“You boys lost?”

The man’s voice, with its slight Southwestern twang, came from behind me to my left.  As Pedro, my Patron, was sitting on that side, I ignored it.  To be honest, it was hard to focus on it in the busy, bustling diner as it was.  Pedro had told me the place’s name, saying that it had the best salsa burger in the entire country. I gotta admit, that’s not exactly what I imagined a vampire who’d been around for half a millenia would remember, but whatever.  I’ll admit the tomatoes, peppers, and Kobe beef were like someone painted a sunset on my palate, but that’s what happens when all your senses increase by a few orders of magnitude.

Place has a bit of a fly problem, I thought angrily, as it suddenly seemed like a horde of the buggers had taken up residence just outside of my arm’s reach.

“Hey, shit for brains–talking to you too,” the man continued from right behind me.  I nearly whirled around whipped out his throat just for the hell of it, but caught myself.

Don’t want to announce to a room full of gazelles that a lion walks amongst them, I thought.  Although this asshole is definitely moving his way to the ‘slowest gazelle on the veldt’-territory I glanced over at Pedro just as the diner’s cook slammed his hand down on the bell in the order’s window.

The look on Pedro’s face that was my first warning. The Old Ones tend not to show fear.  I think part of it is showmanship, but most of it is because after walking the earth for centuries there’s not a whole lot you haven’t seen.  So understand, when an Old One has a face like a seal who has just seen an orca hop out the water and start walking up the beach towards him, that’s a bad sign.

My second warning?  Well that was the fact the sound of that bell just kept ringing…ringing…ringing like the sound had been suspended in mid-air.  My master, before turning me over to receive my training as a young vampire, had told me sound or light seeming to be off was a sign of magic.  What particular brand of magic was not important, as generally magic is a big neon sign saying “GTFO” in 100-point, bright neon green font.

Which, hey, I would have loved to do…except there was that little problem of our third indicator: the quiet.  Not,  “OMG, confrontation!”-quiet.  No, this was a “the cook, the older waitress, the two truckers down at the bar, and every other living thing in this bar just became flesh statues”-quiet.  Which, hey, given the purple sky, blood red ground, and green swirling horizon through the windows where just a second ago there’d been Alberquerque suburb at dusk, wasn’t all that surprising.

“What the fuck?” I asked, trying to remain calm.  Which, hey, bonus points for the rookie vampire, as if Pedro still breathed, he’d have been hyperventilating like a chess club captain rounding second with the captain of the cheerleading squad.

“Let me guess: Young vamp and an old vamp?” our original inquisitor asked.  “Teaching junior here how to hunt so that he doesn’t become a nuisance and get the locals up in a dudgeon?”

You have my absolute attention, I thought, looking at the tall, muscular “man” in a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s uniform.  His nameplate said Alvarez, but one would have had to have an IQ just north of room temperature to buy that.

“W-we did not mean…” Pedro stuttered.

Okay, screw this, I thought.  I was halfway out of my chair and moving so fast mortals would have only seen a blur when Pedro’s hand shot out and grabbed my shirt.  Ever go from damn near thirty miles to zero in the space of six inches?  Yeah, even when you’re a superhuman being, that shit really hurts.

“Oh no, let him go, Patron,” “Alvarez” sneered.  “It’s been _years_ since one of you dumb fucks have crossed our territory.”

“Has there been a recent…” Pedro started to ask, his voice quavering.

If this becomes some deliverance shit, I’m not going out like a bitch, I thought angrily, noting the steak knife still leaning against Pedro’s plate.

“Our territory is where we say it is,” Alvarez snapped.  He turned to look at me, and for the first time I noticed that his eyes were not the expected brown but a cold blue.  Our gazes locked, and I couldn’t stop a grin from breaking my face.

Wrong move, fucker, I thought, reaching within for my glamor.  I’m about to make you stick that Glock on your hip right up your asshole and start squeezing the trigger…

Sometimes one has a great plan that leaves something to be desired in execution.  I could not have told you what happened. One moment I was about to make this shit head my meat puppet…the next I was on the ground, paralyzed.  Even worse?  Pedro’s hand and arm still clutched my shirt with nothing else attached.  A tall, athletic brunette, shapely as Aphrodite herself and looking like Pocahontas and John Smith’s love child, was straddling my chest.  Which, hey, other than the still dripping arm would have been kind of cool given how she looked in the shorts and tank top…except one hand was clutching a Tomahawk, the other my hair.

She looks entirely too excited about an imminent scalping, I thought.  Then my nerve endings returned, even if motor function did not.  I’m not going to lie, I screamed.

“Ohh, it looks like I have a live one,” the woman laughed.  “I like it when they wake up halfway through.”

I’ve never been about to be scalped before.  Know how they talk about an imminent hanging focusing the mind?  Double that for an imminent scalping.

Those flies?  Like Flytallica was playing Wimbley Stadium with the best sound system ever.

The hand ripping back my hair?  I could feel every groove and every follicle.

The linoleum?  Cold as hell.

The woman atop of me?  Smelled like Strawberry Daiquiri lotion made by that soap company named for a bird of peace mixed with obvious arousal.  Her perfect white teeth were set back in a snarl of ecstasy as she raised that damn tomahawk.

Through my own screams, I heard Pedro shouting something behind me in a language I did not understand.  From his tone, rapidity, and the pain laces fear, he sounded as if he was begging.  I mean, if I wasn’t screaming and about to get scalped by She Who Rides Vampires, I would have probably told Pedro to die with some dignity.

“Rebecca, wait!” Alvarez said, holding his hand out.  The woman atop me stopped, and the look she gave Alvarez was a strange mixture of disappointment mixed with anticipation.

So you would trade your life for his?!” the “deputy” asked Pedro snidely. “For as the treaty states, to glamor us is to court death!”

Pedro started to answer, but the deputy cut me off.

“Speak his tongue! Let him know what you are saying!” Alvarez said.

I could not move my eyes to see Pedro. Rebecca giggled, then put the Tomahawk down.  She reached up towards her long hair, moving it aside to take a keen dagger out of a spinal holster.

Oh. Shit.

“Maybe I should take something else as a trophy,” she said, her voice almost sensual.  “Let him ponder some things while it grows back.”

Folks, someone threatening to cut your balls off is scary.  When it’s an attractive woman speaking in a tone that you’re used to hearing when there’s an entirely different touch in mind?  Fucking petrifying.

“Oh, are we not enjoying what it feels like to be prey?” she asked chidingly, letting go of my hair and starting to scoot down my body.  “How many young women have you glamored, seduced, then fed upon already, Youngling?”

“We are practitioners of Lustitia!” Pedro blurted in English.  “He has never fed on any but the guilty!”

Alvarez cocked his head to the side and held up his hand once more. Never have I been so happy to have a woman interrupted in the process of opening my pants.  Take the anger you’d feel if someone cock blocked you getting ready to score with Charlize Theron.  Now, invert that to joy.  Take that times ten.  You’re still not even close.  Atop of me, Rebecca grunted in frustration.

“Lustitia? It has been centuries since I heard that name,” Alvarez said, his voice suddenly weary.  He stepped further back into my field of view, and I saw the glowing broadsword in his hand.

Where in the fuck did that come from?! I thought, panicked.

“Tell me more. Quickly, before my companion is wearing your friend’s parts as a necklace,” Alvarez snapped.  Rebecca smiled and finished opening my zipper.

Oh God, I thought.  I know technically we’re not on the same side anymore, but please give Pedro the gift of gab.

“We hunt the hunters and the depraved,” Pedro said, his voice thick with pain.  “The humans…they have lists that make this much easier now. I am showing the Youngling the ways of our order. We meant no offense!”

Rebecca stopped what she was doing and looked at me.  Her eyes swirled suddenly, going from a brilliant green to a shade I can only describe as astral.  If I’d been paralyzed before, this was a whole different level of roofied.

“Truth…” she spat.

From that instant, I would have told her anything. That I’d been the one who told my father that Mom was screwing his youngest brother.  That I’d dumped the neighbor’s yappy dog in the middle of a redwood forest three states away the summer I got my driver’s license. That…

“Are you servants of Lustitia?” the woman asked.

“Yes,” I said, my voice sounding strange even to me.

“Did you know you were in our territory?” she continued, looking at Pedro.

“No,” he replied.

“Will you pass through this area ever again?” she asked, not looking at either of us.

“No,” Pedro and I answered in unison.

Rebecca had a brief look of disappointment.  Taking a deep breath, she nodded at Alvarez…and in that instant, I knew neither of them was human.  I cannot describe what it’s like to see the weight of millennia pass between two beings, but it was there.  Giving me an intimate pat with the flat of her dagger, she grabbed Pedro’s arm off my chest.  Gesturing at me, she said one contemptuous word in Aramaic…and I could control my limbs.

Oh thank you, Jesus, I thought, quickly springing to my feet and starting to buckle my pants.  I’m not going to lie—I thought I heard a supernatural chuckle in the distance, like at the far end of a hallway, before there was the sensation of a door slamming shut.

“Whether you seek justice, you are still benighted,” she spat, holding the limb back to gaping wound in Pedro’s shoulder.  The woman began speaking in yet another tongue I didn’t understand, and a light began to glow around the blade cut.  Focusing further, her tone began to drop.

I’m guessing that’s what Satan sounds like singing his best Barry White while showering in the blood of innocents with his favorite twin succubae, I thought with a shudder.

Funny thing about someone starting to talk in Southern Infernal—it usually comes with a pretty good light show.  Which, a considerate…whatever she was would have warned about, but I found myself looking into a thermonuclear flash without the box goggles unexpectedly.

The light from the spell, ritual, whatever was still causing spots before my eyes before I realized I was flat on my back in the diner’s parking lot.  Pedro was in front of me, leaning with his back against our beat up pickup truck.  Shuddering, he stood erect and moved with blur like speed, starting the vehicle in the time most humans take a breath.

“What are you doing?” he almost shouted. “Get. In. The. Truck!”

Jumping to my feet, I nearly wrenched the doors off following his orders. I barely had the door closed before he was speeding out of the parking lot, nearly clipping an 18-wheeler as we did so. The trucker laid on his horn, the sound violent against my ears.  As I looked back towards the diner, I saw Alvarez wave from in front of his sheriff’s cruiser, Rebecca beside him.  After a moment, she blew a kiss, and I saw her eyes briefly sparkle with other worldly energy.

“Okay, I’m only going to ask once:  What the fuck were those?!” I blurted.  I felt like I should be panting rapidly, even if I didn’t need to.

“They have many names,” Pedro replied. He was beginning to regain some of his normally icy calm.

“Pick one out of the fucking hat!” I snapped. That got me a glare that promised future payment for my impertinence.

“Nephilim,” he spat. I did a double take.

“As in, the offspring of mortals and angels?!” I asked. “But I thought they were all killed in the Flood!”

Pedro gave me the look most people give their most simpleton child.

“Yes, and the Bible is totally clear on vampires, lycans, dragons, and werewolves, right?” he sneered. “I mean, Jonah’s riff on mermaids…”

“I get the point,” I said. Suddenly the rush of what had just happened hit me. If I’d still been mortal, I would have vomited. I assure you, having that feeling without being able to actually vomit? Not cool.

“Just know they are the worst thing that could possibly walk through your door,” Pedro said. “We will discuss more after we have fed to heal.”

Cafe Management is run by the administration of The Confabulator Cafe. We keep things running smoothly, post stories by guest authors, and manage other boring back-end tasks.

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