Sorry it's been awhile. I've been meaning to come back and update the story sooner but life got in the way. Anywho here's the next chapter! What can I say, Sam Neill kicking ass in a business suit is something I could not pass up. Go Sam Neill!
Her name was Abigail.
Charles arched an eyebrow as he sat in front of the crackling fire pit, deep in thought. The soft ticking of the antique grandfather clock in the main foyer provided a soothing backdrop to the thoughts that were buzzing in his skull. His foundling had turned out to be something of a puzzle.
When he had asked her for her name, she had answered him with a look of confusion.
Name? What name?
Charles had pressed on.
Deeper probing had uncovered the truth that he sought even if the girl had been resistant to dredging up any sort of knowledge pertaining to her human life. Past trauma perhaps? Something had to have happened before her turning in order to cause the gaps in her memory. What was it she was trying so hard to forget?
He did not know. An hour of ceaseless questioning had only given him more questions than answers. Her name was Abigail, she was originally from Seattle, she had been on the run for the last four years, she had no idea what she was doing in Vermont. She could not tell him who had turned her. Or would not tell him. Charles was still unsure about that fact. Something didn't feel quite right.
And then she had asked him a question that had shaken the foundation of his carefully cultivated demeanor. She had asked him about his daughter.
Charles frowned as the clock struck eight.
How on earth could she have known about Alison? Any information pertaining to the issue of his daughter and her disappearance had been carefully covered up. As far as the public was concerned, Alison had died tragically in a car accident not three months after the start of the Outbreak. She was gone before the medical personnel could get to her. A private ceremony had been held in which an empty coffin had been interred and the memory of Alison had been laid to rest. Charles had made a point of it that the subject had reached the proper news channels and publicists. He did not want to have any loose ends to worry about and had made sure to cover his tracks. How would it look to the vampire nation if the head of one of the biggest international blood farming pharmaceutical companies happened to have a rouge human daughter?
It would be bad for business.
So then how did this newly turned vampire who had randomly shown up out of the blue know about Alison?
Was it that she knew Alison personally? Was his little girl still alive?
"Damn questions." He growled under his breath as he lifted his glass off the granit table top and drank deeply. This was going to take some time to sort through. Hell it would probably take him all night. Great.
Charles was not amused.
Closing his eyes for a brief moment, Charles allowed the subtle numbing sensation of the rich blood wash over his senses. Enjoying a glass now and again was great for keeping the nagging hunger pains at bay but after two bottles of the expensive stuff, Charles knew that he had reached his limit for the day. He wasn't one to give into overindulgence often. He also wasn't a heavy drinker to begin with and a little too much made him careless and sloppy. That was something he could very well do without.
A soft sigh escaped him as he shook his head and focused his attention on the crackling flames that danced in front of him. What he needed was some serious down time. No outside issues that needed his attention. No meetings with forgein investors looking to cap on the Bromley Marks Enterprise. No dealing with Henry Marks, co-founder and chair of the company and the daily bane of Charles' exsitence as far as he was concerned. No, he could certainly do without thinking about that cut-throat for a few days.
"Too damn quiet in here." Charles tossed back the remainder of the blood in his glass and hoisted himself to his feet. Swallowing hard he quickly shed his black paisley tie and undid the first two buttons of his white dress shirt. It was about time he got himself out of that damn suit and into something a little more rustic.
Stretching hard Charles flexed his shoulders until he felt his shoulder blade pop before he picked up the empty bottle and wineglass and placed them ontop of the bar. The soft strains of an old blues song purred out of the radio, making Charles feel a little depressed as the clarinet warbled a refrain. With the sun setting soon, Charles wanted to listen to something with a little more nightlife in it.
Hmmm, what was on the dial at this time of the day?
After fiddling with the radio for a moment he found what was he looking for.
The Righteous Brothers.
"Girl, I can't let you do this
Let you walk away
Girl, how can I live through this
When you're all I wake up for each day?"
"Baby, you're my soul and my heart's inspiration. You're all I've got to get me by. You're my soul and my heart's inspiration. Without you baby, what good am I?" Charles quietly sang along as he quickly washed the glass and set it to dry on the glass racks while the bottle vanished beneath the countertop.
There was nothing that set Charles at ease like some good old fashion music. Not that ceaseless racket that the vampire youth of today called quality sound.
With his attention elsewhere, Charles didn't notice a pair of golden eyes that peered timidly at him from out of the shadows of an agacient hallway. A delicate white hand appeared as it touched the wall but the apparition vanished suddenly when Charles' cell phone began to virbate loudly.
Finally. It took Brian long enough to get back to him. Now he would get some of the answers he wanted.
Charles wiped his hands dry with a dish rag and snacked up the phone.
Charles paused for a moment as the sleek black phone buzzed in his hand. He had expected to see Brian's name listed on the caller ID. Maybe he was calling from one of the undisclosed numbers that the office had set aside for important calls that needed to avoid going on record.
"Brian it took you long enough and I hate having to wait when the answers I want are so readily available. Tell me what the hell is…." Charles barked into the phone but instead of the usual excuses that were lined up for him all he got was an earful of static.
Silently a shadowy form flitted across the room, avoiding the vampire's line of sight before it vanished in a corner.
Charles knitted his eyebrows together in a deep frown as he lowered the phone and eyed the Unknown Caller.
Something didn't feel right.
Had it not been for the tell-tale squeak of a loose wooden floorboard Charles would never have known what had hit him. Maybe it was luck, maybe it was fate, but for some reason the floor had decieved his attackers best attempt at attacking the vampire without being noticed.
Charles snarled in surprised as a black-clad figure crashed into him from the side and the two of them went flying across the room, colliding into the far wall. Tasteful paintings of the countryside rattled on impact as his attacker tried to bash his skull open against the fortified wooden wall.
Fangs bared, Charles' golden eyes blazed in anger as he lunged and sunk his fangs into his attacker's exposed neck, getting an unearthly shriek in response. His attacker wasn't human. It was vampire. And it wasn't alone.
Before Charles could inflict some serious damage on the other vampire a pair of hands grabbed his ankles and yanked him off. Exposed and unable to get to his feet Charles let out a snarl that would have sent a lesser vampire running for cover. Instead his attackers just doubled their efforts. Before he knew what was happening Charles was bodily picked up off the floor and thrown clear across the room once more, crashing head first into the bar, sending shattered glass flying every which way.
This was not good.
Charles didn't have the time to wipe the blood out of his eyes before his attackers were upon him again. This time he was ready for them.
Knowing full well that he would be a perfect target if he stayed where he was, Charles launched himself over the bar with a full-throated roar and came down on the head of one of the attackers like a thunderbolt. Fangs flashed and blood sprayed as he ripped into the figure's hooded face without mercy. The vampire flailed beneath him as Charles dragged the figure toward the fireplace with every intention of tossing the son of a bitch into the flames. Realizing what was going on the vampire struggled like mad in an attempt to break free of Charles' iron grip around its throat. It was no use. Charles' blood was up and he had his nails hooked into the vampires neck. The more the vampire struggle the harder Charles gripped. It wasn't long before his hands were soaked in blood.
However the vampire's partner was one step ahead of Charles and a heavy blow to the back of the head made him see stars. Going down he landed on top of his opponent while his other attacker closed in from behind, a solid wooden stake raised firmly above him. Instinct screamed at Charles to move out of the way but his body was too slow to respond. The blow to the head had scattered his senses and he had become the perfect target for the black clad figure standing above him.
Gritting his teeth Charles braced himself for the killer blow.
"EEEEEeeeaaaaarrrgh!" A gut-wrenching squeal came from the would-be executioner right before the vampire erupted into a ball of flames. Charles covered his head with his arm and rolled off the vampire beneath him as the figure stumbled forward in a blind panic. Hauling himself away from the flaming menace he crawled to his hands and knees in time to see the flailing figure disintegrate into a pile of charred splinters and smoking ashes.
Now, now was his chance! Move it Charles!
Moving with speed born of desperation Charles snatched up the wooden stake that had been dropped by the deceased vampire and pinned the second vampire beneath him, keeping the lethal wooden point pressed into the vampire's chest, right over the heart.
He had the vampire trapped. There was nowhere to go.
"Who sent you! WHO SENT YOU!" Charles bellowed as he applied more pressure to the stake, making the vampire beneath him buck. Baring his fangs in sheer annoyance Charles wrenched the black hood off the vampire in order to get a good look at him.
Sporting some sort of black tribal tattoo over the crown of his shaven head, the vampire was anything but the usual run of the mill bloodsucker. An ugly burn mark that never quite healed properly marred the left half of his face, giving him a gruesome appearance that Charles would not forget.
The vampire was a mercenary, a fangs-for-hire. Charles knew the type. He had employed them in the past and knew how effective they were at getting the job done.
The vampire wasn't going to talk. They both knew it.
While all this ran through Charles' mind, the vampire decided to make his move. Wrenching a knife out of his boot, the vampire slashed at Charles in order to drive him back and make a break for it. Charles was up on his feet as the vampire bolted across the room. Gripping the stake in his right hand Charles flung his arm back and launched the deadly missile straight at the fleeing vampire's back. The mercenary never knew what hit him before he went out in a flaming heap.
Not many people were aware that Charles pitched for his college team back in his younger years. It would seem that he had not lost his edge after all this time.
Charles carefully felt his forehead for the gash above his left eye. The wound was already scabbed over and had stopped bleeding. A little overindulgence had paid off after all. He gave the den a quick once-over, taking note of the damages. Furniture was smashed, a few art pieces were going to have to be replaced, and the bar was a wreck. Yet not of that really mattered. What he wanted to know was how those two managed to get in without tripping the alarms.
He brushed his disheveled hair away from his face and glanced down. His hands were coated in blood, his clothing was torn and even without a reflection he knew he must look like someone who had just come out of a war. This was not what he had in mind when he wanted to get away from it all for a couple of days.
Ah hell, he needed a drink.
Ignoring the fragmented glass that crackled underfoot Charles picked his way around the upturned furniture and headed straight for the refrigerated blood rack. What he saw hiding behind the bar made him stop dead in his tracks.
The girl, Abigail, was curled up in a ball, rocking back and forth cradling her scorched hands to her chest.
Charles frowned as he took stock of what he was seeing. The burn marks on her hands clicked in his head and after glancing at the crackling fireplace, he realized what had happened. During the fight the girl must have grabbed one of the flaming logs and used it to set his attacker aflame, thereby saving his neck at the risk of her own. Had the fire gotten ahold of her she would have been incerated within seconds.
She had saved his life. A newborn vampire.
Well, that was something he did not experience every day.
"Are you alright?" He asked as he moved toward her.
Abigail whimpered as she tensed her shoulders in an attempt to become as small as possible.
"It's okay. Everything's fine now. They're gone." He said gently as he lowered himself to the ground in front of her. "Here, let me see."
"No." The girl shook her head and pressed into the corner in order to hide her hands from view. Her black hair hid her face but Charles could tell that she was crying. Her bloody tears were dripping off her chin.
"I know it hurts and I can make it better. You're going to have to trust me. It's all right. I promise." Charles said as he reached over and carefully laid his hand on her shoulder. Abigail flinched under his touch but when Charles didn't remove his hand she slowly turned and glanced at him. Thin red streaks ran down her face, contrasting with the bright gold of her eyes. Charles had to stop himself from brushing her tears away, just as he would when Abigail would come to him with tear-filled eyes and a scraped knee.
"Promise?" She asked him in a quavering voice as she gingerly showed him her shaking blistered hands, burned a bright shiny red that clashed with the alabaster tone of her skin. It was painful to look at.