eyes.

“Alright! Let’s call her.”

Matt was the first to pull the cordless house phone over to the table; they sat around the phone as it was the new center of attention. Jordan dialed her number right away and it started ringing.

“It’s cool. Do you still remember our numbers too?” Matt asked.

“Yep!” Jordan smiled proudly at them as the phone rang, and rang… It then cut to the sound of an annoyed voice.

“You’ve reached Thomas McGuire. I am not home right now. Please leave a message.”

Then came the beep.

“Hey Jessie!” Jordan practically cheered into the speakerphone. “We’re heading out to the lake tonight. Jayyysonnnssssgonnabeethereee!” She giggled as Jason reached for the phone.

“Hey!” Jason rebuked as he tried to turn the phone off.

“See you soon!” Matt yelled over the sounds of battling kids.

“Turn it off!” Jason yelled. Jordan finally let Jason grab the phone and turn it off but by then the damage was done. Matthew and Jordan produced a high five in front Jason who was now glowing bright red.

Bancroft Courthouse

Kirkland stepped out of his Lincoln Towncar and walked to the steps of the Bancroft City Courthouse. He instantly started complaining about the hours ride it took and how the air conditioner in his 2003 model luxury car was no longer luxurious anymore. Chuck Guffy emerged from the passenger side of the car while rolling his eyes at the constant complaints of the rich man that owned the company he middle-managed for. He might have been pissed at what the sheriff did to his boy, but he was beginning to play with his options after being around his boss for the hour’s drive. The sun was starting to go down in Forest City; they were meeting a judge beyond regular business hours, which Chuck found slightly impressive considering he couldn’t get anything done after four in the afternoon if it involved government. He expected a long conversation but really it was just an exchange of money – a suitcase full of money to be exact. Once the handoff was done, he turned to Chuck and handed him a yellow envelope.

“That’s how this works. You’ll get your boy back, Daniel will be put in his place and the inspectors won’t even come. You started this mess by not controlling your own kid and it nearly cost me my company. Control your child and maybe you’ll get the bigger chunk next time I need your services.” Kirkland got back into the car and Chuck followed.

“What about the other two suitcases?” Chuck asked.

“One is for Daniel to shut him up and avoid backfire, the others for in case money doesn’t work on him. If he refuses it altogether… Well, they get two suitcases full of money.” Chuck looked at his boss as if he had been seriously hurt. Kirkland returned a smirk in return after reading the expression.

Daniel had been sitting by the phone listening for some word on the state of his stolen police cruiser. When the phone rang, he saw that it was the county courthouse. Delighted that this could be some good news, he picked the phone up and didn’t even bother to say hello.

“Did you find something out about my car?”

Judge Thatcher’s husky voice reminded him that he had to take his ear a little way’s away from the phone because it was a warning that any time he said a word with the letter S, there was a high pitched, eardrum busting whistle that came from the other end.

“Mister Anderson… I am sorry to say that we have yet to locate your car. However, it was brought to my attention that you have a one, ‘Chad Guffy’ detained with you in the cell. I am authorizing his release. There is not enough evidence here to warrant a trial unless the family of the victim wishes to take this to civil court. Following his release, I will have one of my secretaries contact Thomas McGuire and ask him if he wishes to pursue it any further.”

Daniel couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He knew that he was going to risk his next election, and his reputation with the state as soon as he said the following words but his moral compass of right and wrong kicked in and he took a deep breath to ready himself.

“Judge Tatcher… If I am correct, it will take a court order from the District Attorney to contradict and set free, a felony suspect. You will have to acquire that order within normal county government hours I think. Unless you wish to actually wake people up in this sleepy town to do so. I have pictures of the damage this kid did to Jessie McGuire and I will not set him free tonight – not without a court order.”

The truth was that Daniel hadn’t studied actual law in at least a year and he had never made an arrest that warranted more than allowing a few of his close friends to use the jail cell to sober up overnight. The judge being speechless was good enough for him to think that maybe he was right about what he said. He hung up the phone and slumped in his chair.

“What the fuck…”

Jesse McGuire was used to doing a few things before getting out of the shower. The trick to getting out of a few bad situations in her home revolved around keeping the bathroom door locked, only being naked for a short amount of time, and being fully dressed and ready to get out the moment the door was unlocked. Although a very skinny young girl, she wore additions to her clothing that kept her clothes on tighter and took more time to gain access to herself; a belt was a must, tight jeans, tight laced shoes, more than one shirt, one tucked in, the other was long sleeved despite the heat finally coming into Iowa over the summer months, and for good measure, she kept her dark hair in a ponytail. Her mind had clear since Jordan did the strangest thing to her. As she squeezed the water out of her hair, she thought back to her strange friend that made her drink blood – the way her wounds, bruises, and cuts had healed. She once had a scar on her hand where her father got mad at her and pushed a searing hot iron across her fingers – all those scars were gone now. She was also using deductive reasoning; something she was incapable of doing all her life. It was like her mind was freed from a cage that it had been locked in.

She herself felt locked in a cage all her life as well. If her father had told her to do something, she would not hesitate to do so unless it was something that would hurt her anyway. It was the physical abuse beyond what happened in the bedroom that she always knew that she could get away from; now, for some reason, her mind was running a course of probabilities in her head that had never been able to occur to her until now. There was a knock on her door. Then, her father’s voice emanated through it.

“Are you decent?”

“What would you care?”

Jessie had never said such a thing to her father before and she could tell from the silence on the other end of the door that her dad must have been in shock that she would even be able to talk to him. Over the past few years, she mostly communicated to her father in nods and shakes as she looked down at his feet. She knew that if she ever looked into his eyes, she would get slapped or hit; this was all depending on how his day went at work. The door suddenly vibrated as a fist hit it from the other side. The bathroom of the tiny trailer seemed to crack and jolt as the pressure against the door affected the cheap snapped-on components that held the walls of the tub and the mirror up.

“What did you say to me girl?! Get out of there! I had a very bad day at work and I don’t need no backtalk, ya hear?”

The door swung open. Jessie seemed to tower over him as she looked him straight in the eyes this time.

“You haven’t even seen a bad day if you think you can take your version of one out on me. If you even try, I swear you’ll have a new definition for bad day. You can beat me up, try and rape me, or sick your bosses kid back on me but it won’t keep me from telling the whole world what an abusive father you are. I should have gone straight to Jordan’s dad to begin with. I’m going to move out and if you try and stop me, the whole world will know what you are.”

Chapter Two

Daniel was about to head home when his phone rang again. He picked it up but was met by a series of high pitched screaming and squeaks that emanated from either a computer or a fax machine. He was quick to put it down. He turned around to see a court order paper being printed. It had the seal of his county on it, and it was signed by two judges. He never thought that bullshit could be sent over a telephone line but what came out of that fax machine stunk more than anything that he had ever smelled in his life. At the same time, the door opened to a man that he recognized as the District Manager of the cargo company that Chuck Guffy ran.

“Everything is taken care of. I want my company back in working order and that means clearing little Chad of his crimes. I hear that there is little to no evidence that anything was done to justify his arrest anyway.”

As if on queue, a stack of printed photos landed on the desk between the company executive and the officer; photos of Jessie’s beaten and battered form. Each photo had been time-stamped by the camera that took them.

“Jessie won’t say a damn word about it. Do you think she’s going to testify against her father’s boss?” Kirkland smirked as he sat down in the chair across from his desk. “She’s at home now anyway, with her dad. So – no evidence other than a few pictures of a person who won’t even be in the courtroom if you try and take this further.”

“Let me ask you a question,” Daniel said as he smiled and sat in his chair across from Kirkland. “… why do you need a prick like Chuck to run a freight company in the middle of nowhere so badly that you are willing to protect his family? Why not just get some other inbred redneck hillbilly to run it for you? Does he have dirt on someone?”

At that point a briefcase found it’s way onto of the pictures of poor, battered Jessie McGuire.

“What the fuck is that?” Daniel asked.

“What’s it look like?”

Daniel had to smile as he reached forward and unhinged the latches on the briefcase. Inside of it was more money than he had ever seen in his life. To Daniel though, the only thing he thought about was that there was at least 50,000 dollars sitting on top of a picture of a beaten, abused young girl that didn’t deserve the life that she had. In that case, there was no temptation at all. Daniel reached into his drawer and hit record on a digital tape recorder before closing the case. As the lid came down, he saw Kirkland shaking his head as if he was sure that he just helped Daniel sell his soul for enough money to hold him off for six years. Kirkland’s smile was wiped away the moment he realized that the town sheriff was not amused.

“This isn’t enough… How much are you willing to pay me to forget about the fact that Chad Guffy beat the shit out of a sixteen year old girl?”

“You want more? I’m willing to go up to a hundred thousand,” Kirkland said.

Daniel rolled his eyes.

“I’ll see you in court Kirkland. There’s more to this than that because any normal boss would have just fired Chuck for being a bad manager. They would move on with their lives. Now I’m sure there’s more to your cargo company than meets the eye. And Chad Guffy committed a heinous crime. I’ll release him but you go ahead and take your money. I’m sure I’ll see you all back in a cell really soon.” Daniel shoved the briefcase back to Kirkland like it was diseased.

“You better take the money. I can’t trust you if you don’t.”

“Oh, you can trust me.” Daniel laughed and pointed toward the door. “I won’t lie to you. I’m taking this wherever it needs to go. Bribery of a law officer is illegal, by the way. I’ll see what I can do about that later. I have a feeling that locking you up will only cause more immediate pains in my ass.”

Jordan was faced with what would have normally been a daunting task. She had just finished tying the strings to her two piece bikini while Jessie pulled the straps to her one-piece over her shoulders. They announced to the boys that they were finished dressing at they turned around. Jordan, the shortest one had a pile of rope at her feet. She had assured them that she could finally climb to the tallest limb on one of the trees that overhung the moonlit lake to create that ultimate swing that they had all talked about. The rope was twice as long as what was needed and they had a knife for dealing with that problem. What they decided to do was use an arrow with fishing line to shoot over the tallest limb. They had done this before, but once they were forty feet in the air, everyone always chickened out and lowered themselves back down. The process was simple enough; tie the fishing line to the end of the rope, pull it over the tallest branch, and back down again. They would then tie off a hole for someone to put their foot in and then pull on the other end of the rope until they reach the top limb.

“I think you’re just going to chicken out again,” Matthew said teasingly. While Matthew and Jordan chatted about climbing the tree, Jason cautiously approached Jessie and observed her a moment. He couldn’t help but look at her neck, arms, and legs that poked out of her black swim suit.

“What happened to your scars?”

Jessie turned and brought her left hand up to rub her right arm. It was the first time she had ever felt an abundance of smooth skin due to the long nights where her father would pour scolding hot water on her out of anger. She knew that Jason didn’t expect much of an answer from her because she used to be so closed-minded and quiet all her life. Jordan had already confessed to being a Vampire and as the best friends they all were, it didn’t matter. Neither did her answer matter to anyone after that.

“She made me drink her blood last night.” Jessie took Jason’s hand and placed it on her arm. “It fixed – everything. Even my mind. I’m not slow anymore. Come here.” Jessie wrapped her other arm around Jason’s boney shoulder and pulled him into a kiss. Scared for a moment, Jason kept his eyes open as Jessie not only pressed her lips onto his, but she inserted her tongue. There was a moment of panic but it was followed by relief when he realized that this was really happening. He closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around her. Jordan and Matthew stood frozen in place as the scantily clad adventurers looked on to witness the two kids that were in love, finally showing it.

“Yep, that was a long time coming…” Matthew crossed his arms over his belly and nodded approvingly as Jordan tested the loop in the rope.

“Oh… Finally!” Jordan giggled as she started pulling herself up. Each pull brought the other side of the rope sending her skyward As she yanked on the rope faster, fear crept into Matthew as he worried about what would happen if she fell from such a height. Eighty feet up, Jordan straddled the tallest limb in the patch of forest and pulled herself on-top of it. She took her foot out of the rope as her friends quiet doing anything else they were doing to watch their Vampire friend do what has always been to them, impossible. Jordan pulled another loop into the tied off loop and put the longer loop through it. The rope below her dangled as it lifted from the ground. Before long, there was more weight on one side of the loop than the other and the rope threaded itself until the other end finally hit the ground again. When she pulled the last portion through the loop, it tightened to the tree as the tail end fell to the ground. Jordan was able to see the long, winding road to Bancroft. In the moonlight, she could make out the grey shapes of the houses but there were no streetlights in the distance, no houses were lit. It was too early in the night for everyone to have gone to sleep. She shrugged it off before she grabbed hold of the rope. One hand over the other she lowered herself a few feet at a time in rapid succession until she felt the warm water heated by the summer’s day at her feet. She dropped in and brought the rope with her.

“I can’t believe you did it!” Jessie said.

Matthew and Jason were still surprised whenever she spoke for herself without being spoken to first. It was great! Matthew high-fived her as Jason commenced cutting the excess length from the rope.

“This is going to be so much fun!” Jason laid the rope across his lap. Clad in only his swimming trunks, the young boy was careful with his knife. The last thing he wanted to do was cut his exposed skin in front of a girl that claimed to be a Vampire. He might have trusted her but he still wasn’t sure how they reacted to blood yet. He cut through the rope and lifted the severed end triumphantly in his hands before letting it drop to the rocks. Jason then ran toward the water with the other rope in his hands until it went taught and he swung himself over the water until he was at his highest point. He then let go and celebrated with a flip. There was a wohooo!, followed by a thunderous splash. A second later, Matt and Jessie could hear Jason’s laughter coming from the water as well as the impacts of his hands and feet as he swam back to the rocks.

Matthew was the next one to launch himself into the water with the rope. Jason watched as he fell in at a decent distance, all the while, Jessie wrapped her arms around him and kissed his cheek. Jordan turned around to see them.

“I’m sorry. You don’t mind do you?” Jessie asked.

“Nope… I just wish my boyfriend were here to join us.” Jordan winked as Matthew ran back and handed her the rope.

“I got next!” Jordan jumped off into the water but only a bit too fast. The rope practically struck a chord as it jerked taught under the speed of Jordan’s run. Jordan found herself airborne as she let go of the rope. The patch of forest could once again be seen as she flew through the air and noticed a white truck parked at the tree-line that hid the lake from public view. It was a fair distance away and if it were not for her ability to see in the dark, she would never have spotted it so far off.

Jordan came down half on the water, half on the rocks. If she had been human, she probably would have died but the injuries instantly went away. She made a mental reminder to herself that, immortal or not, falling still hurt, even if only for a fraction of a second. As her bones automatically mended, she ran into the woods.

“Where did she go?” Matt asked.

Jessie jumped into the water to retrieve the rope which gave Jason the time to think about other things that wouldn’t make the bulge in his pants hang around. When thinking about Jessie, he discovered that there was a list of things that he could run through his mind to keep his friends from noticing the biological torpedo that his girlfriend had caused to bulge up into his swimming trunks.

“I don’t know…” Jason said. Followed by, “Thumbtacks, tellytubies, Justin Beiber… Matt’s mother’s cooking…”

“What?!” Matt asked.

“Sorry! I was talking to myself…” He couldn’t help but find Jessie cute in a bathing suit. Just a few years prior, it was the last thing on his mind other than friendship. Jordan emerged from the water; her friends had no idea that she suffered any fall other than a perfect dive as she approached them.

“Nice job with the rope!” Matt said.

“Yeah! Just steer clear of the left side of the lake, there’s still a bunch of rocks out there. Hey! Let’s hide in the woods because there’s a white truck parked nearby and I think someone is coming after us.” She said it like it was no big deal but it easily scared the hell out of everyone else.

“What do you mean?! Like Chad’s dad’s truck?!” Jason asked as he looked around frantically. Jessie didn’t even need to be a vampire to tell that her new boyfriend’s heart began to race out of control. She was quick to his rescue and hugged him. Still getting over the sudden animated version of Jessie, Matt stood still for a minute to take in what he was seeing. They didn’t even get started gathering their supplies when Chuck and Chad Guffy emerged from the forest.

“Ah, how cute is that…” Chuck laughed.

“What are you doing here?” Jason asked.

Jordan stepped in front of Matt out of instinct; her small body doing little to save her friend if they were to shoot anything at them. She was relieved to see that they didn’t have any guns on them. Jordan relaxed a little and reminded herself that things couldn’t possibly be too bad. This wasn’t New York, after all.

“I ain’t got no good reason for it.. I just have ta’ do it.”

Jordan could see the struggle that was going through his mind; it was in his eyes. It was then that she noticed his arms move and a small handgun emerged from his pants. His son, however, didn’t seem to have a problem with what was going on as he followed his fathers lead. Jessie, Matthew, and Jason were shaken to the core and frozen in place when they saw the glint of metal in Chuck’s hand.

“If you have no reason to do it, then you have no reason to do it.”

Jordan was the only one to speak up since the only fear she had for mortal weapons was pain and of course, for her friends lives. She focused on the trembling of Chuck’s hands. Jordan moved to the side away from her friends. If she was going to make a run for Chuck, she knew she needed to keep her friends out of the line of fire. She had to be quick about it so that her friends wouldn’t volunteer themselves to get shot for the sake of herself.

“What are you doing?” Jason asked.

“Get yer’ ass back yonder where it belongs!” Chuck straightened his arm out and pulled the hammer back on his small revolver.

“Jordan!” Jessie yelled.

“It’s okay!”

Jordan held her hand out to her friends in an effort to tell them not to come for her or to follow her. Although cured of whatever damaged her mind as a child, Jessie still ran for Jordan. Jordan in turn ran wide and away while attempting to intercept Chuck before Jessie could get in-between. Four shots were fired, one of which entered into Jordan’s gut just above her bikini. It instantly made pain shoot through her tiny body but she kept running for him. Another shot – his last shot. Jordan ran a straight line and tumbled the fat redneck to the ground before he could even think about reloading or retaliating with a fist. The leaves took flight around Jordan and Chuck as she straddled him and started taking off his clothes one-by-one. She pulled him to the nearest tree and tied his arms together with his socks and his legs with his shirt. By the time she was done with him, which was only about a millisecond’s time, he was tied to tree and totally immobile. Chad instantly made a run to free his father and to have a shot at the little blonde girl that he once beat up when they were in elementary school. As Jordan’s fist hit Chad’s face, he quickly found out that things have changed. After bouncing off the ground, Chad came to an unconscious rest at his father’s feet.

It wasn’t until she turned around when she noticed Jessie on the ground with a hole in both sides of her neck.

“Jordan!” Justin yelled in a panic. Chad’s other friends ran off long before this happened and there was nobody left to really make it to the police in time. With the cell phones out of order, there was no way to call for help. Jordan looked at the sight before her in disbelief. Jordan’s fangs extended and she ripped into her own wrist. Justin and Matt didn’t even have time to protest at what was happening. As Jessie like on the ground bleeding out, gasping for air, the last thing she wanted was someone’s hand over her mouth. She struggled and cried as she tried to choke back the blood that was already in her throat.

“What are you doing?!” Matt tried to pry Jordan’s bloody wrist away from Jessie as she choked her final breath. Her body went from convulsing in pain to dead still within seconds.

“She’s – she’s dead…” Justin began to cry. Matt stood up and turned around. He started to cry as well but he didn’t want anyone to see him. Jordan was the only calm one; she looked intently into Jessie’s eyes.

“Come on,” Jordan whispered under her breath.

“I.. I love you Jessie,” Justin said as he cradled her head in his lap and rested his head over her forehead after kissing her. Jordan reached out and grabbed hold of Justin’s shoulder as he wept and fought for air as he gasped in despair.

“I love you too.”

It was Jessie’s voice. Jordan smiled as she witnessed Jessie blink again and her eyes began to move. Justin felt cold fingers wrap around his palm as an electric jolt of reality surged through him. She was alive.

“Jessie?!” Justin looked down at the girl. Her smile was filled with blood and fangs but Justin wasn’t phased by it. He gratefully looked to Jordan who also breathed a sigh of relief. Matthew turned around and observed with eyes wider than dinner plates.

Jessie rubbed the blood off of her neck where her wound once was. She could feel her throat rearrange itself inside of her to where it used to be before her esophagus was torn apart by a 38 caliber round. She coughed up the remaining blood and wiped her lips on her arm. She didn’t feel the need to breathe in but she did so anyway so that she could talk.

“Thanks,” she said to Jordan. The vampires hugged a moment. She then looked to Justin and gave him a kiss. He was too shocked to be groused out by it. Matt looked over to the tree to see that Chuck was tied in a way that he couldn’t have witnessed what just happened. Thankful for that, he helped Jason and Jessie to their feet.

“What are we going to do with them?” Matt pointed to the unconscious kid.

Justin suddenly yelled ouch as Jessie dug her teeth into his shoulder. Jordan’s eyes went wide for a moment and then she smilied slightly.

“Just take what you need okay? Don’t kill your boyfriend.” Jordan looked over at the father and son troublemakers and walked to them. “We tie them up and call my dad.” Jordan stopped on the way to the unconscious bully on the ground to get her shirt out of her bag. Once she pulled the blue and white t-shirt out of her bag, she undid her bikini top and used it as the perfect rope for Chad’s hands. The other rope that they used consisted of the leftover rope from the swing they had just made. They wrapped it around the tree enough to tie both father and son snugly to the trunk.

“What if — bears come, or something?” Matthew asked.

“That would be nice,” Jason said.

“Yeah…” A smile crept across Matt’s face as he thought about it. “… Yeah, it would, wouldn’t it?”

*

The next morning, the jail cell once again held Chad, but now, also housed Chad’s father, Chuck. Chuck kicked and slammed the bars loud enough that the sounds carried through to the main office where Daniel called the judge.

“Hey. Just letting you know. I have Chad back in the cell again.”

“I thought I told you to let him go. This is a court order and you disobeyed. I’ll have your badge for this!”

“You didn’t let me finish,” Daniel said. “Different charge. Conspiracy to commit murder. Got his father in my cell too for shooting aat my daughter and I am going to press charges. Just thought you would want to know.” Daniel hung up.

Kirkland found himself back on the front steps of the sheriff’s office with nothing to show for it but a briefcase full of money from a man that couldn’t be bribed. He had conspired to take care of the family with a handful of incompetent red necks that were now threatening his lucrative business with the perfect front. He had decided that a change in management and employees was needed to clean the mess up. Of course, he wasn’t going to tell Thomas McGuire that the plan was to get rid of him, his daughter, his boss, and his bosses son just yet. For now, he could use Thomas and when he was done with him, a simple bullet to the back of the head wouldn’t hurt. With Judge Mark Thacher on his payroll, things were easily able to be swept under the rug just as long as there were no witnesses.

The gang didn’t yet have an official name for themselves so they labeled themselves The Nameless until the saying stuck one day. There were six of them so far – not very established. Their Harley Davidson’s rumbled on their way into the outskirts of town. Until now, the worst of them all was the leader who never hesitated to boast that he served time in prison for arson. The rest couldn’t hold a candle to their leader. They mostly spent their time peddling the meth that Kirkland provided out of their cargo company. Being called by a man that would give them a hundred thousand dollars just to kill one man and their daughter sounded like a good idea at the time; that was, until they drove past the Welcome to Bancroft, Iowa sign and stopped at the local phone booth. After a quick chat with Mr. Kirkland, they realized that their job got substantially larger. After quick negotiations, the new plan was to totally clean house. Their first stop was to the sub-station that supplied Bancroft with their power. A few well placed shots from a sawed off shotgun caused the transformers to explode with such a loud thud that they were sure the entire town heard it.

Jessie had spent the night and the day with Jordan since she had the only house capable of ensuring that they would be protected from the sunlight. Jason had also spent the night with them while Matt went home after agreeing and promising that, under no circumstance would he spout off about vampires being real. The boy was almost as pale white as Jessie and Jordan now that he had served as his girlfriend’s first meal ever. Jessie was told that the poor boy would be out like a light for hours while he recuperated. The TV and the house lights suddenly went out. About two seconds passed and there was a loud bang in the distance. The sound of steps on the staircases signaled Jordan’s father in a haste to see what was the matter. Jordan pulled the scanner that she had taken from the warehouse and scanned all nearby frequencies as her dad talked into a radio. Within seconds, the scanner stopped on a 800 MHz frequency and she heard her dad on her speakers. He stopped for just a moment to witness his daughter saving her dad’s channel into the memory chip on her device.

“You have a scanner?”

Jordan nodded and waved the small handheld silver box in her hand that looked a lot like a regular walkie talkie.

“Yeah! It charges from my laptop.”

“Sheriff Anderson… Looks like it’s a power substation. Better get down here.”

The radio scanned another set of frequencies just before Daniel responded.

“Jojo, Frank…. Go for the sheriff’s station. Dominique, Nathan, to the sheriff’s house. Charlie and I will clean the rest up. You got that?”

Jordan looked to her father who suddenly quit talking on his radio when he heard what Jordan’s scanner had just picked up.

“Save that frequency and come with me,” Daniel said.

“We can’t go with you. It’s daylight outside.” Jordan put her hands on her hips like she was saying duh but that didn’t last long as Daniel left and returned with two bodybags from the back of the sheriff’s truck he used as a backup since his police car was stolen by a geriatric who seemed to think that all the kids in the neighborhood were out to get him.

“You want me to go with you in that?! What about Jason?”

“I’ll put him in the back too! I need you all with me. I’ll close the blinds when we get to the police station. Now come on!”

Two body bags and one zonked out teenager later, Daniel had raced to the police station as fast as he could for the first time in his life. Daniel peeled out of the road leading to his house and skidded into the oncoming lane for a moment before gaining control of his vehicle.

“There’s a couple motorcycles at the police station…” His deputy sounded shaky over the radio as he said it. Daniel raised the mic to his mouth as he piled on the speed to get there as soon as he can.

“Just hang in there, hold your ground. Tell them not to come any closer and don’t tell them that I am coming!” Daniel yelled over the radio.

“Okay.”

The white dashes on the road seemed to blend into a translucent line as he made it to ninety miles per hour. Jason wiped his eyes and peered through them as he saw two small dots on the horizon up ahead.

“What’s that?”

Jordan’s scanner suddenly emitted audio again.

“Evan… Got a car coming down the road real fast. I think it has lights on the roof but they ain’t on.”

“That’s bound to be em’. Light em’ up when ya pass’em.”

“Yessir!”

“Oh man…” Justin said as Daniel reached a hand over his shoulder and pushed the boy under the floorboard.

“Just stay down.”

Daniel pulled his pistol from his holster for the first time in his life and personally prayed that he still remembered how to shoot straight. He wished his ex-wife was there to do this for him since she was the marksman in the family. He rolled the window down and held his pistol steady. Once he was able to fit one of the bikers entire torso into the front sight of his Glock, he squeezed the trigger. The round hit square in the bikers chest and he had he bowled over onto the other man that was aiming his shotgun at the windshield. Just before the dead biker fell onto the other biker, the other man blasted a load of buckshot into Daniel’s window. The glass in Daniel’s truck turned milk-white as a hole blasted through the center of the window and the ninety mile an hour wind brought shards flying into the seats and body bags behind him. He heard the girls scream as they undoubtedly cut small holes into the bags. Jason was okay since he had already tucked himself into the floorboard of the car. Daniel had leaned over too far to be touched by any of the sharp debris. From out of his rear-view, he saw both bikers run off of the road and violently slam into a ditch.

Jordan’s scanner suddenly blew up with voices.

“He got Dom! HE GOT DOM! Dom’s DEAD!”

“What?! How did he know?! HOW THE FUCK DID HE KNOW?!”

“Thanks for buying that scanner sweetie,” Daniel said.

“Thanks for cutting us up with glass daddy!” Came the muffled reply from the body bag.

Daniel smiled as he sped his way toward town.

Chapter Three

Daniel’s deputy yelled once again for the two bikers to halt where they were. After a long argument through the screen door over the fact that citizens were supposed to be allowed into a police station if there was an emergency, the young man simply stated that he didn’t like them and that they were more of a danger than any danger they came to talk about. That finally got a few bullets through the front door. Daniel’s deputy left his gun in the other room but he wasn’t too worried about that. The thing about the deputy was that he didn’t live in town; in fact, he technically lives off of United States territory so not many people realized that Daniel even had any help due to the fact that unless something is wrong, the man never left the station while Daniel did all the heavy lifting. Daniel said that it was always the least he could do since his ancestors were ruthless to the poor boy’s family throughout the centuries. The deputy was honest about everything, which was also why he told the bikers that he didn’t have a gun with him at the moment. Due to the circumstances, nobody could have predicted that young Kele Skyhawk would loose an arrow through the window and send it into Jojo’s knee.

“Ah! I took an arrow to the knee!” Jojo yelled in horror as he fell over. His buddy Frank started firing shots through the window but by then, Kele was out of sight again. “The Sheriff’s deputy is a – a freakin Native American! Frank! Help!”

“You can get him if you promise to just go! Get on your motorcycles and leave!” he yelled. It was right about that time that a speeding sheriff’s van slammed into both their motorcycles and side-slid straight to the front door until the entire sheriffs station was broadsided.

“My bike!”

It was hard to year that yell over the sound of rapid gunfire but the two vampires could hear it loud and clear. Jason was quick to cut a hole in the screen door and crawl through. Daniel threw the two body bags out of the window and into the building. A girly scream came from each bag as they hit the floor beside the deputy. Daniel launched himself through the window and the busted screen door last as bullets chased him closely.

“Mind if we drop in?” Daniel asked jokingly as he pointed to the blinds. “Shut out all the windows.”

“Mind telling me what’s going on?” Kele stayed bent over as he pulled the blinds shut on all the windows and then grabbed his gun belt. He stood on his knees and snapped his belt on while the two black body bags unzipped themselves. Jordan smiled and waved through the bag at her friend.

“Jordan?! What are you doing in there?” Kele asked. He then noticed the other girl. “Jessie?” He jumped back as he noticed the blood on Jessie’s lips. All three of the kids on the floor were pale and somewhat lifeless to him. “You two are broken vessels aren’t you?” He held his hands to his chest and dropped the bow that he used to shoot arrows out the window.

“It’s okay… They’re still the same they used to be. Jordan has been through a lot but she’s still the same.”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” Kele said to Daniel as he pulled his revolver and peaked out the only window that was open to them now. Jordan and Jessie stayed away from that window; away from the light.

Two more motorcycles pulled up, one had two people on it – the man that crashed into the ditch no doubt. With the power and the phones out, there was no way to warn the outside world about their situation. Everything outside reminded Daniel of a Mad Max movie. Only this time, things were all too real for his liking.

“Alright, here’s the deal,” Daniel whispered. “So far we’ve done a really good job at fucking up these guys plans. For some reason, they really want us all dead. They were talking about who all to kill over the radio and some of it doesn’t even make sense. They even had plans to kill Jessie’s father and I don’t understand why. Not all of it makes sense but as long as they are here, they aren’t running around town causing panic. So we need to try and keep them here until sundown and then we can take care of them all.”

“That’s got to be the dumbest plan ever,” Kele said. “We should at least try and take them now while there’s daylight. We can’t see in the dark.”

“We can…” Jordan waved cutely.

“There’s — something evil about her. Please, no offense. Something is wrong…”

Kele seemed more afraid of Jordan and Jessie than the motorcycle gang outside. Afterall, he was the only one in the room that didn’t know why he might have been afraid. Everyone else was stuck wondering how he knew. He looked at Jordan and then to Jessie. They in turn looked at him as he loaded an arrow. It was obvious that there was a battle between reason and superstition. Another piece of the wall blasted away from it’s foundation and landed between the girls and the native American.

“Please don’t shoot us with that thing,” Jordan said as he held the arrow. She was genuinely scared. He used wooden arrows and that wouldn’t be any good for them. Daniel cocked his gun and aimed at his partner.

“I don’t know if you’re crazy or not but if you aim that at my daughter I’m never going to find out. She’s on the same side as you, she’s my daughter, and she’s still the same Jordan you knew regardless of anything else you may learn about her. Okay?”

Kele looked to the girls again before nodding.

“I’m sorry Jordan. You’re going to have to tell me about this later.”

“If there is a later,” Jessie said.

“Don’t be so dismal. We need positive energy… Hey, Daniel… You know what this reminds me of?” Kele asked as he sat where he guessed the wheel-well of the sheriff’s van was on the other side of the wall; he leaned against that section knowing that it would provide the most protection from bullets. He was overwhelmingly grateful for the fact that the dumb motorcyclists hadn’t realized that walls don’t stop bullets anyway which is why he brought up what he was going to bring up.

“What?” Daniel asked as he peaked out the window just enough to see a few more cars arriving down the road. He hoped that they weren’t innocent civilians.

“That movie, Young Guns, where all of those guys were held up inside that house with everyone surrounding them.” The Indian raised his dark eyebrows and cocked a smile as he rolled the cylinder in his revolver.

“Hey Charlie!” Kele yelled out the window. Ironically, it just so happened that there was a man in the gang named Charlie but he had no idea the deputy was simply quoting from a movie that may have been slightly over-enjoyed.

Outside, Evan had just directed Kirkland and Thomas behind their own car to use it as cover while Frank tended to Jojo’s knee in an attempt to pull the arrow out of it. Evan had no idea who Charlie was. Inside the building, Daniel shook his head and rolled his eyes.

“How do you know Charlie?!” Evan yelled from outside. Kele laughed to himself as he quoted away from Young Guns.

“I see ya got Johnny Crawford out there with ya!”

“Who the fuck is that?!” Yelled the leader.

“Kele, don’t –,” but Daniel was too late. Kele took careful aim at Jojo again and fired a well placed round that made it’s target from twenty yards out. Jojo’s knee exploded in a cloud of red mist while his partner in crime fell backward. Jojo screamed in sheer agony as Frank found himself lying on his back with the arrow he was trying to pull from his buddy now free in his hand. Speared through the tip of the arrow was his friends kneecap.

“Good god!” Frank dropped the arrow and ducked behind his Harley Davidson while his friend screamed in pain and panic. Evan fired shotgun shells into the face of the sheriff’s office frantically out of anger. Inside, Daniel, Jordan, Jason, and Jessie hunkered down to avoid the flying glass and drywall. Kele laughed while he replaced the single empty shell on his smoking revolver.

“You’re sick!” Daniel yelled. “This isn’t the movies!”

“I know!” Kele yelled back over the sound of the room being cut to pieces around them. “That’s why I only shot him in the knee again, haha.”

Daniel risked a peak out the window again once the shooting died down. He watched as the man his partner shot was pulled behind a luxury sedan. He recognized that car. He had to rub his eyes to make sure he was seeing what he was seeing before confirming something that nearly made his stomach turn. His partner noticed it too and instantly responded before Daniel could organize his thoughts about what was happening. It all made sense to him now but he didn’t want to believe it.

“What’s Judge Thatcher doing out there?”

Daniel cursed after his partner’s question.

As the hours went by the sun got a little lower on the horizon; still, not low enough for the vampires to be able to take over just yet. They witnessed the two surviving bikers being tended to by the judge. Daniel wasn’t sure what they had planned for them since they were injured. He imagined that the man that had his kneecap blown off would probably disappear later on in the night as any hospital the next town over would eventually ask questions if they recognized the damage as coming from a bullet. The other man could easily explain his injuries away as resulting from ditching his motorcycle at high speeds. One thing was for sure, they didn’t plan for this to happen. Jordans radio scanner remained quiet since everyone was all together. They had tucked Jason under a desk in the back room where he went to sleep. Jordan had vanished elsewhere in the building while Jessie kept close to Daniel.

“So are you going to tell me about the girls?” Kele asked.

“It’s a long story.”

“Don’t make me say a cliche’, Dannyboy.”

“I really can’t say. Trust me, they’re not going to hurt you or anything.”

“The body bags… Afraid of the sun… Pale skin…” He rolled his eyes. “Look, you might be able to fool the average white-man but I’m American Indian. I’m superstitions and spiritual enough to be able to follow what my gut tells me. If those girls have a heartbeat, then I’m Carl Sagan…”

“Carl who?”

“Nothing… I just can’t believe that after all these years, you can’t trust me enough to just tell me that your daughter is Apotamkin…”

“What is that?” Jessie peaked over Daniel’s shoulder as Kele put his hand over her own. Her first urge was to pull back but she let him touch her.

“Apotamkin was the reason I never ventured far at night in my reservation. They were the cold ones, as you are now… Only it was more of a tale to keep children from swaying too far from the camps. They were cold, pale, and somewhat hairy – not that you are hairy. It was supposed to be a myth, afterall.” Keke offered a slight smile as he said it. “They were cold, because they were dead.”

Kele pulled her closer to him and he put his fingers to her throat. Jessie’s dark eyes cautiously searched the native’s as he breathed in sharply and his eyes widened. He took his hands off of her neck and pulled his shoulders back slightly.

“I was right…”

“Just because she’s dead doesn’t mean she’s evil.” Daniel sighed and took another peak outside. He kept counting the people out there that he could see. This time he noticed that one of them was missing.

“I’m dead?” Jessie held herself and looked for Jordan. “I’m dead?!” She blinked rapidly as the realization set in. Kele held her arms and shook his head.

“I think your soul is still with you. I apologize for my rudeness.” Kele patted her head and pulled her close for a hug. “You are okay. Please, I am sorry.”

“Remember, not a word okay?” Daniel said while pulling the slider back on his gun to check that a bullet was indeed chambered. “You stay here… I need to check on something.”

Charlie carefully leaned over one of the windowsills to peak into the building but he soon found out that every window was covered. He scratched his balding head and wiped his hands on his bikers jacket to rid his fingertips of the dust and dirt they had collected from doing silent pull-up’s around the building. The place was sealed up tight. He noticed that the bullet holes that had went through the back of the sheriffs station were even plugged in with paper wads. It was odd. He swung the sawed off shotgun back around on its sling and carefully moved around the house. He heard a creeking sound from underneath. He looked down and what he saw in the shadows was a pale white figure with totally blacked out eyes staring at him with a wicked smile housing razor sharp fangs. The more the creature stared at him, the more it felt like ice water had been injected into his veins. Long, slender hands shot out from under the building and wrapped around his ankles as he screamed. He fired a shot into the air before his legs were pulled out from under him. Frank turned the corner behind the house just in time to see his best friend squeeze under the house at inhuman speeds. He took a few steps back out of fear not realizing that he had just put himself in the line of sight of an arrow wielding Cherokee Indian and a pissed off divorcee with a Glock.

“Might want to drop that shit, chief…”

A shot suddenly rang out but it wasn’t from Evan, the Sheriff, or his deputy. Daniel ducked as the window above their heads shattered. Kele dropped to the floor with him as shots embedded into the window around the officers. Jason woke up to the sound of Mark Thatchers .50 Cal Desert Eagle. He got up in time for Kele to pull him back into the center of the station. Jordan emerged from a hole she had made in the floor. Through that hole, she pulled a petrified motorcycle gang member through.

“Daddy, got any handcuff’s?”

Daniel smiled at his young blond daughter as she tossed him a sawed off shutgun in exchange for silver cuffs. Although strange, he noticed that she had changed drastically since the sun started going down. Her skin was paler, the entire insides of her eyes were black; she looked demonic. Kele held his bow tight and swallowed hard at the sight of something that, at least for the moment, looked like a demon in human skin. Even Jessie found herself in the opposite corner of the room at the sight of her friend. She held on tight to Jason as she heard his heart beating out of his chest. He looked to Jessie and then to Jordan.

“Jordan, are you okay?”

Jordan finished clasping the cuffs around Charlie as he cursed and tried desperately to get away from the young girl with no success as she pinned him down easily with only a fraction of her strength. She looked to Jason and nodded. The blackness in her eyes seemed to fade away into the blue eyes that everyone was used seeing and the bright white skin seemed to revert back to a normal, yet, still-eerily pale white. She took a breath as if she had just switched modes of function the way a computer would and gave her friends a thumbs up.

“What should we do with him?”

“Throw him in the cell with the others. The keys are in there on a hook,” Daniel said.

“Hey… Daniel. You there?”

It was Judge Thatcher’s voice over the radio on Charlie’s vest.

The hatred in Daniel’s eyes was evident as he stared daggers into the small electronic device on the biker’s vest. The biker in turn looked to the silver receiver on the floor next to a pot of ammo. Charlie looked up at Daniel.

“You could listen in on us the whole time?!”

“Surprise, asshole!” Kele spat in his general direction, careful not to hit Daniel as he yanked the radio off the mans vest.

“Well, if it isn’t the dishonorable judge, Thatcher!” Daniel said while reaching to his desk to grab an audio recorder. Jordan continued to drag a man which was three times her size, into the holding cell’s in the back of the building where Chuck and Chad were being held. He clicked the record button and kept it close to the radio while they chatted.

“I suppose I can’t interest you in a few more of those suitcases?”

“What?” Daniel couldn’t believe he just asked him that. He laughed to himself as he sat down next to a mark in the wall that indicated where the wheel-well of the car was on the other side of the front wall that he drifted his vehicle into earlier that day – the best cover from gunfire. “In exchange for what? What the fuck do you think you can fix with money now? My daughter is caught up in this, the assistant managers daughter, my deputy, the cargo managers son… Your piece of shit biker gang…”

“Money solves everything…”

“I want to know how you think you can cut a plan and a deal out of the mess you created. How do you possibly plan on waking up a free man tomorrow? Think about it… You shot up a fucking sheriff’s station. Even if you do kill us, how do you plan on walking away with all this evidence? Really. I want to know because this would be a neat trick.”

“That’s why I have the PHD and you have a shitty sheriff’s job. I’ll think of something. All you have to do is take the money.”

Daniel rolled his eyes and shook his head. He looked to his deputy.

“Can you believe this guy?” He clicked the mic again. “You don’t have a plan. You just want to kill us all. Do you think you’re going to get away clean after your biker friend shows up at the nearest hospital with a bullet hole in his knee? He’ll cut a deal for a lesser sentence just as soon as the state police gets a hold of him.” There was a sudden gunshot that rang out followed by another. It was starting to get too dark for Kele to see much in the distance other than the brief flashes of light from the guns that went off. There was silence and another voice came over the radio.

“This is Kirkland… Here’s the deal… I took care of the man you crippled. One less story to tell. It’s just one member of our distribution network out here, the Judge, Tom McGuire and I. Including you… That’s five people. We could use someone like you and I can create the story to sell to the D.A. See if your deputy wants a cut and just take care of everyone else and we’ll call it an even six. You can retire to some tropical island for all I care – find yourself a new wife, have another kid, start a new family. The alternative is we go in there shooting.”

“You’re right,” Kele said. “This guy really thinks he can sell us.”

“It’s okay…” Daniel said. “Lets keep them talking until the sun goes down.” He handed the radio to Jessie. “Let’s see if your dad wants to change his mind.”

Jessie seemed to jerk away from the radio the moment Daniel handed it to her. Her dark brows furrowed and her thin features sharpened in contrast to the lanterns they were using for light. He pulled the radio back and thought about it a second.

“On second thought… If her dad changes her mind in front of those assholes, he could end up dead.”

Suddenly the radio was snatched from Daniels hand.

“Dad?”

Another minute went by before another gunshot cut into the twilight afternoon. Jessie jolted in reaction to that but felt oddly okay with the fact that her abusive father just got blown away by either his corrupt district manager or a corrupt county judge. Both cops looked at her with an odd expression as she held the radio in her hand. She shook her head at them.

“If you had any idea what that man did to me… You’d understand.”

“If you put Jessie out of her misery right now, she wouldn’t suffer as much.” It was judge Thatcher again. He obviously had no idea that Jessie couldn’t have given a shit about the well being of someone who treated her badly all her life.

Jordan rushed into the main office area and knelt down.

“The sun is almost down… What was that? Everyone okay?”

“I – guess so…” Daniel whispered into Jordan’s ear “.. I’m recording all this so no mention about vampires okay?” Jordan looked up to her dad and nodded.

The bald judge sat on the clean half of the car that wasn’t smeared with the blood of a few people that he and Kirkland had murdered in order to control a situation that was well out of control. Thomas McGuire’s body now lie next to Nathan, Jojo, and Dominique. Thatcher kept running his hand through his beard as he stared at the barricade that housed enough credable witnesses to send him to jail for the rest of his life. He slapped his neck as a mosquito attempted to drink of his blood.

“Ironic isn’t it?” Thatcher joked.

“What is?” Kirkland adjusted his tie and checked the chamber of his M-4. He too knew that everything was on the line and it caused him to break out into a cold sweat despite his calm demeanor.

“All this blood tonight and the damned mosquito’s want to drink from us…” He laughed. It was a fake laugh – a nervous laugh. He nodded to the house. “If this shit ever happens again, we need to invest in some Molotov cocktails.”

“Who do we want to save? Evan? Frank?”

“Fuck Frank… Evan – no… He knows the business well but it’s not worth the risk. Not with the blood on our hands. No… We get rid of everyone.” Thatcher nodded to the station. “Only two of them has balls enough to shoot back at us. Then it’s the two daughters… And whoever else is in there. Evan, Chad, his bastard son, and Charlie are going to be behind bars…” The judge shrugged his shoulders. “Let’s storm the place. Once we get rid of the cops, we’ll torch everything. I’ll explain my part as being with them when it happened – the only survivor of an unfortunate motorcycle gang that rolled into town trying to make a name for themselves.”

“You think that’s a bit weak?”

“I’m a judge… Trust me.”

Kirkland nodded and pointed to the house. The dirt path to the sheriffs station made it easy to sneak to the front of the bullet-filled van. They quickly jumped onto the hood of the van and rolled into the building. Once inside, they held down their triggers until their ears rang with the blast of their guns. Kirkland turned a flashlight on and scanned the room with a shaken hand only to find it empty. He reached into his pocket to pull out another magazine. His heart pounded as he swung his beam to every dark crevice he could find only to see emptiness.

“How’d those bastards know we were coming?!”

It was obvious the judge didn’t like it when he wasn’t in control. The situation had gotten completely away from him and he felt like a rat in a cage.

“Give me that flash light!”

“Go screw yourself! This is my flashlight!”

Another shot fired and the flashlight fell to the floor next to Kirkland’s body. Thatcher leaned over and picked the flashlight up. It shun through the smoke that poured out the barrel of his gun.

“Daniel!! I know you’re in here!” He backed into the corner of the room when he heard sounds coming from the room beside him. As a county judge, he knew this sheriffs station well enough to know that the sounds weren’t coming from the direction of the jell cells. “Kele! You Indian prick! Ima’ fill you full of holes if you don’t come out right now!”

Then, there was another sound… The sound of girls giggling. His heart jumped and his skin went cold as he slowly brought the flashlight to the ceiling. In the corner above his head, two ghost-white figures with eyes as black as death were curled into the niche above his head. Their teeth collectively glimmered in the beam of his light. The gun fell to the floor and then the flashlight. His eyes fixated on the two figures above him. He couldn’t see anything more than dark shadows in the corner. As the judge tried to run, he found that his legs were frozen in place and wouldn’t respond to commands from his brain as chills reverberated up his neck. He screamed as the figures fell onto him and sharp pains coursed through his body as the girls dug into his flesh.

Daniel, Kele, and Jason emerged from the break room. They turned the lantern on and peered through its eerie blue light to watch the two girls turn a man into dust before their very eyes.

“… Apotamkin,” Kele said. He pulled Jason back into the break room with him. “Come on… Time to get out of here.” The deputy led the boy out one of the busted windows while Daniel watched what his daughter had become. Whether it be concern or fear, he couldn’t move because of it. All he could do was stand and watch.

Chapter Four

The State Police arrived at the scene in the form of a squad of police cars. It had taken that long for the power company and phone companies to get the lines up. Sometime in the night, Jason and Jessie had went missing along with her father’s 1987 Suzuki FX – an understandable move considering lives were changed forever in one night. Deputy Kele Skyhawk was the only one awake enough to take the missing persons report from Jason’s father. Daniel still couldn’t figure out if he was shell shocked or so tired that his body didn’t care, but he spent most the morning sitting on the hood of his shot up sheriff’s van watching the carnage get bagged away by the county coroners office. Several state officers tried asking him questions and he couldn’t even remember if he answered them all. It wasn’t until someone came in with a statement that suddenly made reality come to the forefront of his mind.

“Sheriff Anderson… They did a search on the warehouse and found over a million dollars in methamphetamine. Looks like you and your deputy are owed a debt of gratitude. You said Judge Thatcher was in on it too? That’s his car out there…” Daniel’s eyes brought into focus a man in a grey uniform with a State PD badge and a large hat. He nodded to the man.

“Y, yeah… Sorry.. It’s been a rough night.”

“It’s understandable.” The man patted him on the shoulder as they brought the prisoners out and loaded them into the local town sheriff’s car for transport. Daniel took a breath and looked in front of him to see Kele standing in front of him.

“Sorry about last night,” Daniel said.

“It’s okay… I’ll continue to be your deputy provided you tell me everything from now on.” Kele sat next to him. “I – I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this.”

“Me too, my friend… Me too. Thanks for finding my car.”

Kele’s young Indian features tightened as he gave his boss a half shake of the head.

“What are you talking about sir? I didn’t find your car.”

Daniel looked up to see that they had loaded Chad and his father, Chuck into the backseat of his old 1992 Crown Victoria. In the front seat was an old grey-headed man with a three-day growth beard sitting behind the wheel. Daniel’s mouth opened wide.

“Oh shit!”

The stolen police cruiser kicked up a cloud of dust as the two tired officers ran after the car. The loud speakers suddenly started emanating the old, tired voice of Jerry Rodgers as he once again started complaining about those damned kids and their ragtime music. The state police officers ran to Daniel and Kele.

“What is it?!”

“That was Jerry Rodgers! Remember? The man that I reported stole my cruiser three days ago?!”

The state police officer’s eyes narrowed at deputy and then to the Sheriff as he reached for the microphone on his shoulder and ran backwards to get to his car. Three State Police officers sped away to chase after old Jerry Rodgers as he rocketed down the dirt road with the kid that blew up his mailbox, and his father. The Indian began to laugh as the watched the dust cloud vanish into the distance. Daniel looked to Kele and couldn’t help but crack a smile.

“How am I going to explain all this to my ex wife?,” asked the sheriff.

“Very carefully?,” the deputy suggested.