It’s dark when I leave the building, quinlan has lost it, I’d never seen him in such an agitated state. He knows of my late night escapades, and demands that I stop. I can’t, killing the strigoi is therapeutic... As long as there are strigs, I’ll not have peace. Leaving the safe zone, and going a few blocks, I encounter a strig, or he encounters me, his purring alerts me of his presence, and shining my flashlight, his stinger comes forth, and I hack it off. It doesn’t take long for word to get around, as two more show up, attacking In unison. Removing the head of one, the other barrels into me knocking me off of my feet. Quick and strong, she pins me to the ground, the disgusting sound of her stinger disgorging, the sound of a gun firing, and her eye socket explodes.
Tossing her off of me, I check my body for worms. “What the hell are you doing out here?” It’s Eph, shining his light on me as I remove my shirt. “Check my back.” I say turning around, still doing a frontal check. Shining the light all over me, as I imagine the worms invading my body, I physically try to shake the thought away. “Hold still...” I’m thoroughly disgusted and afraid, that my hotheadedness could have cost me my life.
“Are you sure? I inquire, still checking.
“Yeah, what are you doing out here?”
I don’t have time to answer, as a unholy scream pierces the air. “C’mon, it’s not safe.”
We’re camped out in a small house, awaiting the morning. Eph’s posted up by the window, keeping watch. “You know this was stupid, and dangerous.” He says, in a hushed tone. ” What, me coming out here, or you following me?”
“I saw you sneak out and curiosity got the best of me.”
“Well, I’m glad you did... thanks.”
Peering hard into the darkness outside of the window, he grabs his gun.
“Don’t thank me just yet, we gotta move.”
“What is it?” I ask, coming to my feet quickly, and going to the window. I can make out the outlines of five bodies in the dark, moving quickly towards our hideout. “Shit!”
He leads the way out the back door.
“I parked a few blocks over!” He yells, as we’re sprinting down the street. A few blocks! We’re running for our lives, when more strigs join the pursuit. I’m falling behind, and have to use my gun on two of them. “One more block!” Yells Eph, disappearing behind a corner. “Wait!” How did he get so far ahead of me?
Rounding the corner, he’s gone, and so I follow the alley to the end. Right or left... Right or left... “Right!” Comes his voice from far away, as a strig’s stinger’s aimed at me. Shooting it in the face, I follow the direction his voice came from. I’m out of breath, and not sure that I’ll make it, when a pair of headlights greet me. “C’mon!”
My adrenaline’s pumping, I’m still shaken from the encounter, and I don’t want to go back to the firehouse. Back in the safe zone, we head to a bar, two lemon drops and a french martini later, we’re holed up in someone’s home.
Showered and dressed in the female resident’s clothing, I join Eph in the living room. “Do you feel better now?”
“Yeah, a whole lot better.” I state, taking the offered drink.
“Do you mind me asking, what that was about?”
“Well...I saved your life, and almost lost mines following you... I’d say, that we’re on a personal level.”
“My mother was killed by the master...”
“And so you do some dangerous shit, to avenge her?”
“No, it helps with the pain...killing them...”
“Well, I’m sure that she wouldn’t want you doing this, find another outlet.”
“Easier said than done, take a walk in my shoes, then you can come to me with your Dr. Phil bullshit.”
“I lost my wife to the stigoi infection.”
“I’m sorry for your loss.” I state, uncaringly.
“Yeah, and now the master has my son.”
That’s what he’s been hiding, why he’s so eager to go after the master?
“The master’s inhabiting his body.”
His revelation leaves me speechless, I can’t imagine the pain, of the loss of a child, a monster invading his body. “I’m going to get him back.” He says, with a nod of his head. “I am.” I’m ashamed of myself, for the way that I’m dealing with the death of my mother, putting my life in danger, because of my grief and anger. I feel his pain, and going to him, I embrace him. My arms around him, he returns the hug, my body trembling as the tears fall, he holds me even tighter.
“We’re going to help you get him back...”