Gas -N- Go
Maurice Jackson sat at the Gas -N- Go, a week’s worth of stubble on his chin, sipping coffee. He remembered a storm not unlike this one that poured down. He remembered huge wet drops sadistically in nature beating down those that were unlucky enough to be outside. Maurice ran for the closest shelter out of the rain, another gas station with tables so he wouldn’t get soaked. He shivered as he recalled his strange encounter. From the corner of his eye he saw the blonde girl from the emergency room in the plate glass window obscured by the steady rain. He had an uneasy feeling that he had been followed.
The onslaught of rain concealed her form from the alley where she stood wet and naked. Maurice peered at her from a safe distance across the street. The short blonde girl crinkled her nose and inhaled. She had tracked Maurice’s familiar scent for days. Now, she found him in the flesh. She quickly snapped her head toward Maurice, pointing her finger at the obscured window of the quickie Mart where Maurice sat. Even though the window panes were hazy with fog he could see her shining yet hollow, animalistic eyes.
“It’s miserable out there isn’t it?” The cashier innocently questioned, her elbows resting on the counter, hands tucked under her chin.
“Yes, you don’t mind if I stay to weather the storm in here, do you?” Maurice asked finishing his bitter cup of coffee and hoping desperately there was 12 ounces or more in the carafe left.
“Oh, I don’t mind, you can keep me company.” The cashier laughed, she read his mind walking over to make a fresh pot, the rich and bold aroma filling the store. “The rain is keeping most my regulars away it seems.”
Maurice looked over at the window to search for the girl again and was startled. Two more figures had joined the blonde girl. Two pair of penlight eyes stared at Maurice through the foggy window.
“So how is your morning starting off?” The perky cashier’s eyes turned to Maurice, trying to start a conversation by the coffee maker but Maurice didn’t hear her.
“What…Sorry, what did you say?” Maurice questioned, returning his eyes to the girl, he searched for the other frightening strangers who were now nowhere in sight.
The bells ringing gently as the doors to the store swung opened, letting in harsh stinging rain and saturating the large rugs all over the shiny polished floor. A musky aroma inundated the room. The cashier stopped cleaning the counter and looked up. A strong wet dog odor flooded the store that made the cashier involuntarily blink her eyes and wrinkle her nose.
“Good afternoon,” The cashier shivered uncontrollably as she looked over at the odd men coming in out of the rain.
Tomas only nodded respectively in recognition shaking off the mud and water on his boots as he headed toward the unwashed tables and Maurice. He sat down on the bench adjacent to Maurice and folded his hands and smiled at him.
“Good afternoon to you,” Montezmu replied in a smooth voice, eyes that seemed to change with his mood shown a faint Yellow reddish hue stared at the cashier wantonly. He proceeded to turn the sign from “open” to “closed” then latched the door, “we’ll just be a moment here.”
“Suzy, it is Suzy, isn’t it?” Montezmu turned to face the frightened cashier gesturing at her disposable ID stuck onto her white colored shirt and flashed a smile, “you are a beautiful woman; do you know that?”
Suzy stood frozen with fear, her face flushed an ash color making her that much whiter in her bleach white uniform shirt.
“Is this…” Suzy hesitated, her heart racing, “a robbery?”
“No, no, my dear,” Montezmu said, holding her hand and then softly blowing his long hair back from his eyes.
Maurice sat mesmerized, there before his eyes were the creatures that night after night he dreamed about. He saw several transdermal piercings in their skulls, noticed their strange dress, Montezmu wore a homemade tunic and pants made out of a strange leather. Tomas wore loose fitting pants and a handmade hooded robe.
Montezmu’s pheromones and liquid voice were intoxicating and with every breath Suzy felt dizzy, off kilter, a little less on edge each time she breathed in his aroma. Her loins began to feel warm and against her better judgment she was exhilarated, goose pimples running down her arm with his touch.
“I am proud of Alle for finding you!” Tomas motioned over toward the blonde girl across the street, I am proud of her skills; she is becoming a superb tracker.”
All of Maurice’s dreams come flooding back to him, I’m coming for you.
“We have a proposition for you,” Tomas said, he had just eaten and his sour breath smelled like decaying game, making Maurice recoil as he patted his shoulder a little bit too hard, making him flinch in pain.
Maurice did not say anything to Tomas but turned to the window to see the girl motionless, her hair soaked by the rain as she stood statue-like, as though she was obeying some silent order to be still. He silently stressed about Suzy, the cashier who had taken Montezmu’s hands and was being pulled backwards toward the back room. In a trance-like state Suzy stared into Montezmu’s eyes. Maurice could tell from her frightened but somehow exhilarated eyes that in her mind she resisted this bizarre man but her body had other plans altogether.
His powerful preternatural pheromones were intoxicating her, reminding her of a spring time rain or summertime mist and sending her subconscious into wild abandon as she walked backwards on autopilot toward the employee door. Montezmu had a dominant presence and he seemed to tower over the trembling cashier as he pushed open the swinging doors for Suzy.
“I see you were bitten, weren’t you?” Tomas grabbed Maurice’s scarred forearm, his dark smoldering eyes like an animal’s eyes frightened Maurice he felt like a tiny midget staring up at a monstrous giant.
Maurice felt an urge to reply, like he had to oblige him with an answer, “yes.”
Tomas examined and scrutinized Maurice’s wound, “it is not, healing is it?”
Tomas’ inquiry had been more an observation than a question so Maurice remained silent, he just shook his head no and intently listened. In the back of the store he heard the sound of struggle. Sounds that reminded him of dogs, clanging water and drain pipes from the bathroom sounding like a rattling cage in the animal shelter. By the employee back room there came a horrid snarling, growling, yapping and moaning. All of the turmoil sounded like a stray dog scrounging for delicious scraps of meat. All sounds except for the moaning, a decidedly human sound that amplified in pitch and frequency until a crescendo.
“You are lucky you are not to be meat for the Wolves. You are kin to our pack.” Tomas flashed a smile.
Again Maurice remained silent.
His teeth reminded him of a nursery rhyme, how does the nursery rhyme go? Maurice thought my how many teeth you have… No, no, that’s not right! My, what big teeth you have, he thought about the stranger’s teeth which were peculiar and plentiful, too numerous to be human, Maurice thought. Certainly they were too sharp.
Ignoring the sighs and moans coming from the back room Tomas continued his proposition, “For sparing your life, we need something of you. Come with us and meet our leader… Aticus. He has a job for you.”
Suddenly bright white headlights pierced the rain and in the parking lot a SUV was heading to the gas pumps. Nobody noticed the “closed” sign on the door or the two men seated in the store, the substantial deluge obscuring their view inside. Tomas sniffed the subtle changes in the air all around them. He whipped his head around searching for the petite blonde girl getting drenched by the rain. She had moved back into the shadows so she wouldn’t be seen by anyone but she still waited as instructed.
“Come now, we must go to Raccourci Island, before we get caught!” Tomas instructed reaching out his hand toward Maurice.
Maurice felt weak with all the staggering new information. He felt shaky and dizzy but he complied taking Tomas’ hand.
On his feet before he knew it. He found himself being dragged like a children’s cherished blanket or a stuffed bear to the back room. The swinging door slammed into the wall knocking mops and brooms down like dominoes.
Tomas proceeded forward to the restroom doors, alerting Montezmu. He opened the door immediately expelling the aroma of sex, gore and robust wild mongrel. He stumbled out of the bathroom disheveled and clutching his tunic. Maurice’s color drained from his face at the sight of this half man, half beast. He had a lupine form, elongated pointed ears, glowing red eyes, enormous ivory fangs with snow white fur from its head on down to the base of its spine. He had snow white fur until an extended muzzle which was soaked in crimson blood.
There standing before him in flesh and blood was the monster of his nightmares, coming face to face with the flesh rending Wolf-thing he had an odd calm come over him, he looked into Montezmu’s yellow eyes and he was assured he would not attack. No longer afraid, Maurice came to his senses.
“Get the security tapes!” Maurice yelled, even though he had no naturally occurring fingerprints the security tapes would show everyone’s faces.
Bubbling and cracking, Montezmu’s lupine face already reverting to human form, he growled, “Do what you have to do, we will wait for you in the shadows of the parking lot. If we get separated the girl will find you and then instruct you on where to go.”
Maurice was already heading into the office and just nodded, he understood. He saw one outside monitor, another inside monitor. Pressing eject for both DVDs he heard people trying to open the doors. Probably the two men that wanted to get gas Maurice mused. He had worked enough jobs in the gas station /convenience store industry that he knew a trick or two to unlock the cash register. He pressed a hidden button in the cash register bottom till slid open with a happy “Ding”. He seized a miniscule amount of money, at least, he thought, when the police get here they’ll think it’s a robbery.
He didn’t want to stick around and find out. Keeping low and making sure the counters came between Maurice and the windows he slowly crept toward the back room. As soon as the swinging doors swung closed Maurice got up on his feet and was headed toward the exit door when he heard moaning coming from the bathroom.
Even with his dark complexion he could not hide the embarrassment of his reddening cheeks when he saw the unconscious body on the floor in the corner of the room. The cashier had her clothing torn off and was lying spread-eagle on the floor. Maurice saw blood everywhere, on the walls, on the floor, even on the ceiling. Her eyes were closed; blackened masses of bruises could be seen on her neck, breasts, and inner thighs. Peering closer still he could see deep fang marks before his modest sensibility got the best of him and he covered her up with her torn clothing.
Looking at the broken and battered, beaten and bruised prone body of the cashier, Suzy, an unusual aroma began to invade Maurice’s senses. It didn’t take long for Maurice to formulate his theory. She had been bitten extensively, breaking skin, and was raped mercilessly. However, he could smell the almost mortal wounds which were already beginning to heal. She was becoming one of the things of his nightmares, he just knew it. Then she opened her eyes and it was confirmed… Glowing bright animal eyes looked over at him before she closed her eyes and moaned, slipping into unconsciousness again.
Maurice found himself out the door and running in the parking lot. Alle, the blonde tracker, ran beside him instructing him to their den on Raccourci Island.
Maurice shook the memories off. He found himself exhausted and in Hessmer, Louisiana now sipping lukewarm, bitter coffee to keep his energy up. He clutched for dear life the contraband as he got up from the table, strolling through aisle after aisle. Although he seemed oblivious to the infection he had new gifts anyways and one of them being that he could smell the infected and the healthy alike.
He impatiently waited for the rest of the Mexican Mafia, the Surenos, with their connections to smuggle contraband through to Alexandria, Louisiana, then on Houston, Texas then through California and Mexico. He had done this run a dozen times now but he still felt nervous. A persistent knock on the store window startled him. He unlocked the door to let a brown scraggly haired Sureno with an outrageous mustache in.
An older Mexican with a handlebar mustache asks, “Hey friend, ya got our product?”
“Yes, yes, I do.” Maurice handed over a brown paper bag and the Mexican nicknamed “Knife” brought out and carefully opened a vacuum plastic bag full of pink crystals which he greedily inhaled through his nose.
Knife’s body began tensing, muscles began to engorge and his eyes began to glow, “good, good... This is some amazing shit!”