The rage Within

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Chapter 42

When I awoke in the chair my heart was pounding and I was covered in sweat. I’ve had some lucid dreams before, but that one took the cake. It was so realistic I could remember smells and distinct colors. It was nowhere near normal.

Was everything a dream?

I was starting to think I was in some sort of accident or something? Maybe Bili and Theo are just regular people and I dreamt everything else. Kristov, Franklin, and Jacques could all have been imaginary. The feeling that I may have actually lost my grasp on reality was bizarre, but it did not seem farfetched. Though I felt like a million dollars physically, and my mind seemed to be working normally, there was a part of me that just wasn’t sure.

I reached for my phone that was sitting on the table next to the chair to see what time it was. I was shocked, not because of the time, but rather the date. Unless I was still in this dream world I had slept for almost two full days.

I stood up from the chair like I had warmed up all morning with exercise and stretching. I wasn’t sore in the least, even though I had seemingly been in the same sitting position for forty eight hours. I instinctively headed for the bathroom even though I didn’t really feel as though I needed to. Maybe the date on my phone was wrong, or I just forgot what day it was. I was coming up with several possible solutions to what I had thought I had experienced, the last of which was that any of it was real. This had to be the dream. A dream within a dream really.

I entered the bathroom and when I shut the door I saw myself in the full length mirror on the back of the door. I knew in an instant I was wrong. It was real. All of it

I stared in complete disbelief. It was as if the person in the mirror was not me, but rather someone else standing in front of me mocking my movements. I wasn’t completely different, but compared to how I looked just days before, the changes were glaring.

The first thing I noticed was that my once hazel-brown eyes were now a silverish blue. After I got past that I couldn’t help but notice that I gained a few pounds of body weight and all in the right places. I felt as fit as an Olympic athlete. It looked like me, I guess, just a far better version.

I could see why Theo wanted me to wait awhile before seeing any of my friends. There was no way something like this could happen overnight.

I took a quick shower and got dressed. I was worried that something may have happened while I was asleep and wanted to get in touch with Bili or Theo right away. After getting my things together I walked out of the flat and before I took two steps Bili was grabbing my arm.

“About damn time. I’ve been waiting for twenty hours. Let’s go.” She said.

There was urgency in the simple sentence and I picked up on it right away. I didn’t ask the usual questions like ‘where are we going’ or ‘is everything okay?’ My new senses were much sharper now and I got the gist from her look and voice inflection. Long explanations no longer seemed necessary.

We got into Theo’s Cadillac and took off like a bat out of hell. Something was happening and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was caught up. We were on a familiar road and I had a sense of where we were going. When we pulled into the parking area of the warehouse I saw a several cars and only recognized one.

“While you were napping a few things have happened.” Bili said as we stepped out of the car.

“I take it nothing good.” I countered.

“I heard Theo cuss.” Bili said.

“That is bad.” I said, only half joking. I don’t think I had ever heard Theo swear.

“The meeting is wrapping up, but Theo wanted to make sure you met everyone. A more accurate statement would be that everyone wants to meet you.”

I gave Bili the look that asked a thousand questions, all of which she ignored.

I couldn’t help but notice that Bili, although she was still herself, didn’t treat me as before. I didn’t feel like the lowly hired help as I did before. I almost felt as though she was treating me as an equal. That was as astounding as the fact that I was a vampire.

When we walked in I immediately felt the heavy weight of numerous stares. I would liken it to a criminal breaking into a building only to find out that it was the police station filled with cops. I should have been intimidated to the core, but I didn’t even feel nervous at all. That being said, I was very curious. A room full of vampires was not something you saw every day.

The whispers started immediately and I heard them all. It’s him, it’s true and look at them were repeated the most. I was completely in the dark, but I remember Theo telling me to be patient. I was using what little I had left not to ask everyone of them what they were talking about.

Theo broke the ice quickly to get past any further awkwardness.

“Everyone, this is Jack.” Theo said in a minor grandiose way as if he was introducing me to a panel of judges. He met me near the door then made a point to personally introduce each and everyone.

I could see Jacque standing behind everyone, or more accurately, towering over everyone. He was working intently on a laptop not paying attention to the group. This was not uncommon, as Jacques did not like chit chat for the sake of it. He met me before. That was enough.

There were five new faces in all and all of them vampires. Three were females and two were males. Only one of them looked to be older than forty, maybe fifty, in appearance that is. I was sure that they were plenty older than that.

With the exception of Theo and Jacques, the first two females I met had an air about them that made me think that they were older than the rest of the group, and of some importance.

“Jack this is Lucinda and Miah.” Theo said

I shook Lucinda’s hand and felt a hint of apprehension in her grasp. It was an odd sensation. She was taller than me, jet black straight hair down past her shoulders, dark brown skin, and light brown eyes.

Miah was shorter, had short blond hair, straight edged bangs, and dark green eyes. The thick black border around the iris of their eyes was obvious, as it is with Theo and Bili. Something I found odd when I first met them, but now I was certain it something to do with the change. My eye color had changed, but I didn’t have the same trade mark border as the others. Maybe that was one of the reasons that Theo said I was different.

“Nice to meet you Jack.” Lucinda said. She held her stare longer than I was accustomed too. It wasn’t unfriendly by any means, just longer.

“Nice to meet you as well.” I said.

Miah shook my hand next, and held onto it as she spoke to me.

“How was your transformation Jack? Everyone adjusts a little differently.”

“Good I think. I haven’t had a much of time to think about it really.” I said, not really sure how she meant the question.

“Of course. Starting the way you did…” Miah said, trailing off as she shot a backward glance toward Bili. Still holding my hand, she slowly released her grip. It felt like the type of handshake a relative might give you at a funeral.

I couldn’t tell what it was exactly, but the look she gave Bili was not a friendly one. Bili said nothing, and hardly made any acknowledgment of it, but I thought I caught a few tweaks in her facial movements that said something indeed. I didn’t get the impression they were friends.

Theo moved me along.

“And this is Harold, but everyone calls him Steve.”

“Hi Steve.” I said shaking his hand. He was the youngest looking of the bunch by far. He looked about my age, or even a year or two younger. Short light brown hair, not very tall, but seemed to be a ball of pure energy. He looked like a California beach bum, but better dressed.

“Hey. Never met a…, I mean, I’ve heard, but…wow. Nice to meet you.” Steve said clumsily.

“Likewise.”

Steve was about to say something else, but then he became distracted and it was as if I had disappeared.

Bili had walked up next to me, to the obvious delight of Steve.

“Hey Bili. How have you been?” Steve said with a huge toothy grin. He made no attempt to shade his feelings. You didn’t have to be a vampire to read him.

I looked at Bili and saw the look of mild embarrassment and aggravation on her face. I relished it.

“Steve.” Bili said sheepishly.

“Harry. Get over here.” Jacques said.

He never looked up from the computer and didn’t raise his voice, but it was clear he wanted Steve to assist in something.

Being called Harry caused Steve to stop smiling.

“Stop calling me that you big gorilla. I’ll be right there.” Steve said.

The quick exchange told me that those two had a history and comfortableness with each other I’m sure few have with Jacques. Either that or Steve had a death wish.

“Nice to meet you Jack. We’ll talk more later.” He said. “You too.” Steve said as he looked at Bili. Then he winked.

I think I actually heard Bili’s eyes roll.

Steve made his way over to Jacques’ location, bumped Jacques out of the way and jumped on the laptop he was working on. Jacques smiled at him mussed his hair, causing Steve to swat at his hand as he worked. Steve had to be the tech guy of the group. He was punching keys on the computer faster than anyone I have ever seen, while trying to explain to Jacques what he was doing. I fancied myself a computer nerd, but I barely understood half of what he was talking about.

Theo came back from talking to Miah and walked me over to the last two he wanted me to meet and brought them over to me.

“And here we have Andrew and Allison.” Theo said.

These two looked like the perfect couple. I could tell right away that they were together. The only way to describe them would be Hollywood Perfect. Both were extremely attractive and well to do looking, even though they were dressed very casual. I could tell from the subtle gestures and the way Theo spoke to them that they must be long time friends. They also exuded the same familiar good nature as Theo, and they put me at ease right away.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Jack. We’ve heard a lot about you.” Allison said as she shook my hand. Her voice was like honey poured over silk. I could have listened to her talk for hours about whatever. There was an accent as well, and though I couldn’t quite place it, it only added to her beautiful tone.

Andrew stepped closer and shook my hand next.

“We heard you had an exciting first day as it were. I’m glad you are still with us.” He said.

“Thank you, I am as well. Thanks to Bili, Theo, and Jacques.” I said.

“Yes of course. That incident has caused many of us much concern. It’s our hope that we can get this matter handled before it gets worse. Now I’m afraid we must be on our way. Pleasure Jack.” Andrew said.

“I will let you know if I we find anything.” Andrew said, turning his attention back to Theo

“Be careful.” Theo said.

“You as well.”

Andrew and Allison excused themselves and left the warehouse right after our meeting. They had obviously discussed some plans prior to my arrival and were on a mission.

Theo began to walk to the back where Jacques and Steve were working and I followed.

I saw Lucinda and Miah make their exit as well, following behind Allison and Andrew.

The rest of us made out way over to where Jacques and Steve were and huddled around Steve’s computer. Steve was working fast and the look on his face said he was close to something very interesting. The slight creases in his brow, the narrowing of his eyes, and the tightness of his mouth were as telling to me know as if he was talking in a loud voice. This ability was something else, and it made me wonder what else I was capable of.

“Sometimes our subculture is more prone to rumor mongering than a group of teenage humans.” Steve said. “It’s been almost a millennium since…well, since a situation like this has presented itself. Let’s just say you have caused a ripple effect unseen for some time.”

Steve shot me a quick glance, but it was as if he was verifying something rather than the usual generic look.

Theo interjected.

“We believe someone is trying to exploit this. When the information about you had originally leaked they were mere whispers. Now that you have been turned, those whispers have exploded into screams. We do not believe this was accidental. Someone is now trying to make you famous.

“I think that ship has sailed Theo. Just look at him?” Steve said.

“Bili punched Steve in the arm.”

It wasn’t the playful punch of lovers either. If Steve wasn’t a vampire it might have broken his arm.

Even though it had to hurt, at least a little, Steve grinned ear to ear. Any contact from Bili was good contact as far as he was concerned.

“Why would anyone want that?” I asked.

“With this kind of fame you get two things, fear and jealousy. Both can be used in a sinister manner if stoked properly. It seems someone is doing just that.” Theo said.

“We are tracking any new arrivals in the city using Social Media and the Dark Net our kind has been known to use. I don’t expect to find a direct connection, but I can sort through the peripheral pretty well and link information together. Though most of us are pretty smart, there are always those few.” Steve said.

I watched as Steve typed on the computer keys like he was playing a video game. The speed was amazing, but not nearly as remarkable as the way he navigated the different websites and forums, barely slowing to read. My mind was working efficiently to say the least, but Steve was on another level intellectually.

Steve suddenly stopped typing and smiled.

“And Bingo was his name-o. You are a piece of work aren’t you truVamp69? Kids these days.” Steve said shaking his head.

Steve highlighted the post for all of us to read.

“Like I said. Always a few.”

The post read:

Heading to Ann Arbor. Let you know if this shits for real. Staying near the Stadium. Be in touch after I get in contact with her and get paid.

“This was posted this morning.” Steve said.

“There can’t be too many Hotel’s near the Stadium. Most of them are closer to the freeway.

Jacques collected his things and headed for the door. He wasn’t wasting a second.

“Steve, when Jacques finds Mr. Truvamp, and he will, be prepared to do the forensics on his computer. Feel free to finish your work here or go back to my place. Anything new develops let me or Bili know.” Theo said.

“Will do.” Steve said, throwing up one of his hands in a quasi-salute, without looking away from the computer. He was in a heavy work state and very focused.

“Her?” I said.

“Interesting. This may be the break we needed.” Theo said without elaborating.

Theo told Bili and me to go back to the POH. He was going to meet us there later. He also had a few inquiries to look into. I think he wanted to make sure that Bili and I stayed together. Safety in numbers I assume. He would rather be caught alone than either of us.

After our meeting, and listening to all of the mutterings under everyone’s breath, I was bursting with curiosity. As if I didn’t have a million other questions about my new life in general, the vagueness of my so-called special heritage had me dumbfounded. Bili was diving at the speed of light, which was the norm, so I thought I would ask.

“Okay, what’s the deal?” I said.

Bili didn’t answer right away and I could see that she was contemplating what, or how much, to tell me.

“You’re a little different.” She said.

“No shit. I put those two two’s together already. What does that mean? The other night Theo explained that I have some immortal ancestry in my family tree, but how does that make any difference. I was still human in every way just a few days ago.” I said.

“No. I just meant you are a little odd. You know. A weirdo.”

She caught me completely off guard with her joke and I turned and stared at her.

She could only keep a straight face for a fraction of second before she started to laugh. I had never seen Bili let out a full laugh before, and even though it was at my expense, I was glad to see it.

I tried not to follow suit, but her laugh was infectious. I started chuckling to myself then before I knew it was laughing as hard as her. It was just the pressure release I think I needed.

“Theo really will tell you when you are ready. Be patient. Some things cannot be rushed. This is definitely one of those things. Trust me” Bili said.

“I get it, it’s just...”

I shut my mouth and tried to exercise patience as suggested. It was hard, very hard, but considering how things have changed a little quiet reflection couldn’t hurt.

I sat quiet for the rest of the ride thinking about what may lie ahead. It really was the first time I had to think since all of this happened.

I was a recent college grad who had landed a dream job and thought that I had life figured out. The world I lived in before now seemed like the dream world. I was a part of what had to be the biggest and best kept secret of all time. Or was it? Could there possibly be more? Aliens? Bigfoot? Hell, anything could be possible. I was a god damned vampire. And don’t think that thought hadn’t crossed my mind.

Though there were many external differences in my appearance, the most noticeable of changes to me was the way I felt. I felt good, both emotionally and physically. I probably should have been scared, or at least a little nervous, considering there were others out there looking to kill or kidnap me, but I wasn’t. It made me angry more than anything. My friends, as well as some new acquaintances I had just met, were putting themselves in danger to help me. Why? I couldn’t help but feel partially responsible, even though I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Crystal clear confusion is the best way I can describe how I was feeling at that time.

We arrived at the POH and before I got out of the car Bili grabbed my arm.

“One more thing.” Bili said. “As soon as you can do it discreetly, Theo wants you to get your things from your old place and move into the store loft. I’ll be moving in there as well. He wants us close until this all blows over.”

“I’ll go after the weekend when I know my roommate will be out.” I said.

She nodded once, removed her hand and stepped out of the car.

The simple gesture could have been as meaningless as kiss from a great aunt, but other than when she bit me, I think it was the first time Bili ever touched me. It wasn’t a romantic touch by any means, but it made me feel like we had grown closer. It must be like the camaraderie of soldiers in battle. We shared an experience that could have easily been the death of us. There is no question that such things bring about a bond few share.

That being said, this roommate thing should be interesting.

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