Val's Blog - Final Part
I hope you've enjoyed my little short story Val's Blog. I wanna give credit for the character of Val to the same person that made that lovely bit of fan art in my first post, AphroditesChild. This story was actually a commission from her. She had a character and I built a story around it, folding it into the universe of The Paladin.
(Oh, and please forgive the formatting in the last two posts. I just noticed how badly my website translates the text. I fixed it up for this post and I'll go back and fix it up for the other two soon!)
Moments later the pair of vampires pushed through the backdoor, stepping out to the rear parking lot of Alu. With firm, purposeful strides, Valerie approached the concrete wall. Without pausing, the vampire leapt twelve feet up and over. She waited for several seconds, staring at the top of the wall before leaping back to the top. Looking down, she watched Sarah claw at the wall, trying to scurry up it.
"What are you doing? Get over here!" she said in a hushed shout.
"I can't! I can't jump that high!"
"Oh, for fuck's sake," she sighed, dropping down next to the girl. "You have got to be the saddest vampire I've ever seen."
"Hey! Hold it!" cried a voice from the back of the bar. The two vampires turned to see a pair of men in cassocks approaching fast. "Hold it right there!"
"Fuck!" Val groaned, grabbing Sarah by her belt. With a heave, she hefted the girl up and over the wall. The girl shrieked in surprise as she hurled through air, crashing into a pile of palettes on the other side with a hard thud. She rolled to her knees as Valerie landed beside her, grabbing the new vampire's hand and hoisting her up. "Move it kid!"
The pair rushed between buildings, weaving through dark alleys, the cries of the paladins ever behind them. Valerie's hand drifted to her pistol, dreading the possibility that she might have to use it. She did not need a kill record with the Paladin Order on top of everything else.
Rounding a corner, she kicked in plywood plank that was boarding up an abandoned building, tugging her new companion inside with her. The rotting smell of human waste and burned clothing assaulted the pair as they moved through the den of homeless drifters. An old man rushed at the pair with a broken scissor, but Valerie caught his wrist and jerked him to the side.
"Fuck off, junkie, we're just passing through." This was the wrong thing to say as the group of people began to swear and yell. Shit, she thought, this isn't helping! Sarah covered her head as the group roared and screamed and pushed toward them, but Valerie didn't flinch. She calmed herself and threw her hands out. Her eyes turned a bright red and the encroaching mob froze in their steps. Mouths silenced and arms lowered, Valerie began to speak. "Sit." The room fell to the ground in unison. "You don't see us. We aren't here." Soon the room returned to it's former state, the various vagrants focused on attempting to get shaky needles into their withered arms.
"What was that?" Sarah asked as she was dragged up a set of stairs.
"The basics. Look, we don't have time for a lesson. Why do you have paladins chasing you?"
"I don't know what that is," Sarah replied.
"The guys chasing us! Why are they after you?"
"I don't know!"
"Come on, kid. Paladins are a bitch to deal with. You had to do something to get their attention. Who did you eat?"
"No one! I... oh... "
"Oh?" Valerie asked. "Oh, what?"
"Well... there was this lady. It was my first night. I didn't know what I was doing."
"Oh fuck, you ate a woman?" Valerie asked.
"No! No! I... her... her dog."
Valerie's shoulders sank. "You're kidding me."
"It was my first night. I was so hungry."
"Well... at least it wasn't a person. Still, I'm guessing you hurt the woman before you dined on Fido."
"I... I don't remember," Sarah answered.
"I'm sure you did. Otherwise the priests wouldn't be after us. Look, you gotta get out of town."
"But... I don't know anyone out of town."
"Of course you don't," Valerie replied, "that'd be too easy." She gripped the girl by the shoulder and directed her toward a window. The pair peered out, Valerie scanning for signs of the paladins. "Okay, I normally don't do this," she began, moving back inside and pulling a wad of bills from her back pocket.
"You need to get to the bus station and go."
"Go where?" Sarah asked, following her.
"Pick a direction. Go as far as this will get you," Valerie said, stuffing the bills into the girl's hand.
"Won't they follow me?"
"No, paladins work locally. Move out of their jurisdiction and they have to hand it over to a new group. They're terrible at communicating with themselves. Keep moving and they can't keep a bead on you."
Valerie poked her head back out, her keen eyes catching sight of an approaching Corolla. "When you get someplace safe, DM me," she added, watching two paladins step out of the car. "I'll see if I can't get you a list of safe places there."
Valerie turned around to find herself wrapped in the girl's arms, tears streaming down her pale face. "Thank you so much!" she cried.
"Yeah, that's great kid," Val replied, prying the girl off her, "but we've got two priests waiting downstairs for us."
"Oh god," the girl said, scanning the room around her.
"Don't freak out, okay? I'm going to get their attention. You need to run to the nearest bus station. Think you can do that? Think you can run?"
"I.. I ran track in high school."
"That's wonderful," Val replied, trying not to sigh audibly. "Okay, when I go out there, you start running, okay? Run and don't look back!"
The girl nodded and Val moved to the window, watching as the paladins held a device up. "That's a long drop," she muttered.
At ground level, Curtis stared into the screen of his cell phone, watching the scanned image of the building shift as he moved it. Chris stared over his shoulder, pointing at the second floor and stopping him.
"That's gotta be her. Dark energy on the second story."
"Dude, this is a squatter building..." Curtis whined, lowering the phone to look at the tagged up edifice of the building.
"Druggies are God's children, too," Chris chided him, pulling back his cassock to reveal his pistol.
"I know, but the smell..."
"DIE PRIESTS!" The pair looked up as glass shattered and a screaming figure crashed into the ground before them. With eyes glowing red and a mouth filled with rows of fangs, the vampire creature roared in an unholy tone. "I will bathe in your blood, priests!"
BANG! Valerie collapsed to the ground, clutching her knee and rolling back and forth, her form back to normal. "Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck that hurts!"
"Don't move!" Chris warned, his gun drawn.
"Whoa, whoa! Truce! Truce! You win! Don't shoot!" Val shouted, hands waving in front of her.
Curtis drew his firearm and circled around beside her, inspecting the vampire. "This isn't the one."
"Where's your friend?" Chris asked, moving in.
"What friend?" BANG! Val clutched her other leg, cursing loudly. "God damn it!"
"I know this isn't damaging you," Chris said.
"It still fucking hurts!" Val cried, cradling both knees.
"You regenerate fast, so really it's up to you how long we do this," Chris said.
"Fine!" she cried. "She's going to the pharmacy."
"What the hell does that mean?" Curtis asked
"The pharmacy! You know what a damned pharmacy is, right?"
"Yeah. What the hell is she doing at a pharmacy?"
"She's grabbing you two some Viagra so you can go fuck yourselves." The paladins groaned in frustration, leveling their weapons at her once more. "No, no! Don't shoot!" she pleaded, scurrying to her knees and crawling to Curtis' feet. She wrapped her arms around his waist, pleading with him. "Please, no! Please, no! Don't shoot!"
"We don't have time for this!" Chris cried, turning back to the building. "Put her in the car. I'll check for the other one."
"You're not going to find her," Val said as Curtis seized her by her blond hair, dragging her up to her feet. "I doubt either of us will ever see that girl again."
Val winced and stuttered as Curtis tugged her over to the Corolla, opening the door and tossing her into the back seat. She frowned and rubbed the back of her head, as he slammed the door behind her. Curtis turned back to the building, holstering his gun and producing his cell phone once more. "I'm not getting any traces of her," he shouted to his partner.
The Corolla's engine roared. Curtis turned around to see Val in the driver's seat, blowing a kiss. The car sped away as Curtis lunged for it, cursing as he hit the pavement. Scrambling to his feet, he patted down his cassock as Chris rushed back to his side. "She took the fucking keys!"
Sarah's hands trembled as she took hold of the ticket, stepping out of line and moving toward the waiting bus. Her eyes kept scanning the same line over and over: New York. She didn't know anyone there, but it was supposed to be a haven for vampires. More importantly, though, it wasn't here. Taking a deep breath, she held the ticket out to the uniformed man at the entrance to the bus. He punched a hole in it before handing it back and ushering her on. A faint smile managed to crack her lips as she found her seat. She reached into her pocket, pulling out what remained of the money Val had given her. She had to have known it was more than bus fare. With tears welling in her eyes, she leaned her tired head back into the plush headrest.
The bus let out a hiss as the door closed and it lurched forward, the chassis rumbling as it eased onto the road. She dreamed of what it would be like when she stepped off the bus, of the new life that would await her in her strange new home. As long as she could get online, she had Val, and that was enough to get her through now. She opened her eyes, turned, and gave a high pitched yelp. Trembling she stared at the man now seated beside her. He was tall, in a black suit with an American flag pin on his lapel.
"Sarah Mezkowski?" he asked without even looking at her.
The young vampire froze. "W-what do you want with me?"
"I'm Agent Crockett with the Bureau of Demonic Affairs. It's time to serve your country."
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.