To Fear the Dawn: Chapter 9
Lazlo continued to try to reach Charity on her cell phone with no success. Finally, with a look of defeat, he gave up and slipped his phone back into his pocket.
“She’s not answering,” he told his brothers in a quiet voice.
“So now what?” Vidcund asked nervously.
Lazlo sighed. “Now, we wait. We wait, and we hope to the Goddess nothing will happen to her.”
They all went back into the house. Lazlo checked on the children, who were, thankfully, still asleep. Vidcund made coffee, and they all sat down at the table.
Pascal turned to Lazlo and asked tentatively. “Lazlo, how did you find out about the vampires?”
Lazlo shrugged and took a drink of the extra-strong brew, shuddering. “When you start reading enough books you’re bound to come across what you want sooner or later. I just happened to pick up a book that was called The True Mythology; Scientific Study of Legends. I could be wrong about the title, but it was something like that.”
He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, drank more coffee and swiped a hand over his eyes tiredly. “Anyway, the book talked a lot about vampires. The author has this big theory about how vampires’ lives run in cycles. They’ll be active for a while, then go into a state of dormancy, almost like a hibernation, which can last many generations. Long enough to give the world time to forget and once more believe the vampire is just a myth.”
He trailed off pensively, looking at the clock. Pascal and Vidcund waited.
“What really caught my attention was the title of one chapter, though.” Lazlo continued thoughtfully. “ 'Warning signs of a vampiric invasion.' Everything that chapter talked about we’re having here in town. All the unexplained deaths from severe blood loss without signs of hemorrhage or heavy trauma, the small wounds on the sides of the necks, and the unexplained disappearances.”
“The disappearances?” Pascal said confusedly. “I don’t see what that has to do with... ”
“Don’t you get it?” Lazlo interrupted angrily. “Those are the ones that have become vampires themselves! That’s what Charity is out there facing tonight! Goddess only knows how many are out there now.”
Pascal met Vidcund’s eyes guiltily and they both stared at the table in silence.
The three of them sat without speaking for a long while, staring at each other with fearful eyes, the tension mounting until it became nearly unbearable.
“Damn!” Vidcund swore, standing up from the table and beginning to pace back and forth. He grabbed the phone and tried to call Charity again, with no answer. He hung up the phone, shaking. “How long has she been gone?”
“It’s been about five hours,” Pascal said wearily.
Vidcund sat back down and buried his head in his hands, still shaking, and when the sun rose without Charity returning or any word from her at all, Lazlo called the police to report her missing.
“Well,” he said in a low voice as he hung up the phone. “The police haven’t found the body of anyone who fits Charity’s description.”
Pascal breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, that’s something, at least.”
“Maybe she’s okay.” Vidcund said hopefully. “Maybe she just got tired and fell asleep somewhere, and she’ll be back home soon.”
“I hope so, Vid.” Lazlo said, but as the three of them looked solemnly at each other, they knew in their hearts that wasn’t what had happened at all.
The day passed into night and there was still no sign of Charity.
Vidcund had called their sister Jenny to come get the children for the day, as he wanted them away from all the tension surrounding the disappearance of their beloved nanny. Already all three of them were clamoring for Charity, and it broke Vidcund’s heart.
Lazlo had gone down to the police station to report his findings, but had come back discouraged. “They don’t believe me.” he said disparagingly, flopping onto the couch, a heavy book in his hands. “I even went to the lab and got the book to show them, but all they would say was if I got some real facts, to give them a call.” He tossed the leather-bound book onto the floor where it landed with a thump.
“Did you find out any more about Charity?” Vidcund asked.
“All they could tell me was that they haven’t found her dead,” Lazlo replied, “so they’ve put her name on the ‘Unexplained Disappearances’ list. Big fucking help.” he muttered.
“I just wish we knew where to find her!” Vidcund said helplessly, pacing. “I want to see her for myself! I want to know what’s happened to her for sure!”
“Calm down, Vid,” Lazlo said. “You’re not going to help anyone by wearing a hole in the floor.”
Pascal was poring over the book Lazlo had brought home. “The author believes that only the head of the vampire clan or his mate can create other vampires,” he murmured. “Listen. ..”
He cleared his throat and read aloud. “... Contrary to popular belief, not all vampires have the ability to turn humans into creatures like themselves. That honor belongs specifically to the head of that specific clan, or the Grand Vampire, and his or her mate. No one knows for sure how the head of a vampire clan is determined, many theorists believe it is a designation based on certain biological markers, but that still is up for debate among--”
“That’s very interesting, Pascal,” Vidcund interrupted sarcastically. “But what does that have to do with finding Charity?”
“Don’t you see?” Pascal said. “If Charity hasn’t been killed... if she has been turned into a vampire, then the one being in this entire world who would know where she is would be the one who made her that way... the Grand Vampire himself!”
“Okaaaay, but how in the hell do we find him, Genius?” Lazlo said irritably. “Seems to me that would be just as hard to do... if not harder...”
“I think I have it.” Vidcund said, snapping his fingers. “Loki.”
“Loki?” Pascal said, confused.
Lazlo smiled, nodding at Vidcund. “Good call, bro. Loki...of course!”
Pascal still looked bewildered, so Vidcund explained quickly. “Loki is one of the missing,” he said, “and Circe... one of the dead. It only makes sense that if anyone has been turned into a vampire in this town, it’s Loki, and I'm positive if we find the vampire that made him, it would lead us straight to Charity.”
“But Loki’s missing. No one knows where he is.” Pascal protested.
“That’s the police talking.” Lazlo scoffed. “I don’t think Loki’s missing at all. I think he’s still right where he always was, but only coming out after dark.”
“Well...” Pascal considered. “Assuming he is a vampire, and assuming he does know where the Grand Vampire is, how in the world would we get him to tell us? He never liked any of us to begin with, and now he has fangs. What makes you think he’ll talk?”
“Easy.” Lazlo said grimly.. “We’ll just threaten him with a wooden stake.” He stood up and began walking toward the door. “You two coming? We don’t have a lot of time left before dawn.” Pascal gulped and fell into step behind Lazlo.
Vidcund considered for a moment, then he quickly walked to the new pool table, snatched up a cue and snapped it in half over his knee. He felt the jagged wooden ends of the broken cue, nodded, and followed his brothers outside.
To Be Continued...