To my father, who always had a thing for Vampires ...
Even now he did not know how long he had been stuck in that sewer pipe with the stench of rotting paper, garbage (and always that high pitched stink that Chris refused to identify. He supposed he could recognize that particular odor if he really wanted too but he was breathing it in and that was bad enough.) Had he been here a week? Perhaps a month? Stuck in a 5 inch thick cement pipe that left no room for standing, only crawling through miles of sludge and unidentifiable filth? Chris didn’t know how long this had been his home, this new darkness. But the child was always with him. He knew that and the child was a monster.
Oh yes, quite literally a monster. You wouldn’t believe that if you met him as Chris had done that very first day which could have been weeks or months ago. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon. Chris had been clean, neat and smelling good in his designer cologne and fresh suit and tie. He was only twenty five years old and had landed a lucrative job as a marketing specialist for an advertising company. The young woman in his office was a potential female client who could only be frankly described as hot. She most likely gave him her name but he couldn’t remember it. He was too distracted with her flowing blonde hair that cascaded down her bare shoulders, her eyes were green and almond shaped. But it was her lips that fascinated Chris most of all. Moist, shapely and red, he could imagine doing all sorts of naughty things to a mouth like that. Yes, the whole set-up would have been perfect, if it wasn’t for the damn baby.
“Do you always bring your son with you on your business trips?” Chris asked in what he thought was a very diplomatic tone.
“Oh Julian? He’s a sweetheart. You don’t like children Mr. White?”
Chris most certainly didn’t but he knew better then to give that answer. “Please call me Chris.” he replied smoothly. “Sure, I’d like to be a father someday. Not at this exact moment naturally. But yeah kids are cool.”
She laughed, a tinkling, brittle sound that nonetheless sent shivers down his spine.
“Then you won’t mind holding him.”
Before Chris was fully aware the woman had crossed the room and little Julian was in his arms. Chris examined the child who had black curly hair, pointy eyelashes and expressive brown eyes. In fact he had never seen such large eyes on any person infant or adult. Most likely he was about a year old. Julian cooed contently at Chris and offered him a shy, sweet smile. He supposed that if you liked babies it was possible to consider Julian adorable. But he stunk unpleasantly of sickly sweet baby powder (Did she use the entire can on him?) and there was a long line of drool stretching from the corner of his mouth to a wet spot on his t-shirt. (Mommy’s Lil’ Angel the red shirt cheerfully announced among all the little wet spots.)
“I think he likes you,” the woman said and she gave Chris a long, provocative stare.
Chris returned the favor, the drooling mess in his arms temporary forgotten. He was aware of his own good looks, his neatly groomed three day old beard and mustache, his sleek, shaved hair cut. There was a hint of the devil in his slanted grin. It would only be a matter of time before he would bed this nameless beauty. Only a matter of time before he would feel those warm, red lips explore his body. And the sun was pouring sunshine onto the gray carpet in his office and all was right with the world.
And now he was here lying in the dark. The only light source available were dirty dim bulbs spread about 20 feet apart in front of him and behind. Odors of all sorts assaulted his nostrils and his head ached as if from a long night of drinking. How exactly did I get here? What the hell happened between flirting with that slick chick and now?
He had no idea. All he knew was that he was in this untenable situation with a baby of all people. And where exactly was Mommy’s Lil Angel? Chris turned towards his right and saw Julian sitting in a puddle of water and screaming at the top of his lungs, his round face growing red with the effort. The noise made Chris’s head pound even harder.
“Shut up kid!” But Julian only screamed louder, his voice bouncing up and down the cement walls and echoing back to Chris like a repetitive slap to the face.
First thing to do was to get away from that baby. Go somewhere quiet where he could think. Chris rolled onto his hands and knees and slowly made his way down the tunnel and the baby crawled after him splashing in the filthy water and still wailing. No matter how fast he moved Julian always kept up with seemingly very little effort. It reminded Chris of a toy vacuum cleaner he had been coerced into playing with when he was only five maybe six years old. His older brother Roland had been a cruel sort. On more then one occasion he would tie the plastic vacuum to Chris’s wrist even underneath their father’s unobserving gaze. Ol’ Rollie had thought that there was nothing funnier than watching Pissy Chrissy tear through their trailer home crying like a fire alarm while the tiny balls in the vacuum’s cheap plastic dome would bubble and pop and rattle-clap behind him. In a bizarre way Chris felt as if he was that child again.
After a ridiculously amount of time of crawling through the sludge with his new Julian vacuum cleaner at his heels, Chris decided his efforts at getting away from Julian was useless. He stopped and rested on his knees and the baby was still coming towards him. He crawled up onto his lap, pulled himself up by the lapels of Chris’s shirt, his little toes surprisingly sharp and digging into his pants leg. Julian was now able to meet Chris at face level, his large brown eyes seemingly devouring Chris’s blue ones, their foreheads nearly touching. Julian paused, took in one shuddering breath and then screamed an aria that made all his previous wailing sound like he was clearing his throat in comparison. I am in dire need! That shriek said wordlessly and in a surprisingly grownup tone. Chris felt as if someone was shoving an ice pick into both of his ears. Don’t you care that I am in need?
Chris squeezed his eyes shut and balled his hands into his fists in an effort not to hit the little shit. Give him something to cry about as his own father would have put it. How was he supposed to shut him up? He was not this kid’s mama and he certainly wasn’t his daddy.
Chris reopened his eyes and lifted up the tiny body planning to shake some good, old fashioned sense into him (another of his father’s sayings) and that was when Julian promptly and without warning bent down his little black curly head and bit him on the arm.
“Fuck!” The pain was amazing. Fantastic! He shoved the baby away and was surprised to see a ragged half inch hole in his right arm with two streams of blood racing down towards his bicep and then dripping on to his expensively pant-clad thigh.
“What the fuck?” He stared at Julian in shock. But something had changed in the baby’s expression. Something that caused Chris to fall clumsily on his back and scrabble away from the infant with as much speed as he could muster. There was no malice in those big brown eyes. No anger. But Julian moved with a merciless determination that did not bode well for Chris. That bite was not a mistake. Mommy’s little angel was hungry. Mommy’s little angel meant to eat.
Julian crawled on top of his pants legs reaching his knees. Chris with no reservation drew back his leg and kicked him fully in the face as hard as he could, forcing the little body to tumble back into the muddy puddle. Julian didn’t cry. There were no bruises on his nose, mouth or chin but he was instantly on Chris’s legs again like an evil pop-up toy. So Chris kicked him again. Julian rolled off and was back on him. Kick, roll, climb. Kick, roll, climb. Chris was beginning to feel like a rusty old machine condemned to perform the same purposeless movements without ceasing. But the child was relentless and Chris was tiring. He had no idea that babies could be so strong.
After what felt like a full five minutes of continuous movement, Chris told himself that this was just plain stupid. It was time for the dance to stop. Let him take you. Julian probably didn’t mean to hurt him anyway. The kid was unaware of his own strength, that’s all. He was only a baby for God’s sake. So he wearily allowed the child to clamor up his legs and on to his body, all the while Chris leaned back against the floor, his skull scraping along the bottom. Julian clamored on Chris with hastened greed and instead of heading towards his bleeding arm like Chris had assumed Julian climbed up to his neck and put his mouth on his Chris’s sensitive beard covered cheek.
Instant pain. He felt like he was being stung by a thousand bees on the side of his face. But Chris refused to resist because at last the baby was content and had finally stopped that infernal wailing. He could behave like a child’s chew toy for a little bit if it kept him quiet. Certainly that was all Julian was doing. Just chewing on him as if his flesh was a human pacifier.
And what if you try and you can’t move him Chris? A deeper voice spoke up inside him. He’s so fucking strong, so fucking determined. What does that mean for your future safety?
Yes except Julian wasn’t attacking him. He was just chewing on his cheek. A strange baby with strange habits. Julian was making a mindless groaning sound that seemed to emanate from deep inside his throat. His eyes were slowly closing. Chris closed his eyes too. C