When is he going to get here? The shack was so small, there was hardly anything to do during the long hours of waiting. He'd already cleaned the place up, not that there was much to clean. Even what passed for a bathroom was cleaner than most would've expected; boredom could make a man do anything.
Sure, there was a bookshelf, and a rickety bed, and a chair that looked like dogs had worked it over. But there were only so many books he could read, and only so many hours he could sleep. He didn't need to sleep during the day; sunlight made him woozy and sick, but it wouldn't kill him. He'd tried once, at a low point.
He resisted looking out the door every five minutes. The shack was far, far off from Three Wolf Peak, and few had any reason to suspect someone lived in it. But finally he heard someone approach. If I'm still here when winter comes, I'll have to plug the holes in the walls...
He stepped into the painfully bright light to greet his visitor. "It's about time you got here."
"It's a long way from town. And with Leonid and his paranormal posse around, I couldn't exactly make a straight line here. Let's get inside. You don't know who might come by, and I know you don't like the sun."
"I do like the sun." They went inside, and he sat down to wait out the dizziness. "Look, Akbar, I need to know. The newcomers - I heard some of them are mutants, and some might have magic. D'you think we can use one of them to help me?"
"Oh, the folly of youth!" Akbar said theatrically. "First Master Winthrop wants to be a vampire, then halfway through the process, decides he'd rather be human again. And now, the question arises: is he ruthless enough to do whatever it takes to achieve his goal?"
"Oh-kay, Akbar," the semi-vampire sighed. If I didn't owe him -
"Now then. The newcomers. Cinder's investigating the snobs who moved into the 'castle' on the hill. Keirantha's building friendships with one of the newcomers' leaders, the one with the green hair. It's as we suspected, they're all part of a group."
"I saw one of them. One of the new ones," Winthrop said. "After work the other night." His sensitivity to light didn't eliminate him from daytime jobs, but he felt better at night, and he explained his looks as being 'goth'. Most people bought it, or so he thought; the exception being, of course, Leonid and his gang.
"Oh?" Akbar looked very interested.
"I went to get some groceries." Winthrop couldn't bring himself to drink human blood, so he tried to survive on normal food and - disgusting as it was - the blood of stray and wild animals. Every time he had to do the latter, he wished he'd thought the whole vampire thing through before starting the process. As it was, food had little taste, and animal blood was best not talked about. "And I saw one of them - brown haired guy, vest, I don't know which one though. I couldn't get close enough to talk to him because Leonid was right there."
"Did he see you? Leonid, that is?"
"I don't think so, his back was to me. I left right away and went to the Pump 'n Munch instead." The name of the convenience store still made him want to snigger like a junior-high school kid, but this wasn't the time.
"Not good..." Akbar mused. "Cinder said Larry confronted her recently. She thinks he's getting close to seeing through glamor, which will put her and Kierantha at risk from all Leonid's people. And if they're also trying to befriend the newcomers..."
"Then we'd better hurry," Winthrop said. "We've got to get them on our side first, then see if we can get me cured."
"Steady there, Dracula. Haste makes waste."
"C'mon, Akbar! Don't give me that crap! You and Cinder and Kierantha can all hide behind glamor, I can't! I just want to be human again! Stop spouting cliches and think of something!"
"Fine. Go get one of the newcomers to fall for you."
"Say what? You're kidding, right?"
"Actually, yes, I was. But honestly, see if you can make friends with one or more of them. If we can befriend them first, we have the advantage of Leonid and his gang."
"Akbar... I'm a vampire now. A partial vampire. Like they're not gonna think Uh-oh, he's only after my neck! Or He wants to make me his vampire slave!"
"A pity you can't do that, actually. A small army of vampire slaves loyal to you would have its own rewards, I'm sure."
"That'd be kinda weird."
"Don't tell me you haven't thought of it." Akbar gave Winthrop the "don't lie to me, kid" look.
"Sure, for about thirty seconds. Except that people would notice more than one vampire in this town, small as it is. But I can't do that, so it's moot. All right. I'll try to suck up to them - "
"Spoken like a true hemovore."
"Very funny. I'll try to talk to them... though it'll help if they work nights. I'm the night janitor at the lab now, but I'll go out during the day when I can. I think Kierantha and Cinder will have better luck than me, though, getting to know the newcomers. Sounds like they're mostly men, and married women."
"Still, do what you can. I've got to get back."
"Right." They both walked outside. Winthrop did like the sun. He just hadn't realized how much until he'd become a part-vampire.
"A thought," Akbar said, once outside. "I know the sun makes you sick, but don't get so sick you collapse. One of the newcomers, a Marlin, is at the clinic, but he'd have to be blind in both eyes not to notice your affliction. Until we know for certain what their motives are, and why they came here, you don't want to risk discovery."
"Right. I'll keep you updated."
~ ~ ~
End of interval...