Okay, just wanted to drop a line to let readers know that this is sorta a crossover. But I want to see if readers figure it out without me saying anything. Nothing crazy mind you, but it is something that fits the time period. Now, on with the story.
WARNING! If you are offended by material of a racist or politically incorrect nature, you may not wish to read this.
"My life…for you."
Those were the words that went through Thomas' mind right before he tumbled from the hospital room window. But as he fell time seemed to grind to a halt as his mind raced back to a memory from his past…a very special memory.
Downtown, outside the AMC Hohman
The eleven year old boy with thin rimmed bottle cap glasses walked out of the movie theater with an almost girlish glee. His friend Arnie, the theater operator had just snuck him in so that he could watch the latest Universal horror film, 'The Mummy's Hand'. Being an avid horror nerd Thomas wouldn't have missed it for the world. He vividly remembered the first horror film that he saw at the tender age of five, 'The Bride Of Frankenstein'. Since then he had managed to catch every Universal horror film that had come down the pike. 'Dracula's Daughter', 'Son Of Frankenstein', 'The Invisible Man Returns' and so on. He also had a chance to be introduced to the classics such as 'Dracula', 'Frankenstein' and 'The Mummy' through re-releases in just the last couple of years. So he now considered himself to be a bone fide monster expert.
His mind was still twirling in a daze when he suddenly took notice of a young girl stepping towards the theater's back alley entrance.
She looked to be about 12 years old and wearing a v-neck blouse and what he could swear were boys pants…and for some reason no shoes.
"Is she homeless?" Thomas thought to himself.
Despite her rather unusual appearance she had the most beautiful blue eyes he had ever seen and long golden gossamer hair with streaks of brown in it. He found himself captivated and suddenly became aware that without conscious thought he was moving toward her. He expected to be hit at any moment with any of number of foul smells that one would expect of a 'street urchin' as they were called, but no such odors came. As he approached she turned to regard him almost warily.
"Hi, my name's Thomas, what's yours?"
She gave no answer.
Undaunted by her lack of a reply and his own curiosity getting the best of him, Thomas went on.
"It's okay. I mean, if you're going to sneak in I mean. I did." He began with a whisper, "What are you going to go see? I just got done watching The Mummy's Hand. Great movie! Course I've seen it like five times now. How about you?"
"Hmmm…you don't strike me as a horror fan. So I'm gonna guuuueeeesss, Fantasia?"
"Gone With The Wind." She finally spoke back in a barely audible whisper.
"You mean that five hour romance movie? Holy smokes your butt will be ready to fall off by the time you get through it! So I guess that means you like the mushy stuff huh? Well. I guess I can't knock it too much, it's already the most successful film ever made according to the newspapers, who'd uh thunk it?"
"I…I have to go." The girl said as she abruptly turned and walked away.
"Hey, you don't have to run off, I thought you were going to see a movie?" Thomas called after her, "Did I come on too strong? Did I scare you? I didn't mean to." He continued as she headed down the sidewalk without looking back, "Well, it was nice meeting you Ms., Ms…hey, I didn't get your name!" He yelled.
But no answer was forthcoming.
"Thank you Mr. Peterson." An African American by the name of Cleavon Winters said to the foreman of the recently reopened town steel mill.
"Think nothing of it Cleavon."
Mr. Winters currently sat in the office of Mr. Richard Peterson, foreman of the Hohman mini steel mill. The mill had shut down during the Great depression, but now that America was starting to recover allot of factories were starting back up again.
"I know that you hiring a black man has got some folks turning their heads. That's why I want you to know just how much it means to me."
"Cleavon, when I look at you I don't see a black man. I just see a man who's trying to make his way in the world and support his family, just like me."
Mr. Winters then slowly stood up and outstretched his hand, which Mr. Peterson was more than happy to shake.
"If there were more people like you in this world, it would be a better place." Cleavon said.
"It's already a better place Cleavon, because people like you are in it."
Thomas slowly and quietly opened the front door to his home in the quaint little suburbia of Hohman as he peeked inside. His mother was in the process of finishing supper in the kitchen. He crept his way in and closed the door behind him. He winced though when the door made a characteristic clicking sound that went off like a gunshot as his head snapped in the direction of the kitchen doorway. It would seem though that his mother did not hear it, there was a radio on in the kitchen belting out the weekly presidential address by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
He proceeded to take his first step onto the stairs that led up to his room when…
"Thomas Lee Peterson, get your butt in here, now!" His mother's voice rang out as he froze and cringed.
"Oh horsefeathers, I am soooo gonna get it."
Thomas walked towards and into the kitchen like a man on death row being marched to the electric chair, his head hanging low. Finally he was standing before his mother as he tilted his head up to face her. There she stood, in a sunflower dress with an apron tied around her, her hands on her hips with a wooden spoon sticking out of her right hand. Her expression was disapproving to say the least.
"What are you doing coming home at this hour? What have I told you about staying out after dark?"
"I'm sorry mom."
"You did it again didn't you? You went and saw that movie again."
"What?" She said more sternly.
"Yes, maam." He said wilting under her gaze.
"You and your blasted monster movies, you worry me child."
"Ah mom." He whined.
"If your father knew what time you were getting in he would tan your hide. And I 'should' put you over my knee just based on principle."
"Is, is dad home yet?" He asked worriedly.
"No. He would have been, but I asked him before he left this morning to pick up a couple of things on the way home from work. The question is, what do I do with you?"
It was then that Thomas gave his mother the biggest and saddest puppy dog eyes that he could muster. At first she seemed unfazed, but Thomas could see hints of a grin starting to tug at the corners of her lips. Finally she burst out laughing.
"Alright you scoundrel, get upstairs and get washed up for supper." She said as he ran up to her with a smile and gave her a big hug before rushing upstairs.
The next day.
The Warren G Harding elementary school playground.
"Get up nigger!" A rather large twelve year old named David threatened as he looked down at a small eleven year old black boy by the name of Elroy.
Though the Jim Crow Laws made for segregation in public schools, at recess all of the kids we're let out to play together, something for which Leroy was not thankful.
David meanwhile had a reputation that preceded him as a hot headed bully that made other kid's lives Hell, even Skut Farkus wasn't as mean as he was.
"Please, just leave me alone!" Leroy cried.
"Or you'll do what nigger?"
"Or I'll kick your butt." A voice said from behind David as he turned to see Thomas standing behind him.
Everyone looked on in shock at Thomas' declaration.
"Just walk away, this don't concern you." David said.
"I think it does." Thomas shot back.
David just snorted.
"Hmpf! Just like your daddy, a worthless nigger lover."
"My daddy ain't worthless, he's a good man who helps people." Thomas responded.
"You a worthless nigger lover too?"
"Way I see it they're people the same as us."
With that comment David swung at Thomas, but his fist hit nothing but air. Thomas was uncommonly small for his age but very scrappy. He was comparable to a little bulldog, he didn't really realize how big or little he really was and didn't really give a damn.
David was more than capable of knocking Thomas senseless with just one blow if he could land it. But Thomas knew that and dodged his fists. The fight was taking place at the school's flagpole at the far corner of the playground. Oddly enough it was a common area for such things to take place and a small crowd had gathered around them.
But when Thomas managed to brake his nose and then connect with a fist to the temple, the much larger David went down like a house of cards.
Lying on the ground in a daze, the so-called bully didn't look nearly so frightening anymore.
"Jerk." Thomas scoffed at him before nonchalantly turning and waking over to Leroy, "You okay?" He asked as he helped him up.
"Yea, thanks Thomas, you a good friend."
Unfortunately word spread back to school officials later that resulted in an awkward situation once Thomas got home that evening.
"Thomas how could you?"
"I had to mom, what David was doing to that boy wasn't right."
"I've been told that if something like that happens again you'll be expelled! I won't stand for that!"
"What in God's name is going on here?" Richard asked as he came in the front door from work with a briefcase in hand, placing his hat and coat upon a hanger next to the door.
"Thomas got in trouble at school today for getting in a fight."
"Is this true son?"
"Yes father, but I had my reasons!"
"And what reasons were those?"
"Oh Lord Have Mercy. Who started the fight?"
"He was beating up on Leroy Winters and I stopped him."
"Did David get in trouble?'
"Of course not." Thomas' father huffed with contempt.
It was a well founded rumor that the principal of the school was a racist and scenarios like this proved it more than most.
"Well if need be I'll go to city hall over this. This ain't the south and this kind of bigotry needs to stop!" Richard hissed.
"You mean to tell me that you let that nigger lover's boy make a fool of you in front of the whole school?" David's father roared as he backhanded his son to the floor of their living room.
"I'm sorry daddy!" He cried.
"Eric, please stop!" His wife pleaded.
"Shut your mouth woman, or you'll get it next!" He chastised her shaking his fist in front of her face.
Just then there was a knock at the front door.
"Useless…both of ya." Eric said before storming away.
After he walked away David's mother rushed over to her son's side and wrapped her arms around him.
"I'm, I'm sorry mama, I promise I won't lose again." He sobbed.
"Oh David honey it's okay. That doesn't even matter. Just remember that no matter what happens I will always love you." His mother reminded him as they held one another.
At the front door.
"We're ready whenever you are." One of a large a group of men said to Eric at his doorstep.
"I can't go, we got a church function to attend tonight, gotta keep up appearances. But I trust you can handle it."
"Good, get it over with."
Sometime later back at the Peterson residence, Thomas was in his upstairs bedroom reading the first issue of a recently released comic book called Captain America. His mother had just tucked him in and told him goodnight but shortly after he had turned his reading lamp back on so he could read his comic.
But just then he thought he spotted something moving out through his window.
He looked out to see little Leroy running down the sidewalk in front of his house. Wondering what was going on Thomas quickly opened his window and climbed down the lattice next to it.
"Hey Leroy!" He yelled trying to catch up to him as Leroy stopped, "What are you doing out this late?"
"It-it's my daddy!"
"What? What about him? What's wrong?"
"He left over an hour ago to just go down the street to old Massey's market and never came back!"
"Well, maybe he just got sidetracked or something."
"No, no, he's went down there before. Never been gone more than fifteen minutes, something's wrong."
"Okay, well Massey's is down that way." Thomas said pointing in the opposite direction of where Leroy had been running.
"Already been there, he was gone."
"So what do you think happened?"
"I've heard talk. Talk about bad men who take colored folk and do bad things to em, about a place where they taken em."
"Is that where you're headed now?"
"Well, if that's true you can't go down there alone!"
"Got no one else."
"What about the police?"
"No time, gotta get there now. Sides they won't listen t'me anyways."
Thomas then looked back at his house, then down at the sidewalk, then back at Leroy.
"Then I'll go with you."
After Thomas changed out of his pajamas and into some regular clothes, he followed Leroy's lead until they were outside of town moving through a cornfield on a massive several acre farm. As they made their way through it they could see tiny flickering lights in the distance. When they finally reached the end of the cornfield they were allot closer. The edge of the field gave them much needed cover as they bore witness to what was going on.
In an open field, half a dozen men stood in white robes and hoods, each of then holding torches. Strung up on a cross was a person that they couldn't make out in the darkness.
"The KKK?" Thomas realized with shock.
The person in question that was hung up was finally revealed when one of the Klansmen went up to him illuminating his face with the light from his torch…it was Mr. Winters.
Only a small portion of the group were out this night, the rest slated to appear as part of the social function that Eric had mentioned earlier, but their smaller numbers did nothing to make them less menacing.
"Ready to burn nigger?" One of them asked.
It was then that Leroy screamed.
"What? Who's there?"
"Get em!" Another shouted.
"Oh no!" Thomas yelped as he and Leroy took off running back through the cornfield with the Klan in hot pursuit.
The two boys made it out of the corn and then rounded the corner of an old dilapidated barn as they stopped for a moment.
"You get home now, I'll distract them!" Thomas told him.
"But my daddy!"
"You circle back around and untie him once I lead them away!"
"But what if they come after me too?"
"The only voice they heard was yours, they don't know that there's two of us!"
"But I can't just leave you!"
"You want me to do to you what David almost did?"
"Then take off, now!" Thomas ordered as he gave Leroy a swift kick in the hinny.
As he ran off Thomas ran back around the other side of the barn just as the Klan members emerged from the cornfield.
"Hey, over here!" He yelled as they gave chase.
After running a considerable distance, Thomas managed to reach the end of the massive farm's property line when he suddenly fell and hit his head on a rock. He rolled over in a daze as the Klansmen bore down upon him.
Meanwhile Leroy had managed to circle back to where his dad was as he ran up to him.
"Leroy! My God what are you doing here?"
"Me and Thomas came to save you daddy!" The boy explained as he fumbled with the ropes that held his father.
"Yeah, Mr. Peterson's son."
"Where is he?"
"He lead the bad men away so that I could get you free daddy."
"Oh my God! If they catch him they'll kill him for sure!"
At that moment.
"Well what have we here? It's the nigger lover's boy." One of the Klan members taunted as they surrounded him.
"You shouldn't have stuck your nose where it didn't belong." A second spoke.
"Don't know how you learned about this place, but in about two seconds it ain't gonna matter any more." A third added.
It was then that a low guttural growl could be heard from the trees above them. They slowly looked up to see what appeared to be a small girl come down at them from above. Abby had been searching for what she considered 'worthy victims', it would seem that she had finally found some.
The first Klansman she came down on had his hood turned into a bloody sack of bone fragments and brain bits as she shattered his skull. The others were too petrified with fear to even comprehend what they were seeing as she proceeded to tear the rest of them to pieces with her bare hands. Her yellow eyes piercing through the shadows as she made her way to each one of them with amazing speed. The last of them she fed upon as she sank her teeth into his jugular. All the while Thomas watched in a stunned silence.
The girl from the movie theater?
When she was finished she gave the Klansman's neck a sharp twist that made Thomas flinch before she let him drop over dead.
Her face still drenched in blood she glanced over at Thomas for but a moment before turning away as he slowly got back up.
"No wait! Don't go!" Thomas called after her as she stopped for a moment, "You just saved my life, at least give me a chance to say thank you."
She looked over her shoulder at him for but a second before she heard more approaching footsteps as she took off into the sky.
Holy cow she can fly!
Just then Leroy and his father arrived on the scene of what could only be described as a massacre.
"My, my Lord in Heaven! What happened here?" Cleavon gasped as he quickly put his hands over his son's eyes to spare him the horrendous sight.
"It was uh…uhhhh a wild animal of some kind! Yeah that's it!" Thomas lied clumsily.
"Merciful God, what kind of animal could've done this? Did you get a good look at it?"
"Um, no. It wa-was too dark." Thomas claimed.
"Well, lets get out of here before what it was comes back!"
Not too far away perched on a tree limb, Abby watched everything and allowed herself a brief smile before taking back off into the sky.
Thomas made it home around midnight and managed to sneak back into his bedroom unnoticed. Before doing so he had begged Mr. Winters not to tell his father what he had done. Considering that he had just helped save his life, Cleavon was more than happy to oblige.
But even as he quietly slipped back into his pajamas and back into his bed, he knew that he wouldn't get a lick of sleep the rest of the night. He was too busy thinking about everything that happened that evening, and of what he had seen.
A real vampire…wow.
It was about a half hour later when he heard a tapping on his bedroom window. He turned to see Abby sitting there. The vicious vampire was gone and the girl he remembered seeing at the movie theater looking at him once again. He greeted her with a wide eyed look of wonder as he got up and opened the window.
"Please come in in." He said.
"You really want me to come in?"
"Sure I do, why wouldn't I?"
"Aren't you afraid of me?"
"Why would I be? You saved my life."
"But…you know what I am."
"And how! I've got a million questions too!" He hooted excitedly.
Abby had to admit that this wasn't the reaction that she was accustomed to when people learned that she was a vampire, but it was certainly nice not to be attacked and or feared for a change. As such she finally slid inside.
"Well, first of all, why did you come here?" He asked.
"To thank you."
"Thank 'me'? For what?"
"I saw what you did after I left. You coulda told them about me but you didn't."
"Well of course I didn't. You had just saved me. Doing that woulda been wrong. By the way, I never did get your name."
Two hours later…
"Can I what?" Abby asked with a slight smirk.
"Can you turn into a wolf?"
"Well, good grief what kind of vampire are you?"
"The kind that kills people."
"Bad people. I got no love for the KKK, they got what was coming to them as far as I'm concerned.
"It isn't always bad people Thomas. I wish it were, maybe it would make what I have to do more bearable. But it isn't always that way."
"Well, do you enjoy it?"
"No, I despise it."
"So I'm guessing that you didn't ask to be a vampire then?"
"Well, then it isn't your fault. It's the fault of whoever turned you."
"The blood of innocent people is still on my hands."
"Well, I don't care. If it wasn't for you me and my friends would probably be dead right now, so you're not gonna get any grief from me. You do what you have to to survive, no one complains when wild animals hunt and kill things.'
"They do when it's people."
"You are what you are, you can't help that. That and, you're a real vampire for crying out loud, how snazzy is that? Listen your problem is an easy fix. Just go to New York and start eating gangsters or we can fly you to Germany where you can kill all the Nazis you want."
Abby couldn't help but burst out laughing at Thomas' so called easy fix. She had to admit that despite her best efforts to be somber that Thomas seemingly had an answer for everything even if it wasn't always logical. That and she couldn't help but find his rather spunky and chipper attitude infectious.
Could she dare say that she had made perhaps…a friend?
The next night at the home of Eric Jacobs.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Eric said in disbelief.
"I'm dead serious Eric, it looked like a wild animal tore into em or something. The police are calling it an animal attack. And are checking to see if any circus or zoo convoys passed through that may have lost a lion or a bear."
"Ridiculous! It's just a couple of puffed up niggers with a machete trying to play hero. We'll find them and string them up just like any other. I assure you we shall avenge our fallen brothers."
"You didn't see the bodies, I'm telling ya something ain't right about this."
"Enough, we'll deal with that later, Was the special gift delivered to the Peterson home as I instructed?"
"Yes sir, it's there now. Uh, Eric?"
"Are you sure about this, we've never targeted a white family before."
"They're sympathizers, that makes em no netter than the blackies themselves."
"Yeah, but we've never tried anything like this up here before. Down in the south things were different, we had the support of local law enforcement and even political figures. Here it's pretty much us vs. the town. That plus there are allot less of us now than there were a few years ago. The Klan has taken a hit in membership over the last decade."
"You sound like you've lost your faith Greg. Don't you believe in what we do anymore?"
"Of course I do, it's just that here we're out numbered."
"Numbers don't mean squat. Doesn't matter how many of us there are. All that matters is the cause and what we stand for. Is that understood?"
"Ye-yea. Um, when was you wanting to move on the Petersons?"
"Not quite yet. We'll let them fester for a bit first. Let them know that we're watching. I'll decide when we finally strike."
Richard came home from work that night to find the 'gift' in question planted in is front yard…a burning cross. One like it had shown up in Mr. Winters front yard right before he had been abducted. But Thomas' father refused to be intimidated and tore it down quickly and with much anger.
He came in the front door to see his terrified wife running up to him in tears as she threw her arms around him and started crying into his chest.
"It's okay honey, it's gone now." He told her as he put his arms around her.
"I watched them put it up outside through the window, I was so scared of what they might do. They showed up right after dusk, I was worried that you'd come home while they were doing it and have a confrontation or something."
"I know how scared you are Jessica, but we have to stand our ground, we can't let them bully us. Please, try to be strong."
From the top of the steps Thomas was listening to every word. It would seem that the klan had targeted them now.
But Mrs. Peterson wasn't the only one who had been watching. Perched in a tree across the street…was Abby. Right after she had awakened she saw the Klansmen drive by and followed them here unseen. At one point a rather noisy dog had walked up to the tree barking, threatening to give her away. A yellow eyed snarl from her was enough to send it away whining with its tail between in its legs.
There were others that were watching too though. Abby looked all around her and saw the concerned faces of various neighbors looking out their windows at what the Klan was doing. They clearly didn't like what they were seeing anymore than she did and it was obvious that the townsfolk didn't welcome it in the least. But after staring for a few moments, they would close their shutters. They looked like they wanted to do something, like they wanted to help, but they wouldn't. They were afraid, afraid of being targeted. In the end they figured 'better them than me'.
In the weeks that followed, Abby would pay Thomas regular visits off and on. She came to the realization that she was growing quite attached to him. He was the first real friend she had had since before she was a vampire.
But even Thomas' company could not stave off her never ending hunger. And thus one evening she found herself on the hunt once again. Abby chose to stay outside of town simply because it was safer. But there was practically no one on the streets outside city limits after dark. She searched far and wide and eventually found a poor lone soul sitting at an isolated bus stop. Abby wished that she had more Klansmen to feed on, but they had been laying low ever since the night they had placed the burning cross in Thomas' front yard. Dawn was fast approaching and beggars couldn't be choosers in her case.
She pounced upon him silently dragging him from the light of an overhead street lamp and away from the street as her teeth pierced his neck. He fought with all of the strength that he had, but it was for naught. But as she fed she suddenly realized that there was something wrong with his blood as she forced herself to pull away from him. It tasted strange, abnormal even. What Abby did not know was that the man she had chosen to feed upon was anemic. What that meant was a decrease in the number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. As a result, the blood would not sustain her the way a normal person's blood would.
But she was out of time. She snapped the neck of her victim and took off with the body dumping it in the nearby Ganut river.
The eastern horizon was starting to glow with a mixture of hues covering almost every color of the rainbow. Indescribably beautiful to most, but to Abby they were the colors of death. She had traveled too far from where she had been sleeping since arriving in this town, which happened to be a closed down meat packing plant on the far side of the city that had not survived the Depression.
Her eyes desperately surveyed her surroundings as she searched for a refuge. Then in the distance she spotted something. A rock quarry, which also apparently doubled as a junkyard. She flew over to find a rusty old refrigerator as she yanked it open and threw herself in. She waited with unbearable anxiety as the sun crept over the hills and cast itself upon the land. Abby hoped and prayed that no light would penetrate.
She could eventually feel and sense the ultraviolet rays beating against the door…but none of them shined through.
Even though she technically no longer breathed, she let out what could be passed off as a sigh of relief. Granted she didn't like being this…exposed, for lack of a better term, normally preferring degrees of separation between her and the sunlight. But she figured this beat being roasted to a cinder. Finally, she allowed her sleep cycle to take hold.
A few short hours later…
Being a bright and beautiful Saturday morning, some of the local children had come down to the rock quarry to play. But as they ran along one of them cried out in pain.
"Damn it Reggie did you cut your foot again!" A second child yelled as Reggie almost instinctively whipped out a wad of band-aids.
"You know Regg if you actually wore shoes you wouldn't have this problem." Thomas reminded him.
"Yeah, yeah I know, but I don't like them."
"Well, I'm sure your feet don't like you. You cut and stub them more than anyone I've ever known." A third called out.
"Normally my callouses protect me."
"You're nuts! It's the middle of December! Callouses or not how can your feet not be cold?"
"It just never bothered me."
"Oh just admit that you like hurting yourself and get it over with."
"Oh, speaking of people hurting themselves, what happened to Flick again?" Thomas asked.
"Ha ha! Schwartz dared him to stick his tongue to the flag pole at school and the goofball actually did it!"
"Wow, I didn't think he was that dumb."
"Well you thought wrong."
"Hey guys, wanna look at that Betty Grable pin-up I stole from my dad's closet again?" One of the children said as he started to walk towards a dilapidated refrigerator.
"Aaaahhhh, we've seen that thing a million times now." Yet another whined.
Undaunted, the boy continued towards the fridge, but he was far from prepared for what happened when he opened it.
With a horrifying shriek, Abby burst into flame as the door was flung open. The burning sun flooding her as she was wrenched from her slumber. The boy in question was frozen in terror at the sight, as were the rest of the children…except for Thomas. With a lunge he bolted forward slamming the door shut again as his mind raced for something to say to his friends. But when he turned to face them he realized that he was now alone as they had all taken off running in fright. Even Reggie with his bum foot had no problems keeping up with the rest of them.
"Well, I guess that takes care of trying to explain why I just did that and why I'm not running with them."
He then turned back to the fridge.
"Abby! Abby are you okay?"
The only response he got was a pained whimper that brought him to tears. Thomas kept a steady vigil next to the fridge for the rest of the day until nightfall came. He knew that his mother was going to scold him something fierce, but right now his only real concern was Abby. After the sun had set safely behind the horizon Thomas carefully and cautiously opened the fridge back up.
There she lay before him unmoving. It looked as if she had already mostly healed her burns but she still looked rather ill. It had taken the last bit of energy that she had to recuperate from her ordeal, now she needed to feed again, but lacked the strength to even move.
"Abby! Abby what's wrong?"
"Hu-huunnggrryyy." She managed to weakly mutter.
"She needs blood! But where am I supposed to get it!"
Thomas pondered as his head turned this way and that.
"Maybe if I caught a small animal? Oh who in the Hell am I kidding? I managed to accidentally hog tie myself with a rabbit snare once!"
It was than that he looked down at himself.
"I guess…it'll have to be me."
Granted Thomas had no idea where he should cut, obviously a prick on the finger wasn't going to get it done. But then he remembered the cut that Reggie had gotten on his foot earlier that day. He quickly scrambled around through the miscellaneous garbage strewn across the quarry until he found an old jug. After that he grabbed one of the sharp rocks and took off his left shoe and sock. He inhaled deeply and tensed up as he sliced across the side of his foot. The blood began to pour, but it seemed to be allot more than what came out of Reggie. What Thomas didn't realize was that he had cut too deep and had nicked his dorsal metatarsal artery. It was a slow bleed, but if allowed to go unchecked he could die. The thought did not occur to him until after he started getting dizzy. He managed to hand the jug over to Abby before passing out and collapsing. The jug contained about a quart of blood and after Abby gulped it down she sat up abruptly. The blood had a familiar scent to it. She suddenly realized where it came from and looked over to see Thomas lying unconscious next to her.
Abby rushed across countless rooftops as fast as her legs could carry her with Thomas slung over her shoulder. Though the blood he had given her had restored her movement and some of her strength, she was not yet able to fly. She would need to feed again soon, but right now she just wanted to help Thomas. She hoped that the combination of her speed and the cloak of night would prevent her from being spotted. In no time she landed behind the St. Margaret hospital. The only reason that she knew where it was, was that she had passed it when she first entered this town. In her panicked state she had nearly charged in through the front door, but then realized how funny it would have looked for people to see her carrying Thomas the way she was. That and she didn't feel like trying to answer the obvious questions that she wouldn't have answers for. She kicked in the rear entrance which happened to be next to the hospital chapel as she let out a wail that echoed through the complex.
People came running in short order, but found only Thomas. Abby was no where to be seen.
"He'll be alright Mrs. Patterson. It was a close call, but he'll make it." The doctor informed her as she gazed worriedly through an observation window that peered into the room where her son was currently, "We found minute particles in the cut that suggested limestone. my guess is that he cut himself playing down at the rock quarry."
"Who brought him in?"
"I'm afraid I don't know. Some of the hospital staff said that they heard a strange scream or howl at the rear entrance right before his body was found there."
"Yes, I know how strange that sounds, I really wish I could tell you more. But right now I'd say that the most important thing is that your son is alive and well."
"Yes, of course. But Mrs. Watson's son told her a crazy story about a little girl on fire in an old fridge down there. She said that at the time Thomas was with him and several other children."
"They were more than likely there when Thomas got hurt and made up that story to try and cover up where they had been and what happened. When kids get scared and are trying to avoid getting in trouble they do things like that."
"But that was supposed to have been earlier today. What happened between then and now?"
"I really can't say Mrs. Patterson. I'll say one thing though. Perhaps this will finally give the city council the wake up call that it needs and get that motion passed that we've been fighting for. That quarry should've been fenced off ages ago. Countless children have gotten hurt there but this is the first near fatality that has resulted from it." The doctor went on as Thomas' mother nodded, "You do understand of course that we'll have to keep Thomas here for a couple of days until he recovers his strength?"
"Yes of course, thank you for everything doctor Meechum."
Around 1 AM Thomas was awakened by the sound of a gentle rapping at his room window. He turned to see Abby there and with a warm smile he motioned for her to come in. She easily overpowered the window's lock as she slid it open, but then hesitated.
"You have to say it." She said.
"What? I thought that only applied to people's homes."
"The movies don't always cover all of the bases Thomas."
"Oh, okay. Please come in." He finally said.
With that Abby slid in the window and walked up to his bedside. Once there she sat down on the bed next to where he lay.
"I'm glad you're okay, I'm guessing my blood worked then?"
"Yea, but you nearly died in the process. I don't know whether to hug you or punch you."
"Both works for me." He replied with a grin.
"So how are you feeling?"
"Alright, just a little woozy still. Did you bring me here?"
"So I saved you and then you saved me…again? Snazzy."
"What were you thinking?"
"Well, I guess I wasn't really. I just knew that I had to save you. That and…there's another reason too." He finished with a note of regret.
"What happened to you…it was kinda my fault."
"You weren't the one who opened the door."
"No, but it was my idea to go down and play at the rock quarry. We coulda went a half dozen other places if we wanted to."
"You didn't know."
"Doesn't make me feel any less guilty."
"Then maybe this will." Abby said as she leaned down and kissed Thomas on his forehead. Abby may have been the vampire but at that moment, it was Thomas who felt as if he could fly.
"That mean I'm forgiven?"
"All's well that ends well." She smiled back.
"Thomas, no one's ever done anything like that for me before. What you risked for me. I think that more than makes up for whatever you think you did wrong."
"So we still friends?"
"You bet." She told him as she reached her right hand out and rubbed his forehead.
Thomas recovered just in time to go with his family to Hohman's annual Christmas parade. Abby had a chance to watch it with him and loved every second of it. Luckily she managed to procure a pair of modest slippers so as to not draw too much attention to herself. She couldn't even remember the last time that she saw a parade. Afterward the kids were turned loose at the local dept. store where they walked around and simply took in the sights and all the various Christmas decorations. Abby meanwhile had never even been in such a place before, to her it was like a strange alien world. Thomas called it their first date, which resulted in a coy smile from Abby. As they walked along they spotted a long line of people waiting to see the store Santa. Thomas looked up at a staircase leading to a not so jolly looking man in a very fake looking beard accompanied by two rather angry looking elves that were far too tall to be elves to begin with as he cringed. His horror was shared by every child that was sent screaming down a giant slide after they would meet the so-called Santa who stank of booze. It was then that he spotted another friend of his standing in the line.
"Hey Ralphie." He said walking up to him as he and his little brother Randy turned to look at him.
"Hey Thomas." He replied with a wave.
"Here to see Santa huh?" Thomas asked.
"Still hankering for that Red Ryder BB gun huh?"
"Your mom told ya you'd shoot your eye out didn't she?"
"Yea." He said with significant frustration, "Who's your friend?"
"Oh, Ralphie, this is Abby, Abby, Ralphie." Thomas said introducing them, "And that's his little brother Randy."
"Hello." She said to both of them with a nod as they both waved back.
"Well, we gotta go. Lots of luck, talk at ya later." Thomas said as he and Abby departed.
As they continued through the mall they came across a photo booth.
"Hey, wanna get a picture taken? I think I got enough change for it." Thomas said as he fumbled through his right pants pocket, "Wait a minute. Can you even be photographed?"
"I really don't know. I haven't had a picture taken of me since before I was a vampire." She whispered.
"Hmmm, come to think of it we never tested the mirror reflection theory out either. Oh what the heck, lets try it." He said as he plopped the coins into the slot and he and Abby quickly piled in.
A few seconds later the flash bulb went off and the photo slide popped out of the dispenser. They then stepped out as Thomas snatched up the photos.
"Wow, you look even cuter here than in person."
"Thomas." Abby said with a blush.
"What? I'm not allowed to flirt?" Thomas said with an ear to ear grin, "Besides it ain't my fault that I gotta do all the heavy lifting in this relationship. You're the vampire, aren't you supposed to be beguiling me?"
"Says Bela Lugosi that's who." Thomas joked as Abby jabbed him in the ribs with a giggle.
After the mall Thomas had with his parents permission met up with his friend Arnie who intended to sneak them both in to the movie theater to watch 'The Mummy's Hand' yet again. Arnie promised that he would bring Thomas strait home after they were done.
But as they started to walk into the theater Abby stopped for a moment as she thought she caught something out of the corner of her eye. She thought for a moment that she had seen the same vehicle that the Klansmen had used when they planted the cross in Thomas' yard go down the street.
"Abby? What's wrong?" Thomas asked.
"I think I just saw some Klansmen drive by."
"Well, there weren't any hoods or anything, but I'd swear it was the same vehicle. I dunno, I could be wrong.
Dismissing it as a coincidence her and Thomas headed into the theater. As they watched the film Abby learned that Thomas had the movie practically memorized after several repeat viewings.
"You are very beautiful... so beautiful I'm going to make you immortal. Like Kharis, you will live forever. What I can do for you I can do for myself. Neither time nor death can touch us. You and I together for eternity here in the Temple of Karnak. You shall be my high priestess." Thomas spoke along with one of the characters of the film in a proposed scary voice.
As he did so he leaned his head over towards Abby at the end of the quoted dialogue causing her to stifle a laugh.
She couldn't remember the last time that she had had this much fun or felt this happy.
Outside the theater after the movie Abby said her goodbye as she planted a kiss on Thomas' cheek. Now it was his turn to blush.
After Abby left, Arnie drove Thomas home, teasing him the whole way about his new girlfriend mercilessly.
But their banter and levity halted as they pulled up to Thomas' house, only to see several vehicles parked along both sides of the street that weren't normally there and a couple more in the front yard.
As they walked in the front door, what had possibly been the happiest day of Thomas' life quickly turned into his worst nightmare. Lying on the floor in front of him dead…were his parents…in pools of their own blood.
It was then that the Klansmen appeared from various rooms.
"What the Hell?" Arnie managed to swear right before he was clubbed over the head by another Klansman that had been waiting at the stairs as they had come in. Arnie hit the floor semiconscious as Thomas quickly spun around. It was then that two the them grabbed him.
"Shame you came home when you did, guess we'll have to kill you now too." Eric said from behind his hood.
"What? Wait a minute, you never said anything about killing any kids." Greg said with surprise.
"Sick of Greg's spinelessness Eric turned and gave a silent signal to one of the other Klansmen as the sharp end of a hammer was smashed into the back of Greg's skull killing him instantly as he fell to the floor.
"Now where was I, Oh yes." Eric said as he motioned for his men to deal with Arnie.
A bat was slammed into Arnie's gut as he doubled over coughing up blood. While in that position a pipe wrench was brought down onto the back of his head. But they were just getting started. They forced Thomas to watch as they practically beat him to death.
"Arnie!" Thomas screamed with fright filled eyes.
Finally Eric turned his attention to Thomas.
"And then there was one." He said.
"Leave him alone." A deep demonic voice suddenly said as the Klansmen looked up to see Abby clinging to the ceiling above them.
Before any of them could even register what they were seeing she was upon them. One Klansman had his arms ripped off, while another was left holding his intestines in his hands. A third lost his face as his brain splattered onto the floor while a fourth was literally broken in half.
In the end only Eric remained, paralyzed with fear.
"Yo-you, you killed my men from before! Wha-what are you?" He stuttered as Abby stood before him.
"I am what I am." She growled, her eyes still blazing yellow.
"You're a monster!"
"I kill because I must. To feed and to protect. You kill because you hate…that makes you more of a monster than I could ever be." She snarled.
It was then that she lunged, his scream of terror cut off as her jaws crushed his windpipe. She drank her fill and then ripped his head and spine clean out of his body.
Meanwhile Thomas had crawled over to where his parents bodies were sobbing hysterically as he leaned over them. Abby dropped Eric's head and moved over to him. Thomas turned as she wrapped her arms around him, not caring that she was covered in blood and viscera. Thomas cried until he had no tears left to cry. For the longest time they both just knelt there on the floor holding one another.
But eventually the sounds of approaching sirens could be heard in the distance. Abby pulled away from Thomas to look in the direction that the sounds were coming from. She then looked back at Thomas. There were no words spoken between them…there was no need. They understood each other loud and clear.
When the police finally arrived, all that they found were bodies. Thomas and Abby were nowhere to be seen.
Miles away Abby flew through the night sky carrying Thomas in her arms, they never looked back.
As the cold night air blew into Thomas' face, reality itself seemed to come apart and change. Thomas suddenly realized where he was and that he wasn't a little boy anymore. He wasn't flying...he was falling.
"Abby, I lov-WHAM!
His final thought was interrupted by the smacking of his skull upon the awning before he hit the ground below. His final expulsion of air escaping his lungs as it turned to steam in the frigid temperatures.
Up above next to the hospital room window Abby looked down, but then quickly compressed her body against the side of the wall as the officer stuck his head out of the window. After a few more moments he went back inside. Abby then returned her eyes to Thomas' body down below one final time before flying away.
She landed in a tree not too far from the apartment courtyard and reached into her right hoodie pocket. In that pocket...was the picture slide that Thomas had taken of them at the mall in Indiana all of those years ago. Though it was true that their relationship had become strained once he had gotten older, there was a time when they were both very special to each other. For Abby the passage of time meant nothing. As far as she was concerned, forty-three years ago may as well have been yesterday. Abby knew that Thomas' life would've been better off without her, but in the end it was his choice. Not that such knowledge did anything to alleviate her remorse. She watched as the vibrant young boy that had once been full of life, joy and vigor became worn down by both the weight of his own tragedy as well as the life that he lead with her. The things that he eventually did to help and stay with her.
As she looked at the photo she became aware of a wetness that was staining her cheeks. She simply let it go allowing her tears to fall freely.
"Thomas…I'm sorry." She wept as she hung her head.