Mako's Message: I'll take a guess and say that 90% of the people who subscribed to me as an author did so for my Kick-Ass stories, but TorontoBatFan has been frothing at the mouth for me to write this since I told him about this idea several months ago. Probably because it was inspired by his stories. So, sorry if this isn't your thing, but I hope you'll read it anyway.
I hope you like this story, and if it goes over well I'll write that other, completely original, Let Me In fanfic I came up with.
The Alfredson Ranch was always regarded as a strange one. There were a few others in the area and even though it was smaller than them it still seemed to be constantly understaffed. Even so, it always seemed to be successful. Like they were getting two, or even three, times the work out of their employees the other ranchers did.
And that was another thing. The owners were never to be seen. The grandkids might show their faces every now and then, if they'd finished all their homeschooling lessons during the day, but the actual owner? Never.
Some said it made sense. They'd never heard of the ranch being sold or the owner dieing, so he must be quite old at this point. Others said that nobody who owns a business is that reclusive. Well, obviously this person was.
Even stranger, employees that had been... let go, where never heard from again. It wasn't a frequent occurrence, but it happened often enough for the locals to notice.
And the long time employees, the ones that had been there for years, seemed closer to each other than other employes. They all seemed to have the same odd smile. Like they were all in on some joke that was hilariously funny but they knew you wouldn't get.
Luke didn't really think too much about any of that. He needed a job and with the economy as it was he couldn't really be picky.
The work wasn't as strenuous as he'd expected, for a ranch. In fact, all the really hard jobs seemed to get done when no one was around. Robert, the ranch manager, said it was taken care of by the night crew. He'd never met this mysterious night crew, but if they were doing all the heavy lifting that was fine by him.
Other than that it seemed like a pretty normal job. The guys joked and talked like normal people. He got along with them fairly well. The manager was personable and generally a nice guy, but still busted their balls when he needed to. He really didn't know what it was about this place that people found so odd, let alone creepy.
Okay, there was the "Trespassers will be eaten" sign on the gate, but that wasn't the first sign like that that he'd seen.
Then, he met the grandkids.
They acted like they owned the place, and since they were the owners grandkids they just might feel like they did. The manger sure treated them like they did. And they always seemed to pop-up out of nowhere. And he didn't think he ever saw them out side. At least not during the day. That bothered him more because he couldn't believe he was so unobservant as to not see them walk from the ranch house to the stables, than for any silly superstitious reasons.
That didn't stop him from almost having a heart attack when the girl suddenly popped up sitting on the fence behind him while he cleaned out a stall.
"Hey," she'd said.
After he'd startled, and regained some semblance of dignity, he turned to face the girl. She was... twelve, maybe, with honey blond hair that had a slight curl to it, and she sat, barefoot, on the top rail, giving him a darling little closed mouth smile. She seemed pleased to have startled him, like it was some sort of game.
"Scaring the employees to death is bad for business you know," he told her.
This, again, she seemed to find endlessly amusing. As if he'd stumbled onto some joke. She didn't respond to his comment, however, instead she said, "You're our new ranch hand."
Not sure how to respond to such an obvious observation, he just stated, "Yes." and started to go back to work.
"You started this summer then."
He turned back to her and said, "Uh... yeah. I did."
She nodded with her eyes closed, as if he'd given the correct response, "That's why we haven't met yet."
He looked up from his work again, "So, you're not here during the summer?"
She gave him that adorable closed mouth smile again, "Something like that."
He waited, expecting, but she didn't say anything. Finally, he turned back and only after he'd started to shovel again did she ask, "Do you like it here?"
He turned back again, leaning on the shovel, "Yeah, it's nice, I guess. Fresh air, well, mostly," he said, casting a glance at the stall, eliciting a small giggle from the girl, "and the work isn't hard. Ya know, for a ranch."
"Robert says you're a good worker."
"He did?" he asked, perking up a little.
She nodded quickly, "He hopes you'll stay."
"Do you have problem's with people staying?"
She gave her shoulders an odd little side-to-side shrug, "Sometimes."
"Well, I kind of like it here, so I think I'll stay as long as you want me."
She smiled again and said. "I was hoping you'd say that," before hopping off the fence and running off, silent as a ghost.
It was only after she'd left that he realized he hadn't gotten her name. He shrugged it off as inconsequential, if they were around as much as they seemed to be he'd be sure to get her name. The boy's too.
The next few days seemed to be buzzing with conversation. Conversation that always stopped whenever Luke came around. It was odd. It wasn't like back in high-school, where if people were talking about you behind your back, you had a problem. This was more like... your friends planning a surprise party; it reeked of "inside joke".
The kids were around a lot more as well those few days. Though neither of them spoke to him. The one time he did catch the girls eye, she gave him another of those grins and ran off with her brother somewhere.
Then one night, he had to work late.
Robert had given him a job that had taken him until well after the others had left to complete. He didn't have a problem with that, it wasn't like the ranch was creepy or anything. Even if it was after dark.
His work completed, he headed out to his car.
Just as he reached his car, however, his phone rang. It was Robert, calling to see if he was still at the ranch. He'd left something in his office and was hoping Luke could fetch it for him, if he was still there, of course.
He hadn't even gotten in his car, and how long could it take to grab something out of the office? He was told the office would be open, or at least it should be, since it was the keys that he'd forgotten, and that he'd meet him at the coffee shop when you first get into town. So Luke turned around and headed back.
He didn't bother to turn on the lights. It really wasn't that dark of a night, the sky was clear, the moon was full, and the stars were bright. So, despite the relative darkness, it wasn't hard for him to spot the motion over by the cow stalls.
Curious, and slightly concerned that there might be an intruder, he headed over to check it out.
It didn't take him long to see that it was two people. Two people kneeling on the floor, facing each other. No...kissing. And getting rather into it if he had to state an opinion on it. It was a glint off the girls hair that clued him into her identity.
It was the grandaughter.
Two thoughts ran through his head then, "Who the hell is she kissing like that?" and "Isn't she a little young to be having a make-out session with anyone?" His next thought, "What are they doing here?" was quickly cut off as the answer was fairly obvious and two new ones popped into his head, "Holy shit, is that her BROTHER?" and, "What the hell are they covered in?"
He turned on the light.
Blood. They were covered in blood. And they were kneeling over the body of one of the ranch hands. Jake if he had to take a guess.
Their heads whipped around to look at him, and for one split second, he knew what demons looked like.
The girl hissed and hoped over the body to land in a low crouch on her hands and feet, while the boy jumped up to land on the fence of one of the stalls, mildly annoying the cow it contained.
There was maybe, maybe, the space of three heartbeats before they both launched themselves at him.
He turned and ran.
The only conscious thought in his head was, "Car car car car car car caracaracaracaracaracaracar."
Somewhere in his mind, too deep for him to acknowledge at the moment, it all clicked. The disappearances, the low staff, the "night crew", the way the kids acted liked the owned the place.
Never seeing them in sunlight.
His legs churned faster and faster. Faster than they should. He was picking one foot up before he'd even put it down and he tumbled into the gravel driveway. He rolled once and tried to get to his feet, his car only a dozen or so feet away. He could still make it.
And then he was hit in the back, hard. Before he hit the gravel again he could feel himself grabbed and tossed. He hit his car, back first, and found himself staring at the... the thing that pretended to be a girl, as it crouched a few feet away from him. A thump turned his attention to his left, where what he'd thought was a boy was crouched on the hood of his car, peering down at him.
The crunch of rocks brought him back to the not-a-girl, it's face now mere inches from his own. It stared at him with an unholy hunger as it licked the blood from it's lips. It's mouth opened wide, fangs bared as it leaned in for his neck.
And then there was laughter.
He looked up to see Jake standing at the door to the stables, covered in blood, and laughing.
The not-girl spoke, "You ruined it Jake!"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he laughed, "but the look on his face, it's just too good." He then mimed running in an exaggerated and pansy-ish maner, squeaking out, "No no, don't eat me! no!"
"He handled it better than you did," the not-boy said.
"Yeah, you were too scared to even move, let alone run," Robert said as he came around the corner.
"You did shit yourself though, if I recall correctly," an old man with a cane, who had followed Robert around the corner, added.
Jake flushed, "We agreed to never mention that!"
The not-girl stuck her tounge out, "That was before you ruined it."
"Abby, you going to let him up anytime soon?" the old man asked.
"Oh. Right. Sorry Luke," Abby said as she realized she was still kneeling on him and moved to allow him up.
Luke didn't move, he was still too busy trying to figure out just what the fuck was going on, "What the fuck is going on?" he croaked out.
"We want to keep you on, but, if you're going to stay with us, you have to be in on our secret."
"And we figured out that we need to make it look as bad as possible in the first place to weed out the people who really can't handle it."
Abby nodded, "Owen's right. Back in `92, we had a guy who thought he could handle working for vampires, but a few months later he snapped and went screaming to the town that there were monsters at the ranch. That didn't go well. We try to avoid anything like that happening again."
"If... if I can't handle it, are you going to kill me?"
Robert shook his head, "No, they're not going to kill anyone. We'd just relocate you somewhere far, far away from here."
"We would like you to stay though," Abby said, kneeling in front of him with her hands folded in her lap and smiling charmingly at him.
"You're a vampire."
Abby nodded her head.
"And he's a vampire," he said looking over at Owen.
Abby and Owen both nodded.
"Is anyone else here a vampire?"
"No. Not that we haven't tried to talk grandpa into it."
"If you'd caught me at 40, maybe, but by the time you two showed up I was too old for eternal life to have any appeal."
"You're a lot older than you look, aren't you?"
Abby smiled, this time letting some teeth show, with the barest hint of fang, now that he was looking for it, "I was born before the civil war."
Luke turned to look at Owen who held his hands up defensively, "Don't look at me, I was born in 1970."
"So, is he really your grandfather? Well, obviously not yours," he said, looking at Abby.
"No, he's biologically Owen's though. He's my grandfather-in-law. Well, he would be if Owen and I could actually get married."
Luke put his hands over his eyes, "This is too much to process at once."
"Well, if it makes you feel any better, you're handling it quite well," Abby said and patted him on the knee.
"Aside from the 'running for his life' part."
"How exactly would someone handle that part well? Grabbing a pitchfork and yelling 'bring it on'?"
Luke, despite himself, began to laugh.
"Did we break him?" Owen asked.
"No. I think he's okay."
He composed himself and asked, "So, you scared me half to death, because you like me and want me to stick around."
Abby opened her mouth to respond, but instead closed it and bit her lip, looking over at Owen who said, "It does sound kind of bad, when you put it like that."
Lukedturned to Robert, "So everyone who works here is in the secret?"
Luke threw his hands up, "Work for vampires? Sure. Why not? Sounds like fun."
Abby smiled and said, "I'm glad to hear it," as she stood. She held out a hand to help him up saying, "Now let's go get you cleaned up. You got pretty scraped up when you fell, see?" she reached out and wiped her fingers across his cheek then held them up so he could see the blood."You're one of us now, and we take care of our own," she said, and sucked the blood from her fingers.