I scrambled over to Robyn, who was out cold. I checked for a pulse, which was still there and regular. Good, so she’s alive.
“Help!” I yelled, maneuvering the limp body of my best friend and dragging her out of the mansion by my arms hooked underneath her own. I just couldn’t lift the girl, I was too panicked. “Somebody! Anybody! HELP!” I screamed. The courtyard was empty, not a guard to be found.
“Fuck…fuck….fuck.” I repeated, breathing heavily as I made my way to the car. I dug through Robyn’s pockets and pulled out the car keys, opening it and shoving her into the backseat. I closed the door and hopped in the driver’s seat, fumbling with the keys before throwing them into the passenger’s seat and resting my head on the steering wheel. I was about to have another attack, but there was nobody around for help and I had no medication on me….so I needed to breathe. Breathe and regroup. Focus.
Minutes later, my heart rate lowered and the car stopped spinning around me enough for me to at least start the vehicle. The blast of cool air helped to refresh me. There was a groan in the backseat, and Robyn sat up, her red hair a tousled mess all over her head. “Did they finish testing me?” She asked.
I turned around to her, my eyes huge.
“What’s wrong?” She asked.
“Please tell me….please….” I barely uttered, “….tell me you remember what just happened.”
Her brow furrowed, “I passed out?”
“SHITFUCKBITCHASSCUNT….AGH!” I slammed my fists onto the steering wheel and she jumped. “Robyn I don’t know what you did, or what you are, but Isabella was about to snack on you and you just went The Exorcist on her and started chanting some bullshit and you scared every vamp in the room….including Bruno, and now they’re all GONE.”
“If this is a joke, it isn’t funny.” Robyn’s island accent was thick with attitude. She had been on Punk’d once before and wasn’t a fan of it. I only wished I was in on some practical joke scheme.
“It’s not a joke Rih. I have a feeling we’re in some deep shit right now.” I shifted the gear into drive and pulled out of the driveway, speeding down the highway. “That woman, Isabella, she’s the Sheriff of the vampires that reside in Los Angeles. It’s called Area 8. She’s a bigshot, dude, and now she’s gone. The vampire who could have served as protection for us, is also missing.”
“I–I don’t understand. What do you mean I was chanting?” Robyn was still clearly trying to recall what had happened earlier. I couldn’t believe she didn’t remember not a thing from her random episode.
“Like chanting Rih, like a cult of Satan or something.” I emphasized my words with my constant fist slamming onto the steering wheel.
There was a long silence filled with anxiety before Robyn spoke, “Where are we going?”
“The only person who I think can help us right now.” I said with determination. I could only hope this option would actually help us.
A half hour later, I pulled into the hospital parking lot and fiercely shifted it into park, contemplating how I was going to go about doing this. Lucky for me, Robyn didn’t ask questions, and she had her game face on and was ready to move forward. We both rushed into the hospital and unfortunately gained many glances and gasps from being recognized. I wanted to be inconspicuous, but so much for that.
“May I help you?” The receptionist asked.
“Yes, we’re here to see Doctor Hendrikson.”
She frowned, “He’s seeing a patient at the current moment. Do you have an evening appointment?”
“HEY!” I pointed to the man strolling down the hall with a clipboard in hand. It was Doctor Jason Hendrikson, I could recognize his modelesque looks anywhere. His curly dark hair was slicked back now, his eyes bright as ever, even though he looked a little confused as to why I randomly shouted him out.
“Miss–” The receptionist tried to contain me, but I went barreling for the man and Robyn scrambled after me. He grasped me by my shoulders, looking into my eyes with concern, reading my expression.
“Come with me.” He said softly with realization. He strode into an empty examination room and we dashed inside, closing the door behind us, which he locked. Jason tucked his pen into his lab coat before he spoke, “What has happened to my child?”
I was suddenly at a loss for words. Should I tell him the whole truth? What if he decided to kill Robyn? Or the both of us? I was in a fix a lot worse than I thought. I had never met Jason Hendrikson outside of him pronouncing Bruno dead to me those couple years ago. Especially not since this whole vampire fiasco. After seeing how heartless some of them could be, I was hesitant. Robyn shoved me out of my thoughts.
I stumbled a bit. “I…..don’t know. That’s the thing.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?” He lifted a brow, his tone still kind and patient.
“Well….” I glanced over at Robyn quickly before looking back at Jason, “We went to see Isabella…”
“The Sheriff of Area 8.” Jason crossed his arms, nodding for me to continue.
“Well, some things occurred and…let’s just say all the vampires ran off and we have no idea where they went.” I jumbled my words together in nervousness.
“That’s too vague, Roxanne. In order to help you, I need you to tell me exactly what happened. If the Sheriff is gone, that alone is a huge problem that endangers you and your friend here.” Jason explained, “Now, explain.”
I took a deep breath before telling him from start to end what happened. From the incident with Bruno and Robyn back in Milan, all the way to the chanting and disappearance of the vampires. As I explained, his expression was blank, which made me a little nervous, but if I didn’t tell him the truth, I was going to die sooner than if he had to torture it out of me or something. It was the first time Robyn heard the story of us wondering if she was some kind of supernatural creature. Her head was down the whole time, jaw tensed as she listened. I knew it hurt her that we kept something that important from her, and glamoured her into going. I was going to definitely hear about that later.
“You need to leave.” Was the first thing Jason said, and with an urgency that made me want to hightail it that very moment. “Both of you. I have a few friends in San Mateo who can provide you with adequate protection and shelter. When word gets out that the Sheriff is missing, they will alert every Area in California and your scent will be public enemy number one.”
He pulled off one of the stick-it memos from his desk and started to write down an address and a phone number. “This is my number, you must alert me if something happens. This address is the one you will be safe at, I will call ahead and let them know you’re on your way. You should make it before Dawn if you leave immediately.”
I took the memo and folded it up. “What about Bruno?” As important as the Sheriff was, she wasn’t shit to me. Bruno was the one who mattered.
“I will take care of him. You girls take care of yourselves, especially you Robyn.”
“Do you have any idea…Doctor Hendrikson…of what I could be?”
His look was very serious. “If I told you my assumption, it may frighten you. Look back through your family history, if I am correct then the clues will be prominent. Now go.” He unlocked the door and Robyn and I wordlessly left and got into the Bentley, heading four hundred miles to San Mateo, California.
The car ride was silent for the first hour, even the radio playing soul music in the evening wasn’t doing us much good as far as the tension between us was going. Robyn sat in the passenger’s seat, gazing longingly out of her window while I drove 70 miles an hour just to make it to San Mateo in under six hours.
‘Use your imagination.
We can taste, we can touch…’
Marsha Ambrosius of the duo Floetry sang over the rainforest-esque instrumental on the song ‘Imagination’ that was currently playing. I began to tap my fingers lightly on the steering wheel. “Robyn…”
“Save it.” She said sharply. “Just, save it.”
“Do you hate me?”
“You hypnotized me and almost got me killed-”
“She wasn’t gonna kill you.”
Robyn crossed her arms. “You don’t know that.”
“I wouldn’t have let her, come on Rih, you’re my girl.”
After I said that, she lightened up a little and actually looked over at me. “You would have gotten yourself killed.” She smirked.
“Stupid.” She added. We both looked at each other and then couldn’t help but to start laughing. The night had become so serious, so quick, and our lives were literally in danger right now, but we still had each other at the end of the day. That’s what was the most important.
Once we passed the Santa Clanta sign, our tank was running dangerously close to E, so I pulled over at the nearest Sunoco station and started to fill the tank. “Rih, you want anything?” I poked my head through the window and asked.
“Yeah can you grab me a Twix and a coffee. I’m taking over driving next.”
I agreed and she handed me a five. While the tank filled, I walked inside the small convenience store and bought her requests and also a muffin and a coffee for myself. We still had a long way to go, but so far we happened to nearly forget about all of the trouble we had gotten into. It was almost like a road trip. I paid for everything and left.
“I had some trash in the back, can you toss this for me?” She handed me a plastic bag.
“Sure.” I took it and looked around, but the only trash can was damn near overflowing with trash. “Ugh.” I scoffed in disgust, noticing a dumpster around the side. I went over to it and lifted the lid, tossing the trash inside. When I let the lid drop with a thud, I heard a growling noise. It stopped for a moment. Assuming it was a stray dog who was scared away by my presence, I turned to leave when I heard it again.
I made kissy noises, hoping to lure it out rather than to emerge on it’s territory on the other side of the dumpster. The growling stopped abruptly again. “Here puppy puppy.” I cooed again, stamping my feet loudly to announce my approach. I had a soft spot for all animals and hell, if I could save a stray dog in the midst of this madness, I would be–
“OH MY GOD.” I stumbled backwards, my hands covering my mouth, vomit stirring in my stomach. “BRUNO!”
His head snapped up to look at me, his eyes narrowed like a lion. The front of his clothes were covered in blood and he was kneeling over some unidentifiable woman who was mauled, I mean fucking lion’s prey mauled. Blood spilled all over the place, it was smeared all over his face, on his hands and arms, on his neck.
“What……….have……..you……..done?” I whispered.
He tilted his head to the side as I spoke, like the way a dog does when its confused. “Why are you even here?! In Santa Clanta?!” I gagged, having to turn away from the grotesque scene to hold myself together.
“That’s where I am.” He said.
“I didn’t know where I was.” He stood up and vamped over to me.
I stepped back quickly. “You’re so bloody, I can’t touch you. I can hardly look at you! Why would you kill some poor woman like that!?”
“I was hungry.” He said like it made perfect sense. “I’m sorry, who are you?” He asked, eyeing me closely.
“I’m not in the mood for games, we need to clean you so you can get in the car.” I turned to leave. When he didn’t immediately follow, I turned back around. “Come on!”
He snorted. “I don’t know who you are, I’m not getting in your car.”
“Quit calling me that, what does that even mean?!” He was frustrated, and his fangs hadn’t retracted. I now moved on from irritation to concern.
“Wait….what’s going on?”
He shrugged, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I don’t know, you just rolled up on me while I was feeding and told me to get in your car. You don’t smell dead, I’m the vampire in this situation. So you’re not going to overpower me, I’ll kill you first.”
I tried to make sense of this situation. I took a few steps forward. “I’m sorry, did you just threaten to kill me?”
“You’re trying to force me to come with you and I don’t even know you! And you keep calling me Bruno, clearly you don’t know me!”
I remained calm as I asked, “Who are you?”
“Peter, what was the last thing that you remember?”
“I was at home, walking along the shore of Waikiki beach with my brother Eric. Then I think I passed out or something because I woke up in this Santa Clanta place, super hungry.”
I was still confused, probably more-so than he was at that point.
“I’ll catch a grenade for you.”
“What for?” He looked at me like I was retarded. “Who’s throwing grenades?”
“Holy fucking shit….”
“Roxy, you’re taking too long I’m hungry and–SWEET BABY CHRIST BRUNO WHAT DID YOU DO!?” Robyn came bounding around the dumpster happily until she stumbled upon us. Bruno’s head snapped up to her and instantly he had fear in his eyes and he vamped away.
“NO!” I yelled running after him. “BRU–PETER COME BACK!”
He vamped back to the other side of the building. I told Robyn to stay put and I rushed over to him, out of breath. “Why did you run from me?”
He looked so frightened and vulnerable, had he not been covered in blood, I would have comforted him. “I just remembered something…it just came back to me.” He said, “I saw that woman and I remembered her…reaching inside of me…damn it hurt so bad, like I was being ripped apart….she reached inside and took everything from me….” He looked off into the distance, “…Everything.”
Suddenly, it all was beginning to make sense. “Wait, you mean to tell me Robyn did this to you?”
He nodded slowly, and I could see he was still trying to figure things out on his own. He looked up at me, his face still full of fear as the realization poured over him, “There’s something wrong with me, isn’t there?”
I shook my head slowly in sympathy and amazement, "You have no idea."