All Things In Good Time

© Joan Ann Lansberry

Family Understanding

Michael had no sooner got the order finished, when he felt extremely woozy. He drank three mugs of water, but it did not help. He swore he felt his entire circulatory system buzzing. And it was not a happy buzz. It irritated him all over. He did not feel well at all.

He laid his head down on the computer stand, hoping a few minutes rest would ease the horrible sensations throbbing through out his entire body. Just before he felt his entire body screaming with pain, panic ran through him like an electric shock.

Just after, he was out, catatonic, with his head still upon the computer table.

The interior discontent that had started while he was sleeping had risen into a fever pitch. As one blood bit talked to another, fury spread throughout his circulatory system, and then one word, which meant ''STRIKE!'' The blood bits quit working. Only a bare minimum stayed employed maintaining Michael's pumping heart and respiratory system. The rest just swam in the flow, bitching very loudly.

Gwen was the first to wake up. She stretched and eased herself out into the large room, grabbed her favorite shiny metal mug from the kitchen and went to the water dispenser to get some water. ''Why is Michael's head lying on the computer stand like that?'' She thought, as she went over to him. She recognized the wide open but glassy eyes. She'd seen him like that once before. Panic went through her as she shouted, ''Michael's catatonic!'' Golden and Sebby woke up, who had been sleeping near Michael. Gwen continued, ''I've seen this before. He's not been feeding properly. His body has shut down! When we go out hunting, we will have to carry him with us. When the prey is found, and he's brought to it, his blood will take over.''

Sebastian opened his mouth in shock, as he examined Michael's inert form. ''He's barely breathing!'' he announced in horror. Golden understood better than Sebby what had happened, ''When we go hunting, Michael's only taken a few sips each time, so that the rest of us may have more!'' He went to Michael and caressed his black hair, which he swore had lost some of its sheen. ''Poor honey,'' he wailed, as he kissed Michael's forehead.

Livia woke to the distraught household. ''What's happened?'' she asked as she emerged from the bedroom. She saw everyone clustered around Michael and took a look upon his catatonic face. ''Oh my God! Has he not been eating again?'' Sebastian was rather in shock. He'd never gone a night without eating. To starve himself was inconceivable. He looked again at Michael's glassy eyed catatonic face and felt a mixture of horror and compassion.

It would be up to him to engineer the evening's hunt. Always, it had been Michael who had sniffed for evildoers, played bait and knocked the prey unconscious. Michael's fledglings felt uneasy, but they were not as psychically sensitive as the eldest. They'd have to trust Sebastian's lead. Although, it wasn't strictly necessary. They could have tested their powers and learned on their own, but they had never needed to. Having always relied on someone older and wiser, they did so again.

Sebastian, for all of his sophistication, had never learned to drive a car. It fell to Livia to drive, while Sebastian took the passenger side and directed her where to go. Golden held the unconscious Michael and caressed him while Gwen tried to use her senses to ferret out any evil emanations. Sebastian was having trouble 'tuning in', travelling in such a rapidly moving vehicle, so he was grateful for any assistence Gwen could give.

Meanwhile, Livia just drove to the slummiest section of town. Sure enough, all of them soon felt the familiar unsettling sensation. It came from a ramshackle bar seated in the ugliest part of slum-town. But then an argument broke out amongst them as the best way to proceed. Should Sebastian go inside and try to lure them out? Big, black motorcycles were parked all over the muddy parking lot. It was a tough bunch of hombres in there. Sebastian might not be able to lure them out. Should they all go in together? As they sat in the car arguing, finally one of the bar's patrons was being shoved out the door. The filthy man, who nevertheless wore a new, clean black leather vest, wasn't going willingly.

''And don't come back, you lousy cheating asshole!'' Sebastian got out of the car to lure the man and pranced near him. ''Heya, gorgeous! What's happened? They accuse you of cheating at cards, AGAIN!'' The man, with short but scraggly black hair, stared at the tall pale creature before him without saying a word. He wasn't believing his eyes. ''Scrawny faggots usually have the sense to stay away. What's wrong with this one? He's TOO pale. Somethin' ain't right about this, but I can't think what . . .'' His thoughts were interrupted, as Sebastian, lacking a better plan, just cold cocked him and dragged him into the shadows out of the night lights. Golden carried Michael there, with a little steadying help from Livia. He didn't need much; Michael was so lightweight, he could have hauled him overhead with no trouble. But they spared him the indignity of the overhead haul.

They eased him to the ground, beside the unconscious card cheater, and as predicted, Michael's blood took over. His mouth, being 'remote-controlled', was powered open, teeth chomped and mouth muscles sucked. As Michael, or to be more accurate, Michael's BLOOD BITS, drained the last drops out of the prey, Michael became conscious again. However, he was still quite woozy, and not capable of directing the hunt.

''Shall we get them one at a time, as they leave the bar?'' Gwen queried. ''What if they don't leave 'one at a time', can we all together knock them out?'' Livia countered. ''How many can there be?'' Golden wondered, and set to counting the number of motorcycles. ''There's ten motorcycles. If each motorcycle has two passengers, that would mean twenty people. But what if some came on foot?'' Golden pondered further. Could four able vampires handle twenty hoodlums at once?

Just then, three men and one sleazy woman in a mini-skirt exited the bar's door. They were totally plastered. They shouldn't be driving their motorcycles in their condition. They wouldn't be driving their motorcycles. Sebastian dispatched with the formalities of talk and just struck the biggest one in the face. ''What the fuc . . ? Vampires, I tell you, Lizzie, they're VAMPIRES!'' But it was too late, Sebastian rammed Mr. Big with greater force, while the other three did likewise with the remaining three.

Once all the prey were away from the revealing light, Michael was again put to one, the biggest, of course, and this time, he operated his mouth under his own conscious control. By the time the bar closed, all would be well fed. Clean-up, however, was a complicated procedure.

Once all evidence had been buried, Michael who had been able to help some, felt exhausted and let Livia drive to the farm. ''One more week until we no longer have to hunt like this,'' Michael reminded them. ''The cows arrive on Wednesday. After the few things we do tonight, we can start moving things into the new house tomorrow night!'' Livia rejoiced, ''Oh, it shall be delightful. We won't be stumbling all over each other!''

With that, they all felt jubilant. A small part of each of their minds was devoted to the thought that they'd watch over each of them, and make sure each was getting proper nourishment. Moving was especially stressful, and no one should be trying it while underfed. Sebastian was beginning to understand the concept of 'family', as he saw how everyone cared for each other. As he caressed Golden's shoulders tenderly, he declared, ''I am especially glad to be with you all. I could have never imagined such a wonderful family!''

Gwen said, with tears in her eyes, ''Yeah, we're pretty special, aren't we?'' Everyone agreed unanimously, and cheered.

Go to Chapter Thirty-Eight, Delirious
return to Chapter Outline