People Are Strange: Chapter Twenty-Two Of “Bounty Hunter”

“You may believe whatever you wish in your heart, Dearie.” She turns to go. “But I know things you will never know. At least not until you find McCall. Voodoo might tell you as well, but not as much as he will.”

She leaves. I am still not willing to believe her story. I can’t. I know what I heard. Well, what I got to hear.

I go back to my treehouse. I have had enough training for one day. Strangely, the telekinesis has left me drained. I catch a few marsh rabbits and a squirrel as I make my way to my shelter. I will slit their throats and drain them for sustenance. Not that I need it.

But first I need to get inside and get one of my wooden chalices. I was lucky to find them in an abandoned home not too far away. I don’t think their owners will miss them. I scavenged everything I thought would be of use. Plates. Chalices. Silver.

I enter my sanctuary. I take a chalice out of the cabinet. Time to feed. I slit the throat of the first rabbit. And drain its blood into the chalice.

I continue this until all the rabbits and the squirrel are all dead. Sorry, animal brothers. It was either you or a human. I prefer you. Not that I really prefer either.

But the carcasses will not go to waste. I go out on my balcony and whistle. Two huge gators rise out of the water. “No fighting, boys.” I smile.

The first rises level with the balcony’s base. I drop three rabbits and the squirrel into his open maw. the second does the same. And I drop the remaining four rabbits into his gaping mouth.

I pat them both on the snout and they vanish back into the murky water. I go back inside and try to tolerate the sweet, metallic nourishment that my disease demands of me. It is utterly disgusting. But I must. For now.

For once, I am tired. I mean, really tired. I wish I had a comfortable bed. I find a corner and lay down.

***

Suddenly, I am standing in Savanna. There are vampires everywhere. Where did they come from? Where are all the people? Who is responsible for its fall?

The twin generals are gone. So are the great, strong werewolf/changeling army. Something is not right. I must go to them and save them! Oh dear God!

***

I waken with a start. How long have I been asleep? Is it day? Or Night?

I rise, frantic. I shouldn’t have fallen asleep! I never should have fallen asleep!

Savanna! I must go and try to keep it from falling! If only to repay my friends there! I drift off again.

***
I see a face. Evil in some ways, good in others. He is driven from New York. Then From Philadelphia. And Washington DC. Arlington.

I catch a glimpse of why. He is forcing himself on women! What a monster! But he is a Chosen! Why is he doing these things?

He is forced to leave Savanna. I see him in Mobile. Here, he is caught. And forced into hunting as payment for his crimes.

Then it is revealed who betrays Savanna. And Mobile. And Several other cities. He does. Out of revenge.

***

I waken again. I must stop him. Or regain each of the fallen cities if I am too late to stop their fall. I rise and put my armor back on. I arm myself. And I go back out into the world.

I remember now why I rarely sleep. These dreams are always there. They never really allow me to rest. Never.

I take a route out that is different from the one I came in on. Never arrive or leave the same way. Keeps intruders from following you. I turn east toward Mobile.

I can only hope that I am not too late. I push myself and make good time. The farther I go, the more refugees I begin passing. I funnel them toward the bayou. Even on the outer edges, it will be safer there for them. Especially nearer to the water. Vampires seem to hate water. And zombies and ghouls tend to rot quicker in the damp environment.

I stop one of the refugees. “What is happening?”

He looks at me as if I am crazy. “Mobile has fallen! You’re going into a death trap! Go the other way!”

I let him go. He is too flighty. Then, I am stopped by Doravenour. “Where you goin’ Cherrie?”

I Try to jerk away from him. “I am going to save Mobile.”

I can’t budge. He has a tight grip. And even my telepathy isn’t working.

“Very good, ma jeune fils! You have learned to master your telepathy! But it don’ work on me.” He turns me around. “Dere nothin’ you can do for Mobile. Or any of the other cities that have fallen. At least not right now. Go. Help the refugees.”

“But–” I try to object. He cuts me off.

“Non. Your work is with dem. not in Mobile. too dangerous dere.” His French accent has wooed me. Reluctantly, I turn around and head home.

I run ahead of the retreating refugees. “Listen up, people! Listen to me! Stop for just a few seconds!” They halt. “I am going to lead you into the swamps! You will be safe there! Just be careful not to stray from the path I take you on! Keep your children close! We don’t want them to become gator bait!”

I take the lead. I really didn’t want the responsibility of taking care of these people. One young lady comes up to walk with me. “Ma’am, I wanna thank you for what you are doin’ for us. We won’t impose too long on you.”

“Don’t worry.” I look over at her. “I will lead you on to safety beyond the swamps. I am going to take you to Texas. Or maybe to Arkansas. Those regions are now under the control of the Underground. As are Kansas and Missouri.”

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