Ambrose floated in a netherverse of nothing. No light. No sound. No pain. No hunger. It was strangely peaceful. He didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything. He could just float like a feather in the night wind.
It was all so lovely.
Then, someone had to ruin it all by yanking and jerking his arms. It was very hard to ignore.
It was also very irritating.
They dropped his arms. One fell onto his chest. The other landed knuckles-first on the ground.
Ambrose opened his eyes and took inventory of his damages. Nothing felt broken or missing. And he was still alive. So, that was good news.
He rolled onto his chest and pushed himself up into a sit. His head reeled.
There’s something wrong with me. I need Elsie.
He stood with utmost care, but he still weebled and wobbled. His vision blurred..
Someone…A woman shrieked.
He looked in her general direction.
She can help me. No. She will help me.
He took a couple of unsteady shuffles forward and stopped as his dizziness nearly knocked him backward.
If only I had something to grab on to.
“Are you okay?”
What kind of stupid question is that? Do I look anything like ‘okay’? Ambrose focused on her blurry form. “Elsie.”
He caught wind of her scent – an invigorating blend of orange, peppermint, and lemons. No. Definitely not Elsie.
His vision cleared.
His dizziness let up.
But he still felt like a car got dropped on his body.
He straightened his posture and strolled over to her – smooth and easy – as if there weren’t a thing wrong with him.
She looked like she wanted to jump in her car and drive away. Yet, she didn’t.
He stopped in front of her, which seemed to increase her unease.
Lightning flashed as he looked into her eyes.
Her expression softened, became more relaxed.
Ambrose almost smiled. Now, she is mine to command. “You will take me to Elsie Vansing.”
“I should take you to the hospital first.”
He frowned. How dare she defy my direct order! “No hospital. They don’t…They can’t help me. I need to see Elsie.”
“Oh, but I don’t know her.”
“I do.” He walked over to her car and opened the passenger side door.
“Wait! What do you think you’re doing?”
A plastic mail tub filled with envelopes and assorted packages blocked up his seat. He picked it up and tossed it into the back. He then sat down and closed the door.
She opened the driver side door and poked her head inside. “Get out! This is government property.”
He gave her his best ‘I don’t care’ look. “I am not well.”
“Well, that is all the more reason to get out of my car. Besides, I’m not supposed to pick up hitchhikers.”
He sighed. “I am not a hitchhiker. I am a vampire and I need Elsie’s help. I’ve been imprisoned in some sort of zoo exhibit or freak show or I don’t even know what. They had me on display with no shelter and no food.” He leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. “I am not well. Elsie…Elsie will be able to help me.”
Ambrose drifted off to sleep and it felt so good.
Until she woke him by repeatedly poking his arm.
“Whazza?” He opened his eyes and glanced around. “What? Why aren’t we at Elsie’s yet?”
“Because I have no idea who Elsie is.”
“She’s Elsie Vansing, world renowned vampire hunter. She lives in…” He pressed his hands against the side of his head. “…in Havaton.” He glared at her. “Do you know where that is?”
“Of course I do. But are you sure you want to go to a vampire hunter for help?”
“Yes.” He leaned back again. “She’ll know what’s wrong with me.”
“Sure, but won’t she just kill you? I mean, isn’t it her job to kill vampires?”
“She won’t kill me.”
“How do you know that?”
He closed his eyes again. “Gut instinct.”
“Gut instinct, huh? Okay, how about this for a question: How do I know that you’re really a vampire?”
“You hit me with your car and I was able to walk away from it without any injuries. Are you certain you need more proof than that?”
“Well, you could have internal injuries that you just aren’t aware of. I’ve heard of this sort of thing before. I’m pretty sure I saw it on a episode of House.”
He opened his eyes. “What kind of proof do you want?”
“Well, I don’t want you to bite my neck, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
Her answer disappointed him.
“Do you have…I don’t know. A vampire ID card or something?”
He bared his fangs. “How’s that for an ID?”
“Ehh, close enough.”
“Good. Get in the car and take me to Elsie.”
She got into the car and closed the door. “What’s your name?”
He frowned. “What does it matter?”
“It matters plenty. Like I said before, this is a government-owned car and I am not supposed to carry any passengers. I would like to know who I’m breaking the law for.”
“My name is Ambrose Smith. Now. Drive.”