Bite Me: A Love Story Chapter 19
19. Being the Chronicles of Abby Normal: Oh Day Dwellers Doth Betray Me?
My heart has been torn asunder, and I am faced with the revelation that my most awesome-haired mad scientist of passion may in fact be an uncaring assbag who has sullied my innocence and whatnot and then cruelly cast me aside. So, that sucks.
‘Kayso, like it says in the Bible, “with great power, comes great responsibility,” which I totally learned by pushing my vamp abilities too far in trying to show off for Foo by diving through our boarded-up windows. So I was “doh,” and I passed out-real passed out, like head-injury passed out, not vampyre passed out. But in my unconsciousness, Foo and Jared gave me blood, and I healed, so when I woke up in the bedroom, I came leaping out into the living area, my claws ready to rend flesh and kick ass.
And I was all, “Rawr!”
And who do I see there but the vampyre Flood, my most recently escaped master gone mad, who has never even seen me in this outfit, let alone as a vamp.
So I was all, “Rawr!” hoping my fangs were showing.
And he was all, “Hi, Abby.”
And I was all, “Rawr! Fear me!”
And he was all, “That’s not a thing. Saying rawr is not a vampyre thing.”
And I’m like, “It is too. I’m totally showing my animal power and fierceness.”
And he’s like, “No, you’re not, you’re just saying rawr in a big voice. It’s not a thing.”
“It could be a thing,” I go, in my defense.
And Jared is like, “I don’t think it’s a thing, Abs.”
And I’m like, “Well then how about I drain you until you’re dust and put you in the cat box, Jared? Is that a vampyre thing?”
And he was all, “‘Kay. I’m sorry. Rawr is totally a thing.”
So I looked at Flood with pity, having humiliated him on the field of battle. But it is in the gentler monster that humanity is revealed, so I’m like, “It’s a thing for some of us. So, check it, I’m nossssss-feratu. Like you, only, you know, not fashion retarded. Speaking of, why do you look like the window at Banana Republic?” Flood was always sort of jeans and flannel before, like he was caught in some ’90s grunge vortex, but now he was like linen and tan leather.
And Flood’s like, “I was running around the streets naked until a few hours ago.”
And I was like, “‘Kay. My bad.”
So he’s all, “Abby, we need to go. I need to find Jody and I need your help.”
And then Foo, who has been doing science stuff in the kitchen, comes over and he’s like, “Abby, I can switch you back. I can switch you both back. I already have Tommy’s serum made from before.”
And I’m like, “You are tr??s cute when you’re threatened.” And I jump over there and kiss him deeply-like I can hear a couple of his vertebrae crack. But then I go to slap him, so he won’t think I’m a slut, and Tommy catches my hand.
And he’s all, “Abby, you have to stop doing that. You could kill him.”
I’m like, “Really?”
He’s all nodding. And Foo’s all mouthing “thank you” to him, like I don’t have vampyre hearing and don’t know that he’s being a total little bitch about it. So I, like, turn on Foo and go, “Rawr.”
I don’t care what Tommy says, Foo trembled in fear.
And Tommy’s like, “Let’s go, Abby.” Like Foo hasn’t said a word.
And I grab my Pirate Bunny messenger bag and start to pack in my laptop and charger, and Flood is all, “Leave that here.”
And I’m like, “How will I express my angst and dark inspirations and whatnot?”
And Flood is like, “I thought we’d go suck the blood out of some people.”
And I was like, “‘Kay, but I’m still taking my laptop. I have to do my blog. I have subscribers.” I do. Well, a subscriber.
And he’s like, “If we have to go to mist you’ll lose it.”
And I’m like, “You don’t know how to do that.”
And he’s all, “I do now.”
And I’m all, “Teach me. I didn’t go to ancient evil vampyre school like you.”
And he’s like, “I’m nineteen, remember? I went to public school. In Indiana.”
And Foo’s like, “You’re only nineteen? You’re not even old enough to drink?”
And Jared is like, “Shut up. He’s her dark lord. Our dark lord.”
And Foo’s like, “Fine. Go. Be careful. Text me. I’ll be here trying to save the world.”
And Tommy’s all, “I’m just going to try to save the woman I love, and that’s as good as the world to me.”
And I was like-nothing. I just looked at Tommy. But I would have done him on a bed of carpet tacks right then.
So outside the love lair, which is technically not mine and Foo’s anymore, now that the rightful owners are not imprisoned in bronze, I go, “So, where do we start?”
And Flood is all, “We start by finding a safe place to sleep during the day.”
And I’m all, “The love lair. Foo and Jared will be our minions and whatnot.”
And he’s like, “The last time I went out there I woke up inside a statue, and the last time you were up there your love ninja gave you blood with a sedative.”
And I’m all, “No.”
And he’s all, “Yeah.”
And I’m all, “Foo, you crapacious little geek! Can I go slap him around a little?”
And Flood is all, “He was going to change you back. To save you.”
And I go, “Without even asking? I think not, noble vamptard. As soon as we find the Countess I’m coming back. There will be screaming.”
And Flood’s like, “You don’t have any confrontation issues, do you?”
And I’m all, “No, I’m very insecure, actually, but I have found that if you roll up screaming like a madwoman, hair on fire, guns blazing, no one is going to mention the zit on your forehead.” Which is totally true.
“Okey dokey,” goes the vampyre Flood. “We’ll look for someplace low or high. Low is probably safest, we can look for maintenance closets in the BART tunnels, but that keeps us out of the north end of the City, because there’s no subway there. High, harder to find a place, but it gives us more choice, and it’s less obvious, if Rivera and Cavuto are looking for us. There are a lot of utility sheds and meter shelters on roofs.”
So I’m like, “Are we going to sleep together?”
And Flood’s like, “No, but we’ll be dead in the same space.”
And I was thinking, “How romantic,” but I go, “Let’s get high.”
And Tommy’s all, “I think that’s a good idea. Jody lived in the north end of the City and so did I. It makes sense that’s where she’d go. We need to get into the upper floors of a tall building and look down on other roofs, look for a shed or something. Climbing up won’t be a problem. You can tell if there’s people in it by looking for heat. You know you can see heat now, right?”
And I’m like, “I was figuring that it was that or that every lightbulb was leaking into the sky. But how do you know all this other stuff?”
And Tommy’s like, “I have no idea.”
And I was like, “If we find a roof shack with a pigeon coop by it we’ll have snacks when we wake up.” I know, perky. I must resist the perky. Must resist the perky.
So, like, an hour later we’ve found our sweet roof grave on a building in the financial district, and Flood and I are walking up Powell Street, toward California and the Fairmont, where the Countess was last seen. And we are totally alive with the night. There’s like two cities in the City. I didn’t see it before. There’s like the indoor city, the daytime city, with people inside of apartments and restaurants and offices, and they have, like, no fucking clue about the outside city. And there’s the outside city people, who are in the streets all the time, and who know every hiding place, and every tree, and where it’s dangerous, and where it’s just creepy. The outside city people live on, like, a different plane of existence, like they don’t even see the inside people either. But when you’re a vampyre, the two cities are all lit up. You can hear the people talking and eating and watching TV in their houses, and you can see and feel the people in the streets, behind the garbage cans, under the stairs. All these auras show, sometimes right through walls. Like life, glowing. Some bright pink, like Foo’s, some sort of brown, or gray, like on the AIDS vet panhandling at the corner of Powell and Post. And I’m totally losing my ability to appear bored, because it’s fucking awesome. I’m trying to be chill for Flood, but I want to know.
So I’m like, “What’s with the pink ring around people?”
And he’s like, “It’s their life force. You can tell how healthy they are by it. You’ll be able to smell if they’re dying, too, but you won’t know that right away.”
I know, whoa. So I’m like, “Whoa.”
And he’s all, “You see it for a reason.”
And I’m like, “‘Splain, s’il vous plaît.”
And he’s all, “Because you’re only supposed to take the sick, the dying. It’s part of our predator nature. I didn’t know that before I-I was lost, but I know it now.”
I know, whoa. So I’m like, “Okay, how do you turn to mist?”
And he’s like, “It’s mental. Completely. You can’t think about it, you just have to be.”
And I’m like, “You’re fucking with me, aren’t you?”
And he’s all, “No, if you think, it doesn’t work. You have to just be. Words get in the way. I think that’s why the cats do it instinctively. That’s the key. Instinct. I don’t function well on instinct. I’m a word guy.”
And I’m all, “I’m a word guy, too,” like a total dwee-bosaurus. I know. How is it that I, acting Mistress of the Greater Bay Area darkness, can be reduced to spewing nano-brained beauty-queen dialog when I should be enjoying the heady power of my vamp immortality? Simple, I am a romance slut, and there’s nothing I can do about it. If a guy does or says something romantic, I’m all, “Oh, please excuse me, kind, sir, let me dial down my IQ and oh, if it would please sir, may I offer you this moist, yet helpless va-jay-jay that seems to have lost its way.” I was clearly born in the wrong time. I should have been born in Wuthering Heights times. Although if I was Cathy, I would have hunted down that Heathcliff guy and beat him with a riding crop like a sado-hooker with his Black Card on file. Just sayin’.
So there’s nothing at the Fairmont. We talk to the bellman and the guy at the concierge desk, who talks to the front-desk guy who says that he’s not at liberty to talk about guests, when I whip a hundred-dollar bill on him and he says “the redhead” never showed up again after the day the cops came around asking for her. He said the cops took a cooler from her room.
And Tommy’s like, “She just vanished.”
And I’m all, “Do you want to get coffee? I have a bag of blood and ten thousand dollars in my messenger.” The nosferatu can totally drink lattes as long as they put some blood in it, unless they’re lactose intolerant.
And he stops and looks at me. He’s like, “Really, ten thousand? Think that will be enough?”
And I’m like, “Well, you’ll have to drink the cheap stuff, but I like to drink my lattes directly out of the veins of a toddler, and those little fuckers aren’t cheap.”
And he’s like, “Okay, you just completely creeped me out.”
So I’m all, “You suck at this. Let’s go get coffee and do some vamp stuff, like beat up some pimps and whatnot.”
“Since when is beating up pimps a vampyre thing?”
“Since I was looking for the Countess and they kept trying to recruit me because I’m am so awesome sexy that desperate losers will totally pay to do me, which is flattering and whatnot, but I still kind of feel like they would have taken advantage of me because of my youth and naivety.”
“So you want to go beat them up.”
“I want to try that kung-fu thing where you tear their heart out and show it to them while it’s still beating. Tr??s macabre, non? Plus, I’ll bet the look of surprise on their faces will be worth it. Did you do that when you were out slaughtering people with Chet?”
“I don’t remember any of that. I don’t remember slaughtering people.”
“That’s why the pimps were trying to recruit me. You and Chet ate all their hos.”
“You make it sound so sordid.”
“Okay, you make eating hos sound pretty. Talk poetry to me, writer boy.”
And he looks all heartbroken and whatnot. And he’s like, “That’s what Jody calls me.”
And I’m like, “Sorry. Where do you want to look for her now?”
“I don’t know. What time is it?”
And I look at the watch that the Countess gave me, and I’m all, “A little after one,” in my I am total poop on a stick voice.
” Polk Street.”
And I’m all, ” Why Polk Street?”
He’s like, “Because I’m out of ideas and we need to resort to magic.”
And I’m like, “Sweet! Let’s rock the dark magic!” I was tempted to do a booty dance of total dark magic celebration, but I thought it might reveal my secret.
‘Kayso, we roll into this coffee shop on Polk Street, and it’s all full of hippies and hipsters and couples on dates and drunks sobering up and whatnot. And everyone turns and looks at us. I’m about to chuck a spaz, because I realize that I haven’t fixed my makeup since I bounced my face off the plywood in the love lair.
So I’m all, “Tommy, psssssst, do I look like a cannibal corpse on crack?”
And he stops and looks at me for a second, and he’s like, “No more than usual.”
And I’m all, “Do I have raccoon eyes?”
And he’s like, “You’ve kind of taken your broken clown look to the next level, with the crusted blood around your mouth. You look cute.”
Flood can be very sweet for a doofus from Indiana. I felt like I had made the right decision to choose him to be my Dark Lord, even if he was only nineteen instead of five hundred.
So I feel like I should say something nice back, so I’m like, “You’re not as pathetic in those clothes.” Then I realize that didn’t sound as nice as I liked, so I’m all, “I want a triple soy latte with type O in it while we’re waiting for magic and whatnot.”
And Flood is all, “She’s here.”
I know. I’m like, “Whaaaa?”
‘Kayso, Flood sends me for coffees and says he’ll meet me at a table in the back, so when I show up, he’s sitting with this ginormously fat gay guy, wearing a purple silk wizard robe with silver stars and moons on it, and his head is shaved and there’s a pentagram tattooed on it, just like I drew on Ronnie’s head with a Magic Marker. I know! And he has a crystal ball on his table on a stand made out of dragons, and a sign that says MADAME NATASHA, FORTUNES TOLD $5.00, ALL PROCEEDS GO TO AIDS RESEARCH.
And so I come up and Flood is all, “Madame Natasha, this is my minion, Abby Normal.”
And I’m all, “Enchant??,” in, like, perfect fucking French. “Most fly eye-liner, Madame.” He had like spider fake lashes and glitter liner out to his ears.
And Madame Natasha is all, “Oh, sweet of you to say, child. Your ensem is tr??s chic as well. But you should have a jacket, little thing like you could freeze in the fog.”
And I’m all ready to throw down anti-mom you’re-not-the-boss-of-me-talk on him, then I’m kinda okay with it. Like maybe I would get along with the Motherbot better if she were a ginormous gay guy.
And I sit down next to Madame Natasha, because Flood is, like, in the client seat, and Flood’s all, “Madame Natasha told my fortune when I first came to town, and said that I would meet a girl, but the death card kept coming up, so she couldn’t figure it out.” Then he turns to Madame and is like, “You were right on the money, I ended up meeting a dead girl.”
And Madame’s all, “Oh my,” and she pulls this little fan out of one of her chins and starts fanning herself.
‘Kayso, I pull out the bag of blood and squeeze a little into my coffee, then into Flood’s, and he’s all, “Abby, put that away.”
And I’m all, “Why?”
And he’s all nodding toward people, who are totally not looking at us now, but like really reading or texting hard. And he’s like, “They’ll freak.”
And I’m like, “Oh bitch, please. They all saw my eye makeup, they saw how I’m dressed, they saw my dark and mysteriously colored hair, and they think I’m just trying to freak them out by pretending to pour blood in my coffee. So they are all furiously not freaking out so as to not give me the satisfaction because then they wouldn’t be sophisticated City peeps. This is not my first funeral, Red State.”
“Oh, I like her,” goes the Madame. “She’s got spunk.”
And Flood is like, “Okey dokey.”
And I’m like, “If you keep saying ‘okey dokey’ I will be forced to replace you as my Dark Lord.”
And Madame is all, “It does sound a little corn-fed, love.”
And Tommy is all, “Never mind how I talk. You remember, right, Madame? You remember me?”
And the Madame is all “Oh, yes, yes, I do now. You were the one who had achieved Olympic levels in masturbation, weren’t you?”
And Flood was all, “Uh, no, that part was someone else, uh-“
So, like, the master needed a hand, if you know what I mean, so I was like, “Oh chill, it’s a stress thing, everyone does it. I’m flicking the bean under the table right now just to dial the tension back a little. Yes. Yes. Yes! Oh-zombie-jeebus-fuck-me-Simba-lion-king-hakuna-matata! Yes!” So I spaz-gasmed a little and kind of slid down in my seat breathing hard. Then I like look up at the Madame with one eye and I’m like, “They’re freaking out now, aren’t they?”
And she just kind of nodded with big eyes and whatnot. So, you know, embarrassment for my Dark Lord totally diverted. But this one crusty day dweller is all looking up from his Wall Street Journal at me with a disgusted face, so I’m all, “Rawr.”
And Flood looks at me.
And I’m like, “Shut up, it’s a thing. He shouldn’t even be allowed out at night, using my dark without permission.” So I rawred Wall Street again for eavesdropping.
So we sort of drank our coffee for a while and Madame looked at her cards and then, like, looked up seemed disappointed that we were still there, but Flood was on it.
He’s all, “The woman you told me I would meet, I met her. We live together.”
And the Madame holds up her hand, which means, “shut the fuck up” in fortune-teller language. And she looks at her cards some more. Then she looks at her tip jar.
Then Flood looks at me and like does the tip jar nod. So I pull a hundred out of my messenger bag and drop it in the jar.
And Flood’s like, “Abby!”
And I’m like, “Hello, woman you love? You want to bargain hunt?”
And he’s all, “‘Kay.”
So Madame Natasha puts down a few more cards, and goes, “A redhead.”
And we’re all, “Yeah.”
And she’s all, “She’s hurt, but she’s not alone.”
And we’re all, “Uh-huh.”
And she lays out about six more cards, and she goes, “That can’t be right.”
And Flood is like, “If you’re getting the dead thing again, that’s okay, we’ve worked through that.”
And Madame is like, “No, it’s not that.” And she shuffles the cards, not cool, like a dealer, but gentle, and every which way on the table, like she’s really trying to confuse the cards.
Then she lays them out again. And her eyes are getting bigger as she goes-each card, bigger eyes-until she lays down the last in her pattern and she’s all, “Oh my.”
And we’re all, “What? What?”
And she’s, “This has never happened, in thirty years of consulting the cards.”
And we’re, “What? What?”
And she’s, “Look.”
There were fourteen cards on the table. All kinds of pictures and numbers. And I’m like, ready to go, “‘Splain, please.” But then I see what she’s big eyes about. They are all the same suit. So I’m, “They’re all swords.”
And she’s like, “Yes. I’m not sure how to even interpret this.”
And I’m all, “She’s hurt, she’s not alone, and all the cards came up swords?”
And she’s, “Yes, dear, that’s what I just said, but I don’t know what it means.”
And I’m, “I do. Can you do them again?” And I slap another hundred in her jar.
And she’s, “‘Kay.”
Then she lays them all out again, and this time there’s a lot of swords, but also other cards. And I’m, “Well?”
And she’s all, “In this configuration, the swords signify north, but also, the air, a sailing ship perhaps. It doesn’t make sense.”
And we’re like, “What? What?”
And she’s like, “A sunken ship?”
And I’m like, “It makes total sense.”
And Flood is like, “It does?”
And I’m like, “Stay right there, Madame. We may be back.”
And Flood is like, “What? What?”
And I’m all, “I forgot to tell you about the little guy with the sword.”
And he’s like, “You really adjust to this magical stuff fast, Abby.”
And I’m like, “Are you trying to say I’m perky? Because I’m not. I’m complex.”
I am. Shut up, I am.
He’s looking at me right now, like we should be going. Even though I am typing at awesome speed. Okay, that’s it, dude, you’re harshing the depth out of my literature. I’m coming. What a whiner. Gotta go. We’re going to run out of dark. Byez.
THE OLD ONES
Makeda put on the glasses and watched the bricks at the corner of the building light up. They’d find the cats by behavior, because even vampire cats are cats, and they marked their territory. Elijah had told them where it had started and where it was likely to move. The special sunglasses, combined with their vampire vision, allowed them to see the phosphorus expelled in the cats’ urine as glowing. They could even see a half-life, of sorts. Something marked days ago would glow much dimmer than something marked only a few hours ago.
“That way,” said Makeda.
Rolf cocked his head toward the boarded-up loft apartment on the second floor. “That’s the loft where Elijah said he turned the first cat. There are people up there. Sounds like two.”
“That’s also where he was fried by a jacket covered with sun lights,” said Makeda. “I say we clean up the cats first, they’re less tricky.”
Rolf nodded to Makeda, who bolted down the alley without another word. They followed the trail, a mark here and there, many blocks until they reached the Mission, where the trail started to sunburst out.
“I don’t know which way to go,” said Bella. “We need to get a vantage point.”
Rolf looked around and spotted the tallest building in the area. “How about that one, the one that looks like a robot pterodactyl is perched on it? He pointed to the black glass Federal Building.
Makeda said, “It’s an abomination.”
“Said the abomination,” snarked Rolf. “I’ll go. I have to go up solid, I need the glasses.” He shrugged off his overcoat and dropped his weapons on top of it.
“Well go to mist if you lose your grip,” said Makeda. “I’ll catch your glasses. If you fall off of that thing solid we’ll have to scrape you into a bag to get you back to the ship.”
He grinned, showing his fangs, then started a steady climb up the sheer corner of the building.
Bella pulled a pack of cigarettes from her jacket, shook one out, lit it, then blew a long stream of smoke up after Rolf. “What if Elijah lied about turning more humans? He’s lied before.”
When they’d retrieved the old vampire from the City initially he’d brought along a blond vampire woman, claiming she was the only one. She hadn’t survived the first month at sea. Weak vessels, they called her type.
“He didn’t admit turning the cat, either, until we found the news stories on the Internet.”
“We need to talk to him again when we get back to the ship, if there’s time.”
Rolf thumped to the pavement beside them. “That way. About six blocks. There’s a sunburst pattern that’s centered there and spreads out ten blocks or so in every direction. I could actually see a hundred or so cats on a roof there.”
“Let’s go, then,” said Makeda.
“That’s not all,” said Rolf. “There is a group of men hunting them. Eight of them.”
“How do you know they’re hunting the cats?”
“Because two of them lit up their coats. If I hadn’t been wearing the glasses I’d be blind. They’re wearing the sun jackets that Elijah warned us about.”
“Well, fuck,” said Makeda. “That’s eight more we have to kill.”
“At least,” said Rolf. “How much time before daylight?”
“Two and a half hours,” said Bella, checking her watch. “Don’t we have a sniper rifle on the ship?”
“Somewhere,” said Rolf.
“Well, they can’t turn on a sun jacket if they’re dead before we’re within five hundred yards.”
“Messy,” said Makeda. “Bullets leave bodies.”
“I’d rather have to dispose of a couple of bodies than get fried by a sun jacket,” said Bella, taking charge now. “Rolf, you and I will go after the cats. Take out as many as we can. Makeda, follow the hunters, keep your distance, see where they go, and meet us back at the ship. Tonight cats. Tomorrow night, humans.”
“I hate cats,” said Makeda.
“I know,” said Bella.
“There’s something else,” said Rolf. “There was something else on the roof with the cats. Something bigger.”
“What do you mean ‘something’?” asked Makeda.
“I don’t know,” said Rolf, “but it wasn’t putting out any heat, so it’s one of us.”