Emily was glad to be home, but terribly bored. It was the day after Christmas and she was sick of football. It was also two in the afternoon and she was still in her pajamas with her long slipper-socks with the pebble bottoms. Mother had gone out to make returns, a time honored family tradition. The rest of the family declined. Dad opted for football with David who was still home from Thanksgiving and probably would not be deployed again until February. Tyler also opted to stay home and spent an hour sliding around the kitchen floor in his slippers, scaring the cat. Emily could not slide in her slipper-socks because of the no-slip bottoms. Too bad, because sliding around the floor felt more and more like something to do as the football went on and on.
“Hey! What is this! Wow, is this real?” The shout came from upstairs and Emily immediately knew Tyler was into her things. She ran. David followed her. Dad was not moving, except maybe by crowbar.
It was what Emily feared. Tyler had her sword out and was swinging it around the room.
“Sorry about the lamp,” Tyler said. He had already busted it, accidentally.
“Give me that!” Emily yelled, but Tyler was not going to do that. He was too busy playing Obi-Wan. Emily ducked, caught Tyler’s hand, ripped the sword from his grip with one hand and with her other hand pushed him rudely to her bed.
“Hey!” He never saw it coming.
“This is real,” Emily said as she looked for her sheath. It was on the floor behind the bed. “This is not a toy, and I’ll be taking your desk lamp in place of my broken one so screw you.”
“Can I see that?” David stepped up. “I’ll give it right back, I promise.”
“Where did you get it?” Tyler wondered as he rubbed his chest. She kind of hit him to the bed more than shoved him.
Emily pulled the sheath out from the space between the bed and the wall before she handed the weapon to David. “I got it from a friend who is more than four hundred and seventy years old and he made it by hand so it is not only real, it is one of a kind.”
David looked at the weapon closely and made no comment on what his sister said. Tyler laughed. The phone rang, and Emily rushed downstairs. “I’ll get it.” Not that there was any danger that her dad would answer the phone. The call was not what she expected.
“Yes, of course,” Emily said, though she was not entirely sure which of the elect she was actually talking to.
“I have reason to believe there is a danger on its way to Columbus, if it is not already there. I will arrive at ten tomorrow morning. Is there a chance you can meet me at the airport?”
“Yes, of course. Just give me the information.” Emily wrote furiously on the pad beside the phone. “Can I ask what exactly the danger is that you are referring to?” Emily wrote the word vampires in big black letters on the pad. “What? Local police? No, wait. Lieutenant Reese Anthony.” She grinned when she gave the man’s name. “He already talked to Miriam at the FBI. There was an incident over Thanksgiving. I don’t know what Miriam said to him, but he let me go. What? No, he is the only one I know. I never got involved with the police before Lisa.” Emily looked up and saw David hovering over her shoulder. “Maybe I should tell you when you get here. Yes. See you at ten.” Emily hung up the phone.
David handed the sword back and said just one word. “Vampires?”
“I’m driving,” David said. He was not going to let her escape without answering some questions.
“But that means Tyler will have to come, too,” Emily whined like Jessica. She had learned the technique well. David just stared at her until she squirmed. “Better get dressed,” she said.
Susan, Emily and Lori sat in the back. Tyler was up front with David driving. Susan and Lori were not thrilled about Tyler being there, but they did not mind David coming along. Emily decided she did not mind Susan, Lori and Tyler all being there. It kept David from asking too many questions.
The movie was the latest blockbuster, not exactly a Christmas movie. When they got to the fight scenes, Emily thought it was too fake for words, but she imagined David thought the same thing having been in combat, or near enough. When it was over, Tyler suggested the diner across the street. Of course, Tyler had no money with him, but that was fine. Emily would cover for her little brother and be repaid, or as the saying went, take it out of his hide.
They stepped out of the theater together and heard the woman scream. Emily ran in the direction of the scream and David came right on her heels. They found Emily’s ex-boyfriend, Brad and his companions Duncan and Hoover and they had a woman backed up to the trunk of her car. The woman had pepper spray in one hand. Her other hand was up against her neck where she was bleeding. There was a second woman, but she was on the ground and looked unconscious, or dead.
Emily grabbed the back of Duncan’s shirt and tossed him over the hood of the pick-up, head first into the fender of a parked car. She kicked Hoover in the stomach and hit him hard enough to send him sprawling. The boy tripped over the woman on the ground and landed face down on the asphalt.
David shoved Brad out of the way and bent down to the woman on the ground. He tried to check her breathing and then tried for a pulse. He looked up at Emily and shook his head.
Emily ducked. Duncan’s sucker punch from behind missed. She kicked back and caught him where he would certainly feel it. David did not duck as quickly. Brad’s punch grazed David’s shoulder, but David was well trained by the army. He punched Brad in the knees before he stood and landed a better punch on Brad’s face. Emily leapt to David’s back and Hoover stopped where he was.
Tyler came to the corner of the lot followed by Susan and Lori. “Too many people,” Brad yelled and he, Duncan and Hoover ran off into the shadows. The woman with the pepper spray started to faint, but Emily caught her and in the process saw the two puncture wounds in her neck. David pronounced his findings regarding the woman on the ground.
“She is dead.”
“Susan, call for an ambulance!” Emily yelled, but Susan already had her phone out and was calling.
When the ambulance came, the medics confirmed David’s diagnosis. They put the body of the dead woman in the ambulance while they worked on the other woman. She had lost a great deal of blood and they got her on a stretcher and hooked up to an I. V.
Naturally, Tyler’s curiosity took him straight to the back of the ambulance to look at the dead body, so he was there when the woman sat up, starving for blood.
“Help!” Tyler got that much out as the woman went for his neck. David moved first and yanked the woman off his brother, but she simply turned toward Susan and Lori. Emily had her knife out by then. She had strapped it to her ankle just in case, and she jumped. She sank her knife deep into the dead woman’s chest and the woman stopped moving before she appeared to laugh. Emily nodded, remembered her zombie training, pulled out her knife and promptly took the woman’s head off. That killed her for good.
Naturally, the police pulled up right then. Lieutenant Reese Anthony came bounding out of his car, saw the beheaded woman on the ground and Emily standing there with a knife in her hand, but Emily had learned. She cleaned her knife, even if it did not have much blood on it, and she set it down before the Lieutenant arrived and grabbed her. He turned her roughly, though she did not resist, and he slapped handcuffs on her.
Everyone started yelling at the Lieutenant. One of the officers with him was so startled by the crowd reaction, he pulled his gun. Even the medics were yelling at him. He turned away. “Shut them up,” he said to the officers present and got out his phone. He had to walk around the corner to hear anything.
“Hey, people. Calm down. It will be alright,” Emily said.
“But Emily, you should not be in cuffs.” David was her defender, but his voice was calm and that also calmed the police.
“You saved our lives,” Lori said, emphatically.
“Yeah, that lady was trying to eat me,” Tyler added his thoughts. He had his hand up to stop the bleeding from his own neck. One of the medics came up, looked at it, and then took Tyler aside to work on the wound. The other medic came up with a word for the police.
“Ever see a dead person get up and walk around?” The police scoffed and shook their heads. “Well, I have.” The medic pointed to the decapitated corpse. “Good thing she was here, whoever she is.” He pointed at Emily and walked away.
“Wait a minute,” Emily said with a smile. She had been straining for some time, but there was a snap and she pulled her hands to her front, still cuffed, but the cuffs were separated. One cuff had most of the chain links. “Loose link,” Emily said with a smile. The police looked very confused as Lieutenant Anthony came back around the corner. He saw Emily had her hands free and shook his head. He already had the key out.
“I should run you in for questioning in a murder,” he said as he unlocked Emily’s cuffs. “But my boss says I am supposed to cooperate with you and your people. He got a call from the mayor, from the FBI and from Washington. Who the hell are you and your people?”
“Later,” Emily responded quietly. “When we pick up Anna at the airport, she may explain.”
Lieutenant Anthony stepped back and pointed to the dead body. “You decapitated the damn woman. What the hell is this?”
David was the one who answered. “Vampires.”
“Looks like an epidemic,” Emily added as she rubbed her wrists.
“Bullshit!” Lieutenant Anthony was not buying it, but the medic returned with Tyler and ripped back the tape that held the gauze to his neck. Tyler protested, but the medic’s words were clear. “The woman in the ambulance is suffering severe blood loss,” he said. “And look at this.” He showed Tyler’s neck where there were the characteristic puncture wounds. He put the gauze back in place as his partner called.
“Time to go.” the partner got in the ambulance front seat. They had a quick trip to make to the hospital.
“What am I supposed to do with this dead body?” Lieutenant Anthony asked, not to say he never dealt with a dead body before. He was thinking that surely the woman had family somewhere.
“Cremation is the traditional answer,” Emily said in answer to the rhetorical question.
“Awesome!” Tyler spouted. “Am I going to turn into a vampire?”
Emily shook her head. “Stupid movie.”