TWENTY-FOUR: CREATURES OF THE NIGHT
THOMAS HAD BEEN A vampire for nearly two centuries. Long enough now so that he no longer remembered what it had been like to be a human. Which suited him just fine. The human race, in his opinion, were nothing more that cattle.
To him, humans were unclean. His skin practically crawled any time he was required to feed from one of their kind. If it wasn’t for the thirst that came over him every three days, he would never so much as touch one of the filthy humans. But their blood was needed for his survival, so he would always choke back his revulsion, and do what needed to be done.
Though his hatred of the human race was absolute, there was one among them that he loathed above the rest.
The man had made him, along with his brother, look like a fool. In front of another human, no less.
Thomas detested Abner Lemonzeo as well. Not just for the crime of being another stinking cow, but he had been the human who had borne witness to Thomas’s humiliation. For that alone, there could be no forgiveness.
Norman Oklahoma would need to die.
Abner Lemonzeo’s time would come as well. But for now the man would live.
It was bad enough that Brone had gone into business with this Lemonzeo, but Thomas had been forced to interact with the thug once already, and would be face to face with the man again later today once the sun was up.
It was during that first meeting yesterday when Norman Oklahoma brought him low. It was at the local drinking establishment the humans had named The Pub, showcasing their lack of imagination.
Despite what the stories say, vampires can go out in the daylight. Sunlight does not affect them any more than it does the vile human race. So the morning meeting was no big deal. It was supposed to be quite simple, actually. Lemonzeo had agreed to use his resources to kill Norman Oklahoma. In return the vampires would pay him an exorbitant amount of money. Yesterday’s meeting was scheduled simply for Thomas and his brother to deliver Lemonzeo’s payment.
But Lemonzeo had failed. Or at least the freak he’d hired had failed. Norman had walked right into The Pub, alive as ever. Thomas fumed at the memory. The way Oklahoma had strolled into The Pub in a cocky, self-sure manner. The way he had spoken to Thomas. And most demeaning of all, the way he had shot Thomas down with his six shooters, over and over.
He’d lived, Oklahoma had not had the forethought to load his guns with silver bullets, but his suit had been ruined, and his pride had been obliterated.
So now, in a small house across Main from the Eudora Police Station, he watched, and he waited.
The occupants of the home were away. For the night or longer, Thomas did not know. Nor did he care. If they were to come home while he remained in the house, he would take care of them. Quickly, so as to minimize the amount of time he would come into contact with them.
Thomas sat in a wooden chair taken from the table in the kitchen. He’d dragged it over to a window that faced east. The window looked out onto Main and provided him with a perfect view of the two front entrances to the police station. His brother, Alexander, would be somewhere in the back, watching the rear entrance.
They had both been in position since Oklahoma had been brought in earlier in the day. Thomas had gone out to where Oklahoma lived, to do what the Walrus could not. But he’d arrived to find the police in full force, and they had taken Oklahoma away.
So now he sat alone in the dark with nothing but his thirst for vengeance against Norman Oklahoma. He imagined the various ways in which he could kill the man. Regardless of his aversion to the human race, Thomas thought he might want to take his time with Oklahoma.
He held his hand up before his face and willed the fingernails there to grow. They snapped forth from his fingertips like the claws of a hunting cat. Razor sharp and tough as steel. He smiled as he pictured using those claws to skin the human alive. He almost laughed when he imagined the way the man would scream.
Then his phone vibrated in the inner breast pocket of his suit. He moved from the window before checking the display. It was Alexander.
“Do you have him?” Thomas said into the phone.
“No,” Alexander replied. “He has not left the building.”
“Then why are you bothering me?” Thomas said. “I should be watching.”
“Brone called,” Alexander said.
“Watch your tone, brother,” Alexander said. “You may not like him, but Brone is in charge. So says the Elder.”
The Elder. While Thomas detested Brone, he had nothing but respect for the Elder. Anyone who did not fear and respect the Elder was not long for this world. And though Thomas thought Brone a fool, the Elder must have had a reason for putting him in charge of this operation.
“What did he want?” Thomas said. His tone did not change.
“The girl you took this morning was the wrong age.”
“Yes, I know,” Thomas said. “I told you the same after I took her, if you would care to remember. But Brone wanted her and now he has her. If she is too old then that is a problem he will have to deal with.”
“He wants us to take another, and soon.”
“He will have to wait,” Thomas said. “Oklahoma comes first.”
“Yes,” Alexander said. “He has ordered us not to touch the human, Oklahoma.”
“What?” Thomas practically yelled. “He was the one who wanted the man dead in the first place. We can do what his human pet has failed to do.”
“Brone still wants Oklahoma dead, but he does not want the human’s attention on us. Should we fail—”
“Fail!?” Thomas interrupted him. “We will not fail. If he wants Oklahoma dead, we will see it done.”
“He has given his command,” Alexander said. “And we must obey.”
Thomas did not reply. Instead he moved back to the window, not caring that the light from the phone would make him stand out against the dark.
“Thomas,” Alexander said in his ear. “We have our orders.”
Again, Thomas did not reply. He studied the building across the street. At this hour there wouldn’t be many humans inside. He could cut the power, and then cut the humans down in the dark. Vampires could see just as well in complete dark as they could under the midday sun. Oklahoma could be dead within twenty minutes.
“Thomas,” Alexander said quietly. “Cross Brone if you choose. But know that by doing so, you cross the Elder as well.”
That brought Thomas up short. His desire to see Oklahoma dead was nothing compared to his desire to avoid upsetting the Elder. It had been the Elder who had turned Thomas and his brother. In many respects, the Elder was their father.
“Okay,” Thomas said finally. “I will obey. What does he want us to do?”
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