Chapter 1 As he left the room of the motel he turned and locked the door, turning it twice to make sure the lock was secure. Turning back around, he paused for a moment to smell the night air. Taking a deep breath, he thought briefly of all the souls he had encountered. Then releasing the air with the steam escaping his lips he began his nightly stroll.
It was just a small section of a large city that his legs would carry him through. He was there for the weekend and might as well check out the sights. As he left the parking lot he glanced to see if his rental car was still there. Yes, right where he left it, tires and all. Just a mile into town might as well save gas being the good citizen he was. He peered down the side walk, staring at the cracks, taking care not to step on one. This was something he would do often to take his mind off of life. Every now and then, he would have to take a larger step to miss a crack causing his overcoat to slap the back of one of his calves.
Light began to break through the darkness as he came closer to the city. He could hear the crickets making noises. Soon that would be gone, for winter was upon him again. He had seen so many winters that he didn’t care if it ever snowed again.
“Damn” he said under his breath as he accidently stepped on a crack.
Coming to a full stop and remembering his mission he brought his eyes up from the broken sidewalk to the neon lights ahead. He sighed again then continued forward. A hand grabbed him by the arm spinning him around. He jumped back raising his fist to strike.
“Woah buddy,” the man yelled raising his arms in front of his face and staggering back. “Just some change, that’s all I want,” he said.
Upon lowering his arm, the man looked drunk and dirty. He looked as if he hadn’t shaved in a week.
“You could get killed like that,” he said as he raised one eyebrow and reached for his wallet.
“Your alright mister,” the man answered with slurred speech.
“I’ll tell you what old man, I’ll give you this under one condition” he said with a smile.
“Anything,” he replied.
“You must get you a hot meal then a room before you break the seal on another bottle,” he said holding out a fifty dollar bill.
“Scouts honor,” he said after holding up four fingers then switching to three.
“There is a motel right down the road here sir,” he continued. “They sell a mean cheeseburger and bootleg with bite. Take care buddy,” the man said turning quickly as he headed toward town, again avoiding the cracks on the sidewalk.
“God bless you buddy. There aint many like you left,” he heard from behind him.
I guess not he thought to himself. The bar was the first place of business he came to. As he paused he could see the people through the large glass window out front. Some were dancing, some sitting with others and drinking. He could even spot out two more doing a line of coke in the corner where anybody could see them. As he glanced across the other side of the bar he could see a man and woman arguing. He seemed jealous and she looked like the flirting type. He probably had his reasons.
He stood there for a while observing them all. In his eyes they seemed lost. Acting happy, but really just miserable inside. Trying to find someone in the wrong place who would only let them down, he shook his head and continued on. As he walked by all the buildings that were packed together he noticed the sidewalk was not broken as bad now, and started missing the cracks. Passing adult book stores, bars, biker shops never noticing anything but the cracks.
Suddenly he paused and turned to his right. The building was old the windows boarded shut, but he could hear sound inside. As he listened more closely he knew now that the sound was music as he had presumed. The door flew open, breaking his concentration. There she was on the stage as beautiful as anything he’d ever seen. Her eyes were deep blue. Her lips were full. She reminded him of someone from his past. Her hair was as black as coal and hung to the waist. She had her hands over her breasts, every now and then spreading her fingers to reveal her pink nipples causing the crowd to roar. Two men broke his view entering through the doorway. The bouncer who closed the door behind them paused to look at him as if he had stolen something by getting a free look.
“Got a light,” a voice from behind him spoke.
He turned towards the voice to see a woman leaning against the building not ten feet from the door and he hadn’t even noticed her.
“She’d cost you an arm and a leg,” she said while sticking a cigarette in her mouth.
“That wasn’t what I was thinking about,” he said
He produced the lighter from his pocket and struck it.
“Sure you weren’t,” she said as she took a draw.
“Now I am affordable,” she said stepping back so he could take a look.
As he looked at her he could see that time had not been good to her. She was twenty years past her profession, the black skirt was too short for her thin legs and she had a belly that she tried to keep sucked in. Her hair was yesterday’s style for yesterdays evenings. Her eyes that once were probably beautiful now begged out for attention.
“Not interested,” he said as he turned to walk away.
She reached out and grabbed his shoulder.
“At least walk a girl home through this rough neighborhood,” she said with a childish voice while raising her eyebrows as if to say please.
“Sure, why not?” he said with a nod.
“I knew you were a gentleman from the moment I laid eyes on you,” she said reaching out her arm.
As they walked she talked on and on about her life but slowly he started focusing on the cracks in the sidewalk. They turned down a dark alley and she stopped.
“This is why I wanted you to walk me home,” she said. “The kids around here are always breaking the lights down this alley.”
“No problem,” He said.
She pulled closer to him. Halfway down the alley she stumbled but he caught her. Then she pulled away and stepped back against the wall, sticking one leg against it.
“I know you want me,” she said in a different tone of voice.
She looked different in the alley but he knew she was the same.
“Let’s get you home,” he said reaching out his hand.
As he got closer she grabbed him yanking his hand up against her.
“Touch me,” she whispered in his ear.
Then she pushed back against his shoulders. As he pulled at her shirt with his left hand he moved the right one between her thighs.
“Now baby,” she pleaded.
He could feel the heat between her legs before he even touched her. When he realized she had no panties on it was too late as the midnight air came rushing through his chest.
“Goddamn!” she screamed pushing his shoulders back further as the blood splattered on her face.
Staggering back and looking down he could see the knife sticking through his chest from his back. The air he was trying to breath was escaping out from around it. He leaned against the wall with his side and reached behind himself but could not grasp the handle.
She came off the wall and pulled his Rolex off his wrist then smacked a man that emerged from the shadows.
“You almost stabbed me in the face Larry,” she screamed hauling back to hit him again.
He caught her wrist this time and backhanded her to the ground.
“Don’t ever hit me you stupid cunt,” the man said in a Puerto Rican accent.
He walked over and removed the man’s wallet. The man was still leaning against the wall staring in disbelief. As they argued over the money he struggled to grab the handle.
“Fuck this!” the wounded man said with a voice that sounded like it came from hell.
The thieves turned around they saw the man grab the sharp end of the knife so hard he cut his own fingers. They looked into his pale face in disbelief as he snatched the knife completely through his chest. The sound of his flesh ripping and ribs breaking sent the girl on a dead run. The other robber stood in horror as the Vampire levitated towards him with eyes that were burning, and fangs wide open. He grabbed him by the throat with his left hand. The Vampire started to bite and then backed up. He tilted his head sideways as if to ponder.
“I never did like Puerto Ricans,” he said as he straightened his head.
Still holding his throat with his left hand he loosened it just enough so the man could scream. Then he took the bowie knife with his right hand and ran it through the middle of his body. As the man screamed again the Vampire backhanded his head off at the jaw with a single blow. Blood splattered against a nearby dumpster before the top part of his head hit the ground. He discarded the body with a flick of his wrist sending it hard into the opposite wall.
He took flight after the woman still running down the alley. Just before she got to the end, she realized she had gone the wrong way. She spun around to see if he was behind her. He was not there so she ran back from where she came. A figure lowered down behind her with a horrible smile.
He grabbed the back of her neck and slammed her face first into the wall. Her feet were dangling about a foot from the ground. He pulled her head back enough for her to take her face away from the wall. She turned it to the right and he slammed her head right back against it.
“We don’t want you running off again honey,” he said getting right in her face.
Holding her with his left hand at the back of her neck, he reached down with his right grabbing just above her ankles. Slamming his hands together he snapped her in half as her heels smacked into her shoulder blades.
Spinning her around to face him, her legs being held on by skin alone, she looked in the eyes of death trying desperately to remember something good in her life. She knew she brought death only to find it. As the fangs came towards her throat desperately she searched. What was it, yes that was it long ago her and her mother used to kneel by the bed, and yes that’s the words they said together.
“Now I lay.. me...down......to... s.le...e........p.........”
Written by Joshua Daniels
Edited by Damon Warlick
Published by Iris Presley
Dedication: To my Children, Sara, Destiny, Stephen, Micheal, Rusty, Betsy
My grandchildren Nayelle, Katie Bug, Briley, Jasmine, Little stevie
My Nephews Damon, Travis, Michael, Bubba
My Nieces Tenisha, Hailey J, Kayla
Great Neices + Nephews Devon, Audra, Mattie, Layla
Cousins, Bobbie Anne, Michelle, Tyler