True Slayers: A Girl’s Song, Part 17

Blades like Arnie, who’ve drank a great deal of human blood, can be very talkative. But more than just his words, I’d also been able to see what he’d seen. It’s hard on me – it’s not like a movie that’s clear and concise – it’s more like a jumble of painful memories that I have to sort out for myself. That’s what being a sword singer really is – being able to understand the song left on a blade by the blood it has shed. Arnie had shed a lot of blood – it took a while and a lot of energy to sort it all out.

But that gave Arnie the ability to see what had happened the night his master died. Some things I had to figure out – like that ‘other part’ meant another part of the apartment. To a blade, room names don’t mean much. The hard floor had to be the scuff mark in the kitchen.

I was still sorting through it all as Jack led me out of the apartment. I tried not to let on how tired I was now. Fortunately, we ran into Mr Jenkins rather contentious son and daughter which distracted Jack before he noticed.

As Jack was explaining something to me about leaving them alone I was thinking about the creature’s strange behavior after the meal. It had opened its coat and acted like it was laughing. That was weird. Vampires don’t gloat without someone to gloat to and they can’t hear blades like I can so it wasn’t gloating for Arnie’s benefit. Opened its coat…

We reached the landing and it hit me – that thing had dropped its concealment! Almost all creatures conceal themselves so humans can’t sense their presence until its too late. Slayers can sense them even concealed but it varies – a strong slayer won’t notice concealment but a weak one can be affected by it. A weak one and an emerging one! That thing had intended to be noticed but didn’t stay to confront the slayer.

I lost my train of thought as Jack asked me if I would like to stay a while longer and have him walk me home. He would be a bit busy but would make time. I sorted myself out enough to ask why and he mentioned all the work to be done to prepare for the night – evidently they would be housing quite a crowd. I volunteered to help and went to tell my parents while Jack attended to something else.

We were very busy the next few hours. Jack’s apartment was the official ‘boy’s room’ for the night and we had cots and pallets to make up. One kid got upset about sleeping on the floor, which was actually where Jack planned to sleep and I had to calm him down. Turned out he was really scared of bugs, which I could understand – I can kill a vampire without blinking but will shriek like a baby if a spider gets on me. The little guy just needed some reassurance and he was fine.

The kids were piling in and it was late so I said my good byes. For a second, I thought Jack just might, well, a girl can hope, can’t she? But he didn’t and I left his apartment to go get my parents at his parents’ apartment. Daddy was already on the stoop and motioned for me to come as I got down the hall. I glanced back just a tiny peek as Daddy pulled the door closed – would you believe Jack was still standing there, looking at me?

I was so elated that I couldn’t think straight as we crossed the street back to our home. Mama and Daddy planned to watch TV but I headed straight for bed.

I was in bed, just finishing my prayers and about to go to sleep when I sat bolt upright. Jack! He was the first one to find the body because he’d been the one to sense the creature! Of course, it made sense now! The new slayer had to be Jack!

Realization over, I fell back into bed, sound asleep.

True Slayers: A Girl’s Song, Part 16

(Arnie, the bayonet, is speaking)

“I heard him come in with that kid Tim. He’s theĀ one that got peanut butter on me once. They were in the other part and then I heard the kid leave.”

“Archie came in and started to change his clothes. There was a noise in the other part and he went out. I heard people talk but the door hadn’t opened. Archie yelled and came running in here. He reached for me but some guy grabbed his arm and pulled him away. Then Archie swung at the guy but he missed.”

“Something weird happened then. Archie looked at him in the eye and all the fight went out of Archie. The guy’s eyes were weird; I’ve never seen red human eyes like that before. I thought maybe Archie felt bad for him or something. He just stopped fighting.”

“The guy pulled Archie over to the chair and made him sit. I didn’t like it but Archie wasn’t holding me and I couldn’t stick the guy. The guy grabbed Archie’s other arm and forced it down. Archie got real scared, I could see it in his eyes and feel it even across the room. Then the guy bit Archie’s neck.”

“I wanted to stick him so bad, that guy that was hurting Archie. He just stood there, biting Archie and Archie just got more and more scared. But then, after a long time, Archie started getting weak. It was like he’d been bad stuck or something but I didn’t see any blood.”

“The guy finally stood up and walked away from Archie. It was like Archie didn’t matter to him any more, ya know? I’ve seen humans do that before. I knew Archie was dead then. I woulda stuck that guy if I could have; I really would have.”

“The guy took off his coat and threw back his head like he was laughing but he didn’t make any noise. I wanted to stick him, laughing at Archie like that – it was wrong, you know? But he stopped and then he started running into the other part. I heard him go on the hard floor and then I didn’t hear him any more.”

“No time later, that other kid, Jack, comes in. I heard him yelling at the window and messing with Pepe. Then he came in here and looked at Archie. I guess he knew cause he didn’t even touch Archie. But cause he knew – I mean, I could tell from how he looked. He’d have stuck that guy if he could have. I know he would.”

“Then he left. I heard the kids talking in but I think they were outside ’cause it was hard to hear them. Then they left and a little later Archie’s friend came, the kid’s dad, and checked to see if Archie was dead. He cried a little then left. I don’t think he could stick that guy but that kid of his could.”

“I wanna stick that guy. Do you think you could help me stick him or get the kid to use me? Please. I really wanna stick that guy for what he did to Archie. Would you, Girl?”

I sighed and silently promised that I would see if I could arrange it when the time came. No sense trying to explain to a blade that it can’t kill a vampire unless a slayer uses it especially since I’m a slayer. I put Arnie back on the wall and turned to Jack.

“That’s… quite a blade…” I told him.