Vampire Esquire's War: A Novella, page 8
"There has just never been a good way to carry the whole plan out. But we want Mr. Lenin’s plan to put your guy in office with vampire voters."
Fletcher paused to consider the man’s words.
"Fletcher, here's the deal. We need to make as many vampires as quickly as possible. And we are going to need to do it quietly in the swing states. North Carolina is one of those states. Ultimately that will allow Inman to win the presidency as well as put the Republicans in power––extreme Republicans in power. The plan is the Republicans will privatize all the prisons and double the numbers of prisons. We will ramp up the drug laws to snag more minorities. But this isn’t where we will get our vampire bump. It will come from the thousands of illegal vampires made from human trafficking, and we will ship in from all over the globe. All in shipping containers that won’t be checked. We will take over regardless of the election outcome.”
Throw them in prison where no one will miss them or know about them. I’d prefer that to this human trafficking. I don’t have any problem with people form other countries. It is the leaches from this country, thought Fletcher.
“We’ve seen it work in North Carolina. We already have at least 100,000 new vampires we’ve made, but we need more. And we can unleash them at the right time. But, once the right number is reached, vampires from the human trafficking will be sent in; and the government won't keep as close tabs on them because they will be illegal. Ready made vampires. And they will infect others, but, even if they don’t, our numbers should be sufficient. Eventually it is mathematical. There will be nothing to stop us."
So certain, thought Fletcher.
“In North Carolina, where the governor and the legislature refused to extend Medicaid benefits to 500,000 people. Lots of vamps have been made because we go into houses of old people. No one notices them. No one cares. No one knows the difference. Once you are off the dole, no one gives a shit about you.”
If this continued, it could be the ultimate political victory he had always dreamed of, and it was what drew him to politics. It was more than just a victory of ideas. It was a victory of one species over the other. In his mind's eye, he used to imagine a great battle between the two parties with a total Republican victory. And this was that time.
Pierre found sleep pointless. He also had too much to do. When he slept he dreamed, and he didn't usually dream about pleasant things.
He often wondered what became of Drago, and he believed he was still out there somewhere. He wasn’t sure if he would recognize him if he saw him. Vampires changed over time, sometimes to the point that they were difficult to recognize.
He’d been entranced by Drago, so he followed him into the passage. That path led to the end of his humanity and the beginning of his immortality, but he would trade all of those years just to be a normal Roman. He wished he had lived and died with his love, Quinta. He knew that could never have been, but that did not stop him from thinking about it.
It all seemed so recent, yet so long ago. He had been back to Rome many times. Over time the city resembled less and less of the Rome he remembered, until he could barely tell it was the place he grew up and the place where he spent his best years.
Those first few hundred years were spent with Drago in Rome and through out Italy and the Empire. They followed the Roman army as it expanded the empire, and they feasted on the prisoners and indulged in the spoils of victory.
Pierre supposed he did that more to distract himself from the loss of Quinta. It was a poor substitute, and the more he indulged himself the more he missed Quinta. He knew he would always long for her, and he often wondered why he didn't stake himself.
He could not explain it, but a mysterious implacable force drove him forward. He supposed he needed to give his existence some meaning. Sucking blood, making vampires and leaving human corpses didn’t give existence meaning. Quite the contrary, because it cheapened existence. People became a food source and not inviolable beings.
When Pierre came to this realization he decided to leave Drago behind. One night while Drago feasted on several prisoners simultaneously, Pierre fled. Drago didn't seem to notice, which was odd because makers and their vampires are closely tied together. The only conclusion Pierre could reach was Drago wanted him to go. Drago wanted Pierre to go and multiply the vampire species.
When he left Drago, he decided to change his name from Drogba to Pierre Leblanc. The French language had started to develop around that time, and the name Pierre was popular. He’d always liked the name Leblanc, and he felt it appropriate that his last name meant white. He wanted to live up to his name and search for truth and pursue justice. These were noble aims, and this was how he could derive some meaning from life.
Pierre spent hundreds of years wandering all over Europe. He made every effort not to hurt humans unless he was desperate for food. Then he made sure he only feasted on the most reprehensible of criminals. And this made it easier to justify his actions.
Eventually he moved to Paris. He stayed in Paris for several hundred years, and he finally left Europe after Napoleon was exiled. He moved to New Orleans where he experienced the aftermath of the Civil War and the struggles of Reconstruction, and he didn't leave until the 1930s.
Through out all of those hundreds of years, Pierre honed his skills as a lawyer. He learned thousands of different kinds of laws and the legal codes and customs of many diverse cultures. Never in history was there a lawyer with such extensive knowledge of the law over such a long period of time.
Although the laws varied somewhat from society to society, the logic was always the same. Regardless of the society, the law exemplified the noblest of human intentions, but it also demonstrated the pettiest of human intentions. It could be just and oppressive. Some strove for justice, while others strove for money. Pierre reached the conclusion that the law mirrored society.
Pierre liked to believe the law was an instrument of good. This was one of the things that drove him and kept him sane. He could use his abilities as a lawyer to create a legal framework that could preserve the delicate balance between humans and vampires. This system of order would protect them all, and it would allow his wife's death and Pierre’s transformation into a vampire to have some meaning.
Pierre enjoyed thinking of these kinds of grand ideas. The ideas excited him, and he felt they made a difference. He had to believe that.
Pierre often thought of the many thousands of clients he served. Many of them were noble, decent human beings. More than he would like to admit were scoundrels. The same could be said for vampires, he thought.
Pierre believed Quinta would have wanted him to continue to exist even in his vampire form. Surely she could not have anticipated vampires existed, but sometimes he wasn’t so sure. Sometimes he believed perhaps she knew about vampires.
He couldn’t parse through all of the memories and assign meaning to them, but he did remember some things more. Some memories stood out, and, in retrospect, they seemed prophetic.
In particular, he recalled walking with Quinta on a scorching day in June. Walking on the Quirinale Hill (or anywhere in Rome) wasn’t that safe, but he and Quinta enjoyed the excitement of it. And they also enjoyed walking down to the Roman Forum which was safer and teeming with people and vitality.
Quinta had turned around to him and asked if he would want to go on living if she were gone. He’d said no, but then she said, “The world needs you anyway they can get you.”
Since that day, he wondered what she mean by anyway they can get you. A few days later the Great Fire of Rome occurred. The city burned, and circumstances tore them apart forever. Had she known something then?
Roland wasn't sure what to think about killing the three vampires. He didn’t know if he believed in vampires, but the evidence was certainly mounting. Whatever beings he was dealing with weren’t human, and, if they were, they weren’t any humans he’d ever encountered.
"How are you feeling?" Magnum asked Roland.
"I guess I'm okay. That was pretty intense.”
Magnum furrowed his brow. “I know how you feel. I struggled with it too. How do we know who the goods ones and bad ones are?”
“Yeah, but I am unsure about a lot of things,” Roland said apprehensively. So many strange things were happening, but he didn’t have time to digest it, to consider it all.
Magnum said, “We don’t know Roland. We are never sure. There is always some doubt, and we have to do the best we can. We know the Restoration vampires are the enemy. They want to enslave and subjugate humans. Figuring out who all of them are is another story.”
I could kill the wrong vampire too, he thought.
And Roland knew there would be a lot more vampire hunts. That was the price for his freedom, and he supposed it was some sort of atonement for his sins in Iraq. But he did not believe he could ever atone. Their innocence made their deaths tragic.
"I know what you are thinking," interjected Magnum. A few seconds passed, and Magnum said, "You know it is right to kill Restoration vampires. We will only kill vampires who attack us or pose a threat to humanity. The vampires we hunt will be carefully selected, and we will only those who are part of the grand scheme to conquer humanity. We aren’t perfect, but we will have to do the best we can. No one ever said this was neat and clean."
Roland believed Magnum. And this made him feel a little better. "But what exactly is that mission other than killing vampires? I want to know about the greater plan"
"You know what the plan is. It is to stop vampires from taking over the world.”
“I know that, but how do we do that?”
Magnum smiled. “We don’t need to have all the answers now. We only need to do what we are told.”
Whenever Pierre thought of Quinta, it inevitably led to thoughts of his maker.
He always thought Drago would come after him, and that Drago would find him with ease. But he never did. For the first few hundred years after he left Drago, he could feel him scrolling through his mind much in the same way someone would scroll through a call log. But Pierre had the remarkable ability to control his thoughts, block out his maker and to create false thoughts to mislead his maker. He felt these thoughts threw Drago off for long enough that he eventually gave up.
He couldn't help but feel he would see Drago again someday in some final clash. He wasn't one given to melodrama, and he supposed such a confrontation would be like a cheap, Hollywood movie.
Pierre had to focus on the impending Restoration vampire attack. Although the threat was greater than any he had faced, the strategy was the same: kill the leaders, and their followers would fight amongst themselves. They would not be able to function on their own. Put another way, cut off the head, and the body cannot function. The difficulty was in finding the heads, and, ultimately, the head behind everything.
Pierre feared the numbers of Restoration vampires would increase rapidly with the human trafficking taking place as well as the other legislative measures used in the United States.
Pierre enjoyed Chicago in the 1930s when the city continued to expand and become more cosmopolitan and less of simply a meat-packing town.
Pierre walked into a medium size room with high, elegantly molded ceilings and what appeared to be a Picasso painting on the wall. "Mr. Leblanc, my name is Elmore Thompson."
Elmore leaned forward on his desk. "I am the president of an organization known as the Society of the Silver Stake. The purpose of the organization is to hunt down Restoration vampires and kill them; I’m sure you’ve heard of the Vampire Restoration League. Our past members include, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt to name a few."
Pierre knew of the Restoration Vampire League, but he had never heard anyone confirm the existence of the Society of the Silver Stake
Pierre had heard whispers of the organization, but he always considered them rumors. He knew vampire-hunting societies popped up over the years, but few seemed to last
Pierre responded, "The problem with these organizations is they assume all vampires are Restoration vampires or somehow inherently evil. They aren't. I for one am not a Restoration vampire or evil. I don't seek to destroy humans. In fact, I have tried for hundreds of years to preserve humans and vampires."
Thompson listened. Then he responded, "I know that. That's how we found out about you."
"What is it that you want then?"
"We would like for you to keep a watch out and inform us of vampires who present a threat to humans. In exchange, we promise to do our best to make sure humans will not hunt down good vampires. We will follow your direction as to who you think need to be hunted down."
"That sounds reasonable."
Elmore smiled. “I’m glad you feel that way.”
The men shook hands. Pierre turned to leave, glancing at the Picasso like painting. “It is a Picasso,” said Elmore.
“He had a different way of seeing the world as do you.” Pierre nodded his head in agreement. “Pierre we will need you some day. I don’t know when, but someday. So be ready.”
And the day had finally come.
Pierre had worked with the society in way or another for decades now. Occasionally he went on vampire hunts with members. During the Reagan Administration, Washington was replete with vampires, many of them doing the president’s bidding.
Presidents were supposed to be against Restoration vampires, but Reagan turned a blind eye—or he didn’t know about them at all.
Restoration vampires came up with the idea of heightened criminal penalties for crack, and they also advocated for and helped build many private prisons.
Ultimately they failed because they couldn’t coordinate their efforts. This is usually what happened. But something was different now. Pierre couldn’t put his finger on it, but he knew the conditions were ripe.
Bridgett didn't see Agent Thomas Watson coming, but she felt a presence near her desk. When she looked up she saw Agent Watson. He smiled at her.
“What’s up Wahoo?”
Bridgett smiled. Agent Watson liked to give Bridgett a hard time for being a UVA fan, especially considering they were a basketball powerhouse. And Watson was a UNC fan, and UNC usually had the more formidable team.
"Something bothering you?
“Phew,” Watson breathed out, “that shit-bag.”
"Yeah…that shit-bag. Something’s different about him. He weirds me out”
“Maybe he found some skank and got himself some.” Agent Watson loved to rip on people working in Washington he thought were tools. And there were a lot according to what he told Bridgett.
“Yeah,” she laughed, “maybe he did.”
Watson turned and walked away.
Something about Fletcher unnerved her. She’d always been an imaginative girl, and this meant she scared easy. After all, she did sleep with the bathroom light on, and she ran and jumped into the bed lest something reach out and grab her leg. And all the stuff she had read and seen online upset her even if the sources were dubious.
But she wasn’t sure. Something was different.
She kept trying to read the day’s headlines. She had work to do, and she couldn't explain to her boss, the press secretary, if she was unable to her job. If she told him the truth, he would think she was crazy, and he probably would have been right.
Bridgett stared at her computer background of one palm tree on an isolated beach with aquamarine water. She wondered if she could ever relax again. Even if she could go to a
One thing at a time, she thought. One thing at a time, and don’t panic unnecessarily. Most of the things she worried about never happened anyway.
Agent Watson walked down the hallway from Bridgett’s office. He wondered how many weighty issues had been pondered in this place. What should he make of Fletcher Turner?
Fletcher Turner’s supposed transformation interested him. Given what Watson knew about vampires, he suspected Fletcher had been turned into a vampire. But he wondered where it happened.
Agent Watson checked Homeland Security travel databases, and he saw Fletcher had been to Paris within the past few weeks. Given the large number of vampires in Paris and the Restoration Vampire League’s presence there, he believed Fletcher, if he were turned into a vampire, it likely happened in Paris.
As luck would have it, and he had some vacation coming up. He would take his vacation and explore Paris while investigating Fletcher’s activities. Maybe he would find something. He was sure he would encounter vampires, but he needed to get to the bottom of everything.
Agent Watson knew of virtually no vampires he liked. He tolerated Pierre Leblanc, and he wanted to believe the best about Leblanc. But he was a vampire, and vampires couldn't be trusted. He knew they needed Leblanc though. It was an odd marriage he had to admit, but a necessary one. As Sun Tzu said, "An enemy of my enemy is my friend."
But he kept his distance; he only wanted to deal with Leblanc when he had to deal with him. Hopefully that wouldn’t be often.
Watson felt better about the vampire hunters through. He did feel a fondness for the new vampire hunter Roland Walker. He knew Roland possessed a steely resolve. He also liked William Magnum because he was like Dr. Van Helsing. Magnum always seemed to know what to do. And he wasn’t afraid or at least he didn’t show it.
It comforted Agent Watson to know men like Magnum and now Roland fought the good fight. As a fan of the TV show 24, he liked to believe Magnum and Roland were like two Jack Bauer's. "Jesus," he thought, "one was enough."