A man stood before me. Old, gruff looking. It took a moment for his silhouetted form to come in focus. When I could finally see him clearly, I recognized him as one of the men from the picture on Sarah’s desk, albeit much older now.
I explained how I was staying with a friend and just arrived to this. My answer seemed to satisfy him and afterwards he seemed to take no notice of me. I didn’t know what to do. I kept asking him what I should do and he kept blowing me off. Unacceptable. I planted myself in front of him and demanded he tell me what to do.
“I ain’t no babysitter!” I just stood there in shock. Never in my LIFE had I been spoken to like that! The man continued following the trail of blood. It led to a utility closet, down to a drain. He angrily muttered about going down into the sewers after a something called a nosferatu. Gibberish. Nothing could be seen through the grate. No way to tell how far down it went. I remembered there was a flashlight in the apartment, and ran to get it. When I came back, the scent of chemicals filled the air and he was using a mop as a torch. I still shone the flashlight down the sewer entrance. The man looked from the torch to the flashlight, and, in less than a moment, I found myself holding the torch and he had the flashlight. The mop torch didn’t last much longer, and by the time he had his bag and himself down into the sewer, it had already burnt itself out. I dropped it and walked, unsteadily, back upstairs.
I took a moment to calm myself, then called Josiah in a panic. Voicemail. “Josiah! I went to pick up some food and when I came back someone had broken into Sara’s apartment and I can’t find her and a man showed up who I think knows Sara and he went into the sewer following a trail of blood and he wouldn’t tell me what to do and I don’t know what to do, Josiah, what do….” I kept talking, but no words came from my mouth. I couldn’t hear anything. Not the beating of my racing heart, not my breath, not the cars driving by outside, not my own voice. Nothing. I froze and the phone slipped from my hand. On impact with the floor, the cheap thing broke to pieces.
Instinct took over and I ran towards the only person within reach who seemed to know anything. Down the stairs, around the corner, into the utility closet, and I was ready to jump through the sewer entrance. A pair of small, yellow dots stopped me on my tracks. Bugs? No, they were too steady. No, they were getting closer. Eyes. Unable to look away, I slowly walked backward. My hands searched for the door behind me, and, as soon as I had gone far enough, I slammed the door shut between me and those unnatural eyes and tried to brace it closed with my body. Not a moment later, I was flung against the wall as the creature effortlessly opened the door.
I was trapped between it and the wall, hardly able to move. The stench was almost unbearable. Rot, death….. Sewage. What was worse was the look in those yellow eyes. That wasn’t a man, it was a monster. Too many sharp teeth shimmered as it smiled at me. Was that jealousy in its expression? Was that desire in the way he ran his finger along my cheek? It was so hideous and seemed so transfixed by my beauty. I tried using that to my advantage as I started crying and begging even though not a sound was to be heard. It was enjoying this.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man come up from the sewer. It wasn’t the one I saw go in, but I was thankful I wasn’t alone anymore. I kept my expression steady to give the man the element of surprise, should he decide to help me.
The creature began leaning in, bringing his mouth closer to my neck. Instinctively, I slid down the wall and rolled away towards the door. My ballerina legs had me on my feet in an instant and I was running. I threw open the door and the cool air and sound came to greet me like an old friend. Still I ran. A pay phone was just down the street. Running. Surely emergency calls would be free. Running.
I heard a terrible roar. Then a gun shot.
“911 what’s your emergency?”
I spouted off the address first. “Man. Attacking. Help!”
The dispatcher assured me help was on the way and encouraged me to stay on the line until they arrived. It felt like ages. The lady tried to keep me calm, but I still just kept repeating “I don’t know what to do.”
Finally, sirens sounded in the distance. “I can hear they’re almost there. Why don’t you go and meet them?”
That was the most sensible thing I’ve heard all day.
As I started on my way back, I saw the man who startled me in Sarah’s apartment jump on a motorcycle and drive off. Yeah, sure, thanks! I’m fine. Run away.
I waited outside for the police and ambulance. They checked inside and found Sarah, the man from the sewers, and some homeless guy. They were all looking super rough. When the detective questioned me, I knew they weren’t going to believe a story about a monster. I wasn’t even sure if I believed what I saw. I simply told them that a man attacked me, I escaped, and I don’t know where he went.
The next few days, while Sarah was in the hospital, I hardly left the apartment. I felt bad for not checking on Sarah, but I couldn’t bring myself to walk out of the door. Since it had been replaced, that is. I spoke with Josiah and he told me about a man named Sebastian who might be able to help. He wasn’t sure if he was dead or alive, but it was a lead worth checking out. I pleaded with him to let me come back home, but he kept insisting the danger there was far worse than even what I had encountered – even worse than vampires.
Apparently, according the Sarah, Sebastian and the rough looking older man were one and the same. When she came back from the hospital, we left to go find him. Obviously, she knew where to go, and we were there in no time. She pretty much just bounced right in after Sebastian disabled the traps. I stayed just outside the door, waiting for an invitation. Despite the condition of the area, this was still the man’s home. Not to mention, I didn’t want to accidentally set off one of his booby traps. I finally came in when Sebastian got Sarah to bring me in.
That girl, I swear! She was flipping out like a fan girl at a boy-band concert. The traps and tools interested her for a while. Roland showed up and the men started talking. All of a sudden, we hear a loud noise and Sarah’s exclamation of “SO COOL!” She had wondered upstairs and found what appeared to be an office. Of course booby trapped. She was ogling a map with notes and news paper clippings and all sorts of connections. I guess once a hunter, always a hunter. Doesn’t look like he had done much about any of it, but he was keeping pretty close tabs on… Everything.
I got set up in a room with Sarah and I spend the next few days in a haze. Sebastian taught me how to fight with my knife and I spent a lot of time dancing in the big open room downstairs. I tried incorporating the techniques I learned with the knife into a basic dance routine, but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped.
At some point, and I struggle to write this down, I saw a dead body. Sebastian, The priest and I went to find someone they had seen down in the sewers. Hopefully he had answers. The part of town we went to was one I knew theoretically existed in every city, but I had never seen such poverty in my life. I had mentioned the fact in the car and both Sebastian and Roland seemed to resent me for that. It’s not my fault how I was raised! I think they forget sometimes that I am only eighteen.
Even though I wore the most casual clothing that I had, I was still way overdressed for the area. They tried to get me to wear one of the sweatshirts that were piled next to me in the back seat, but I politely refused. The stench wafting from the pile made me sick – I couldn’t imagine actually wearing one.
We entered the apartment building and I knew I stuck out like a sore thumb, but I tried to ignore it. Sebastian jimmied his way into the room and came out immediately, warning us about entering. I would rather not recall here what the body looked like.
At least it wasn’t all for naught. Roland found a flier in the man’s hand for a new homeless shelter. It was all about ‘being enlightened’. Checking out the place was our next course of action, and I was ready to get out of there.
JARROD, WRITE STUFF HERE.
JASON, WRITE STUFF HERE.