Chapter one: When each day, is a good day.


Ben Nix awoke in the dumpster, and pushed the charred vampire skeleton off of him. It fell over the edge and clattered onto the ground. The brittle bones falling apart when they hit the ground, and continued to splinter until they were no more then small piles of ash. “Ahg.” He said, his voice still hoarse from all the screaming, “I need a drink.” Ben Nix rummaged with his hand in his raincoat’s pocket and produced a small green bottle of Jägermeister. He tapped it twice on the metal side of the garbage dumpster then twisted the top off. He downed it all in one go. He made to wipe his mouth with his sleeve, but stopped short when he noticed the smell. “Geezeuse! I need a shower.” He said and tossed the empty bottle to the side. Ben shifted and let himself fall over the edge, rolling over the heap of garbage onto his feet. His extremely worn white sneakers crunched on the vampire’s ash, they would have made a more impressive sound if the middle of the shoes weren’t wrapped with duct tape to hold them together. He rubbed his hands on the sides of his gray jogging pants and tucked his white stained t-shirt into them. He took a deep breath, smiled and set off down the alleyway whistling. He turned the corner and passed in front of the bar. The windows were dark and the sign in the door was flipped to the closed side. Ben looked at his reflection. His wild curly beard and hair enfaced his round head. Ben looked a bit like a young Father

Christmas. That is, if Father Christmas had spent a year living on the streets and smelled like a hundred dogs had pissed on him. He ran his hand through his greasy hair and caught sight of something. Past his image, he could see the out searched arms and legs of the people that hadn’t survived the night, their limbs protruded from behind various pieces of furniture. He narrowed his eyes, and could see that some of them had blood stained puncture marks. He stopped whistling and quickly moved on. Ben walked along the deserted sidewalk, and stopped at the pedestrian cross light. It was early Sunday morning and the small city was empty. The only sign of life was a red pickup, a few feet ahead of him. The driver revved the engine waiting for the light to turn green. Ben looked at the driver and his eyes widened, the man looked equally surprised when their gazes met. “Ah crap.” Ben said and looked away. The man in the truck smiled and worded the word ‘gotcha’. He slammed his foot down on the accelerator pedal and steered the truck at Ben. Ben turned and started to run, but the truck was much faster and it scooped him up. Bouncing over the sidewalk and then back into the street, Ben bounced along leaning against the hood, holding on with the tips of his fingers. He was stuck against the front of the truck and could fell the steel of the radiator digging into his back. He cried out in pain and tried to find a better grip. The man behind the wheel raced on, and sped up towards the wall of the building on the opposite side of the street. Ben managed to flip around and look at the man’s face. The man was still grinning. He was called Catch, short for Catchatori. His long face with equally long hawkish nose was the last thing Ben had wanted to see today. “Fuck you” he yelled just before they crashed into the wall. The truck plowed in the stone and concrete, pushing Ben far into the building’s façade, the force of the collision splattering him with in the confines of the crater the crash had created. Catch’s body was flung violently forward and was only kept from flying through the windscreen by the seat belt. This had dug so deep into his shoulder, that at the apex of the impact it forced his left arm to pop out from his shoulder’s socket. He sat behind the wheel dazed, holding his left shoulder. Eventually, he regained his wits and after two tries opened the warped door of the cabin. The door shrieked as he swung it open. Tentatively he got out. Planting both his feet firmly on he ground. He took two

steps and swayed as he did. He leaned on the open door and looked at the front of the truck. Bits of building were still crumbling onto the hood. The front of the nose had crumpled inwards by two feet. “Splendid Catch!” he said, “a sham I had to waist such a good truck on this bum.” He could see Ben arms stretching out over the hood; the rest of him was covered by debris. The man smiled and winced at the same time as he carefully stepped forward. “Oh I got you this time, you slipper fucker. No escape for you today.” He reached over with his right hand and touched Ben’s wrist with the tips of his two fingers. He held them there for a moment. “Good, still alive.” he tuned to lean against the side of truck and let himself slide down. Sitting on the ground, he pulled out his cell phone and checked to see if it still worked. The screen lit up when he flipped it open, and showed it had a signal. He dialed a phone number then held the phone to his ear. “Yeah, its Catch. You won’t believe whom I just ran into. Yeah, that’s right. I got him, just like I said I would.” The voice on the other end responded. “Well, I know it took me a little long then I promised. But I got him didn’t I? I got you Orbixtheus. And here’s the best part, them damn fairy is still alive.”

Sam Upner drove his 2004 maroon ford Taurus north, towards the bungalow in the woods that he had rented for the weekend. Looking at the clock now, there was no way for him to know that in 15 minutes, when he arrived, he wouldn’t see his girlfriend’s orange Volkswagen beetle parked in the rented house’s driveway. It would be 20 minutes from now until he encounter the still living room, and realize that she hadn’t taken a taxi from the nearby train station. Yet, another 23 and half minutes before he inspected the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and then start to wonder where the hell she was. It would be a grueling two hours yet, before he gave up on trying to reach her on her cell phone. And that it would be a joyless four hours from now until he opened the bottle of Champaign he had taken with him, to celebrate their reunion, and drank it all watching the sun set over the lake behind the house. It was only a short four hours and ten minutes until he would unwrapped the box from Godiva Chocolatier he had also bought for the occasion and eat the three chocolate dipped strawberries within it. It was still a good six hours away before he began to actually believe that she wasn’t going to be joining him, the place of there first get away. It would be precisely eight hours and 43 minutes when his heart would break and he decided to go to bed with a new ach in his gut. However, it was thankfully only another 32 hours before he would forget about his girlfriend all together, as he would be running for his life through the woods, naked and his chest covered in blood.

It was the knocking at the door that stirred Sam. He lay, still dressed, in the king size bed, and had gathered the blanket into a pile next to him. He hugged and squeezed them closer to him as he awoke like they were his missing lover. He kissed the corner of the down comforter gently, and only stopped when he opened his eye. He looked disappointedly at the blanket then pushed it away. There was another series of knocks and Sam sat up and looked in the direction of the bedroom door. He put a hand to the side of his head and noticed that there was something with him in the bed. The empty bottle of champagne was lying on the pillow next to him, empty. “Mr. Upner.” an elderly female voice said. “Mr. Upner? Are you up yet?” “Yes.” he grumbled . “I am now.” Sam got up and walked to the front door. He brushed his hands through his dark beach blond hair. It stood straight up and pointed in all directions regardless of his attempts to tame it. He looked down at his wrinkled white shirt and saw dark brown and pink spots on it. He blinked at them quizzically and then tucked the shirt into his dark blue jeans and opened the front door. “Good morning,” A smiling elderly woman said. She stood at the door with a large pick nick basket hanging from the nook of her left arm. She had short gray hair and wore a red flannelly shirt with a green vest over it and blue jeans. “Mr. Upner I presume.” “Yes, that’s me. Can I help you?” Sam said. “I hope I didn’t wake you Mr. Upner, but I am here for breakfast.” “Breakfast?” “Yes, Breakfast.” The lady said and held up the basket. “I am here to cook the breakfast you ordered.” “I ordered breakfast?” Sam said. “It’s part of the package, complimentary when you book the house for the weekend.” Sam looked at the basket and his stomach made a rumbling noise, and his face became a shade whiter. “Are you alright dear? You look ill, dear.” “Rough night.”

“Nothing a healthy breakfast can’t fix.” She said and pushed passed him into the living room and went straight to the kitchen. Sam raised his arms in protest. “Hold-” he started. “Is your lady friend up yet? Will she be joining you?” She said without looking back and placed the large pick nick basket on the counter. Sam’s mouth closed and his shoulder sagged as he dropped his arms. “No, only me here.” he said meekly. “I’ll get some coffee brewing while you freshen up, Mr. Upner.” She said her voice more cheerful then before. “Then you can tell me all about it, dear.” Sam stared at the back of the woman’s head. “Mom, is that you in there?” he said very quietly, and then headed to the bedroom bathroom to take a shower. After he showered, and put a fresh dress of clothing on, jeans, t-shirt and a black wool sweater, he walked to the kitchen and took a seat at the kitchen table. A cup of coffee was waiting for him. Next to the cup was a small bottle of milk and a sugar bowl. The kitchen table was setup in front of the large windows that looked out onto the lake. The trees had started to lose their leaves and it was starting to look like winter wouldn’t be much longer. Sam added a teaspoon of sugar, stirred and took a sip of the coffee then nodded in agreement. “Good cup of Joe.” He said to the lady as she unloaded various items from her basket. “What would you like to eat Mr. Upner?” She said. “Please call me Sam, and I am not to particular. Some eggs and toast would be nice.” “Do you like bacon?’ “Yeah, as a matter of fact I do.” “How about a bacon and cheese omelet.” “That sounds great…eh… I didn’t get your name.” “Jenny Dawn” she answered and smiled. “ But call me Jenny, everyone else does.”

"nice to meet you Jenny." she nodded and picked up a pepper and washed it under the tap. He turned his attention back to the lake as she cooked; a motorboat was slowly drifting its way across and he could see two fishermen seating in it. One of them had just caught a large fish. The other fisherman rushed to help to haul it in. “Must be some good fishing in the lake.” Sam said. “I hear it’s not that good. Lots of city people come up here thinking there is but end up wasting their time on the lake staring at a nylon sting in the water. They never catch much, but sometimes they get lucky.” Jenny said as she chopped an onion. “Tell me a little about yourself Sam. What made you rent the place for this weekend? You don’t look like a hunter to me, and I don’t think you’re a fisher either. Are you from the city?” “Yes I am, but I not from Chicago. I rented this place for a weekend about six months ago, in the spring, thought it would be fun to come again.” “You just hadn’t planned on coming up alone this time.” she added, and grabbed a tomato and started to dice it up. “No. I hadn’t. Susan was supposed to join me, but it looks like she didn't make it yesterday.” Sam’s voice had en edge to it. “What a shame.” Jenny said “But I bet it will be nice to have some piece and quite until she gets here.” “I bet.” Sam said and took another sip of his coffee. Jenny took two frying pans out of a cabinet and turned on one of the gas burners. Sam continued to watch the fishermen; the one that had caught the fish wan now dances and pointed mockingly at the other one, the other slapped him with his hat. Sam mood lifted slightly at the sight. There was a sudden loud sizzle as Jenny put the bacon on. Sam looked over to Jenny, she smiled as she cooked. He then heard the buzz of his phone from the counter. He got up to answer it. But it wasn’t a call, it was a new text message, and it was from Susan. He opened it and it read: “Please stop calling.” Sam pressed his lips together, put the phone down again, and returned to his seat at the kitchen table. He looked back at his phone again. “Bitch.” He said in frustration. “I beg your parson?” Jenny said wiping her hands dry on a kitchen cloth, and

stared into his blue eyes. She had deep green eyes; they seemed to brighten when she spoke. “I'm sorry, not you. Susan. My girlfiend.” He said and pointed to the phone. “She just sent me a message, she won’t be coming.” “Well if that’s the way you talk to her I don’t blame her.” Sam gave Jenny a weak smile. “You don’t know Susan, she can be a little difficult. Her moods have been…” he paused. “Challenging, ever since her friend went missing. She can’t seem to let it go. It’s been nearly a year now and she still upset about it.” “Maybe you should be more supportive.” Jenny said and pointed a wooden spoon at him before she used it to mix in the vegetables into a different frying pan. “She probably needs more time.” “How much time does someone need?” Sam said into his cup. “It’s not like Sarah was her greatest friend to start with.” Jenny looked at him and mumbled something to herself, picked up two eggs and broke them into a bowl then mixed them with a beater. Sam looked as if he wanted to say something else, but instead presses his lips together again. He spotted the two fishermen again, but they were just sitting now. The smell of the food started to fill the air, and losend Sam's expression. “That’s smells very good Jenny.” “I hope you like it, nearly done dear. Hope your hungry” She said and grabbed a plate, then put some toast into the toaster. Once the toasts popped up again she put it on the plate, added the bacon and eggs from the frying pans and placed on the table in front of him. “Enjoy, Mr. Upner.” She said and went back to the kitchen to clean up after herself. Sam picked up a fork and took a bit. “Hmm, very good.” He said, his mouth still half full. “Glad you like it.” she said as she rinsed the frying pans. Sam continued to eat, taking large bites as he did. “Sam.” Jenny said. “I know it’s none of my business but before you call you friend Susan back. Can I give you some advice?” Sam stopped chewing and looked to her expectantly. “Wait a day. Don’t call her today. Give her some space. If I were you after

you finished your breakfast, I would take a long walk along the lake. Good long walk and clear your head. Then when you get back, pick a book from the book shelf over there.” She pointed at the floor to wall bookcase next to the fireplace. “Light the fire place and read until you fall asleep. Then when you wake up and you’re hungry again. Go into town and stop by Jack’s bar. Order a big steak and tell the waiter I sent you. And before you know it this day will be over and you’ll feel a lot better. Then call Susan.” Sam listened to what she said and nodded in agreement. “That’s sounds like good plan Jenny. Plus it’s not like Susan’s going to answer her phone until tomorrow any way.” Jenny rolled her eyes and pickup up her pick nick basket. “Have a good day, Mr. Upner.” She said and left. “Bye Jenny.” Sam said and took another bite from his plate. “I’ve got to ask her tomorrow what she put in this. Its fantastic.”

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