Game Over

checkmate

Image depicting a checkmate in chess

"I've got Mzimu."

A few days after Mikiko had last seen Timothy Fleming, he had sent her a text with his (untraceable) number so she could contact him when she had evidence the Organization’s leader was dead. Colins said it probably had been easy for him to pick up her cell’s number remotely as long as he was in close proximity, even from the phone issued to her by the Agency. It had likely happened when they spoke in the church.

"You have proof of his death?"

He was using a secure text app so even though Mikiko and Fleming could exchange messages, Colins, or rather his computing and electronics expert Danae Parker, couldn’t locate him. Colins told her that should be immaterial since they’d located the farmhouse on the Romney Marsh where he was holding Sienna Thomas over a week ago.

"I have Mzimu in person. Do you want to meet?"

“He’s got to be thinking this one over hard, Mikiko. It’s the sort of trap we’d set up for him. On the other hand, he did say if possible, he’d like to meet Mzimu face-to-face and finish the job personally.”

“But it is a trap, isn’t it, Geoffrey?”

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Of Ice and Anna

ice monster

Found at DeviantArt.

From the previous story:

The magic lantern amulet around his neck glowed brightly as the boy stood and weaved his spell right in front of the wounded and bleeding creature. A portal opened at his feet and he fell through, just like a person would if the walked over an open manhole.

Landon spoke the magic words in the tongue of the ancient masters and the portal closed. Instantly, the world around them began to fade and shimmer.

“You did it, Landon. You broke the spell. Now the fantasy world the evil water spirit created is evaporating. I love you Landon.” She hugged him. “See you again in about twelve years or so.”

“But by then I’ll be…”

Then everything went black.

Landon woke up. He had to pee, so he got up and stumbled down a long hall to the bathroom. He turned on the light and looked in the mirror shocked. He wasn’t eight years old anymore and this wasn’t the bathroom at Grandpa’s house. It was one of the bathrooms in his dorm. He was in college and he was twenty years old.

Landon woke up. He had to pee, so he got up and stumbled down a short hall to the bathroom. He turned on the light and looked in the mirror. He was relieved to see himself just as he was when he went to sleep. He was back home at Grandpa’s house and he was eight years old like he was supposed to be. Then he used the bathroom and washed his hands.

Going back to his bedroom, he saw his now non-alive stuffed animals lying on his pillow. Some were under his blanket making “lumps” pushing up here and there. But there was something or rather someone missing. Buddy still hadn’t come home. He was overdue. Where could he be?

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They Will Run You Down in the Dark

kaleo

Icelandic band Kaleo

Oh, father tell me, do we get what we deserve?
Oh, we get what we deserve

From the song “Way Down We Go”
Songwriters: Daníel Kristjánsson Davíð Antonsson Jökull Júlíusson Rubin Pollock
Performed by Icelandic rock band “Kaleo”

The Eighth Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

It was said that Colton Boudreaux could trace his line all the way back to Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, more commonly known as Cardinal Richelieu. Of course this couldn’t be literal as the famous (or infamous) 17th century French Cardinal had no offspring, at least as history records. However, Richelieu did have those young men and women he favored (though he himself was favored by few) and he did strongly support the colonization of New France (in what is modern-day Canada).

Boudreaux more factually could claim a line to the descendants of Acadian exiles—French-speakers from L’Acadie in what are now the Maritimes of Eastern Canada. These were from the French colonists who settled in Acadia during the 17th and 18th centuries, some of whom are also descended from the Indigenous peoples of the region.

He was proudly Cajun, ostensibly Catholic, and secretly the head of one of the sects of the Van Helsing religious order, vampire hunters.

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The Hawkhurst Gambit

church - dymchurch

St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Dymschurch as seen from the South.

“The lads play well together, Eileen.”

“Yes they do, Sean. I appreciate you taking us in while we’re in Dymchurch.”

“After all, what are family for?”

The two old friends sat in the Billingham living room by the fire as their two sons Timothy and Roger played with their collection of Pokemon cards at the kitchen table.

“You sure Suzanne doesn’t mind?”

“She’s not jealous if that’s what you’re thinking.” Sean picked up his glass of Port, sipped and then grimaced. “Got to speak to the Missus. This last bottle she brought home tastes like vinegar.”

“You do understand what I’m asking, Sean.”

“Aye. Richard must never find out though or it’ll mean both our lives.”

“He won’t find out if you hold up your end. I got a generous settlement from him and he doesn’t have to know about the rest. You’ll be well compensated as will your kin when the time comes.”

“You know it’s not the money, Eileen…”

“The families pay their way, we always have. I don’t expect you to take such risks, especially with your family at stake, all for love and loyalty.”

“I promise I’ll do my part. I see no trouble bringing Roger into the family business when the time comes.”

“Same with Timothy, Sean. Still, we have to be careful with the young ones. You don’t take the Hawkhurst oath without devoting your total allegiance to Mzimu.”

“Aye. T’would be death otherwise. When you leaving for Chicago then?”

“And you believed him.”

“Of course I believed him, Geoffrey. Yes, he could have been lying but I couldn’t take the chance.”

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Sigil

shadow

Image: Business Insider

The Seventh Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

The sigil left in his place made no sense.

Raquel was the first to see it amid the rubble. Even the firefighters and arson investigators hadn’t been able to get down to this level yet.

Clearly the carved sign had been substituted for the vampire Antonie, but it was in the shape of an inverted pentagram accompanied by a number of other symbols. She only recognized the “all-seeing eye” which is found on the dollar bill and she had no idea how to read the Latin.

The sigil was etched into the concrete floor below what Antonie had once called his throne. Raquel hadn’t known a time when he hadn’t been the cult leader of a group of vampires inhabiting the lowest level of what had once been an abandoned warehouse on the San Francisco waterfront.

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Incendiary

empty room

Found at ClickOnDetroit.com

“…I’m living in an empty room, with all the windows smashed…”

The Sixth Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

It was still an hour before dawn. There would have been a time when he’d already be on his way into work from the East Bay. The population of San Francisco increases by nearly 300,000 people Monday through Friday due to workers commuting into the City. Sean tried for forget that he used to be one of them.

He knew that the two floors of the warehouse above Antonie’s lair were occupied by a highly dubious and most likely illegal population of artists and “undocumented immigrants,” but he had never thought to visit them before. He stood in the doorway. Normally he would take the set of stairs leading downward but he was distracted by a familiar voice.

“Why not see how the other half lives, Sean?”

He looked ahead and he recognized her but couldn’t remember where from.

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Without God

vampire verona

Found at “Book More Brides”.

The Fifth Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

“I tell you I turned him, so he’s mine!” Dolingen screeched, her piercing voice terrifying Sean.

“I spilled first blood, marked him for our kind. How dare you challenge me!”

Marishka and Dolingen were more like animals, rivals vying for a single mate,ready to kill for him. The scene was made all the more surreal by the sparely placed halogen lamps, normally used for emergency lighting in any other environment, providing the only illumination in their makeshift crypt.

“Wait! What am I, fresh meat?”

They both turned toward Sean as if noticing him for the first time. Fangs bared and hissing like twin feral cats, they clearly thought of him as property and all that needed to be settled is who took possession.

Antonie had first laughed at this sport like a mad Nero holding the match that ignited  a burning Rome. Then he crossed his arms and seemed content to be casually amused by their display. As the two female predators began to slowly advance on the object of their struggle, the Romanian waved his arms and then a dozen family members immediately advanced to restrain the both of them.

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Emergence

hand from grave

From the video game “Plants vs. Zombies.”

“He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Fourth Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

The beast clawed its way up through the moist, cool soil. It couldn’t breathe, and while that added to its desperation, it did not dampen strength, will, or determination.

It was filthy as its hands broke through to the air and then heaved itself up from the grave. Mud, parts of roots, bits of gravel in its matted hair, under long, pointed fingernails, around the mouth and eyes, covering its pale, chilled skin.

Light! It shielded its eyes for a moment, but the faint illumination was glaring only because it had spent the past three days and nights in total darkness.

A room, a large room. Earthen floor, concrete walls. Electric lamps on stands at the far end near the door.

It licked the dirt from around its mouth. The taste was not unpleasant, but it did nothing to quench the insatiable, maddening hunger it felt deep in its gut.

Emptiness. All it felt was emptiness, ravenous hunger, unquenchable desire for…

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Nightfall

dracula's guest

Cover to the story “Dracula’s Guest.”

“T’was the night before Christmas and all through the church,
Sean the prideful had fallen a far way from his perch.”

The Third Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

It hadn’t been Marishka. It hadn’t been her. Yes, he’d kissed Dol. He enjoyed kissing Dol. He wanted to have sex with Dol. But there hadn’t been anyone in the backseat of his car. He hadn’t seen or heard from Mariska in almost twenty years. What the hell was the matter with him?

Christmas Eve services. Like many other Christian families, the Beckers attended a very crowded First Baptist Church of Dublin for 10 a.m. worship, but for the sake of the children’s patience and the impending arrival of Santa, they would be staying home that evening.

Sean mouthed through the Advent hymns being sung, not paying any attention to the music or the lyrics but only to the demons in his mind. He wasn’t sure if he was more worried that he had hallucinated twice now or about his kiss of adultery.

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Approaching Advent

vampire

Actress Kat Graham from the television show “The Vampire Diaries.”

The Second Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

The following story contains “adult material,” so if that sort of thing offends you or is otherwise not your cup of tea, you should probably stop reading now.

“Come on over and help decorate, Marishka.”

Sean was helping several others in his dorm decorate their assigned area of the UCLA Student Union. They’d all be heading home for the holiday break in a week and the girl from his one night class (he’d screwed up his registration and couldn’t get into any of the day classes for Beginning English Lit) was the only person hanging back.

“That’s okay, Sean. I’m not really into Christmas.”

There was something about Marishka that Sean found compelling. It wasn’t typical flirtation or attraction. Sure, he was eighteen years old and it was his first time really being away from home, and he could hang out with girls without having Mom and Dad breathing down his neck, but it wasn’t exactly that way with Marishka.

She was African-American, but not only was her skin pretty light, so was her hair and even her eyes. Sean wanted to ask her about that, but he didn’t know how without sounding rude. Maybe she’d even think he was racist or something. It wasn’t just her looks, but how strangely sad she seemed, like she had some sort of secret, something she could never share with anyone.

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