The sirens started up again.
Ambrose hissed out his irritation. And here I am on the run again. Just what I wanted to do.
He raced down Main Street. All of the stores were closed.
What am I going to do? I can’t go home. I don’t want those siren-wailers to know where I live. That place is my sanctuary.
I need to hide.
He turned the left corner onto dead-end Cline Street and stopped.
A gray Victorian house stood before him in all of its sharp-edged faded glory. Candy-colored string lights bedecked the front porch. A bright yellow Yes! We Are Open sign lay plastered on the Tiffany-glassed door.
And to top it all off: A red neon sign stretched across the highest point of the roof – The Bad Vampires Club.
“What?” What kind of idiot vampire would create such a club and then stick a big blatant sign on top advertising it? This can’t be real. It must be a trap. It has to be a trap and one that only a truly stupid vampire would fall for.
The sirens careened down Main Street, spurring him into action.
He ran to the front door and hammered his fists on it. “Let me in. Please let me in.” Please don’t be a trap. “Let me in!”
The door opened.
The police cars turned down Cline.
“You are free to enter, sir.”
Ambrose rushed inside.
The cars screeched to a halt. Doors opened and closed.
Ambrose didn’t think.
He just ran.
All the way up the stairs to the second floor.
Down the dim-lit hallway to the very end.
Up a flight of narrow stairs that led up to the attic.
Ambrose entered the attic and closed the door behind him. He ran though the darkness to the furthest corner behind a stack of wooden crates and sat in a bunched up huddle.
He sat still, even though his muscles twitched with the need to keep running. He wrapped his arms around his legs and rested his chin on top of his knees.
He didn’t think.
He only sat and listened.
Time passed in that strange way that only vampires know – both too fast and too slow.
But he knew that it had been exactly one hour and twenty nine minutes.
Ambrose unwrapped his arms, stood, and stretched – a long, good stretch.
The attic door opened.
He quickly ducked back down.
“Sir? You may come out now. The police have left.”
Ambrose ducked a little lower.
“You are safe, sir.”
Light, barely audible footsteps.
The scent of black licorice and lime.
Ambrose widened his eyes as the footsteps came closer and closer.
Just on the other side of the crates.
Ambrose shifted into a better position, so he could take off running at a second’s notice.
“There is no sense in hiding, sir. I know you’re in here. After all, this is where all of the frightened vampires go to hide.”
“I’m not frightened. I’m only trying to protect myself. Do you have any weapons on you? Any crossbows or stakes?”
“There would be no sense in my doing so, sir. I run this establishment. I do not stake my clientele.”
Ambrose stood and walked around the crates.
The other man stood there. He was a tall, thin gent in a butler uniform, white gloves, and an asymmetrical haircut. His eyes had a reddish glint in the dark.
“Who are you?”
The other man smiled. “Names are not important here. After all, it saves me a lot of hassle and grief if the police come looking for a particular vampire. I can safely say that I do not know anyone of that name. But you may call me Raven. It is not my true name, of course, but I like it. I think it suits me.” He held out a hand. “Come.”
“Are you a vampire?”
Raven smiled wider, baring his fangs. “Of course.”
“Can I trust you not to betray me?”
“Can anyone truly trust a vampire? But you are safe here. Come. Meet the others.”