Case #13 – Skovajsa: The story behind the story


I blink and find myself still sitting in the arm chair in the Ice Lounge.  Skovajsa is pausing for a breath.  Had I made a sound, startled as I was to have it feel so real, Jesper whispering to me?  Am I startled that I feel him standing there still behind me, his hands gently squeezing my arms, breath against my ear?  I blink again deliberately.  I’m holding my phone, his last text there.  I push a few buttons to switch it to silent mode.

Skovajsa is waiting for me.  “Shall I continue?”

“Yes, sorry.”  I set my phone in my lap, turned up so I can see the next text as it comes in.  “Please go on.”  Can’t remember what he was saying last so I guess.  “So spawn of Vlad Dracul would make you…uh, five hundred and fifty, give or take?”

He settles back down, convinced for the moment that his story has me in rapt attention.  This guy’s survived on ego, his details are all out of a book somewhere, nothing authentic which means he can’t remember turning, someone brewed up that story for him, or he’s fooled himself into believing it and how old it would make him.  Either way, he’s showing positive signs of all sorts of pathology and I should be paying close attention to him.  Instead, I keep glancing down at my Smartphone screen.

“Yes, I traveled southern Europe for years after, weak, alone, hunted first by the Turks then the Greeks…”

I should have made a break from Morena.  But she was not afraid when she learned what I was.  And it was fascinating to me.

Right.  I bet.

It’s not what you think.  I never meant to deceive her.  I’ve been trying to back away.

Not.  Trying.  Very.  Hard.  How can I blame you?  She’s beautiful, strong, intelligent, tall, and yet fragile…You back away after you’ve peaked her interest, she’s just going to want to reach out to you more. 

“…as I moved towards the coast, over the decades, I fed off more and more powerful victims, my powers growing rapidly…”

My head pricks up and I stare at Skovajsa.  Strike Two.  He has no idea what he said is so very very wrong.  The only way a vampire grows in power besides age is to feed off of other preternatural creatures.  He probably hunted other young vamps during the Great Blood Hunt of the 17th Century, taking advantage of his own.    This changes things.  I’m not sure I should tend to a vampire who has killed his own for power.  I’m not sure I can.

You’ve saved me again, done what I did not have the strength to.  Freed her from me.back_room8

I have a moment of doubt and my gaze is draw back down to Jesper’s words.

“…I’ve always looked for ways to make myself safer…”

Cannibal.  I need to get out of here now. 

I owe you a great debt that you must tell me how to repay.

“…you’ve probably never met a vampire as old as I.”

And for the first time in a long long time, I feel the kind of gut wrenching fear that fills your belly like churning ice water.  Jesper.  Help me.  My fingers twitch toward the keys just as the phone enters locked mode.

I drop the phone when Skovajsa grabs me around the throat and slams me hard against the nearby wall.  For some reason, I remember the intricate raised velvety patterns of the brocade wallpaper the moment I hit.  It reminds me of paisley.  Paisley stars in my eyes.

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