Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 75

Vampire Boys Of Summer

75: Out Of The Frying Pan

“Your dad? I thought your parents were traveling.”

Haru nodded. “I guess they stopped.”

“I don’t understand. The person you were looking for when you showed up here was your dad?”

“We had been looking for him, yes. We didn’t know he was here, though. We came here to follow up on the news article about your father. We thought mine was close, but I didn’t know they were connected. The tall man your dad saw in the grocery store? Talking with the clerk your dad thought was a vampire? We suspect that was my father.”

“We weren’t sure,” Luhan said, asserting himself into the conversation. “I sent Ryo and Haru to talk to the clerk and he told them what our fears already knew.”

I turned to Haru, a hurt look on my face. “You told me the clerk’s mind was wiped clean. You told me Bram couldn’t tell you any information. You lied to me, Haru.”

Haru tried looking at me, but my eyes revealed my hurt and anger a little too much. “How many times are you going to lie to me? First, you hid the reason of your arrival in Chelsea Valley, and now this.”

“I’m sorry, Nora. I…”

A grating sound echoed up the tunnel. We all turned. It was the sound of steel against rock. The gate behind us was opening. We could barely see into the darkness that disappeared back into the roofed section of the labyrinth. But we heard it. A loud shuffling that sounded like dozens of dragged feet, tired and wore out, yet advancing nonetheless. My disappointment in Haru was temporarily displaced. The vampires who had chased us into the labyrinth had now caught up. We may have lost them on the roof, but now we were back down on their level. And they’d grown more agitated, desperate, thirsting for their first tastes of blood. Some had been unable to contain their thirst and were attempting to get it from themselves or each other. This was evident as they came into view. Two of them were dragging another, drinking from his arms as they pulled him along. Another appeared drained and half dead, while a girl of about sixteen eyed him, following behind like a vulture waiting for the carrion to drop in front of her. But the rest were very aware that to drink from each other would not sustain them like human blood. And here was human blood right in front of them. Me.

Haru grabbed my arm. “We need to go. We’ll worry about our trust problems later, ok?”

I nodded silently, not looking at him. It wasn’t that I was furious at him, but rather at the sight of all these bloodthirsty creatures eyeing me as I were a chicken leg or a bowl of potato stew. I turned and looked at the three paths in front of us, each leading in a different direction through the maze.

“Pick one already,” Chi said.

Haru started for the one that ran straight ahead of us. It looked like a straight shot, but my own instincts said it looked too easy. I ran to the left path, hobbling on my bad leg, as everybody told me to stop. I didn’t listen. I hurtled headlong to my destiny, and soon I heard them following suit behind.

“I hope you’re right, Luhan,” Chi said. “That all these are the same.”

“They want us to find the exit,” he replied.

This worried me quite a bit. If this was a trap , how do you fight back against that? A trap is not devised easily. It takes planning to ensure you get the outcome you want. Part of me just wanted to plop down where I was and make them come into the maze and get me.

“Please let me carry you, “ Haru said, coming up alongside me. I was prepared to protest, but he didn’t wait for an answer. He stopped in front of me and hunched down, presenting his back to me. “Hop on.”

My ankle was killing me, so I had to choose pride or pain. Pride won out and climbed on his back , wrapping my arms around his neck. I allowed him to pull my legs up around his waist and I locked them by crossing my ankles. It still hurt a little bit, but now we were running, and despite my added weight, Haru carried me as if he were running alone.

The roofless corridor took us through several twists and turns, but there were no dead ends or false ways. We seemed to be running a continuous path, making me believe that Luhan was right. This was designed to tire us out or slow us down. This made me wonder how long it had been since any of my companions had fed. Haru had once told me they didn’t need to feed every day, but I still remembered our hospital visit when he started getting weak and I had to race us home. If that happened now, Ryo wasn’t here to nurse him back, and though I liked Chi I certainly didn’t want him feeding from her chest. If I was jealous of him and Ryo, he and Chi would send me over the stars.

Chi was further ahead of us, as was Luhan, so I hoped they didn’t pick up on my thoughts. Haru turned his head and looked at me. He scowled. “I have never fed from Chi like that,” he said.

Being the girl I am, I noticed he didn’t say he had never fed from her at all. He just said he hadn’t fed from her like that. Big difference.

We stayed ahead of the shambling vampires easily. It made me wonder if they were really all that spent, or rather they were just there to herd us in a certain direction. After all, they were all behaving like extras from The Walking Dead rather than new vampires with uncontrollable bloodlust. They acted like they were very controllable, but by someone else. I wondered how the whole master thing worked. Did that master vampire control all those in his clan via telepathy? Was there a mental connection between them all? And if we did manage to kill the master, Haru’s father, what happened to all the vampires under his power? Was he their power source? And what would happen to Haru? Was there something about the father and son connection, something deeper and more binding than vampirism?

If I was hoping the answers would jump into my head like a light turning on, I was mistaken. The only light I saw was at the end of the maze and… wait a minute, there was indeed a light at the end of the current corridor. We had made it. Up ahead was the exit. I looked behind us. The enemy vampires were no longer sluggish. They had picked up the pace and were nudging us towards the end of the maze. This was the moment of truth on how hopeless our situation truly was. I looked to my companions for strength and courage. Luhan and Chi exemplified those things, no problem. But Haru looked worn down and worried.

We emerged from the labyrinth into a huge open chamber. The cavern walls had niches carved into them, in which sat lit candles. In addition, electric lights had been strung from the ceiling, powered by a gas generator. As a result, it was easy to see everything in the room. Dozens upon dozens of vampires filled the cavern. Some were people I knew from Chelsea Valley: fellow students, married couples, entire families. But now they seemed changed. Now they were all looking at me in a way that was uncomfortable. Half adoration for their would be queen, half hunger for human blood.

Along either side of each wall were a line of more students from my school. Boys and girls not yet vampires, but from the looks of it were marked to be changed. They were moving at a crawling pace towards a constructed stage, where two older vampires appeared to be biting their necks, giving them the kiss of life of the undead. It reminded me of my dreams and visions courtesy of the jigsaw man: girls being ushered to the stage in our school auditorium to be bitten by either Haru or Ryo.

The two older vampires were neither Haru or Ryo of course, and they seemed to be enjoying their job a little too much. Blood had dripped down the front of their once white shirts, as if they didn’t care if they got it all or not. They reminded me of alcoholics craving a drink after being on the wagon for too long. I tried to discern who they were, or who they may have once been, but they didn’t look familiar.

A person just a few feet away from them did. It was a girl being held up by two other females I did not know. It was easy to see she couldn’t stand well on her own, and when she lifted her head, I saw her lips were bleeding bright crimson red. No, not bleeding. They were painted. Bright red lipstick smeared on her mouth in a haphazard, almost mocking fashion. Her clothes were a mess. Torn, disheveled, dotted with sprays of blood. Her eyes met mine and implored me to do something. And though her hair had now been cropped short and uneven, and had turned from blond to silver, I recognized my bestie. We had found Angela at last.

To Be Continued…

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 74

Vampire Boys Of Summer

74: Masters Revealed

As we ran across the top of the labyrinth, I couldn’t help but wonder what its purpose had been. Was it designed to test us? To imprison us in its maze forever? Or seeing how exhausted I was, perhaps it was just meant to tire us out and wear us down, so that when we reached the place where Angela was being held we wouldn’t be able to rescue anybody, even ourselves.

My vampire friends seemed tireless. Haru, Chi, and Luhan ran without much effort, but I slowed them all down. I was the weak link in this rescue operation. I should have stayed home and left this up to them. But I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing while my best friend, and indeed the entire town of Chelsea Valley, was in danger of being…well, I didn’t know what the Vampire Master of this labyrinth wanted. All I knew was I was wanted as a bride of some sort, and for what purpose I couldn’t discern. Why would a vampire leader want me? He could have anyone. Any girl out there was his for the taking. But Nora Williams was what he wanted. It didn’t make sense. I was a nobody. But maybe, and if the master was Ryo, it was all because Haru had me. Someone didn’t want Haru to be happy…ever. With that way of thinking, it had to be Ryo. But hadn’t Ryo been there when the vampire king called? Wait, the caller never said he was the vampire master. I asked him if he was, but he had answered that he would be my master. This doesn’t necessarily make him the Vampire master. So with that in mind, who could it be, and do I even know them? It was apparent my friends had suspicions of who it was, and they had been looking for him awhile when they came to Chelsea Valley, but what had Haru done that it warranted losing me, the whole town, or even his life?

Lost in my thought I didn’t realize when the roof stopped. Haru had to stop me from running right out onto open air. The structure of the labyrinth hadn’t come to an end though. It was just the roof that had stopped, as if the builders ran out of materials. There was no way across to the other side now, except back down into the labyrinth which was now deathly quiet. Where had the newly created vampire army gone?

We stood there a moment wondering what to do. We could see the way down into the labyrinth now, the twists and turns that the maze made on its way to an exit. But we couldn’t see the exit. If we dropped down there again we would be like lab rats in a researcher’s experiment, having to work our way through the passages in search of a way out.

Haru looked to Chi and Luhan for answers. “What do you want to do,” he asked.

“If we were all alphas…” Chi replied, but Luhan interrupted her.

“…We’re not,” he said, looking at Haru, who we all knew was a Beta. “No more if’s. We have to get to the end of this labyrinth. The hour is growing late, and deeper into the night it gets, the more powerful these western vampires will get.”

“Are you saying,” I asked, “ these guys get stronger than they are now?”

Haru looked at me. “Vampires of the western world were created differently than those of the Far East. We were created for a different purpose, and as such have different strengths and weaknesses. The Christian cross has no effect on us. We do not need to sleep in coffins or graves. Garlic is useless. The main common denominator is a stake through the heart, of course.”

“Enough prattle, “ Luhan said. “We can go into vampire history later. Let’s move.”

And with that he jumped down into the labyrinth. Chi looked at us, and with a shrug of her shoulders, followed him.

Haru looked at me, concern on his face. “I’m sorry. I should never have brought you here. I fear….”

I jumped down into the labyrinth.I hit the hard floor in a roll, in an attempt to break the harshness of my landing. It helped, and thankfully I didn’t break anything, but I felt my leg give a little. When I stood up and went to join the waiting Chi and Luhan, I did so with a new painful limp.

Haru was the last one down, and when he saw me limping, he frowned. “Baby, why did you do that? I can carry you.”

“I can’t expect you to baby me all the time, Haru. I’m tired of being the weakest link. I will earn my place.”

“You don’t need to earn anything, love. It is all freely given to…”

“This is no place, nor time for a lovebird squabble, “ Luhan said, examining the section of maze we were in. One section was closed off with a massive gate, so you could not go back the way we had originally came. The way ahead was open but we didn’t know how far. “Come on,” he added, heading that way.

There wasn’t much choice, so we all moved forward into the maze like Dorothy and her companions on the way to see Oz, the Great and Powerful. At first, the walk was uneventful. My ankle was killing me and I assumed I had sprained it on the jump. I could understand Haru being upset at me, but he hadn’t been mortal for almost a thousand years. He didn’t have to worry too much about human weakness. I felt like I needed to prove myself. If not to my vampire friends, then to myself.

We turned a corridor and were confronted with three separate branches of tunnels. I guess this was what Miss Thomas meant by puzzles to solve. We stood there at this crossroads for a moment. Then that moment grew longer as each of us offered our suggestions of the path to take. Luhan was the last to state his opinion and it surprised me.

“They are all the same. Each one leads to the exit. This is not a puzzle. It is a mere distraction. Holding us up and buying them more time to prepare for us.” He looked back the way we’d come, and then heavenward. There was no roof over the labyrinth now, but the cavern ceiling could be discerned high above us. He sighed. “This is a trap, after all.”

“A trap?!”

Luhan looked at me and nodded. A grim look was upon his face. Worry resided in his eyes. “Yes. Up until this moment, we have done exactly as they wanted us to. This has been meticulously planned. For what purpose I do not know. But it is a trap nonetheless. They have been testing our strengths and weaknesses. Lucky for us, we haven’t shown much strength to them, so we have that to our advantage.”

“But if it’s Ryo, he already knows that.”

“It’s not Ryo,” Haru replied.

This was both a relief and surprise to hear. My suspicions about him being the master were just the workings of my own confused human mind, trying to see the worst of everyone. I had had all these signs that I thought was evidence of his duplicity in evil. And still, his deviousness and bad boy attitude screamed out to me that there was more to him than met the eye. None of that mattered now however, he was gone.

“Then who is it?”

He hung his head and I could tell he didn’t want to say. He’d been avoiding telling me, not because he didn’t want me to know. He just didn’t want it to be true. The longer he kept his silence, the longer he could avoid the confrontation that was coming. He looked up at me, tears brimming in his eyes.

“I can’t do this. I never wanted this. I just couldn’t follow him. It wasn’t right what he wanted us to do.”

He turned away from me and looked at Luhan. My young friend had an equally anguished look on his face, but without the tears. He was trying to be strong for Haru.

Haru fell to his knees before Luhan, bowing his head so low it was nearly touching the cold cavern floor. “I am so sorry….Master.”

Master? What the hell? Luhan was the master of their clan? Is that why the fake cops tried to take him? To make the rest of my Asian friends powerless? My mind ran backwards in memory at all the little things that pointed to this as the truth. How Ryo had been in fear of his wrath that night in my room, how he had been the one to dispense orders and advice. How he always seemed to be just hanging back and watching.

“Get up, Haru,” Luhan said. “This is not your fault. He made his choice. One thing that was not taken from us when we were changed. Free will. He chose evil deeds over good intentions. After our eventual purpose was served, and we chose rest and contemplation, he chose to become his own God. Now get to your feet, we need you. I need you .” He looked at me. “She needs you.”

Haru looked up first at Luhan, then at me. “I never wanted this day to come,” he said.

I was confused. I had no idea what they were talking about. Some thing from the past, I guessed. Maybe I wasn’t ready for this either. It was a big enough revelation that little Luhan was the master of the Japanese vampire clan that had taken up residence next door. I’d at first thought it was Tomoko, Haru’s so called Uncle. And here lately I was thinking of Chi because of her take charge attitude, but Luhan? He looked like he was twelve and stuck in middle school forever. Nothing at all like I imagined a vampire master to be. And with that being the case, who was the master of the vampire army we were going up against?

Haru looked at me as if he had heard the question spoke aloud. “It’s my dad.”

To Be Continued…

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 73

Vampire Boys Of Summer

73: Through The Maze

We ran down the dark tunnel. There were no candles in the passageway to see by. The only light afforded us came through gaps in the ceiling where the roof had been haphazardly constructed. Small shafts of lights from the outside cavern painted lines upon the floor for us to see by. If there were other sections of a tunnel connected to this one, we passed them by.

Haru appeared to be heading in what he thought was a straight line, searching for the exit out the other side. We heard a faint stomping sound and shouts from somewhere behind us, but we couldn’t investigate for we could also hear the panting of the dogs amplified ten times in the corridor.

They were coming up on us fast. It was apparent to see Haru wouldn’t be able to pull me down the tunnel quick enough to escape them. We were going to have to hide or face them.

“We fight,” he said, reading my mind. I wasn’t sure about that decision. I’d never fought a dog before. I was a cat person. And these dogs were of such a size they probably ate cats as a snack. They were huge dogs, what they called Mastiffs. With massive heads and enormous bodies, they had to weigh nearly two hundred pounds each. From their jaws, dripped drool and foam, and even blood. If they managed to get their mouths clamped on a body part, it would probably be removed. As if to prove this, they came bounding towards us out of the darkness. Both mouths open they came in for the kill.

The first came at Haru. My love let go of my hand and the dog tried to take it. Haru was faster than the dog however. He grabbed a jaw with each hand, keeping its mouth open, so it couldn’t clamp down on anything. He spun around in a circle holding this gigantic beast by its mouth, and flung it against the wall. It disappeared into the darkness with a howl.

The second dog was airborne in front of me. It was hard to believe that with its size it could even get off the ground. But here it was in front of me, level with my chest, foam and drool flying in all directions. But I wasn’t unarmed. I’d prepared myself for bad vampires, but troublesome dogs could be dispatched in the same manner. The stake went in between two ribs, and I hit the floor with a roll, trying to get out of its way should it drop. It hit the ground and rolled, coming back up fast. The stake barely slowed it down. And I was out of weapons. The dog pounced and landed on my chest, pinning me to the ground. Its jaws snapped towards my face and I turned my head not wanting to see what death had prepared for me. There was a loud crack, a snapping sound that I assumed was its mouth clamping down towards my head. Instead the dog let out a sharp whimper and was still.

Haru dragged the dog off me and I looked over at it. My lover in his sworn protection had broken the dogs neck. He reached down for me, his hand extended and I grabbed it, allowing him to pull me to my feet. My legs were shaky and I clutched myself to him. He wrapped his arms around me. I began to cry.

“It’s okay, my love,” he whispered in my ear. “We’re okay.”

I slumped in his arm, and he held me up, kissing my cheek and earlobe for comfort.

“I thought I was dead,” I sobbed.

“We’re very much alive,” he assured me. “Everything is going to be…”

He stopped. A new sound was coming up the dark corridor. At first like a whisper, then growing into a roar. It was the sound of anger, rage, and delirious hunger. The vampires of the labyrinth were coming. Perhaps they had grown tired of trying to get on top of the maze to pursue Chi and Luhan. Now they were coming after us, and it didn’t sound very welcoming.

Haru looked at me. “Listen to me. We’re going to have to move faster than we ever have.”

I was already exhausted and I told him so.

“I know baby.” He held my face in my hands and kissed me. “I wish my kisses could give you strength.”

I started to cry anew and he looked around us trying to seek an avenue of quick escape, but there was none. He scooped me up in his arms and started to sing softly. At first it was in Japanese, a soothing lullaby that I couldn’t understand. The words were alien in my head but carried with them a certain peace. They were words of love and devotion unmatched by any other, a promise in a foreign tongue that need no interpretation. And then the words came clear in my head. I don’t know if it was his powers, or if suddenly like in a time of meditation, an ultimate truth had come to me. But I could understand what he was singing just as plain as if it were my native English.

“I will carry you through fire. I will carry you through rain. I will carry you across centuries just to love you all over again.’

He kissed my trembling lips and we waited for the vampire army to reach us.

There is a moment where your life flashes before your eyes. At the end of all things you are forced to relive your life in reverse, swallowed up in memories and thought as fast as a bullet train. They say you see all the wonderful, life changing moments at the point of your death. There is a moment when you accept the fact that dying is inevitable for everyone. This wasn’t one of those moments.

I looked into Haru’s beautiful eyes and knew death would not part us. Not today. Nor ever. He must have recognized the same truth as he turned to look up the corridor. We could not see light at the end, but we both felt it was there if we could only get there in one piece.

Holding me in what is called a fireman’s carry, he took off up the corridor away from the approaching vamps. I knew I was weighing him down, and that because of my exhaustion it would eventually tire him as well. But he gave us his best effort. He ran through the tunnel and I clung as tight to him as I could. I lay my cheek against his shoulder. It made me remember the times we had lay in bed together, curled up lovers without a concern in the world, except each other. In those memories, time had just seemed to melt away, and I wished the same for us now, that time would disappear and leave us floating endlessly, far away from enemy vampires and their unknown master.

But we weren’t floating now. We were running. And the vamps who had once been school peers and others throughout Chelsea Valley were right behind us. The noise had rose in volume. Their shouts of rage, screams of hunger, made me shudder in Haru’s arms. And then they burst into a view, a wave of bodies as crazed and ominous as zombies. But weren’t after our brains and flesh to devour. They all wanted our blood as their first feedings. I didn’t know if they could drink the blood of Haru, as he was a more powerful vampire, but if they could get to me, and remove me from my sweet boyfriend’s grasp, it would only take minutes before….

A sound came from ahead of us, up the corridor where we had not been. It was a loud banging, followed by shouts we could barely hear above the din. “Haru!” It seemed to shout. More banging, and then we realized it was the echo that made it sound like it was coming from up the corridor. In fact, the origin was right above our heads.

“Nora!”

The shout was clearer now and I looked up. Through the slats in the ceiling, the light was blocked out by something moving overhead. Suddenly a board was ripped from the ceiling. Another board a few feet from the first was torn from its place.

“Haru!”

Chi was looking down at us. “Get back!”

We took a step backwards, as she began kicking through the boards with her boots. Pieces of wood and debris cascaded down on us, as both Chi and Luhan made a way for us to escape.

The enemy horde was close enough to touch when Haru handed me up to Luhan, who despite his small stature, had no problem hauling me through the opening and onto the roof of the labyrinth.

Haru disappeared under a dozen hungry vampires.

“No!” I screamed, trying to dive back through the hole to help my Haru. Luhan tightened his grip and would not let me go. Chi however, jumped into the darkness to join Haru in the fray. I could see her land in a crouch, pulling combatants off of him, her long nails leaving gashes in the assailants that they would long remember.

Haru fought back with a fury as well, flinging the newly created vampires off of him. Several hit the wall and went limp, though I think he held back from causing further injury because he too knew that they had once been human.

Another wave surged towards them and they both leapt up through the roof opening, as the mindless enemy tried to leap after them. I kicked one of the attackers in the face, so that he fell back down into the maze, and I felt someone grab my arm. I spun, ready to fight, swinging my arm around. Haru caught my hand. “Let’s go!”

The four of us ran across the top of the labyrinth. We didn’t look back, but instead kept our sights on gaining the other side. We may not have gone all the way through it, nor ran into any of the puzzles Miss Thomas had promised, but we were now running free and unhampered. Soon, with any luck, so would my kidnapped bestie.

To Be Continued….

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 72

Vampire Boys Of Summer

72: The Labyrinth

We came out of the corridor and into an immense cavern. Once it may have been a big open space, but now a large enclosed maze had been built within it. Using old timbers from the mine, the vampire army and their mindless human servants had been busy. But what was the point of it all? What was the goal of this creaky wooden labyrinth?

We were ushered up to the entrance, where they commanded we stop. They tried to be menacing about it, showing their teeth and growling as if the sound would intimidate us. It worked with me, but I could tell my companions were unimpressed. Maybe their numbers caused Haru and the others to hold back, or perhaps they were just waiting for the right time, but either way it goaded the wall of enemy vampires on. It made them confident, which wasn’t a good thing.

As we stood there at the head of the labyrinth, they snapped their teeth, the sound of it echoing into the chamber. Soon there was another sound, almost in response, coming from within the maze. According to Greek mythology, the labyrinth was originally constructed to house the Minotaur, a fearsome beast. But this wasn’t the noise of a monster. It was the quiet echo of hard heel shoes tapping across cavern rock. Click, clack, click, clack, it repeated as it drew closer to the entrance.

I wasn’t scared, though the footsteps were slow, methodical, and designed to creep us out. One could imagine the sound as being that of sharpened talons dragging across the floor. But I knew better. I had heard the sound many times over before. In the hallway at school, the principal’s office, walking up and down the aisle at school assemblies, quietly observing the students. And suddenly it dawned on me. This was the very same sound Miss Lazenby must have heard when she was led down the steps to the boiler room to meet her horrible death. And then into view it came. The visage of evil once hidden, now brought to the fore by her vampire master. Flanked on either side by two large dogs, she stepped out of the labyrinth and smiled maliciously.

“Hello Nora,” Miss Thomas spoke. “It looks like summer school might not be an option for you after all.”

I didn’t know what to say. Out of all the school staff I could imagine as vampires, Miss Thomas wasn’t one of them. She was always so prim and formal. And though the late Miss Lazenby had been much the same way before Ryo turned her, Miss Thomas had a new look and manner that were disastrous. Unlike Lazenby, who seemed to blossom and discover her late sexuality under Ryo’s power, Miss Thomas had gone mad. Hair disheveled, clothes in disarray as if she had been chewing on them, dirt and blood dotting her face like crimson freckles, she looked like a lockdown patient from the psychiatric hospital my dad had been in. The strangest thing was, despite her apparent insane look, she thought she was ravishing. She primped her hair, which seemed to had fallen out in places. She had attempted to apply makeup with the results of a three year old. And when she looked at Haru next to me, she seemed to think she was the most attractive woman in town.

“We haven’t met,” she said, “But I’m charmed to say the least. If you’d like we could…”

“Shut up,” I said. I’d never been much of a jealous person, but no girl, woman, fleabag, whatever, was going to touch my Haru. I’d knock all the teeth out of her head for just thinking so.

“What do you want?” Haru added, putting a hand over my balled fist.

Thomas sighed, as if she were disappointed. “Very well, have it your way, young man.” She looked behind her at the entrance of the constructed labyrinth. “Through this maze and out the other side, you will find your floozy friend.” She looked at me, as if she were going to add something rude, but Haru cleared his throat and it brought her attention back. “But in order to make it through,” she giggled, “There will be puzzles to solve. I do wish you luck. Really.”

“Why are you doing this?” I asked. “This isn’t you. This is..”

“It’s me now,” she declared. “And soon the whole town will be remade and I’ll be mayor.” She lowered her voice a little. “He promised.”

“Who promised?” Luhan asked. One of the dogs growled at him. He growled back, perfectly mimicking the beast. Chi stood in front of the other dog, ready to put up a defense should it lunge towards us.

“The Master,” she cackled in a loud voice. “The Master has made promises to all who follow him.”

“So do presidents, but you don’t ever get what you want. This is going to end badly for you.”

“Such big words for a little girl. You won’t say that when you go through the labyrinth.” She smiled and stepped to the side. “So go…”

“No,” Haru commanded. “You’ll take us to the master.”

It wasn’t a request. Haru’s voice was commanding, and I knew he was using vampire powers of persuasion. She almost obeyed. For a moment, she gritted her teeth and scraped her high heels on the floor, as if fighting her own will. But then something else came over her.

“Nice try. But my mind is under his protection.”

“More like it’s in his pocket,” Chi answered.

“Oh, Miss pretty something something, was have a task for you too, don’t you worry.” She looked at Luhan with pure malice in her gaze. “And as for you…”

There was a rustling sound behind him and we all turned. A young vampire had broken away from the wall and was charging at him low. In his hands, a sharpened stake. There was a desperate look in the youth’s eye as if he felt taking Luhan out would change the game in their favor. Luhan met him and easily disarmed the would be attacker. He shoved him back towards the wall, but then there were other stakes in other hands. The new vampires had all been given the weapons, and from the maddened look in their hollow eyes the instructions were clear. Kill us all if we did not comply.

Chi jumped in front of Luhan, prepared to defend him. She glanced around the cavern trying to discern a means of escape. The stake wielding vamps didn’t know the meaning of strategy. They charged forward, stabbing the air as if they didn’t even know where we were. Chi met them head on with a flurry of moves, disarming them as she made contact, and in some cases knocking the assailants out with blows similar to the one she’d given Amanda Trump the first day I’d met her.

Luhan was like a whirling dervish, moving into the crowd fast and low. Sweeping their legs out from under them, many went down, but the sheer numbers were almost impossible to deal with. A stake grazed his arm, another got him in the leg. He pulled it out and stuck it in his assailants leg instead. Then Chi was snatching him up, pulling him out of harm’s way. She swung him over onto her back and looked to the labyrinth. There was only one avenue of escape.

“Go, “ she urged Haru, who had taken a defensive stance in front of me should the marauding vamps get past our friends. “Into the tunnel!”

Miss Thomas howled in delight. “Yes! Yes! Into the tunnel!”

Haru didn’t want to, and neither did I for that matter, but there was no other choice. He grabbed my hand and we ran through the entrance into the near darkness. I looked back to see Chi with Luhan on her back jump onto the top of the labyrinth in an effort to escape. Some of the vamps attempted to follow them, but being new vampires they didn’t quite make the jump.

Miss Thomas screamed, “Safe Journeys!” And then stopped as if remembering something she was supposed to do. “Oh, I almost forgot.” She released the dogs from their chain.

To Be Continued…

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 71

Vampire Boys Of Summer

71: Devil’s Hole

It was apparent the two vamps had seen us long before Luhan had said anything, but him addressing them without fear must have made their hackles rise. They got up, and the first thing I noticed were how tall they were. They could have been on the high school basketball team. First football jocks, now dribblers, what was next , guys carrying hockey sticks? Girls armed with tennis rackets?

Despite their height, they were new vampires. It was easy to tell by the starving look in their eyes. Maybe they didn’t feed the new ones right away. Perhaps they had to earn their keep before getting their first victim. If so, this made them more dangerous. Hunger and desperation do not mix well together.

One of the guys laughed. “This is what everyone is afraid of? A kid, a hottie, and two lovebirds?”

The other cracked his knuckles as if he preparing to step into a boxing ring. “Only one of them looks tough.” He eyed Chi up and down, lingering on her tight leather pants. “Tough in a I-want-your-sex kind of way, that is.” He took two steps up to her. She drilled two fists into his face.

It was so sudden, nobody had any time to react. Even the other guy was caught off guard. Even more so when Chi gave the second guy a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus. All the wind went out of him, and as he went down, he somehow ended up with a ladies’ bootprint on the back of his head.

There was a rustling sound behind us, and the three thugs who had been flanking us came running out of the brush. Haru turned to face them. These three weren’t vampires, but human servants hypnotized to protect the entrance. He met the first one with a flurry of moves to make a Kung fu instructor throw up his hands and run. This guy didn’t run, but he did fall pretty hard.

Haru ushered me to get behind him, and I noticed Luhan and Chi weren’t coming to help. They were clearing the brush and boards camouflaging the entrance to Devil’s Hole. Once cleared it looked just like I’d imagined: an ominous black hole in the ground, a shaft leading into darkness with no ladder or ropes to hang on to. How in the hell do you get down there, I thought.

Just then, Haru grabbed the second assailant, spun on his heel, and tossed him towards the hole. Luhan made sure he went in. The guy’s screams were horrible and only faded when he hit bottom, which seemed to take some time.

The third attacker tried to get around Haru to grab me. I guess he thought if he could put his hands on the potential queen, he would have some leverage. Leverage maybe, fingers no. When I bit his hand he screamed like I took them all off at the nub. He jerked his hand back and then Haru made him forget his fingers by breaking his nose. He fell backwards, his eyes swimming up in his head. When he landed on the ground I kicked him in the ribs. After all, I knew him. His name was Greg Park and he took my Barbie doll and burned her up with matches back in the fourth grade. Payback may take awhile sometimes, but it eventually catches up.

Chinatsu surveyed the area, making sure for one, the kids back at the cove hadn’t heard the commotion, and two, no one else was coming to investigate or attack. We all gathered around Devil’s Hole. I really didn’t want to go down there the way Haru’s attacker did, but sure enough I didn’t see anything to hold on to. No rungs carved into the rock, or steps leading down, just a dark passage in which you couldn’t see the bottom. You just had to hope it was there.

I sensed Haru beside me, and I turned to him to address my fears. “Don’t worry, “ he said. “Hold on to me.”

I did.

“Don’t look down. Keep your eyes on mine.”

I did.

Then he jumped into the blackness.

Any other time, I would have been screaming, but with my eyes locked on his beautiful dark orbs it felt as if I was just falling further in love and not into a dark pit. I don’t know how long we were in freefall. It was probably just a few moments, but for me it was as if I were falling forever, lost in my lover’s eyes and feeling his protective arms around me. I wrapped my legs around his waist and wished we were home in bed, rather than on a dangerous mission to save my friend and town. His eyes told me so much as we fell. They said he loved me more than anything, greater than anyone, and that I would never have to worry about losing him to someone else. His devotion was forever, just as endless as…We touched ground.

The jolt of Haru landing flat footed jostled me in his arms and his knees buckled briefly before he rose to his full height again, his eyes having never left mine.

“Nora, I want you to know something. If anything should…”

I kissed him. I didn’t want to hear what he was going to say. I knew it was bad and instead wanted to drown myself in all the love and affection I ever wanted from a boy.

“I hate to break up this impromptu make out session,” Chi said in a quiet tone, “But you’re not exactly alone here.”

Both Chi and Luhan had landed beside us, but it wasn’t themselves they were talking about. We were in a tunnel. Dimly lit by candles imbedded in crevasses in the wall. The flickering flames led the way forward. But the candles, nor the tunnel itself, wasn’t much concern. The line of new vampires on either side however were. They stood there motionless, a gauntlet we had to walk through on our way to wherever they wanted us to go. Our plan to catch them by surprise was an obvious failure. They had been waiting for us, and for the time being we were at their mercy.

None of us said a word, but walked down the vampire corridor, Haru and I first, Luhan in the middle, and Chi picking up the rear. I should have been afraid but I wasn’t. Even with the large number lining the walls, I lost count at about forty, I still felt protected from all things. Maybe Haru was creating this calm through some kind of mental process that reinforced my courage because all I knew was that if he weren’t here I would be a wreck and shaking in my shoes.

The corridor took us around a bend and up a slight incline. I could see a brighter light ahead, making me think of near death experiences and how those that had them saw a bright light beckoning them to peace. Of course, I knew peace wasn’t waiting for us. I didn’t know what we would find when we came into that light, but I was willing to bet it wouldn’t be pleasant.

To Be Continued…

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 70

Vampire Boys Of Summer

70: Is It Him?

For a little kid, Luhan possessed a mind that was intelligent and sharp. Working off the longitude and latitude he’d memorized, he was able to get us to not only the lake, but the exact cove where Devil’s Hole was located. Along the way, possible strategies were discussed on how to gain the upper hand against a whole vampire army. But the truth of the matter was we were up against impossible odds. The way I saw it, there was only one solution to the whole mess. To give myself over to them to be their queen or whatever. Why in the hell they wanted me I couldn’t understand. What made me special? Was my blood made of gold? What kind of deal would I get for my friends if I willingly….

“You’re not giving yourself to them,” Haru said.

Startled, I looked at him in alarm, and then realized how he could sometimes pick up my thoughts. “I’m sorry. I just don’t see another way out of this. At least this way I can get everyone’s life spared.”

“They aren’t going to spare anyone, baby. They want all of us, Luhan, Chi, and I dead. They have apparently gotten rid of Ryo already. And they probably won’t let Angela go either.”

I began to cry over the helplessness of the situation. “What did you do to them? You haven’t hurt anybody. None of you have. Why do they want you gone?”

“We’re a threat, love. Two vampire clans can’t exist side by side like this for long.”

“Then leave. You guys, pack your stuff and go!”

He shook his head. “I’m not leaving you, Nora. Not ever.”

The tears came even more. “Not even if I want you to?”

He looked at me. “You want me to leave?”

“No! Yes. Oh, I don’t know.I just want everyone to be safe and alive.”

“Then we take out their vampire master. It’s the only way to be safe again.”

“Haru,” Luhan interrupted, “you know what that means don’t you?”

Haru turned his face from mine and glared at the littlest vampire of the clan. “Yes, I do,” he replied quietly.

“What?” I grabbed Haru’s hand. “What does it mean?”

“It means I’ll have to choose between family and blood. Love or honor. Passion or respect.”

“I don’t understand. None of that makes any sense to me.”

“Remember me telling you how we came here? To Chelsea Valley?”

I frowned. I remembered it well. I’d felt like a pawn when he told me. “Yeah, I remember. You said you saw a clipping about my dad attacking that Bram guy. He thought he was a vampire.”

“Right. But do you remember why we were in the area in the first place?”

I had to think about it a moment. “Oh yeah, you said you guys were looking for someone you lost or something…oh….shit…that someone is the vampire master, isn’t it?”

Haru nodded. I thought he was about ready to cry.

“Is he your vampire master? Of your clan, too?”

“Hardly,” Luhan replied for him.

“Well, who is it?” And then I stopped. “Is it…..is it Ryo?”

It sounded kind of ridiculous the moment I said it. But in some manner, I thought I could be right. After all, he had already turned others in town. He was an alpha, able to create other vampires. He had something of a bad attitude, and obviously had had a grudge on Haru for decades. Didn’t they say he had ruined every relationship for Haru since the death of Ryo’s betrothed, Chiyo? It made sense. He’d been after me from the beginning, and then once he realized he couldn’t have me the normal way, then it was time to force me to be queen. Angela was so crazy about him, he could have easily captured her. And it’s not like I knew all his movements, nor did the others. He lived in a house separate from them. He could do his own thing easily. But he had saved me, nursed me back to health. Of course he did, I thought. So I could be queen. But would he have killed one of his own vampire creations, Miss Lazenby, just to keep up the ruse? He seemed genuinely angry about that one, but maybe he had to. Maybe he was just a good actor.

I looked at Haru once more. “It’s him, isn’t it?”

Luhan cleared his throat as if head been listening to my thoughts and was tired of the discussion. “It doesn’t matter who the master is. He has taken your cute friend, and indeed the whole town. Ryo is ryo. Wherever he is, I’m sure he has his own agenda.”

Haru leaned over and kissed me lightly on my lips. “Let’s just wait and see if my hunch is correct. Then we’ll worry about what to do about Ryo. Right now the most important thing is rescuing Angela and stopping them from making their army any bigger.”

“Here comes our chance.” Chi said, and we both leaned forward to look out the front window from the backseat. Even though it had now gotten dark, I could see the water of the cove, the full moon reflecting off its surface. There were a couple cars parked in the grass at the lake’s edge. I couldn’t see anybody around, but Luhan informed me they were out there swimming, save the one couple still in a car making steamy windows.

At first, I thought he’d walk over and investigate, but then he shook his head. “Kids,” Luhan muttered. “Haven’t they seen Friday The 13th?”

I thought to myself I wish this was just some old horror movie. My dad had called them ‘Dead Teenager Flicks’, but this was no trip to the cinema. This was real, and I was starting to get nervous that I may never see the sun rise again. Or set, for that matter.

We all got out of the car. We tried not to make too much noise and alert the partying kids to our presence. It would be best if life just went on for them, oblivious to the danger that existed in a hole in the ground less than 500 yards away.

The vampires led the way through the woods, Chi first, followed by Luhan, with Haru and I picking up the rear. Haru’s hand in mine was reassuring, but so was my dad’s custom made wooden stake in the other. I patted the pocket of my pants, checking to make sure I still had the vial of holy water. The liquid may not have an effect on Asian vampires, but I was banking on the hope it would be a deterrence to American ones.

The trees and brush became thicker camouflage the further we moved away from the car. Along with the night, I could barely see in front of my face. If not for Haru leading me I would have been lost in the woods. Vampires had no trouble seeing in the darkness. To them light and dark were the same. They didn’t stumble over rocks and fallen branches the way I did.

Luhan smiled. “Here we are. Next stop Hell.” He pointed to what appeared to be a dark corner of the night. Devil’s Hole was hidden well from prying eyes. Covered by old railroad ties, thick branches, and a tarp the same color as our surroundings, it would have been near invisible to anyone else. There was only one problem. Two vampires sat on top of it.

“Shit,” I muttered.

“There’s three more flanking us from the rear,” Chi added, with slight amusement.

“Are they all Vamps?” I whispered.

“We’re about to find out.”

Luhan raised a hand. “Um, excuse me, is this where all the kidnapped girls hang out?”

To Be Continued…

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 69

Vampire Boys Of Summer

69: Looking For Ryo

After the initial shock, I was overjoyed to see Luhan. I scooped him up in my arms , hugging him close.

“Oh my God, we thought they had you!”

“So did they,” he replied in his true, smug fashion. “But you can keep hugging me. I don’t mind that at all.”

I thought I better set the lecherous little guy down before he pinched my butt. When I said as much he gave me a wink. I thought to myself he might just be the most dangerous vampire boy of all.

Haru and Chi abandoned their search in the wreckage and were beyond happy to see that their companion was okay. Well, except for all the blood, but apparently vampires don’t mind being covered in the stuff. They came over, hugged him, and then we all had a big group hug, relieved over Luhan’s safety. We must have looked strange, embracing among the carnage of the crash with two dead bodies laying in the road. If anyone would have come over the rise, it wouldn’t have been good.

I stood there as Haru and Chi fawned over the little guy some more. I couldn’t help think there was much more to Luhan than meets the eye. He wasn’t just this cute little flamboyant kid. He was dangerous. He apparently took out the two fake cops and caused the crash. He even walked away from it as if nothing had happened.

“We better get out of here,” Haru finally said, mirroring my own thoughts of being discovered.

Luhan looked around, spotted the car, and then frowned. “Where’s Ryo?”

Chi looked down at the dust of the road. “We left him.”

“They got the advantage of all of us, Luhan. We had to leave him. We couldn’t let them get too far away with you. We didn’t know you’d be able…”

“And I wouldn’t have been able to escape if Chi hadn’t smashed their taser. I heard them talking about it and knew they had no way to keep me subdued once the shock wore off.”

He looked at us all. “Thank you for coming after me. But now, we need to go back and get Ryo. We need everyone to take the labyrinth. The way my captors were talking they do have an army, and its growing in numbers day by day, both vampires and human servants.” He started to head for the car. “Right now on our side, there’s only three vampires and one free spirited girl. No offense, Nora.”

“None taken, “ I replied.

We all piled into the car.

“The good news is even in real life the villains don’t know when to shut up.”

“What do you mean?”

“We now know the exact location of the labyrinth. Idiots wouldn’t stop talking about it. They even put it into the Cruiser’s GPS. Longitude and latitude.”

Hearing this was a relief. I mean I had a vague idea where it was at. I’d been to the cove where all the kids swam in summer, and according to my dad it was close by, hidden against a rocky hillside by wooden boards and overgrown brush. Devil’s Hole. I’d always been too scared to go there. That was for adventurous boys and the foolish girls that followed them. Which is exactly how I felt now.

The drive back to my house, where we had first been attacked by the children in the trees, seemed longer this time. Perhaps that was because we weren’t chasing someone anymore. Still, Chi had a heavy driving foot and no one else seemed to be on the road. It was almost dark. We needed to find Ryo and get to Devil’s Hole while we still had light to see the hidden entrance.

Pulling up in the yard, Chi drove across the grass to where we’d last seen Ryo. Our cocky companion was nowhere to be seen, though evidence of the attack remained. Tiny shoes littered the yard, a child’s jacket hung from a tree branch, a World Cup Soccer shirt, extra small and torn in two, lay discarded in a patch of grass. It was all very ominous, and yet there were no bodies. No sign of the children who had leapt from the trees, foaming at the mouth and out for blood. No matter his fate, Ryo would have gotten a few of them and rendered them immobile at the least. But there was no one there. Even the football players, those three hulking thugs, were gone. I’d halfway witnessed their demise at Haru’s hands, and yet it was like a clean up crew had come along and scooped up all the bodies.

“I don’t see him, “ Chi said. “I don’t know if that’s good or bad.”

“Maybe he took flight,” Haru suggested.

“I cant imagine Ryo running away,” I added.

Luhan walked around the yard, looking for clues like a Scotland Yard inspector investigating a scene of the crime. “Well, he gave them a fight, that’s for sure.” He pointed to a pair of child’s fangs lying in the grass. It looked like they had been pulled right out of the kid’s mouth. “That one learned a harsh lesson. You almost feel sorry for new vamps.”

“Were all the kids vampires?”

He looked at me, shaking his head. “No. I think a few had just been turned. The others appeared to be under control of a stronger vampire.”

“To control that many, you have to be pretty powerful,” Haru replied.

Luhan agreed. “Yeah, this wasn’t some second rate vamp who just got turned in the past year or so. Their master has been doing this a very long time. Possibly as long as us.” He looked at both Haru and Chi who nodded solemnly. “I have a feeling we are going to be faced with some hard choices.”

“I do, too,” said Haru.

I looked at my love. He had a lost, far away look in his eyes. For a moment I wondered if he was thinking of Chiyo, the girl he had accidentally killed all those years ago. Because of love, his whole life had changed to the point he hadn’t even recognized himself as he had once been. I feared that’s what was happening to us now. As a result of our love, bad things were happening. Someone else wanted me as their queen. Ryo was gone, either dead or missing. Angela was being held captive by an army of vampires who probably just wanted to drain her dry. My father was dead. My mother a mess. And the whole town seemed to be under the spell of evil. Was love worth this much? Can you put a price on loving someone, and if so, how high? What does it take before you to say to yourself, this is beautiful and all, but it’s just not worth it?

To Be Continued…

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.