Jack considered his brother’s words on the way to work the next morning. Although Jack was loathe to chalk anything up to coincidence, the fact remained that it was highly unlikely to amount to anything. But he’d show the sketch to Crystal if and when Kevin completed it. Who knew, maybe Kevin had seen the vampire at some point without knowing it? Probably not, Jack admitted to himself. His own life was now steeped in weirdness; that didn’t mean everything was suddenly related to supernatural creatures. He would have to take care to make sure he didn’t start seeing monsters in every alley – a guy could go crazy like that.
The next few days were surreal in their normalcy. Jack spent his evenings after dinner either with family or with Crystal and her family studying the books Crystal had lent him. Other than learning a frightening amount of factual information about things he’d believed to be mere folklore a week before, life was routine. It was oddly both comforting and disquieting at the same time. Comforting in that life could be normal still; disquieting in that Jack was keenly aware the threat to his loved ones had not passed and he was getting no closer to making it pass.
As promised, Mr Wolff contacted Jack’s parents about the attic apartment. Jack didn’t know the particulars of how Mr. Wolff convinced them to rent it to him, but two days later Jack and his brothers helped the gentleman move in. That at least made Jack a little happier about the situation. He now had in house back up at the very least. Of course, he also had a werewolf living in his building. It seemed odd that werewolves could so easily work with slayers – and more so that it was so easy to accept.
The only other major event would come Saturday – which was much too long to wait in Jack’s estimation.
Four days had passed when Kevin presented Jack with the promised sketch. Kevin seemed embarrassed by the whole thing now yet had gone ahead and done the sketch. Jack didn’t need to ask; the haunted look in his brother’s eyes told him the dreams were still coming.
That night Jack brought the sketch along when he went to the Abernathy’s for dinner. Crystal met him at the door and he deposited his jacket on the rack.
“I brought your ‘Compendium’ back.” Jack told her as he followed her into the kitchen.
“Thanks.” Crystal responded as he handed it over.
“Hi Mrs A. Smells great!” Jack spoke to the mistress of the house who was presently grating Parmesan.
“Why, thank you. Why don’t you two set the table? I’ll have this ready in just a few minutes.” Mrs Abernathy answered.
“Sure thing.” Jack replied. Jack had now been here enough times to know where things were and he lead the way to the dish cabinet. “Blue or green?’
“Green, I think.” Crystal’s mother answered.
Jack pulled out the green dinnerware and headed for the dining room. Crystal followed closely behind with the silverware. Once the task was complete, Jack reached into his inside jacket pocket and pulled out the sketch. “Would you look at this, please?”
Crystal gave him a curious look as she took the paper. She studied it for a moment, “It’s a really good drawing. Did you do it?”
Jack took his place at the table, “No, my brother Kevin. Do you recognize the guy?”
Crystal shook her head as she took her own seat, “No, should I?”
“No, I didn’t really expect you to. This is just between us – Kevin would kill me if it got out – but Kevin’s been having bad dreams about that guy.”
Crystal’s brow furled and she cocked her head as she took another, closer look, “I don’t think I understand. If it’s just a dream…”
“In his dream that guy is a vampire. He’s had that same dream a lot. I know it was a real long shot but I don’t like coincidence – he starts having nightmares about vampires just as I’m taking up hunting them – I don’t like it.”
“You though maybe it was that one I fought?”
Jack gave a curt nod, “Yeah, I considered the possibility. Kevin might possibly have seen it himself without knowing what it was and somehow that gave him the nightmares. I think I read something like that in one of the books.”
“Yes, that’s possible. Humans sometimes recognize creatures subconsciously. It’s rare but it can happen. But this isn’t the vampire I fought, I’m sure of it.” Crystal commented as she handed the sketch back to Jack.
“Yeah, I didn’t really expect it would be but I figured it was worth a try and besides, it gave Kevin a project to do. He needed the distraction.”
The elder Abernathy’s entered, ending the conversation. Mr. Abernathy was carrying a Dutch oven. Mrs Abernathy smiled as her husband sat the large pot down on the table, “I hope you like stew…”
Jack grinned, “Sure do…”