I trotted across the street to Jack’s house. He would still be at work – funny how you can learn so much about people in such a short time – but his mom would be home. And some of his younger siblings, two of which were on the front stoop with their friends. Tina I remembered but Jane had to tell me her name.
I stopped long enough to say hi and started up the stair. Jane called after me, “So, you play the trombone?”
I smiled. It actually isn’t the worst guess anyone has made about my sword case. “Good guess.” I answered as I waved and headed into the building.
Kevin, who also had to tell me his name, answered the door, “Yeah, Momma’s in the kitchen. You can just go on in. You gonna stay for supper?”
I had to grin at that. The Scarlotti’s are not the only family I know of that is so ready for company, but they are certainly the largest, “I’m afraid not, I just needed to ask her something.”
I went into their kitchen. The smell was heavenly. Mrs Scarlotti is almost as good a cook as Mama. She turned around as I came in and smiled at me.
“Hi, Mrs. Scarlotti.”
“Hello, Crystal, dear. Stay for supper? We’re having canoli.”
I sighed, “I’d love to, it smells divine, but I’m afraid not. I needed to ask something. I hope you won’t think me too forward…”
“What is it, dear?” she asked as she tossed some onion into whatever was frying at the moment.
“Well, I kinda wanted to pay my respects. I know that sounds weird but I was wanted to visit Mr Jenkins’ grave. I’m not sure where it is in the cemetery, so…”
“Why, that’s sweet, not weird. The cemetery is divided into five sections. He’s in Serenity, it’s on the east side, on the hill. There’s an old oak that was hit by lightning two rows down from his grave. You can’t miss it.”
I jotted a quick note in my phone’s app so I wouldn’t forget. “Thanks, Mrs. Scarlotti.”
She shrugged as she took the frying pan from the heat, “No trouble at all, dear. Why don’t you get Jack to take you instead?”
“I wouldn’t want to trouble him and our schedules don’t exactly mesh right now.” All of which was technically true. I didn’t want to lie if I didn’t have to but I couldn’t very well tell her her son was a new slayer, could I?
My good-byes said and with only a brief bye to the girls on the stoop, I walked as slowly as I could force myself to down the street to the bus stop. I had remembered the cemetery so I already knew my bus route. The driver didn’t look twice at my sword case – weird is probably the norm for NYC bus drivers anyway.
Finding the grave once there was pretty easy. I went on up and took my swords from the case. It was warmer than I’d thought it would be so I ditched my coat and left my jacket on. I sat on a gravestone near enough to watch and unpacked my dinner. It was still early – not even five o’clock yet.
By six, I’d disposed of my dinner and its trappings and had walked around a fifty yard perimeter. It’s a lot easier to chase things in the dark if you already know where all the headstones are. Not that I expected to chase anything – a new vampire crawling out of its grave is an incredibly easy target – but my lack of caution had already bitten me once this week so I opted for ‘safe’ rather than ‘sorry’.
I sensed a presence. I knew what it was instantly and I instinctively clutched Samantha. I’ve been around white werewolves a couple times but never before an ancient in its wolf form. The presence was incredible – if I hadn’t known to expect him I’d have panicked.
“Good evening, Mistress Crystal.” his voice was much deeper in wolf form but had that same accent.
I turned around to face him. Gosh, he was huge! Easily the size of a pony, Tresmayne loomed over the nearest headstone. It was eerie even to me.
“Good evening, Master Tresmayne.” I returned his greeting. Being an ancient and one of the Mistress’ most trusted servants entitled Tresmayne to the same forms of address as a true slayer. I’d learned the rules from the Mistress herself and was grateful for it now.
“All quiet, I trust?” he asked.
“Yes sir, nothing as yet.” I was sure he was just asking to be polite since it was much too early to expect anything. “His grave is just over there.” I pointed to Mr Jenkins’ headstone.
Tresmayne nodded, “Very good. I will find a suitable spot for myself.”
I nodded and watched him walk slowly past. Kinda awesome and kinda scary at the same time. I never want to face off with one of those!
It was after seven when I heard something behind me. At first I thought it was an animal but the footsteps were too big and too deliberate. I sighed. Only one person would be here. Dang, that was fast.
I let the footsteps get a bit closer then hopped off the headstone. In the moonless gloom, I could see a man standing there. I didn’t have much trouble seeing him, one of the perks for being a slayer is really good night vision. It was Jack. I suppressed another sigh and went to meet him.
Let’s just say, he wasn’t happy. Which was an understatement, he was really ticked. Needless to say, explaining the whole slayer thing didn’t help at all. At the same time, it was a little annoying – he was only here because of the same instincts he was trying to deny. He’d known instinctively that something might emerge from that grave so why act like it’s crazy?
Although, to be fair, having found out so very early in my life, I don’t really understand how confusing it can be for someone older who already firmly disbelieves in all the things we slayers deal with. I suppose that would be pretty freaky. All in all, he wasn’t handling it half bad, I suppose.
But I was kinda relieved when Tresmayne approached. Maybe a little too relieved – I can’t believe I called him ‘Tres’. As good as our night vision is, I’m pretty sure Jack didn’t see how red faced I was at the realization. I was even more relieved when Tresmayne took Jack for a walk to discuss things. I went back to my post and tried hard to think of a good apology.
I heard them walk off but didn’t hear them again until morning. I had a long, very boring night. Nothing happened. No vampire emerged, not so much as a little dirt being disturbed. Nothing at all, and I couldn’t have been happier. A wasted evening is so much better than putting down something that had once been a person, especially a person with people who still care.
Around dawn, they came back over the hill and I went to join them. Jack was already getting the hang of this – he knew by looking at Samantha that nothing had happened. Tresmayne took his leave after telling me to expect a call. jack gave me his arm back to the headstone I’d been sitting on where he helped me gather my things then gave me his arm again all the way to the parking lot. It felt nice, really nice.
I put on my coat and he turned up the heat as we drove off. It had gotten chilly as the dawn broke. I nestled down in the seat beside Jack. He really was taking this pretty well.
But there was still so much I didn’t get. Why would a vampire be sent to create another like that? Why not just send in the ghouls and werewolves earlier? I mean, seriously, this didn’t make a lot of sense if someone just wanted to kill a new slayer. I sighed to myself. I’m not smart enough to figure this out but I did know the next creature that came calling would find itself very dead. Jack was a true slayer, fully emerged. And if for some reason he couldn’t kill it, I certainly would.
Well, that’s how this mess got started. I think I covered everything in this report. I’m Crystal Jean Abernathy, a true slayer and a sword singer, signing off.