So I sat down today and said, "Ok, enough! I am going to write until I finish this chapter!"
And that's why I'm here with four thousand more words. Wow. The chapter is done, I just need to figure out the break point so I can split it into two MORE parts to post the damned thing. ;)
Before leaving, she left a note taped to the tv so the boys wouldn't worry that another one of them had gone missing. That was the last thing this pair needed to start their day with. Kelly just wrote a quick note saying she had gone out to get some rescue fuel.
She slipped into her dark blue car, just a little run down from age, after having it passed down to her from an uncle who had not taken the best care of it. Kelly figured she could duck out, satisfy her sudden craving for baked goods, and bring everyone back some coffee so they'd be ready to go and do whatever it was they'd figured out doing.
The poor, old car started with a rumble that shook the entire frame. Kelly didn't think the thing had much more life left in her, but it still got her from point A to point B, and it wasn't like she was in any position to get a replacement. She expected the noise, which was not unlike a thunderstorm passing by overhead, to awake the entire city block on the early November morning.
No one seemed to stir, of most importance was that no one came tumbling out of the Matthews' door. She didn't want to disturb anyone just yet, and wanted to let them sleep. There would be time enough to mount their search party in another hour.
As much as she felt no particular need to hurry, she still felt this pressing need to get some cocoa and doughnuts. The dream had really made an impression on her, and it just would not let go. It was worse than having a song stuck in her brain.
Once the car was started and warmed up, it quieted down to a tolerable level, and almost purred. Kelly backed out of the driveway and onto Rachel's street. She shifted in the matching blue leather seat that stretched from one side of the car to the other, dividing the front from the back. It had its share of tears and patches, but it held together.
Kelly drove down the hill, and turned right at the gazebo's little park, going past the church and merging onto the main street. Her car bounced as the road became a bridge and back again. She passed by some small businesses, a few gas stations, and just past the lone stoplight in town, she spied her goal.
She pulled her car off the road and into the tiny parking lot of the coffee shop. It could hold no more than a handful of cars on either side of it, and that was being generous. Even more so when a large, older car like Kelly's pulled in and took up extra space.
The car was parked off to the side, and the car door opened with a loud squeak. Kelly thought that noise was getting even louder with each passing day. She grabbed a pair of sunglasses and slipped them on. The sun was just cresting over the mountain to the east which was the center of the town's industry, and it felt especially bright as the fog was beginning to lift. She also knew she wasn't at her best just yet, and wanted to hide any signs of the rough night in her eyes.
Kelly made her way past the wall that was half brick on the bottom, and half windows for the entire top half, broken up only by the occasional Small metal beam between panes of glass.
She pushed through the hefty glass door, which always gave the small girl trouble. Kelly wasn't that weak, and was quite athletic, but someone, somewhere must have chosen the door made out of lead when they were picking out options the day this place was built.
Once she was inside, she was glad once again for grabbing the sunglasses. The fluorescent lights just seemed especially bright that day, and the hum coming from one of them was enough to make Kelly itch at the back of her head. She pushed the glasses further up her nose to block out as much of the unnatural light as she could.
There were so many people inside the small shop, that Kelly was surprised. Of course, once she thought about it, the crowd made perfect sense. It was a coffee shop, first thing in the morning. It was natural to find the place packed to the rafters with people getting their daily caffeine fix, or breakfast on the go. Many people would have their coffee at any old time, but starting off one's morning was the traditional time.
Kelly filed in at the back of the crowd, recognising a few fellow students from the waiting customers, and one or two on the opposite side of the counter as well. She wondered if any of them even knew what had happened to Crystal the night before. Some of them must have. Either on the news, or in the paper, although none of those people looked like the reading sort. Failing all those other sources, someone from the party must have jumped online the moment they got home and told all their friends. Word would spread fast in the small town that another student had been murdered.
She sighed, and got ready for another wave of panic and curfews, no matter how justified they were. Kelly understood the reasons behind them, but was also still a kid, and railed against being boxed in like they were doing.
The line creeped ever forward, as people concluded their business and left. For everyone that passed out of the building, it seemed as if two more would come in, closing Kelly in amongst the throng of people. She could have pushed her way out of the crowd with ease, but the feeling of being almost claustrophobic was still pressing around her.
After what seemed like more standing than movie, Kelly at last found herself at the counter, and she leaned her forearms against the maroon top, taking stock of what doughtnuts were left.
She could hear grumbling patrons behind her as she took her time. Kelly pushed them out of her mind. She had to do her time in the lineup, now it was there turn.
While she considered doughnuts, she ordered drinks; a cocoa for herself, a medium black coffee for Brendan, and a hazelnut with cream and sugar for Rachel, each one of them medium. They had hung out enough and paid homage to this very altar enough times that she knew each of their orders by heart. But she had no idea what Darien would want.
Or did she?
She remembered the dream that had sent her here in the first place, and thought it was worth a try, so ordered a large coffee with extra sugar, and just a pinch of cream. She had no idea if he even drank coffee, but if she was running on dream logic to be here in the first place, why not go with the coffee order as well?
The underclassman who took her orders shuffled off to the side to prepare the drinks. She placed even odds that he would screw them up. He was giving one of those thousand yard stares, and looked even less awake than she was. He could have been a zombie just trying to make an honest day's pay, for the way he acted and looked.
While he shambled off, leaving only hints of an arm, and an orange uniform hat poking above the coffee pots, Kelly returned to the doughnuts.
She told the other person behind the counter she'd like a box of doughnuts. Kelly ordered four chocolate covered, four powdered sugar, and she was about to order four plain to round out the dozen, but something caught her eye. She made a quick change to her order and only got three plain, and had the girl behind the counter add in the last strawberry jelly doughnut on the racks.
"Are you sure," the employee asked, although her flat, half-awake tone didn't make it sound like a question.
"I'm this far into the crazyhole, why stop now?"
"What?" That got her attention, and actual emotion slipped through the cracks of monotony.
Kelly waved her hand, dismissing it. "Never mind. That's everything."
The other kid brought out the four styrofoam cups out in a holder so she could carry them all. They had lids on them, but still steam escaped through tiny punctures in the thin plastic. Kelly couldn't help but think they looked like what vampire bites would, if they gave off steam.
She paid the girl, and stacked the coffees atop the box of doughtnuts, cradling the entire thing in her arms. Kelly made her way through the crowd which had decided to thin out some since she had arrived. Some of the other patrons shot her foul glances for taking so much time, but she just ignored them.
Kelly wasn't even seeing the people that morning. In crowds of people, she sometimes got overwhelmed by the sea of colours curling off them, like the steam from her cups.
When there were a lot of people like in the coffee shop, or the party, the colours had a tendency to merge and blend. Each person still remained distinct, the colours coming off their head like a flame wickering in the wind. However, along the edges where people bumped up agaisnt each other, the smokey tendrils would sometimes intertwine. It was like watching snakes shaking hands, or coloured water being mixed into oil. They never quite became one, but they intermingled enough
Everyone's colours in the shop appeared to be muted that morning. The colours seemed dull, and uninteresting, like the world had been dipped in sepia tone. Then Kelly remembered she was wearing her sunglasses, and slipped them off. It was like the world popped back into technicolour. None of the auras made any particular impression on her, and it was just a rainbow sea of colour, covering the entire spectrum of emotions and thoughts.
In other words, it looked like someone had either spewed up a bag of Skittles, or Van Gough had gone crazy with the paints again.
Kelly had managed to keep things under control at the party. At events like that, it always seemed like the auras seemed to gel more as a cohesive whole. It was as if since everyone was in the same place for the same time, the colours fit together as more of like pieces of a single thing, rather than the melange before her in the coffee shop.
The girl spun away from the people, turning right past the door, and look right into the area where a number of tables had been set up with chairs for people to sit and have their coffee there, if they so chose. Some people were doing just that already, and one was even reading today's paper. It looked like the news of Crystal's death had come too late to make the morning edition. Or as it was considered in the sticks of Vermont, the only edition.
That wasn't what caught Kelly's attention most though. No, it was the design of the tables, in particular, those along the wall underneath the window stretching the entire length, with a bench running right along that whole wall. In front of maroon tables. Exactly like the scene in her dream.
It was weird, that was for sure, but at the same time, it did make sense. She had been in here often enough. She'd even sat in these chairs before, as well. Her brain would have filed away such a place deep in its subconcious and brought it up as needed. A perfect and rational explanation for a weird dream.
Still, it did send a chill down her spine, and that wasn't just caused by someone entering from the cool, November morn. That itch at the back of her head just intensified.
"This must be what going mad feels like," she muttered to herself. Only the newspaper reader looked up, but more because he wondered who was talking than what was said.
Kelly paused and set down the coffee and doughnuts on the table nearest the door, blocked away from a grey wall that would come up past most people's heads as they sat in the seats. It matched where she had sat in her dream, and she even took the seat, just like she had been sitting. She grabbed her cocoa, and had a sip, even noticing the sweater was the same.
The only thing missing was Alyson.
That thought snapped Kelly back to the here and now, and she put the cocoa back in its slot with the rest of the drinks, and scooped up everything back into her arms.
As she stood, she looked out the window right in front of her and watched as all the auras wandered about the parking lot, some coming, some going. All except one. Her eyes were drawn to the one spot in the parking lot that didn't have colour, yet should. Someone out there was walking around without an aura.
At first, Kelly was amused by it, since it had happened with such rarity.
"Huh, no aura," she mused. "Just like Alyson."
There are moments in a person's life when everything comes together. Moments when everything makes sense with such crystal clarity. Moments when everything freezes, and the patterns of the universe lay bare before your eyes. Some people call these moments eureka moments, and they are great revelations. Others consider them as turning points where their life took a turn. Often for the better, but sometimes for the worse. When these moments hit, everything else falls away, it is only you and nothing else.
That was everything and more that Kelly was feeling when those fateful words spilled out of her mouth. The world around her crystalised and froze as she stared out that window at the second person she had ever seen without an aura walked out of the parking lot to the coffee shop.
That day, that exact second, was burned forever into Kelly's memory as she stared at a man dressed all in white, save for his black shoes. He held a large styrofoam cup of coffee in his hand that matched his suit perfectly. Steam did its best to escape from the mug into the chill around him. His other hand had just placed a matching white hat upon his brow, but she thought the man may have been bald. Aside from his odd fashion choices, and looking a little pale, and Kelly had seen paler, nothing about the man stood out. At least, nothing stood out except to Kelly. To her, he was the one exception in this entire town.
Her eyes grew wider as she stared at him, and just what it might all mean crept into her mind. There was so much she didn't know about these things she saw, so much that remained unexplained and uncertain. The feelings she got from them were more from her gut, from her instincts than any significance of the colours
Pieces fell into place quite fast inside Kelly's mind when she made the connection. She knew in an instant why Alyson had no aura. It was like the answer was just waiting to be discovered, and the moment it was, she knew it to be truth. There was no denying it. She had been sceptical of Darien's claims before, but the certainty that came into her mind pushed out the doubt to make room for itself.
Alyson had no aura, because Alyson was a vampire. More to the point, Alyson had no aura because Alyson was not alive. Without the spark of life, no colours could be given off, and there was nothing for Kelly to pick up on. That was why Alyson was so disturbing to Kelly; not just because of the lack of any flickering lights around her, but because she had somehow always known what it signified. Deep down, Kelly had known the redhead was no longer amongst the living, at least not in any traditional sense.
Now, she was confronted with another being that did not have an aura. If what she believed was true, and something insider her told her that it was one of the truest facts she had ever stumbled across on her own, then the man she was staring at was no longer alive.
And dead men don't tend to be as ambulatory as the man in white she was staring at.
Kelly supposed that there were other types of walking dead men. There was every possibility that the man was a zombie. If she was accepting vampires now, why not zombies? Or maybe he was a mummy. He was wrapped up all in white, after all.
Even with all of those other options, Kelly knew the truth. He had to be a vampire. She tried so hard to think of any other explanation, but the clarity surrounding her in that moment only allowed for her to accept the truth.
There was only two options really; either her strange gift of sight was all in her head, or she could see auras and there was something wrong about someone who didn't have one.
Not willing to accept the first option since that would make her crazy, and because she had others corroborating her own experiences now with ones of their own, Kelly had little choice but to accept that the world had just gotten a little bigger, and a little weirder.
Kelly only knew of two vampires in Kraftsbury. One of which was Alyson, whom she had come to think of as her friend, and still thought of her as such despite all the lies she was discovering about her and her brother that day.
The other vampire was the one whom had taken Alyson. Of that vampire she knew very little. In fact, she knew nothing at all. They were even just supposing he was a vampire due to the bite marks, which was a fair enough piece of evidence, but still left room for other options.
Now, Kelly thought there was every possibility that there may be more than two vampires in town. If there were two, why not three? Why not 10? Why not a hundred? For all she knew, the whole town could be vampires, and she was wrong about her sight.
Still, her gut told her that Alyson was the only vampire she had met so far, and now the man in white was number two. Which was smaller, she wondered; the odds that she had stumbled across the second vampire in town and he had abducted Alyson, or that there was a yet undiscovered third vampire in town responsible for taking Alyson, and this man was just a random vampire going about his day?
Frankly, Kelly much preferred the odds that this was the guy they were looking for, as preposterous as it might seem to have stumbled across him because of a dream.
At the very least, it warranted checking out. Either he was the guy they were looking for and he would go back to Alyson at some point, or he had nothing to do with the vampnapping and he would head home and go about his vampy day.
As the world around her began to spin again, Kelly noticed that her wide-eyed stares and slack-jawed face was beginning to draw attention from others. She closed her mouth and blushed, trying to hide behind the cups in her arms as best she could. She made her way out the door and to her car. The man in white had walked down the sidewalk somewhere, but he couldn't have gotten far.
Kelly knew he could run as fast as the wind, but he hadn't been doing so yet, and with the town waking up and becoming busier with every passing minute, she suspected he might not have wanted to raise suspicions. Suspected and hoped.
She opened up the passenger side door and placed the doughnuts and drinks on the seat beside where she would resume sitting in a few moments.
Before getting in the car, she dug her blue cellphone out of her purse. Like her matching car, the phone had seen better days. It was far from top of the line, and had more scratches than colour left by then, but it still made phone calls, and that was what she needed more than anything.
She found Brendan's cell number and hoped he had forgotten to turn it off last night. Kelly could have just called Rachel's house, heck she could have called Rachel's own room, but she didn't want to wake her friend up. Better to keep her out of all this crazy, if she could.
Kelly leaned against her car as the phone rang in her ear several times. At last, it clicked through, but she didn't hear anything for awhile.
"Brendan?" she spoke into the receiver.
No answer came.
She tried again, louder this time, "Brendan!"
At last, someone spoke. Or attempted to speak. "Muh?"
"Brendan, it's Kelly." She stepped away from her car and approached the sidewalk. She glanced to her right, towards the mountain. A ways down the road she could still see one lone man with no aura in all of Kraftsbury. Kelly breathed a sigh of relief.
"Brendan, wake up!" she shouted into her phone through gritted teeth. She didn't want to make too much of a scene, should the man in white turn around. If he knew Alyson, knew the Montroses, there was a good chance he would know her as well.
"Mmmh. Kelly? Where the devil are you?"
There was a pause. "You're not on the tv, the tv is off, and there's no room to sit on top of it."
"LOOK at the tv, you goober." Kelly was beginning to think it would have been a good idea to wake them up before she left, after all.
Another pause, and then Brendan's groggy, half-awake voice continued in a haze, "I'd like one of those sugary cruller things if they have any left..."
"Forget the doughbuts! Wake up Darien and get in your truck."
"Why? It's early." Brendan was not a morning person, and not the sharpest tack in the package when just waking up. He had forgotten the entire plan of waking up early to go in search of Alyson.
"Trust me, this is good." There was a certain smugness to Kelly's voice, for being the one to find the man in white. "Right this very second, I am staring straight at the man who took Alyson."
"Darien, wake up!" Any and all signs of sleep fell away from Brendan's voice. He didn't even need the coffee waiting for him now. His mind was alert, and he was ready to go.
Kelly listened in as Darien woke up much faster than Brendan. He had been trained on short, sleepless nights, and when duty called, he was ready in a flash. The lingering hints of his long night disappeared once he too heard Alyson's name, the magic word that brought clarity to them both.
The elder Montrose grabbed the phone from Brendan, and Kelly could hear him protesting, although it was muffled from the hand wrapped around the small bar of plastic.
"Where are you? We'll be right there."
"No time, Darien," she explained. "The guy is getting away, and if I don't follow him now, he's going to be completely out of sight."
"Kelly," Darien had never spoken to her with such import. Each word was infused with such grave and dire tidings, she feared the phone might weep. "Do not follow him. I repeat, nay stress. DO NOT. Stay. We'll follow him together."
"You know, I might, JUST might have listened to you, had you not tried to treat me like a dog. I'll call you back, Darien."
She could hear him continuing to protest as she clicked the clamshell phone shut.
Kelly considered whether to follow on foot, or by car. If she tried following him in her car, the slow-moving beast might give her away. But if he decided to ramp up his speed, there was no way she could give chase on foot.
The man in white was fast becoming the dot in white, and she made a quick decision to take her car. If nothing else, she might be able to run the bastard down should the opportunity arise.
Once her vehicle was again just purring, and no longer growling, she crept out onto the road, and closed the distance between her and her prey.
Before coming up too close to him, Kelly pulled off into a convenience store where she could sit and watch him without raising too much suspicion. At least that's what she hoped. While she sat and waited, watching the man fade back away down the road, she pulled her phone back out.
Rather than trying to talk to the boys who were more than likely just a bit angry with her, and just as much concerned, she chose to just send a text message to Brendan.
"He's turned off the main road and started heading up Andover."
Her phone chimed off almost before she set it down next to the drinks beside her. It had just left her hand before finding itself right back in it.
"STAY WHERE YOU ARE," came back the reply. Kelly liked the added touch that Brendan or Darien had taken the time to use all caps to scream at her.
She tossed the phone aside, and shook her head. "Nope, can't do that guys. He's getting away."
Kelly didn't want to admit it, but as dangerous as the situation was, as much as she knew her life was in danger, as well as Alyson's, she had to admit that she was having fun. If she wasn't so focused on her quarry, she might have taken time to consider what that might mean, but for the moment all she cared about was continuing her pursuit.
She started her car back up and began driving again, seeing him turn off the road they were on, and onto an even smaller side street than Andover Street.
Kelly drove by the street where he had turned, as casual as she could, and instead drove into the park just ahead of her. She did her best to act like that was her intended destination all along. She gave only the slightest glance down the road to watch the man walking away, and make sure he was still there. After she saw the white form walking away from her car, she glanced down to the objects on the passengers' side of the seat. She could see the screen on her phone indicating more messages had come in.
The girl drove under a train tressel that ran over the entrance to the park. Passing through the thick, stone structure arching high into the air, surrounded by heavy underbrush and grass always made her feel like she was going through a castle gate. She grabbed the first parking space available and looked out over the park.
The park was little more than a large, grassy field. That was fine for most kids coming up there to run around, or toss a ball around, even if those sorts of kids seemed fewer and fewer with each passing year. On one side was a couple of soccer goals and lines marked in chalk. A few wooden bleachers made in a time long forgotten lined along one side of the soccer field.
Kelly had come up here a number of times to cheer the school's soccer team on, but it was rare when she would just come up here to hang out. She had trouble thinking of any time besides those that were sports related.
Before her mind wandered any further, she looked through the thick trees that surrounded the field on all sides. The trees were only one or two deep, but had been planted so close together that it blocked the park away from almost all view. If one looked hard enough though, they could pick through the cracks of trunks and bushes and leaves. Kelly could just about catch a flicker of white every few seconds as the man she was hunting passed by a space in all the cover.
She did her best to keep her eyes on the fleeting glimpses of the man, and grabbed her phone. Kelly ignored all the messages that had been sent, since they all amounted to the same chastising message sent several times, mixed with demands to know where she was.
Kelly flipped her phone open and sent Brendan another text -ignoring one coming in while she was typing on the tiny keypad - and explained that she was at the park on the far side of town.
Almost the moment after she had hit send, she saw a large metal grill leading the way for an even larger red truck. It crested the short hill and came into view like a crimson shark bearing down upon a smaller blue fish.
Brendan pulled his truck in besides Kelly's side of her car. The truck hadn't even come to a full stop before the passenger door burst open and Darien's feet were hitting the pavement with his trenchcoat billowing behind him.
"What do you think you're doing? You call me the idiot? You should have stayed in the house! Are you insane?" Darien laid into her with the fury that only someone who had lost a family member could muster.
Kelly rolled down her window and took a casual sip of cocoa from her styrofoam cup. "Will you be quiet," she urged Darien. "You might draw too much attention to us."
"Too much attention from who?" Darien demanded.
"Look." Kelly pointed through the trees, where the man in white could be seen through a large gap in the dying leaves.
What am I," he paused. Darien squinted. Brendan came up behind him and stood in silence, following the gaze of the other two. "Is that a guy?"
"Nope. That's a vampire." Kelly may as well have been jumping up and dancing, chanting, "I found him, you didn't," from the way she sounded.
"Are you sure?" Darien was nowhere near ready to take her word for it.
Kelly nodded, "Yeah, I'd say I'm pretty sure."
"No aura," she said as if that would explain everything. She thought it did, and maybe it was true, but she wanted to watch Darien squirm just a bit.
The quizzical look on his face was oh so satisfying to Kelly.
"Your sister doesn't have an aura. Neither does he. Alyson is the only person I have ever seen that doesn't glow like someone switched on the uv light at a rave."
Kelly watched Darien process the information. "Huh. So you think that not having an aura has something to do with their vampirism?"
"I think it's because they're dead, or were dead, or however it works. Without being on that whole mortal coil thing, I guess they don't register on the old aurameter."
"That...that actually makes sense. Good catch. What do we do now?"