}); The Vampire Chad (Part 20) – Blinds-Eye View

The Vampire Chad (Part 20)

“I can tell by the look on your face that you weren’t planning on dealing with me directly tonight, my young friend,” he began.  “Can I take that as a sign that killing me wasn’t part of your original scheme?”

I was totally dumbfounded.

“You’ve lost me here, Vash,” I said.  “Who said anything about me killing you?  I’m only here for the book.  I have no intention of hurting you.”

I paused, then asked the question foremost on my mind.

“But, how could you have known I was coming here tonight?  I didn’t tell anybody about my plan.”

Quite unexpectedly, he burst out in full laughter, which confused me even more.  I waited for him to compose himself and explain.  Finally composing himself and wiping a tear from his eye, he answered.

“How did the great Tash Vandlo, Romanian Seer Extraordinaire, know you were coming to steal the Tome of the Praeter Naturam?  How did he know you were coming on this particular night?” he chuckled.  “What seer worth his salt hasn’t had the curiosity and vanity to foretell his own demise? I’ve foretold your descent into the darkfold, haven’t I?  It’s a slope you seem to be sliding down quite rapidly these past several months, my friend.

The murder of an innocent girl to satiate the jealousies of your master?  When it was your master who pretty much set you on that perverse path of sexual discord with the girl in the first place?  Yes, Mr. Elliot, I do believe you already have your answer as to your lover’s control over you.  You don’t need the Tome of the Praeter Naturam or the murder of a friend to tell you that much.”

His words bit deep and true.  There was nothing I could really say to deny their validity.  That being acknowledged though, it still didn’t prove there was any preternatural influence there.  It could still be argued away with the “Power of the Boob” argument.

The sexy girl asks the innocent horny boyfriend to do her bidding.  Boyfriend chops off left nad at her request, then saws off right one believing it will make her even happier.  Sexy girl quite literally has the innocent horny boyfriend by the balls.  It happens.  It doesn’t prove any supernatural influence, just that men can have no balls when it comes to women’s influence.  I think I’ve beat that horse enough.

I tried to explain this as much to Vash, but he wouldn’t have it.

“What does it matter whether it’s natural or some sort of mystical control, Chad,” he asked?  “Control is still control.  You’re being manipulated, drug down, and turned into something you aren’t.  How can’t you see that?” he stated, getting angry and frustrated at this point.

“The difference is a matter of intent and compliance,” I spat back at him.  “If it’s just the power of the boob, it may be her intent to control me, but ultimately MY choice whether I cave to her will.  If it’s vampiric charm, there’s still intent on her part, but no free will on my part.  Falling for her charms is one thing, being forced is another.  It all comes down to, do I have a choice or not?”

He just continued to shake his head sadly at me.

“I’m afraid I just can’t comprehend what true difference that makes, my friend.  If someone is using you, they’re using you.  Manipulation is the same, whether it’s supernatural or not.  Regardless, it doesn’t matter.  On the promise I made to my father, who was sanctioned by his, who was bound by my great-grandfather, and so on back throughout my family line, no supernatural creature may set their eyes upon this book.  We are to see it destroyed before letting that happen.”

“You know I can’t let you do that, Tash,” I said.  “I need that book.”

With those words spoken, I jumped from my seat with my preternatural speed and reached out too easily snatch the tome from his hand.  At least, that was my intent.  The minute I left my seat, he pulled a talisman out from underneath the neckline of his shirt.  The talisman itself was unamazing; Just a golden metal figure of a naked woman, her body splayed out in the shape of a star.

It was the deep reddish stone embedded in the middle of her chest, offset just the slightest to the left that caught my attention immediately and held it. The heart-shaped gem didn’t appear to be made of glass or precious stone of any kind.  Rather it had the appearance of liquid.

It swirled with shades of dark and lighter reds inside like there was a hurricane taking place throughout the insides of the gem.  The closest description I could truly give to it is the storms of the Great Red Spot of Jupiter contained in a heart-shaped jewel.  I was totally and completely mesmerized by it and couldn’t move.

“You see, my young friend.  Your master is not the only one who can hold unnatural influence over you.  Just as her blood holds you, so does that of the first.  You will leave here now and never return.  The Tome of the Praeter Naturam has already been destroyed, and I am dead.  You have no reason to come back.”

I awoke in the alley behind Tash’s shop, with no recollection of how I’d gotten there.  My last memory was of arriving here, searching the entire downstairs and basement, and then heading upstairs to Tash’s apartment to search for the book. I’d entered into a grisly scene.  Apparently, someone one had beaten me to the punch.  Tash was lying flat on his kitchen floor in a large pool of blood.

From all appearances, he had been shot through the back with a rather nasty firearm, given the size of the hole.  Upon further inspection of the apartment and store, it appeared to have been a robbery.  Both the apartment and store register were cleared of money and valuables.

The only strange thing about the whole situation that made the whole murder scene uncharacteristic is that I found remains of the burnt book in a metal trash can in his bathroom.  I recognized it from part of the front cover’s insignia which remained.  It was a golden statue of a naked woman with a red, heart-shaped gem embedded in between her breasts.  The rest of the book was unintelligible from fire damage.                   Why would either Tash or a thief burn the book.  It made no sense.  In the grand scheme of things, I guess it really didn’t matter.  The book was lost to me, and that was that.

And now, I was suddenly in the alley with no recollection of actually leaving the apartment.  It kind of tore at me that something was amiss here, especially considering I didn’t recall just leaving the apartment, but it’s not like it truly mattered at this point.  The Tome of the Praeter Naturam had already been destroyed, and Tash was dead.  I had no reason to come back.  Still, there was something wrong here.  What was it?  Scratching my head in concentration, I began walking back to the rental car.

As I reached the car, and was searching my pockets for the keys, I happened to glance into the small bookstore I had parked in front of.  It was another little Mom & Pop Shop like several in the neighborhood, with a display of current best sellers displayed in the window.  I smiled to myself, morbidly wondering if they’d have a copy of the Praeter Naturam.  Too soon for those types of jokes, Chad, to soon.  Moping over my loss, I stuck the key in the car door, and it hit me.  No, not the door, a clue to the truth.

The Praeter Naturam?  How did I know the name of the book?  The only distinguishable part of the burnt book cover was a golden statue of a naked woman with a red, heart-shaped gem embedded in between her breasts.  There was no title there?  And come to think of it, hadn’t I seen that golden statue somewhere else, besides on the book cover.  There were just too many strange coincidences and questions here.  I bolted back towards Tash’s store.                   I felt liking barging right back in and making sure everything was as I remembered it; Tash’s body in a pool of blood, book burned and in the bathroom trash.

I decided a discreet approach might be in order though.  The truth of what happened was coming back to me in bits and pieces, and I wasn’t sure I could trust anything I saw or experienced at this particular moment.  It’s like having recurrent Déjà vu, and then finally realizing that you’d had a dream that entailed several parts of it all.  Or at least something close to that.

I snuck in through the back door of the shop again.  Yes, I had jarred the door open earlier.  That stood up to my personal scrutiny.  I checked out the storeroom, sales floor and basement.  Again, no surprises or discrepancies there.  And then I heard someone moving around upstairs in the apartment. Wait, who could that be?  Very slowly, I made my way up the steps to the apartment.

There was no apartment door at the top of the steps as the apartment was only accessible from the storeroom downstairs.  You got to the top of the stair, and you made an immediate right turn into the kitchen.  Creeping like a cat, I climbed the last few steps without making a sound and peeked around the corner.  There wasn’t anything out of place or out of the ordinary in the kitchen!  No dead Vash body, no pool of blood, nothing but a typical little efficiency kitchen.  So where was Vash?

I got my answer as I was entering the kitchen.  Down the hallway past the kitchen, somebody was making a little bit of a racket in either the bedroom or bathroom.  The only other room in the apartment was a living room area across from the kitchen and hallway.  The sound did not come from there.  Sneaking into the hallway, verifying for sure that nobody was in the living room, I started down the short hall.  A few feet down on the left was the bedroom, on the right, a linen closet than the bathroom.  I stopped and listened again.

Again, a little bit of rustling and rattling around, suddenly followed by the unmistakable sound of a match being struck in the bathroom.  I flew down the hall, and into the bathroom to stop him.  Yes, Tash was standing there, very much alive without a gaping hole in his back, touching a match to something in a metal trash can.

Yes, it was the Tome of the Praeter Naturam, it’s unmistakable golden naked woman with a red, heart-shaped gem embedded on her chest was displayed on the cover.  It was a picture of the talisman with which Vash had hypnotized me earlier in the evening.  The rest of it all came back to me in a rush.  Tash’s plan had failed.

Before he could set the tome ablaze for real, I grabbed him by the throat in a rage and smashed him up against the bathroom sink and mirror above it, holding him there.  His spine let out a splintering crunch where it rammed into the sink, and the mirror shattered into a hundred pieces from the force of his head hitting it; Tiny and bloodied reflective shards littering the entire bathroom.  I won’t even attempt to describe the gore which use to be the back of his head.

In an uncontrollable and sudden fit of anger, I had killed another innocent, unintentionally making one of Tash’s last prognostications come true.  Releasing his throat and letting his body drop to the bathroom floor, I leaned against a wall and apologized to his corpse.  All of this for a stupid book?  Was the life of a vibrant human being really that trivial?  It couldn’t be.  It wouldn’t be.  Even though I was the instrument of his death, I vowed that it would not be a death in vain.  Pulling the Tome of the Praeter Naturam from the trash can, I headed back to New York to make it so.

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