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Horror Friendship Adventure

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: This piece contains a gory scene.

I drove my Harley up the small path and stopped in front of the gate of the imposing and impressive gothic castle right dab smack in the middle of the Catskill Mountains of New York, far away from the glaring city lights. The place was a peaceful sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the City That Never Sleeps.

“Identification?” the guard at the gatehouse said, shining a flashlight in my face. I squinted and shielded my face with my right hand, snarling, my fangs bared. After my eyes adjusted to the irritating beam of light, I fished my wallet from the pocket of my leather jacket and showed him my ID.

“Blackrock,” I said. “I have a meeting with your boss. Personal business.”

The surly guard nodded curtly and rang the intercom.

“Boss, your pet dog is here,” he said, almost spitting out the word dog with bitter venom. In a flash, I was on him, my hands wrapped around his feeble throat. I could see the fear in his red, glowing eyes.

“Call me that again and it will be the last thing you do,” I warned with a snarl, tightening my death grip on his neck. I would have snapped it right then and there had it not been for a familiar voice behind me.

“Sam! Let him go!” Jack O’Donnell said, his commanding voice showing just a little hint of an Irish accent. “That’s enough!”

I released my grip on the guard’s neck and he fell to the ground, scrambling away in fear the second he recovered.

“My apologies, Sam,” Jack said, jumping the high gate of his castle estate, leaving me on the other side. He pressed a button from inside the gatehouse and buzzed me in himself. “I’ll have to have a word with him. Come in.”

I revved my bike’s engine back up and drove through the gate, parking it within the secure defenses of the O’Donnell estate.

We walked up the path leading to the castle’s main building and the castle doors swung open, held by Conor, Jack’s most loyal butler. The old man has been in his employ for centuries.

“Master John,” the butler said with a reverential bow. “Always a welcome pleasure to see you, Mr. Blackrock.”

I nodded in his direction and we walked on, until we reached Jack’s study. Most vampires alive today upgrade and update their homes and offices. But not John Joseph Mackenzie O’Donnell. He was stuck in either the Victorian or Edwardian Era, as evidenced by the décor in his own study. It was a typical Victorian study with dark wood panels and dark green wallpaper (which, I’m sure, still oozes deadly arsenic to this very day), dark wooden floors, and an ornate dark green and gold carpet. The walls were lined with mahogany bookshelves filled with volume after volume of classical literature. I couldn’t find a modern book in that collection.

“Still stuck in the Victorian Era, I see?” I teased with a chuckle.

“You know this is just my hideaway. My Fortress of Solitude, if you will. I’ll have you know I have more modern, high-tech digs in NYC,” Jack said with a laugh. “Is that the right word? Do people still say digs?”

“Yes, Jack, they do,” I said. “But I didn’t come here tonight to discuss modern slang with you.”

“Right,” Jack said, pouring himself a glass of what looked like red wine at first, but upon smelling it and on closer inspection was actually blood. “Why did you come here tonight, Sam?”

“There’s trouble up in Washington,” I informed him. “I desperately need to borrow some of your men.”

“I don’t run a security company, Samson,” Jack said with a sudden seriousness.

“I didn’t say you did,” I said, a little defensively. “I’m asking you to honor our Pact. Or have you forgotten about that?”

“No, I haven’t. Alright,” Jack said with a sigh. “What sort of trouble? What have you gotten yourself into this time?”

“Pack justice,” I replied. “Some members of my old Pack haven’t been able to let go of their grudge. The new Alpha—the wife of my old Alpha—just sent her goons to threaten me and my brother the other day. I need some of your men to protect the pups, at least. The grownups can fight for themselves. You know my new Pack is a fledgling Pack. We don’t have that many warriors yet. I’m the only experienced fighter among us. I mean, there’s my brother but he’s still training.”

“I see,” Jack said, nodding and taking a sip of blood from his glass. “How many of my men do you need? Twenty?”

“No, Jack,” I said, shaking my head. “I couldn’t ask that much of you, not even as a friend. I can’t let you sacrifice your coven strength for my sake. I can only ask for ten.”

“Ten men,” Jack said. “You have my word. And as a sign of good faith, I’ll send five extra. There will still be enough members left to help defend our coven in an attack, don’t worry.”

“Thank you, Jack,” I said with the slightest of nods. “This means a lot to me.

“Don’t mention it,” Jack said with a toothy grin, the sharp points of his fangs glinting in the yellow green light of the antique banker’s lamp on his desk. “What are friends for?”

Now, you may be wondering how I ended up in a vampire’s study in a castle high in the Catskills and how I managed to even befriend one. As species go, you all know that my Kind and his Kind are natural enemies—the bitterest of enemies, even. So how on God’s green Earth did a vampire and a werewolf end up being friends? Here’s how it happened…

April 2005

Somewhere in the Nevada desert...

I had personal business to attend to in Las Vegas at that time (including gambling). I was to meet a man named Malcolm Pearson, an antiques dealer. I had some pieces to trade and was excited to find out that he was an avid collector. As it turned out, however, he wasn’t just a collector and dealer of antiques. He was a collector of creatures as well. How he knew I was a werewolf I would never know—nor do I want to know. We met, we talked shop, and agreed on an arrangement, including the time and date we would sign the paperwork (he didn’t have it with him at the time). He proposed a toast, and like a stupid idiot, I fell for it. I felt weird a second after I drank the thing. The next thing I knew, I woke up in a sort of prison, surrounded by three white walls and thick glass plating in front of me. Everything was white, including the floor and the ceiling. Right across the cell from me was a gargantuan minotaur. Pearson’s cell nearly couldn’t hold his size. He banged on the glass wall before him but to no avail. Pound as he might with all his brute strength, he could not break the impenetrable barrier. Just then, a sharp beeping pierced my sensitive lupine ears, making me curl up in a fetal position. I stuck my fingers in my ears to stop the ringing—and the bleeding. When I came to, I saw green smoke coming out of vents in the corner of the cell in front of me. They came out of the floor and the ceiling. The minotaur roared one last time before disappearing within the thick green cloud. Half a second later, an earth-shattering thud rocked the block of cells. Pearson had killed the poor beast for its insolent defiance.

A roiling black hopelessness filled my soul with dread I felt as though I were in some kind of circle of Hell. Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’intrate. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. My despair grew and my insanity deepened as the hours ticked by. Even though there was not a clock in sight, I could hear it ticking loudly inside my own head. Suddenly, a beeping sound interrupted the incessant ticking. It wasn’t like the ear-splitting beeping I had heard earlier. More like the beeping of a microwave when it’s done heating your meal. The series of beeps was followed by a soft click and a hiss, and then all the glass doors of the containment units slid open. We were free to go. I stumbled out of my cell and ran into a pale black-haired man in a suit, a blond woman in jeans and a black leather jacket, and a set of sandy-haired twins wearing black jackets and slacks, bolo ties, cowboy hats, and cowboy boots. They were all pale and smelled of death. I hated their foul stench. I knew in an instant what they were and why they were there. They were vampires.

“You’re bleeding,” the raven-haired vampire said, pointing to my ears.

“Thanks, Captain Obvious,” I said sarcastically.

“I could smell it from my cell,” he said with a hint of arrogance.

“How could you smell it from your cell?” I asked. “Those things are airtight.”

“Never underestimate a vampire’s senses,” he said with a smirk. “Now, you can come with us and get out of here or you can stay behind and rot. Your choice.”

“Just who the Hell do you think you are?” I replied. “And how do I know you’re not working for Malcolm Pearson and would betray me first chance you get?”

“Because we don’t work for him,” the blond vampire said in a Russian accent. “He has something we need—something of great value, and we’re here to steal it. What is that saying? The enemy of my enemy is my friend?”

“We’re not friends,” I said curtly. “How’d you manage to bypass the system and open the doors, anyhow?”

“I MacGyver’d  it,” the lead vampire said. “Enough question. Are you coming or not?”

“Let’s go,” I said.

We exited through the door at the far end of the row of cells, sneaking soundlessly like shadows in the dark. But our luck didn’t last long. So much for the luck of the Irish. Before long, Pearson had figured out what was going on and sent his goons to prevent our escape. We encountered them in the gallery where Pearson kept his rare antiques—medallions and lockets, swords, doubloons, a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, and many others. Through the windows above, the full desert moon shone down on us, and when I passed its beams, I felt myself shifting. With a feral howl, I lifted my face to the moon and bones and ligaments snapped, reforming me, reshaping me into a monstrous wolf that was taller than an average man. Soon, a battle ensued and we charged into the fray, taking down as many of Pearson’s goons as we could. They were everywhere, like metastasized cancer cells. We fought as best we could, but it seemed like a losing battle. At one point, Malcolm Pearson himself made an appearance, wielding a stake and a mallet in his hands. His eyes were focused on the dark-haired Irish vampire. I had never before in my life seen a man move that fast. Like lightning, Pearson had Jack O’Donnell pinned to the ground, the sharp point of the stake at his chest. He was about to bring the mallet down when I charged. Jack had saved my life. In that moment, it was time to save his. Hot blood sprayed over Jack as I tore Pearson’s throat with my jaws in one powerful bite. The smell of blood reenergized Jack and his Undead companions and Pearson’s goons fled in terror. Their escape was blocked by our reinforcements—centaurs, chimeras, a strange creature with a man’s body and a horse’s head, a female bat-winged vampire with only half a body and a proboscis-like tongue, and many others. They had taken their opportunity to escape. I was saddened that the minotaur was not among them.

After the battle, I willed myself to shift back to my human form, no matter how painful. Jack and I shook hands.

“Samson Blackrock,” I said with a smile.

“Jack O’Donnell,” Jack said. “This is Nikolina, Jesse, and Joel Goodwin.”

“Pleasure to meet you all,” I said civilly. “What will happen to that minotaur, by the way?”

“Don’t worry, he’s still alive,” Jack assured me. “He’s just knocked out. He’ll wake up dazed and confused in a couple of hours.”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“I detected a faint heartbeat,” Jack answered.

So there you have it. The beginning of the friendship of two creatures from different species.

April 25, 2022 02:12

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