THE SETUP: A Vampire in Denial
Dr. Mark Corescu has long forgotten his origins and doesn’t care to know how he became as he is. In this scene, he follows his nose to a child abuser, ending the man’s life in his own bedroom. The Judging, by Ellen C. Maze. Book One of the Corescu Chronicles
Mark dragged the corpse to the bedroom window. They were only seven stories up and although he knew that the fall may not break any major bones, it would have to do. So what if they knew it wasn’t suicide. Let them investigate.
I wasn’t even here, technically, forenscially… Mark mused, peering through the slatted blinds to the road below. Ninety minutes past rush hour, and the street was practically deserted.
Six-thirty already? Hope will be waiting.
Mark realized the judging had run long, but it had been particularly satisfying. The unmistakable pull of evil reached Mark’s consciousness from a long way off, almost a hundred miles from his cozy neighborhood in the outskirts of town. Child abuser, pedophile, the call had said. A heinous crime against God. More a transgression against God than against the children themselves. These were Mark’s favorite victims; people who abused children. And this judging had gone well from beginning to end.
At 5:45, Mark stood against the wall in the dark room and heard his victim enter the apartment and engage someone else in conversation a few rooms away. A door closed in the hall and the man’s footsteps padded toward the bedroom where Mark stood obscured by shadow. The evildoer was a middle-aged man, unassuming features, with a soft medium build. He entered the bedroom without flipping on the light, although Mark was ready either way. He stood immobile against the wall directly beside the bathroom door, ready to pounce, not caring how the attack began. It would end like all the others, with his belly full and a dead sinner in his grip.
“Zip-edee-doo-dah,” the man sang gleefully across the room. He came toward Mark, still unaware of his presence, and stopped at the bedside table to play the answering machine. As the contraption beeped, the man removed his tie and unbuttoned his shirt. A woman’s voice on the machine, probably the wife, said she’d be home by nine.
“My, oh my, what a wonderful day…”
The man was giddy. Mark searched his thoughts and saw his evil intentions. Through this psychic link, he knew that a frightened little form in the room next door shivered in wait. Although it was this man’s daughter, the thoughts that seeped from his mind weren’t fatherly in the least. Mark’s grin disappeared and he closed his mind; he’d seen enough.
Mark pulled at the man and willed him to acknowledge his visitor. Engrossed with his evil constructs, the guilty man was oblivious to his visitor’s presence.
“Carl J. Odom,” Mark called him out telepathically, “you are being judged.” Mark opened his hands and prepared to take the man by the throat.
“Wha—?” Carl didn’t have time to go for the light switch. There was someone—no something—in the room with him, and it wasn’t human.
He lunged for the bedside lamp, but he couldn’t move. Steel-like arms wrapped around him from behind and he bulged against his attacker. A voice in his head commanded him to be still and he quieted, his mind racing with terror.
“Carl J. Odom, you have sinned against God. You have spit in the face of your Creator time and time again with your sins of the flesh. Your time is up.”
Carl wilted, the fight drained from him like water.
“You are about to die.”
Carl believed the voice implicitly, God had sent the Angel of Death to kill him. Guilt and sorrow welled in his chest and he found it hard to breathe, more from the emotional pain than from the firm embrace of his other-worldly attacker. Abruptly, he was spun around in the devil’s grip and forced to face his judge. Like a spoiled child, Carl squeezed his eyes tightly shut and refused to open them. When telepathically commanded to open his eyes, he did so and looked into the face of hell.
“Oh, God…” His voice trailed off and his attacker grinned.
“No, but close.” Speaking aloud for the first time, the Judge held his gaze, speaking just loud enough for him to hear. “God loves you, Carl. You are His son. He is willing to have you come home, if you will repent. You have made a mess of the life He has given you.”
“Oh, God!” Released by his attacker, Carl fell to his knees and closed his eyes again. Twenty-two years of his youth were spent in the Church and his ritualistic training came back in a rush. Praying as he’d never prayed before, Carl beseeched the Virgin, Christ, the Saints and the Father, begging to be forgiven. He was about to breathe his last, but not before he set things straight with God. When he had said all he could think of in his fevered state, Carl began to cry.
Mark took Carl J. Odom into his arms as a father might a small boy. This was the best part; the penitent man begging for his salvation.
Okay, maybe it isn’t the best part, Mark corrected himself, but it is way up there.
Odom’s fervent supplications faded to a low moan and he buried his face in Mark’s coat. He continued to cry piteously as Mark found his way to his throat. Brushing the man’s shirt collar aside, Mark’s eyeteeth extended as he prepared to take his portion.
Like a B-Movie Dracula.
Not amused that he had compared himself to a Hollywood fable, Mark plunged his sharp fangs deep into the neck. Then, unbidden, he heard a reply in his head that wasn’t his own.
“Or a four hundred-year-old vampire…”
Grunting, Mark shut out that voice. Once in a while, he would hear from “The Other,” an insidious opinionated utterer who spoke to him when he fed on human blood. The Other constantly belittled Mark’s work, belittled God’s work, and Mark had long ago decided that this counter voice was Satan, himself.
“Oh, that is rich. That would give you permission, wouldn’t it?”
Again, Mark ignored The Other’s remarks and focused on the task at hand. Once the fountain flowed, Mark drew Carl’s prone body closer and drank as deeply as possible. His victim did not fight, rather, his sobs slowed and stopped, until he was limp in Mark’s arms.
The night was a huge success, and with Hope awaiting him at his house, it had really only just begun.
Book Three, The Tree of Life, is expected early 2019
Final Installment, Book Four, Anathema expected Winter 2019
All from Little Roni Publishers, Byhalia, MS.