Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dark Carpentry: Chapter 13 - God Pounds Them

                     God Pounds Them

                    Chapter 13

Will dropped his stack of 3x6’s onto the deck. He walked over to the fresh stack of 2x4’s were he placed his hot coffee. He jerked his tongue and head back a bit in reaction to the hot bite it gave. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Renald dressed in his usual black attire and shades. Will’s head shot over his right shoulder and walked towards the man.
Renald’s hands were behind were his back as he turned and started walking away.
“Hey!” Said Will walking towards him. Renald picked up the pace as his gradual walk, turned into a faster pace then into a start of a full sprint. “Oh, no ya don’t.” Following pursuit, the sunglassed man quickly turned his head while Will ran jogged after him onto the cement driveway.
Will chucked his hammer straight at the Renald’s back. It connected, bouncing off and he hit the ground before the hammer did.
Renald’s mouth opened without any sound coming out and Will looked down at him with unsympathetic eyes. Will took his own sunglasses off. Renald found the strength to face the attacker above him. Renald found the strength to shakily take his sunglasses off. His hauntingly light blue eyes peered up and met Will’s steel blue. Renald’s, pupils dilated. “This whole time you’ve been feeding us to the lion…when you gonna pay us?” The black jacketed man in pain cringed.
“Ah, I have it. You’ll be paid for your troubles.” Said Renald cringing in pain.
“That thing down there threatened my friends and my family, I think you owe us a little overtime hazard pay, for this one.”
“Well, I don’t know about that.”
Will poured some of his hot coffee onto Renald’s face. It hissed on his forehead. “Ahh!…okay, okay…”
Will smiled while looking down, “where there’s a Will there’s a way.”
“I’ll double your pay.”
“Hm, good rhyme. What was your deal in this whole thing? What was your part?”
The Man winched in pain once more then looked deeply into Will’s eyes for what seemed like an eternity. “He was my master. I had to follow him, do what he asked. I’m between both worlds, the living and the dead. He made me his servant. Forced to serve him.”
“Hm,” Will sipped his coffee “…no master, eh? Guess that makes you unemployed. Your master went back to hell where he came from and I’m, well I’m down at least two and a half men, wait…” he quickly counted in his head. “three men now with Chris leaving, that makes three men gone. Good men.”
“Your point is?…”
“My point is, now we’re behind on the next colonial and I…I need an extra man. How about it? You’re master’s gone now.”
“…how about that?” said The Man rolling his eyes and cringing.
“So uh, let me ask you a question, do you wanna die instead?” Asked will sipping his coffee with a hint of smile.
Renald frowned and seriously contemplated leaving the living world with quick smack of a hammer stake. “I think I’d rather die?”
“In those days men will plead for death and they will not find it.” Book of Revelation.
“God pounds his nails and I’m the hammer Gunga-Din.” Will held his hand out to him as he grinned.

* * *

The following day Renald was on the roof on the two story colonial, shirtless. His pale white skin burned under the hot sun as he pounded nails onto the roof trusts. He wiped his brow, sweating.
Will looked up and watched, sipping his coffee.


THE END
















Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dark Carpentry Chapter 12 - Loose Nails

                      Chapter 12

                  Loose Nails

Chris drove his burgundy Pontiac 6000 into the site. He hardly had the energy to get out of the driver’s seat.
Ted, mostly nude as usual was carrying a couple of three by six boards over his shoulder. He stopped and waved hi to Chris.
On the roof, Chris noticed a new person, probably about ten years younger then him. To Chris, he looked like he just graduated grade school.
Will was hammering away on the roof. He pounded his last nail, paused for a quick thought and turned around to spot Chris’s car riding in. He spun his hammer like a cowboy would with a six-shooter. It dropped neatly in its leather loop. He stepped down the ladder and slightly jumped off the last rung and planted both feet firmly in the dirt. He wore his usual Oakley shades as he approached Chris.
In some ways it felt like a showdown in an old western to Chris as they stopped and stared each other down for few seconds.
Will’s stare turned to a smile, “I’m glad you made it brotha, glad you survived.”
“I can’t believe you did.” Said Chris.
“God pounds his nails.” Will replied with a grin.
“…I’m quiting.” Said Chris with hands on his hips.
“For the day? You just got here.”
It was hard for Chris to say the words. He had learned so much at the job. The emotional baggage of throwing away everything he’d learned and still had to learn weighed on him greatly. He struggled to say the words and let go. “No, I mean the job, I’m quitting this job.” He shrugged his shoulders and managed to grin.
“Well phoey, I guess you beat me to the punch. I was gonna fire ya anyway.” Said Will. Chris got the feeling that he was mostly kidding. Or was he? He thought. “Got a new guy now, Shelby.” He pointed to the roof as the sixteen year old pounded a nail into the sheet of plywood. “He gets in there and juss does it.”
Chris shook his head and looked back at the plump little Shelby hammering away on the roof. “Is he uh, old enough to work?”
“Think so, I mean I’m not worried, he’s a good worker. We’ll catch him if he falls.” There was a brief moment of silence. “Look, remember when I said I expected five things from you?”
“How can I forget?”
“Down in the basement you surpassed all of em’. You saved my daughters life and that took unbelievable courage…I never knew that uh, you were having lady problems too.” Said Will.
“You never asked.”
Will walked pass Chris and sat down on a pile of 2x4’s. “Well now I’m askin. I’m all ears.”
I told Will all about Lucia this time. It was still a little hard to muster the emotions in it since. I killed her, at least the image of her. I killed the love and any sense of it. I told him about asking to draw her picture and her turning me down. Asking her out only for her to change her mind and go back out with her ex-boyfriend.

Will stood still occasionally nodded and shook his head.

I told him about the talk outside with her at The Sweet Potato. I told him she shed a tear. I told him about my fist pounding the ceiling of the car and about the night the last remaining hope of love died in my heart. I told him everything, except this time I didn’t shed a tear.
Will stood there for several moments taking it all in. His arms were crossed over his barrel-like chest.
“I used to be young like you, carefree…in fact I did a little bit of drugs back then…okay, I did a lot of drugs then…and beer. I was a young heathen before The Lord. I drag raced up and down Gratiot Avenue, got in fights and yeah, I had a few girlfriends here and there. Passed out from drinking, few blackouts but it was only when I hit rock bottom that I met someone that my life changed. Boy did it change brotha. One night after waking up from the street I met my mentor. He brought me to God.”
“Who was that?”
“Well, that’s a silly little story that shall be told another time. Let’s focus on the issue at hand though. The point is, I was at my lowest and somebody took mercy and helped me out. I had a mentor that set me on a new path with The Lord. Now I know I haven’t been a mentor to you but I’ve, I’ve been a meanie. It was because I knew you were capable of so much more and you proved by saving our tails down there. You were in pain, too blinded to see that Satan stole your joy a long time ago. He was gonna take a lot more with him on his descent back down to hell but you put him there. Didn’t know you were in that kind a’ pain and I was juss’ lookin’ at the bottom line. I’m sorry.”
“I never told you I should’ve told you I was…depressed.” Chris replied.
“I should’ve noticed it. I’m sorry brotha.”
Chris held out his hand. Will smacked it away and hugged Chris. Chris was taken a bit off guard.
They broke apart and he whacked Chris on the back with his left hand. “If I ever need you again Gunga-Din…”
"I'll come back to you again, if God wills. Acts eighteen, twenty-one.” Smiled Chris
Will’s jaw dropped, then he grinned, “V-Very good! Maybe there’s hope for you yet. If you ever need a favor juss pray and maybe The Lord will send me.”
“Thanks for the opportunity.” Said Chris. They shook hands once more then Chris walked away towards his car.
My life would never be the same after that summer. I was a changed man, I loved and lost. I still don’t believe in love but I certainly believe in heartbreak. I had no choice but to kill Lucia, the vampire would’ve killed everyone but I was still damned and I never worked that hard since.




















Dark Carpentry Chapter 11 - Inside Chris's Head

                    Chapter 11

            Inside Chris’s Head

Drago sucked Chris’s blood from his fingertips. The taste of his blood had been sweet but with plenty of protein due to all the beef and poultry he ate. Chris didn’t shy away from the occasional sweet either. “Ah, the metabolism of the youth. A bit too much sugar though.”
Chris stood still, staring at the dark gray cement wall, paralyzed. His memories rewound in its mind, similar to an old VHS tape. An invading force moved his memories chronologically backwards in his head.
Don’t worry Christopher, I’m not going to erase your memories, quite the contrary actually. Let me take a look and see…what you’re made of sort of speak. Let me illuminate your…perspective…

Images of men in round rimmed brown hats and green camouflaged outfits shouted at Chris.

These must be your instructors? Yes, no one goes through the military without those happy gentlemen.

A grenade was thrown and exploded, leaving a bright yellow flash.

Hmm, different package but same effect. Drago yawned, war and combat never changes much even after the decades I’ve been asleep. I’m also not impressed with your soldiering here, not enough close combat. Tis a pity, it seems like standards have loosened over the centuries. They’ll let in anyone willingly it seems, no matter their mental and emotional capacity. It’s really too bad, they never taught us how to deal with loss and heartbreak. I suspect they did that on purpose, to keep us angry for a battle…their mistake. Yes, I sense your loss is further up, into your university years but a lot more recent.

A variety of various female students sitting in classrooms next to Chris flashed through the field of vision. Finally, the vision settled on letters on a sign. The restaurant sign read The Sweet Potato.

Hmm, not a girl in your class but, ah yes, your work. The Sweet Dungeon? My dungeons were never sweet. No matter how I dressed them up in the past…Ah, I see, it was a terrible joke.
The Sweet Potato. Ahh, so many beautiful young ladies there. So many to choose from, but you had nothing to do with these? Ah yes, they had their boyfriends.
Wait…this one here. The quiet one, blond one with blue eyes, oh yes…she is nice.
Leave it alone! Chris fought back.
Ah, here it is, the glorious moment at last, the beginning of youthful love. The first of many steps when you let yourself go, the sweet surrender I’ve heard in one of your American songs.
Chris watched Lucia from a distance as she combed her hair back with her right hand and wiped away the metal desert shelves. She was bent over, but once his eyes moved from her rear they moved to her reflection in the glass. Round face, perfect round and symmetrical lips and the small, black, beauty mark just below her right eyebrow, the combination was absolutely perfect to Chris. Every cell in his body cried out to touch and kiss her.
Yes, she is beautiful isn’t she, I see it and I’ve seen thousands of women over the centuries. She made you want to be…
A better man, Chris replied in thought. Her man.
Wife?…come now Chris, you’re against such foolish nonsense, but still you would try? Love, it is the worst drug of them all and it seems Chris, seems like you’re the worst addict out of everyone here. You feel the rush of desire, feel it lift you up into the heavens. The bliss makes you think you really are in heaven.
Let me see more…

Chris approached Lucia by herself as she gets off the counter and back to her feet. His and nervously twitched. They talked.

you asked her out, good man! You have guts. Ah, but she’s taken, someone beat you to the punch as the idiom goes. It’s not your fault Chris you were in training at the time remember? Perhaps in another life you two would’ve met up together at the right moment, life is unbelievably cruel that way.

Lucia gave him her number…

You are courageous though, asking her out after the break up. Drago smiled sadistically. Too soon Chris, too soon…there’s more isn’t there? Chris, I’m just trying to help.
“Stop! No more!” Chris’s mind voice roared, fighting back of the intrusion and insensitivity.
I’m sorry Chris, this has to be done. Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it. I must see the source of your pain, your terrible juicy…pain.
Here we are; Ah, you want to draw her portrait for your art class. You defend yourself, an art project you say. Hoping this will win her over? Well, it has worked for some artists I knew from many and I mean many years past…what’s this?
Stop! Chris’s ego kicked in once more.
Somebody’s been a bad boy. Called down to the office, tisk, tisk, tisk.
Stop!
Down to the office Chris down you must go, into the Sweet Dungeon. Desist! She says! Halt your actions at once!
She refused, refused you, even to draw her portrait and she used her superiors to tell you.
Oh, I can feel it coming now the sweet heartbreak that destroyed your love and hope for all time.
Brave man Chris, go after her.

Chris confronted her and they talked back and forth for a minute.

She wipes a tear from her face.
Brave but in vein Chris, all in vein. Effort wasted!

Chris’s boss walked out to the parking lot, yelled and gestured with his closed fist and thumb for Chris to get back inside.

I would cry if I were still human, if I still believed in childish foolish notions like true love anymore. Still not done Chris?

Chris drove home. Inside his care he was quiet, as his face scrunched and tears streamed down his face.

Son, everything that shimmers in this world is sure to fade…away…

Chris pounded his fist straight into the ceiling of the Ford Taurus. The car sped up then slowed down. The car shook violently as it drove up the driveway and jerkily stopped. Several more bangs could be heard against the steering wheel. “Noooo!” Chris yelled from inside.

…will you ever give your heart away like that? I think not.
Chris knelled down on the dirt and cried.
Chris, Chris, I’m sorry to show you this but I must. I must show your future consequence for giving away your heart. Drago knelled down and faced Chris putting his hands on both sides of his head. Now, prepare for your future Christopher.

* * *

Will shook his head as he slowly got his knees. He noticed his brother with a bloody nose, unconscious on the ground.

* * *

Chris shook his head as a sharp pain shot up and to the right of his head. He saw himself talking to various beautiful women. Some were yelling at him. One smacked his face. “You fucking pervert!” The blond haired women yelled.
You see, you won’t dare care anymore. You’ll never fall like that again.

Chris followed a girl while talking at her from behind, she’s walking faster while ignoring him.

So, this is how it goes, wandering from girl to girl like a sick puppy, no relationships, no dream girl. Years and years. Ohh, that was a crude, even for my taste. Have some pride Chris!
Drago released his hands off of Chris’s head and stood up. Will was now on his feet, now armed with the wooden axe in his right hand.
“Alright, you might’ve broke Chris…that’s on me for not talking to him, but I’m not gonna let you kick him when he’s down.” Said Will.
Drago turned to Chris. “He’s the villain not me. You think he cares about understanding your pain? No! I understand your pain! He only cares about deadlines, the bottom line as they say. I’m your friend, not him.” Drago pointed his taloned fingers at his chest, “I listen to the problems of your heart and give you power over them. Could he do that? Would he do that? No, he seeks only to use you as a cog in a machine instead of realizing everything you have to offer this world. All of your…talents. You have much to offer the women of this world.” Drago grimaced, “for many, many years. Remember…love is like a brick, all you have to do is drop it.”
Drago outstretched his open hand towards Chris. “I can give you the power to overcome and conquer your pain. That didn’t have to be your future.”
“Chris, the devil lies! Remember his purpose!” Said Will.
Chris’s eyes shot towards Will, “finally you said my name right!”
“His words are poison brotha. The devil will tell any lie he can to win your soul!”
Drago’s mouth opened and he hissed at Will.
Will shot in with a overhead swing. Drago blocked under the spike with his forearm. With speed barely visible he back fisted Will, The Crucible dropped next to Chris’s feet as he flew across the room and into the concrete wall.
Drago turned his head around as he looked down at the axe, then at Chris.
The basement lit up. A bright yellow orange light shone out of the left corner of the room like a small sun.
Lucia now stood before him and walked up with a beautiful grin. She was a sight to behold. Her blond hair shined divided only by a black hair band, gold locks curled around her head. Her partially gold smooth skin shined around her head and round puffy cheeks. Her dark eyebrows somehow balanced out by her beauty mark stood out along with her blue eyes. She had to have the blue eyes too! his thoughts moaned. Her rounded lips were ruby red and perfectly symmetrical. Her body of course, black short skirt, golden tan legs with black boots. Her belly was showing with a cut off red shirt revealing her cleavage.
The room was now filled with total silence. The orange yellow light spread out behind her head and gave an angelic halo effect. She approached Chris. Again, like before, he could hardly believe she stood in front of him. She talked to him now unlike before. Her voice, perfect, just like he remembered it. There they were, face to face.
“I’m sorry, sorry about that night…but now I’m ready. Ready to love you, I miss you.” Lucia said.
Once again, every cell in his body cried out like before. The old emotional wound was bleeding out without a field dressing bandage to cover it. The wound anticipated the pleasure of healing. His body knew that it needed her. He needed to join with her. He deserved it, just this once he would get the girl he wanted. Chris was approaching bliss, all he needed to do now was kiss her and complete it.
Just let go Chris, you’ve come a long way all these years. Drago’s peeked his head out of the darkness as the light fell on his floating face. Just let go and join me, you can finally have her, her and so much more.” His slithery voice seemed surprisingly human, like a father talking sense into his son. The voice wrapped around Chris’s head like a boa constrictor and entered head. Do it for your sanity, you’ll be a better person. She will sooth your pain, your anger, your rage. Believe in love as you did before! It’s connected to your whole being. Think about the good you’ll do by being with her. All that weight lifted off your heart.
“I’m willing to give it a try now. Give us a try.” Said Lucia, she placed her hand on Chris’s right cheek. “I missed you.”
Tears ran down his face.
“I love you.” Chris managed to say.
“I love you too Chris. Let’s join.” Their heads moved forward.
“Chris! It’s not her! It’s not real brotha, she’s not real.” Will managed to shout. "You're playing a dirty trick on me," Balaam answered the donkey. "If only I had a sword in my hand! I'd kill you right now!" Numbers twenty-two, twenty-nine!
“You gotta kill it!…Juss…”
Will was barely able to yell his last command when Lucia turned her head at him. Her fangs protruded, and her eyes momentarily turned red and bestial as she hissed at him. She waved her taloned hand at Will’s face.
A hand made of concrete shot out of the wall and covered his mouth, holding his head against it. Another hand shot out from the wall grabbing his waist and pinning him back. He was now immobile and held in place. She quickly turned her head back to Chris smiling.
Chris momentarily shook his head from the heavy trance he was in. Ted finally awoke and ran to his brother. Bashing at the concrete hands with his hammer. Lucia looked down as if to momentarily remember her lines. Their gaze locked again.
“I never meant to scare you with the whole picture thing.” Said Chris.
Lucia gazed into him with her blue eyes. Chris was drowning in them now, lost in her beauty. The waves of addicting love and emotion rushed in. All he wanted was this moment captured forever. Her in his arms.
“Join me and you will…be with her forever. She loves you now Chris, she knows she screwed up. Do it now or you’ll never have this opportunity for the rest of your life. Trust me, I’ve seen it. When your old and dying in your bed you’ll regret not taking this only chance of love, your only chance to be immortal. The woman that you wanted, truly wanted and desired.” Said Drago, who stood next to him and spoke into his left ear.
Lucia hugged Chris and they embraced hard.
“Chris! Juss do it! Set the nail!” Said Will, but his words were muffled and barely audible.
She looked at Chris and they both stood up. She took a step back from him. She radiated pure beauty and lust.
“Chris put down your cross, she is your god.” Drago whispered.
Chris dropped the metal t-square. A cloud of dirt rose and spread into the air.
Lucia’s unnatural beautiful face became still and expressionless. Chris stood and allowed his intense feelings wash over him. His desire and love swept over him. He was letting go.
Her mouth opened and monstrous long fangs grew out. Her pupils burned red.
“You’re making the right choice Chris. You’ll be better for this and not some old lonely man wandering the streets and bars the rest of your days. You’ll still believe in love…true eternal love.”
Her fanged face did not distract from her beauty. The new demonic appearance seemed to intensify Chris’s attraction.
Get on you knees and worship her.
Chris dropped to his knees.

* * *

Ted bashed through the stone hand that covered Will’s mouth with his hammer The hands weren’t putting up as much of a fight now. The vampire’s powers were concentrated on the show they were witnessing.
A stone finger crumbled off of Will’s mouth. “Chris” They’re lies! Remember, he’s the prince of lies!! Don’t let him steal your joy! Remember Exodus seven-twelve. Each man threw down his staff, and the staffs became snakes. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.
Lucia hissed and her eyes widened and her head snapped back for the killer strike.
Ted ran towards the fiend in an attempt to tackle her.
Chris took everything in and time slowed as he felt his emotional and analytical mind fight each other then merge.
If he’s not lying, what good is forcing her to love me? How is that real love? Making her spend her life with me forever? Making her outlive her friends and family. She’d hate me for doing that.
but don’t you want her?
The image was now forced in his head. She was posing, hands on her hips, bending over, moving her hands up her stomach tempting him by pulling up her shirt, exposing her tan belly and ribs, she looked down at him and squeezed her red lips together then smiled showcasing her beautiful pearly white teeth. Lust for her.

Chris’s and Lucia faced each other on a sunny day in the park. They embraced. He brushed her head away from her face. Her neck was now exposed. Instead of kissing, he now found himself biting deep into it.
Yes, make her be yours. It’s how it’s supposed to be, how you always imagined it. You were meant to have her. Take what’s yours or you’ll never have it again. Mortals lives are so short, clinging onto any moment of happiness you get while you can. Kids? You never wanted them anyway, besides you could always adopt if she feels the need.
Chris closed his eyes, “No! That’s my decision.” He shook his head as if shaking off a long daydream.
Drago was in shock from this blunt refusal, paralyzed with it. Perhaps he had underestimated him. He had shared Chris’s wants and desires, felt them and even sympathized with him to some degree. He was deep down in Chris’s emotional hell. Going this deep with a victim was something he had not done in a century. He was…out of practice. The love Chris had felt for her was some of the purest love one could have. It hurt Drago as well because he had not felt it since he had become the monster. Chris had taken him on a journey of pure love that hit him like the sun coming up over the horizon. It had been centuries since.
Chris picked up the wooden hammer and forced himself to keep his eyes open as The Crucible made a resounding thump into her chest. The force of this blow seemed to shake the entire basement.
Jet black oil-like blood shot out in almost every direction. She screamed and transformed into Drago who screamed as well. It was an unearthly howl. His pale skin and huge protruding teeth, mouth wide open and arms out to his sides. To the vampire, his deathly moment felt as a kind of final relief. An ecstasy or relief from a painfully lonely life. The yearning feelings and love that it had experienced with Chris set it free as a jumping off point to freedom.
Drago quickly caught Chris by both sides of the face and managed to smile.
“This was so much better then you joining me…” Said Drago as he kept the evil grimace. Light now shined through the cracks in the ceiling, the rays shot into his flesh, burning the body away, seeming to cut through parts of the body, slicing him like a ginsu knife through butter. Smoke rose through the openings and the light shone like lasers through the corner of his grotesque smile. Chris would never forget the haunting sadistic smile the rest of his days. It said many things, anger, relief, thankfulness all rolled into one. The final emotion conveyed from it was cruel satisfaction. Satisfied that he had accomplished his warped mission somehow, passed on its curse in some way.
Chris was thankful he wasn’t turned and that this wouldn’t be his eventual fate.
Finally Drago let go and turned to ash. A powdery gray sculpture of a grimacing vampire. The body collapsed into an ash pile and the fangs and teeth dropped onto it.
Chris was still in shock, eyes wide.
Ted continued his tackle but much too late as he fell face first into the ash and dirt.
Will stood up and wiped the blood and dirt off his hands and mouth. “Well, that’s that?” He looked up at the cracks in the ceiling. “Did Steve do those floorboards? They’re a little loose.”
Ted shook his head, looked at Will for a few long moments then smiled, “…yeah, I think so,” said Ted as he wiped the dirt and ash off his chest.
“It figures, I think we’ll have to tighten em’ up.” Said Will.
Chris looked up at Will in disbelief. “Did you not see what just see happened!?”
“And do we still get paid?” Ted followed up.
Will’s jaw dropped as he quickly remembered his daughter who was lying passed out on the ground. He walked over and put his fingers over her neck, searching for puncture wounds but was astounded when he found none. Somehow they had miraculously healed. Her head straightened and her eyes slowly opened.
“Faith? You alright?” Asked Will. She was able to muster a small smile and hug her dad. “Ted, go check on Chris.”
Ted stood up and walked over to Chris who was still kneeling, tears dried to his cheeks and he stared straight ahead.
“Hey,” said Ted. “You alright?” He held his hand towards him.
“That depends on how you define alright.” Said Chris.
Ted slapped Chris across the face, “snap out of of it!”
“Yeah, I’m ok! I mean, I can walk. You didn’t need to do that!” Chris shook his head, rubbed his jaw, took Ted’s hand and stood up.
“Says you, that was a long time coming.” Ted smiled and shook his head. He knew that Chris had been through a lot.



















Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dark Carpentry: Chapter 10

                         Chapter 10

                    The Showdown

Despite working on his new hammer Will had shown up at his usual time. The white van slowly pulled up to the site, cautiously. It was still dark. He paused, looked at the cross necklace hanging from the rear view mirror and then looked down at his flashcard.
He tightened his brow and allowed his eyes to dilate to the darkness as he visually probed the black portal within the house. It seemed darker then ever before, he opened the door and his feet hit the dirt. It was extremely silent not even crickets were making sounds. He walked slowly towards the entrance. The enemy would see him coming no matter what angle he approached.
Hand on his hammer, he yanked it out of its holster and pulled out a flashlight out of his left leg pocket. The darkness wrapped around his back, swallowing him whole.

* * *

Chris woke up begrudgingly at five o’clock. His body rebelled against it, like it did years ago when he his in basic training. He dropped back into bed to sleep for half a minute, then got back up and landed his feet onto the ground. He slowly sat up and stretched. He looked around at his mom’s stuffed animals. Mickey, Minnie and fifty others peered back. His feet hit the floor and he went through his usual routine. He sluggishly brushed his teeth, combed his hair, got dressed in his khaki shorts and t-shirt and finally walked out the door

* * *

Will’s eyes saw nothing wrong with the site, but his instincts told him the opposite.
At the corner of the colonial he spotted a silhouette of what looked to be the big spiky mane of Pete’s. “Pete, where’s my daughter?”
The shadow moved in response. His slightly pudgy face seemed to form through the fading moonlight outside. He looked past Will with his is jaw was down and mouth slightly open.
“I’m sorry Will, but I couldn’t help myself,”
“What did you do?!” Will roared.
“I just couldn’t fucking help myself.”
“What I tell ya about swearing? Now, where the fuck is my daughter?” Will replied, breaking his own rule without realizing it.
Pete smiled, “Heh, y’know, it’s funny to hear you swear. Especially after all these months.” He sniffed into the air like smelling a sweet fragrance. “I smelled her, smelled her sweet blood. I couldn’t resist. It smelled like honeysuckle.”
“What did you do? Where is she?!”
“I had to take her down below, to the master.”
“Master? What are you talkin’ about? Look, you’re not getting a raise. In fact you’re fired brotha! You’re no brotha now, brotha.”
“I’m sorry Will, I couldn’t help myself. She’s down there.” Said Pete as he pointed his finger to the floor deck.
Will shot Pete a glance then shone his flashlight down the steps, he pulled his stake hammer out of his right hip holster.
“Step aside,” Will scolded. Pete obediently followed his bosses instructions with a grin. Will walked passed him keeping his eyes straight forward.
“You better wipe that smile off your face too.” Will slowly descended into the darkness.

* * *
Chris got into his Pontiac 6000 and backed it out of his drive. He rubbed his eyes, yawned and then pulled up and out of the lot.

* * *

As soon as Will got to the bottom of the dusty basement, Pete boarded the opening with a long wide flat board. After the last nail went through the it, he howled like a wolf at the full moon and his light blue eyes glowed.
Will looked above at the covered stairway and shook his head in disgust. “He was never paid his worth,” Said the detached voice from the right corner of the black basement.
“And no severance pay!” Pete’s muffled voice came through the boards.
A green glow came from the bottom corner as well. Faith was held in place with a firm hand around her neck with the left part of it exposed. Long taloned fingernails grasped around her milky neck next to the man’s drooling mouth. The man looked hairy around the sides of his face almost like he was part beast, part man. Slowly the hair fell from his face and he took on a more human look. Faith was barely struggling partly because she knew it was hopeless and partly because somehow it all felt exhilarating to her.
The man or thing that was holding her looked elegant in a black pinstriped suit. His Long straight hair gelled back. Will didn’t really care about the details at this point, all he knew was that somebody was harming his daughter and that person or thing would pay. His heart palpitated at the sight of this fiend but he’d been mentally prepared for the image of this moment. Much like some star athletes he had visualized it before his prayer in his garage.
His next move would be instinctive but he still approached it one with caution, and total concentration. The protective anger burned in his heart was his fuel for his next action.

* * *
Drago smiled with his two-inch huge fangs, protruding from his mouth.
“You never finished my home.”
He wasn’t prepared for this statement and his hand and muscles relaxed slightly.

* * *

Chris finally pulled into the dirt parking lot.
He double checked the passenger seat to make sure he had everything he needed, hammer, nails, chalk, etc…
He looked up and saw a very quiet worksite. There was silence as he approached the dark house. He saw Steve sitting in the dirt, leaning against the deck with his head tilted down. Blood ran down his face, arms and chest. His t-shirt was ripped open. Chris ran to him.
“Steve? You okay? I guess that’s a stupid question,” said Chris.
“He’s a sorry sight but he finally gave what he’s worth. Too bad it amounted to only three pints of blood without the alcohol.” Said Pete sucking his tongue.
Pete walked out of the shadows to reveal his pupiless white eyes. Blood was smeared all over his face. Huge fangs protruded from the top and bottom row of teeth with his bottom set being slightly shorter. He snarled and smiled hideously showcasing all the teeth in his mouth. At this point he looked more animal then man. His mouth and face were somewhat sticking out like a wolf but with his long spiky hair he looked more like a giant porcupine. “Which is more then I can say for you!”
He approached Chris with long claws in each hand.
Chris instinctively grabbed his hammer as a weapon. He wasn’t sure how much damage he could do, but he was willing to try. Somewhere in his subconscious he figured he could buy himself more time, the sun would be up very soon.
“I don’t know why Will hired you. You fucked everything up! Now, I fuck you up!” Pete leaped high into the air at Chris, he was way higher into the air then a man of his size and stature he had a right to be.
He fell onto Chris pinning him down by his shoulders. Pete’s fangs snapped at his face like a snarling dog. His putrid breath and disgusting saliva dropped onto Chris’s chest.
All those push-ups Chris did in the Army finally payed off as he hoisted Pete away from his face. Pete also snapped at Chris’s wrists and forearm like a mad dog.
Chris looked left to right trying to find anything he could as a weapon, but most of what around him was dirt. He hastily searched his tool belt. While holding off Pete with one arm he grasped his hammer from his belt. Once again, Pete leaned in closer towards Chris’s neck. Chris shot his arm from underneath Petes’, rose it above their heads to gather momentum on the downswing.
The hammer shot down onto his Pete’s head. The round metal bulge caved part of the top of his head.
Pete howled and flailed his arms waving near his head, somehow finding the strength to get to his feet.
Chris suspected a kick to his stomach would do no good do he immediately struck him with a powerful step-up sidekick to the ribs. He had practiced this move from his Karate class at Central Forest. Pete grasped his side but somehow found the strength to pluck the hammer out of his head. He instantly roared in pain as a fountain of black blood shot out of the wound. Two inch fangs shooting out all four corners of his mouth. The roar sounded like half pain and half insane bloodlust.
Chris stood ready let’s apart feet forward with his hands next to his face, holding nails between his fingers and ready to strike.
Suddenly, he heard a load thwack, like wood hitting and cracking against a giant slab of beef. That beef was Pete’s back. A massive 3x6 broke in half and knocked him to the ground.
Ted’s chest rose and fell. “Just cause you were a couple minutes late, don’t mean he should take it out on ya, geez.”
Chris smiled and exhaled, relieved he didn’t have to go toe to toe anymore with the monster of a man. “Thanks!”
Ted briefly walked past Pete’s face. Pete suddenly awoke from his brief slumber as his pupil-less eyes opened wide, along with his enormous, venomous fangs. He grabbed Ted’s ankle and Ted struggled to free himself from his grasp.
Chris knew he only had a few seconds before Ted was bit. He ran to the splintered piece of 3x6 and hoisted it above his head like a hammer strike. Just one concentrated strike, he thought, just like Will had taught him.
Pete briefly locked eyes with Chris as his arms flailed and saliva spat everywhere. “You’re still a worthless, dumb kid. How do you expect to kill me if you can’t even do the job?” It said.
“Y’know, the Army taught me a saying…” the first rays of sunlight peaked over the hill and beamed onto Pete’s face, frying it in patches. “What makes the grass grow?”
Pete looked at the horizons and spotted the first bit of sunlight. His eyes instantly smoked and seemed to catch on fire. his skin bubbled and smoked. He screamed in intense pain.
Ted winced at the surreal and terrible imagery he was witnessing. The bloody puss, smoking thing now looked at Chris in anger and hatred.
“Blood!” Chris yelled. It’s face burnt off and green, white and red ooze shot out of his mouth. He hissed and Chris could tell that even through all the pain he was still full of anger.
Chris brought the massive wooden stake plank down upon Pete’s heart, cleaving into the rib and loose flesh. “Blood makes the grass grow!”
Black blood and green ooze shot out in a grotesque spray all over Chris. Pete’s body erupted in flames.
Chris’s chest pumped back and forth. Ted’s eyes widened, then he smiled, motioned his fingers brushing across his forehead. “Ya got a bit of his fat on your face,” said Ted.
Still in shock, Chris instantly shook his head to try and shake the flesh off his head.
Ted chuckled a bit, laughed. “Just kiddin partner.”
“Gross!” Said Chris shaking his head. He wiped some of the dusty charred flesh off his body, but some of the blood didn’t come off.

* * *

Will stood slightly shocked at the newfound revelation that he was about to face off against the owner of the house. A second or two went by and he regained his composure. Owner or not, This guy had his daughter and was about to kill her. The fact that this was the owner only added to his anger.
“So you were the one who changed our blueprints eh? I wouldn’t have admitted that if I were you.” Said Will, waving his stake hammer towards Drago.
“This would’ve only been the beginning to my beautiful empire.”
“Any you choose Chestertown Michigan huh? Maybe you should’ve aimed a bit higher.”
“America was The New World to us no matter which part of it we lived in. During the war we were abolished by Van Helsing, moved to France but he tracked us there too, so we had to cross the pond and now here I stand. About to give birth to a new generation starting with your daughter.
“What a minute fella, Van Helsey was a real guy? Geez, guess every story has a nugget of truth to it.”
“And the truth can be stranger then fiction, it trumps it every time. Now, where was I?” Drago said his mouth widened as his teeth cam down upon Faith’s exposed neck.
In actuality, Will didn’t really have much of a plan at this moment and was relying on his instinct and faith that God would show the answer when the time came. He could see light from the window above Drago’s head. It would be a hundred to one shot but he had to do something.
He launched the hammer at Drago’s head. He ducked and it smashed against the small window portal. A slight crack in the window allowed a ray of sunlight to shoot into the back of the creature. This had worked more or less like he intended.
As the vampire felt the beam of sunlight blaze into his back he loosed his grip on Faith.
Will took the small opportunity and made it bigger as he ran at the monster, tackling him to the ground. That was where Will’s advantage distinctly ended.
While Faith continued to be in a semi-concious state, she backed away from the fight. She leaned against the wall in a daze.
Will dropped an elbow onto the creature just out of pure anger. He punched Drago across the face several times. Will smiled more and more after each strike. Drago caught Will’s clenched fist and squeezed it. Pain shot up through Will’s arm and Drago. He then grabbed Will’s belt and with its incredible strength and thew him up into into the ceiling.
Just above the wooden deck, Ted and Chris looked down at the wood. Floorboards jumped up after the pounded thud. Snapping after a couple of Chris’s small bridgework boards with his back, Will promptly fell to the ground on his belly almost knocking the wind out of him. The vampire grimaced. “I could’ve had my home here, assimilate, but you had to take forever!” Drago kicked him in the ribs.
“Dad!” Faith screamed, seemingly breaking out of trance for a brief moment.
The vampire smiled while it looked deep into her eyes. She tried to shake off his gaze but her hear eventually aligned in his direction. “Come, Faith, I want him to watch while his fleeting life leaves his body.
She was still hesitant. Drago smiled bent down and scrapped Will’s head with his nails. The blood collected on his nails like a small reservoirs.
He put the finger to his mouth, sucking the blood off with his snake tongue. Faith stared at him mouth half open, entranced.
“Come girl, let me give you eternal life on this earth.” Drago said as his head jiggled in and out, up and down like a lizard.
She fell back into trance with the words and hypnotic head movement. He mouth slightly open she walked towards him. She stopped and almost seemed to break out the trance again.
“…decide to walk with me, forever. I’ll show you my dark secret.” Drago smiled.
Faith walked towards him. “I promise you, I will treat you well, my sweet angel so help me Jesus,” the vampire said while fanning his long fingers towards himself. “Do ya, wanna die?”
Faith was now face to face with the black-haired Drago. She turned her neck to the left, exposing her neck to him.
“Ah, that’s it, be my angel.” His huge shiny teeth shone in some of the light filling the basement from above. Chris and Ted’s hammers were prying the boards opened with their hooked ends. Ted then used the rest of his weight and jumped down onto it with both feet, breaking through the boards. He fell and rolled down the steps like a rag doll.
Drago laughed hysterically. “Never since Chaplin have I seen such a comedic entrance.”
Ted knocked himself in the head a couple times, but the big man was able to shake it off and concentrate just enough to spot Will knocked out and lying on the dirt floor. His niece was about to make out with the slicked hair man in the three piece suit. He got to his feet and but stayed crouched. Looking at the fiend he had…no plan at all. He looked to his right and spotted a small wood sliver, barely the size of a small dagger. It looked more like toothpick then a stake.
Drago laughed briefly. “That was very elegant, you come to wrestle me? Drago said.
Ted, slowly scooped up the wood splinter and held it in front of his fist and held it tight. “Haah!” He yelled as a battle cry.
The vampire bent over laughing some more. He waved Ted in with his fingers. Ted yelled again and rushed the creature head on. He went for a tackle and an overhead swing with the small wooden weapon in the air. Unfortunately, he didn’t even come close to pulling it down for the death stroke.
Drago bent backwards and tucked his hand and arm under Ted’s armpit and threw him off balance, hoisting him off his feet and over the vampire’s back. He landed on the ground back of the head first. He shook off the pain and was gonna get up quickly Drago brought his brute strength down upon Ted’s face, nearly cracking his skull and definitely breaking his nose as it quirted blood at Drago’s face. Drago rapidly licked it off, then winced. “Um, hmm, eck, Budweiser. I find American ale repugnant.”
Drago stopped and sniffed his nose. Will slowly started to awaken.
Drago picked Will up again and tossed him into the wall like he had only weighed twenty pounds. He held out his arm and hand for Faith’s. She walked forward once more if being pulled by a lasso around her hips. Will was waking up but still a little sleepy coming in and out of consciousness. “Do you wanna die?” The vampire asked Faith.
“…yes…” she said in a slight whisper. Her neck was now completely bare and exposed.
He dug his fangs deep into her neck. She gasped with her eyes wide open. He immediately sucked her blood into its mouth. Swallowing like a starving animal.
Will could only see two blurry images in the darkness silhouetted against the slightly lit background. Pain continued to trickle all over his head.
“Hey!” Chris stood at the end of the basement, he held a metal T-square reflecting the light from the stairway into the vampires’s eyes. The top middle part of the T had been extended with a sharpened wooden stake nailed and duck taped to it. In a crude way, it now resembled a cross.
Drago immediately withdrew his fangs and yelled in pain as the sight of the cross reflected a beam of sunlight. He was in pain but he was also strengthened by the girls blood. It tasted innocent and sweet and it had been many years since he tasted blood like that. His eyes pierced through the dark with small but somewhat bright orange and red pupils. Small black spirals twisted and turned within them. Crimson blood was all over his mouth, nose and cheeks. His face was one of crazed bloodlust. He paused and smiled, “Finally, the dreamer makes his entrance! I’ve been waiting for you.” He gulped and swallowed the remaining part of Faith’s blood down his throat. It seemed to re-energize him with confidence and focus. Faith slightly moaned as if still physically connected to the creature, in a way she was. He stopped to take a step back from Chris’s t-square cross. “Whooh, you’re faith is strong, childlike but strong still..unless you become like children…”
“…you will never enter…the kingdom of heaven.” Will struggled to say. Drago turned his head at Will and smiled. “Exactly!”
“you must have the mind of a child, just to believe such nonsense! This is the real world son, do you really think Genesis happened…” Drago snapped his fingers, “like that?”
“Well, you’re standing here being a vampire, so yeah why not?” Chris replied.
Drago eyebrows lifted as to agree with him. He took another step and felt a needle-tingling effect of a invisible barricade. He smiled, “good thing your classmates woke from their brainwashing…you chose to stick with it! What a good little pilgr…”
Chris quickly stepped up and with his hand firmly around the hilt, he launched the stake at the creature like a spear thrust. Drago instantly dodged out of the way. Chris swung the t-square left to right and he dodged again. The beastly fiend quickly scratched Chris with his left nail but he didn’t feel it. His adrenaline was in overdrive. Chris picked up the metal cross and placed it in from of his face in defiance. Drago scowled and stepped back. If I could only get the creature pinned to the corner of the wall I could…Chris thought to himself. Suddenly a sharp pain invaded his mind. At first, it felt like pain but mostly it felt like an intrusion, like something had entered his head, looking through his eyes.