BY THE TIME MAGGIE and I had arrived back at the Police station, the effect of the goblin mist had worn off of Anthony. He’d been sitting at a desk filling out paperwork when we walked in.
Anthony cried. Maggie cried. I pretended not to cry. It had all happened as I said it would.
Diana had gone home to recuperate from her temporary blindness. I’d wanted to see how she was doing, but it would have to wait. It was late and she would need her sleep.
Pat was still on duty. She’d refused to go home until she’d heard back from me. In fact, she wanted me to do paperwork.
“A statement?” I said.
“A statement, Norman, yes,” she said. “I need you to fill out a statement. Tell us what went down tonight, on the record.”
“Come on, Pat,” I said. “What good is that gonna do? No one’s gonna to believe it. There was a dang minotaur and a giant slug involved. You’d be locked up in the loony bin if you file that.”
“It still has to be done,” Pat said. “I don’t have to file the paperwork officially, but it will be good to have it on paper.”
“Well,” I said, yawning. “Can it wait till tomorrow? I feel like I’ve been dragged over about four hundred miles of Kansas asphalt.”
“It’s always best to get it on paper while it’s still fresh.”
“Trust me, Pat,” I said. “I ain’t gonna forget this one for a great long time.”
I had planned on heading straight for home, but then I remembered that I had two small bottles of chocolate milk sitting in the mini fridge at the office. I didn’t think I had any at home, and I really didn’t feel like running to the store.
So, I told Pat where to find Cleon’s body, and I headed for the office.
I downed the first bottle of milk in four big gulps before I’d even closed the fridge door. I took up the second bottle and stepped over to the window. Jack had done a good job, the new glass looked great. I sipped at the chocolate milk and looked out on Main.
I’d spent most of the last two days fighting, being injured, healing, being injured again, and even taking some time off to visit the Black. A couple of days like that can really take a toll on a person. I was only a quarter of the way in to my second bottle of chocolate milk when I started to crash.
The idea of spending the night in the office, sleeping there at the desk, sounded simply divine to my exhausted brain. So, with my gun belt still on, I took a seat behind the desk and let my head fall forward, welcoming sleep like an old friend.
I didn’t have the nightmare. I don’t always have the nightmare. That makes me happy, knowing that each time I fall asleep I’m not going to dream about having my intestines pulled out. It’s the little things in life you have to cling to.
I did dream, however. It was fuzzy, something about Diana shooting little bald men full of arrows. When I asked her what she was doing, she held a finger to her lips, made a shushing noise and said:
“Be vewy, vewy quiet. I’m hunting zealots.”
Then she laughed like Elmer Fudd.
Trinity was there as well, with all three heads looking both sad and scared.
“Why didn’t you come back for me?” the dog said from all three mouths. “I waited.”
“I did come back for you,” I said. “You were gone. Where did you go?”
But Trinity faded away to be replaced by Maggie.
“I’m not safe,” she said. She still wore the rags she’d had on when I’d left her at the station. “You thought you could save me, but the monsters are still out there.”
“You’re safe,” I said. “You’re home.”
“I was safe before,” said Maggie. “And they still took me. They can take me again.”
“I won’t let that happen.”
“What are you going to do, Norman?” She said. “You can’t watch me all of the time. You can’t watch all of us. You can’t save all of us.”
“Why are you saying this?” I said. “I saved you.”
“Wake up, Norman,” she said.
She pushed me and I found myself rolling down a steep and rocky hill. I bounced as I hit rocks as large as my head.
“Wake up, Norman Oklahoma.”
But this time the voice wasn’t Maggie’s, and it wasn’t in the dream. Someone was in the office with me.
I woke with a start.
A figure stood by the window. The lights were out in the office, but the figure was silhouetted by the streetlights from outside.
“Who are you?” I asked, standing and resting each hand on the butt of a pistol.
“You made me look like a fool, human,” the figure said with a man’s voice. A familiar voice. “I do not like being made to look a fool.” He had his back to me as he watched the world outside.
“I make a lot of people look foolish,” I said. “But not more often than I do myself.”
I reached out and pulled the cord to the lamp on my desk, powering it on.
The man turned as light crept into the room. He wore a suit and had bleach-blond hair. He smiled an unfriendly smile.
It was Stone Face from the pub. Furthermore it was a...
“Vampire,” I said.
On instinct I drew both revolvers, thumbing back the hammers as they cleared leather.
The vampire charged.
I opened fire.
I alternated between the gun in my right hand and the gun in my left. I worked like a machine. Right, then left. Right, then left. Not too fast, not too slow–just right, then left–squeezing off shot after shot.
The slugs slammed into the vampire, knocking him back a step with each shot. I stepped forward, following the biter back across the room toward the window.
By the time I’d fired off my ninth shot, the biter was up against the glass. The window that looked out over Main Street. The window I’d been thrown out of by a walrus just the other morning.
My tenth shot hammered into him and he fell back against the glass. I heard the it crack and I fired off shot eleven. He slammed into glass again and it shattered behind him. Shot twelve took him out through the open window and he fell, following the shattered glass to the empty sidewalk below.
I holstered the pistols and ran to the desk. I pulled open the top right drawer. In it was a box of bullets. Not your regular ones, but custom made. These were made of silver. They were vampire killers. I grabbed some up and loaded both pistols as I ran to the window.
I looked down at the fallen biter as I slid the last cartridge home. He’d picked himself up from the sidewalk and looked up at me. Then he ran.
I considered shooting him down, but I’d happened to blast him out the window as one of Eudora’s finest had been driving by. I’d also managed to gather a small crowd, regardless of the hour, and I didn’t feel good about opening fire among innocents.
I took one last look at the broken window as the sound of running feet thundered up the stairs, and I realized that I was gonna have to call Jack back out to put in more glass.
Maybe I should just brick the thing up.
THE END… FOR NOW.
So ends Volume One of the Adventures of Norman Oklahoma. It's taken a long time to get here, but get here we did.
There will be more Norman Oklahoma coming at you in the very near future. In fact, I'm working on the next story right now. Until then, I'm going to take a few weeks off. Hopefully no more than 4, but it might be more like 8 while I get ready to start in on Volume Two. I like to have a number of chapters under my belt before I start.
But hey, now that Volume One is over, wouldn't it be cool if you could own the first volume, all 47 parts, on eBook?
Good news, Awesome Reader, you can purchase The Adventures of Norman Oklahoma Volume One, on eBook now for just $4.99 to read on all of your electronic devices.
JUST CLICK HERE or click the cover below.