Lucy Died on a Tuesday

train

The Sunset Limited eastbound in 2004 – Found at Wikipedia

Train roll on, on down the line,
Won’t you please take me far away?
Now I feel the wind blow outside my door,
Means I’m, I’m leaving my woman at home.

from “Tuesday’s Gone”
Released by Lynyrd Skynyrd – 1973
Songwriters: Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins

Jonathan Harker had boarded the Amtrak train hours ago at the station on Folsom Street. He’d never been on a train in his life besides BART and the Napa Valley Wine Train but these were part of the instructions he’d been given. He’d have rather gotten on a plane. Jonny wanted to get out of the Bay Area as fast as he could. Watching the scenery roll by all too slowly would remind him of her and she was the one person in all the world he desperately wanted to forget, though of course he never would.

He had met Dolengen months ago at an after hours place called “Delirium.” His best friend Bobby had conned him into it. Bobby knew he’d just asked Lucy to marry him but his “wingman” thought he deserved one last night on the town. Bobby wanted to introduce him to two young women he’d just met, Verona and Dol.

It wasn’t long before Verona and Bobby disappeared and almost against his will, he found himself following the raven-haired Dol into a back room containing few other items of furniture besides a bed.

Dol wasn’t a prostitute but she did want something from Jonny, his sex and his blood. Dolengen looked like she couldn’t be older than twenty-five but she had died a century ago in Central Europe and been reborn a vampire.

Delirium was the most unusual club in San Francisco in that it catered to vampires, allowing them to lure warm-blooded men and women into what seemed to be a comfortable social situation, putting their prey at ease so they would hardly noticed that they had become sheep the minute they entered…until it was far too late.

Jonny thought he had fallen in love with Dol but that was just an effect of their relationship. A person bitten by a vampire and yet allowed to live becomes mentally and emotionally enslaved. He thought it was impossible for him not to love Dol.

But Dol was different. At first, she wanted to continue to feed off of him but something changed her mind. Maybe there was some tiny vestige of humanity within her that survived a century of consuming the blood of the living. She found out about Lucy, even had coffee with her and her sister Mina (although Dol didn’t actually drink her coffee), and then broke it off with Jonny.

It took meeting her mysterious and dangerous master known only as Antonie to end Jonny’s attachment to Dol. It was too late for Bobby. Verona had turned him. His friend was now one of them, but Dol gave him a second chance at a normal life…

…and then took it away.

Dol, Antonie, and a group of maybe a hundred vampires collectively known as the Family all existed in a crypt in the lowest level of a dilapidated waterfront warehouse sometimes called the Demon’s Feast. It was named that by the members of the artist’s collective who illegally lived and worked there, along with others who wanted to avoid the authorities. It was the perfect lair for a group of supernatural beings to spend their days, guarded by their human allies.

It also offered a single point of failure, the place their enemies could attack and exterminate them all in a single act.

Here and now, they’re called the Van Helsings, a centuries old religious order dedicated to eradicating the race of vampires from the face of the Earth. The Demon’s Feast was a fire hazard to begin with so the Van Helsings’ act of arson was all to easily accomplished. Dozens of people died in the blaze as did most of San Francisco’s vampire population. Only a few of the undead survived. One of them was Dolengen.

She took Lucy unawares posing as a casual acquaintance and tricking her way into their apartment. When Jonny found them together in bed hours later, Lucy was almost dead and Dol was not quite sated with her blood. She took Jonny’s too, enough to enslave him again, or so she thought. Maybe there was something about being taken and then set free that let him resist a second time. Unfortunately, he broke free too late…too late for Lucy that is.

The Van Helsings were scouring the City and surrounding communities for the few vampires that had escaped the fire of the Demon’s Feast and Dol needed sanctuary. That’s what she wanted from Jonny. From Lucy, she wanted an ally or perhaps just a lure for the vampire hunters that would allow her time to get away.

Lucy died on a Tuesday.

Dol set it up so it looked like a mugging gone bad. Her throat was slit and she bled out in an alley late at night. Jonny made sure that she was buried before three days were up. That’s the incubation period. Long after the funeral, he stood by at her grave but not out of grief.

Dolengen knew they’d be coming. To the local authorities, Lucy’s death was tragic but not out of the ordinary. To the Van Helsings, it was a blatant act of war, a challenge screaming, “Come and get me if you can.”

It didn’t bother Dol that she had to leave Jonny behind. Maybe she’d come back this way some day and he’d be useful again. But it was Lucy’s death that startled him back to grim reality. Lucy was dead and Dol had vanished, but Lucy was coming back.

An amateur, he searched the web and thought he knew how to kill a vampire. He stood by her grave as the sun dropped below the western horizon and the third night began. He held a gym bag containing several wooden tent pegs and a rubber mallet. He knew Lucy would have to break out of her coffin, the barrier the law required the coffin to be encased, and then claw her way up through six feet of earth.

He was ready. Well no, he really wasn’t. But he thought he was.

“Jonny.”

At first he thought he’d fallen asleep, but he was still standing. He’d dropped the gym bag at his feet. The fog had rolled in and he was shivering.

“Jonny. I’m back.”

It was Lucy’s voice, but he was hearing it in his head, not through his ears.

“Didn’t you miss me, Jonny?”

He did miss her. He missed her with a horrible emptiness in his chest. But he couldn’t let her come back, not like this. She wouldn’t have wanted it this way. This was all his fault. If he hadn’t let Bobby talk him into meeting him at Delirium or if he’d walked in, taken one look at Bobby with Verona and Dol, then turned around and left again, none of this would have happened. He wouldn’t have gotten involved in Dol’s world, wouldn’t have dragged Lucy down into it.

Lucy would never have become a vampire.

One hand plunged upward through loose dirt and grass, and then the other emerged. She slowly dug her way out, covered with the mud and filth of the grave, her pale skin and hair clotted, her white gown torn and soiled.

Lucy’s eyes shined with a malevolent light, and yet he could feel himself being drawn to her.

“I knew you’d be here, Jonny. I knew you would wait for me.”

“I…I had to come.”

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he thought of the gym bag. He had to break eye contact, get the mallet and stake. If he didn’t, she would take him, too.

“I love you, Jonny. I always will. I’m so glad you’re here. Now we can be together, not for a lifetime, but forever.”

She stood up and bared her fangs. They were going to get married. She was the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, till death do you part. Now death had parted them but it threatened to join them again forever in a blood curse.

They burst in from all around. Two or three grabbed Jonny and pulled him back while the rest assaulted Lucy.

“No, wait! Don’t hurt her!” It was like someone else was talking with Jonny’s voice. He had come to kill her but now the only thing he could think of was saving her.

“Shut up and stay still.” The man’s voice was as rough as his hands. Jonny was trying to escape but he and the other guy were too strong.

There was lights, he caught a whiff of garlic, then it was an overpowering odor. He could hear Lucy cough and choke. Another smell. Burning flesh? What kind of light was that?

“Jonny! Help! Please!”

She was screaming, begging him for her life. He managed to get his head up. He couldn’t see her clearly. There were too many people surrounding her, holding her down. The lights were burning her. The only one talking or yelling was Lucy. The others worked with cold, silent efficiency.

“No! Not that! Jonny! Jonny, I love you!”

He heard a loud thump and then she screamed, blood flooding her throat as they burst her heart with the stake. A second thump. A third. She mercifully stopped screaming.

An electric motor. A saw. Oh God, her head. They cut off her head.

“You don’t need to see this, kid.”

Jonny went limp. There was nothing else to do, not anymore. She was gone, really gone this time. What they called the second death, the final one. Now Lucy was free. They had saved her. He thought that’s why he was there, but he came because he loved her. They were there because it was their job.

The train’s next stop was L.A. Then Tuscon, El Paso, across Texas, and finally to New Orleans. That’s where they’d train him. The trip would take three days which would give him time to think. They also wanted to give him enough time to change his mind if he was going to. Jonny knew he wouldn’t. Dol and her kind had taken everything from him including a part of his soul. She could have turned him as well as Lucy, and it was a mistake that she didn’t.

When Lucy died the first time, Dol had made an enemy of Jonny. When she died a second time, he found allies who were her enemies, too.

Jonathan Harker, an ironic name given everything that had happened to him, had pledged himself on Lucy’s soul to the Van Helsings. He would let them turn him into one of their soldiers. He only hoped among all of the undead he planned to destroy, Dolengen would be one of them. He wanted to look into her eyes as he drove the stake through her black heart.

Train roll on many miles from my home,
See, I’m riding my blues away.
Tuesday, you see, she had to be free
But somehow I’ve got to carry on.

Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
My baby’s gone with the wind.

I wrote this for Helen Vahdati’s Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 1/28/2018 hosted at This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time blog. The challenge is to use a word or phrase as the inspiration to find and post the lyrics to a related song as well as a video of the song being performed.

Since I’m a writer, I prefer to use all of that as the starting point for crafting a story.

For this past Sunday, word is “goodbye/farewell”.

The first song I thought of was Candle in the Wind from Elton John’s 1973 album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” but then I figured a lot of people would probably leverage that song and album.

So my next stop was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone”.

I borrowed characters and situations from my Sean Becker Undead Series including events from a story I’m still writing called “City of Sin”.

Not a lot of people travel by train anymore, at least compared to a generation or two ago, but the song references train travel so strongly, I felt I couldn’t write a story without the help of Amtrak. The Van Helsings have one of their centers in the New Orleans area and fortunately you can go directly from San Francisco to New Orleans by rail at a reasonable price.

Here are the full lyrics:

“Tuesday’s Gone”

Train roll on, on down the line,
Won’t you please take me far away?
Now I feel the wind blow outside my door,
Means I’m, I’m leaving my woman at home.

Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
My baby’s gone with the wind again.

And I don’t know where I’m going.
I just want to be left alone.
Well, when this train ends I’ll try again,
But I’m leaving my woman at home.

Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
My baby’s gone with the wind.

Train roll on
Tuesday’s gone

Train roll on many miles from my home,
See, I’m riding my blues away.
Tuesday, you see, she had to be free
But somehow I’ve got to carry on.

Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
My baby’s gone with the wind.

Now for the video.

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6 thoughts on “Lucy Died on a Tuesday

  1. Poor Lucy. He sort of brought that into their lives, though didn’t he? I guess that’ll teach a person not to cheat, eh? The song is ridiculously good. It makes me think of sitting on a train with goodbye on my mind. Great pick!

    Like

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