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Welcome Home




Desmond Black stepped out of his sleek, black Mercedes and closed the door, locking the car behind him. Turning from his car, he examined the exterior of the large house that stood before him, his eyes flitting to its various features. It was charcoal in color, the burgundy shutters were all closed and locked, blocking the windows from view. The grass looked freshly mowed and the hedges recently trimmed. It was a relief that the money he sent the caretaker was well earned.

Black Manor was one of Port Alison’s oldest houses and it was also one of the most maintained houses in town as well. Of course, it hadn’t been used in over forty years so things would need to be done to get it up to living standards but it wouldn’t be that much of a chore. The first thing that would need to be done was opening the windows to air it out. His sons and daughters would be arriving the next day and it wouldn’t do anyone any good to have the house smelling musty.

The hoot of an owl sounded from somewhere beyond the house causing Desmond to look up and catch sight of the full moon in the sky. From the corner of his eye, he caught a slight movement from the house next door. When he glanced over, he saw a middle-aged woman staring at him with dark, haunting eyes. The glow of the moonlight gave her a sinister, almost demonic look. After forcing himself to look away, he willed himself to move towards the front door.

As he searched his pocket for the key, he took one last glance at his neighbor’s house but she had disappeared. Desmond shrugged his shoulders, glad not to be under his creepy neighbor’s voyeurism. Finally locating the key, he put it into the lock and a moment later, the door pushed open with a loud creak. Sure enough, a strong musty smell invaded his nostrils, making him blanch.

The caretaker had been true to his word, the house had both running water and electricity. After turning on the light in each room of the house, Desmond walked around and opened up all of the windows and unfastened all of the shutters, allowing the crisp night breeze and beautiful aroma of freshly mowed grass enter the house. Unfortunately, opening the windows brought a horrid sound to his ears.

He couldn’t be sure how far away it was but he heard a gunshot and the faint sound of a person screaming. His nose wrinkled as he realized that Port Alison had a much higher crime rate than he had been led to believe. He had researched several different places and found Port Alison to have the least highest crime rate but he was beginning to doubt that fact. He’d been in the house only a few minutes and he could hear a crime being committed.

Heading back into the foyer, he was pleased to see that the movers had arrived on schedule and that the cardboard boxes with all of their belongings were stacked up neatly against a bare wall. Searching through them, he separated all of his boxes from those of his family’s and started bringing them up the stairs to the master bedroom. The master bedroom was extremely large and utterly filthy. Obviously, the caretaker’s duties did not cover dusting nor sweeping.

The king sized bed looked to be in worse shape than the floor did. Desmond started to stack the boxes onto the bed, keeping them far enough from the edges so that they wouldn’t accidentally fall and break the contents inside. After about seven trips, all of his boxes were sitting on the bed and he was back downstairs, searching for the utility closet where he hoped the caretaker had placed a broom, bucket, and mop.

The utility closet that he was searching for was in the massive kitchen. The fact that there wasn’t a speck of dust to be found on the floor told him that his suspicions were correct. As soon as he located the utility closet, he found the three items he had desired plus shelves of spray bottles and chemicals that he wouldn’t begin to know how to use. Grabbing the mop, broom, and bucket, he started to close the door when he noticed a bottle of Pine-sol and grabbed that as well, tossing it into the bucket.

Just as he returned to the foyer to start up the long staircase, there was a sharp knock at the door. Setting the items down, he glanced at the grandfather clock in the corner of the foyer before looking down at his watch. The grandfather clock was in well-working order and he wondered what sort of visitor would be calling on him just ten minutes shy of midnight. Walking to the door, he paused for a moment and pressed his right eye to the peephole.

A rather bubbly blonde, in her late teens to early twenties, stood outside the door, wearing some sort of nightgown with an opened leather jacket over it. Stepping back, he pulled the door open and watched the stunned expression on the blonde’s face as she saw his face for the first time. Had she expected no one to answer? Surely she had noticed that every window in the large house was now open.

“Hello,” Desmond greeted kindly.

“Hi,” the blonde said, looking flustered.

“Can I help you?”

“I live next door and I wanted to apologize to you. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about us,” the blonde blurted out.

“I’m afraid I don’t know what you are talking about,” Desmond said, his eyes squinting.

“My grandmother said she saw you staring from her window,” the blonde said with a slight shrug of her shoulders.

Desmond frowned at the thought of the older woman staring at him with haunting eyes. He was only slightly irritated that the woman’s granddaughter had absolutely no respect for night time hours. Still, there was something about her eyes that made him think that she was sincere in her apology. With a sigh, he stepped aside while inviting her into his home. When he heard the door shut, he turned around to see her standing in his foyer.

“Oh, did I interrupt your cleaning?” the blonde asked, eying the supplies he had collected.

“Honestly, you caught me just before I got started on the master bedroom,” he answered with a nod.

“Are you super private?” she asked, making him laugh.

“What?” he asked, still chuckling.

“Well, I could come up and talk to you while you are working. I really feel like I need to explain myself,” she said quickly.

“Your need to explain yourself is that strong? You would not only come to a strange man’s house in the middle of the night but you’d go up to his bedroom with him?” Desmond asked, skeptical.

“Trust me, I don’t need any protection. I can more than take care of myself. For instance, if you were to try and attack me, I could probably incapacitate you in about five seconds,” she said confidently.

“All right, then,” Desmond said with a shrug. “Follow me.”

Desmond didn’t look back, he gathered up the mop, bucket, and broom before heading up the stairs at a much slower pace than he had planned. Without missing a step, he listened for the footsteps that quickly followed and shook his head slightly. He wondered if her father lived next door and if so, how could he possibly tolerate his daughter making such a stupid decision. He wasn’t even a woman and he was cautious about any situation he might encounter. He was a careful individual who left nothing to chance; the exact opposite of this girl.

“What is your name?” he inquired as they both reached the top of the stairs.

“Rav..” she paused and pursed her lips. “Monica. Monica Pierce.”

“Raven?” he asked, a snicker in his voice.

“Everyone called me Raven for the past four years. That’s what happens when you date a vampire,” she said, looking embarrassed.

Monica must have noted the look of surprise on his face because she immediately looked uncomfortable. He was sure that he had heard her correctly and he was currently trying to decide if his neighbor was playing some kind of a practical joke on him or if she was a patient who had escaped from the local mental institution. He hadn’t noticed a smile on her lips, perhaps she truly believed that she had been dating a vampire for four years.

“Oh. You just moved here, you probably think I am crazy. Let me explain,” she offered.

“Please do,” Desmond said with a nod.

“This town has a legend that a young vampire once saved the town’s orphans from a fire. When people realized what he was, they wanted to stake him but instead, they let him go because he saved the children. It’s just a story to tell around the campfire but some of the more criminally inclined people around here used the legend to create their own gang. They call themselves Vampires. They dress all in black, they only go out at night and they drink water with red flavoring or red soda,” Monica explained.

Desmond sighed in relief. Not that he had believed that there were vampires in Port Alison but that Monica didn’t actually believe that she had been romantically involved with a mythological creature. Just when he was about to convey his relief, he realized that something had her upset. He didn’t know her well enough to pry it out of her. Instead, he grabbed the broom and started to sweep the area directly in front of him.

“The way you are dressed,” she said finally. “My grandmother could see the dark clothes when she heard your car pull up. The Vampires have made threats on my life if I take the witness stand against my ex-boyfriend. We thought some had moved in next door and were planning something.”

“Witness stand? What did he do?” Desmond regretted the question as soon as he asked it.

“He and some of his brothers as they call each other, beat the preacher when he caught them making a drug deal. The preacher is in a coma. I just have this sinking feeling that I’ll be joining him soon. I have to stand up for the preacher. I just have to,” Monica said, shrugging her shoulders helplessly.

Desmond didn’t want to get involved with the situation yet he knew that it was his duty to. It wasn’t as if he had no knowledge on the subject at hand. Quite the contrary, he was an expert of sorts and he knew that he could do some good if he interjected himself. Leaning the broom up against the wall, he reached into his pocket, retrieving his cell phone and flipped it open. The look on Monica’s face halted him in mid-action and he shut the phone quickly.

“Who are you calling?” Monica demanded.

“My family. My sons and daughters have a unique line of work. They keep people safe,” I tried to explain.

“They keep people safe? Who are you?” Monica asked, her eyes narrowing on him.

“Desmond Black. I’m what you would call a bloodsucker,” he said with a grin.

“There are only two things that are known as bloodsuckers: vampires and lawyers. Please tell me you are a lawyer,” she practically begged.

“Have you ever truly met a vampire?” Desmond asked with a smile. “Yes, Monica, I am a lawyer. I tend to handle cases of your nature. I hate it when innocent people like you are forced into the role of a victim.”

Monica seemed to be less on edge when he explained his role as an attorney. Opening his cell phone back up, he dialed the cell phone number of his youngest daughter, Colette, and put the phone to his ear. After a formal greeting, he explained the situation with Monica and could hear the enthusiasm in Colette’s voice at the prospect of having a job so quickly. He could hear Colette tell the others in the room and then she announced that they’d be leaving soon. After hanging up, he slid the phone back into his pocket.

“Who is Colette?” Monica asked.

“My youngest daughter. She looks a lot like you, actually. They’ll be leaving soon. They’ll probably make it around dawn,” he told her.

“So your children are going to do what? Protect me?” Monica asked with a chuckle.

“Yes. No one will get to you, your grandmother, or anyone else who lives next door,” Desmond told her. “Once you take the witness stand, it’ll all be over.”

“Well now, if you are a decent lawyer then I might just come to you with all my legal needs,” Monica said with a wink.

Flirting. It was something that he had never truly mastered and thus avoided being on either side of the act. Not only was it uncomfortable having a client flirt with him but it didn’t help matters with the fact that she was young enough to be one of his daughters. He tried to push that thought from his mind but realized that it was impossible. She was too much like Colette for the idea to be ignored. She was around the same age, the same hair color and pretty much the same personality. A romantic relationship would never be a possibility, for that reason alone.

With the unfortunate business having been covered, Monica decided to lend a hand and took over the task of sweeping the floor. She gave Desmond a specific ratio of water / Pine-sol in which to fill up the mop bucket which he gladly did. It didn’t take long for him to rejoin her and he was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the sweeping was complete. Once she finished, he took the broom from her and nudged the mop bucket across the floor.

Desmond was helping whenever Monica would allow him to and the rest of the time was spent trying not to get into her way. Suddenly, he paused at the door and his head snapped in the direction of the nearest open window which was located just at the top of the stairs. Walking towards it, he peered out, looking for the source of the sound that had caught his attention. A single car was parked outside of Monica’s house. The lights were off but he could easily make out the driver.

“Monica, come here,” he called out.

“What? What’s wrong?” Monica asked, sounding alarmed.

“Do you know anyone with a black car?”

“Shit…” she muttered. “Gale drives a black car.”

“Come here,” Desmond repeated. “Is that his car?”

Backing away, he waited for Monica to identify the car. As soon as she nodded her head, he took his cell phone out, dialed three digits and brought the phone up to his ear. The phone rang a few times and then the stern and business-like tone of the local emergency operator greeted him, asking him to state his emergency.

“This is Desmond Black and I live at 800 Thorogood Street. I need you to get in touch with the detective in charge of Monica Pierce case. Tell him the local gang has approached Monica’s house,” Desmond said, his voice cool and calm.

“And you are?” the operator asked as she typed away at her keyboard on the other end.

“I told you, I’m Des…”

“No, sir, I’m asking what your relationship is to Monica Pierce,” the operator said, cutting him off.

Desmond gave a quick glance to Monica before announcing himself as her attorney. A moment later, another voice joined the conversation, a Detective Burton. His end of the conversation was filled with static which could only mean that the operator had patched him through in his car. Desmond quickly gave him a run down of the situation and the Detective cursed before instructing him to stay inside and keep the doors locked.

Before Desmond could hang the phone up, a gunshot broke the silence of the night and caused Monica to scream out. Desmond didn’t have the time to restrain her, as Monica flew down the stairs, calling for her grandmother. Desmond hung up on the Detective who was frantically demanding to know what was happening and as he took the stairs two at a time, he dialed his daughter’s cell phone number. She answered just as he emerged from the house.

“Daddy? What’s wrong?” she asked.

“You guys need to get here, now,” he said, feeling a lump in his throat.

“Daddy, it wouldn’t be humanly possible to get there any faster,” Colette told him.

“Colette. Get here as soon as possible,” he said, letting his voice make its point.

“Okay, daddy,” was all Colette said before hanging up the phone.

A thin man, dressed all in black appeared at the front door of Monica’s house, pulling her from the house while she screamed and cried. Desmond started to advance until he caught the gleam of a handgun in the moonlight. The handgun was firmly gripped by the person that he could only guess was Gale. If he moved any closer, he risked Monica being shot by accident. Blinking lights drifted around the corner down the street and several sirens followed it. Whether it was bravery or foolishness spurred by the sirens, Monica made one last effort to get free from her would-be kidnapper and then the gun went off again.

Time seemed to stop as the man dropped the gun to the ground and made a dive for the parked car. Desmond considered stopping him but his attention was drawn to Monica who was laying on the ground in a puddle of her own blood, a bullet lodged deep in her chest. Desmond dropped to one knee at her side as the unmarked car pulled to a screeching halt at the curb while the following police officers sped after the assailant.

“Monica!” the familiar voice from the phone cried out.

“She is losing too much blood. She is going to die,” Desmond said, closing his eyes.

“I’ll call for an ambulance,” Burton hollered as he raced towards his car.

“No!” Desmond yelled to him.

“What do you mean, no?” Burton asked accusingly.

“I have a proposition for you, Detective Burton. What would you say if I told you that I can save Monica’s life and rid this town of your pest problem?” Desmond asked, looking into Burton’s eyes.

“Fact of life… you can’t always get what you want,” Detective Burton muttered.

“If you call for the ambulance, Monica will die. If you don’t, then I can save her and I give you my word, I will exterminate your pest problem,” Desmond said confidently.

“Okay, do it. If she dies, you will be charged with…”

The Detective’s eyes widened as Desmond’s fangs lowered into view and he lowered his mouth to Monica’s neck, tearing into the skin. Her blood started to trickle into his throat and then he pulled away after a few moments. Raising his own wrist to his mouth, he bit down, drawing blood and then lowered his bleeding wrist to Monica’s mouth. Whispering the word ‘drink’, he used his other hand to prop Monica’s head up. Grabbing his wrist with both hands, Monica started to greedily drink the blood that flowed.

From the corner of his eye, Desmond could see that Detective Burton wouldn’t be able to stand too much more before his brain had a nuclear meltdown so he pulled his wrist away from Monica who stared up at him with a dreamy look in her eyes. The look in her eyes would fade over time but there would be no way for Burton to erase from his mind what he had just witnessed a moment ago.

“Are you okay, Detective?” Desmond asked, looking him in the eyes.

“What. Are. You?” Burton asked, his hand slowly moving towards his gun belt.

“You know what I am and you know that drawing your gun at me won’t do you any good,” Desmond said, never breaking eye contact.

“Vampires aren’t real. Everyone knows that,” Burton said, stroking his short goatee.

“Judge for yourself in less than an hour,” Desmond said, glancing back at Monica.

Burton followed Desmond’s eyes and his face fell slightly. Desmond wondered whether Burton had any true concern for Monica’s well-being or whether looking at her nearly lifeless body made him realize that his case against the Port Alison Vampires was about to go down the tubes. Monica started to quiver and shake before becoming completely lifeless. As Desmond started to walk back to where Monica was laying, he heard Burton fumble with his gun belt and then the sound of his firearm being displaced from it.

“I told you what would happen,” Burton shouted. “Get your hands up.”

“She will wake again,” Desmond said with a sigh. “I promise.”

“Hands in the air!” Burton shouted.

“Detective Burton,” Desmond said, his words sharp and stern. “If you value your life, I suggest you put your gun away!”

A split second later, Burton’s body crumpled to the ground having been victim to a mighty karate chop. Desmond locked eyes with Colette who was standing over Burton’s body, her hand still extended. Both hands immediately went to tying her long blonde hair into a ponytail as she usually did after taking flight. Colette and Desmond shared a bond that no one else in the family shared. They were the only two vampires who shifted into bats. His other two daughters, Amella and Klusae shifted into snakes while his sons shifted towards the canine family.

“Did you have to do that?” Desmond asked with a sigh.

“Did you want him to take a shot or two at you?” Colette asked, frowning.

“Not particularly. Still, I was really hoping to move back here,” Desmond said.

“Was she really worth it?” Gabriel, Desmond’s oldest son, asked, looking at Monica’s lifeless body.

“What do you think, Gabriel?” Desmond asked, annoyance in his voice.

“I know what I think. I think I’m not the youngest sister anymore,” Colette said, her smile beaming.

Desmond moved back towards Monica and knelt down next to her. Her eyes fluttered for a second but she didn’t open them. That was normal, it was one of the signs that the conversion process was under way. Within the hour, Monica would join their family and would be, essentially, a brand new being. She would be faster, stronger, and much more capable than would ever have been possible when she was a mortal. She would also be clueless about the Vampire way of life.

It wasn’t a terribly difficult life to live. Desmond had never once regretted the transformation that made him immortal. Quite the contrary, he took pride in being among the ranks of the Vampire Nation and even more pride in the fact that he was a Master or a Father as many Clan Masters referred to themselves. Since turning a human was considered a very intimate thing, many Masters thought of themselves as Fathers (or mothers if the Master was a female) who were starting a family.

When Monica’s eyes fluttered a second time, Desmond knew that the time was at hand. Reaching his hand out, he waited for her eyes to open fully before nodding towards his hand. Monica looked a little startled at first but then she took his hand and he pulled her up to her feet. Desmond looked at her expectantly, waiting for her to start asking questions but she just looked around, surveying the surroundings.

“Aren’t you curious?” Desmond asked.

“No. He shot me. You saved me. Now I’m a vampire. Is there anything else to be curious about?” Monica asked.

“You knew?” Desmond asked, his eyes narrowing.

“I suspected. I was going to wait until morning to make a decision. If you went out in the sunlight then my theory was just that,” Monica said with a shrug.

Colette laughed softly and the rest of them joined in. Desmond chuckled himself but when Monica frowned in disapproval, he held up his hand and the laughter died down at once. Desmond had to admit that he had been wondering just how much Monica knew about the vampire way of life but her response squashed any hope of having a halfway intelligent conversation with her.

“Monica, sunlight hasn’t been a problem for the last ten years. There is an injection that we receive. It lasts a full twelve hours,” Desmond explained.

“Stake to the heart?” Monica asked quickly.

“Name any being who wouldn’t die from a stake to the heart,” Desmond challenged.

“So, how many of the legends are true?” Monica asked, placing her hands on her hips.

“Crosses, holy water, and garlic are all true. Think of them as allergies. Coming in contact with them would be very bad,” Colette chimed in. “I’m Colette by the way.”

Desmond decided now was as good of a time as any to get introductions out of the way. He introduced her, starting with his eldest which was to say the first one he had turned. There was Jeremiah, Carter, Cynthia, Christopher, Eliza, and Colette. By the time she had shaken all of their hands, Monica looked as if she were going to faint. It only took a fraction of a second for it to dawn on Desmond that her faint look was due to a need to feed.

“I promised the good detective over there that we’d clean up the town of these wannabes,” Desmond said with a grin.

“Sounds good to me,” Christopher said with a smile. “I’m hungry.”

“I only ask that you leave the one named Gale alone. He belongs to Monica,” Desmond announced.

“What would I want him for?” Monica mused aloud.

“Trust me, Monica. Hatred is the absolute best seasoning,” Cynthia said with a wink.

“Lead us to them, Monica,” Desmond said, looking into her eyes.

“It’ll be my pleasure,” Monica said, throwing her head back and laughing.

Welcome Home

  • Author: James Stephens
  • Published: 2016-10-27 14:20:17
  • Words: 4369
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