Chapter 4: Motels and Heroes
The air of the cheap motel room was stifling and stiff as Mark sat up in bed with a sudden start and gasped for breath. He nearly choked on the dryness that swiftly entered his lungs and went to stand with an all too familiar uneasiness that followed his reoccurring nightmares. He shuffled his feet against the decrepit carpet, although he found it to feel more like gravel against his bare skin. His eyes were barely slits when reached the bathroom sink and began running the cool, yet spurting, water over his hands. He let the relaxing feeling wash over him before bending forward and throwing the liquid against his weary face. After a few good splashes, Mark shook the water droplets from his fingers and hair, drew the ripped and stained hanging towel over his face, and went on to relieve his parched throat and lungs with a shot glass sized plastic cup.
Mark crumpled to diminutive excuse for a cup and clasped his hands firmly on the sink. It seemed as though he pushed his entire body weight against that square piece of metal. As he steadied himself his gaze met his own in the clouded and dirt speckled reflection across from him. The shrill voices of accusation shot through his skull and the horrifying faces formed beside his. Mark quickly clamped his eyelids shut and blocked out the all too real images.
Mark went over and grabbed his backpack and flung it on top of his bed. He knew there was no use in attempting to go back to sleep as his body had grown accustomed to abruptly waking in the middle of the night and needing to remain that way or simply not sleeping at all.
He carefully unzipped the frail and old bag and slid out his prized possession. The stiff surface felt natural in Mark's hands as he gripped the end tightly. There were slight grooves in the woodwork where his hand grasped, allowing his skin to refrain from slipping. Dropping your weapon when your life depends on it just was not an option. Ben, of course, had been the one to come up with the idea; he was always the one with the ideas.
Mark had been trying to think about him. When hunting vampires was your trade, there was no time for grieving or crying, only survival. But that was just it; it wasn't Mark's job, his trade. It was theirs. They had gone hunting, hunting for Father Callahan, and they had taken him down. Hunting season was over. Now what? Is this really what Mark desired to do for the rest of his possibly cut short life? No! He was just a kid. As much as he enjoyed saving people from one of those bloodsucking monsters, and as much as he loathed admitting it to himself, he wanted to go to school, to college, to get a job, a family, to be normal. He never revealed the fact to Ben are rarely even to himself, but deep down it was there. Mark was barely a teenager, a boy required to face things most grown men never encountered.
He released a heavy and labored sigh as he continued to stare at the sharpened stake in his grasp. It doesn't matter. He nodded his head as if agreeing with himself. None of that mattered anymore; not his dreams, not anything. Ben dying didn't change anything. Sure, they had searched for Father Callahan for what seemed like a lifetime and that was their main mission, but during the course, they had also saved many lives, and Mark couldn't just walk away from that. Ben wouldn't have, so neither would he.