"What are you doing?"
Michael Emerson looked up from the bed on which Star lay, holding Laddie as best he could in his weakened state. He had no idea who this person was who was staring at the trio from only a few feet away. He was young, about the same age as the boys, but painfully thin and of moderate height. He was dressed simply, a t-shirt and ripped jeans. His brown hair was straight and just at shoulder length, and his soft brown eyes were narrowed in suspicion. Pale and thin with long fingers, he looked more like the traditional image of a Vampire than the actual Vampires sleeping in the other room.
He also wore a dangling earring like the others.
"We're leaving, Alex." Star replied. "Come with us."
A look of pity flashed in Alex's eyes. He spoke softly, as if he was speaking to a child, "You know running away won't do any good, Star. I'm sorry, but once the blood is in you, there are only two outcomes. You become a Vampire, or you die."
"Not if you kill the Master." Michael replied angrily, neither knowing nor caring who this strange boy was as it was clear he was neither a Vampire or a Half-Vampire. He was too awake and active. Probably some mortal lackey. "Now get out of our way."
"Kill the Master? The Master Vampire?" Alex repeated in disbelief. "But you don't even-"
He cut himself off and tilted his head oddly, as if listening to something far away. His already large eyes widened in horror. He turned and bolted from the room, heading towards the roosting area.
Edgar Frog had managed to find a foothold in the rock nearest The Little One and raised the stake. Sam knew this wouldn't end well, but the Frogs were too determined to reason with.
"Go back to hell, you little shi-"
Suddenly a terrifying howl echoed within the ruins of the old hotel, and something barreled into Edgar Frog like a linebacker, knocking him across the room and sending him sprawling before he could even see it, much less try to defend himself. A figure now stood protectively between the boys and the Vampires, a figure whose body was still adjusting itself to the physical change it was undergoing. A long furry snout, pointed ears, massive teeth and claws at the ends of his long fingers.
"A Werewolf." Sam spoke in an awed whisper as Alan rushed to his brother's side. The creature's transformation was now complete, the fur-covered humanoid wolf let loose another ear-splitting howl that echoed through the cavern like a the tolling of a massive bell.
There is a language among wolves.
Every howl has a meaning.
They might be invitations to the hunt.
They might be a mournful lament for a dead pack member.
Or they might be a warning.
An indication of danger.
A call to arms.
This howl was an urgent howl of warning.
An enemy has entered the den.
The Pack is in danger.
It was loud enough to wake the dead.
The Vampires' eyes flew open, bright red with rage as they plummeted down to the floor, landing feet first.
"My name's Marko, dick-bag." The Little One, Marko, growled, "At least learn my name before trying to murder me in my sleep!"
Sam was too terrified to move, but Alan Frog was already dragging his injured brother towards the safety of the light. The tall, wild-haired Rocker suddenly appeared in front of them, fully vamped out and clearly pissed off.
"Leaving so soon? You just got here." The one with the bleach-blond hair sneered.
The Werewolf quickly shifted back to human form, a form the Frog brothers recognized.
Alan gawked for a few seconds before shouting, "Alex!? What the Hell?"
"I knew it! I knew you were a freak! Anyone who thinks Swamp Thing is better than Superman can't be a normal person..." Edgar hissed painfully. He was badly bruised and winded from the impact of Alex's body.
Alex was a regular, if odd customer, always buying and discussing (arguing about) old horror comics like Swamp Thing, Werewolf by Night (oh the irony there) Monsters Unleashed, Supernatural Thrillers, House of Mystery, House of Shadows, etc... He was also one of the few people who not only took but seemed to enjoy their free copies of Vampires Everywhere.
Now they knew why.
The Little One (Edgar refused to dignify a filthy bloodsucker with a name) picked up the stake meant to end his unlife, and Edgar was pleased to note that he looked shaken by his near-demise.
He was hit by a sudden, hopeful thought.
"Alan, it's still daytime, they're still weak!" Edgar hissed in his brother's ear.
Alan Frog abruptly turned and threw a small glass vial at the Rocker, who screeched as the glass shattered and splattered holy water onto his chest. Several voices screamed the name 'Paul' as Alan bowled him over, still dragging Edgar, and scurried to the safety of the sunlight.
It was too bad about Sam, but he'd known the risks going in.
They'd avenge him.
They heard running feet and growling behind them as they fled for the car, but couldn't risk turning to look. Alan screamed as claws slashed across his back just before they shut the door and Michael, not realizing that Sam wasn't there, floored it, leaving the Werewolf in the dust.
Alex debated chasing them, but he knew there was no escape. Not from The Lost Boys.
"Paul?" Alex asked softly as he entered the cave. Of all the boys, he was closest to Paul and Marko.
"The big baby forgot that holy water can't hurt us in our own home." David replied scornfully, dragging the other human boy with him. "He just panicked, he's fine." He shook his head, "What the hell is going on?"
"That new boy, Michael, he took Laddie and Star. The others must have come with him." He walked quickly over to Marko as he spoke, "You alright, Snickers?"
Marko took no offence to the nickname, a reference to his laugh. His large eyes had returned to their natural brown, but he was clearly on alert. "I almost got dusted, man. I could hear them, but I couldn't move... If you hadn't come... Thank you..."
It was unusual for Marko to act so subdued, but he was still processing what had happened, as well as fighting to stay awake.
"I couldn't let them dust my bro, right?" Alex slung a comforting arm around the smallest Vampire's shoulders, then turned to David, "Michael said that he could free them all by killing The Master Vampire. I warned them not to run-"
"They know about that?" David yawned.
"Then it's true? I thought it was just another dumb idea from that comic..." Alex knew the Vampires didn't tell him everything, for their own safety. And he didn't often ask questions for his own. "Then why did they go after Marko? They know he's not the Master."
If he'd been in better spirits Marko would have pretended to be insulted over not looking like a leader, but it was obvious to anyone on the boardwalk that he wasn't the leader of the feared little group. The Frogs had been watching them for years, they knew their dynamics. They knew that David was the leader of the Lost Boys.
"It's true, but as for why they went after Marko..." David looked apologetically at the smaller Vampire, "It sounded to me like they thought he'd be the easiest to kill."
"Cowardly little bastards!" Marko flung the stake with such force that it shattered against the cave wall. "They call me weak and then try to off me in my sleep !" He was angry now, and an angry Marko usually meant lots of dead humans. Fortunately for Santa Carla, Marko was also exhausted by the being unnaturally awakened during the day. "We can't sleep here, I'm not going up there again..."
"Who's the kid?"
David shoved the terrified boy forward, "Alex, meet Sam. Sam, Alex." He gripped Sam's shoulders tightly, "Sammy here is Michael's little brother. Apparently he's been hanging out with the Frogs too much. Think's he's a Vampire hunter."
"N-no...That's not... I-I mean..." The boy, Sam, stuttered.
"What are you going to do to him?"
"I don't know yet," He squeezed the boys cheeks with his hand, and grinned wickedly, "He looks tasty, doesn't he?"
"He's just a kid..."
"Tell that to Marko."
The young Werewolf swallowed hard and glanced at the angry, frightened blond. He was very close to Marko, and the thought of what could have happened was sickening. But, it was Edgar Frog holding the stake, not this kid. He ran a hand through his hair nervously, unable to come up with a reply.
"I thought so." David nodded, tossing the boy to Alex, "Watch him until nightfall." Alex was a good friend, and without him Marko would be dying in agony right now, but he was too damn soft-hearted.
"There's something else," Alex said as the others began to move deeper into the bowels of the hotel, "I scratched Alan Frog. I don't know if that's enough to turn him..."
"I don't know either." David said tiredly, honestly. He hadn't really had much experience with Werewolves beyond Alex, but Max might know.
Alex and Sam watched as they walked into the darkness. Then Alex pulled the boy toward the lobby.
He wanted answers too...
"You LEFT HIM!" Michael was practically screaming, "YOU LEFT SAM TO DIE!"
"What other choice did we have?! He froze up, and there were three Vampires and a Werewolf between us and him! We barely even got out ourselves! And Alan still got slashed by that that Werewolf!" Edgar shouted back.
"They won't kill him. Not yet, anyway." Star was sitting on the floor with Laddie.
"And you! Why didn't you tell us about the freaking Werewolf!"
"I didn't know! I thought Alex was human... He lives in the hotel, he keeps watch during the day and he's usually sleeping after getting dinner, regular food, during the night. He was always kind to us, but he was always trying to get us to 'come to terms with our condition'. He knew we didn't want to kill, and he was sympathetic, but he didn't think there was any hope for us. He was never around when they brought humans back to..." She left the though unsaid.
"Dwayne took me down to his room once," Laddie noted, "Alex was working on fixing something he'd found in the hotel. He called it a Gramophone. It's like a record player with a big horn like a tuba where the music comes out, but instead of records it had these weird wax things..."
Michael wasn't listening anymore. The Frogs were off setting Vampire traps for the inevitable attack and cursing the lack of silver in the house, His mom was at work and then had a date with that nerd from the video store and Sam...
Oh God, how was he going to tell his mom about Sam?
"I didn't want them to stake Marko." Sam said quietly. He'd finally stopped crying and begging about an hour ago, "I just wanted the leader."
Alex looked up from the antique clock he was working on. During the day he had a lot of free time, and one of his hobbies was restoring or repairing things left behind when the hotel was swallowed up by the earth. The place was a time capsule, everything that had been inside was still inside, including the not infrequent human skeletons. Living, breathing humans in the hotel were a rare and usually short-lived novelty. And this one was so young... He had been surprised that no one had come to rescue him. "That's only part of the problem right now. Your brother led hunters to our den, endangered the Pack. Marko almost died."
Sam had the decency to look guilty. "He looked almost as scared as me when he was looking at that stake."
"Don't tell him that. No one likes to be reminded that they were afraid, or appeared to be afraid. Especially a predator. Marko gets enough flak for being so small and innocent looking... He hates it when people look down on him or treat him like he's weak, or think that he might be more compassionate than the others. I consider him a friend, but he can be truly brutal when he's angry."
"Why do you call him 'Snickers'?"
Alex smiled, "Marko? Have you ever heard him laugh? He totally snickers."
Alex looked at the boy, he'd tried to escape twice already, not that he could blame him. But it was frustrating. He also didn't like the thought of what the Lost Boys would do with him once they woke up, and hated having to drag him back to some sorry fate... He was tempted to let him go, he honestly liked the kid, but they'd find him easily and then they'd both be punished in a far worse manner than if he'd stayed put. So all he could do was give him some drinks and snacks and try to keep him comfortable until David decided what to do with him.
"How can you change if it's not the full moon?"
Alex laughed, the sound echoing in the empty lobby, "Werewolves can change whenever they like. The full moon jazz is just a myth, like Santa Claus, honest politicians or journalistic integrity."
"Why are you here? Are you a slave or something?"
Alex let out a sigh, "It's a long story, so I'll give you the shortened version. When I was a kid my Pack was killed by hunters. I lived on the streets for a long time. I eventually found my way to Santa Carla, and the boys scented a Werewolf in the area. They figured we could work together to our mutual benefit, I guard the hotel during the day, and they give me protection, a place to live, food, clothes and companionship. Wolves are social animals, we don't do well alone. They let me join their Pack, in a way." He fingered his earring thoughtfully, and Sam noticed that it had a stylized wolf's head charm. "It's not the same, of course, but it's something. And we get along well. I mean, I don't like all the killing, but they have to kill to survive. There's no other way. I don't have the right to judge them for that."
"Are they going to kill me?" Sam's voice was resigned to the fact, he was surprised they didn't kill him as soon as they found him. But then again, the Frogs said the bloodsuckers like to 'play' with their food. He didn't want to die, but he certainly didn't want to suffer.
Alex looked guilty, turned away slightly, "I don't know. Ma- Master, the Master Vampire," He stumbled slightly, no one outside of the Pack was to know that Max was the Master Vampire unless he wanted them to. And Max could be very unforgiving. "He wanted... Wants you and Michael alive. Hopefully that stunt the Frog brothers pulled won't affect his decision. Plus they've had time to cool down and think about things."
Sam noted that he never called David 'The Master', nor Dwayne or any of the others. He was a smart kid, and it made sense that whoever this 'Master' was hid themselves well enough to avoid suspicion or detection. They must keep their distance, lurking behind the scenes. But if it wasn't any of the Lost Boys, who could it be?
"Why? Why does he want us alive?"
"I can't tell you, not yet. It's not my place. David will probably tell you when he wakes up."
Sam gave the Werewolf a knowing look, "You're afraid of them, aren't you?"
"There's no escape from them." Alex smiled sadly, evading the question, "They can track better than a bloodhound, read and affect people's minds, control them. Just don't challenge them, answer their questions and don't run, that will trigger their predatory instincts. Maybe we can still get you out of this in one piece."
"Can a Werewolf become a Vampire?" The sudden change in topic confused Alex for a few seconds.
"I hope not." The Werewolf said flatly.
Sam didn't know what to make of that answer.
"So Paul goes over to the 'rock box' and..." The Werewolf was trying his hardest to finish the story without breaking out laughing, "And I notice Snickers' got that look on his face. The one that means he's up to something... And Paulie slides his brand new RATT tape into the deck... And..." He wheezed a bit, "And pounding out of the speakers comes... ABBA!" Alex finally lost his battle and began laughing so hard he bent over double. Sam couldn't help but laugh along with him, trying to imagine the head-banger's face when he got pranked. "Marko had bought an ABBA cassette, switched labels with the RATT cassette..."
Marko's snickering laugh interrupted them, followed quickly by the others.
"That was an Epic prank!" Marko was shaking with laughter. "The look on Paul's face was glorious..."
Paul grinned, "Remember how I got you back, Snickers? You looked real good with that buzz-cut..."
David clapped his hands to get everyone's attention, though he was still smirking himself.
"David, I like this kid." Alex said, slapping Sam on the back while subtly moving between the boy and the Vampires.
"Yeah, about that -"
"I believe that is my decision to make." Came a familiar voice from the entrance of the cave.
Any positive emotions Sam might have felt died as he slowly turned to face the entrance. In fact, everyone there looked toward the figure who stepped in from the darkness.
It was him.
The nerd from the video store.
The guy dating his mom.
The Master Vampire.
He'd been right all along.
'The big baby forgot that holy water can't hurt us in our own home...'
What if they've been invited in? Is that why it didn't work?
Sam opened his mouth to speak, but Alex quickly clapped his hand over it.
"I see you boys have had an interesting day..." Max said calmly.
David glared at his sire, "Mike stole Laddie and Star and the Frog Brothers nearly staked Marko. If not for Alex, you'd be short a son. Interesting isn't the word I'd use."
"And I see you have young Samuel as a guest as well," Max looked at the boy, ignoring David and the others, "You've proven quite a bit more... Rambunctious than I expected. But you and the Frog brothers wouldn't have found the hotel, much less the boys' sleeping area, without a guide. Michael, I take it? Please, Alex, allow the boy to speak."
Alex hesitantly removed his hand as the boy let loose a stream of curses to make a sailor blush. When he finally calmed enough to think, he confronted the Master, "You were after Mom the whole time! Weren't you!? What do you want with her!?"
"Why, I intend to make dear Lucy my bride. You'll have a father again, and the boys will have a mother to help curb their youthful enthusiasm."
David grunted dismissively.
Sam would have rushed the man if Alex hadn't held him back. "You're crazy! My mother would never marry you!"
"Oh, I believe your sweet mother would do anything to keep her children safe. That's one of the reasons I chose her." He frowned, "Alex, silence him again."
Again the hand closed over Sam's mouth. Alex whispered an apology, and Sam noticed that his hand was shaking slightly.
"As for you," He looked toward the boys, "I will not have you ruining this for me." His cold, stern gaze turned to David, "Am I clear?"
"Crystal." David spat angrily.
It was clear to Max that his idea was not popular among his children, but children often had a hard time adjusting to a new step-parent. They'd accept his decision, eventually.
Max smiled, "Good. Samuel is not to be harmed. I intend to inform Lucy of our nature during dinner tonight. You will arrive promptly at 10:00, with Samuel, of course. And you will be on your best behavior." Max's features twisted into his Vampire form, asserting his dominance over his children.
David bowed his head, as did the others.
"Good. I'll see you at 10:00." With that Max turned and walked away into the night, whistling a jaunty tune.
"That lunatic is going to get us all dusted." Marko growled. His 'father' hadn't even looked at him, and clearly didn't care that he could have been killed.
Dwayne looked to David, "Should we warn him that Michael and the Frogs have probably turned the Emerson house into a death-trap for Vampires?"
David just smiled and shook his head, "Let him find out on his own. Who knows, maybe we'll get lucky and Daddy Dearest won't come back"
"Like a roach motel... They go in, but they don't come out." Paul grinned.
To be continued...
I wanted this to be a one-shot, but it can't be resolved in one chapter, unless it's an incredibly long chapter.
There will be no romance in this story.
In the late 1800's, early 1900's many gramophones recorded and played sound on wax cylinders. This was before rubber became a big thing, and vinyl records came along. Since the hotel sank in 1906, any gramophones inside would have likely been pre-vinyl. Alex found one and, fascinated by the antique tech, fixed it. He actually found a case of undamaged wax records and plays them, but only in his room, as the Boys prefer hard rock and he doesn't want it damaged while they're roughhousing.
Alex lives in an old hotel room deeper inside the hotel and stores his comics, books, etc... in the room next door. He has a battery powered lamp and candles. He has nightvision, but since no sunlight or moonlight reaches the room, he is unable to see anything there without a light.
Alex is naturally thin. He shops, sometimes visits the comic store and/or eats dinner early in the evening, then goes home to sleep. During the day he has food he bought (With money from Max or 'donations' made to the Lost Boys by their victims). He is pale because he usually stays inside during the day to guard the Pack. I based his appearance on an actor named Allan Winther (He's in the story icon) in the 1991 Norwegian film Mov og Funder. The 'O' has a line through it, but I don't know how to make that letter on my computer. I did not name him after Alex Winter, the actor who played Marko in The Lost Boys, it was just a happy coincidence.
Max sees Alex as an intelligent watchdog, more a useful pet than a 'family' member. The boys see him as a good friend, but he's not blood, and he has no desire to become a Vampire.
I know that traditionally a group of Vampires is called a Coven, but the Lost Boys behave more like a Pack.
In Vampire: the Masquerade and Werewolf: the Apocalypse from White Wolf Gaming there are Werewolf Vampires. They are called Abominations, as Garou (Werewolves) worship Mother Earth/Gaia and consider the undead unnatural servants of Gaia's greatest enemy, The Wyrm, and view undead Garou a total blasphemy against her. The Kindred (Vampires) see them as dangerous and uncontrollable beasts. There are exceptions, of course, some factions are more tolerant than others, some actually worship The Wyrm and see Vampirism as a blessing while others just don't care. Both main groups will actively hunt and destroy an Abomination if they learn of one. One of the worst fates imaginable to a sane, Gaia worshipping Garou is to be Embraced. Kindred who have knowledge of Garou beliefs sometimes do this out of insanity or simple cruelty, to doom their victim in a way that will cause them the most pain, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Alex is not a Garou, and this story does not play by any White Wolf/World of Darkness game rules.
Marko does snicker a lot.
The whatchamacallit used by Edgar to reach Marko in the film was removed as somebody realized how dangerous it was to have so close to where they sleep. Unfortunately, Marko liked the spot by the wall...
Alan was scratched. I haven't decided if he'll become a Werewolf, or if it can only be spread by bite. Either way, he and Edgar are going to be terrified until they find out one way or the other.
I don't understand why people loathe Star so much. She's such a horrible person for not wanting to become a soulless, sadistic killer? She doesn't want to slaughter innocent people and bathe in their blood? What a monster she is! Alex pities Star and Laddie, but doesn't believe that anything can help them. He doesn't want them to become Vampires, but he doesn't want to watch them starve to death, either. He honestly didn't know that killing the Head Vampire would free them, and even if he did know, he views Max as far too powerful to take down.
I like pre-Vertigo Swamp Thing better than Superman.