Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hunting Archie: Conclusion - 3WW

That was the only warning I got before icy cold water smacked me in the face, snapping me awake. I gagged and spluttered, my arms flailing around as I sat upright, coughing hard to clear my throat.
My eyes snapped open and met Fletcher's. He stood to the side of the make-shift bed I was on, a bucket hanging from one hand. I coughed again, the pain of it wheezing through my chest.
Once my coughing fit subsided, I lunged at him, only to find myself hitting the hard floor. While he laughed, I realized a couple of things.

One, that I was still alive and two, I could...could...move

While I lay kissing the cold cement, another pair of feet seemed to glide right into my view.  I looked up saw Archie standing over me with a tray in his hands. I pushed myself up into a sitting position, still unable to comprehend that I can actually do so. Fletcher offered his hand which I ignored. There's no way I'm accepting anything from him. It took me a bit but I managed to get to the edge of the bed, sinking gratefully onto it. 

Archie set the tray on the little fold-up table, handing me a rather large coffee mug,
"Drink. This will help."
The chocolately aroma seized my guts and twisted them painfully. Hunger, sharp in its intensity, roared through me, making my hand tremble as I took it from him. I took a tentative sip, letting the thick liquid sit on my tongue before swallowing. 
I drank it down, my intestines uncoiling with relief. The tingling spread, warming me all the way through to the point where I couldn't feel the dampness of my shirt. 

Suddenly drowsy, I leaned back, barely registering the fact that Fletch and Archie were in an intense argument, their voices low and heated. I missed most of it, since I was too busy trying to stay awake. They got louder, Fletch gesturing with the bucket.
"You promised!" He hissed. "That was the deal."
"The deal?" Archie snorted. "You fucked that up when you brought them here."
"The plan was to put you down!" Fletcher was shouting now. I frowned as he tossed the bucket to the side. The clanging sound, when it hit the floor, jarred my back teeth. I felt loggy, heavy, my body refusing to respond to my demands to move. All I could do was watch them go at it.
Archie was calm, his hands at his sides while Fletch ranted.
"I hate when people lie to me!"
"Lie? What're you talking about?" Archie shook his head in amazement. "After all the shit that went down, what the fuck do you want from me?" 
Fletch jabbed a finger at me,
"Do him or I will."
Any warmth I felt instantly evaporated. I shivered, wondering what the hell happened. When I glanced at Archie again, the look on his face told me all that I needed to know. 

Quick as a flash, he had Fletch by the neck, lifting him clear off the floor. His fangs had broke through his gums in a second, his eyes lazer hot, so hot that I felt it down to my bone marrow. Archie voice was gutteral, snarling as he told Fletch that he was "sick to death of his shit."
Uh oh...that's never a good thing in my book.
Fletch gagged and scratched at the hand at his throat. His face was turning several degrees darker by the second. Archie growled, his fangs so long he looked like a damn saber-toothed tiger. 

Any screaming I could have done was trapped inside me. All I could do was watch, tears streaming from the corners of my eyes as Archie took his other hand, gripped Fletch's hair and ripped his head from his body. Fletcher's shriek died instantly, his horrified expression frozen. Blood hit the walls in strips of red. Archie went to work on him, tossing the head, throwing limbs around, smearing his face with gore. His rage came off of him in waves. I rolled my eyes, following the severed head as it tumbled in the air, almost in slow motion. It hit the floor with a moist thump, rolling a bit before coming to a stop.
It was too much for me. 
Blackness took over and I went blissfully.

It was two days later...two days later...before I came to again. My mind boggled. Archie refused to answer any of my questions until we got outside. After a couple of hot chocolates, I felt strong enough to get up. I followed him through a maze of hallways, each one lit with a long fluorescent light. There were several closed doors but we didn't stop. When we got to the tomb, I looked around. There were no signs of the mayhem that happened before.
As if sensing my thoughts, Archie smiled.
"Don't worry. There won't be a repeat of that."
"Where are-"
He cut me off,
"Outside, buried." He sighed, "All of them."
"What about that woman?"
He waved me off,
"She's done."
I didn't even want to ask what he meant by that. 
We got outside and I breathed in the night air. The moon was full, the air had a slight chill to it. We walked away from the cemetery and followed the river as far as I could go. Archie took his time, careful to match his steps to mine. When I tired, we settled against a tree. 
I needed some answers and now was as good a time as any.
"What did you promise him?"
"What do you think?" he said, keeping his eyes straight ahead.
"Eternal life in exchange for what?"
"He told me that he was going to bring my executioners to me." Archie sighed. "When he said it was you guys, I really didn't believe him. I thought it would just be Roberts or some other cop."
Images of Fletch stabbing the sheriff flashed across my mind. It was like it was nothing to him. I firmly pushed it away.
"None of us wanted to do it." I said quietly. "Fletch came up with the whole idea and we sort of fell in with him."
"I know-"
"No, you don't know." I cut him off. "Everyone wanted your head on a pike. The cops would've made sure of it. We didn't want that for you. That was our reasoning." My fingers closed over a pebble and hurled it towards the water, "Hell, we thought we were doing the right thing."
"Like I said," He smiled, "I know."
I found another rock and hurled it.
Tilly and Mark's faces swam before me. My heart hurt. Fletch's betrayal hurt but in light of the fact that he was more than willing to do me in, I was quite positive that I'd quickly get over his death.
I looked at Archie, startled to find him watching me. 
I swallowed the sudden lump of fear.
"So what happens now?"
He took his time answering. I held my breath. If he was going to kill me, I'd rather he do it out here than down in the crypt. He faced the river again, his voice so low I had to strain to hear him.
"I was hoping you'd go with me."
I jerked in surprise. 
"Go with you?" I blinked. "Go with you where?"
"Away from here." He spread his hands, "Away from everybody." 
"Where would we go?" I was totally confused.
"Anywhere." He got excited."Europe, Australia, wherever."
Oh yeah, I can just see us now. Archie the killer vamp and Jake, his lap dog. No can do. 
I shook my head.
"Nope, not doing it."
"Why?" He frowned. "If its a money thing, don't worry about it. I cleared out everything a long time ago."
"Dude, listen to yourself." I was getting pissed. "I'm not traipsing around the planet and shit. I'm not gonna be a lookout for you, hoping like hell we don't get caught the next time you need to feed," I bent my fingers to emphasize the word, "on someone."
He waited a beat before laughing. He fell back against the grass, holding his stomach, his laugh ringing out into the darkness.
I got majorly annoyed. 
"What the hell is so funny?
He caught his breath,
"You're so stupid."
"Look, goofball," He sat up, "There are willing donors. I've been in the forums and there's a whole new world out there. You think I want to kill anyone?"
"I dunno, Arch." I shook my head."All those people that went missing, the bodies that turned up, I mean, even Fletch. What the fuck, dude?"
"Look, Fletch had it coming. I'm not going to apologize for that." He got serious. "I'm just sorry ya'll got mixed up in this. I can't change what happened. I would if I could but I can't. I'm looking to start fresh and I want my best friend by my side."
"All of us were best friends." I pointed out. "Even...Fletch."
"Yeah, I know." He looked troubled."But the fact of the matter is, you're here. I want you to come with me." He held up a hand, "and not as a lookout."
"Well, what the-"
We didn't say anything for a bit. I let the silence drag on for another twenty minutes or so before getting another thing off my chest.
"I need to know something." I told him.
He waited. I stretched out my legs, clamping my hands on my thighs. Not too long ago, I was a crumpled mess, more than ready to die. I looked him dead in the eye, demanding the truth.
"Did you give me your blood?"
"Yes." He answered. "You would've died if I hadn't."
"And the chocolate? Your blood's in that, too?"
He didn't answer but then again, I didn't need him to.
I thought about my grandpa, my parents and everyone I would miss. I couldn't stay here, either, knowing what I know now. I shook off the sadness and faced him fully.
"You have to change me, right?"
"Yes." He said this with sadness. 
I felt better knowing that he would do so with remorse. I dragged in a great lungful of air, and exhaled. I thought about the sun and how I would miss its warmth. I would miss Christmas dinners, the festivals in the big city and all of the other things that I, for years, took for granted. 
Could I do this, really and truly do this? 
I met his eyes again. The truth is, my world had already changed and I was slow to adapt. It was time for me to move forward and let my old life go. I clamped down on the sudden rush of anticipation, mentally berating myself for being so eager. 
But the child in me couldn't resist asking:
"Is it going to hurt?"
He inched closer, a feral gleam igniting his pupils,
"Just a little." His fangs flashed as he whispered. "I'll be gentle."
And with that, I braced myself and closed my eyes. 

The End

© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson August 25, 2011
3 Word Wednesday: Glide, Lie and Adapt

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hunting Archie pt. 6 - 3WW

I felt more suffocated than ever while walking down through the darkness of the stairwell. Even with everyone ahead of me, the danger seemed more real, especially with Fletcher behind me. Moldy, cool air filtered up from the depths. I missed my footing, stumbled and braced my hands against walls that were slick with condensation and who knew what else. 

Fletcher's hands gripped my shoulders, tighter than necessary. The hair lifted off the back of my neck in warning. His hot breath brushed my ear.
"Be careful." He said, his tone nasty, "We wouldn’t want anything happening to you."
I jerked away from him,
"Knock it off, Fletch"
He snorted but backed away. I promised myself, right then and there, that once we got back outside, I was kicking his ass. He’d been acting like a prick all night and I had about enough. I'll even get Mark to help me hold him down while Tilly lays the boots to him as well.

The stairs curved towards the left. A flickering light danced across the wall, illuminating a small area. Roberts, Webster, and Tilly were on the landing. Mark stood on the last step, hands on his hips. I looked around Mark and saw that there was a small torch sitting in a metal ring from the wall. It was a squared landing, too small for all of us to fit. There were two other arched openings in the wall, probably leading further down into the crypt. I glanced up and saw a faint bright opening in the ceiling, relieved that it was full daylight. 

Roberts, however, turned to us, his face thunderous. 
He kept his voice low but we still felt his anger nonetheless,
“Okay, now where is he?”
Mark reached into his pocket for the map. He’d just started to unfold it when Webster snatched it from him with a “Gimme that.” Mark threw up his hands in aggravation. Tilly kept his mouth shut for once, his arms crossed. Fletcher pushed past me to go and stand by them.

While they talked, I inched closer to Mark. I wanted to let him know that there was something not right about this whole thing, that Fletch was up to something but just then a high-pitched scream filtered out from the closest opening. We spun towards it, ready to go in, but Roberts and Webster shoved us out the way with their guns drawn.
Roberts glared at us, his expression clear, Stay here
Once they'd disappeared, the four of us looked at each and snorted.
Yeah, like we were going to listen to either of them, anyway. 


We followed the sounds to another room, this one outfitted with a single lantern which lit up one corner of the room. I took a quick look around. There was a mound of dirt and several duffle bags lined up against the wall closest to the lantern. Several skeletal remains were propped up against the other walls. One looked mighty fresh, its face and abdomen torn away. One of its forearms were missing. There was another opening in the wall, smaller than the one that we had came through.

Archie was crouched down, facing away from us. I didn’t know what he was doing. In all honesty, I was hoping that he was praying. I moved closer to Mark and Tilly, keeping Fletch in sight. He stood by, hands in his jacket pocket. When the sheriff glared at him, Fletch smiled and moved out of the way. Once we were behind the sheriff and Webster, Roberts stepped forward.
“Archie Dillon, we need you to come on down to the station.” He said loudly. “We just want to talk to you, son.” He held his free hand out, fingers splayed, the other rested on his gun. 
Webster had his out as well but held the barrel down.
Archie kept his back to us, hunched over something. Faint smacking sounds told us he was either eating or...something else.
Mark stepped to the side of the sheriff,
“A-man, c’mon-“
Archie stopped and lifted his head, tilting it slightly.
His voice, deeper than I remembered, sounded almost amused,
“Mark, are you still playing the negotiator?”

He stood, dropping whatever was in his hands. I couldn’t see it but whatever it was, it hit the ground with a dull thud. Given the d├ęcor, I hoped that he’d stopped at some late night burger joint to get his meat fix on. I glanced at the one-armed body again and swallowed hard.
“That’s not fair,” Mark said quietly, “We just want you to come with us-“
“I see you’re right.” Archie said as he turned around. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve. He looked at me first then at the rest of us, his lips quirked as if he were trying not to laugh. “I’m surprised, however, that you felt the need to bring ALL of them here.”

Confused, I didn't know what he was talking about at first. It hit me with a sick realization when Fletch chuckled,
“Well, I didn’t know if you would believe me or not.”
Horror grabbed me by the throat as both Roberts and Webster bellowed at the same time.
Mark and I both yanked Tilly to the ground. 
Webster kept his gun trained on Archie while Roberts took a step closer to Archie, fumbling for a set of handcuffs. 
Archie suddenly laughed out loud.

We froze, as he vanished right in front of us. I looked around. Fletcher had disappeared, too.
Roberts cursed loudly before darting through the opening.
Webster paused, glaring at us with a “Don’t move!” before disappearing after his boss.
“Did you see that?” I was incredulous. “Did you see how far he’s gone?”
“Yeah, yeah, I saw it,” Mark said impatiently, sitting up. “This is beyond us. We need to go.”
 “You just wanna go and leave Archie to those two assholes?” Tilly was beside himself. “Not happening!”
“In case you hadn’t noticed,” I cut in, pointing at him,  “Fletch more or less sold us out.”
“All the more reason to stay,” Tilly said stubbornly as he got up. “I owe that fucker anyway.”
He took off after them. 
I cursed and looked at Mark, saying,
“We can’t leave it like this.We've come too far, already.”
This has to end, one way or another...
We didn't acknowledge what the possible outcome might be. It was already there, between us. It felt very solemn,very heavy and

He rubbed his eyes, nodding. 
I quickly averted mine. I was close enough to tears already. 
He sighed and got to his feet,
“Fine, let’s finish this.”


We heard the sheriff and Webster call out for Archie.
He replied with spooky, mocking laughter. Another drawn out wail beckoned us and we hurried in its direction. We found the other guys in an even more spacious area, the walls lined with shelves upon shelves of bodies in various stages of decay. For all of the dead bodies, the room was surprising fresh. I didn’t even want to think about Archie down here, sprinkling potpourri around the place.

The sheriff and deputy were at the far end, peering out into another passage. Webster had the flashlight, scanning the ceilings and walls. 
We stared down the dark passage, the once faint screams becoming louder, accompanied by the slap-slap-slap of running feet.   

A woman, her mouth stretched wide, came into view. She was naked, the front of her body covered in long, bloody welts. Her one eye spun wildly in its socket, the other was sunken back into her head. We scrambled out of the way as she took a running leap, hit the far shelf behind us then lunged directly at Webster, her clawed hands tearing at him. They fell into Mark, knocking him down. The deputy screamed and fired. The sound, sharp and deafening, ricocheted throughout the room. When Tilly suddenly gasped, I knew he got hit in some kind of way. I screamed his name, charging forward, as he spun around, his wide eyes meeting mine. I caught him, falling to the dirt floor. The bullet from Webster’s gun tore right through his throat.

Everything suddenly moved in slow motion. The woman’s shrill screams of bloodlust drowned Webster’s cries for help. Mark tried to roll away from them. I sat in the middle of the floor, my hand pressed against Tilly’s throat, his hot blood pulsing through my fingers. Tears nearly blinded me as I begged Tilly to hold on. He gurgled, his body jerking with unimaginable pain. His hands gripped my arm, his mouth flapping helplessly. I screamed again, bending over Tilly as the sheriff fired on the woman. She continued to tear chunks of flesh out of Webster’s face, screeching in glee. Her body jerked with each thunk of the bullets but that didn’t stop her. She rode Webster down to the ground, clutching him by the throat, her movements frenzied. I shut my eyes against the flashing pockets of light from his gun.

The sounds were suddenly muted, the heavy stillness of the aftermath snapped my eyes open. Fletch had the sheriff bent over in a headlock, his other arm going up and down in rapid succession. The sheriff grunted with each blow. I caught a glimpse of metal and, with a hollow feeling, knew exactly what he was doing. He dropped the sheriff and viciously kicked him once in the gut before yanking the woman off Webster. The deputy didn't move, only a fading, bubbly wheeze could be heard from him. 
The woman's blood-smeared mouth pulled back in a hiss. Just when I hoped she would attack him, Fletch tossed her onto the sheriff. She sniffed him curiously at first before burrowing into his facial wounds, like a lion, her growls of appreciation filling the air. Ribbons of gore sailed about the room as she grabbed handfuls of flesh from his torso, and stuffed them into her mouth as fast as she could.

I looked around wildly for Mark. He was fighting with Fletcher, taking a right to the jaw. He staggered for a moment, and then swung on Fletch, his punch glancing off Fletch’s shoulder. He reared back to hit him again but Fletch stepped in close, driving the knife into his stomach.  I yelled at the same exact moment. As Mark started to go down, Fletch yanked him upright, grabbed him by the head and with a sharp, twisting motion, snapped his neck. He threw Mark to side as if he weighed nothing before turning to me, a wide smile on his face.

Rage, hot and thick, pumped through my veins like battery acid. I zeroed in on him. I wanted to wash my hands in his blood.
I didn’t remember laying Tilly down. I didn’t remember getting to my feet. All I wanted to do was make him pay. I wanted to feel his life leave his worthless body by my hand alone. 
I traded punch for punch, ignoring the hits to my face and stomach. I planned to kill him, one way or another. Before I knew it, my hands were around his neck, ready to tear his head off. Through my anger, I saw him roll his eyes and that set me off even more.

I reared back for a head-butt when he suddenly yawned, “Oh puh-leeze,” and backhanded me, hard. I flew through the air, hitting the edge of the opening to passage. I felt a sharp, snapping crack of pain against my spine. Molten-hot licks of agony rolled through my body as I hit the ground, my body curved outwardly around the edge of the doorway. I jerked in spasmodic pain, my arms and legs flapping uselessly. My eyes rolled around for a moment, dark spots slowly swimming in my vision. Bile rushed out of my throat. I choked and sputtered, trying to clear it. I couldn’t swallow and I knew for sure I was going to die. I glared at him and put as much hate into my eyes as possible, damning him to burn in hell.

Fletch squatted down next to me, running the edge of his knife along his thumb. He looked me up and down then pressed on my stomach. I gurgled, trying to turn my head. He laughed and put his full weight on me. Shards of white-hot pain shot through me again, forcing more bile to spurt from my mouth.
Archie stepped behind him,
“Why?” Fletch asked, still staring at me. “We don't need him. He’s no longer viable.”
Archie pushed him away, and took his place, his gaze sympathetic. I silently begged him to release me. I couldn't hold on anymore, even as I watched his canines slowly extend. I barely heard him though I felt the coolness of his hand when he placed it against my cheek. 
With his eyes still on mine, he whispered,
“Yes, he is.”

*to be continued*
© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson August 18, 2011
3 Word Wednesday: Gasp, Mute, Viable

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hunting Archie pt. 5 - 3WW

We crept closer to the stone building, careful not to make any unnecessary noise. I kept looking around, expecting to see a zombie lurching towards us out of the darkness. Every shift in the shadows was an immediate threat. I kept my eyes trained on the thicket, not looking where I was going and almost plowed into Mark who had stopped. He glanced at me in askance. I raised my hands in apology and he nodded once before turning back towards where the sheriff had stopped.

The sheriff was holding court, issuing instructions. We were to form a single line, he and Webster in the front while the rest of us brought up the rear. We were to leave our gear outside.
Naturally, Tilly had something to say about it,
“Now, hang on a second-“
Roberts whirled around on him, quicker that anyone I thought his size possible. We all gasped in shock as he whipped out his gun, cocked it and pressed the barrel into Tilly’s nose. Fletch yelled and lurched, gripping Tilly’s arm, as if he wanted to yank him out of the way. Roberts leaned in close, his teeth bared as he snarled at Tilly.
“Shut it, you.”
Even in the predawn light, I saw Tilly’s face blanch. My throat closed up. I broke out into a cold sweat, drenching my shirt, my heart hammering a mile a minute.
Webster, the only one with any presence of mind to act rationally, put his hand on the sheriff’s arm, speaking in a calm voice,
“Paul, c’mon now. There’s no need for this.” He glared at Tilly, “I’m sure the Donalds’ boy didn’t mean anything by it.”

We waited for what seemed like endless minutes before Roberts suddenly smiled. He pressed the barrel harder into Tilly’s nose, nudging his head back. As he lowered his gun, he spoke to all of us while keeping his eyes on Tilly,
“One more sound and there’ll be hell to pay.” His beady eyes swept all of us. “Got it?” Once he’d turned away, Tilly bent over, the sounds of his retching breaking the stillness of the morning. He straightened up, hands on his hips as he gulped in air. My own nausea rose, responding to his and I swallowed hard, drawing in deep breaths. I don’t know if anyone replied to him as my knees suddenly gave away. Mark gripped my arm before I could hit the dirt.
“You okay?” He asked, his voice low.
“Yeah,” I mumbled, struggling not to throw up. “Give me a minute.” 

I cradled my head in my hands. I stayed that way for a moment, ignoring everything that was being said around me. The sweats continued. I wiped my face, wishing that this night were already over.
“Hey you,” Webster called. I glanced over at him. His face was twisted in a sneer, “Get up. You wanna be sick, do it somewhere else.”
“Lay off,” Fletch snapped. “He’s fine. Let’s just do this already.”
I struggled to get to my feet. Mark held out his hand and I clasped it gratefully. My legs still felt a little wobbly but I would fight my way through it.
Roberts gave the go ahead for Webster to open the door. As much as he tried to keep quiet, the metallic screech filled the air, setting off the birds in trees closest to us. I winced, pressing my hand against my stomach.

So much for the element of surprise.

Mark passed the deputy the flashlight then came to stand in front of me, Fletcher to my rear. Tilly stood beside Mark, his face tense. We crowded around Webster and Roberts as they stood in the doorway, the beam of the flashlight hitting nothing but darkness.
Webster aimed it down and we saw a flight of stone stairs. The cold, sour smell of mildew radiated from the darkness. I covered my nose, hoping that I wouldn’t heave all over the place.

Webster leaned in a little bit, then clicked the flashlight off.
“I think there’s a light down there.” He angled a look at the rest of us. “Let’s go.”
He led the way down, disappearing into the darkness. I started to follow Mark when Fletch placed a hand on my shoulders, stopping me. I glanced back at him,
“What’s wrong?”
He had this weird look on his face. He dropped his hand, putting the both of them into his jacket pocket.
“Archie always thought of you as a brother.”
Grateful for a chance to delay the inevitable, I turned my back to the open doorway, sucking in the fresh air. I shrugged, not understanding what he was getting at,
“We grew up together, all of us. Of course, he would think of us as brothers.”
“No, not all of us.” He said, stepping closer. “Just you.”
I frowned and stepped back. His eyes were steady, looking straight into mine. As if I didn’t feel uneasy enough already, a kernel of a thought started to sow its way through my over-stressed brain cells. I took another step back, not liking the way he was in my space all of a sudden.
“What the hell do you mean by that?”
Something shifted in his eyes. It was so faint, so quick, that I was almost positive I might have imagined it. He shook his head, his face unreadable.
“No one is immune to him, you know.”
Shivers raced up my spine and I shook my head, trying to clear it,
“What are you talking about? What's wrong with you?”

Fletch just stood there, still as a frigging stature. My mouth went dry. My stomach cramped painfully as other thoughts started to form. I opened my mouth to ask him again but he suddenly shook his head, giving me that familiar Fletch-grin,
“Nothing. Let’s get inside.”

*to be continued*
© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson August 10, 2011
3 Word Wednesday: Drench, Radiate and Immune

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cliffhanger Books wants YOU!!!!

Yes, they do!

Paramourtal 2
Seeking Unique Paranormal Romance Stories
Deadline: October 31, 2011

Cliffhanger Books is looking for new, previously unpublished short stories (approx. 6500-8000 words) for Paramourtal 2, the second volume of our award-nominated paranormal romance series. 

We are eager to read truly original fiction with unique (i.e. think beyond vampires and werewolves, though they are welcome, as well), well-defined, emotionally complex characters.

Give us an innovative take on an established paranormal character type. Approach your love story from a fresh angle or motivation. Hook us in with an imaginative and perplexing plot that will keep readers engaged until the very end.

Submissions are open to all U.S. and international writers age 18 and over. Stories must be submitted in English. 

While paranormal romance authors are generally female, we want story submissions from talented male writers as well.

Full details can be found here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hunting Archie pt. 4 - 3WW

After the four of us got out of the car and got the pat down, Fletch and Mark explained their theories to the Sheriff and deputy, completely omitting the fact that Archie may be a vamp. I listened, wide-eyed, as they went on to say how we felt that Archie might be afraid to turn himself in, how we were going to convince him to do the right thing, yada yada, yada. 

They checked the car, didn't even clue in to our "supplies" and told us that we had no right interfering in police business and we were lucky not to be heading down to County.
“But, Sheriff, he’s our friend.” Fletch said quietly, “We’re only trying to help.”

The rest of us stood there like tree trunks, waiting to see what would happen next.
The sheriff mulled it over before deciding to come out there with us. He wouldn't make us any promises about our friend but would take every precaution necessary in apprehending him.
I didn’t know whether to be scared or relieved.

We’d barely got back into the car before Tilly erupted with a “You son of a bitch!!”  and lunged through the seats at Fletch. I caught an elbow in the face when I tried to pull him back. Through the haze of pain I heard Tilly’s muffled curse as Fletch responded with a solid dose of medication, the five-knuckled kind, causing his head to snap back. He fell over on top of me but his rage was too much and, kicking and scratching, he hurled himself up again.
“Tilly!” I yelled, grabbing a flailing arm, “Shit, calm down!”

Another struggle ensued, causing Mark to swerve, throwing us first to the left then the right before he slammed on the brakes. We lurched forward, me and Tilly almost sailing over the bucket seats. Fletch hit the dashboard, shouting, “Fuck!!!”  while Mark swung around, one hand on the wheel, and trying to hit all of us with the other, “Knock it off!!”

“How could you, Fletch?” Tilly shouted, ignoring Mark. I grabbed and held him good this time. He was breathing so hard that I thought he was going to have a heart attack. Mark drove on, his eyes flickering to us in the rearview mirror. The cruiser was right behind us, the headlights so bright, I knew they saw us fighting in here. 

Fletch swiped at the scratches on the side of his face, wincing. He smirked at Tilly,
“You fight like a little bitch, Till.”
“Stop already!” I barked, yanking Tilly back down. I glared at Fletch, 
“This better be good.”   
With a muffled curse, Tilly yanked himself away, ruffling his hair in agitation.

 “It is.” Fletcher reached into the glove compartment for some napkins, “None of us really want to put Archie down, right?” 
He sat sideways in his seat to look at the rest of us.
I saw where he was going with this. 
Mark drew the same conclusion, nodding as I counted off the whole scenario out loud,.
“Roberts gets down there, sees that Archie’s a vamp, Archie sees all of us as a threat, attacks and the sheriff’s forced to shoot him, right?”
“Exactly.” Fletch nodded. i shook my head and looked out of the window.
“And that makes it any better?” Tilly asked heatedly, “What about showing him mercy? Doesn’t he deserve that at least?”
“What other choice we have?” Mark cut in angrily. “We do it ourselves and live with the guilt? Thanks but no thanks.”
“I don’t like it.” Tilly grumbled. “We’re setting him up-“
“Yeah, well it’s kinda out of our hands now so get over it.” Fletch snapped, putting an end to the conversation. I looked over at Tilly. He met my eyes and shook his head before turning away.
We rode the rest of the way in a sad, heavy silence…

We waited for Roberts and Webster to come up so we could go down into the crypt. I reached into my pocket and pulled out some gum, pierced the aluminum backing before popping a piece in my mouth. I held it out but Mark was the only to take the offer. 

Mark clicked off the flashlight and we turned as Roberts huffed his way through the tall grass, grunting with exertion. I stifled a laugh. Fletcher snorted in disgust, rolling his eyes before turning away.

The Sheriff bent over to catch his breath, pulling his hat off his head.
“We could’ve drove right up to the damn door.”

“Yeah, well, that wouldn’t have been too smart now, would it?” Tilly sneered. Fletcher elbowed him in the side. He turned, ready to argue again, when Webster came out of the trees, his face annoyed.
“You better hope he’s down there.”
“Or else what?” Mark asked. “You gonna-“
“Quiet!” I hissed. Everyone froze. “Did you hear that?”
I swore I could hear everyone’s heartbeat. Or maybe mine was just thumping so hard it drowned out any other noise. My eyes burned as I tried to see in the darkness.
The crunch of footsteps came from beyond the thicket closest to the crypt. We zeroed in on the sound, eyes and ears straining to hear anything out of the ordinary. I glanced over at the Sheriff who snapped upright, hand already on his gun. Webster was in a similar pose. Their expressions were almost wolf-like, their eyes alert for their prey. 
My stomach tightened.
A dark figure, slouched over and staggering, appeared from the farthest side of the stone building. I waited, my throat closed in fear, for him to turn and see us. There was a faint screech, a metallic clang and the whump of a door closing.
Archie was home. 

*to be continued*

© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson August 3, 2011

3 Word Wednesday: Appear, Dose, and Pierce