A Child Speaks to Its Father

by Jason A. Beineke Late summer, early autumn in a city and you can smell the air on a weekend night where people congregate and socialize. From the restaurants comes the smell of sautéed onions, grilling meats, fried foods. From the ethnic restaurants comes the smell of garlic and other things exotic, woven by the careful application of spices, herbs, sauces. Under the tantalizing smell of foods one can often detect the smell of alcohol as the bars fill with young socializing adults; they imbibe, dance, throw pheromones, perfumes and cologne at each other, hook up and try to fill each other’s need for satisfaction and some fleeting fulfillment. In the alleyways and destitute areas of the city live those on the margins, wrapped in the clothes that keep them warm, stinking of unwashed bodies, the rot of their teeth, the misery that holds them in its tight cloak. Some have already begun lighting fires in barrels, though the weather has not yet turned particularly cold. Then there is the underlying smell that most people filter out of their sensory perception. Food that has been rotting in the trash cans, the dirt that sticks to the spill from drinks, the piss left on the brick walls of the alley, the shit left by the same twolegged species, the feces uncollected by dog walkers. Small animals die and rot, their corpses becoming infested with flies. From the rotted corpse rise the maggots, which transform into new flies that buzz away to investigate years of slime that has built up on the insides of dumpsters behind eating establishments. A pair or young adults were staggering and laughing their way through an alleyway between banks, a parking garage nestled into the block as well. The alley was more of an enclosed walkway, allowing easy access, particularly during the cold and blustery months of the year. The derelicts of the city were not allowed to collapse here and be a nuisance, but it was not too unusual to find the occasional young pair of lovers stopping in an alcove for a bit. From time to time a fight between youths would break out, but they would be quickly run off by others or police. The young woman laughed in response to something that the male said and she tugged on his arm a bit. He fell into the pull and pushed her, not roughly, up against a wall. Within moments they were kissing as his hands moved downwards, tracing the line of her hips, and then cupping her buttocks. His right hand moved upwards again, resting into the small of her back and helping to press her body into his own. There was a whisper in the air, but neither of the lovers took notice of it, assuming it to be breeze moving through the narrow confines of the walkway or playing through the different open floors of the parking garage above. There had been no one around when they began their passion and they were not expecting to be interrupted. The woman’s eyes did not have time to widen with bewilderment as she saw the streak of golden red descend from above and crash into the back of the young man’s neck. There was a wet, cracking sound and the horny male rocked a little on his feet before collapsing, like a marionette bereft of its strings, crumpling in on himself. Even as the young woman was drawing in breath to scream the golden red thing streaked at her, seeming to be running on all fours along the surface of the wall itself. Then there was pain in her throat and the breath choked in her throat. She wobbled a bit

as her eyes drooped and glazed, like someone in a drugged state. Her legs were pulled out from under her, so that she fell hard onto her buttocks with her legs straight out in front of her. There were moments when her fingers and lower legs twitched, but then they stilled even as her breath began to slow and shallow out. She was still awake, though, processing the incoming information of sight, sound and smell. Her sense of touch was starting to become a bit fuzzy and nothing in her body seemed to want to respond to her frantic attempts to move, to get up and run away from this spot, screaming for help. Instead, she was caught in the claustrophobic confines of her own body. She heard a sniffing near to her, as of a dog scenting her for the first time. The sniffing continued and she swore that she could feel air brushing over her fingers in time with the sniffing smell. Unlike with a dog or a cat, though, there was no warmth to the air that moved over her fingers, nor any moistness. Then it came into her peripheral vision and she would have stiffened with a start had she the power to do so. She would then have passed on to screaming were her throat and lungs at her beckoning. The creature was no larger than a child of perhaps ten or eleven years of age and had much the same build. The nose was slightly thicker than a normal child’s, and turned upward, as though to capture more air. The ears of the creature were larger than a human’s, being higher on the head and formed into a rounded cup so as to capture more sound out of the air. Its entire body was covered in short, golden red fur, extending from the crown of its head to its toes. At first she would have thought the child thing was wearing a cape of some kind, but finally her mind was able to process that they were wings, like those of a bat, folded membranes that extended along strange arms. The upper arm was unnaturally short for a human and the forearms unnaturally long. From the wrists there was attached another appendage that folded tightly along the forearm and which supported the outer third of the wing membranes. Adrenaline was pounding through her body now, giving her the feeling of shivers even though she couldn’t seem to move a single muscle by her own command. Run, run, run! her brain screamed at her, but she could not get up, couldn’t even push against the bricks of the walkway or away from the concrete wall that she reclined against. Then the creature was over her body, still snuffling with its upturned nose, moving down towards her crotch, then back upwards over her stomach, her breasts, up her neck and over her face. She prayed that someone would come along and wake her from this nightmare, that her lover would rise buck up from the heap that he had collapsed into and save her from this strange, furry creature. Then she saw its dark eyes, shaped like those of a human, yet with a shadowy depth that one would never see in the eyes of a true human. The eyes narrowed as it breathed deeply of her scent, then they closed for a moment as it seemed to savor the smell. When its eyes opened the long arms shot out and grabbed at the “V” of her blouse, taking cloth in its hands and ripping outwards, popping buttons and rending the fabric easily to expose her bra. That was followed by a tugging at the bra that momentarily lifted her away from the wall. A growl of annoyance rose from the creature as it was unable to rip open the bra. Then it darted forward with its open mouth and bit at the bra. Surprisingly, it easily broke under what must have been horribly sharp teeth and

her breasts were bare in the autumn air, the light lick of chill air playing across her bared flesh, raising goose bumps, contracting her areola and hardening her nipples. The creature climbed into her lap and wrapped its right arm around her left side, its left arm over her right shoulder, leaning into her at an incline as its face descended upon her left breast. She dimly felt the puncturing of her flesh, much like the bite to her neck. It turned its head and bit again, doing this twice more. Then the creature wrapped its mouth over the nipple area of her breast and suckled. The paralytic in the creature’s saliva was coursing through her system and a sense of suffocation was coming over her along with a sense of acute distress. Her heart slowed, when under normal circumstances it should be beating a rapid staccato of terror. Total hysteria raced up and down her spine, but there was no response from her body, not from a single muscle. Then she felt the creature’s left hand at her right cheek, cupping her face. It seemed like a perverse motion of gentleness, almost akin to love. A single tear managed to fall from her left eye before the fuzzy darkness stole all the light from her. ***** When the warmth had seeped out of the woman’s body the child-sized creature stirred and rose from where it had curled itself into her lap. Her left breast was a smear of blood, but the creature didn’t take any notice, merely ran its tongue over its own upper and lower lips to lick up the blood smeared on its own face. It smelled something on the air that excited some residual sense deep within it. After a bit the creature began to scale the wall, its delicate fingers finding the tiniest bumps and crevices to gain purchase with. It scaled rapidly and was soon to the roof of the bank before disappearing into the neon-tinged night air. ***** The man sat with his back straight, legs folded into a full-lotus position. The fingers of his hands were entwined, resting in his lap, palms open and forming a bowl shape. His head was bent forward and his breathing regulated in meditation. The man was dressed simply, but well with button down shirt and slacks, Italian leather shoes were set by his side. The face of the man was squared and stern, pale but cragged with age and what many would consider to be wisdom. The hair was cut short and professionally styled, black with the occasional white fleck. Despite the obvious age of the man there had been no recession of his hairline nor thinning at the crown. With neither sound nor movement, there was a silent power radiating from him; flavored with an undercurrent of driving rage. Lying on the roof of the building before the man was a boy, possibly twelve years of age. His hair was dark and a touch long, cut in a popular contemporary style that youth were wearing. The first flares of puberty were evident with the minor elongation of his face and the starting definition of muscle and bone growth. He was dressed in pajamas, feet bare. His arms lay at his side and there were two trickles of blood running down the left side of his neck where the man had bitten him. “I was not expecting you,” the man said in a low voice, not lifting his head, opening his eyes or making any other movement. The child-sized creature froze. It had been sneaking across the top of the roof, moving low on hands and feet, barely holding itself off of the roof. It looked at the man and narrowed its eyes. Then its lip curled into a silent growl.

“What did bring you here tonight?” the man asked. He still hat not moved nor opened his eyes. The creature still shied from him, its hackles having risen as it tried to determine the level of danger the current situation presented. “Did you notice me upon the night air? Did you feel some unconscious link with me and know that I was preparing to make myself a new son?” Now the eyes opened and the man turned his gaze upon the creature, a slight smile playing at the man’s lips. “You did not turn out to be a very appropriate heir for me. I honestly do not know how you managed to be conceived. Usually, we cannot procreate. Yet, here you are. Too bad your birth killed your mother.” The last carried no sympathy but was loaded with sarcasm and sting. Now a growl did issue from the creature as it turned itself a little more towards the man. “Yet you survived your abandonment and exposure. You definitely have proven your resilience. Still, you are a horrible disappointment to me. Some recessive gene from the ancient origins of our species must be in your makeup. And the kindest thing I could think to call you would be severely autistic and developmentally disabled. Not to mention horribly ugly and feral.” The creature moved tentatively closer to the man, a quiver running through its body as it tried to contain its rage. “Possibly you may enter my service still,” the man mused, a mocking tone to his voice and playing across his face. “Once I have converted this boy here you may act as his guardian during his youth. Since he has just entered puberty I must convert him from human to vampire slowly lest he be frozen in his growth before reaching adulthood.” The creature looked at the boy, his gaze lingering over the child for a long time. The boy was deep in unconsciousness, seeming to be sleeping peacefully. Something that one might have called jealousy crossed over the creature’s face for a moment before looking back at the man. Now the creature’s face was set, with eyes narrowed and smoldering. The man smiled, revealing his fangs. The creature gave an angry squeal and launched itself at the man who claimed to be his father. Still in his full lotus position the man struck the creature out of the air, sending him hurtling back across the roof. The creature came back to its hands and feet and galloped its way across the roof again, leaping over the child and launching itself at the man. The vampire rolled backwards, loosing his feet and legs from the full lotus. He came smoothly to his feet and caught the creature in his arms as it leapt at him. The man had hoped to catch the child-sized creature by the throat, but caught him by the torso instead. The two collapsed to the roof in a ball of fury, each swinging viciously at each other. As the two brawled the creature raked the face of the man repeatedly, leaving behind deep gashes that oozed a dark, crimson ichor. A living being would have bled a bright red, head wounds bleeding fast and free. Not so with a vampire’s blood. The vampire struck the creature hard enough to the left cheekbone to fracture the bone. The creature reeled back for a moment, then came forward again with fists and claws, battering at the head and shoulders of the man.

The vampire responded by forming the fingers of his right hand into a knife point and forcing it through the membrane under the creature’s left arm. The creature gave a pained squeal as the sensitive membrane ripped and tried to pull away from the man. The man’s left hand had grasped the creature’s right hand and swung him in an arc, crashing the creature to the ground. Before the creature could do more than clamber back its hands and feet, the man was there and striking downward, forcing his right fist into the creature’s skull, just behind the left ear. The creature collapsed, the fight seemingly gone out of it. The man gave a chuckle as he daubed a few fingers into the rips on his cheek. “You know, as much as I want to destroy you right here and now, you are too valuable to be eradicated. You will make a good guard for my new son. I just need to break your will a bit. A little blood exchange with my blood injected into you and breaking down your will should do the trick.” The child-sized creature pushed itself up on its strangely shaped arms and then hands. His body quivered, though the fight seemed to have gone out of it. Instead, it quivered in disorientation and fatigue. A whimper issued from its throat. The man sighed. “I do hope that in time you will learn to show me the proper respect due to a father. Should you show your proper place then I will take you in. I might even show you affection in time. But you will have to prove yourself to me.” He stepped closer and reached down to grasp the creature’s hair to haul it to its feet. Before his hand could bury itself in its hair, the creature spun, leaping upwards at the same time. Its left hand batted aside the man’s right hand, while its right hand formed a fist and crashed into the man’s face. The creature continued its leftward movement, going into a handspring and bringing up its folded legs like a capoeira artist and kicking with all of its body’s strength into the vampire’s head. The vampire reeled back, stunned from the blow. The creature was on him in an instant, sweeping out the vampire’s legs and bringing him crashing onto his back. With a roar of rage the creature brought its fist into the vampire’s head once, twice, thrice. Each blow, fueled by hatred and rage would have been enough to fell most professional boxers. The creature stopped once the vampire laid still and unconscious. ***** The vampire awoke slowly, weakly. He barely had the strength to open his eyes. Lifting his head was more than he could do. He was spread eagled against a roof mounted air unit, the aluminum having been ripped apart and then wrapped around his forearms. The forearms had been broken, making the arms inoperable. His skin was alabaster and pale as the grave. Clothes had been ripped off of him and his flesh shredded. Oozing away from him was a pool of reddish black ichor, the lifesblood that he had stolen. A vampire could survive exsanguination, but needed a new infusion of blood regain its strength. He came to realize that he was face to the east and the sky was changing from black to sunrise rose. Even as the panic rose in him he spied the creature, seated on the edge of the roof, its legs swinging absently in the air as it sang a tuneless song to itself. “Free me…” the man gasped to the creature. “Hurry, or we’ll both be destroyed…” The creature merely continued its wordless and discordant song.

“I was wrong about you, I see that now,” the vampire said, his voice husky and weak, and tinged with desperation. “You have proven yourself to me. I would…be honored…to have you--as my son…” The creature looked over its shoulder at the vampire and gave an impish grin before breaking out into an idiot’s laugh. The sun continued its slow, inexorable rise. “Bring me the boy. I need…to drain him…” the vampire begged. When the creature turned away and faced the coming sunrise again the vampire hung his head in exhaustion. “There is…so much…for me to teach you… So much…we can do… together…” The creature began its singing again, as though it were calling up the sun out of the darkness and heralding the vampire’s doom. “The sun…isn’t good…for you, either!” the vampire spat in desperation, trying to force sense into the creature. The first rays crested the horizon and began to lick the skyline with its golden rays. It was a new day, filled with the smells of morning and a waking city. Soon the air would choke with engine exhaust and the rich smells of coffee brewed in homes and shops all across the city. The smell of bread could already be detected as the morning ovens were fired and the scent of bacon was wafting upwards from eateries and homes now as well. The creature rose to its feet and held out its arms and wings wide, embracing the new morning, still singing to it in an idiot’s pure, optimistic voice. As the sunbeams touched him it brightened the color of the creature’s golden red fur, making it glisten and gleam. “No…” the vampire gasped as he saw his only born son bask in the warmth and the glow of the sun. “Not…possible…” Then the sun was bathing him as well and his alabaster skin turned red, like a crawdad over a flame. Then the red blackened as the vampire groaned in pain. Blistering flared across his body, then the skin began to crack and smolder. The shriek of pain and despair from the vampire was low and weak, drowned out now by the joyous laughter of the creature. The laughter was throaty and ill-formed, but it was still a sound of joy. “Buh…buh…” the creature said, struggling to form the sounds. It waved at the vampire and spoke the sounds again, “buh…buh…” As its father continued to burn and smolder under the glow of the sun the creature made its way over to the unconscious boy and laid itself next to him. The creature wrapped arms and membrane wings around the boy and pulled him in close to his body. The creature brought its head close to the boy and nuzzled his cheek. Then the childsized bat creature planted a kiss on the boy’s cheek and spoke again. “Bruh…der…”

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