I arrived in Boston in the evening – farther than I have ever been from home and all its comforts. The light was just fading, covering this new world in a golden hue. Maybe this place won’t be so bad. The Greyhound bus pulled up to the stop and still I was hesitant to walk off. I wanted to go back home. Threats have been made against me before and my family’s security team has always kept me safe. So what danger am I in? And, if the danger is that great, how does sending me to Boston help? There are just too many unanswered questions. My father always said that the only way to answer a thousand questions is too start with the first one. In my case, where do I go? Grabbing the map Josiah had packed for me, I looked for any clues he might have left me.
As if he knew I had arrived, at that moment I received a text message from the only other person who had the number to my new, cheap, phone.
Sarah Catham – 757 Main St apartment D
I tried to find it on the map, but the layout of the city was too confusing. Besides, I’m a Merrick. Why should I have to walk anywhere? So, I waved my hand and flashed a smile to summon a cabby. Better than a bus, I guess.
The cabby dropped me off in front of an old building. The man told me how much the ride cost and I handed him the money. His manners up to this point told me I couldn’t expect him to open my door like my usual chauffeurs, so I didn’t wait for him. After I got out, he seemed to hesitate like he was waiting for something, so I smiled and said thank you. I couldn’t forget my manners, after all. I could see him muttering something under his breath as he drove off. What was his problem?
The apartment building wasn’t quite falling apart, and the architecture was kind of neat, in a vintage way. Certainly not what I’m used to, but Josiah isn’t about to send me somewhere too terrible, so I walk up the sidewalk and open the door. Well, I tried to open the door, but it was locked. Off to my right was a panel with the apartments listed and buttons next to them, so I pushed the button next to D. For a moment nothing happened, and I wondered if it was broken. Suddenly, the door started buzzing. I pulled the handle towards me and it opened. Okay! So far so good.
Apartment D was just up stairs. Holding nervously onto the straps of my backpack, I climbed the stairs, then knocked quietly on the door. A moment passed. Then the door opened and a $20 bill was thrust in my face.
“Sarah Catham?” Please tell me there was a mistake and this is not where Josiah wanted me to stay. The girl standing before me seemed a bit older than I, but, at the same time, younger. She had kinky red hair with a splattering of freckles to match, big black rimmed glasses, a t-shirt with some robot character on it, blue jeans, and some decent converse shoes. Her nose was in a book and she hadn’t even looked up at me yet.
Finally, she looked up. “Oh, you’re not pizza.”
I explained who I was and she said that she was expecting me. Then she invited me in. She invited me to make myself at home, but I almost called Josiah to tell me he sent me to the wrong place. Pizza boxes and clothes and all sorts of junk were scattered everywhere. I had never seen such a wreck. I’ve had parties before that ended up in messes, but they would always be cleaned by the next day. I don’t want to even guess how long some of this trash has been here.
However, her desk and what I’m assuming was a work area was fairly well organized. She had a computer hooked up to several monitors and various electronics and tools beside the computer. This was her passion, to the detriment nearly everything else.
I cleared off a spot on the couch to sit, careful to not touch something gross. Sarah seemed to not understand what having a guest meant. Her attention was still greatly on the book, and occasionally the computer. I did manage to get her to talk some. She is a computer science major at Massachusetts Bay Community College, and she’s pretty much all alone. Josiah seems to be the only other person she regularly talks to.
Sarah kept a framed group photo of her uncle and some buddies of his on her desk. She explained how he’d come to her with all sorts of stories about vampires and nonsense like that. At least, I knew it was all nonsense, but she seemed to really take it to heart. Then she explained to me that he had died. The pizza arrived, she offered me some, and the conversation died again.
Hearing more about her, I understood why her hospitality was less than adequate. It didn’t change the fact that it bothered me and I didn’t understand why I was there.
The next evening Sarah disappeared for a moment, then came back with a large pair of bolt cutters, looking extremely excited. Seriously, she could hardly contain herself. She said she was going to meet someone and asked if I wanted to come along. The bolt cutters make me uneasy, but, for a chance of escaping the rat’s nest for a while, I was willing to risk it.
We got in her old car – I don’t even know how that thing is still running – and bumped down to the shipping district. We passed warehouse after warehouse until she found the one that matched the paper she held in her hand. As she instructed me to stay in the car, I pulled out my knife from my bag. She seemed pleased that I had some form of self defense. Even though I didn’t know how exactly to use it for self defense, I felt safer just having it out. Then Sarah bounced off, almost giddy from excitement, bolt cutters in tow.
I waited a good twenty minutes before she came back. Her face was glowing and she seemed to be walking on air. When she settled back into the driver’s seat, bolt cutters put away, I asked her what all this was about. She started talking about vampires again and I zoned out, worried about how far she was going to take this.
Later, Josiah called to check up on things. I made sure my hostess was out of earshot, and went on a tangent about how the place was a wreck and how Sarah was talking about vampires. All that was making me very uncomfortable. He explained how she sometimes gets ideas from the books she reads and incorporates the stories into the real world. He assured me that he would take care of it.
Several minutes later, Sarah came back to the apartment. I could tell Josiah had already spoken to her. She was apologetic about making me uncomfortable with outlandish stories. Then she opened a box and grabbed some trash bags out of it. Quietly, she began cleaning up the old pizza boxes and other miscellaneous items. It was getting late, so she cleared off the pullout couch first to give me a place I could sleep. The glow of the computers monitors and the soft rustling of Sarah cleaning up was strangely comforting and I fell asleep rather quickly.
The next several days were rather uneventful. Sarah came and went as she needed to for school and our takeout meals. All talk about any nonsense had ceased and she made an attempt to keep the apartment clean… Though the pizza boxes still had a tendency to pile up. However, I was beginning to become a bit stir crazy, staying in the same place all day. I think Sarah noticed this and she asked me to pick up our takeout order from the restaurant down the street. I agreed to this very quickly. Grabbing my knife for a bit of protection, I headed on out. On my way, Josiah called me and I said everything seemed to be going well.
When I reached the restaurant, I quickly discovered that Sarah had not called in our order yet. I was a bit annoyed, but it didn’t surprise me much. So I ordered our food and waited for it to come up. A while later I took the food and headed back. The day was pretty nice. I rather enjoyed the walk.
Immediately after I opened the door to the apartment building, I knew something was wrong. A spot of blood on the stairs caught my eye. On further examination, I found more. Following it up the stairs, I saw it led to apartment D. The door had been broken in by one swift kick. I called out for Sarah and there was no answer. I called out louder, and still no answer. Cautiously I entered the apartment and began searching for her. The main room had been upset by a bit of a struggle. A hidden safe I had never noticed before laid open, a pair of wooden stakes laying just inside. Sarah’s stories came back to mind, and I figured they got her into some sort of trouble.
I heard footsteps behind me, coming from the stairwell. Heavy footsteps. I spun around, knife in hand.
“What are you doing here?” A rough voice demanded of me.
Even in full knowledge that something was wrong in that area, in that place, and yet I went against my worry and caution to agree to Tracy’s request to help around the Sojourner’s House. It was the right thing to do, even in the full light of all that occurred for being there…but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start with how it began.
There was a younger man assisting me that night by the name of Joey Calfield. From what Tracy had explained to me, and from little I could seem to get from him myself, he was very closed off and distant. Tracy had given the impression that the life he had on the streets had been hard on him, as it always is with kids. He was rather clumsy and aloof at times, but he seemed to genuinely care about what he was doing – at least, that’s what I know now that it’s what I wanted to believe.
At the time, all was well aside from the eerie sense of being there, knowing that something was wrong, but was well out of sight. I shrugged the worry and doubt, and set myself forward to the task. I spent a good part of the night helping out those who weren’t sick try and prepare and stay clean so as to try and prevent the spread of the illness that had been going around. Knowing what the illness is now, there was little point to my efforts, except for what comfort it afforded those in need.
After that I set to the task of heading to the second floor and cleaning what I could while the stay-overs slept for the night. I decided the best place to start was the opposite end of the hall from the stairs and just work my way back, and so kept a good pace after I settled on a routine. The fluorescent lights gave me something of a headache with their constant buzzing, but I pushed through…Father forgive me, but it made me wish I had the bottle of scotch I had secreted away in my room back at the abbey.
The sounds coming from outside on the streets was in a strange way calming, as if to say that even when the light fades from the day, life continues on, finds a way to keep moving. I had smiled at this…but that was to fade all too quickly. I had changed into a janitorial outfit from my standard garb, leaving behind much of what I usually carried with me except my rosary, including my watch. I had lost track of time in focusing my task, and it was then, in the moment I looked around for clock, that I heard a rustling out in the hallway…and yet more like a scrap or dragging noise.
I paused, still and listening intently for anything following it. For a moment I wasn’t sure if I actually had heard anything. I started towards the door, thinking to myself that it had to have simply been one of the stay-overs coming back to their room. It made sense in the moment, and it would be near the last thing to make sense in some time.
I moved to the door only to…”feel” the sound of the world fall away into something worse than silence. Not the cars driving by, the sound of the fluorescent flickering…even the pulse of my own heart. The world grew silent around me as the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. ((I’ll have to continue tomorrow. Dead tired at the moment.))
The day started like any other one I awoke hung over with a pounding in my head. I crawled out of bed and grabbed the whiskey bottle at my bed side to chase the pounding away. After I microwaved some breakfast I headed out on patrol, I say patrol but its really more just keeping tabs on people, places and things of interest it almost seems pointless any more. I headed home and a little after I got home I heard a woman’s voice I crept to the window and saw a nerd looking girl carrying a par of bolt cutters. I head down to find out who she was, She claimed to be a friend of mines niece. She Stared at me like I was David Lee Roth. she handed me some information about vampire activity in the area and said we could hunt them down. I thought that it was supposed to be a joke but she was being completely serious I told her that I would look into and contact her and for her not to get involved. The information she gave me was surprisingly well put together It talked about the homeless disappearing and a spread of a diseases. I went to check out the local shelters I found nothing concrete just rumors and hearsay. When I got back home Sarah had left a note for me to meet here at he apartment and said it was important. when I got near the building I saw a blonde girl entering the building in a hurry. When I got in the building I noticed some blood on the steps so I rushed to Sarah’s apartment and the door was kicked in and a blonde woman was standing in the middle of the room with a knife I raised my gun and asked her what she was doing here.