San Francisco by the Moonlight – Part 3
By: James Dubeau
“Oh how the calf fears slaughter,” Lauren stood over her fallen prey. Her greedy eyes savored her next meal.
“You, you are a vampire.” Murphy stuttered as he grabbed the pickaxe off his pack. He scrambled to his feet and swung wildly with the tool. She leapt back but the steel blade sliced her flesh. Blood did not drip from the gash in her thigh.
“You got a little fight in you, I like that.” Lauren limped as she circled Murphy.
“A wicked beast must be destroyed.” Bravery begun to bubble from Murphy’s intoxicated heart. If she can be hurt she can be killed.
The young man advanced and swung the digging tool. Lauren easily sidestepped the attack and knocked the weapon from his hands. Her fangs sunk deep into his forearm. Blood boiled into her mouth. Searing pain radiated from the bite. He kicked and thrashed, knocking her away. Once free he grabbed the pack and ran from the grave covered hill.
“Your passion and rage tastes of coriander,” Lauren licked her lips. The wound in her leg had disappeared, not even a scar remained. She sniffed the air and pursued the scent of blood.
Murphy ran into the night. He knocked over a gravestone and narrowly avoided the rest. At the base of the hill was one of the few structures in the cemetery, a mausoleum. The door was unlocked and he slipped inside. His shovel worked to bar the door shut.
“You can’t hide all night.” Lauren pounded on the mausoleum door. The old shovel groaned with each impact. A beast of the night could not be held at bay for long.
No escape or weapon could be found inside the bare mausoleum. Only a few dying bouquets and locked burial vaults accompanied him. Murphy dug through his pack for something, anything, to help his plight. A bandage for his wounded arm. A weapon to defend himself with. A tool to reinforce the door.
In a thunderous boom the shovel splintered and Lauren slammed through the door. Murphy snatched the first hard object his fingers touched amongst his supplies and stood to defend himself. She lunged and knocked him against the stone wall.
The pair stood face to face, their bodies pressed together. For a moment neither one moved. No words came to either of their lips.
Lauren blinked and took a half step back. An oak tent stake was lodged into her stomach. It pierced deep into her flesh, angled under her ribs just missing the heart. Feeling real pain for the first time she fell into a heap upon the floor.
Drunken exhaustion overtook Murphy and he too collapsed. Resting against the mausoleum wall he watched the vampire for signs of life while struggling to catch his breath. Lauren lay unmoving on the cold stone floor. Her large eyes stared vacantly towards the ceiling. The monster appeared to be dead but he had to be sure to finish the job. The young man searched his pack for a second stake to hammer into her heart. Once he had hammer and stake in hand he looked up to see that she was gone. Only the oak stake remained on the barren floor.
Murphy’s head pounded when he returned to the tavern the next morning. Ben remembered him from the night before and said the young man had been drinking alone until he stumbled off as an incoherent drunk. The bartender also did not know Lauren and said no woman had ever worked for him. He laughed off the vampire story and bite marks upon Murphy’s arm as nothing but a nightmare and dog’s bite.
As the day wore on the memory of the night’s events faded from Murphy’s mind. Beautiful monsters that lurk in the shadows to hunt young men’s blood did not exist. Vampires were nothing but a bad nightmare. The only niggling reminder of Lauren was the aching pain of twin puncture wounds where her fangs had pierced his flesh. It was a pain which lingered to the end of his days.