The Markers face a threat to Henry's authority, until all Hell breaks loose.
They stood on the outskirts of the city, looking in, thinking how they stood close to godhood. The eldest of them said, “So this is the place where the blood maker lives, eh?”
“Most certainly, master,” said the drooling g’hul, “I’ve seen her g’hul, and they seem quite attached.”
“What else do you know about her?” he asked.
“There could be a problem,” said the g’hul.
“She’s the daughter of the chief there.”
“That’s a worry?” he asked rhetorically, “That’s Henry Marker you are talking about! James may have been a worry, but he’s no more. Elda is strong, but it’s only her. The boy is powerful, but cocky, and careless. The blood maker has no idea how to use her blood, so she is ripe for the picking. They don’t stand a chance.”
“Master, I’ve heard that hunters are there!”
He smacked him on the back of the head, and said, “Sinclair? HA! He’s nothing! What chance does some human have against us?”
“No, master, there is another!”
“Another—what do you mean?”
“There are rumors of a protector in the city! He’s already started to clean up the neighborhoods, and he is powerful.”
“Is he a vampire?”
“He is a day walker.”
At first, he wanted to write it off and say that some half-breed was no match for a full fledged vampire. However, he had heard rumors of the half-breed boy that got away, and has been seeking revenge ever since. If that were the case, there may be a problem. If he were to unite and train them… He said to his g’hul, “Nikoli, send a message to some of our common foot soldiers. Send in four to the Maker residence, if you can find it, and see what happens. Pick only four, and make sure that they are good, but expendable. If they lose, I don’t want to lose our best.”
“Very good, master: when do you want them to go?”
“In 24 hours, Friday evening, send them. Watch closely, and see what happens.”
“Excellent, master, It will be done,” and Nikoli ambled off. Boris mused on how each g’hul reacted to certain kinds of vampire blood. Some remained normal, some turned beastly, like this one. They were a nuisance, but they took care of things in the daytime. Yet, soon, a time would come when even they would be expendable. Once they yoked the Marker cow, and milked her blood, they would have what they needed to empower them to dominate the other vampires, and enslave the human cattle once and for all. The insignificant creatures would soon know terror like they never imagined it.
English class was entertaining that day, as the teacher asked Jean-Claude to come up and help. As a joke, he said, “Howdy, y’all! I don’t speak no good English!” in a redneck sort of way. They all laughed, and then he said, (normally, but slow enough for the slower students to follow,) “Sadly, if you go to America, you may run into this. Not everyone is that bad, however, but there is something else that we must deal with. In my time here, I have been learning the slang terms in your native tongue, and I have been trying to make use of them. Please forgive me for the faux pas!”
Everyone laughed. He then said, “However, American slang is more diverse, and changes from region to region. In conversational English, we use terms that do not translate into Japanese very well, and thus, you may find it hard to follow a conversation. Thus, I wish to expand your knowledge on this matter. For example, if I were to tell you to ‘take a flying leap at a rolling doughnut,’ how many of you would know what I just meant?”
Two or three hands went up. “Okay, you,” he said, and the student said, “You have told someone you wish them to leave you alone.”
“Pretty much,” said Jean-Claude, “and more specifically, you would have told someone to go away and pursue something of more worth than what that person was pursuing at that moment, which obviously, was not all that important.”
Heads started pumping up and down, as they began to get it. He continued, “Now some things are easy. For example, ‘He’s more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a rocking chair contest.’ ‘He’s dancing around like a cat on a hot tin roof.’
However, some terms are not as easy. For example, ‘It’s not over until the fat lady sings.’ Who can tell me what that means?”
Kenta thought for a moment, and then said, “That is like opera, isn’t it?”
“As a matter of fact, you are right,” said Jean-Claude.
A music student in class thought for a moment, and then said, “Wagner: it’s from the ‘Ring’ cycle—Gotterdammerung.”
“Right,” said Jean-Claude, “and in the old days, many opera singers had some girth, and Brunheilda’s immolation aria is 17 minutes long, and is right before the end of the show. How this is applied is like this: if you think that all is lost, but there is still time left in whatever you pursue, then what you mean by this is, ‘Don’t give up. As long as we have time, and even a slim chance, we can work it out.’
Normally, this is applied to sports, but it can be used in other things as well. It is a sign of confidence that one can succeed, no matter the odds.”
Jean-Claude began to see the light bulbs going on over their heads, so he knew something was sinking in. He then spent the rest of the period dealing with easy slang terms, and the kinds of slang one might encounter, depending on where one went. The most fun was had when he began to describe all the different terms for “vomit.” That got the class rolling. The period ended, and it was the end of the day. “Okay, everyone pass your assignments forward. If you are not working a job or in a club, please head home, or to your study halls, and be ready for Monday.”
As the class broke up, Karin said, “So will you be at Julian’s today?”
“Nah,” he said, “We have to go over our set plays before the big game tomorrow night, so I might not make it.”
“Too bad,” said Maki, “I was hoping we could practice.”
“Well, that would out this weekend as well,” he said, “I’ve got some important business to tend to, but maybe we can go over a few things at Julian’s after we get our assignments done.”
“Oh, okay,” she said, “But we’ll all be there for the game Saturday night. The first game of the season is always important. We got to get that win!”
Everyone cheered, and said they would be ready to support the team. Jean-Claude then asked Kenta, “Oh, by the way, what is our mascot?”
“What do you mean?” asked Kenta in return.
“I mean are we the Bears, the Eagles, the Warriors, or something like that?” he asked again, more specifically.
“Oh, now I see what you mean,” said Kenta, “Well, I don’t think this school really has one.”
“Whoa,” said Jean-Claude, “That has to change.”
“Well, this school is so new,” continued Kenta, “that we really haven’t decided on one yet. I grant you, it’s been open for a few years, but we really have not come up with one yet.”
“Then we have to put that one before the student council,” said Jean-Claude.
“We still have to elect the class officers, so it may be a while,” said Kenta.
“No worries,” said Jean Claude, “We have time. Well, see you Monday.”
They said their good-byes, and went to attend to their business.
Jean-Claude took some time to clean the bowls out real well before he went to his camp, and looked forward to this being his last night there. He had a few good prospects already in mind, and they would all take him, so he figured that he could be in tomorrow, and have at least a few furnishings in. That would come in time. He decided to walk back rather than take the bus, because it was a nice evening, and he wanted to learn the area better. He walked back to the camp, and left the bowls right on the edge of the line that he kept marked, so he would not forget where he was. He decided to take some time in deep prayer, and time in his Bible, hoping for some bliss. He had no clue what was going on below the hill.
Karin, Kenta, and Yuriya all got off work at the same time, and Yuriya figured that this would be a good time to probe Karin, and see if she might be able to say something in Jean-Claude’s defense to her father. She had not told Jean-Claude that the chief was her father, because she did not know if she would go and do something irrational. She had to tread lightly. “Karin,” she said, “If I were to tell you of someone who wants to report to your father, but was scared to say anything for fear of something bad happening…well, I don’t think its fear, but more like caution. Anyway, he does not know how to approach your father and report in, but, I was hoping that, if you were to talk to your father, maybe you could ease things.”
“Could you try that again with about two or three less riddles?” said Karin.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I just don’t want to say who it is because I want to be sure that things will go well.”
“Did he talk to you or something?” asked Karin.
“Well, he’s like me,” she said, “and you know the prejudice that our kind deals with from time to time. I remember when I met your father, well, your whole family. That was not exactly the best time! So, I can understand his trepidation.”
“He’s another half-vampire?” asked Karin, “Have I met him?”
“I’ll wait until I get an answer about your father before I mention anything about that,” Yuriya responded.
“You have my father all wrong,” said Karin, “He’s a sweetheart. I’m sure he would love to talk to him, once I explain how scared this…well…someone is.”
Karin thought for a moment, chuckled, and said, “It’s my mother that can be all claws and fangs!”
All three got a big belly laugh out of that. Yuriya wondered if she should mention the warning that Jean-Claude gave, but she figured that that could wait. She then said, “Maybe I could be there with you, since I know most of the details.”
“Of course,” said Karin, “You’re always welcome!”
They hugged, and found themselves outside Kenta’s place. Karin said, “Why don’t you come up tonight?”
“Sorry,” she said, “I’ve got things to do. It’s that time again.”
Karin nodded knowingly, and said, “Remember what Anjou taught you about erasing the memory. You don’t want to botch it.”
“Okay, good night, you two,” she said, and took her leave.
Kenta had politely listened to the whole thing, knowing that things like this still were not his area of expertise. “Man, the way things are going,” said Kenta, “half the city is going to be vampire.”
“And this is a bad thing, because…” she asked.
“All the humans are going to wonder why they are so anemic!” joked Kenta.
She turned to him, and slipped her arms around his waist as she got closer, “And you’ll be the only one not that way. I’ll make sure of that.”
At this, they kissed passionately, and then she dropped her fangs into his neck. She did not have a lot to give at that moment, but she also knew that, despite what some humans may have thought, the act of biting from a vampire has the tendency to hit the pleasure receptors, after the initial prick pain. Therefore, she wanted to leave him something that would enhance the kiss. As she parted, he felt a little light headed, but nonetheless good. “When we get married,” she said, “you will find out just how good this can be,” as she licked off the few drops of blood off her lips and chin, and headed up the hill. Kenta entered the apartment, walking on air, when he bumped into his mother. She smiled at him knowingly. “You saw the whole thing, didn’t you?” asked Kenta. He blushed, and then she looked at his neck, saying, “One thing is for sure—that girl knows how to leave a dynamite hickie!”
He then realized what she was talking about, and said, “Yeah, she’s a bit of a biter,” proverbially biting his own tongue in the process, thinking, “If you only knew!”
Not too many blocks away, in the park near Kenta’s place, Yuriya made contact quickly, and she was relieved that it would not be an all night operation. As she laid her prey on the park bench nearby, and erased her memory, she heard laughter. “Who is that?” she demanded, “Where are you?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” said a sinister sounding voice.
“Was she a tasty one?” asked a second voice.
This was not good. She knew all of her kind in the city, and these were voices she did not recognize. Instinct told her to get into a public area and light, and she began to go, slowly at first, and then gained speed as she went. “Where are you going?” the voice asked, “It’s early!”
She suddenly remembered what Jean-Claude had said; she lifted up the edges of her dress, and started to pick up her pace. She was back on the street that led to Kenta’s place, and it was then they emerged from behind her. There were four of them, and they looked mean enough, and somewhat a bit distorted in appearance for vampires. All of them were carrying a sword of some kind or another. At this she immediately began to tap into her blood and picked up her pace quickly, and headed up the hill. At that point, Karin was in the family room with her parents, and was trying to shape how to mention to her father what Yuriya had told her. “You’re awful quiet,” said Calera, “Something on your mind?”
“Well, I…” and that is as far as she got. This was when she heard a primal scream rattle through her head, as did all the others. “HELP! MR. MARKER, HELP!”
About this time, Jean-Claude had a stone out, and was whetting his saber, when he was nearly floored by the scream. It came in his head, and echoed up the hill. “HELP ME—SOMEONE, ANYONE!”
He heard the steps coming up the old brick road that led to the top of the hill. He did not have to ponder long before he knew what was going on. Even Ren heard the scream, albeit distantly in his head. He knew where it was coming from, and immediately headed home. Elda was ripped out of her sleep by the scream, and she came up to see what the issue was. She came out on the porch at the same time as Henry and Calera. Karin and Anjou both tried to step out, but Henry told them to go back in. When they hesitated, they saw him get cross in a way that they had never seen before, as he thundered, “Do as I say!”
They did not need to be told again, and went back in. Yet, they went upstairs, and watched from an upstairs window. Jean-Claude already had his sword belt on and was on the move. Yuriya turned the corner, screaming her head off, sprinting up the walkway to the porch. “LET ME IN, LET ME IN!”
They let her past into the house, and the adults closed ranks. Not far behind her were four vampires, not being too shy on revealing what they were, and a bit grotesque. “You do not belong here!” thundered Henry, “Leave, or feel my wrath!”
The four stood silent for a few seconds, and then began to laugh. That is when Elda stepped up, and said, “Feel mine as well!”
Now they were not laughing. “You can’t stop us,” one of them snarled, “Tonight; we dine on your entrails!”
However, Henry was not listening, because, moments before, something that was moving rather quickly came from behind, and was making a beeline for the quartet. Just as that one made the statement, he screamed in pain and shock as he watched a saber emerge through his sternum, followed by a voice behind him, “Wrong—tonight, you dine in Hell!”
The sword was extracted, and swiftly removed the head from the neck of the braggart. The other three turned their attention to this intruder, but before they could react, Henry and Elda were already on top of two of them. The sound of clanging steel could be heard over the hilltop, and rapidly, as the accelerated pace of the vampires caused them to move in a blur. Quickly and deftly, Jean-Claude had the head off of the one he combated, and Elda was chopping up her opponent. Henry was faring well, but not well enough. It seemed that he was about to lose his fight, but Jean-Claude beheaded him as well, and the fight was over. Jean-Claude was exhausted, but he stood to give a proper sword salute to the Markers, and then collapsed to the ground. He crawled over to one of the fallen, and began to consume some of the blood, and quickly began to regain himself. When he was done, his fangs were fully extended, his eyes glowed, and he roared in primal pleasure. All this was happening as Ren came back. He could not believe the sight, especially the blood covered young man he had been trying to intimidate but days before, fangs bared eyes aglow. “That was you that night,” said Ren, and Jean-Claude nodded. “Did you leave me anything?” asked Ren.
“Only bodies,” answered Jean-Claude.
Jean-Claude then heaped the bodies, told everyone to go to the porch, reached out his hand, and ignited the bodies. The three girls inside could not believe what they had just seen, but some were more surprised than others. For Anjou, she knew what he could do, after having observed him in action through one of her bats. For Yuriya, she had no idea that a d’amphile could be so powerful. For Karin, she was in a slight state of shock, as everything began to come to her. This explained the sunglasses and sun block. He indeed had a genetic condition, and it had nothing to do with normal human frailties. Furthermore, she would never have put Jean-Claude together with what she had just observed. He seemed such a nice boy, and yet, here he stood, looking more like a warrior than a high school student. Henry motioned for everyone, including Jean-Claude to go into the house, and into the main room. It was now time for explanations. Karin then wondered if there were more to come, and wondered about Kenta’s safety. Karin then asked her father if she could call Kenta, and have him bring his mother with him. Henry thought for a moment, and then said, “Yes, but, once his mother gets here, we must put her to sleep, and erase her memories. It is better that she remains ignorant of this.”
She called Kenta, and explained the whole matter. She told him that there may be danger, and that he needed to go up to her at that moment, and told him to bring Fumio. He wanted an explanation, but she told him there was no time. All would be explained when he came.