Chapter 2 - Part 15: Science is Real

Part of the punishment for egging the neighbors' house consisted of Vincent being grounded, but that didn't stop him from going to his favorite hangout after school to let off a little steam.  He was the only one in the place aside from the bartender, which meant he could listen to whatever he wanted on the radio and take up as much room on the dance floor as he could.

So involved he was in his sweet moves, he didn't notice a woman walk into the bar and head straight for him.  She was practically on top of him before he'd realized she was there.

Her low smooth voice carried easily over the loud music, "You've been asking about Vampirism," the woman said to him, almost as if she were confronting him for some wrongdoing.  Her dark black eyes seemed to bore into his soul.

"I, well, I..," he stammered, taken by surprise at her sudden appearance and the directness of her question.  

The only Vampires he'd ever encountered were Drake and Drake's younger sister Constance.  Before him stood a fully grown Vampiress, and he couldn't help but flinch at the power she held behind those dark eyes.  "Yes, I am curious," he finally finished.

The dark haired woman laughed at him, "You'll need to find more courage than that if you wish to enter the circle of Vampires, boy.  I'd heard you were special, but you're only a baby.  You have no clue what you seek.  What a waste of time," she started to walk away when Vincent impulsively grabbed her arm to stop her.

"I do know what I seek," he told her loudly, his voice dripping with confidence, "I seek the power of life over death, I seek to rid myself of this pathetic mortal world.  I seek to surround myself with those who actually understand me," he finished, not able to quite meet the eyes of the Vampire.

No emotion passed over the dark features of the woman for what felt an eternity to Vincent.  Then she finally spoke.  "Do this," she stated, "at dusk, find the Crypt Club, then ask for Vlad," she smirked at him.

She was gone before he could even say thank you.

That very night Vincent snuck out of the house and took a cab deep into the swamps of Harmony.  As he got out of the car the driver looked around the place, "You shouldn't be out here alone son, there's dangerous folk in this area."

"I'll be fine," Vincent told him harshly, as he slammed the car door.  He didn't need a babysitter or anyone telling him what he could or couldn't do.  "Get lost!" he yelled to the man when he tried to convince him to get back into the car.

As the taillights disappeared into the fog, he looked around and realized how eerily quiet the swamps were.

Making his way through the misty cemetery he found what could only pass as the entrance to the club.  Here goes nothing, he thought to himself as he descended the staircase, managing to appear less nervous than he felt.

Sitting down at one of the bars, he consciously made an effort to slow down his rapidly beating heart.  It would do him no good if they sensed that he was scared.  If he wanted to be one of them, he'd have to look the part.  Cool, calm and collected.

When the bartender, a huge sinister looking Vampire, asked what he was doing here, Vincent spoke in a clear and steady voice.  "I'm here to see Vlad," he said casually.

The mountain of a man let out a deep maniacal laugh that raised the hairs on the back of Vincent's neck and said, "You are 'here to see Vlad'," the Vampire mocked, "Mortal Child, do you have any idea what you're doing?"

Having had enough of being talked down to, Vincent stood up and yelled at the man, "It's none of your concern what I'm doing here, my business is with Vlad!"

It all happened in the blink of an eye.  He felt himself being lifted off the floor and whipped from the room, as if he'd been attached to a slingshot, his mind going dizzy at the blur of different rooms passing before him. When the world stopped moving he had no idea where he was.

A low rumble spilled over the highly disoriented Vincent, it took him a moment to recognize the sound as words.  "Tell me why I shouldn't kill you right now," the voice said.

What stood over him was the most horrifying vision he'd ever seen, something that was apparently once human, but had been so far removed that any ounce of humanity had vanished.

Vincent turned away quickly, afraid to meet the Vampire's eyes, afraid that the man would go through with the threat.

"I was told to find you," he said quietly, dread filling every cell of his body, "I want, I want to be turned into a Vampire," he mumbled.

The ancient one sneered at him, "Just like that?  You want to end your life and start anew?"  The vampire stared at Vincent, who once again had a feeling the Vampire looking at him was seeing more than just his body, he felt his entire soul was being picked apart.  "Humans are so ready to throw away their lives for the chance at power, regardless of how slim that chance may be.  You know nothing of our kind," he huffed.

Vincent's anger flared up once more, "My chances aren't slim!" he said to the man towering above him.  "I know what I want and I will get it!"  Who was this guy to tell him he didn't know anything?  

The fired up youth continued, "And for your information, I know a lot about being a Vampire.  My mother is very close with one named Drake and she even invented a fruit that Vampires can eat instead of having to eat people!" he finished, momentarily proud of his mother's accomplishments, until the Vampire roared.

"Drake is no true Vampire!" the thing with the demon eyes yelled into Vincent's face, "He's a disgrace to our kind, refusing to feed on humans or give into his vampire instincts."  The creature called Vlad was livid, his eyes began to glow red as he continued, his anger rising, "We are killers, devourers of fear and life.  Your bitch of a mother has given the weak, like Drake, an easy way out.  She should pay for what she's done."

As the Vampire started to move towards Vincent, a pure hatred filled his eyes, his voice was barely more than a growl, "Your mother should never have meddled in the affairs of those more powerful than her.  This lesson is for her."

Vincent recoiled from the creature, taking a step back only to run into the wall.  There was no where he could go and he was no match for the Vampire's strength.

In a flash quick as lightning, Vlad snatched Vincent's arm, gripping it painfully and pulled the boy towards him.  Before Vincent could let out a scream there was blinding pain in his forearm where the Vampire's fangs sank into his flesh.

Everything seemed to go in slow motion.  He could feel his arm starting to run with blood.  A cold sensation which began in his arm slowly stretched and flowed along his whole body until he was completely numb.  His heart, which a moment ago was beating so fast, was slowing to a crawl.

When the Vampire released him, Vincent was fighting to hold onto consciousness.  His eyes rolled back as he collapsed to the ground, the world fading from view.

I'm dying, he thought.

This is the one time he wished he'd been wrong.

Title / They Might Be Giants

Chapter 2 - Part 14: Science is Golden

The next morning Vincent got up early and snuck out of the house before his siblings had awakened.  He had a little retribution to pay back to the neighbor who had busted up last night's party.

As he lobbed the eggs at the offending neighbor's house, a sense of fulfillment overcame him, like he was standing up for his family in a way that no one else would.  How dare these people try to get him into trouble?

Hearing some commotion coming from inside, Vincent dropped the rest of the eggs on the ground and fled the scene.

Running towards the direction of his house, Vincent laughed.  That's the last time someone tries to mess with the Cagley family, he thought.  Until he heard a woman shout from behind him, "I'm calling your mother Vincent Cagley!"

Later in the afternoon, once the house had been cleaned up and things were looking somewhat back to normal, the teenagers had the rest of the day to themselves.

Vincent, having just warmed up his throwing arm earlier in the morning suggested to Julius that they should toss the ball around.

Much to Julius' dismay.

"Why do you always have to be such a jerk?" Julius yelled at his brother, half meaning it.

"Because I'm not the good son..." he replied with a shrug and a smirk.

... as he continued pummeling his brother.

While Vincent was busy torturing his twin Julius, Flora was giving the death stare to the plant that had dared to die while under her watch.  Her mom wouldn't be too pleased to find out that she'd inadvertently killed one of her plants while she was away.  Flora did her best to clean up the evidence before they got home.

Which was in less time than anyone expected.

"What happened here?" Pete said curiously as he walked into the newly decorated main room, taking in the new decor.

His wife looked around in barely concealed fury, "I think I have a pretty good idea."

"It was just a party, Mom," Vincent said, once they had sat him down for interrogation.  "No one got hurt, the house wasn't destroyed, it was no big deal," he finished, nonchalantly.

Faith just stared at her son, speechless.  How did she end up with a son who carried such a chip on his shoulder, she wondered.  "Mrs. Broke, from across the street, doesn't seem to agree with you that no one got hurt.  In fact, she's pretty upset at the mess you've made of the front of her house."

Vincent played with his food and grumbled under his breath, "Shouldn't've broken up the party, then."

"The party that shouldn't have happened without permission, you mean," Faith scolded as Vincent sat embarrassed at being overheard.  "You're going back over there to clean up the mess you made and apologize to her.  Now get moving," she finished.

"I'll say I'm sorry, but you can't make me mean it!" Vincent shouted.

Pete knew better than to say anything, so he kept quiet.  Though he couldn't help but smirk at his son's hard-headed attitude and had to admit that his tactics were slightly amusing.

Faith, on the other hand, just rolled her eyes.  Boys will be boys, she knew, but there was something different about this one.  She realized she was going to have to keep a closer eye on this son.

That would have to wait, however, as she had other business she needed to attend to, as she went upstairs to change.

When she arrived at the Perpetual Rest cemetery, she noticed the new building straight away.  It looked just as she imagined it would, as she made her way towards it.  

Faith had made a promise to her mother that she would provide a better resting place than the cold crematorium, so she purchased the deed to the Perpetual Rest cemetery and had the Cagley Family Mausoleum built on the grounds.

She walked inside and looked around the small room, she couldn't help but be overwhelmed by emotion. Having the proof in front of her made it all the more real, she was truly an orphan now as she looked down at her parents' final resting place.

They were together now, forever.  She could almost feel their happiness through her sorrow.

Morand was happy now, that's what she had to remember.  It would be hard to go on without him, but there was no choice in the matter.  Her father was gone and she had a family to see to.

Life would go on.

Title / The Grates

Chapter 2 - Part 13: Simple Machines

Morand had almost finished his painting, a reflection of death and timelessness, when the paintbrush dropped from his hand and a strange feeling came over him.

A tingly feeling started creeping up his body as he started seeing stars.  What is happening to me?, he thought, when he realized that if something was wrong, no one was home to help him.  It wasn't necessarily pain he felt throughout his body, but nevertheless it was a cause for concern.

It's when he felt his feet lift off the ground that he realized something was terribly wrong.

The words were out of his mouth before he realized he'd thought them, "I'm dying," he said.

His only regret was that he was unable to say goodbye to his family.  They would come home to find his grave lying coldly on the floor.  

However, he didn't go to the afterlife a sad man.  Yes, he'd had his fair share of tragedy and loneliness, but the love he felt for his family, his children and grandchildren, made him the happiest man in the world.

Morand's urn was placed in the study among his other trophies and accolades.  He had lived to be 120 days old, far longer than anyone expected.  The house didn't seem the same without him, hobbling about, helping the kids with their school work or standing at his easel working on the next great masterpiece painting.

Faith took the loss of her father especially hard.  She stayed strong in front of her family, but at night when she was unable to sleep she would find herself standing in his room, unable to cope.

She was an orphan now.  Her whole life she'd been without a mother, now she was without her father as well.  Never did she think he'd live forever, but imagining of a day far off in the future when he'd be gone was so much easier than having it be now, in the present.

Now there were all the details to take care of.

Flora had been simply going through the motions the last few days.  She, too, was hit hard by the loss of her grandfather.  He had been the one she could talk to about anything when her mom was too busy with work and gardening or her dad was down in the basement, or mysteriously not down in the basement.

She was snapped back to reality by her brother's voice.  

"You know that mom and dad are away for a few days, visiting with grandpa's family in Sunset Brook or Twin Valley or wherever it was he moved here from," Vincent told her the morning after their parents left.

She tried not to let her brother's attitude bring her down even further, "Yeah, what about it?" she responded.

"Well..." he started.  "Why don't we have ourselves a little party?" he asked.  "Let's invite some people over after school, have some music, some dancing, it would be just what grandpa would have wanted," he finished.

"That's a terrible idea," Julius said from the kitchen as he grabbed himself a bowl of cereal.  "You want to honor grandpa's memory by defiling the house with a bunch of rowdy teenagers?  Terrible."

"Are you kidding?" Vincent challenged, "I think it's exactly what grandpa would have wanted.  Life is for the living, Jules!" his brother argued.

Julius concentrated on his bowl of cereal for a moment.  "I just don't know," he finally replied, "I don't think mom and dad would be too happy about it."

"I'll handle Mom and Dad," Flora spoke up.  "You guys won't have to worry about anything."

Julius's cereal got caught in his throat as he choked out, "What?  You think this is a good idea?"

"While I don't think Vincent's motives were to throw a party specifically in remembrance of grandpa, I do think it's something that he would have liked.  You know how he loved parties and dancing.  I think he'd have had a lot of fun," she replied.

"Fine," Julius said.  "Have your party, but I'm not getting in trouble."

Flora already had her invitation list made out, it only consisted of one name.

When they got home from school that afternoon, Flora was in for a bit of a shock.

"Vincent!  What did you do?!" she asked her brother in disbelief.

Wondering how they were going to explain the new decor to their parents, Flora just shook her head.

"Just remember," Julius said, "I had nothing to do with this."

However, once the others arrived, it took all of two minutes for Julius to get into the idea.  The music was pumping, the effects machines were effecting and everyone was having a great time.

Vincent was getting some quality face time in with Julianne Ash, one of the prettiest girls in school.  He generally didn't have any trouble getting girls to talk to him, but for some reason she made him a bit nervous.  

It wasn't until after he'd spent some time talking to her that he found out her father was a Vampire, which only intrigued him more.

"Why aren't you a Vampire, then?" he asked the girl.

She laughed at him, "Because you aren't born a Vampire, dolt.  You have to be turned by one."

"You came!" squealed Flora as Drake walked into the house.

"Ta-da," he said, smiling at her.

She could barely contain her nerves as she talked to him, "I wasn't sure you'd come.  I know you don't do anything school related, not that this is a school event, but you know..."

"I have been to so many proms and field trips I stopped counting, and then stopped attending," he said with a heavy sigh, "I am forced to go the school every day because it is required by law for someone my age.  I wish my kind would be exempt, but then again, sometimes some good comes from it," he smiled at her.

The party raged on, everyone having an amazing time.

Flora and Drake were also having fun, as she rolled her eyes and pointed out her brother Julius's attempt at dancing.

To which he was completely oblivious of.

"I'm really glad you came," Flora said to the Vampire.

He smiled and nodded to her, "I am glad I came as well."

As she excused herself for a moment, Vincent jumped into action and asked to speak to the Vampire outside.

"I wanted to talk to you for a minute, if you don't mind," Vincent asked the man.

Drake looked at the boy for what seemed a very long time, "Alright," was his only response.

"I'm curious," Vincent started, "I know that you have to be turned into a Vampire, but how does something like that happen?  How does one become immortal, like you?" he asked eagerly.

He could tell that the Vampire was put off by the question.

"Why do you ask me this?" Drake replied.  "If you have any ideas or curiosities about what it is to live this curse, put them out of your head right now.  I would not wish this life on my worst enemy," the Vampire replied coldly.

Vincent wasn't to be dissuaded though, "But you see, I don't think it would be a curse!  Imagine all the incredible things you could do without the constraint of a mortal lifespan!  Tell me, how does one become a Vampire?" he asked again, a tinge of desperation in his voice, when they were interrupted.

"I'm not sure what you guys are doing out here," Flora said as she turned to Drake, "but you've got to go.  I just got a call from a neighbor who told me they're calling the police because of the noise.  I don't want you to get in trouble."

Drake nodded, "Thank you," he said as he looked at Vincent, "remember what I said.  It is not for you."

Everyone took off in different directions, luckily before the cops arrived.  Since no law breaking was found, only a warning was issued...

...and a mess to clean up.

Julius and his Donkey Ears
The Reaper was too menacing for this chapter, but I thought this picture was cool.
Even in death Morand wanted to sleep in his own bed.

Title / Jim Thompson