Val's Blog - Pt 2
Hope you enjoyed yesterday's installment of Val's Blog. Here's part 2!
Val's thigh-high boots clacked against the concrete as she rounded the corner, pulling a black leather jacket up around her neck. She wasn't cold by any means, if such a thing was even possible anymore, but if someone was following this girl, she didn't need them getting a good look at her, too. The moon shined as she approached the park, a cheap, insulated lunch bag in one hand and a pistol on the opposite hip. She pulled her burner phone from the pocket of the jacket and flipped it open to check the directions her contact had given her. She knew why he preferred to do it someplace public, but it was still a pain in the ass for her.
Why did she have to be such a softie? Her mind drifted back to the days she spent after her coven turned her. Those dark days, alone, lost, trying to understand who and what she was. She never once regretted the benefits of her decision: a slim, gorgeous body that would last for eternity, senses that rivaled nature's best creatures, and strength beyond human capability. Still, stepping out during the day even once more might be nice. Feeling completely in control of her baser urges for sex and blood would be convenient, too. Seeing her contact flanked by a young woman, she cast aside her thoughts and slid her phone back into her pocket.
"Took your time," the man said. He was tall, with well defined muscles and a strong, musky scent that she had picked up some time ago. "She's your problem now."
"Hey," Val said, stopping him as he tried to leave. "I got questions for you."
The man's eyes flashed with a gold tint, hints of elongated canines showing as he growled at her touch. "I said, she's your problem."
Valerie's eyes narrowed as she watched him move off into the darkness. "Fucking wolves," she said, turning her attention to the girl. She sized her up, feeling a pang of pity. Even for a vampire, the girl was pale. She had to be freshly turned and it looked like she hadn't had a real meal since. "You look awful," she said.
"Don't worry about it," Val said, opening her lunch bag. She slipped a blood bag from inside and handed it to the girl who only took a moment to inspect it before tearing into it. "Jesus, have some control!" The girl's lips and cheeks were stained with blood as she squeezed the last drops from the bag, casting it aside to lick her fingers. Val watched for several seconds as the girl scraped the spilled blood from her face and shirt, lapping at every drop. Had Val been this bad when she was hungry? She tried not to dwell on it, waiting for the girl to finish. "Feel better?"
"God, yes," the girl replied, blood still streaked across her cheeks.
Valeria sighed and reached out a hand to rub some of the blood off her cheek. "So what's your name, kid?"
"Sarah," she replied.
"Okay, Sarah. So what was so important I had to come out here?"
"I'm being followed."
"By who?" Valerie asked.
"I don't know. Some guy in a black suit."
Valerie looked around the park. The wolf's lingering scent was still in the air, overpowering most anything else. She scanned the trees and the bushes, seeing nothing but the typical wildlife. Still, it wasn't good to loiter here. Nodding her head, she led the girl down the park path. "Come on. Let's go someplace a little friendlier to our kind."
Two men leaned against a beige Corolla, staring across the street. They wore long cassocks, split at the hip and flared out, white clerical collars peeking out around their necks. They had been watching the door for several minutes, exhausted looks on their faces.
"Dude, I do not want to do this."
"I gathered that during the car ride over," the other replied. "Take it up with Father Jones."
"I'll take up his death wishes for us."
"No, this is fuckin' insane, Chris. Why are we walking into a vamp bar in full uniform?"
"Because," Chris replied, "they already know we're here. Trying to go in incognito would only stir things up more. Better to be upfront with them."
Chris scratched his head, hand running through a shaggy mane of auburn hair. He patted himself down, checking for his basic tools; cross, holy water, pistol. All there. Curtis rolled his eyes and pushed away from the car, crossing the street. "Let's just get this over with."
Moments later, the two paladins stood inside the door to the bar. The house lights were low, but neon signs and spotlights flashed, casting a rainbow of colors around the place. The bar looked packed, the hum of conversation barely audible over the loud, droning music that floated through the air.
"This isn't as bad as I thought," Curtis said, moving toward the bar. "I figured we'd get a lot more stares."
"I'm anti-freak, dude," Chris replied. "Trust me. They don't have to look your way to stare at you."
The pair stepped up to the bar, catching the bartender's attention. He wore a denim vest, torn and adorned with pentagrams and band patches from the '90s, with black hair that shrouded one side of his face. He slithered their way, smirking as he approached. "Don't see a lot of priests getting drinks here."
"You know what this is," Chris replied. "We're looking for someone."
"Big doesn't rat out his children," the bartender replied.
"This isn't one of Big's."
"Maybe not yet," the bartender answered. "Either way, it's probably best you go about your business, priests."
"Look," Curtis chimed in, "we just need to make contact. She's not in trouble, we just need to give her the talk."
"Can you give Big a call? Tell him Chris is just looking for someone," the paladin asked.
His eyes never leaving the pair, the bartender reached out for a phone behind the bar, pulling it to his ear. He dialed a number and waited as it rang. "Big? Yeah, I got a couple of priests asking questions. Want me to send them packing?"
"Tell him it's Chris!" the paladin repeated.
"He says his name's Chris. Yeah? Uh huh? Okay, you're the boss."
Chris smirked, quirking a single eyebrow as the bartender hung up the phone and turned to him. "So?"
"Big says do what you got to do and leave." He leaned over the bar, his eyes flashing red and his fang protruding from his mouth. "Cause any trouble and we dine on holy blood tonight."
"You're a mensch," the paladin replied.
Across the bar, Valerie sat at a booth, her face aglow with the light of Sarah's cell phone. The newbie vampire watched over her shoulder as Val marked locations on her GPS. "Okay, so on this guy, make sure you don't stare, okay? He's a good vamp, but they hit him with something messed up. His face won't heal right. Still, he's a good guy, he can get you sorted out with a starter kit."
"What's a starter kit?" Sarah asked.
"Little bit of blood, some coconut water, sewing kit, first aid kit, and a few other sundries. Now, he's good, but he's not free, okay?"
"I don't... I don't have any money," the girl replied.
"Jesus, kid... the guy who turned you, what happened?" Sarah turned away and wrapped her arms around her chest. An annoying motherly instinct washed over Val, both disgusting and persistent. Hesitating, she reached out a hand to stroke the girl's hair. "Hey... I get it. You got ditched, right? Probably a boyfriend or something?" The girl sniffled and nodded. "Look, a lot of us don't come into this life for the right reasons. Still, we gotta live with the choices we made." She looked back at the phone, tapping the screen and dropping another pin onto the map. "If... If you haven't got any money, you can try this guy. He won't charge you, but... you will pay."
"I don't know-"
"Shh!" Val slapped a hand over the girls mouth, her eyes locked on the bar. Two men in black cassocks were chatting with the bartender: her suspicions were right. "We got priests, kid. Time to go."
"Just follow me," Val said, tugging the girl out of the booth and into the back of the bar.
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.