Can You Stand The Rain?: Chapter Six Of “The Crystal Ship”

For some odd reason, I feel as if we have walked into a trap. I am tingling all over. Like the night the vampires took mama and papa. That can only mean one thing. Zombies. Ghouls. Or vampires.

I am betting on ghouls. The area is right for them. Abandoned farm. Fields. A lone barn left standing.

As the rain comes down in buckets, I strain to see what the threat is. Then I spot it. Damn! Mudpuppies!

They are called mudpuppies because they lay in wait beneath the surface of the ground. Sort of like corpses in a graveyard. Only a graveyard is sanctified ground and cannot harbor any undead.

A storm comes along and the ground becomes muddy. Releasing them to wreak havoc upon unsuspecting victims. And we are their unsuspecting victims. make that me. I am going to lead them away from the rest. Or try.

I go out to meet them. I draw my swords as I go. They surround me. I begin my ritual dance. Blades swinging, I turn into a sort of human blender. Well, more like a vampire Grigori blender.

The soulless mass rises only to fall. I am an efficient killing machine. My dance mesmerizes the ghouls. The mudpuppies.

But this was only one pocket. As soon as I slice through the last one, I go in search of any other. And it doesn’t take long. One by one, I take the emerging pockets of mud puppies out. I protect my group. And not one of them will ever know.

But I would not have it any other way. Their lives are more precious than anything else. I must get them to safety. One way or another.

Yet, I know that what is emerging tonight are not the only mudpuppies. There are other pockets. They will lie dormant until the next storm. then emerge to feed on whatever unsuspecting victim might be here at that time.

My night is spent battling the mudpuppies. The onslaught is over at daybreak. I reenter the barn, soaking wet. I have returned my swords to their scabbards. No need to alarm the refugees.

Sara sees me. “You’re wet.”

I smile. “I wanted to make sure we were safe. It’s all clear now. And the storm is breaking up. We need to get ready to move on. We will have to wait to eat any breakfast. This place is not safe.”

There is a sound of hurried packing. No questions. No expected answers. They all simply take me at my word.

In no time, we are on our way to a safer location. I am not so sure we will be out of the danger zone for quite some time. Most of these fields of mudpuppies can span hundreds of miles. Just depends on how many barns or sheds like the one we just left there are.

They normally do not dig in near houses. Just barns and sheds. We will have to choose more carefully next time. And try to stay away from barns. Or sheds.

***

“There’s A house up ahead.” Sara’s voice snaps me out of my thoughts.

I Look. She’s right. It is a farmhouse. With a porch.

I Stop the group for a moment. “Alright. We will be stopping in a few minutes. We will probably stop for the rest of the day.”

A cheer rises from the group. Can’t say that I blame them. Our stay was cut short the last time by something I could not allow them to witness. Now, we can take a breather. But we mustn’t get too comfortable.

Never get too comfortable. Never allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security. The undead tend to wait until you think you are safe. When you believe there aren’t any reasons to keep your guard up.

It is all a game to them. Wait until you let down your guard. Then strike. And then it is a feeding frenzy.

I have seen too many of those. Awful. Horrible. The humans had no chance. Whatsoever.

I don’t want to see it again. Not with this many. This would be a massacre. And I won’t let it happen.

We make it to the house in good time. I search it thoroughly and give the ok. We will be staying here for the night. And maybe for a few days.

I look over at Sara. “Are you ready for more lessons?”

She smiles. Her glee is evident. “Yes. Are you going to teach me how to fight?”

I nod. “Soon. Right now I want you to get a good grasp on reading and writing.”

She nods. “Ok. I understand. I must remain patient.”

I smile. “But not for long.”

I spend the next few hours teaching her to write. I only hope that I can keep my promise to her. I hope I can get her proficient enough to be an equal to any vampire or ghoul. Or any zombie, for that matter. She will need it. Especially if the Crystal Ship is what I suspect.

I will need a second. Someone who can watch my back. Someone who can fight almost as good as me. Almost as quickly as she has caught on to reading.

I know she can do it. But right now I need her to know what she is reading. And also bale to write messages in case I am unable to. I need her to be a sort of secretary. And cohort.

I only hope I have enough time to get her to the point I need her at. And she will find it all very useful. Not only for helping me, but for herself too. Later.

When it grows too dark for her to read, I let her bed down. I leave and go out to stand guard. Tonight, there are no clouds. No storms. No mudpuppies. No threats.

But I cannot relax. I must stay awake. I must stand guard. I must watch over them as they rest. I smile as I gaze out into the darkness. It is moments like this that make me glad that I am a Grigori. and possibly a vampire.

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