Hey there NaSties and other unsuspecting readers,
I have a special treat for you today! Phil, whom I’ve met on Kim Harrison’s blog, has asked to post one of his NaStyRoMo’s entry here. You’ve red right: this should be one of his and it is not the fencing one…
So without further ado, I invite you to read Phil’s Blue Parrot Blues.
Edit: I’ve just received the end of Phil’s story. I’m adding it to this message so you can read the whole thing at the same place.
Blue Parrot Blues
I was turning the glass between my fingers not willing to finish my fourth, or was it my fifth, drink. It was late even for a club in Southamton, nearly 4am. Miranda was closing up, clearing the bar of empty glasses and tips, but she hadn’t given me any looks which might have told me it was time to finish my drink and go home. I was grateful for that, not wanting to be alone just yet. I had time. The moon was still visible and I would not shift until the last moment. I had to fight the urge to shift. It wasn’t entirely responsive to my will, but I can usually control it.
“You’ll have to go home eventually, Jess,” Miranda said as she finished clearing the bar. She put her elbows on the bar in front of me and gave me an understanding smile. “That cute guy was interested. Why didn’t you give him a chance?”
I wasn’t exactly sure why. He seemed nice. And he was good looking. Why couldn’t I give him a chance?
“Time to go, Jess,” Miranda said finally. “I gotta close up, and you need to go while the moon’s still out.”
Miranda needed to get home, too, before dawn. She didn’t have to worry about shifting like weres did, but vamps avoided sunlight when they could. The sun wouldn’t kill them, at least not quickly, but it was painful as hell. Besides, Miranda had her own issues to deal with. She’d broken up with her boyfriend and, she wouldn’t admit to it, but she was hurting.
“I can take a hint,” I said, and got up to leave.
The last jazzy notes of a Nora Jones song trickled out and I gave Miranda a glance as I headed out into the night.
“Hey, Mac,” I stopped suddenly just outside the Blue Parrot when I saw my pack leader. “Checking up on me?”
“You’re not easy to find, young lady. Didn’t think to look for you here till Laurel told me you’d been coming every night.” Laurel was one of the servers at the Blue Parrot, and a member of our pack. She’d left earlier.
“Is there something I should know?” Mac rubbed his chin, something he did when he was concerned or just pissed. It was usually the latter, but I think this time he was really worried about something.
“I gotta get going, Mac,” I glanced up at the waning moon, wisps of clouds obscuring it.
“If you’re troubled by something…” Mac’s words were cut off by a blood curdling scream.
“Oh, shit. That sounds like Miranda!” I said and ran toward the sound. Mac followed but I got there first. Miranda was lying face down in the alley alongside the Blue Parrot, bleeding but still alive. Figuratively speaking, that is. Miranda is a vamp after all!
“Call this number, Mac,” I said, handing him Miranda’s cell phone as I got the number on her speed dial. “Her people will come for her. I’m going after the bastard who did this!” Mac would do as I asked and I took off running, shifting as I ran and following the attacker’s scent. Human? I was surprised, but I’d heard there were vampire hunters stalking Southampton’s vamps. I huddled in the darkened doorway of an empty warehouse, waiting as his approaching footsteps came close enough and then I leapt, sending him about a dozen feet in the air, his unconscious body coming to rest in the deserted street. I could hear police sirens from far off, no doubt responding to 911 calls from concerned citizens. I shifted back to human form and left the area, not wanting to have to fill out endless reports and answer pointless questions. Besides, I was worried about Miranda and needed to make sure she’d make it.
The Blue Parrot was pretty much emptied out, the last stragglers saying their good-byes.
“Go home, Jess,” Miranda said as I nursed my third, no fourth, Mojito. “It’s late and I don’t need a babysitter. I’m fine.” Miranda was back behind the bar only a couple days after the attack. Vamps were resilient.
“I knew there was a reason I didn’t like that guy,” I said. Turned out the cute guy at the bar that night was the vamp hunter who attacked Miranda. He’d live but the police made certain he’d stay far away from Southampton, not caring much for vampire hunters lurking around town. I had been worried about her. Miranda was one of my few close friends outside my pack. “Yeah. I didn’t see that coming,” she said. I knew the attack left her shaken a lot more than she’d let on.
“You know, there is someone I want you to meet,” Miranda grinned and I followed her gaze to the door as a gorgeous guy walked in giving Miranda a warm smile. “Jess, you’ve never met my kid brother!”
Valentine’s Day may not suck so much this year, I thought.