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Blood Sacrifice II

weird beings

I tried to write this as a standalone story, but it's a continuance of characters from “Blood Sacrifice” if you're confused

The couple sitting at the corner table in the coffee house received a curious glance now and then from the other patrons. They wondered why such a beautiful young lady was so engrossed with what the dignified looking, older man was disclosing to her.

If they had known they may have run screaming in the street.

The young lady, Carol, was medium height and very attractive in both face and form with golden highlighted auburn hair. Her companion, Victor, was a tall, fit looking, indeterminate aged, man with a full head of black hair with streaks of gray at the temples. His pale skin was accented by his red lips and dark, smoldering eyes.

One of the facts that the other patrons didn't know was that Victor was a vampire.

Victor was leaning slightly forward as he talked in a low, deep voice, ”Carol, there is much I have to impart to you. If things hadn't been so urgent the other night I would have told you then, but I'm sure you feel the bond that was created between us that I was able to tell you about. I'm sure that you do as I feel it so strongly myself. I must apologize that I didn't have the time to reveal everything then.”

“There is no need to apologize, Victor. I freely gave you my blood. You would have died if I hadn't and I wouldn't have been able to live with that after you saved my life. I certainly feel that bond and I welcome it.”

“But there's more, much more, that you should know. You couldn't avoid ingesting some of my blood as I took yours and that has consequences you must know. Don't worry, it will not put you in my state, but it will give you some of the aspects of my state.”

He continued, “They haven't shown themselves yet, but will in time. You will become much stronger and will be able to ward off illnesses that could have bothered you before. No more cold or flus. That's one of the good benefits. You won't tire nearly as easily as before, or need as much sleep. Some of the others you may not like at all.”

“Victor, if I must take on some that I won't like I'll have to live with them. After all, I don't have a choice.”

“Wait until you know before you trivialize them, Carol. Do you remember when I told you I recognized Sid as a werewolf immediately? You will be able to do that too. And also the others.”

“Others? What others? What are you saying, Victor?”

“Did you think that vampires and werewolves are the only strange beings in the universe? I'm sure you've heard of them and believe me, they exist. You didn't believe in vampires not too long ago either.

"You've heard of incubus, satyrs, banshees, zombies, ghouls and probably many more, haven't you?”

“Well ,of course I have in children's books and fairy tales. Are you telling me they are all real living creatures?”

Victor leaned back and said, “They are also in the bible and other scholarly books. Not all of them are real, and many are the same ones with different names, such as succubus, incubus, satyrs and banshees. Zombies, trolls, ghouls are much the same with different names associated with different locales and different practices. Some serial rapist are of the first kind, but you wouldn't be able to tell until now.

"There are other were-beasts too, cats, birds of prey, even anthropoids.”

“My God, Victor, I had no idea. How do they stay hidden so well? I've never heard of them being actually here.”

“You couldn't tell, Carol. There aren't very many of them. I only know of four other vampires here in the United States. Some police agencies have strong suspicions but can't go public, they'd be laughed off the face of the earth. Some of the weird crimes have been noticed by them and they keep an eye for them. They look just like any other citizen, but now you'll be able to tell.”

“What should I do if I see one? I can't call the police, they'd lock me up for harassing someone.”

“Do nothing, Carol. What could you do? If they're doing nothing untoward, why should you? Look around the coffee shop.”

Carol straightened in her seat and nonchalantly peered about, and suddenly jerked a little and turned to Victor with widened eyes and reported, “That big man behind the counter, he has a shadow type thing that looks like an ape!”

“Yes, he is a were-gorilla. That's why I brought you here, to see for yourself. He's actually a nice man, not all are evil. The wolves tend to form a pack and are usually not model citizens, I know about some, but not too much, about the others. There are some other things you should know but I'd rather show you rather than tell you about them. All of these different groups are in separate states of life, that's why it takes different methods to kill them when necessary.”

“It will have to be later, Victor, I have to get to work, and I don't want to be late after taking those sick days.”

“Carol, I've told you, you don't have to work, I am very wealthy. You would be surprised what a few hundreds of years can do with compound interest.”

“I'm thinking about it, but I like being independent, I like thinking I'm doing something important, is that so odd?”

“No Carol, it's not, but that pack is still out there and I don't know if they're still after you. You'd be much safer living in my home and I'd feel very much relieved about you. Think hard Carol.”

After trying to reassure Victor that she would be extra vigilant Carol left the coffee shop and walked down the street toward her office building, scarcely two blocks away. As she walked she did scan the street for any trouble. She didn't expect any and it came as a shock to see, across the street, a young man walking parallel to her. He had that cloudy haze about him of a wolf.

Being careful to not show a reaction she cast her gaze farther and saw another about a block ahead, just leaning on a light pole. Stopping at a show window, she took a quick glance to see a third about a half block back, also looking into a store front. She continued her walk at the same pace and reached the entrance to her building, entered and approached the security guard in the lobby, positioning herself to watch the door.

While carrying an innocuous conversation with the guard she saw the one who had followed her enter and pretend to read the building register. When he saw her with the guard he left. She immediately went to her elevator, and while within, called Victor and related the incident.

He answered her, “I could feel you become agitated and started after you and saw them too. They've left now but are obviously watching you. I'll be there in a few minutes and we have to devise a strategy to protect you. I don't think it's a good idea for you to continue with a regimen that allows them to predict your actions and location accurately. Try to think of something.”

Carol thought long and hard as she reached her floor, went to her cubicle, sat, and waited for Victor, who appeared shortly thereafter. She motioned for him to accompany her and went to see her supervisor.

“Miss Davis, I have come to pick up my personal things. The doctor has said I must take some time off until I recover fully from my illness or I may have a recurrence. I really am sorry to do this on such short notice and leave you shorthanded but I have no choice. Mr. Drackley will be taking me to a restful spot where I can recuperate.”

Miss Davis responded, “Don't worry, Carol, we're slowing a bit for the season anyway. I hate to lose you, you're one of my best workers, but your health is more important. You do look quite pale. You take all the time you need, but know that there will be a job for you if and when you can return. Mr. Drackley, you take good care of our girl, we've all loved her here.”

After Victor assured Miss Davis that he had every intention of following her direction, they left, and proceeded to Carol's apartment where they packed, and then to Victor's home, in the East part of the city, close to the lake.

As they pulled up at the porte cochere of a large cut stone house Victor told Carol, “You'll be meeting the butler, Ken, and the housekeeper, Nora. They are not human either. Ken is what you would call an incubus and Nora a succubus. You needn't worry, their drives are fully satisfied by one another, and they have been in my service for...many years.”

When they approached the entry it was opened by a handsome middle aged man who, while shorter, gave the same impression of fitness as Victor. When they entered the foyer they were greeted by a rather tall, slim, middle aged woman and quite attractive for her age. They were introduced to Carol and received her quite warmly.

Carol was taken aback when she studied their ghost images. Ken's had the same features but looked younger, more virile and exuded sexual prowess, while Nora's, was a more voluptuous, seductive, enchanting young lady.

Ken went to the car to retrieve Carol's belongings while Nora inquired if Carol would like to take some refreshment or see her room. Carol elected to see her room and Nora led her up a sweeping staircase off to the side. The room she had expected to have turned out to be a beautiful suite. The sitting room was fully paneled in a light, beautifully grained wood, with a small fireplace. The furnishings matched the paneling.

On one wall was a door that led to the large sunny bedroom. It held a huge, carved, four poster bed. The tall dresser and changing table matched the bed. There were two other doors in this room, one led to a walk in closet, the other to a luxurious marble bathroom with a spacious tub and separate shower stall. One wall was all mirror from the counter to the high ceiling.

Carol walked, wide eyed, through it again and excitedly remarked to Nora, “There must be a king's ransom in antiques here, Nora. Is the rest of the house like this? This is overwhelming!”

Nora responded, “We're very informal here, so do you mind if I call you Carol?” At a nod from Carol she continued, “Yes, most of it. Victor brought most of it with him when he had this house built.”

“He had this house built? I would have thought it was over a hundred years old.” Nora just gave her a small smile until she realized what she had said, and blushed, “Of course, what was I thinking.” Ken arrived just then with her luggage and she spent some time arranging it until Nora announced dinner.

Dinner was very informal. They all ate together in the kitchen on a enamel topped table with just place mats instead of a table cloth. Victor broke the silence, “Nora said you accepted our informality very easily. We don't entertain but every few years so we don't use that big arena of a dining room, I hope you'll be comfortable with this arrangement in time.”

Carol smiled and said,“Don't be silly Victor, I grew up eating at the kitchen table and would certainly feel uncomfortable in that large barn you call a dining room. Did you think I was raised as a princess? I think this is much more homelike.”

After dinner Victor took Carol into the library for a strategy session. It took her a few minutes to absorb the thousands of books, folios and scrolls gathered here but then sat and placed her attention on Victor, who said, “I'm afraid I have some nasty news, Carol. While you were settling in this afternoon I checked my resources in the, shall we say, unhuman community. The wolf pack is still after you. It seems the new pack leader is Sid's brother and he's just as odious as Sid was.”

“What does that mean to us, Victor. Can we do anything? Do we have any resources that we can call on?”

“The first thing it means is that you cannot leave here alone. Here you are completely protected, but when you leave one of us must accompany you, even Nora has some prodigious weapons at her disposal. You acted very wisely when you didn't let them know you could see their true self. You have that as an advantage and your physical strength will get progressively enhanced, But you will still be no match for a strong wolf.”

Carol thought and asked, “Won't it go away after a while? They can't be after me forever, can they?”

“The wolves have always been a vicious bunch and now they have allies. Some in the unhuman community do not like it that you know of them. And some of them don't think in days or weeks, but centuries. They're afraid that if you tell they will be hunted down and killed. For centuries we have done everything possible to make it seem we were imaginary creatures used to scare children. We have even made horror movies to spread the idea that we were myths. Not all of us are evil, but there are evil ones in any community, just as in yours.”

“That's asinine, nobody would believe me, they'd call me insane and lock me up,Victor.”

“No, not everyone would believe, but remember those police officers I told you of? If you came forward they have the power to investigate. And there always people who jump on any conspiracy they see, they'd believe you. If enough of them made a fuss the authorities would have to step in.”

“Alright, then where are we? What do we do?”

“Don't panic, Carol. As I said, they have allies, some of the more intractable ones, I'm afraid. But we have allies too. Most of us are fine beings, I'm sure there are some who will aid us if needed. I don't want this to break out into a war, but that element has been pushing for a long time to have a showdown between them and the ethical ones. They want to take advantage of their powers to prey upon the humans, but to keep it secret. That's why they fear you.”

“It's not hopeless then. Is that what you're telling me, Victor?”

“Yes, we just need to see what happens, mean while I'll make some arrangements, just in case.”

Carol spent the next few days exploring the house with the encouragement of Ken and Nora, who were delighted to show her the many treasures that no one else was able to see. Besides the library and antiques there were rooms for collections of rare and diverse articles collected over a very long life. She also learned that Victor had other residences in numerous other countries as well as in this one.

One night, quite late, Victor returned. As Victor had predicted, Carol didn't need much sleep, so she was still up despite being after midnight. They met in the library with Ken and Nora too.

Victor paced as he related, “Well it's started. The other side has started exercising their plans to dominate secretly. They have taken over some of the city's officials with doppelgangers, but the police, from the commissioner on down have taken protection to prevent them being replaced. Fortunately this is one of the police agencies that was already skeptical about certain incidents in the past. I arranged for them to be warned by one of the most respected clergymen in the city.”

Carol questioned, “The clergy? I would think they would be the last to believe in the unhumans.”

“Think about it, Carol. Who would be more likely to believe in so called supernatural beings, especially after they're shown proof. They will be one of our strongest allies in this confrontation. They have the respect of the masses if we have to go public, but I hope it doesn't come to that. Our biggest problem is that we can't find out where their head quarters is. If we could we could do something to alleviate the problem.”

There was a silence as they all thought about possible solutions, until Carol sat up straight and asked, “Aren't they still looking for me, Victor? Why not show myself and then follow them when they leave, couldn't we do that? Do you think that would work?”

Victor quickly asserted, “That's out of the question! It would be too dangerous for you. They wouldn't just be following you now, they'd be trying to capture or kill you.”

Carol wasn't backing down, “Maybe they will, but if we set it up right ahead of time I think this is our best chance to find them and wouldn't be too dangerous if at all. Couldn't you put a ring of protection around me? And I'm the one to make the decision on this, not you.”

Victor had a deep scowl on his face as he turned to Ken and Nora, “What do you two think about this? Carol's right, it's her decision, but can we protect her adequately and still make it look harmless to them?”

The two exchanged questioning looks and then Ken responded, “Yes, I think we can if we are able to use some of the disembodied to follow them. They would see any of us if we tried. As for protection, there are enough of us to surround Carol and still look harmless if we circulate in human form.”

Nora added, “We have to have a suitable place for this, maybe a store where there are many people circulating randomly. We also need some way to conceal our shadow selves or they will get very leery of all the unhumans in one place. Do you know of some way to do that, Victor?”

“No, I don't, but I think I know of someone who can. I'll ask him later tonight, he's nocturnal and he'll be awake all night. I think he can help us with the disembodied too.”

They discussed the plan and tried to think of another that was better, but couldn't. Victor left for his meeting and the rest of them went to bed for a few hours rest.

Victor returned in the late morning and again called for a conference. When they had assembled he stood silently for a moment, then said, “ I'm still not comfortable with this idea, but I did find someone that can help us. He's a necromancer that can compel some of the dead spirits here to act as the followers of the other side. He also claims he can cast an enchantment to obscure your alter ego. He will be here later to prove what he claims.”

Carol inquired, “I don't know what you mean by necromancer, Victor, I know necro means something about the dead. Can you explain?”

“A necromancer is one that can control the dead and their spirits. You may think of them as voodoo priests. Most who call themselves that are fakes, this one isn't. The problem is with his price for this, he wants control of any that die when this happens. I'm not at all comfortable with agreeing to that. I don't have the right to pledge someone else's spirit to his control. I'll have to reason with him, if I can.”

Shortly after full darkness the large bronze knocker on the front door sent a reverberating echo throughout the house. In a few moments Ken led a small, old black man into the library where they were gathered. Although slight in build he had an aura of power about him. He carried a small valise in his hand. Victor introduced him as Dr. Moon. As he glanced from person to person he slowly went from a slight smile to a beaming grin.

In a quiet Cajun accent he declared, “I am very happy to meet you all and to be able to help you in this endeavor. I'm afraid I may have given Mr. Drackley the wrong impression when we met. I am not an evil man who wants to control spirits to gain power for myself as some are.”

Victor asked, “Then why did you act so sinister when we met? I came very close to leaving.”

“I'm afraid it's expected of us who practice. If we didn't people wouldn't believe we were genuine. Unfortunately, there are some in my religion who are malignant, and it has given all of us a bad reputation. I wish to be able to help the newly dead to find their proper place in the after life, or to help some settle any unresolved issues they have. I have been given great powers over the dead or I wouldn't be able to accomplish anything.”

Carol stated, “You have relieved the minds of all of us, sir, with your explanation of your motives, is there anything we can do to assist you?”

“Yes dear girl, could you direct me to a place I may set up my ahh, I guess you would think of it as an altar. Just a small table in a confined space will do. I will need privacy, please.”

Ken led him to a small unused closet and placed a table in it. Dr. Moon said it was ideal, entered and closed the door behind him. In just a few moments Ken noticed a flickering bright light under the door and what sounded like chanting emanating from the room.

It was possibly ten minutes later that the good Dr. exited the room, transformed from his previous appearance. He now wore a feathered cloak and his face shown with a low glow. He walked to the library and gathered the residents into a tight group, spread his arms and in a very low voice, with his eyes closed mumbled a language unrecognized by the group for less than a minute.

Lowering his arms, his glow disappeared, but his bright smile returned as he claimed, “You should not be able to see each others shadows now, try.”

Peering at one another, they were not able to discern each others ghostly shadows and the Dr. explained, “The shadows are still there, but hidden. They are being held by a friendly spirit. You can still call them whenever you want, but it may take an effort to do so, they may not wish to relinquish them. This will last for a few weeks, or when you need them, but then will dissipate. Is this what you desired?

Victor answered, “Yes, exactly, you have done us a great service, sir. May I offer you some refreshment or is there anything else you desire? We shall be calling on your aid again when we decide when we will be trying to bait our trap.”

Dr. Moon replied, “No thank you sir, I'm afraid I must be going, you know how to contact me day or night. I assure you, my services will be available whenever you call. I, also, am worried about the consequences if you fail.” Ken escorted him to the door and he departed.

Victor instructed them, “Ken, tomorrow I wish you to recruit some of our trusted friends to serve as the protective shield around Carol. Dr. Moon will hide their shadows. Nora, would you please find a suitable location for this scenario? Preferably not in the high traffic areas, but still with plenty of people to disguise our group. Carol, you must think of your costume, it should be ostentatious enough to draw attention , but loose enough for quick movement, if needed. Now we wait until things are arranged.”

Nora found an ideal location, a very large outdoor flea market where there were all manner of things for sale, from fresh produce to machinery. Although the space was roofed it was open to the weather on all four sides. It was in the warehouse district but still drew large crowds of people, browsing for the great buys available.

The first day Carol arrived around ten in the morning and wandered the aisles, picking up and examining things, trying to look like the average bargain hunter. It was late in the day, and her feet hurt, when she looked up to see Ken, across the room, staring intently at her. When their eyes met he motioned with his head to somewhere behind her. She nonchalantly turned and gave a quick scan of the crowd to see a young man, with the shadow of a wolf, eying her. He looked surprised, turned and hurried away.

That evening, as she sat with her feet on a hassock as Nora massaged her feet and legs, she told Victor, “I'm sure he didn't notice that I'd seen him, he was just surprised to see me out and about, now they'll think we are sure there isn't any danger. Let's see what Dr. Moon found out.”

After about an hour Dr. Moon did show up and related his findings, “They found their place, it's not too far from the market and is an old warehouse. I couldn't get much more than that though, but I know where it is, and can take you to it.”

“That's very good Dr. and we'll do that after it gets darker. They won't be able to see me and I'll reconnoiter it. Mean while, everyone get some rest in case we have to take action right away.”

Dr. Moon and Victor left some hours later and returned surprisingly sooner than expected with Victor in a visibly disturbed mood, which he explained, “There's no way we can do anything there, it's surrounded by a high fence and they have people watching from the roof. We can't even bring the police into this as there's no proof of wrongdoing, and they look like normal citizens to the police. We have to come up with something else.”

“We both know what that is, Victor,” Carol countered, “You just don't want to say it. We have to have them come to us, and the only way to do that is to put me out as bait. You know they'll come full force then.”

Victor almost pouted, “Yes, they certainly would, and that's why it's too dangerous. We know there are somewhere over twenty beings in that warehouse and we don't have enough to offset that many, so I say no.”

Carol stood up, walked up to him and disputed, “I say again, it's not your decision to make. I'm not going to wait and let more people hurt. If they have over twenty, you have one day to get over forty, if you can, because the day after tomorrow I'm going back to the market.” With that, she turned and left the room, hearing a babel of confusion behind her.

The morning of the showdown Carol was a basket of nerve endings, all afire, though she successfully hid it. Just after ten AM she came out of the house, took a long scrutiny of the street, then started her walk to the market. She had beings, seen and unseen, flanking her as well as in front and behind. When she reached the market she ambled, seemingly detached, through the aisles. It didn't take long before she became aware of some unhuman beings appearing. They must have had someone watching the house.

The werewolves she knew as she did incubi and succubi from Ken and Nora's shadows, others she had no idea as she had never seen them before. It seemed odd that they were all staying on the outskirts of the crowded market. She assumed most of her protectors were staying close to them in case they started advancing on her. She continued her indifferent attitude as she wandered, although she felt almost sick with anticipation. She knew something must happen, and soon.

Just after she had walked past a large cardboard carton she heard from behind her a loud wailing whistle. She stopped and looked around to try to see where it had emitted from. Seeing nothing she then noticed disturbances all around the perimeter of the market.

The wolves and the others were attacking anyone in reach. Some had even taken, at least partly, their wolf form, and were slashing at the crowd with their fangs. She now recognized the trolls, ogres, and ghouls as they assumed their shadow forms and attacked the crowd. Pandemonium spread throughout the packed market as women tried to protect their children, men protect their families and many trying to flee through the fighting lines as the protectors threw themselves on the attackers.

Through the screams and cries of pain she hardly heard the sound of the large carton being ripped open, but before she was able to turn someone or something grabbed her hair and yanked her back against a large furred body and a hairy arm went around her neck.

She had enough air to scream, “Who are you,” to hear another voice, slurred by coming from a wolf's mouth.

“I am Jedediah, Sidney's brother and his avenger, now turn around and meet your killer,” as he released her and spun her to face him, but suddenly stopped and looked down to where a long silver hat pin was lodged in his heart. Carol had used the impetus of the spin to completely inbed it in his chest.

He looked astonished for a moment before letting a prolonged howl of, “Nooooo” and sunk to the ground, dead.

By now the police, being forewarned by Victor, had come boiling from their hidden places and were rounding up the last of the villainous ones and had summoned ambulances for the stricken. Victor held Carol against his chest as she released her tension with tears.

Later that day, as they sat around the library, having a strong drink, Dr. Moon filled them in, “The police have put out a story that it was a gang of hooligans in Halloween costumes trying to create a disturbance to rob the merchants. Whether the newspapers will go along with it, time will tell, but I think they will. They don't want to become the laughing stock of the country. The rest, I think, will be marked as mass hysteria.”

Ken stood and said, “I would like to propose a toast to the courageous heroine who single handedly averted a probable horrendous period of strife, I give you Miss Carol Anders.”

As they lifted their glasses and drank Carol sat there blushing for a moment and then declared, “That's total nonsense, you make me sound like Viking Valkyrie with a sword and shield. I was shaking inside and terrified all day. All of our friends were the true heroes and some were badly hurt, I'm glad they're being taken good care of.” They all looked very satisfied with the outcome of the day.

And now, boys and girls, you can go to bed feeling safe and secure. Those slobbering noises under your bed is probably the heating or something The boogie man and all his cohorts are all gone... aren't they?

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