Archive for crows

Every Plan Has Its Loose End

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , on June 22, 2011 by vampirony

The walk from the Hyatt over to the office only took Morena twenty minutes and it gave her plenty of time to think. And she really wished she had brought her gun. But she realized her gun was a crutch and she needed to unlearn what she’d learned about how to fight if she was ever going to hold her own against a vampire.

She recollected how Lucy and Jesper had fought and the speed alone had been insane. Before she’d even recognized an action, the two had moved on to a parry and another block. Super speed super sucked for humans to have to deal with. She wasn’t sure how a kukri was supposed to counter that.

As she approached the building from the back of the lot, the first thing she noticed was a cluster of crows around the dumpster making an insane racket. She didn’t see Nick’s motorcycle as she bounded up the stairs. At the landing, she paused with her hand on the doorknob, turning back around to look back down at the dumpster. The birds were calling up to her in perfect unison. It creeped her out.

It was no wonder. It looked like some kids had been having some fun roughing up the dumpster. It had been flipped over on its side and there were quite a few holes punched into the bottom. It was hard to tell more but the ground just there looked like someone had dug something up. She couldn’t see much better; the streetlight right over that part of the parking lot was out.

Crows? Really? When there’s a dangerous vampire that Jesper is probably fighting right now? She shook it off and went through the front door of the office.

The office was dark but something immediately felt off.

“Nick?”

She stepped lightly over the wooden floor, stopping at the desk to flip the lamp on. That was when she noticed a sliver of light from the doorway of one of the examination rooms down the hall. She put her hand in her pocket and pulled out her Asp. Her gun might be her crutch but she wasn’t stupid to not carry anything at all.

With a flick of her wrist, the Asp snapped open into a 16” black chrome baton and she slowly headed down the hallway.

“Nick?”

She got to the slightly ajar door, took a breath, and then kicked the door open, blocking the entrance, eyes darting around the room. There was a small exam light on but the room was empty. She listened quietly for a moment and then, hearing nothing but crows squawking, she relaxed. She spotted a folder sitting open on the exam table and entered the room to take a look.

It was a collection of papers that looked like Sophie’s case notes. Instead, it was some sort of timeline that looked like a record of her life. Correction, lives. Morena picked up the folder and began to read, marveling at the concept that anyone could really reincarnate, let alone remember their pasts.

She shook her head. She certainly didn’t want all that baggage to drag around. She had enough in this lifetime.

Just then, the door slammed shut and Morena jumped. She quickly crossed to the door but when she turned the knob, the door didn’t open. It was locked. A shiver went up her spine and started her scalp tingling.

“Nick?” She knocked on the door. “Nick, are you out there?”

She was quiet for a second but couldn’t hear anything. She wrestled with the doorknob and then, unsuccessful, pounded on the door, “Is anyone out there?”

She got her cell phone out and say that there was no signal in the room. She recalled Nick being particularly proud of being able to fulfill some of the stranger requests in the exam rooms, like no wireless coverage, virtually soundproof, lightproof. It was meant to hold vampires and keep them safe. As she walked around all corners of the room and still no signal, she realized it was going to keep her in too.

She continued to pound on the door in futility for about five minutes but was already silently cursing one important point: Nick was good at his job.

“Shit! Nick!”

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Birds of a Feather

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , on June 21, 2011 by vampirony

Nick pulled in front of the Deli a little after 8PM. It was earlier than dusk but with the late Mariners game versus the Blue Jays, Nick wanted to skip the fray of traffic before it got into a frenzy. He figured he’d clean up some of the last remaining paperwork about the office rental and call his career as a real estate agent done. After shutting off the engine and removing his helmet, he heard some other sort of frenzy, angry birds squawking unusually loud. It was coming from behind the building.

He went around back towards where the office stairs were and saw what the ruckus was. A collection of crows had taken up residence at the dumpster and were whooping and squawking loudly. The dumpster had seemed to have seen better days, it looked dented and the ground underneath looked like it had recently been roto-tilled. He shrugged, figuring the birds were just fighting over territory, although, they didn’t seem to be attacking or addressing each other.

In fact, they seemed to be in some sort of solidarity and as he watched the separate crows all started vocalizing at the same exact time, creating some sort of crow chorus. Weird. There was a crash, like a bottle shattering back around front and, worried that someone had backed into his bike, he ran around the front.

It was the girl from the Deli and her grandmother. The grandmother had been carrying a grocery bag and it had split open, a jar crashing on the pavement. Both the girl and her grandmother were carrying too many bags apiece to do anything but set their burdens down to try and assess the damage.

Nick flipped his messenger bag behind him and trotted over to help. Within a few minutes, he and the girl had hefted all the bags inside the Deli, letting the grandmother head grumbling towards the back towards the small office, her hand to her head, without even acknowledging Nick’s help at all.

As Nick dumped the bags on the counter, the girl turned to him, suddenly shy. “Thank you for your help. It was most kind.”

“No problem,” he trailed off, at a loss.

“Irina.” She tucked her hair behind her ear, suddenly bashful.

“Nice to meet you. Again. I’m Nick.”

She averted her eyes, starting to remove items from the grocery bag. “I know,” she said quietly.

Nick had a hard time believing this was the same girl that had given him such a hard time just a few weeks before. Even more surprising was how her grandmother, aka the Iron Curtain, had transformed. He could just see through the hallway into the back room where she had put her leg up on a stool, took an embroidered handkerchief out of her sleeve, and put the cloth to her eyes.

“Is your Grandmother ok?”

Irina followed Nick’s gaze and then walked to doorway, pulling a curtain into place. She approached him slowly, arms wrapping around herself. “Grandmother is very upset. My sister Oksana has been missing for several days.” Irina sniffed and rubbed at her nose with her sweatshirt sleeve.

A sick feeling moved through Nick’s stomach. He swallowed. “Your sister? Oksana? Was she blonde, tall, short skirts?”

The hopeful face that jerked up to look at him looked familiar and confirmed his suspicions. “You’ve seen her? Where? When?”

Nick felt his mouth go dry. How do you tell a teenage kid that you suspected her older sister had joined the ranks of the undead? However small those ranks might be? Or not? Nick wasn’t sure what to say so he opted for the truth. “Sorry. It was a week ago, over at Jerry’s.”

“Oh,” her face fell. “She used to go out all the time but she’d always come home. Sometimes, she’d wake me and tell me who she met, who’d flirted with her, crazy stories. She is always struggling to fit in here in America, to not feel so much the outsider. Drives Grandmother crazy, that she is giving up her heritage to be someone she’s not.”

Nick nodded. He’d heard that argument before. “It’s not easy being first gen.”

Irina met his gaze and understood him. “But it all got worse when she saw him. After that, she seemed almost possessed to break with us.”

“Him?”

Irina pulled at the cuff of her sweatshirt. “Shishka. Our landlord. You know him.”

Nick remembered that when the Landlord had gotten mentioned before, the girl and her grandmother had become afraid. He regretted the deception.

“Look, I don’t really know the guy at all. I was just trying to show the office.”

Irina kept pulling at her sleeve. Nick worried that she’d clam up now that HE had been mentioned. She had started to gnaw on her lip so Nick took a peek into the grocery bag. “I don’t see any beets for the borscht.”

“Chjort! Grandmother told me I’d forget.”

Nick smiled, “Look, why don’t I ride down to the market and pick some up?”

Irina looked undecided. “No, that is too much. I can go.”

“Come on, it’s a ten minute trip on my bike. Besides, don’t want you wandering around alone out in the dark.” He could see she was teetering on agreement. “I’ll come back and we can have some pierogi.”

She turned thankful eyes up to him. “But I don’t really know how to cook.”

He was already heading for the door. “Don’t you worry. I know my way around a kitchen.”